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Captain Rinaldo Scheberras
&
Jane Platt

Rinaldo Scheberras was born in Milan in 1808, the eldest of twelve children of Count Camillo Scheberras and Maddalena Ravenelli.


MILITARY PROMOTIONS

The Scheberras family returned to Malta where Rinaldo enlisted in the 80th regiment as an ensign by purchase on 16 March 1826. [1]

The 80th regiment served at Corfu and Cephalonia before returning to England where they were stationed in Manchester, Chatham and Belfast. Ensign Scheberras was promoted to Lieutenant on 16 April 1833.[2]


WINGELLO AND TOWRANG STOCKADES

In 1837 the 80th regiment was ordered to embark for Australia where they were to be employed guarding convict gangs and other military duties.  Lieutenant Scheberras came in command of the military detachment on the convict ship Calcutta arriving in Sydney on 5th August 1837. Detachments of the 80th served in various localities in New South Wales and Van Diemen's Land.  Lieutenant Scheberras served at Wingello Stockade in 1837 and also by some accounts at the Towrang Stockade.[3]


MAITLAND

Lieut. Sheberras was appointed Assistant Engineer and Superintendent of the Harper's Hill Stockade at Maitland in 1839[4]. He was Police Magistrate and in command of the Stockade until 1842.


JANE PLATT

It was in Maitland that he probably met and married Jane Platt in 1842. Jane was the eldest daughter of former settler Lieut. John Laurio Platt

Lieut. John and Rosanne Platt had arrived in Australia on the Providence with three children Frederick William age 11, Robert age 9 and Jane 7½ in 1822.  More children were born in Australia - Mary Anne b. 1823, Louise b. 1825, Anne b. 1829, William H. b. 1831 and Rosanne in 1832. 

By the time of Jane and Rinaldo's marriage in 1842 the Platt family had already been decimated by misfortune and tragedy. Two of the sons Robert aged 13 and and John Laurio aged 4 were killed in a devastating bushfire in 1831. Weighed down by grief Roseanne and eldest daughter Jane were affected with 'delerium' for months. [5] Unable to recover from the tragedy John Laurio and his wife Roseanne both died in 1836, leaving their orphaned offspring to be taken in by the family of Edward Close of Morpeth.  Select here to read correspondence written by John Platt in January 1835 outlining his misfortunes....Transcribed by Gionni Di Gravio 27th June 2006 Cultural Collections (Archives), Auchmuty Library University of Newcastle.


RESIGNATION FROM STOCKADE

In November 1842 Rinaldo Scheberras resigned from his position as Superintendent of the Stockade at Maitland. A dinner was held in his honour by twenty of his friends on 17th November 1842 at Cox's Hotel, previous to his leaving the district. [6]


INDIA

In March 1843 he was promoted to Captain and adjutant of the regiment [7]. The following year the 80th was called for service in India.

When Captain Scheberras sailed for India with his regiment on the Royal Saxon, his wife Jane accompanied him. Also on the Royal Saxon was Jane's sister Mary Anne Platt who may also have had a beau in the 80th regiment.

Rinaldo Scheberras was first stationed at Fort William at Calcutta and later at Agra and Ambala.


DEATH

He died a hero in the battle at Sutlej on 21 December 1845 at age 37 and was later awarded the Sutlej Campaign Medal.[8]


JANE AND MARY ANNE

Jane Scheberras was only 31 years of age when she was widowed. She never re-married. Jane and her sister Miss Mary Ann Elizabeth Rosetta Platt returned to Australia on the Phantom arriving in Sydney in November 1846 [9]

Jane and Mary Anne seem to have stayed together for the rest of their lives. They are listed in shipping as cabin passengers on the Sobraon bound for London in February 1870. [10]


CAMBERWELL ASYLUM

They were both admitted to the Camberwell Asylum for the Insane in the 1870's. Jane in 1871 and 1879 [11] and Mary Ann in 1877 [12]


DEATH

Jane died in the Asylum on 15 February 1902. Mary Ann died in April 1899.


Camberwell Asylum Grounds Camberwell House Asylum. Wellcome Library



Jane Scheberras[13]


NOTES AND LINKS

1). The tragic circumstances of Jane Scheberras and Mary Ann Platt are recorded at Sarah Wise's Inconvenient People site in her article about Mrs. Georgina Weldon of Tavistock House.

2). Detachments of the 80th regiment arrived the Lady Kennaway, Lloyds, Norfolk, Bengal Merchant, Asia, Captain Cook, Earl Grey, St. Vincent, John, Prince George, Mangles, Heber, Theresa, Calcutta and Eden

3). Memorial in Upper Barrakka Gardens

4). The British Garrison in Australia 1788-1841: the great roads.

5). Title: Silhouette likenesses of  Mrs Jane Scheberras (c1821-1902) and Mary Ann Platt (1823-1879) / by Marianne Collinson Close Creator: Close, Marianne Collinson, 1827-1903. Date: 1848 - Sydney Living Museums


REFERENCES

[1] Hart's Annual Army List

[2] London Gazette

[3] Towrang Convict Stockade, Associated Sites and Road Formations. Office of Environment and Heritage

[4] Returns of the Colony

[5] Correspondence written by John Platt in January 1835 outlining his misfortunes....Transcribed by Gionni Di Gravio 27th June 2006 Cultural Collections (Archives), Auchmuty Library University of Newcastle.


[6] Colonial Observer 26 November 1842

[7] London Gazette

[8] Dennis Darmanin, A Maltese officer’s death in India, Maltese Times 14 December 2014

[9] Sydney Chronicle25 November 1846

[10] Evening News 26 February 1870

[11] The National Archives of the UK; Kew, Surrey, England; Lunacy Patients Admission Registers; Class: MH 94; Piece: 5 1876-1885 Source Information Ancestry.com. UK, Lunacy Patients Admission Registers, 1846-1912

[12] The National Archives of the UK; Kew, Surrey, England; Lunacy Patients Admission Registers; Class: MH 94; Piece: 4 1859-1875 Source Information Ancestry.com. UK, Lunacy Patients Admission Registers, 1846-1912.

[13] Maitland Mercury 9 August 1873