Newcastle Female Factory
Newcastle gaol top right
The Monitor reported in March 1828 of plans to establish a female factory in a section of Newcastle goal....
Among the fashionable arrivals last week, was the Chief Engineer, Capt. Dumaresq, who inspected all the public buildings works, &c. Among the
changes and improvements which may be expected to result therefrom, the following is the most conspicuous. -
Newcastle Gaol is the best in the Colony, whether size, beauty, or situation be considered. Of late years, i.e. since the prison
establishment in the service of the Crown has become reduced, the number of offenders has been also reduced, and this fine building has
been in a manner lost to the public. The Female Factory at
Parramatta is crowded, and among its inmates, are a number of women, encumbered with children, and therefore not
available for the purposes of assignment, while valuable room is permanently occupied by them, to the inconvenience of the establishment
generally. It is now determined that a portion of the Newcastle gaol shall be prepared for the reception of one hundred and fifty women, to
be employed as usefully as may be practicable. Estimates of expense, &c being made and approved, walls, lodges, gates, and partitions
will be built, and the plan be put into execution as soon as possible.(1)
The following women were admitted to Newcastle Gaol in January & February 1831. At this time the gaol seems to have been used mostly as
a holding facility until the women were sent either to the Parramatta Female Factory or private assignment..
*Ships in green departed from Ireland
6 January 1831 Ann Davis per Forth 1830 Illegible
11 January 1831 Mary Blackmore per Roslin Castle 1830 Sent to 3rd Class female factory at Parramatta for 3 months for insolence
19 January 1831 Ellen Wicks per Sovereign 1829 Sent to 3rd Class female factory at Parramatta for 3 months being pregnant and
25 January 1831 Winifred Stewart per Roslin Castle 1830 Sent to 3rd Class female factory at Parramatta for 1 month
29 January 1831 Ann Storrett per Princess Royal 1829 Admitted to the gaol on her way to private assignment
29 January 1831 Eleanor Norton per Lady Rowena 1826 3 months 2nd Class female factory at Parramatta
2 February 1831 Mary Montague per Midas 1825 7months in female factory at Parramatta for insolence and abusive language
5 February 1831 Ann Canny Born in the colony 3 months for prostitution. Sent to the female factory at Parramatta
18 February 1831 Margaret Williams per Princess Royal 1829 Sent to the female factory at Parramatta
There was a riot at the Parramatta Factory in February 1831. Many of the participants were sent to Newcastle (28 women were sent on 5th
March and others following in the next two weeks). They had been sentenced to three years transportation to a penal settlement however
under orders of George Brooks most had been assigned to private
service in Newcastle and Maitland by September of that year.
The women who participated in the riot arrived on the convicts ships Lucy Davidson, Competitor, Edward, Roslin Castle, Princess Charlotte, Forth, Asia, Elizabeth and Brothers.
Select here to find out more about these women who were sent to Newcastle on
5th March 1831.
More women who had been involved in rioting were sent to Newcastle along with other delinquents in the following weeks........
10 March 1831 Eliza Sullivan per Edward 1829 1 month 2nd Class female factory at Parramatta for being pregnant
10 March 1831 Eliza Livingstone per Louisa 1827 14 days solitary confinement for neglect of duty and disobedience of orders
14 March 1831 Susan Stephens per Roslin Castle 1830 Sent to private service of Mr. Bloomfield
14 March 1831 Ann Gregg per Lucy Davidson 1829 Sent to private service of E.C. Close
14 March 1831 Catherine Gorman per Sovereign 1829 Sent to private service of Walter Rotton
14 March 1831 Eliza Green per Lucy Davidson 1829 Sent to private service of Jonathan Warner
14 March 1831 Letitia Sullivan per Mariner 1825 Sent to private service of Emanuel Hungerford
14 March 1831 Mary Campbell per Brothers 1827 Sent to private service of Emanuel Hungerford
14 March 1831 Ann Newman per Roslin Castle 1830 3 yrs in a penal settlement for mutinous and outrageous conduct
14 March 1831 Mary Connolly per Edward 1829 3yrs to a penal settlement for mutinous and outrageous conduct
14 March 1831 Ann Wright per Edward 1829 3 yrs to a penal settlement for mutinous and outrageous conduct
14 March 1831 Mary Callaghan per Sovereign 1829 Sentenced to 3 yrs in a penal settlement for mutinous and outrageous conduct
14 March 1831 Jane Ferguson per Sovereign 1829 3 yrs in a penal settlement for mutinous and outrageous conduct
14 March 1831 Sarah Mills per Harmony 1827 3 yrs in a penal settlement for mutinous and outrageous conduct
14 March 1831 Bridget Meany per Forth 1830 3 yrs to a penal settlement for mutinous and outrageous conduct
18 March 1831 Ann Delaney per Brothers 1827 Sentenced to 10 days solitary confinement for disorderly conduct.
19 March 1831 Mary Wilkinson per Sovereign 1829 Sent to Newcastle gaol from Sydney 19 March. For private service to Mrs. Allman
25 March 1831 Bridget Carnes per Brothers 1827 3 months in 3rd Class female factory at Parramatta
25 March 1831 Elizabeth Hughes per Competitor 1828 Admitted to Newcastle gaol and forwarded to George Wyndham for private service 1st
22 March 1831 Ann Jackson per Glatton 1803 Committed to Newcastle gaol by Newcastle Bench. Allowed bail 8 April.
23 March 1831 Charlotte Tethers per Princess Royal 1829 3mths in 3rd class factory for insubordination and insolence. Forwarded to Sydney
23 March 1831 Hannah Murphy per Princess Charlotte 1827 Sentenced to 7 days solitary confinement by Newcastle Bench.
30 March 1831 Ann Ferguson per Asia 1830 Sentenced to 4 days in solitary and then sent to Parramatta female factory
30 March 1831 Ann Storrett per Sovereign 1829 Sentenced by Maitland Bench to 1mth 3rd class female factory Parramatta
1 April 1831 Margaret Handlen per Kains 1831 Sent from the female factory via Newcastle gaol to private service of William Harper
1 April 1831 Elizabeth Reed per Kains 1831 Sent from the female factory via Newcastle gaol for the private service of Capt. Sullivan
1 April 1831 Johanna Quin per Kains 1831 Sentenced to 21 days solitary confinement then to the Female Factory Parramatta 1st Class
4 April 1831 Ann Delaney per Brothers 1827 Forwarded to the 3rd Class factory Parramatta by order of the Newcastle Bench. Sent 9 May
8 April 1831 Catherine Gill per Lucy Davidson 1829 Sentenced to 14 days solitary confinement for insolence and disobedience of orders.
9 April 1831 Margaret McNamara per Elizabeth 1828 7 days solitary confinement
23 April 1831 Letitia Pickers per Midas 1825 Sentenced to 7 days solitary confinement for disorderly conduct
27 April 1831 Mary Ann Greigh per Lucy Davidson 1829 Sentenced to 3mths in the female factory at Parramatta. 3rd Class
27 April 1831 Jane King per Roslin Castle 1830 Sentenced to 1mth confined in the cells. Discharged to her master
29 May 28 April 1831 Rose McGarry per Edward 1829 Sentenced to 3yrs in a penal settlement for riot at the female factory.
28 April 1831 Catherine McGilvray per Earl of Liverpool 1831 Admitted to Sydney gaol en route to Newcastle for private assignment
28 April 1831 Sarah Pepperall per Earl of Liverpool 1831 Admitted to Sydney gaol en route to Newcastle for private assignment
28 April 1831 Mary Kelly per Earl of Liverpool 1831 Admitted to Sydney gaol en route to Newcastle for private assignment
28 April 1831 Frances Matthews per Earl of Liverpool 1831 Admitted to Sydney gaol en route to Newcastle for private assignment
29 April 1831 Alice Green per Kains 1831 10 days solitary confinement.
Sarah Morris was sent to Newcastle in May 1831 as Monitor of the female factory. She returned to Parramatta female factory in November
1831(2) Select here to read the Biography of convict Sarah
Morris written by her descendant Janelle Collins. Select here to go to Janelle's Family Tree Addiction Blog
John Field was appointed gaoler at Newcastle gaol on 4th July 1835. His
wife Eliza Jane was appointed Matron on the same day. This seems to be the first mention of a permanent Matron and by this time the female
section of the gaol was being used as a place of confinement or punishment as well as the temporary holding facility of previous years.
In September 1835 twenty-nine women who had been disembarked from the Mary convict ship in Sydney were sent the same day on the Sophia Jane steamer to Newcastle to be held there until
assigned. In December 1836 thirty-one women who had been disembarked from the Pyramus convict ship in Sydney were sent to Newcastle gaol to await assignment and in
January 1838 fifteen women from the Sir Charles
Forbes were admitted to Newcastle gaol the next day after landing in Sydney.
The following women were admitted to Newcastle gaol in 1840 during John and Eliza Field's time as gaolers. They came from Scone,
Singleton, Muswellbrook, Paterson, Maitland, Brisbane Water and Newcastle. Similar to their sisters of a decade before, some were sent
repeatedly to the gaol, others were just passing through on the way to assignment. They were mostly sent for petty offences, however there
were also those who had committed no crime but who were admitted to seek medical aid from the colonial surgeon (George Brooks) or who were
no longer required in private service and were returned to government. The number of female prisoners held in Newcastle gaol more than
doubled compared to a decade before. The details of their incarceration can be found in the Newcastle Gaol Entrance Books. Curiously, some
of the names in the Gaol Entrance Books (for females only) have been recorded and then erased.
To establish the identity of women admitted to the gaol and whose names were destroyed, Gaol Description Books, Convict Indents, and
Emigrant Records have been used in conjunction with the Gaol Entrance Books......
3 January 1840 Susan Flinn (Flynn) per Andromeda 1834 Husband in Gaol. Returned to government
5 January 1840 Martha Siffrage per Earl of Liverpool 1831 Confined 1 month for misdemeanour
10 January 1840 Catherine Cray per Buffalo 1833 Charged with drunkenness.
10 January 1840 Johanna Dunn per Margaret 1839 Larceny. Remanded
10 January 1840 Rebecca Palmer per Sarah & Elizabeth 1837 Useless as a cook. Returned to government
13 January 1840 Ann Flood per Pyramus 1836 10 days in the cells for drunkenness
14 January 1840 Eliza Storey per Diana 1833 14 days in the cells for indecent conduct.
14 January 1840 Johanna Dunn per Margaret 1839 Charged with larceny. Sent for trial
19 January 1840 Julia Connell per Caroline 1833 No offence recorded. Returned to government
21 January 1840 Margaret Brady per Hooghley 1831 3 days in the cells for drunkenness
21 January 1840 Maria Boyle per Sir Charles Forbes 1837 14 days in the cells -- absent without leave
22 January 1840 Margaret Barry per Surry 1833 No offence recorded. Returned to government
25 January 1840 Mary Brien or Murphy per Thomas Harrison 1836 No offence recorded. Return to govt.
27 January 1840 Ellen Martin per Sarah & Elizabeth 1837 7 days in the cells for drunkenness
27 January 1840 Elizabeth Frost per Lord Sidmouth 1823 No offence recorded. Return to govt.
28 January 1840 Mary Connelly per Lucy Davidson 1829 Vagrant. 3 months confinement
28 January 1840 Johanna Rielly per Margaret 14 days in the cells for being quarrelsome.
28 January 1840 Ann McKay (Mackay) per Mary Ann 1839 Illness. To seek medical aid
1 February 1840 Ann Cheeseman per Princess Royal 1829 No offence recorded. Returned to govt.
4 February 1840 Ann Phillips per Numa 1834 14 days in the cells for drunkenness
4 February 1840 Bridget Ryan per Sir Charles Forbes 1837 14 days in the cells for drunkenness
7 February 1840 Ann Boyd or Burrows per Margaret 1837 1 month confinement for drunkenness
7 February 1840 Mary Hinds per Mary Ann 1839 Insolence. Returned to government
8 February 1840 Alice Trigg per Planter 1839 2 months in the 3rd Class Factory for absconding
8 February 1840 Elizabeth Rowe per Numa 1834 Illness. Admitted to seek medical aid
14 February 1840 Mary Corcoran per Margaret 1837 2 months 3rd Class Factory for misdemeanour.
14 February 1840 Eliza Hutchinson per Mary 1835 No offence recorded. Returned to govt.
14 February 1840 Maria Steele per Numa 1834 6 months 3rd Class Factory for robbery
18 February 1840 Janet Bell per Mary Ann 1839 No offence recorded. Returned to govt.
18 February 1840 Mary Cuddy per Whitby 1839 No offence recorded. Returned to govt.
18 February 1840 Mary Hayes per Elizabeth 1836 6 months hard labour for robbery
21 February 1840 Mary Gallagher per Margaret 1840 14 days in the cells for disorderly conduct
21 February 1840 Mary Cuddy per Whitby 1839 14 days in the cells for petty larceny
22 February 1840 Elizabeth Tilbury per Thomas Harrison 1836 Insolence. Remanded
24 February 1840 Margaret Clements per Sir Charles Forbes 1837 2 months 3rd Class Factory for petty larceny
28 February 1840 Harriett Atkinson per Mary 1835 7 days solitary confinement for insolence.
29 February 1840 Margaret Blackwood per Mary Ann 1839 14 days solitary confinement for absconding
29 February 1840 Sarah Smith per Henry Wellesley 1837 14 days solitary confinement for absconding.
29 February 1840 Judith Condon per Margaret 1839 14 days confinement for neglect of duty and insolence
29 February 1840 Mary Ann Williams per Henry Wellesley 1837 No offence recorded. Returned to govt.
2 March 1840 Mary Barnes per Mary Ann 1839 Charged with disorderly conduct. Remanded
2 March 1840 Mary Robson per John Renwick 1838 Charged with being absent without leave.
4 March 1840 Sarah Peters alias Smith per Buffalo 1833 14 days in the cells for absconding
6 March 1840 Margaret White per Caroline 1833 2 months hard labour for absconding
7 March 1840 Eliza Smith per George Hibbert Charged with robbery. Sent for trial
9 March 1840 Bridget Cunningham per Margaret 1839 No offence recorded. Returned to govt.
11 March 1840 Margaret Barry per Surry 1833 7 days in the cells - absent without leave
14 March 1840 Sarah Riley per Diamond 1838 Charged with absconding. Remanded
14 March 1840 Catherine Rielly per Caroline 1833 No offence recorded. Returned to govt.
14 March 1840 Margaret Collins per Whitby 2 months 3rd Class factory for drunkenness and absconding
14 March 1840 Mary Williams per Mary 7 days in the cells for disorderly conduct
15 March 1840 Sarah Cooney per Henry Wellesley 1837 Admitted because of illness.
17 March 1840 Sarah Riley per Diamond 1838 14 days in the cells for absconding
18 March 1840 Bertha Hutchinson per Mary Ann 1839 Admitted because of illness. To receive medical advice
24 March 1840 Catherine Ryan per Buffalo 1833 Returned to govt. for absenting herself
24 March 1840 Charlotte Skarr per Henry Wellesley 1837 No offence recorded. Returned to govt. service
24 March 1840 Catherine Bolton per Charles Kerr 1 month hard labour for being a common prostitute
31 March 1840 Emma Capenhurst per Mary Ann 1839 No offence recorded. Returned to govt. service
1 April 1840 Grace Draper per Mary No offence recorded. Returned to govt. service
1 April 1840 Eliza Herring per George Hibbert 1834 Sent to the Bench at Newcastle after absconding
2 April 1840 Jane Beecher alias Craig/Craggs per Kains 1831 Remanded on a charge of possessing stolen property
2 April 1840 Eliza Herring per George Hibbert 1834 14 days in the cells for absconding
5 April 1840 Ann Mullens per Forth 1830 Charged with felony. Sent for trial
5 April 1840 Sarah Peters per Buffalo 1833 14 days in the cells for absconding. To be returned to her husband
6 April 1840 Ann Floyd per Pyramus 1836 Charged with disorderly conduct. Remanded
6 April 1840 Jane Gamble per Mary 1835 No offence recorded. Returned to govt. service
7 April 1840 Mary Walsh per Pyramus 1836 2 months 3rd Class Factory for insolence and refusing to work
7 April 1840 Eliza Spencer per Numa 1834 14 days in the cells and return to govt. service
7 April 1840 Mary Keating per Mangles (came free) Mary and John Keating sentenced to 3 months confinement for breach of
8 April 1840 Ann Floid/Floyd per Pyramus 1836 14 days in the cells for drunkenness
8 April 1840 Elizabeth Lloyd per Margaret 1837 No offence recorded. Returned to govt. service
9 April 1840 Margaret Jones per Buffalo 1833 No offence recorded. Sent to Maitland
9 April 1840 Mary Corcoran per Margaret 1837 Charged with disorderly conduct. Remanded
10 April 1840 Catherine Cain/Kean per Whitby 1839 14 days in the cells for drunkenness
10 April 1840 Agnes McLean per Mary Ann 1839 Charged with robbery. Remanded
10 April 1840 Mary Corcoran per Margaret 1837 14 days in the cells for disorderly conduct.
13 April 1840 Catherine Ryan per Surry 1833 14 days in the cells for absence without leave
15 April 1840 Ellen Aaron per Henry Wellesley 1837 No offence recorded. Returned to govt.
15 April 1840 Elizabeth Starkey Planter 1839 1 month in the cells for concealing pregnancy.
15 April 1840 Maria Swift per Roslin Castle 1830 1 month in the cells for absconding
18 April 1840 Janet Bell per Mary Ann 1839 14 days in the cells absence without leave
18 April 1840 Elizabeth Kennell per Mary Ann 1839 Charged with refusing to work. Remanded
21 April 1840 Sarah Cooney per Henry Wellesley 1837 7 days in the cells for drunkenness
21 April 1840 Elizabeth Kennell per Mary Ann 1839 14 days in the cells for disorderly conduct
21 April 1840 Margaret McHugh per Margaret 14 days in the cells for disorderly conduct
21 April 1840 Mary A. Cain per Sir Charles Forbes 1837 14 days in the cells for drunkenness
21 April 1840 Mary Mercy per Sarah & Elizabeth 1837 14 days in the cells for drunkenness
24 April 1840 Jane Atkinson per Mary Ann 1839 14 days in the cells for absence without leave
27 April 1840 Jane Burns per Margaret 14 days in the cells for disorderly conduct
28 April 1840 Catherine Wapshot per Asia 1830 Sent for trial for causing the death of Catherine Phillips by maliciously throwing her on the
28 April 1840 Mary Carmody per Diamond 1838 14 days in the cells for disobedience of orders
28 April 1840 Margaret Toole Diamond 1838 14 days in the cells for disobedience of orders
28 April 1840 Margaret James John Renwick 1838 No offence recorded. Returned to govt.
28 April 1840 Sarah Brown per Pyramus 1832 Sentenced to 2 months in 3rd Class Factory for drunkenness. To be returned to her husband
The following correspondence written in 1840 gives a little more information about Matron Eliza Field at the Newcastle Female Factory.
The Attorney General called the attention of the Council to the fact that there was no provision on the Estates for a Matron to the
Sydney Gaol, although the sum of £25 was allowed for that purpose at Newcastle. He was sure that every person would readily allow that a
female of that description was much more wanted at the former place than at the latter, although equally necessary at every prison where
free females were kept in confinement. The Governor acquiesced in the justice of the Attorney General's remark, and said that, as the
expense would be but trifling, the matter could be very easily remedied.
We perfectly agree with the Attorney General, that there ought to he a Matron in every Gaol to which Free Females are in the habit of being
committed; but we confess we are somewhat astonished at his saying that a Matron is more requisite in the Sydney Gaol than in the Gaol at
Newcastle, for the following reasons: the Gaol at Newcastle is a Female Factory, and contains the only Hospital for Convict Women in the
whole of the northern district of the Colony; Free, as well as Convict Women are confined in this Gaol, both before and after
The average number of females, of all descriptions, confined in Newcastle Gaol is about sixty ; the average number of women in hospital
eight. We have before described the miserable want of accommodation and the consequent impossibility of classifying the prisoners. All that
we can add upon this part of the subject is; that all circumstances considered the order and cleanliness of this compartment of the gaol,
reflects the highest credit on its Matron, and justly entitles her to a much higher Salary, than that which she receives. We believe, we
are fully warranted in saying, that such is the unanimous opinion of the Magistrates and Government Officers who have inspected the Gaol. A
Salary of £25 is all that the Matron receives, and perhaps that sum is quite as much as the Colony ought to pay ; but as the female's
side of the prison, is to all intents and purposes, as much a Penal Factory, as that of Parramatta, we cannot see, why the Home Government
should not give a Salary to the Matron of the Newcastle Factory, as well as to the Matron of the Parramatta Penal Factory. A Salary of £50
per annum from the Home Government and £25 from the Colonial would be a reason able compensation for the disgusting, and truly arduous
duties performed by the Matron. We perceive that His Excellency has expressed his intention of introducing a Bill for the adoption of
certain portions of the English Prison Act which will empower Magistrates to visit and Report on the state of the Gaols in their respective
District. Justice, wisdom, and mercy call equally for this long needed improvement.
We trust that among other instructions to be given to the visitors, will be one directing a full and circumstantial return of the
contents of the Gaol every six weeks; which report should be published in the Government Gazette. The public have a right to know when, and
why their fellow subjects are incarcerated.
As respects the female department, no language of which we are master, can depict the unavoidable pernicious consequences, which flow from
the indiscriminate associations of girls of their own sex. And as respects the immigrant population, we say it is monstrous to think, that
a girl of unblemished moral character, should for a comparatively light offence be compelled to herd for weeks or months with convict
prostitutes -yet there is no alternative, the gaol is so limited in its accommodation, that it is utterly impossible to separate them. Most
sincerely do we hope, that these remarks may lead to some salutary changes in our prison regulations. Our comments upon the subject are not
offensively intended, neither are we actuated by any sinister motive in making them. We dwell upon the subject because we feel persuaded,
that His Excellency and the Council cannot reconcile the facts we have stated, with their sense of justice and morality. Matters connected
with the interior of Newcastle gaol, may not possess that degree of interest which other, and less painful subjects do but the claims of
humanity, religion, and morality call loudly to those without the walls, for reform. (8)
Classification of prisoners was again raised in December 1840.....
We regret that His Excellency's Bill makes no provision for the proper classification of the confines. This we conceive to be a
vital error. Immigrant boys of from sixteen to eighteen years of age are indiscriminately herded with old and notorious convicts, and too
often leave the gaol with minds prepared to do anything rather than return to the paths of honest industry. The same is to be said of the
female division of the gaol. *A child of twelve years of age is now lying in Newcastle Gaol (an emigrant we regret to say, and a native of
Scotland); she is obliged to herd with the most degraded of her sex, and to learn from them the vices that have caused their own
degradation. The unfortunate child is committed for theft; she was sent from Patrick's Plains about a fortnight before the last
Maitland Quarter Sessions - too late to be included among those who were tried at that session, she must therefore remain in the society we
have described until February; her four months primary imprisonment will do much to confirm her in the evil propensities which have already
but too clearly manifested themselves. Imprisonment is a punishment intended as much for the correction of the delinquent as for, his
punishment ; but how -is it possible to hope to effect any amendment in the morals and habits of young, and comparatively slight offenders,
if these are compelled to eat, drink, sleep, converse, and associate with hoary veterans in the paths of iniquity ? (9)
(*This child was Jane Finlay who arrived on the William Rodger in 1838)
In 1841 after regular Reports by a visiting Justice were established, some improvement was made to the living arrangements when the cells
were made a little lighter.......
A measure that marked a more humane treatment of female prisoners was the Act 5 Victoria, No. 3, passed in 1841. The Colonial
Secretary drew the attention of the visiting justice to it in a communication dated 8th July, 1841: Sir,-I am directed by his Excellency
the Governor to draw your attention to the Act of Council recently passed, prohibiting the imprisonment of females in dark cells and to
request that you will report whether there are in your gaol any light cells or cells which can he made light."
Major Crummer made a report on the
matter, and the Colonial Secretary replied as follows:-"Sir,--In acknowledging the receipt of your letter of the 23rd instant,
proposing a plan by which sufficient light can he admitted into the dark cells in Newcastle Gaol, I am directed by his Excellency the
Governor to inform you that he approves of the alterations being made, and of your charging the expense, not exceeding twenty pounds, in
your contingent account. You are also authorised to claim assistance from the stockade if you require it." (7)
The Gaol came to the notice of the Governor in 1842...An article published in the Newcastle Morning Herald many years later, reveals some
of the correspondence of the Colonial Department regarding the women incarcerated in Newcastle gaol and their rations and clothing.
Magistrate Major Crummer was afterwards reprimanded by the Governor for his lack of involvement with the workings of the gaol.....
In January 1842 a requisition was sent to the Colonial Storekeeper for the supply of clothing for 80 women and 10 children, at that
time confined in the female factory at Newcastle. The outfit for each woman comprised - cap, jacket, petticoat, shift, apron, handkerchief,
a pair of stockings and a pair of shoes. The Governor, Sir George Gipps, when the requisition was submitted to him wrote the following
memorandum on the back: "I doubt the necessity of this requisition, and further information must be afforded. The number of women in
the factory or rather gaol at Newcastle rarely exceeds 35, and they are not permanently there. Women who cannot be assigned in the district
should be removed to Parramatta. The Sheriff accordingly wrote to the visiting justice Major Crummer asking for further information. The
Colonial Secretary Mr. E. Deas Thomson took the matter up for he wrote as follows to the visiting justice on 25th April 1842 - Sir, With
reference to your letter of the 11th instant, relative to the slop clothing required for the female prisoners in the Newcastle Gaol, I am
directed by the Governor to return to you the several requisitions which you have furnished, and to request that you will substitute others
for them, calculated for sixty women instead of eighty - sixty being in fact ten more than the number of women actually in Newcastle Gaol
and far more than the number that ever ought to be there. (4)
The Hunter River Gazette reported in February 1842 - Newcastle - There are a number of women assignable in the factory here at
present, and among them many laundresses. Should any servants of this description be required by families, the present is a good time to
apply for them. Free or ticket of leave men, desirous of entering into the matrimonial tie, will also have a full house to choose from.
From the crowded state of the wards we have no doubt many of the inmates would gladly avail themselves of an opportunity to exchange their
present state of single blessedness, for the chance of contributing to the happiness of any member of the masculine sex, who will take the
necessary steps to gain their affections Many of them we have no doubt judging from their age and appearance, possess the sentiments of
“They would be woo’d and not unsought be won,”......although we have reason to believe in their case equally as in that of the ‘Mother of
mankind’ the courtship would neither be a protracted nor a difficult process.(3)
Included in the series of articles concerning the early history of Newcastle published in the Newcastle Morning Herald in 1911 was the
The following letter to the visiting justice of the female factory at Newcastle, is eloquent concerning the indifference of some men
towards their wives :
"Colonial Secretary's Office, Sydney, 20th August, 1842.
I have the honor our to acknowledge the receipt of your letter of the 15th instant, reporting that the husbands of the female prisoners
named in the margin have failed to withdraw them from the factory at Newcastle, within the period prescribed by the Act of the Governor and
Council, 10 George IV., No. 5; and requesting to be informed if the women are to be forwarded to the female factory at Parramatta, in order
that their husbands may be compelled to defray the expense of their maintenance. - I am directed by his Excellency the Governor to inform
you that the factory at Parramatta is so full that the women must remain where they are. The Government has never yet, his Excellency
believes, been able to enforce payment from the husband of any convict woman in such case." I have,' etc, W. Lugard, junr., For
the Colonial Secretary." (5)
When John Field died in April 1845, William Tristram took over
the position as gaoler and his wife Mary Tristram was employed as Matron.
There were apparently few women available for assignment at the factory towards the end of 1845 and as the demand for female servants was
great Major Crummer the Magistrate at Newcastle wrote to the Colonial Secretary on 26th December 1845 with a proposal -
"numerous applications have been made to me for assignment of female convicts, which could not be attended to there being none at
the factory of this place to meet the continual demand for them. I am, therefore of opinion that about twenty might be readily disposed of
to private service, should his Excellency the Governor be pleased to direct the transfer of that number from the factory at Parramatta to
this gaol for the purpose pointed out, there being a very great scarcity of female servants in this and the neighbouring districts. I may
here add that should his Excellency be pleased to accede to this measure, he will be conferring a boon upon many respectable families who
cannot procure female servants of any character; the value of which will be greatly enhanced should the women be carefully selected for
general good conduct." (6)
Newcastle gaol was closed and prisoners were transferred to the new gaol at Maitland in December 1848.
The following women were sent to Newcastle after rioting at the Parramatta Female Factory in
1). Ann Chapman was employed as a servant girl in Yorkshire. She had a ruddy complexion, brown hair and was married with no children. Ann
was 22 years old when she was convicted of stealing money on 4th May 1829. She had two prior convictions and was sentenced to 7 years
transportation. Ann was one of 99 female convicts who arrived on the convict ship Lucy Davidson in December 1829. The Lucy Davidson had
departed from London on 20 July under Captain Wiseman and surgeon superintendent Mr. Osborne. Whooping cough broke out on the voyage and
there were several fatalities. On arrival the Lucy Davidson was put into quarantine and the prisoners were not landed until the 9th of
December when they were distributed to various applicants as servants. By January 1830 the women of the Lucy Davidson were being described
as 'incorrigibles' by the Sydney Gazette, many having been returned to Government service by their masters. Perhaps Ann was one of
these as she was sentenced to 3 years in a penal settlement for mutinous conduct and riot in the Female Factory at Parramatta in February
1831. She was sent to Newcastle and assigned to the private service of John Smith of
Newcastle on the orders of George Brooks on 6 September. John 'Gentleman' Smith was well known in the district and owned an Inn in
Newcastle and a farm at Maitland. In 1832 Ann married John Broadbent who arrived on the convict ship 'Neptune' in 1820. Previously
John had been employed as a constable at Newcastle and turnkey at the gaol. In 1832 when John and Ann married he was employed at
'Bonogo' the estate of John Hooke at the Williams River
2) Eliza Norman was born in Dublin. In 1828 She was 22 years old and employed as a servant in London. On 21st February 1828, she was
sentenced to 7 years transportation for house robbery and was transported on the Competitor departing England 13th June 1828. On arrival in
the colony she was assigned to Margaret Delaney and two years later to Jonathon Hassell. By March 1831 she was in inmate at the Parramatta
Female Factory and took part in the riot there in March. As punishment she was sent to Newcastle gaol on 5 March 1831 under a sentence of 3
yrs to a penal settlement - the charge mutinous conduct and riot at the Factory. She was sent to the private service of William Morley of
Newcastle in March 1831 by order of George Brooks and punished for drunkenness in September of that year. Eliza was 27 when she married
Samuel Smith in 1832. Samuel Smith arrived on the 'Hercules' convict ship in 1825 and established a successful coach and carriage
business in Maitland. Eventually he employed other drivers but also continued to drive the coaches himself between Newcastle and
3). Isabella Turner was from Belfast. Arrived on the Edward in 1829. Sent to Newcastle gaol 5th March 1831 under sentence of 3 years to a
penal settlement for mutinous conduct and riot at the Female Factory at Parramatta. Sent to the private service of William Brown at
Maitland 3 September
4). Eliza Davis was employed as a servant of all work and needlewoman. A native of Southwark, she was tried at the Old Bailey on 9th April
1829 for robbery from the person and sentenced to Transportation for life. Her description is recorded on the convict indent - 4ft 11in
with a ruddy freckled complexion, red hair and grey eyes. She arrived on the convict ship Lucy Davidson in December 1829. The Lucy Davidson
departed from London on 20 July under Captain Wiseman and surgeon superintendent Mr. Osborne. Whooping cough broke out on the voyage and
there were several fatalities. On arrival the Lucy Davidson was put into quarantine and the prisoners were not landed until the 9th of
December when they were distributed to various applicants as servants. Eliza was assigned to Richard Humphries in Pitt Street Sydney. She
was at the Factory when the riot broke out in 1831 and sent to Newcastle gaol in March under sentence of 3 years to a penal settlement for
mutinous conduct and riot. On 8th September she was sent to the private service of Simon Kemp at
Newcastle. Simon Kemp was a free settler who arrived on the Elizabeth in 1827 and was initially employed as a carpenter by the Australian
Agricultural company and later owned various allotments of land at Newcastle. In 1832 Eliza married John Dyson who arrived on the Lord
Sidmouth in 1819 and was employed in the Williams River district. In 1835 she was sent from Maitland to Newcastle gaol for one month and to
be returned to government service, when she was re assigned to Mrs.
Ward at Paterson. Eliza was granted a Ticket of Leave in 1845, fifteen years after arriving in the colony
5). Susan Scarborough was employed as a servant in London. She was sentenced to 7 years transportation in 1829 and was one of 128 female
prisoners who arrived in Port Jackson on the Roslin Castle on 29th June 1830. The Roslin Castle suffered serious damage in a sudden squall
on the voyage, however the women all arrived safely. Two months later in August Susannah was sentenced to six weeks at the Parramatta
Female Factory for threatening her mistress after she was chastised for being absent without leave and intoxicated. Six months later
Susannah took part in the riot at the Parramatta Factory and was sent to Newcastle gaol under sentence of 3 years in a penal settlement.
She was assigned to the private service of Henry Incledon
Pilcher of Maitland on the orders of George Brooks 8 October. Susannah married James Stilsby of
Maitland in 1832. Stilsby established a successful coaching business in the Maitland district and charged a fare of 6s to travel on his
coach between Maitland and Singleton in 1843. James and Susannah's marriage doesn't appear to have been a happy one. In February
1835 Susannah was admitted to Newcastle from Maitland under sentence of 28 days in the cells and then to be returned to her husband and in
addition to be confined for 2 months afterwards. In March she was again admitted to the gaol under a sentence of 12 months confinement in
the cells. When she was released in May 1836 she absconded again and her description was posted - she was 31 and a poplar needlewoman. 5ft
2in with a ruddy complexion, dark brown hair and dark brown eyes. She had tattoos on her upper arms. Susannah received a Certificate of
Freedom in 1837
6) Ellen Chambers Servant from London. Arrived on the Princess Charlotte in 1825. Sent to Newcastle gaol under sentence of 3 years to a
penal settlement for mutinous conduct and riot at the Female Factory. On 14 June by the orders of the Governor, to be sent in charge of the
Master of the Caledonia to be conveyed to her husband in Sydney
7). Johanna Spillane was sentenced to 7 years transportation in Cork in 1829. She was one of 120 female prisoners who departed Ireland on
the convict ship Forth on 3rd June 1830. She was already pregnant with her daughter Katherine when she took part in the riot at the
Parramatta Female Factory in 1831. She was sent to Newcastle for three years for her part in the riot and her daughter Katherine was born
in the gaol there in mid September. Katherine died aged only 9 days. By the beginning of October Johanna had been assigned to the private
service of John Larnach at Castle Forbes, Patrick Plains and it was
probably here that she met Daniel McFarlane, a convict who arrived on the 'Boyne' in 1826 and who had been employed as a constable
in the district. Johanna and Daniel married in 1832 at Newcastle. Johanna absconded from Daniel in 1839, a brave decision as there was no
community support in such situations. A notice was placed in the newspaper by Daniel cautioning against giving his wife credit. Johanna
returned to her husband. She died age 47 on 13th January 1852 at Johnston's Woolshed on the Namoi River
8). Anne Moore arrived on the convict ship 'Asia' in 1830. She was sent to Newcastle gaol 5 March under sentence of 3 years to a
penal settlement for her part in the riot at the Female Factory at Parramatta. By August she had been assigned to the private service of
George Wyndham. One month later Wyndham returned her to the gaol
and in October she was married to William Campbell of Maitland. William Campbell arrived on the convict ship 'Dorothy' in 1820.
Anne spent some months back in Newcastle gaol awaiting trial for an unknown crime in 1835. She received a Certificate of Freedom in
9) Catherine Hoare was from Co. Kerry. She was one of 194 female convicts who arrived on the convict ship 'Elizabeth' in 1828,
having been sentenced to 7 years transportation. Catherine was sent to Newcastle on 5th March 1831 under sentence of 3 years to a penal
settlement as punishment for her part in the riot at the Female Factory. She was assigned to private service of William Morley at Newcastle
by order of George Brooks on 8 September 1831. Catherine married millwright William Salisbury at Newcastle in 1832 and daughter Mary Ann
was born in 1832 followed by Betsy in 1834. William Salisbury arrived on the 'Tottenham' in 1818 and was sent to Newcastle penal
settlement as early as 1821. He was still there in the 1850's however by then Catherine seems to have moved to Maitland
10) Ellen Byron arrived on the convict ship 'Sovereign' in 1829 under sentence of 7 years transportation. She was sent to Newcastle
gaol on 5 March 1831 for 3 years for her part in the riot at the Female Factory at Parramatta. She was discharged by order of George Brooks
for the purpose of being married to William Kelsoe, Mr. Glennies overseer on 14 October. William Kelsoe was one of 139 prisoners who
arrived on the convict ship 'Castle Forbes' in 1824. He had been employed as a constable and spent time in a road gang. At the time
of his marriage to Ellen he was employed at 'Dulwich'
11) Ann Thew was employed as a servant by schoolteacher William Martin in London. She was tried at the Old Bailey on 9th April 1829 and
sentenced to 7 years transportation for stealing clothing and shoes belonging to Martin. (Indent states a sentence of transportation for
Life) Ann was 15 years old and was one of 99 female prisoners who arrived on the Lucy Davidson in 1829. After being detained in quarantine
the women were landed on 9th December and assigned to various applicants. Anne was assigned to George Gurner in Sydney. She was returned to
the Parramatta Female Factory and for her part in the riot in March 1831, sent to Newcastle gaol for 3 years. With consent of the Governor
Ann married Thomas Light in November 1831. Ann was 17 and Thomas 25 years old. At this time Ann witnessed the marriage of Ellen Byron and
William Kelsoe in Newcastle. Ellen was another young woman who took part in the riot at the Factory and was a similar age to Ann. Both
young women were destined to follow their husbands far into the vast Hunter River Valley and beyond. Anne's husband Thomas Light
arrived as a prisoner on the 'Midas' in 1827 and was assigned to James
Bowman at Patrick Plains. Thomas received a Ticket of Leave in 1834 and the couple appear to have moved to the Liverpool
Plains area after this
12) Bridget Sweeney was 21 years old when she arrived on the convict ship 'Edward' on 20th June 1829. The 'Edward' brought
177 women to Australia, three having died on the voyage out. Bridget was sent to Newcastle gaol on 5 March under sentence of 3 years as
punishment for her part in the riot at the Female Factory. The gaol records show that she was discharged to the private service of Benjamin
Cox of Maitland on 31 August 1831. Benjamin Cox held the license for the 'Rose Inn' at Maitland and in 1831 when Bridget arrived, he was already enlarging the
premises. Barely a month later, Bridget was returned to Newcastle gaol. She had absconded from service and was to be confined at the gaol
for a month before resuming her original sentence of three years in a penal settlement.
13) Johanna Corcoran was tried in Cork in 1829 and sentenced to 7 years transportation. She departed Ireland on the convict ship
'Asia' on 14th September 1829 and arrived in Port Jackson on 13th January. Eighty one women were sent to Female Factory at
Parramatta and the rest were sent to private assignment. Johanna was sent to the penal settlement at Newcastle under a sentence of 3 years
for her part in the riot at the female factory. On 26 August, Johanna was discharged to the private service of William Harper of Oswald, however by October she was back in the gaol having feigned
illness. She was returned to Mr. Harper at Oswald but again, the following week was returned to the gaol for neglect of duty and
disobedience of orders. In 1832 Johanna married Patrick Keelan a convict who arrived in 1820 on the 'Almorah' convict ship.
14) Lydia Matthews From Devonshire. Arrived on the 'Sovereign' in 1828. Sent to Newcastle 5th March under a sentence of 3 years to
a penal settlement for mutinous conduct and riot in the Female Factory, Parramatta. To be discharged to William Sparke by order of George Brooks
15) Ena Armstrong Servant from Cheshire. Arrived on the 'Lucy Davidson' in 1829. Sent to Newcastle gaol under sentence of 3 years
to a penal settlement for mutinous conduct and riot in the Female Factory at Parramata. To be discharged to private service of Captain Allman by order of George Brooks on 30 August
16) Alicia O'Brien Servant from Limerick. Arrived on the 'Brothers' in 1826. Sent to Newcastle gaol under sentence of 3 years
to a penal settlement for mutinous conduct and riot in the Female Factory at Parramatta. To be sent to private service of John Cobb on 25
17) Elizabeth James was employed as a servant in Glammorganshire and arrived on the convict ship 'Roslin Castle' in 1830. She was
sent to Newcastle gaol under sentence of 3 years to a penal settlement for mutinous conduct and riot in the Female Factory at Parramatta.
Elizabeth was assigned to the private service of Alexander Phelp of Newcastle on 24 August. Alexander Phelp resided in Pacific Street
Newcastle where he conducted a Bakery and provided accommodation for visitors to the town. On 30th September Elizabeth was returned to
Newcastle gaol under sentence of 10 days in the cells and afterwards to return to her original sentence of 3 years. In 1832 Elizabeth
married married Alexander Clayton who arrived as a convict on the 'Princess Royal' in 1823
18) Maria Priestley was tried in London. She arrived on the convict ship 'Roslin Castle' in 1830 and for her part in the riot was
sent to Newcastle sentence of 3 years in a penal settlement. She was sent to the private service of Colonel Dumaresq per I. Divine (Mr. Cobb's man) on 24 August
19) Mary Sears arrived on the Roslin Castle in 1830 having been sentenced to 7 years transportation for stealing money. She was twenty two
when she was tried at the Old Bailey in London on 10th September 1829. She was at the Female Factory at Parramatta when the riot broke out
and for her part was sent to Newcastle in March 1831 under sentence of 3 years to a penal settlement. On the 21st August Mary and another
Factory rioter Maria Priestly who also arrived on the Roslin Castle, were sent to the private service of Colonel Dumaresq at his estate St.
Heliers, Invermein (Scone). Here Mary met Samuel Ellis a convict of the 'Hindostan' who had recently received a Ticket of Leave for
the district. Mary and Samuel Ellis were married in 1832 and Mary received a Ticket of Leave for the district of Invermein in 1836. Mary
and Samuel probably remained in the Scone/Murrurundi district.
20) Mary Read departed England on 3rd March 1830 on the convict ship 'Roslin Castle'. She was only 19 but would never return,
having been sentenced to transportation for Life for stealing a watch and other articles on 25th September 1829. For her part in the riot
at the Female Factory Mary was sent to Newcastle gaol in March 1831 under sentence of 3 years to a penal settlement. On 23rd August, she
was sent to the private service of Francis Beattie.
Francis Beattie at this time was gaol keeper in Newcastle. Both Francis Beattie and Mary were witnesses at several marriages in Newcastle
around this time. Francis Beattie also ran an Inn called the 'Crooked Billet'. Francis Beattie died in 1835. Mary received a Ticket
of Leave for the district of Maitland in 1842 and applied to marry George Matthews in 1844, however there is no record of a marriage in the
NSW Births Deaths and Marriages index. Mary received a Conditional Pardon in 1852, twenty-two years after she arrived.
21).. Hannah Quigley was one of 194 prisoners who arrived on the 'Elizabeth' from Cork in January 1828. The Newcastle Bench Books
indicate she was born in County Derry where she had been employed as a servant. For her part in the riot at the Female Factory, she was
sent to Newcastle gaol under sentence of 3 years. In August 1831, she was sent to the private service of John Eales near Maitland. . In 1832 Hannah married thirty-nine year old William Johnson of
22) Bridget Ryan arrived on the convict ship 'Edward' in 1829. She was sent to Newcastle gaol on 5th March for mutinous conduct,
riot and breaking windows and machinery in the work shop of the Female Factory under sentence of three years. She was sent to the private
service of James Cox in Maitland by order of George Brooks on 31 August
23). Catherine Duffy arrived on the convict ship 'Edward' in 1829. For her part in the riot at the Female Factory ie mutinous
conduct, riot and breaking windows and machinery, she was sent to Newcastle gaol on 5th March and to remain there for 3 years. She was sent
to private service of Johnston Mcdonough on 30 August, however was returned to the gaol two months later when Mcdonough was caught
harboring bushrangers and therefore no longer considered a suitable person to have convicts assigned to him. Soon afterwards Catherine
married 40 year old Alexander Welsh (Walsh) who arrived as a convict on the 'Earl St. Vincent in 1823.
24) Helen Madden was one of 99 female prisoners who arrived from England on the 'Competitor' in 1829. For her part in the riot at
the Factory she was sent to Newcastle gaol on 5th March under sentence of 3 years in a penal settlement. She was sent to private service of
Mary Ann Cooper in Maitland on 15 September.
25) Jane Waters was born in Bristol. She was one of 128 female prisoners who departed London on 3rd March 1830 in the convict ship
'Roslin Castle'. For her part in the riot, Jane was sent to Newcastle gaol on 5th March and to remain there for 3 years. Sent to
private service of George Muir of Maitland 6th December. George
Muir had been Chief Constable in Newcastle, however resigned from this position and when Jane was assigned to him he was
residing in Maitland with his wife Elizabeth. Jane married James Hely of Darlington in 1832.
26). Bridget Neil was born in Limerick. She arrived on the 'City of Edinburgh' in 1828. For her part in the riot at the Factory she
was sent to Newcastle gaol under sentence of 3 years in a penal settlement. She was sent to private service of Rev. Threlkeld 23 August 1831 and later married Joseph Flemming.
27) Catherine Butler was born in Kilkenny. She arrived on the convict ship 'Elizabeth' in 1828. Catherine was sent to Newcastle
gaol on 5th March for mutinous conduct and riot at the Female Factory Parramatta. She was sent to the private service of P. Collins of
Maitland on 3 September
28). Rebecca Markham was tried in London. She arrived on the 'Roslin Castle' in 1830 and was sent Newcastle gaol in March 1831 for
mutinous conduct and riot in the Female Factory at Parramatta. Rebecca was assigned to the private service of Edward
Priest of Newcastle on 20 September. She married Henry Dyer who resided at Puen Buen in 1832.
(1). The Monitor 22 March 1828
(2). Newcastle Gaol Entrance Books.
(3). The Hunter River Gazette 12 February 1842.
(4). Newcastle Morning Herald 5 July 1911
(5). Newcastle Morning Herald 31 May 1911
(6). Newcastle Morning Herald 14 March 1911
(7). Newcastle Morning Herald 10 May 1911
(8). Sydney Gazette 8 September 1840
(9). Sydney Gazette 10 December 1840