200 Australian Women

(1762-1819) convict

Margaret Catchpole (1762-1819), convict and midwife, was born in Suffolk, England, either at Hoo, near Framlington or at Nactom. She was an illegitimate daughter of Elizabeth Catchpole and possibly Richard Marjoram. Margaret had little education although she could read and write. Nothing is known of her early years and most accounts are drawn from the Rev. Richard Cobbold's The History of Margaret Catchpole (1845), in which an imaginary lover supplied the motive for her crime and her later refusal of marriage offers.

(1777-1855) convict

Mary Reibey (1777-1855), businesswoman, was born on 12 May 1777 at Bury, England, daughter of Jane (born Law) and James Haydock, farmer. She was christened Molly. Orphaned at an early age, she was reared by a grandmother; she learnt to read and write and was sent into service, from which she ran away. When arrested in August 1791, after repeatedly offering for sale a horse which she claimed belonged to her uncle but which was proven to have been stolen, she was in male disguise, calling herself James Burrow. 'Burrow' was sentenced to seven years transportation. Despite her youth and a petition organised by relatives, which stated she was duped into riding a horse stolen by a stranger, reprieve was refused.

(1785-1875) drover

Kitty Gallagher, ex-convict drover, lived in northern New South Wales in the mid nineteenth century. Attempts to identify and substantiate her background in Ireland and in the colony have failed. Nevertheless William Telfer's account of the late 1830s and 1840s convincingly describes an Irish woman called Kitty Gallagher who came to Australia as a convict. She is also remembered by two place names: Gallagher's Mountain, near Scone, and Kitty Gallagher's Swamp, near Bundarra.

(1780-1859) businesswoman

Maria Lord (1780-1859), convict, was born Maria Risley. She was sentenced to seven years transportation at the Surrey Assizes on 9 August 1802 and arrived in Sydney in the Experiment in 1804. Details of her early life are scant. She married Edward Lord, a well-connected officer of the marines, on 8 October 1808. Whether or not Lord chose Maria Risley at the Parramatta Female Factory (as in John Pascoe Fawkner's version), he does appear to have met her in Sydney in 1805 and brought her and her infant daughter Caroline (known in Hobart as Caroline Maria Lord) back with him to Hobart.

(1785-1859) pastoralist

Eliza Forlonge (1785-1859), importer of Saxon sheep and pastoralist, was born in Scotland, the daughter of Alexander Jack, a teacher. On 26 November 1804 she married John Forlong, a Glasgow merchant of Huguenot descent. (The name was variously spelt Forlong and Forlonge). After the first four of their six children died from tuberculosis, they decided to emigrate. They appreciated the opportunities opening for sheep- rearing in the Australian colonies, and they decided to take their sons to Germany to learn the arts of wool-classing and husbandry of the Saxon sheep.

(1786-1842) pastoralist

Jemima Matcham Jenkins (1786-1842), pastoralist, was born in Belchalwell, Dorset, the youngest child of Mary (born Matcham) and Robert Pitt. When Robert died leaving his family impoverished, relatives arranged their emigration to New South Wales, bearing letters of introduction from their kinsman Admiral Nelson. With her widowed mother, three sisters and brother, Jemima Pitt arrived in Sydney on the Canada in 1801. They were granted land at Richmond. Jemima's sisters and brother soon married into local families, all of whom were free settlers.

(1793-1836) charity organiser

Leonora Macleay (1793-1836), charity organiser, was born on 9 November 1793 in London, second child and oldest daughter of seventeen children of Elizabeth (born Barclay) and Alexander Macleay. Her father was secretary of the Transport Board from 1806-16 on 1000 pounds a year. He was a keen amateur scientist with an enthusiasm for entomology. Fanny was his favourite daughter and though educated at home by governesses, she knew French and preferred intellectual to fashionable pursuits. She was an accomplished pianist and her pencil drawings were praised by Mr Bell who gave her lessons.

(1796-1880) ethnographer

Eliza Hamilton Dunlop (1796-1880), ethnographer, was born in County Armagh, Ireland, the daughter of Solomon Hamilton, a barrister. She married James Sylvius Law, astronomer. A son and a daughter were born to the marriage. In 1823 at Portpatrick, Scotland, she married David Dunlop. There were four children of this marriage. The family arrived in Sydney on the Superb in February 1838. Her husband was appointed police magistrate and protector of Aborigines at Wollombi and Macdonald River in 1839 and Mrs Dunlop began to study the local Aboriginal language and song.

(1803-1843) botanist

Georgiana Molloy (1803-1843), amateur botanist and seed collector, was born on 23 May 1803 near Carlisle, England, daughter of Mary and David Kennedy, gentleman. At 24 years of age, although a strict Presbyterian, she married by Anglican rites Captain John Molloy, a 48 year old veteran of the Napoleonic Wars. She was genteel, well educated in the English classics and passionately fond of flowers.

(1805-1855) convict

Catherine Henrys (c.1805-1855), a convict also known as Jemmy the Rover, was born in County Sligo, Ireland. Nothing is known of her early life except that she was 'pock-pitted' from smallpox. By 1832 Catherine was living in Derby, one of the thousands who had left Ireland in search of a better life in England. There she associated with 'persons of the worst description': a man with whom she had been living and to whom she may have been married was transported in 1835. She was several times in Derby gaol and had been acquitted several times, once of 'breaking open the Gaol at Derby'.

(1800-1831) Aboriginal leader

Tarereenore, or Walyer, also known as the Amazon of Van Diemen's Land, was born near St Valentine's Peak, Tasmania. She was a Plairherehillerplue, of the north tribe, who were under pressure from three sources: white sealers seeking Aboriginal women; other Aborigines also seeking women to trade with sealers; and the expansion of pastoralism. In her teens Walyer was abducted by Aboriginal men and sold to sealers living on the Bass Strait Islands.

(1808-1877) immigrants' friend

Caroline Chisholm (1808-1877), immigrants' friend, was born near Northampton, England, daughter of William Jones, a yeoman farmer who died while she was young. She was brought up to regard visiting the sick as her social duty. In 1830 she married Captain Archibald Chisholm of the East India Co., and about that time became a convert to Catholicism. Her husband was posted to Madras in 1832 and there she helped establish and ran an industrial school for soldiers' daughters, in which girls were taught basic literacy and trained in housework.

(1810-1880) prison matron

Mary Hutchinson (1810-1880), 'factory' matron, was born on 23 October l810 at Parramatta, New South Wales, third daughter and one of fourteen children of Rebecca (born Small) and Francis Oakes, missionaries. Her childhood was spent in Parramatta in close proximity to the old 'female factory' where her father was superintendent (1814-22). Mary attended James Bradley's seminary. On 2 May 1826 she married John Hutchinson, Wesleyan minister and missionary. They went to Tonga to start a Christian mission but were eventually driven to retreat.

(1812-1895) author and artist

Louisa Ann Meredith (1812-1895), author and artist, was born on 20 July 1812 at Birmingham, daughter of Louisa Ann (born Meredith) and Thomas Twamley, farmer and miller. Louisa was educated mainly by her mother. She grew up in Birmingham and in the agitation leading to the 1832 Reform Act she learnt 'to think independently and express herself fearlessly on religious and social issues'. She is said to have written for the Chartist press; she published several books of poems and, in story form, Our Wild Flowers Familiarly Described and Illustrated (1839).

(1812-1876) Tasmanian Aborigine

Truganini or Trugernanner (1812-1876), Tasmanian Aborigine, daughter of Mangerner, a Lyluequonny man of the south-east tribe, was born at Recherche Bay in 1812, nine years after British occupation of the Derwent river area. Her childhood and adolescence were spent on the violent frontier of British settlement.

(1815-1883) postmistress

Elise Barney (1815-1883), postmistress, was born at Lisbon, Portugal, the daughter of Mary and Major James Rivers. She married Lieut John Edward Barney, son of a drawing master at the Royal Military Academy, on 6 November 1833 at St Mary's, New Ross, Ireland. A son, Edward Whiston Rivers, was born at Paisley Barracks, near Glasgow, in 1838 and a daughter, Helena Louise, at St Helena in 1843.

(1816-1905) diarist

Annie Maria Baxter Dawbin (1816-1905), diarist, was born in Exeter, Devonshire, on 24 November 1816, second daughter and third child of Elizabeth Hadden (born Hall) and Major William Frederick Hadden. Her father died when she was five. This loss she lamented always, feeling that her life might have been different if he had lived. All references to her mother convey a deep sense of alienation. Annie was certain that for some reason her mother, who married twice again, did not like her.

(1819-1892) Mercy Sister

Ellen Whitty (1819-1892), best known as Mother Vincent, a Mercy Sister, was born on 3 March 1819 near Oilgate in County Wexford, Ireland, one of six children of Johanna (born Murphy) and William Whitty, farmer. She was trained as a teacher and at nineteen joined the Sisters of Mercy, a Catholic Order founded in 1831 for education and social work. The foundress of the Order, Catherine McAuley, prepared her for religious profession; they came to have a high regard for each other and an abiding affection.

(1821-1909) suffragist

Mary Lee (1821-1909), suffragist, was born on 14 February 1821 in Monaghan, Ireland, daughter of John Walsh and his wife. In 1844 she married George Lee, organist and vicar-choral of Armagh Cathedral; they had seven children. In 1879 Mary, widowed, sailed with her daughter to Adelaide to nurse her sick son who died a year later. The two women remained, Mary becoming devoted to 'dear Adelaide', which she could not in any case afford to leave.

(1822-1898) philanthropist

Annie Mary Colton (1822-1898), philanthropist and suffragist, was born in London on 6 December 1822, daughter of Hannah and Samuel Cutting. In 1839 she accompanied her widowed father to Adelaide; in December 1844 she married John Blackler Colton, owner of a prospering saddlery and hardware business. They lived at Hackney on 2 ha adjacent to Adelaide. Between 1848 and 1865 Mary bore nine children; several died in infancy.

(1825-1910) social reformer

Annie Catherine Helen Spence (1825-1910) was proclaimed on her eightieth birthday 'the most distinguished woman they had had in Australia'. She responded, 'I am a new woman, and I know it. I mean an awakened woman . . . awakened to a sense of capacity and responsibility, not merely to the family and the household, but to the State; to be wise, not for her own selfish interests, but that the world may be glad that she had been born'. This new woman was a novelist, journalist, preacher, public campaigner for social and political reform, suffragist and feminist.

(1826-1918) feminist

Henrietta Augusta Dugdale (1826-1918), feminist, was born in London, probably in 1826, daughter of John Worrell. She married young and arrived at Melbourne in 1852 with her husband, whose name was Davies. After his death she married William Dugdale; a son and two daughters were born to this marriage. About 1905 she married Frederick Johnson.

(1827-1886) deaconess

Henrietta Matilda Jane Evans, the writer Maud Jeanne Franc (1827-1886), was born at Peckham Park, Surrey, England on 7 August 1827, eldest of six children of Elizabeth (born Jacob) and Henry Congreve, variously described as doctor and schoolmaster. Little is known of her education, but probably she was taught by her mother.

(1831-1924) humanitarian

Mary Frances Debora Levvy (1831-1924), humanitarian, was born at Penrith, New South Wales, in 1831, one of four children of Sarah Emma (born Wilson) and Barnett Levey, actor, publican and owner of the Theatre Royal in George St, Sydney. He died in 1837 leaving his widow impoverished. No records survive of this period of Frances's life, but from later references to living in the country and her sister Emma's marriage to Dr George Clarke of Penrith, it seems the family moved to Penrith and lived with the Clarkes. The Levvy children were brought up as devout Christians.

(1834-1905) bushranger

Mary Mary Ann Baker (1834-1905), bushranger, was born near Berrico in the upper Gloucester River valley, daughter of Charlotte, an Aboriginal woman, and James Brigg, a convict shepherd assigned to the Australian Agricultural Co. In 1837 Henry Dumaresq, commissioner of the Company, on a routine tour of the property, discovered that Brigg was living with an Aboriginal woman who had saved his life fighting off an attack from 'wild Blacks', and that they had two children, Mary Ann and John. This discovery led to an extensive inquiry into the Company's control of its assigned men.

(1834-1905) Tasmanian Aborigine

Henrietta Fanny Cochrane Smith (1834-1905) was born in December 1834 at the Wybalenna Aboriginal establishment, Flinders Island, daughter of Tanganuturra, father unknown. When aged seven she was taken from her family; the rest of her childhood was spent in European homes and institutions. She spent some time in the Queen's Orphan School, Hobart, where she was subject to rigid prison-like discipline and taught the skills to equip her for domestic service.

(1834-1917) missionary

Eliza Marsden Hassall (1834-1917), superintendent of the Marsden Training Home, was born at 'Denbigh', Cobbitty, New South Wales, on 2 November 1834, the seventh of eight children of Anne (a daughter of Rev. Samuel Marsden), and Thomas Hassall, farmer, grazier and clergyman. She was taught by an 'excellent' governess and her brothers' tutor. She learnt also the art of needlepoint; a lace collar, a birthday gift to her mother made by Eliza and her sisters, is held by the Royal Australian Historical Society.

(1835-1891) nurse

Lucy Osburn (1835-1891), nurse, was born on 10 May 1835 at Leeds, England, daughter of Ann (born Rimington) and William Osburn, egyptologist. She was well educated and had practical nursing and visiting experience in hospitals from Jerusalem to Kaiserswerth, Dusseldorf. She attended the Nightingale Training School at St Thomas's Hospital, London, in 1866-67.

(1836-1912) suffragist

Mary Elizabeth Windeyer (1836-1912), charity organiser, was born in 1836 at Hove, England, one of nine children of Jane Bolton (born Ball) and Rev. Robert Thorley Bolton. They came to New South Wales in 1839 where her father ministered at Tarro Church, Hexham. On the 31 December 1857, Mary married William Charles Windeyer, barrister, only child of Maria Windeyer of 'Tomago', Raymond Terrace. After her husband's death in 1847, Maria managed 'Tomago' while William completed his education. She was a pious practical woman greatly loved by both her son and daughter-in-law.

(1836-1925) Aboriginal leader

Louisa Briggs (1836-1925), Aboriginal leader, was born on 14 November 1836 on Preservation Island, Bass Strait, the second daughter of Polly Munro and Robert Strugnell, who in 1818 as a seventeen year old chimney-sweep had received a seven year sentence of transportation. Polly was a daughter of Doogbyerumboreoke, a Woirorung woman from Port Phillip, and James Munro, a sealer permanently settled on Preservation Island. Louisa grew up in a stable island community, learning to read but not write.