Jane McManus, like Hugh Hughes, a fellow First Fleeter buried at St John's, had a son who was a wheelwright. John McManus unlike Hugh Hughes Jnr, was not plying his parent's trade.


Convicted at the Somerset Summer Assizes, held in Wells on 19 August 1786, Jane McManus stole a silver watch and other goods to the value of two pounds 15 shillings at Bishops Hull. Sentenced to death by hanging she was reprieved upon condition of being transported for seven years. Jane Poole, as she was then known, was 18 years old and travelled to Port Jackson aboard Charlotte after spending the intervening year on hulk Dunkirk.


In the Colony she is first recorded on 20 January 1789 as giving evidence at the trial of convicts Samuel Basby and William Bond for being drunk on a Saturday night, and while drunk insulting a marine. They were sentenced to 300 and 150 lashes respectively.

Judge-Advocate Collins on 11 November 1789 recorded the sailing of Supply having on board provisions and six male and eight female convicts for the new colony at Norfolk Island. Jane Poole was one of the female convicts.


While on the island her daughter, Margaret, was born, father unknown, as she is first recorded as a passenger, with her mother, Jane, as they left Norfolk Island for the Colony at Port Jackson aboard Atlantic in August 1792.


Private James McManus of the NSW Corps was also aboard Atlantic. He had travelled to Norfolk Island aboard the same ship on 26 October 1791 to become a settler but his efforts were clearly unsuccessful. Some twelve months before he sailed McManus had been found with a chest containing clothes, food and tobacco belonging to Private Charles McCarty of the NSW Corps and had attempted suicide. McManus said that he had received the items from John Dell, a drummer in the Corps. The following day Sergeant James Scott recorded "McManus Attempted to Cut his owne troght in the Guardhouse but Was prevented by Corporal Begley after Scaring himself in Several places but not Effectually."


When tried on 2 October McManus was found not guilty. Sergeant Scott recorded "Acquitted, Alltho it was Sertain he was Guilty. He was cleared, through a flaw in the Evedence" and that "Since his Confinement, he seems Insane. For Eleven Day McManus took no sort of Victuales Except a few Spoons full of Flour and Water. He is Quite Recovered Again." His fall from the expected conduct of members of the Corps had profound repercussions upon his mental state.

On his return McManus farmed land at Mulgrave Place on the Hawkesbury and was granted 65 acres there in May 1797. However, after a short time McManus died and was buried on 15 April 1798.


Jane from her association with McManus had three children.


After the death of McManus, Jane received a grant of land in May 1797 of 60 acres and in March 1800 a further grant of l60 acres from Governor John Hunter, subject to a proviso that the land was to be held in trust for the children and not to be disposed of without the Governor's consent.

Jane, by 1802, is recorded as living with Richard Ridge, who arrived as a convict in the Third Fleet aboard Atlantic, on 250 acres on the Hawkesbury. Apparently this included her grants of 220 acres. By the 1806 Muster Jane together with Richard Ridge owned or leased 305 acres of which 51 were sown in grain, one in potatoes and 205 utilised as pasture. They also had a horse, two oxen, 20 hogs and 19 bushels of grain in hand. In addition to Jane's three children they supported five convicts and one freeman. In Marsden's list of females in the Colony in 1806 a daughter, Martha, born in 1803, is recorded, but there is no mention of her in the 1806 Muster.


Later Jane went to live on the south side of George Street, Parramatta, and Ridge remained on the Hawkesbury and married Margaret Forrester (the daughter of First Fleeter Robert Forrester) on 7 November 1809 and had at least eight children. In 1820 Jane signed an agreement with the Government to quit her house in exchange for another, but by 1824 she was still petitioning for this new house to be allocated.

According to the register rather than the tombstone Jane died on 26 November 1826, aged 58 years. She left in her will to her son John a mare called Betty, to her daughter Margaret a mare called Gipsy and to Margaret's daughter, Harriet, a filly and a foal. She was buried near her daughter Martha (called Poole on the tombstone) who had died on17 June 1821, aged 18 years.


Already Margaret had been widowed by her first husband, John Porteous, and on 8 July 1813 married Robin Fairweather. James, the elder son, married Lucy Bradley on 7 April 1814 and became a farmer in the Bathurst district. Lucy was the eldest daughter of First Fleeter convict James Bradley and his wife, Sarah Barnes, of Kissing Point.


On 9 September 1823 John married Susanna Cobcroft, of the well- known Hawkesbury family of that name. In the 1828 Census he is recorded as a wheelwright in Parramatta, owning 50 acres all cleared and cultivated together with one horse the faithful Betty? When John died in 1873 he was buried close by his mother and with his wife and six of his 10 children. All of these six children died between the ages of 10 and 21 years.



Copyright Fellowship of First Fleeters