Coming from one of the worst slum areas in London, Mary Allen must be one of the lowliest women to be transported. She was described at her trial as "a poor unhappy woman of the town" who was "an old offender." She was 22 years old when she rolled a drunken man in a tavern and stole "a watch with a tortoiseshell case, a chain, four gold seals and a base metal watch key" to the total value of 72 shillings. She was sentenced to seven years transportation and sent to Newgate gaol. In due course she was put aboard 
Lady Penrhyn for the trip to Botany Bay.  

Mary was a survivor. Her descendant, Mary Polizzotto, pictured her situation thus:  “Mary was used to being surrounded by throngs of strangers. Now she had to adjust to a continent where there were fewer people than lived in her London neighbourhood. Now she had to depend on these people for her survival. The limitless expanses of the bush must have seemed eerie — frightening. She lived on her ship for the first month at Port Jackson, and then under a lean-to. Rations were not generous. Everyone that was able had to work. The streets of Sydney were originally laid out by the feet of Mary and her associates following the least tiring path from one place to another. Her shoes wore out from walking on the rough ground. She wasn't dressed for the climate and her inappropriate clothes soon became tattered. The summer was hotter than anything she had ever known. She had to accustom herself to the sun's heat the irregularity of the rainfall, the nature of the soil, the unfamiliar vegetation and animals and the absence of the clearly defined seasons that had imposed a familiar tempo to her life back in London. She was a city girl and Sydney was not yet a city. She certainly had to make adjustments to survive.” 

Mary's first protector was Frederick Meredith, a seaman steward from 
Scarborough. They had a daughter, Charlotte, who was baptized on 6 May 1790. The child did not survive the harsh conditions and died before her second birthday. Mary and Frederick parted company.  

Mary's next protector was Edward Pales, a convict transported for life, arriving on Surprise in 1790. They had three daughters. Edward was a good provider gaining his freedom in 1796. They stayed together for 10 years until his death in 1802. Mary was left to raise her three daughters on her own. She moved out to the Hawkesbury.  

It was here she married John Martin, also a Second Fleet convict. They rented eight acres in Windsor where they raised corn, barley and wheat. They had a family of three children. Once again Mary was bereaved. Her son, Edward, and her husband both died in 1812 leaving her again alone to bring up her children, albeit with government asistance.  In 1814 she was recorded as a widow living in Windsor. She was able to stay on at Windsor with her son Thomas and 1828 she was still there, her age being given as 62 years and Thomas was said to be 23. Meantime, her two surviving daughters by Edward Pales had grown up and prospered.

Mary Martin spent the last years of her life with her daughter, Ann, at 
Riversdale Inn, now the only surviving building of the Old Goulburn township as sited by Governor Macquarie. It is in Maud Street quite close to the St Saviour's Cemetery. It is in good condition, and is managed by the Goulburn branch of the National Trust. Mary died on the 9 June 1843 and was buried three days later in St Saviour's Cemetery, aged 78 years.



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