Mary Williams was baptised on the 7January1740 at St James Church, Clerkenwell, her parents listed in the register as Robert and Ann Williams. The young couple had waited until they came of age to marry, the ceremony recorded at Aldersgate parish churchon 11 November 1744.


Mary was sentenced to 7 years’ transportation at the Old Bailey in London on 22nd February 1786 for stealing twenty shillings worth of clothing from a dwelling house.  A lodger going upstairs had heard someone in her room and saw Mary standing at the door. She said,’ She had some things in her apron, the ones I had lost, a silk gown and coat, a bombazeen gown and coat, a cloak and a handkerchief.’ Mary refused to show what was in her apron, but other lodgers searched her and found the items. Mary’s court statement: ‘When I went up to this person I trod upon these things. I picked them up and would have come down to have shewn them to this gentlewoman in the parlour, but she would not let me…I came to see Mr. Smith of High Street, Marybon’.

Newgate records give Mary’s age as 49 when she was ordered to Lady Penrhyn and she was delivered on board on 6 January 1787. Arthur Bowes Smyth listed her as aged 39 at the time and said she was a needle worker.

After arriving at Sydney Cove Mary worked alongside William Whiting in the government stores and through that closeness they formed a relationship. Even though there was at least twenty years difference in their ages, she and William married on 28 June1790 at the original St Philips Church, at that stage a small wattle and daub building that had been constructed by the chaplain, Rev Richard Johnson.

It is quite obvious that Mary Williams was not the shy retiring type, as in 1791 she was in trouble with the law. Following a wild drinking spree she was ordered to receive one hundred lashes. These were to be administered over four different occasions and each time was to be at a serving of provisions so all the other convicts could watch.

The marriage, which was childless due to her age, did not last long. By 1795 William was living with another woman, Mary Smith, who bore him two daughters, Jane and Sarah Whiting. It is unknown what Mary Whiting (nee Williams) did after the marriage break up but we do know that she died not long afterwards, her death on 13 July 1801 and burial listed in St Philips’ church registers.

 So, after being transported all the way to Australia for stealing clothing she died a lonely woman at Sydney in a strange country presumably with no relatives or family by her side. She is buried at the old Sydney Burial Ground.



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