Mary Ann Axford
|Country of Origin
|Date of Birth
|Year of Arrival in Australia
Mary Ann Axford arrived in Hobart Town on the convict ship the Atwick. She had been sentenced in Bath on 10th April 1837. Her convict record reveals she was ‘transported for stealing a hat from Thomas Mills, once for an umbrella, 12 months and 6 weeks for a shawl, 6 months on the Town.’
Mary was described as 4\’ 11′ in height and her occupation was housemaid. She had brown hair, dark hazel eyes, oval face, sallow complexion and a low forehead. The Atwick had left London on 30th September 1837 and took 115 days, arriving in Hobart Town on 23rd January 1838. There were 151 female convicts on board, one died during the voyage, leaving 150 to land. The master of the Atwick was H. McKay and the surgeon Peter Leonard.
She was described as of bad character on her jail report. Her convict records tell quite a story. It is stated that on 6th June 1838 she was absent all night without leave and was put in a cell for 4 days on bread and water, then returned to her service. On 4th July she was drunk and absent without leave and was put on bread and water for 6 days, then returned to service. On 25th September 1838 she was absent again, and in March 1839 for absconding, her existing sentence of transportation was extended by 6 weeks. In August 1839 she was drunk and sentenced to hard labour at the wash tubs. In 1841 she was reported for drunk and disorderly conduct.
Cascade Female Factory records as at 31st December 1841 Mary Ann Axford (Police no. 103) had been assigned to Mr Betts of Hamilton, Tasmania, a town 74 kms N-W of Hobart, on the Clyde River. Hamilton was known as Sorrell Plains, Macquarie & Lower Clyde.
She was granted a Ticket of Leave 8 months after her marriage on the occasion of the anniversary of Her Majesty\’s birthday according to Government Notice no. 129 published on 19th May 1842 in the Hobart newspaper.
Mary Anne Axford married John Dore on 13th September 1841 at St David\’s Church, Hobart Town according to the rites and ceremonies of the United Church of England & Ireland by the Senior Chaplain, William Bradford. Both signed the marriage document with an X meaning that they could not write their own names- or read either probably. John had married Amelia Gandy at Barton Stacey in Hampshire in 1831 before he was convicted of machine breaking during the agricultural riots of 1830.
It was not unusual for married convicts to marry again in Tasmania while they were still married in England. ‘There is a general belief amongst the convicts that those, who have been transported to this country , are released from their matrimonial engagements\’ from Notorious strumpets and dangerous girls; convict women in Van diemem\’s land 1803-1829 by Phillip Tardif (A & R 198?)
John and Mary\’s children were-
John Dore born 28th March 1844 with his birth registered in the district of Spring Bay, Tasmania. His father John, was described as a labourer from Prosser\’s Plains now called Buckland- and perhaps a member of the Buckland Primary Labour Gang.
Henry born on 26th January 1846, registered at Great Swanport now called Swansea
Harriet born on 14th April 1847, registered at Prosser\’s Point & Sorrell. (A Harriet Dore was witness at Martha Dore\’s marriage to John Porter in 1831). Unfortunately, Harriet\’s death is registered on the same day, indicating she died at birth.
Un-named male (?Charles) child born 20th February 1850, registered at Prosser\’s Point & Sorrell.
Nothing more is known of the family until a report of Mary Dore’s death in Bendigo in 1868 when she was described as a widow.
Mary Dore died at Charcoal Gully, Bendigo and is buried in an unmarked grave no. 3096 in the Bendigo (Sandhurst) cemetery. She died after being hit over the head with a jug inflicted by her ‘husband’ William Douglas while on a drunken spree. Several reports appeared in the Bendigo newspapers at the time.