Louisa BELLINGHAM
Name Variations BENNINGHAM,1 BILLINGHAM, BELLINGER2 BERENGER3
Father Edward BELLINGHAM b.c. 1800 m. none d. 18784
Mother Jane HANNELL5 or HANNAN6 b.c. 18317 m. none d. 19128
Brother Henry BELLINGHAM b.c. 1847 m. none - d. 18649
Sister Jane BELLINGER b.c. 1848 m. 186810 Thomas SALT or SAULT d. 192011
Sister Ann BELLINGER12 b.c. 1850 m. (1) 186813 (2) 187714 (1) John SALT (2) Joseph COLEMAN d. 194015
Sister Elizabeth BELLINGHAM b.c. 185416 m. 187317 David SALT18 d. 193019
Brother William BERENGER b. 185720 m. none - d. 185821
Brother John BELLINGHAM b. 185922 m. 188423 Margaret COLYER d. 191324
Inmate Louisa BELLINGHAM b. 186125 m. (1) 1884 (2) 1907 (see below) d. 192526
Sister Mary BELLINGHAM b. 186327 m. none - d. 186528
Brother Thomas BERENGER b. 186629 m. none - d. 186730
Sister Sarah BERENGER b. m. 187531 Thomas SMITH d. 192332
Sister Ellen aka Emma BELLENGER b. 187133 m. (1) 189434 (2) 191735 (1) Samuel BEAUMONT (2) Hugh DEVER d. 193336
Sister Mary J. BELLINGHAM b. 186837 m. none - d. 188838
Brother Thomas BERENGER b. 187339 m. none - d. 187440
Husband (1) James CRAWFORD b. m. 188441 d. 189942
Husband (2) George CHICK b.c. 1854 m. 190743 d. 1940
Description
Relationship Name Age Height Hair Eyes Complexion Build Distinguishing features
Mother Jane44 54 5' 6½" dark brown dark stout
Sister Ann45 17 5' 6" dark brown hazel dark stout
Sister Elizabeth46 43 5' 1" brown blue
Inmate Louisa47 17 5' 5" dark dark dark stout
Inmate Louisa48 19 5' 6½" brown grey dark medium

Louisa was arrested by Constable GRIFFIN of Newcastle Police, probably around April 187149 She was reported to be aged about eleven and was charged with the theft of a Morocco case, gold brooch and a pair of gold earrings, the property of Thomas WRIGHTSON, of McCormack Street, Newcastle. Only the earrings were recovered. The Police Gazette stated that Louisa was sent to the reformatory at Biloela for two years50 and while she was almost certainly arrested while the reformatory was still in Newcastle, she doesn't appear on the reformatory list compiled from the original record in 1874 so never entered the Newcastle institution. Louisa appears on the list of reformatory girls compiled for the Colonial Secretary in August 1874 which recorded that Louisa was admitted on 6 June 1871. By this stage the school had transferred to Cockatoo Island so it is unknown where she was held during the time of the transfer. The document does not specify her age but does indicate that she was discharged from the Biloela Reformatory on 5 June 1873.51

By 1878 Louisa had returned to Newcastle. She appeared in Newcastle court using the alias of BELLINGER on 25 April charged with vagrancy and was sentenced to three months in Maitland gaol. By 1880 she was living with her sister and brother-in-law, David SALT aka SAULT, when on 17 March at about midnight, she broke into the house of Alexander LINDSAY, in Patrick Street, Newcastle, and stole a butter basin containing £1 3s. 8½d. The following day she made a successful escape from the Newcastle lock-up and remained at large for four days, finally being arrested. Her escape was recorded across the country.

Her escape seems to have been effected by wrenching one of the iron handles from the cell night bucket, with which she deliberately proceeded to wrench open the iron sides of a large padlock that fastened the door of the compartment in which she was confined, all noise being lulled by her placing her dress between the padlock and the cell bars. Constable Oxley, the lockup-keeper, had kept a careful watch on his prisoner, owing to his having heard several noises from her cell shortly before, and had twice visited her to see what was amiss. Taking advantage of his temporary absence, she must have given the lock a final wrench, and quietly opening the cell, passed out, and thence gained the open street unobserved.52

Louisa was recaptured in an old hut near New Lambton on Sunday 2153 April and appeared in court about a month later.

She pleaded guilty, but on being asked by his Honor if she knew what she was pleading guilty to she replied that she did not know where she was going, she was walking in her sleep. His Honor said that was a plea of not guilty, and one was accordingly entered. Prisoner was undefended. … she said to the constable that she was walking in her sleep, and when she found what she had done she went to take it back when she was caught … The jury, after an absence of about a quarter of an hour, returned into court with a verdict of guilty. (She) had served a sentence of three months for vagrancy in 1878. She was about 20 years of age, and had been sentenced to the Industrial school when she was under sixteen. His Honor said he would send her to Darlinghurst to try and effect some reformation. The sentence was that prisoner be imprisoned in Darlinghurst gaol for eighteen months with hard labour. Prisoner replied laughingly, " Oh, I can do that on my head, sir." His Honor : Take care you do not have it increased. Prisoner was then removed.54

Louisa was sent to Maitland gaol but was subsequently transferred to Darlinghurst and from there was sent to Young gaol to complete her sentence.55 Her gaol descriptions are inconsistent as they record differences in her eye colour but her complexion was recorded as dark in both cases. These differences in eye colour are thought to be administrative errors.

Louisa married James CRAWFORD in Newcastle in 1884 but no children have been recorded. James probably died in Wickham in 1899.56 In 1907, Louisa CRAWFORD married George CHICK. Louisa BELLINGHAM CHICK57 died in March 1925. Her parents were confirmed on her death registration. The executor of her will was named as Cecil Ernest DALTON of Mayfield.58 Louisa was buried with her mother, Jane, and sister, Mary, in the Church of England Section at Sandgate Cemetery. After her death George remarried Eva Jane CHICK and died in 1940 at the age of 86.

53.JPG

Louisa's Burial Location at Sandgate Cemetery
Photograph courtesy of Sandgate Cemetery (http://www.sandgatecemetery.org.au/)

Family

Louisa's gaol records identified Newcastle as her place of birth.59 She was the daughter of Edward BELLINGHAM who had been tried at Salop and was transported on the Lloyds, arriving on 25 November 1837.60 He was assigned to the Australian Agricultural Company (AACo) in the Newcastle area and worked in their coal mines.61 On 27 December 1848, permission for Edward to marry62 Jane, for whom no surname was provided and who was described as a 'half-caste',63 was made by the couple but was refused. C. N. P. WILTON, the minister refusing the marriage included a notation indicating that an ecclesiastical objection existed to the marriage of the couple so no marriage has been located for Edward as either BELLINGHAM, or its variations, or as BERENGER, which was the surname used when their children were registered. WILTON's objection and the notation 'half-caste' almost certainly indicated that Jane had aboriginal ancestry. The family were variously known as BERENGER, BELLINGHAM and BELLINGER and operated a brothel called Bellingers at the Glebe where the mother of Annie MANLEY had been working at the time of Annie's arrest. Edward BELLINGHAM died in Newcastle in 1878.

Online sources, almost certainly using information from the original BDM registartions, have identified Jane's surname as HANNELL64 but there is no indication that there is any connection between her and the well-known Newcastle identity of James HANNELL. As Jane BILLINGHAM she was admitted to Maitland gaol in 1885 for being drunk and disorderly.65 The admission indicated that she was a 54-year-old widow who had been born in Newcastle. Jane died in August 191266 in Newcastle. Her mother, Annie, was the only parent recorded on her death registration.

At least nine children, many of whom were unregistered, were born to Edward and Jane in the Newcastle area. Most have been identified through the NSW BDM Index, Funeral Notices or newspaper reports and many of the later births were under the surname BERENGER. That both surnames were used was confirmed with the burial and death of the 17-year-old Henry BELLINGHAM who died in Newcastle on 11 December 1864. His death was registered as BERENGER. An apparent letter number from the CSIL67 was noted on Henry's burial record.68 Because the family was Church of England, the Newcastle Anglican records may provide further information.

Updated May 2016

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