Elizabeth BERRY
Name Variations BARRY alias BAILEY
Step-father Robert ROBERTS b. m. (1) 18471 d.
Father John BAILEY or BAILY or BAYLEY b.c. 18012 m. (2) 18523 d. 18614
Step-Father James BERRY b. m. (3) 18625 d. aft. 18726
Mother Catherine LEESON aka GLEESON b.c. 18197 m. (1) 1847 (2) 1852 (3) 1862 d. aft. 1880
Half-sister Mary BAILEY8 b. 18489 m.c. 1870 unknown d. aft. 1870
Brother John BAILEY b.c. 185210 m. d. aft. 1859
Brother William BAILEY b. 185611 m. d. aft. 187212
Sister Sarah Ann BAILEY b.c. 185713 m. d. aft. 1859
Inmate Elizabeth BAILEY b. 185914 m. (see below) d. aft. 1875
Husband unknown b. m. d.
Son Joseph Henry BERRY b. 187515 m. none - d. 187516
Relationship Name Age Height Hair Eyes Complexion Build Distinguishing features
Mother Catherine17 50 short grey blue stout dressed in a light stuff skirt with blue stripes, brown Holland jacket and bonnet and plaid shawl
Father John BAILEY18 32 5' 5¼" brown grey sallow scar right side of upper lip; scar below under lip; anchor on upper left arm; scar below left elbow; large scar across ball of left thumb; two blue marks back of left hand; blue ring middle and fourth fingers left hand
Half-sister Mary Ann BAILEY19 17 5' 3" dark hazel dark slender

Elizabeth appeared before the Sydney bench on 15 February 1869, on the same day as the trial of her mother Catherine BERRY.20 She was recorded as Elizabeth BARRY in the Sydney Morning Herald.21 Elizabeth was charged with being under the age of sixteen and wandering in the company of reputed thieves. Catherine was the 'reputed thief'. Constable PARR deposed that Elizabeth's father was dead, her stepfather was a drunkard, and that her mother had been convicted of larceny.22 No names of any members of her family were specified in any newspaper reports of her court appearance but Elizabeth and her mother were reported to have been living under rocks at the Glebe in Sydney.23 Elizabeth was admitted to Newcastle at the age of eight on 17 February 1869. The Entrance Book indicated that she was a Catholic who could neither read nor write.24

On 30 June 1869, about three months after Elizabeth's admission to Newcastle, an application was made by her mother to visit her at the industrial school. This almost certainly occurred just after Catherine's release from Darlinghurst Gaol.25 Based on the fluency of the hand, the letter – and the accompanying signature – was almost certainly written on Catherine's behalf. The correspondence was presented to the Colonial Secretary by Catherine who was recorded in the correspondence as Elizabeth BERRY and who identified her child in the letter as Elizabeth BERRY aka BAILEY.26 Six months later, on 4 December 1969, another petition again written on Catherine's behalf, was sent to the Colonial Secretary. This petition also appealed for permission to be given for her to visit Elizabeth. The notation 'subject to approval by superintendent' was made on the papers.27 It is unknown whether either visit took place.

Elizabeth transferred to Biloela in May 1871 and on 20 September 1871, shortly after the transfer Catherine, identified as Catherine BERRY alias BAILEY, attempted to have Elizabeth removed from the school. Her application was again written and signed for her. A letter of support, written from Newington by Harriet TIGHE, formed part of the correspondence.28 The letter read:

I would be very happy if I am allowed to remove my daughter Elizabeth BAILY from Cockatoo. I have a married daughter who is quite able to support her and will remove her entirely from Sydney. Please be kind enough to let her come out as soon as the arrangements of her establishment will allow.
Catherine Baily, Haslem's Creek, 20 September 1871.

LUCAS did not object to Elizabeth's release to her mother but the police investigation considering Catherine's situation stated:

The mother is a reputed thief and has no means of support except what she occasionally earns by washing. The married daughter was recently discharged from gaol after doing six months for bigamy and was shortly after found by the Police on the roadside destitute and there delivered of a child. She does not now live with her husband but with another man at Wallerawang.29

Because of this unfavourable report Catherine's application was officially denied on 30 September 1871, and Elizabeth remained in the school. She was recorded by LUCAS as 'In the Institution' in his April 1872 list30 and was favourably mentioned by the teacher Margaret KELLY, in her report on 22 August 1872, as having been particularly attentive during the past week.31 On 8 May 1974, Elizabeth was discharged as an apprentice to H. W. McDONALD of Goulburn for four years. At this stage she was approximately fourteen years old. An apprenticeship at this time must have been arranged by either DALE or WALKER as by this stage LUCAS had been dismissed so there is a good chance that there may be further details in the CSIL. It is unknown whether Elizabeth's apprenticeship was ever completed.

Some years after Elizabeth left the island, her mother was admitted to Goulburn Gaol. It is therefore possible that the pair were reunited but whether this actually occurred is unknown. Because Elizabeth probably believed her surname to be BERRY, this surname has been used in her biography although there is no evidence that it was retained by her in her later life.

On 25 September 1875, in Forbes, there is little doubt that the Newcastle admission was the 17-year-old Elizabeth BERRY who delivered the illegitimate son, Joseph Henry BERRY. This girl had been born in 'New South Wales' and her age and this location very strongly suggested that this was her. Joseph Henry BERRY died later that year. This birth has been attributed to Elizabeth but no further confirmation has been found of her after this date.


Locating Elizabeth and verifying her family – even with the letters held in the CSIL – is difficult because so many inconsistencies are evident in the records that are available. There is however, no doubt that Elizabeth's birth was registered in Windsor in 1859 as Elizabeth BAILEY. She had acquired the surname BERRY, the name under which she was admitted to Newcastle, when she was less that a year old. Her father had died; her mother remarried and BERRY was the surname of Elizabeth's step-father. Elizabeth had been born on 9 July 1859, at Windsor and her parents were identified on the registration as John BAILEY and Catherine GLEESON [sic]].32

John (X) BAILY and Catherine (X) LEESON had been married with the consent of the Governor General at St. Matthew's, Windsor, by Henry T. STYLES, on 1 March 1852. The witnesses were James WRIGHT and Mary Ann (X) ALLAN, both of Windsor. This marriage was celebrated in the Church of England church at Windsor.33 It is believed that because permission for the marriage had been required, this location was probably proscribed by whoever gave that permission so the couple had no choice about where the ceremony was performed. No permission to marry has yet been found for this couple. John and Catherine BAILEY had had four children by 1859; Elizabeth and her siblings seven-year-old John, four-year-old William and three-year-old Sarah Ann. The births or baptisms of John and Sarah Ann have not been located and these records are thought not to exist.

John had been transported for life in 1833 aboard the Heroine. There were two men of this name aboard the Heroine. The younger man had been born in Aberdeen in about 1811. He was blind. The older man had been tried on 1 August 1832, in Derby for stealing a watch. Other than his age, the details of the older man, including his description, matched what has been confirmed on other records about Elizabeth's father. John was a Protestant who had been born in Stockport in about 1800. Once he had arrived in NSW he consistently and considerably understated his age. John was identified at the time of Elizabeth's baptism in 1859 as a 44-year-old groom who had been born in Manchester, England, in about 1815. When he was admitted to Parramatta Gaol in 1848 he was confirmed as a groom from Lancashire, who was free by servitude. This admission confirmed that his ship of arrival was the Heroine in 1833.34 He was awarded a Ticket of Leave on the recommendation of the Windsor Bench on 11 July 1851.35 A further recommendation was made that he receive a conditional pardon and this was awarded on 3 July 1852.36 He was not the man who received a Certificate of Freedom on 3 November 1836,37 as this certificate was awarded to the younger transportee from the same ship. In 1856 when his son was baptised, John was identified as a labourer from Windsor38 and by the time of his gaol admission in 1848, John was recorded as Catholic. John died in Windsor in April 1861 where he was reported by his nickname 'Jack the Groom'. The verdict of the inquest into his death confirmed that his wife was Catherine BAILEY. While he was identified in newspapers as 'about 40' years of age, in actuality he was much closer to 60.39

Catherine was identified as Irish and 'about 50' on Elizabeth's birth registration. Her husband John, was the informant. At the time of Elizabeth's arrest, the Police Gazette and the Empire correctly referred to her mother as Catherine BERRY and provided her with the alias of BAILEY. Catherine was also reported on at least one occasion as BARRY but it is unknown whether this was a compositing error or a deliberate alias. Because a date of Catherine's gaoling can be identified and linked to Elizabeth, a partial identification was possible. Catherine was released from Darlinghurst Gaol on 2 June 1869, after serving four months in prison. Details from her gaol discharge identified that she was a Catholic who had been born in Ireland in 1819. This supported her age of 'about 50' as noted on Elizabeth's birth registration.

A compilation of many records was required to identify Catherine. Her ship of arrival was identified in her gaol admissions as either the William Turner in 1860,40 or the William Tamer.41 These statements were incorrect. It may be that these erroneous statements were the result of Catherine's illiteracy as her stated year of arrival of 1860 was not consistent with statements made by the constables of Sydney in letters directly referring to Elizabeth. Catherine was recorded on the William Turner indent in October 1841 as 22-year-old Katherine LEESON who had arrived in NSW with an 18-year-old relative, perhaps a sister, Alicia LEESON. Both girls were recorded on the indent as housemaids but there was no indication of their place of birth.42 Alicia LEESON almost certainly went on to marry John BYRNE as Alice LEESON on 29 May 1842, in Whittingham, near Singleton in the Hunter Valley.43

There is little doubt that as Katherine LEESON, Catherine was married to Robert ROBERTS by Matthew ADAM in the Scots' Church, at Fairfield near Windsor, on 20 September 1847. Both were residents of Kurrajong, NSW. The witnesses were Robert TENNANT and John Mc?ARTER.44 Their daughter, Mary ROBERTS, was born on 2 August 1848, and was baptised on 22 November 1848, at St Matthews, Windsor. The family was from Currajong [sic] and Robert was described as a farmer.45 It may be that this marriage didn't last or that ROBERTS died but no trace of him has yet been confirmed after this date. Catherine was still using the surname ROBERTS as in a court case in Windsor in 1850, when she was a witness and was quite possibly guilty of perjury, she was:

the woman Roberts, who had given evidence on the former occasion, had made thirteen changes in cohabiting with

different men, one of whom was the said Robert Tenant.46.

Robert TENANT was one of the witnesses when Catherine married Robert ROBERTS. It may be that Robert ROBERTS was one of two men sent to prison and who had arrived on either the Lady Ashley or the Princess Royal but this has not yet been ascertained. This inability to locate ROBERTS may suggest that Catherine's marriage to John BAILEY was bigamous.

Even before John's death Catherine appeared in early editions of the Police Gazette where she was was charged with theft and these arrests roughly suggested the year of the death of Elizabeth's father, John. In December 1854 Catherine appeared in court as Catherine BAYLEY, charged with a larceny.47 Earlier on the day of Elizabeth's arrest, Catherine had been convicted of having stolen a dress and a plate, the property of Charles HORSLEY. She was sentenced to be imprisoned for three months and when a pair of slippers was found in her possession and as she couldn’t prove that they weren’t stolen, she received a further imprisonment of one month.48

Catherine was almost certainly the woman who was recorded as Catherine BAYLEY49 who appeared in Windsor court on 27 November 1854, for stealing a ring.50 On 12 July 1862, just over a year after the death of John BAILEY, Catherine was married to James BERRY, a labourer of Windsor, in the Scott's Church by Mathew ADAM. The witnesses were John (X) COOK and Elizabeth COOK. Catherine was recorded on this registration as Catherine BAYLEY.51 James BERRY had probably arrived on either the Charles Kerr or the Argyle in about 1837. He had been born in London, England, in about 1819. Catherine was charged with stealing a watch from William HORTHUM in 186452 and was tried in Windsor on 17 December 1864.

In 1872 Catherine BAILEY or BERRY was arrested for kidnapping the six-year-old Mary Ann GRENLING. It was reported that it was thought that she had gone to Parramatta or Penrith. She was eventually arrested by constable LEWIS of Rydal police.53 Mary Ann was recovered and Catherine was discharged.54 The following year, a warrant was again issued from the Rydal bench for Catherine BAILEY or BERRY for the kidnapping of seven year old Eliza Ann BUTLER about 17 November 1873. She was arrested by constable BUCKLEY of Rydal Police55 and again discharged. The descriptions and ages of the two girls are very similar and it is unknown whether this is due to inaccurate reporting of the one incident or two different abductions. It is likely that as Catherine BAILEY she was tried at the Campbelltown Quarter Sessions on 15 August 1879.56 She was initially imprisoned in Campbelltown Gaol but was transferred to Goulburn. This record appears to show her having been tried at Hay Quarter Sessions but this is considered to be a clerical error in the transfer letter as here the trial location is recorded only as a 'ditto.'57 A deposition from 21 July 1879, exists for this appearance but it has not been read.58 Catherine was released on 14 November 1879. Elizabeth had been apprenticed to Goulburn so it is possible that they were reunited. No confirmation of Catherine's death has been found. Catherine is not the CATHERINE BAILEY who died in Goulburn in 1884 as this was the registration of a married woman whose husband was Richard. Once more Goulburn papers are scanned more information may become available. Catherine seemed to have abandoned the use of the surname BERRY adopting BAILEY from about 1869.

James BERRY was referred to in the present tense in the Vernon list in 1872 so is unlikely to be the fifty-year-old Newtown man who died through taking laudanum in November 1864.59 James BERRY's religion is uncertain. It may be that he was not Catholic, as Catherine's second marriage occurred in a non-Catholic churches.

The fate of Elizabeth's siblings is still being investigated. Currently no trace of John or Sarah Ann has been confirmed.

Elizabeth's brother, William, was baptised in St Matthew's, Windsor. He had been born on 24 April 1855, and was baptised by STYLES on 29 May. Because this record was recorded in a Church of England register, no maiden name of his mother was recorded.60 In 27 July 1868, six months before Elizabeth's arrest, this boy was placed aboard the Vernon. His admission identified that he was Catholic but provided no additional information about his family. William had been arrested for 'wandering about in company with reputed thieves and persons having no visible lawful means of support'61 and appeared before Samuel H. TERRY, J.P., on 25 July 1869. He had been admitted to Windsor Gaol and after his trial was transferred straight to the Vernon. The record indicated that his mother had appeared before the same J.P. on the same day and had received a month in Windsor Gaol. It is not thought that the Anne KEMP tried at the same time was connected to either Catherine or William.62 Reports of this court appearance have not yet been located. His trial for an admission to the Vernon was likely to have occurred in either the Parramatta or Windsor police courts as none has yet been found in the Sydney courts and no report has been found in the newspapers. William was apprenticed to Andrew DOYLE of Harper's Hill, Lochinvar, on 24 November 1869. This apprenticeship failed as William stole eggs from DOYLE63 on 2 August 1870, so his indentures were cancelled in the East Maitland court and he was returned to the Vernon.64 MEIN, the Superintendent of the Vernon, apprenticed William again after a request for an apprentice from Daniel MOYSE on 19 June 1871,65 but this apprenticeship also failed and William was returned to the Vernon. William's identity was subsequently confirmed in the 1872 list of boys on the Vernon which identified Catherine by name and it was stated that he was from Windsor. By this date it was reported that his family had no means to contribute to his upkeep on the ship. The notation beside his name read:

Parents whereabouts unknown; Father a bad character, mother a vagrant.66

It is believed that the Mary BAILEY who was arrested in Windsor with Catherine in 186567 was the daughter of Catherine and Robert ROBERTS who had been baptised as Mary ROBERTS in 1848. Mary Ann BAILEY, who was sentenced to appear with Catherine at the Quarter Sessions in 1865,68 charged with forcibly entering the house of William COLLIS at Windsor, is also another appearance by this child. Gaol records need to be checked for appearances for Mary. No appropriate marriage has been located for Mary Ann BAILEY but the marriage of Mary Ann ROBERTS to George SHIPLEY at Camden in 186869 may be a marriage to consider. Online trees indicate that this was not her.70

The marriage of Mary BERRY to James McCABE in the Presbyterian Scots Church, Pitt Street, Sydney, in 1846 cannot be her as the relationship with James BERRY had not commenced at this date. The Mary Ann BAILEY whose father was John and mother was Ellen, was born in New England on 19 February 1841. Her father was working at Saumarez. The baptism is in the records of the A. A. Company.71

It is only remotely possible that the older daughter referred to by the constables in 1871 may have been Sophia ASHTON but the link to Catherine BERRY or BAILEY is extremely hard to make. It may be that while newspaper reports suggested that Catherine was connected to the ASHTON family, this may have been incorrect reporting at the time as no link has yet been found. Sophia's brother, John, gave evidence at the bigamy trial and so did her mother but in the trial she was recorded as be Emily ASHTON.72 Sophia's baptism indicated that she was one of the many children of Emily and Thomas ASHTON. The birth of the child, Alfred BARRY, with parents Henry and Sophia possibly indicated the child born 'on the roadside'. Sophia may have adopted the alias Adelaide EZZY, an amalgam of her many names, for a couple of years after this date. It seems unlikely that Sophia was the married daughter who was going to care for Catherine. Even though this is all very convoluted, Catherine certainly has been located in the Wallerawang area after this date so part of the constable's statement must be correct. It is possible but unproven that Thomas ASHTON was the partner of Catherine and therefore Elizabeth's step-father. Some family details have been included below to avoid finding them again but the link is so tenuous it is thought to be in error.

Half-brother John ASHTON b. 183573 m. d. 19267475
Half-sister Ann ASHTON b. 183776 m. d.
Half-sister Sophia aka Adelaide ASHTON77 b.c. 1842 m. (1) 186178 (2) 186579 (1) James EZZEY (2) Henry JONES d.
Where has She Gone?

While the illegitimate birth in Forbes in 1875 suggests that the marriage of Elizabeth A. BERRY to William Frederick ARNOTT in 188980 also at Forbes, may be Elizabeth. No children have been located for the couple and no trace of the couple has yet has been found. This marriage registration identified that William ARNOTT was a gentleman and Elizabeth BERRY was of private means. Both were residents of Trundle. No parents, birthplaces or ages were identified on the registration. The marriage was celebrated in the vicarage of St John's Church of England, Forbes, on 13 November 1889 so if this is Elizabeth she would have been about 30 years old.

This couple should not be confused with the William ABBOTT whose wife was Elizabeth Admonisha. This woman died in Wagga Wagga in 1920 and the couple were having children in Wagga from at least 1875. Tags on Trove suggest that this woman was a widow when she married and that her maiden name was CHAPMAN. Her Funeral Notice recorded that she was 67 in 1920 so she had been born in about 1853. This makes her a little too old to be the Newcastle admission. The NSW BDM Index identified that her parents were William and Elizabeth.81

Elizabeth was not the Elizabeth BERRY who was sent to Darlinghurst in 1879, as this woman died in the gaol and was 73 years old.82

Elizabeth can't be the woman who died in 1937 with parents Robert and Catherine because this Elizabeth BERRY, born in 1855, was four years older than the Newcastle girl and her parents were still having children in 1871. Her brothers, Thomas and James, placed a funeral notice in the Sydney Morning Herald confirming that this death was that of a spinster.83

Elizabeth was not the Elizabeth BAILEY who married Francis CLOURY/CLOWRY as this woman died in 1901.

The Elizabeth BERRY who married Adam CAWTHORNE in Braidwood probably died in 1950 and her parents were recorded as Thomas and Elizabeth.

Updated February 2020

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