Margaret was fourteen when, on 14 September 1867, as Margaret BAVIN, she appeared in court after being arrested in Clarence Street, Sydney. She was charged under the Act for the Relief of Destitute Children with habitually wandering about the streets and having no lawful occupation. Witnesses reported that Margaret was frequently seen in the streets in a dirty, neglected state, either visiting her mother at a public-house or bringing drink from a public-house. It was reported that Margaret had been a student at the Ragged School but had recently moved near the female watch-house, Clarence Street, Sydney, to live with her sister, later identified as Mary, and her brother-in-law, Stephen BROWN. Her unnamed sister was described as an ex-prostitute and Stephen was a labourer. Prior to Margaret's arrest, the constables had seen her leading her mother from a public-house but it was reported that she had never been seen out after nine o'clock at night. Senior sergeant WATERS stated that some years ago Margaret’s mother kept a brothel and her sister was a prostitute. Charles MURPHY, living in Clarence Street, stated that BROWN was a hardworking man, but that his wife drank and he believed that she was an habitual drunkard. Margaret's chief occupation was to bring drink from the public-house for her sister. He never saw any prostitutes, or persons of such character, at BROWN’S house. BROWN said that he was willing to keep and to educate Margaret. She was sent to Newcastle even though the bench commented that
… if the children of all the drunkards in Sydney were to be brought up under the Industrial Schools Act the Government would soon require more extensive accommodations.35
Margaret was admitted to the school on 17 September 1867, and was described in the Entrance Book as a Protestant with an education level of 'first book on slate.'36 She appeared on SELWYN's list of Protestant girls37 and her medical assessment by Dr HARRIS showed that she was a virgin.38 On the evening of 8 July 1868, it is almost entirely certain that Margaret was recorded in the Police Gazette as Margaret BYRNES, a member of a large group of girls who escaped from the school at about 6 o’clock.39 Margaret, in company with nine other girls,40 were all recaptured by the Newcastle police – some at Borehole and some at Waratah – before ten o’clock and returned to the school.41 There was never an admission of a girl with the surname BYRNES made to Newcastle and the identity of this Margaret was the best match based on the average age of the other escapees. No letters in the CSIL have yet been located to confirm whether this escape attempt actually did refer to Margaret. Some of these same girls were subsequently recorded as participating in another escape later in the year and that escape did include Margaret. That event occurred on 20 November 1868, a little over a year after her admission, when she absconded with six other girls. A further two girls made a separate escape shortly afterwards. KING named them in a letter to the Colonial Secretary on 21 November 1868,42 stating that all except one43 were returned by two constables at eleven o’clock that night – half an hour after they had escaped. The girls had
… forced open the windows of No. 4 dormitory, they then climbed over the fence near Mr SCOTT’s residence … (they were recaptured) and placed in the cells.44
On 13 December 1869, Margaret was identified by CLARKE in his list of girls eligible for apprenticeship where it was recorded that she had been in the school for two years and was sixteen.45 On 5 January 1870, CLARKE wrote requesting permission to apprentice Margaret to William GREENWAY [sic] Esq., of Newcastle as a domestic servant. She was to be paid five shillings a week for the first six months and six shillings a week for the last year46 but this apprenticeship did not eventuate as GREENAWAY opted not to take an apprentice.47 CLARKE then requested permission to apprentice Margaret to Captain H. R. CROP, the manager of the Wallsend Coal Company under the same terms. This apprenticeship also didn’t eventuate48 for two reasons. Firstly, the Colonial Secretary took too long to reply to CLARKE's request to make this apprenticeship so he decided to send Mary Ann DEVENEY for whom permission had already been received but more importantly, a more appropriate position for Margaret became available so CLARKE made a further request from Sydney to send her to C. J. SMITHERS C.P.S., of Maitland as a nursemaid under the same terms as had been arranged with GREENAWAY.49 On 21 February 1870, Margaret began this apprenticeship but she wasn’t 'comfortable in her place [so] she left it twice and came back to the institution.'50 In his report on 7 May 1870, CLARKE elaborated that Margaret
… absconded from her place a second time and returned to this Institution she reported that her mistress’s temper was so bad that she could not stay with her. Mr SMITHERS brought the case before the Newcastle Bench and got the indentures cancelled and Margaret returned to the school.51
The newspaper report for this court appearance is yet to be located and may not be extant. On 16 February 1871, CLARKE requested permission to apprentice Margaret as a general servant for a year at seven shillings a week to Charles MACK of Murrurundi and this apprenticeship was approved.52 LUCAS on his April 1872 list indicated that there was a further apprenticeship made on 2 March[?] 1872[?], to C. MORSE[?] or THORNE[?], Esq., but no location was recorded in the record and the reference was very unclear.53 It is unknown whether Margaret completed her final apprenticeship which would have ended when she turned 18, which, according to the official records would have been in about 1871.
On 16 January 1880, at St Mary's Church of England, Balmain, as Margaret Pickenore BEVAN, Margaret married Charles John MILES.54 Both Margaret and Charles were recorded as being of full age. Charles was the son of Charles MILES and Elizabeth JUCKER. He was a moulder who had been born in England. Margaret was recorded as the daughter of Charles BEVAN and Mary CHRYSTAL.55 Margaret's place of birth was confirmed as Sydney. The witnesses were her half-sister, Ellen (X) BOURKE, and Ellen's husband, Walter, who had married in Sydney in 1869. While Margaret's mother's surname doesn't match what is known of Margaret's ancestry, there is little doubt that this is the girl who was admitted to Newcastle, because Ellen BOURKE née HAYES is the connection between the wife of both Michael HAYES and Charles BEVAN. At the end of October 1880, nine months after their marriage, Margaret MILES took Charles to court as he had abandoned her without maintenance.56 It is unknown whether the couple ever reconciled but no record of any children has yet been confirmed.
Margaret was still alive and using the surname MILES when she placed an In Memoriam for her sister, Ellen, in June 1891.57
It is uncertain whether Margaret had any children as no registrations have yet been identified. This aspect of her life is still being investigated. It is uncertain whether the man, Charlie MILES, who died in 1917 was her child. Funeral Notices suggest that he may have had siblings.
MILES. — The Friends of Mrs. MARGARET MILES are kindly invited to attend the Funeral of her late dearly loved SON, Charlie; to leave her residence, 2 Briggs-street, Camperdown, THIS DAY, at 1 p.m., for Church of England Cemetery, Rookwood, via Mortuary Station.
P. BYRNES and CO., Undertakers. Tel., L1051. 27 Marsden-st, Camperdown.
MILES. — The Friends of Mr. and Mrs. JOHN MILES, Mr. and Mrs. FRANK MILES, Mr. and Mrs. DAVE RILEY, Mr. and Mrs. ARTHUR MARTIN, Mr. and Mrs. JAMES ACKLAND, Mr. and Mrs. JOHN HEAPS, and Mrs. HARGRAVES, and FAMILIES, are invited to attend the Funeral of their late beloved BROTHER, UNCLE, and FRIEND, Charlie Miles; to leave his mother's residence, 2 Briggs-street, Camperdown, THIS DAY, at 1 p.m., for Rookwood Cemetery.
'Ph. L1051. P. BYRNES and CO., Undertaker.
No birth record has been confirmed for Charlie but his death registration indicated that his parents were Charles S. and Margaret MILES.58 His brothers appear to have been John and Frank MILES59 but these boys seem to have been the children of Stephen MILES and Margaret HART who had married in Newcastle in 1873. Margaret MILES née HART appeared to have died in 1927.60 It may be that the 19-year-old John MILES appearing in court in October 1893 is a reference to one of Margaret's son and this age strongly suggests that these boys were not connected to the Newcastle admission.61
It is almost entirely certain that Margaret died in Auburn on 10 December 1940,62 where her parents were recorded as Charles and Esther. Her father on the index had the same name as was identified at the time of her marriage and Esther matched the mother identified at the time of the death of Ellen BOURKE in 1884. This death registration has not been viewed. No Funeral Notice or Family Notice has yet been located in the Sydney Morning Herald between 11 and 14 December 1940 inclusive.
The Entrance Book identified Margaret’s mother as the widow, Mary BEVAN, who worked as a charwoman in Sydney and because Margaret's father was dead he wasn't named. Margaret was a daughter of Charles BEVAN and Mary HAYES née JONES who had married in Sydney in 1852. Charles (X) BEVAN married Mary (X) HAYES in Sydney on 19 January 1852. The marriage took place in the St Andrew's Church of Scotland, and the minister was Rev. John McGARVIE. Charles was a carpenter. Both participants were recorded as widowed. The witnesses were Richard (X) WENHAM and Ann (X) WENHAM.63 Only one registration, as opposed to a baptism, was recorded on the NSW BDM Index for any child of Charles and Mary BEVAN. The birth registration for the unnamed male BEVAN whose father was Charles and whose mother was Mary, identified that this child, almost without any doubt was the child known as Charles who had died at the age of about five in 1863.64 Charles had been born on 25 March 1858, at Steam Mill Street, Bathurst Street, Sydney. He had two older sisters who were both alive. His father was Charles and his mother was identified as Mary JONES, late HAYES, who had been born in London, England, in about 1818.65 These sisters were believed to be Margaret and Ann and neither of their baptisms were clearly identified on the NSW BDM Index. No appropriate baptisms in NSW have been identified for Margaret but based on the information on the birth record for Charles, it is considered almost certain that Margaret's baptism occurred in 1852 and was recorded under the name of Ellen BEAVAN. This recorded that the daughter of Charles and Mary BEVAN had been born on 31 December 1852, and had been baptised on 6 January 1853, by A. H. STEPHEN in the church of St Lawrence, County Cumberland. Charles, was a carpenter of Castlereagh Street, Sydney. Because this was a Church of England record, her mother was only recorded as Mary.66 Although the given name of this child does not match this baptism has been attributed to Margaret because Industrial School records indicated that Margaret had been born in about 1852 and it was known that the child Charles had older sisters. This cannot be the birth record of Margaret's half-sister, Ellen, as she was born with and used the surname HAYES so had to have been born before 1852. Ellen HAYES, had to have been older than Margaret as she was almost certainly aged about 13 in 186167 and she married Walter BOURKE in 1869. When Ellen BOURKE died her father was identified as Michael, and not Charles, and this difference is significant. No trace of the other child, Ann BEVAN, can be located on the NSW BDM Index until the time of her marriage in 1881. She was almost without any doubt the other sister recorded on Charles' birth registration. It is unknown if she was younger or older than Margaret but because she was having children regularly between 1875 and 1891, it is considered that she was more likely to have been younger, but this is supposition. The 1851 baptism, therefore, is considered less likely to refer to her. No Funeral Notices indicate any other children although it is not impossible that there were other siblings. Because only one girl from this family was admitted to Newcastle and no mention was made of any siblings at the time of this admission, makes it is uncertain whether Ann was older than Margaret or not living in the same situation, possibly being cared for by the other half-sister, Ellen.
Identifying Margaret's ancestry is complicated and involved and can only be made by compiling and linking all the available records as there are so few records and these are often contradictory. Margaret's court appearances indicated that both her mother and her sister were drunkards. The key records used to identify the family were those connected with Margaret's mother, Mary, and her older half-sister, also Mary. The younger woman was almost without doubt the unnamed sister described as a drunkard in Margaret's court appearances. Mary was the wife of the Stephen BROWN who offered to care for Margaret at the time of her arrest.68 In May 1859, prior to her 'marriage' to BROWN, 18-year-old Mary HAYES, together with her mother, Mary BEVIN, appeared in the CPC charged with theft. Each was fined or was to be sent to prison for fourteen days.69 Both mother and daughter went to gaol and were recorded consecutively in the Darlinghurst Gaol admissions for 1859. Both stated that they had arrived free on the Louisa and the younger woman identified her place of birth as Hobart, Tasmania.70 Mary HAYES subsequently became the mother to an illegitimate son named Daniel,71 in Sydney in October 1861. This child died and the inquest confirmed that Mary HAYES had a mother who also had a young child.72 No further trace of Mary HAYES has been confirmed after January 186273 but from 1867 or even earlier, she adopted the name Mary BROWN when she began an association with Stephen BROWN. This name is very common so verification that appearances in gaol or court refer to Margaret's sister are difficult to make. One year after Margaret's arrest a woman named Mary BROWN was imprisoned in Darlinghurst Goal where she was described as a 28-year-old Catholic who had been born in Hobart Town. She could read. The matching court appearance reported in the newspapers is able to be identified by making a match to the date in the corresponding Darlinghurst records. 'Mrs Mary BROWN' appeared before the Water Police Court on 17 September 1868,74 where she was sentenced to three days imprisonment for abusive language towards Mrs Sarah HEYWOOD.75 These descriptions of Mary HAYES and Mary BROWN from the records of Darlinghurst Gaol match.76
A year after this event and two years after Margaret had entered the Newcastle institution, Mary BROWN again appeared in the newspapers under quite different circumstances. A fatal incident involving her occurred in Sydney on 9 March 1869, and this incident resulted in her death. Mary, the wife of Stephen BROWN, was killed after a fight with Charlotte GORMAN. She received a fatal head injury and died on 15 March 1869. She was buried at Haslem's Creek but three days later, on 20 March, her body was exhumed and an inquest was begun.77 Stephen BROWN, an Italian, stated that he and Mary had shared the house at No. 5 Brougham Place with GORMAN. BROWN further stated that he and Mary had married at St Patrick’s, Sydney, 'seven years ago' and that Mary was a native of Tasmania.78 No marriage has been identified on the NSW BDM Index and although a search of the St Mary’s Archives during 1861/2/3 may possibly locate it, it can’t be certain that this stated marriage ever occurred. GORMAN was committed for trial and found not guilty. Significantly, at Mary's inquest, her mother, identified variously as Mary BEAVAN or BEAVIN, of Pitt Street, Sydney, gave evidence.79 Only one death of Mary BROWN, whose mother was Mary, was registered on the NSW BDM Index during 1869 and that registration identified that Mary’s father as Michael HAYES and her mother was the informant, Mary JONES, now BEVAN, of 5 Brougham Place, Sydney. Mary BROWN had arrived in NSW at about the age of seven and had died at the age of 28. She had been born in Hobart, Tasmania.80 Charles BEVIN and Mary BROWN shared a mother, but had two different fathers. Margaret BEVAN, Ann BEVAN and Ellen HAYES are associated to both the women named Mary through newspaper notices and reports. There is no doubt that the mother of these five children was Mary JONES.
Mary and Ellen HAYES were daughters of Michael (X) HAYES or HAYS and Mary (X) JONES who received permission to marry in VDL81 on 26 March 1841. Michael HAYES had been transported to Tasmania aboard the Elphinstone and Mary had been transported aboard the Arab. They were married in the Catholic Chapel in Hobart by John Joseph THERRY on 9 May 1841.82 Unfortunately there were no ages recorded on the marriage record and both parties were recorded as of full age. Mary had been born in about 1841 but no record for a birth recorded as HAYES has been located in Tasmanian records. It is possible that she was illegitimate and her birth was registered under the maiden name of her mother, JONES, but this possibility has not yet been investigated.
Tasmanian records identified only one birth to Michael and Mary HAYES. This female child, who was unidentified in the record, has been attributed to the girl named Ellen83 who appeared with her mother and sister in the Sydney courts and who was ultimately witness at Margaret's marriage. Even though Ellen stated that she had been born in Sydney in her gaol admissions, it is believed that this was her birth as it is likely that the family left Tasmania in 1849.84 Online trees for Ellen indicate that she was born in about 184885 further supporting this Tasmanian birth. Ellen was further identified with her sister and her mother, recorded and imprisoned as Mary BABIN, in another court appearance in January 1862,86 further confirming the family link. She may have been blind in one eye.87 The last court appearance for Ellen yet identified occurred in January 1863.88 Ellen married Walter BOURKE in Sydney in 1869.89 When she died in 1884,90 her parents were identified as Michael and Esther. In Memoriam notices for Ellen's death identified another unrecorded daughter, Ann aka Jane, who married Edward – identified in one tree as Edmond91 – DOWER in 1881.92 Online trees for Ellen confirm this death and these parents.93 They indicate that Esther's surname was either CRYSTAL or CHRISTIE and this is the same information located on the marriage registration for Margaret. This surname cannot be correct and is likely to be an attempt, and because of the difficulty researchers, including this author, have had, a very successful attempt to disguise her past. It is unknown whether Mary senior adopted an alias or whether names were confused with a person who cared for the children in this family at some stage or commenced a relationship with a man with this surname. No trace of Michael HAYES has yet been confirmed but it is considered likely that he died in NSW. Mary then married Charles BEVAN in Sydney in 1852.94
Mary BEVAN formerly HAYES née JONES stated on her Darlinghurst Gaol record in 1859 that she had been born in London in about 1818.95 Much of this background was confirmed on the birth record for her son, Charles, in 1858, where she repeated her birth location and age. A positive identification of Mary BEVAN formerly HAYES née JONES is not straightforward but she was one of the four women named Mary JONES who had arrived aboard the Arab (3) into Hobart on 25 April 1836. It seems likely that all of these women requested permission to marry whilst they were convicts but they were not clearly identified in the permissions to marry. Three were refused and one received approval. This was for the relationship with Michael HAYES and this suggested that Mary was not one of the three other Mary JONES convicts on the Arab (3) who had all arrived as married women. Mary was almost without any doubt the Mary JONES (2) who had been born in London in about 1817. Her Tasmanian description read:
Single. She had been tried in St James, London, was born in about 1817, had dark brown eyes and was 5' 5" tall.
Mary JONES had been tried with Mary Ann DEMPSEY for larceny at the Middlesex Sessions on 21 September 1835,96 and had been transported for seven years to VDL aboard the Arab (3) on 25 April 1836. She had received her ToL on 24 March 1841, and had received a certificate of freedom in 1842. Her conduct record identified some instances of disobedience and subsequent punishment.97 The only mismatch between the NSW and Tasmanian descriptions is the difference in eye colour between Mary JONES (2) and Mary BEVAN, the Mary who was admitted to Darlinghurst in 1859 was described as having blue rather than brown eyes yet every other indicator points to this being the Arab (3) arrival. Inconsistencies have been found in the NSW gaol descriptions in other cases when there is no doubt that the same person was being described and Darlinghurst was a very busy gaol processing many inmates. Other descriptors and Mary's birth location agree so it is believed that Mary's eye colour was recorded erroneously in the Darlinghurst records.
The three other woman named Mary JONES transported on the Arab (3) were:
- Mary JONES (1), who was married before her arrival, had been tried in Essex and was was born in about 1808. She had blue eyes and was under five feet in height. This woman was far too old and too short to be Margaret's mother.
- Mary JONES (3) was married before her arrival, was tried in Radnor in about 1810, had blue eyes and was about 5' 5" tall. While this woman received a ticket of leave on 24 March 1841, which matched well with the date of the permission to marry, and she further received a certificate of freedom in 1842, she was too old, was tried a very long way from London and no record has yet been located that identified her as having been born in London.
- Mary JONES (4) was married before her arrival, was tried in Liverpool, was born in about 1817, had light hazel eyes and was just over five feet in height. This woman's description was not a good match for the Darlinghurst description of Mary BEVAN even though she was born at about the same time. Liverpool is quite a long was from London.
The other permissions to marry cannot be matched well with the other Arab (3) arrivals. Mary JONES and Charles Stewart WARD requested permission to marry in November 1841 but both requests were rejected.98 Mary JONES and John YOUNG per the William Miles requested permission on 1 June 1840. This actual record has not been located.99 Mary JONES and John BAKER per the Larkins requested permission to marry on 1 September 1838, but this was also not approved.100 Without the actual marriages which did not occur, it cannot be identified which women made these requests. Conduct reports that remain for the four women named Mary JONES on the Arab (3) provide no record of any Tasmanian marriages or children to any of these women.
Mary BEVAN shared a name with another woman who was approximately the same age, who also appeared in the Sydney courts on a regular basis for drunkenness from about March 1856 when she received three months imprisonment in gaol for a violent assault.101 Neither woman appeared in the Sydney courts earlier than 1856. Distinguishing between the two women can only be made through gaol records and by using the description of Margaret's mother that appeared in the Darlinghurst records in 1859 when she was admitted with her daughter, Mary HAYES. In 1859 she was recorded as a Protestant who had been born in London and who had arrived free to NSW in 1849 aboard the Louisa.102 It is considered almost certain that Mary would have found it difficult to lie about her place of birth as her accent would have identified an approximate country or even county of origin so she probably did not lie about this aspect of her life – if she had lied at all. Based on this description, it is unproven but considered very unlikely that Margaret's mother was the woman who had appeared before the bench twenty-seven times during the last two years103 but she was definitely not the woman born in Roscommon, Ireland, who had arrived on the William Jardine or William Jordan in 1841 because different religions and wide differences in height between the two women are documented.
No trace of Mary has been confirmed through the NSW BDM Index or in Trove after the death of her daughter, Mary BROWN, in 1869. It must be considered that she did adopt the given name, Esther, and if this was the case she would have effectively disappeared. If this did occur it is unknown whether her daughters were even aware of her location. Only the actual death registration and possibly the informant will assist in identifying the death of Mary BEVAN formerly HAYES née JONES possibly alias Esther CHRISTIE if it can be located. Currently the death in 1887 at the age of 69 at Newington of Mary BEVAN has been tentatively attributed to her but this record has not been viewed.
Margaret's father was the widowed carpenter, Charles BEVAN.104 He had been born in Liverpool, England, in about 1803.105 He had been transported at the age of twenty-eight for seven years aboard the Adrian in 1830. The indent identified that he was a carpenter and joiner.106 As Charles BEAVAN his death was registered died on 7 May 1862,107 at the age of sixty-two. An inquest was held.108 His burial109 indicated that he had been in the infirmary at the time of his death and he was buried on 9 May at the age of 63. While Charles had described himself as a widower when he married Mary, no evidence of any earlier marriage has been confirmed. He was transported as a single man. It is unknown whether a second transportation occurred and whether the man on the Adrian matched the man who had also arrived on the Shipley. The earlier marriage of Charles BEVAN may have occurred in 1837 when he married Martha PRICKHARD. Permission to marry for this couple was almost certainly granted under the names Martha PICKHARD and Charles NELSON on 16 January 1837. Four months later, on 15 May 1837, which is much longer than the normal time period after permission had been granted, Charles BEVAN, a carpenter, was married to Martha (X) PRICKHARD, a widow, at St Phillip's, Sydney, by William COWPER. Martha PICKHARD was 25 and had been transported for seven years on the George Hibbert. Charles was identified in the Permissions to Marry as the man transported for Life aboard the Shipley in 1817. He was recorded as 39 years of age. No record to the death of Martha or the births of any children have been located. The witnesses were George (X) BELL and Sarah (X) REED.110 The couple applied twice for this permission - once to Richard TAYLOR and again to William COWPER. The man performing the ceremony was William COWPER. It is uncertain whether the identity of NELSON should be attributed to Margaret's father, Charles BEVAN, but the similarities between the two men are compelling. Charles NELSON per the Shipley received a conditional pardon in 1845. It is possible that there are Funeral Notices because of this earlier marriage but none have been located.
Online trees are uncertain about the ancestry of the women identified in this biography as the siblings and half-siblings of Margaret BEVAN. These trees variously identify the parents of Ellen as Michael HAYES and Esther111 and the parents of Ann aka Jane usually as Richard BEVAN and Sarah Jane COOPER, probably because there is a birth registration for a child of this couple at approximately the correct time. Other researchers have been unwilling, unable or uninterested in attributing any parents to either woman. The likelihood of there being two families named BEVAN with a child named Margaret and a father named Charles with either a sister or step-sister named Ellen HAYES at this time in Sydney, is too remote for it to refer to a second family. It would be interesting to discuss this ancestry with descendants of either Ann DOWER née BEVAN or Ellen BOURKE née HAYES as not all the NSW BDM Index registrations identified here have been viewed by the author.
Where has She Gone?
Margaret is unlikely to have remarried John J. VINCENT in 1886 as Margaret MILES112 as she was still using the surname MILES in 1891.113 It is also therefore considered unlikely that Margaret went on to marry Gordon H. HALLEY two years later.114
Updated June 2016