The BLAKE Sisters
Father William BLAKE b.c. 18141 m. 1854 d. 18842
Mother Catherine McNABOE b. 1836 m. 1854 d. 18763
Inmate Sarah Jane BLAKE b. 18554 m. none (see below) d. aft. 18785
Sister Ellen E. or M. BLAKE b. 18586 m. none - d. 19107
Inmate Emma aka Emily Charlotte aka Charlotte BLAKE b. 18618 m. 18809 (see below) d. 192510
Sister Catherine BLAKE b. 186311 m. none - d. 186512
Sister Leah Ada13 BLAKE b. 186614 m. 188615 Edward GRACE d. 189616
Brother William D. BLAKE b. 186917 m. d.

Two girls with the surname BLAKE were admitted to the industrial schools between 1869 and 1876. Sarah Jane BLAKE was admitted to Newcastle in October 1869, and transferred to Biloela in May 1871. Five years later, in September 1876, Emma BLAKE was sent to Biloela. They were never at Biloela together. The names of both girls appeared in the section of the Entrance Book that has not survived but the circumstances of Emma's family have been retrieved as they appeared on the very first page of the remaining section of the Entrance Book and research has matched them to her name. Unfortunately no parent's names are mentioned.18 Circumstantial evidence located to date very strongly suggests that Emma and were related. It is almost certain that at the very least the girls were cousins and they were in all likelihood sisters. Evidence to confirm any relationship has not yet been located in any report on Trove, from any record for either the Newcastle or the Biloela industrial schools nor is there any indication or identification of the parents of either girl. Both girls had been arrested and tried in Sydney. Their baptisms match the ages of the two admissions. Both girls were Catholic. Emma BLAKE was identified as a Catholic and it is almost certain that Sarah Jane BLAKE was also a Catholic. Her religion remains uncertain as it was recorded on only one of the two Biloela transfer lists and although copied from the now incomplete original register, this particular list contains some transcription errors.

Confirming their their actual relationship and verifying the names of their parents continues. William and Catherine BLAKE were almost certainly Emma's parents. It is considered most likely that the first admission Sarah Jane, was Emma's sister so these parents have tentatively been attributed to her. Emma and Sarah's ages match the ages of the daughters of William and Catherine BLAKE. The complication with identifying Sarah's parents has occurred because another Sarah Jane BLAKE had been baptised in 1854. Her parents were John and Margaret BLAKE and they had also had a daughter named Emma BLAKE who had died. Research has uncovered that William BLAKE and John BLAKE were brothers. Both families have been outlined below and two biographies have been written for Sarah Jane BLAKE.

Note that another family with two daughters named Emma and Sarah BLAKE also existed in the family of Robert and Emma BLAKE. It is considered unlikely that this family was connected to either of the girls admitted to Newcastle and Biloela as the ages of these sisters do not match those of the industrial school admissions. This BLAKE family only occasionally lived in Sydney. These sisters married BAGLEE and RICHARDSON and are easily traceable through the NSW BDM Index.


It is believed but unconfirmed that Sarah Jane and Emma were sisters and were very likely to be the daughters of William BLAKE and Catherine McNEBOE. The ages of the industrial school admissions exactly match the baptism and registration of these BLAKE sisters. Emma's mother's unusual surname McNABOE, was verified on the birth registration of Emma's confirmed sister Leah,19 and there is little doubt that surname of the woman identified as the mother of Serah [sic] Jane BLAKE in both her Family Search baptism in 185520 and located, but not indexed on the NSW BDM Index, was a transcription error of the more similarly pronounced McNAVIN or McVAVIN. Emma's birth was almost without any doubt registered in 1861 as Charlotte BLAKE.21

While the birth registration for Leah Frances BLAKE indicated that William BLAKE and Catherine McNABOE had married in 1854 in Sydney before compulsory registration, no marriage has been identified. It must be considered that a marriage may never have occurred. The couple were recorded with six children born between 1855 and 1869. Leah's birth registration identified that three older sisters were alive in 1866 and one had died. While they were not named on the registration they were almost without any doubt Sarah Jane, Ellen and Emma aka Charlotte. A daughter named Catherine had died as an infant. Leah was confirmed as the youngest daughter of the William BLAKE when she married in 1886, two years after his death.22 Willia and Catherine's last child was a son named William. No confirmation of other members of the family has been made and no other children were baptised or registered on the NSW BDM Index.

William BLAKE senior had been born Manchester, England, in about 1814. In 1866 he was recorded as a 48-year-old on Leah's birth registration so he was about 18 years older than Catherine.23 The relationship with Catherine was not happy and on at least one occasion in February 1873, Catherine assaulted him. She 'unlawfully and maliciously inflicted grievous bodily harm and appeared in court on 3 February 1873, where she was remanded.24 Ultimately William decided not to press charges.25 It may have been around this time that the couple separated.

William died in September 1884. In 1887 his daughters Leah and Emma placed an In Memoriam notice for their father.

BLAKE. – In loving remembrance of our dear father, William Blake, who departed this life on September 18, 1884. Dead, but not forgotten.
Inserted by his loving daughters, Mrs. Emma Heyward and Mrs. Lea Grace.26

There has been no Family Notice yet found linking either Leah or Emma to their sister, Sarah Jane, to any of their other siblings or to their mother.

The NSW BDM Index recorded that William's father was John. He died at the age of seventy and was a resident of Surry Street, Darlinghurst. It was identified that he had come from Failsworth, near Manchester. Funeral Notices identified that he had two brothers living in Sydney and also provided more specific birth locations for the family in the Manchester area. William's brother named James BLAKE had died in Sydney in February 1874.

BLAKE. – February 2, at the Sydney Infirmary, James Blake, beloved brother of John Blake and William Blake, of this city, aged 60 years, native of Clayton Bridge, near Manchester, England.27

No parents were recorded on James' death registration and this was likely because the law at the time required that a death was registered by the person responsible for the property where the death had occurred. James BLAKE died in the infirmary. He also used the alias of JACKSON28 and his wife was also Catherine.29 Family Notices for William linked him to his surviving brother, John.

BLAKE. – September 18, 1884, at his residence, Surry-street, Darlinghurst, William Blake, aged 70 years, native of Failsworth, near Manchester, England; beloved brother of John M. Blake, of this City. Home papers please copy.30

When John Matthew BLAKE died on 9 April 1888, at the age of 7231 his parents were recorded on the NSW BDM Index as James and Jane32 and he was buried in the Church of England Cemetery at Haslem's Creek.33

No arrivals have yet been identified for William, James or John BLAKE. Neither Sands Directory nor the City of Sydney Archives have yet been investigated for these men.

No trace of Ellen BLAKE has been identified. If she didn't marry she may be the woman who died on 15 May 1910, at the age of 53. No death notice or funeral notice can be located during the week following this death.

Catherine McNABOE had been born in Longford, Ireland, in about 1838.34 Her surname has also been variously recorded as McNAVIN and McVAVEN but she had arrived as Catherine McNABOE at the age of about 14 aboard the Tippoo Saib on 1 August 1850. The indent identified that she had been born in Drumleish, Longford, Ireland, in about 1836 and her parents were identified on the indent as Peter and Catherine who were both dead.35

When Emma was admitted to Biloela in 1876, the Entrance Book outlined that her father lived in Redfern and was separated from her mother.36 It is thought that this was a reference to William and Catherine but no names were provided. Is is possible but unconfirmed that Catherine died as Catherine BLAKE in Kensington in 1876 at the age of 38.37

Catherine was not the Catherine BLAKE who had been arrested for being of unsound mind and who had arrived on the Duchess of Northumberland in about 1834 as, while this woman had been born in Ireland, her year of birth was about 1819 and she was recorded in the Darlinghurst Gaol records as a Protestant.38

The question of whether the correct family or families have been identified is of issue in this biography. Of the men named BLAKE recorded as living in Redfern in and around 1876 at the time of Emma's arrest, she cannot have been a child of any of them. William Hans BLAKE and his wife Henrietta married too late. They were very well off. The family of George and probably Janet B BLAKE also married too young. The family of Joseph and Eliza/beth BLAKE had also married too late and had no appropriately named children.


Name Variations Emily39 Emily Charlotte
Husband (1) Frederick James HEYWARD b. m. 188040 d. 190141
Husband (2) William J. JOHNSON b. m. 191042 d.
Husband (3) unknown FRANCIS b. m. d.
Husband (4) William KEMP43 b. m. 191544 d. aft. 1925
Son Frederick J. b. 1878 m. none - d. 190345
Son Ernest HEYWARD b. 188646 m. d. 195647
Daughter Emily H. HEYWARD b. 188948 m. 190649 Charles C. RICHARDS d.
Daughter Amy HAYWARD b. 189150 m. d. aft. 190551

Selina WALKER confirmed that Emma had been admitted to Biloela from the Central Police Court on 20 September 1876.52 Emma's family details but not her name, appear on the first page of the surviving section of the Entrance Book. All other records on that page have been matched through records in the CSIL. Her admission occurred after that of Mary aka Eliza LANE who was identified in the Entrance Book as admission number 337. It is therefore considered almost certain that Emma's family details were recorded with admission number 341. Entry 341 identified no parents but stated that 'father a labourer living apart from his wife at Redfern; not able to pay for his daughter's support.' This occupation matched William's occupation identified on Leah's birth registration. The Redfern location confirmed that the admission was from Sydney. Emma was recorded as able to read and write and the record identified that she was a Catholic.53

Emma had been known to the constables of Sydney from at least September 1876. On 5 August 1874, two years before her admission to Biloela and at the age of fourteen, she appeared in court charged with riotous behaviour on the Flagstaff Hill. At her trial her sister, Sarah Jane BLAKE, appeared as a witness and denied that anything outlined by the arresting constable had occurred.54 A further incident of riotous behaviour in George Street occurred two years later on 4 June 1876. Emma was ordered to pay a fine of five shillings or she was to be detained until the rising of the court.55 On 16 August 1876, Emma again appeared in court with Sarah BLAKE where the pair were implicated in a theft by Kate PROCTOR from a Sydney visitor from Gunnedah named Walter ADAMS. Sarah and Emma were not prosecuted for this crime and were released.56 Finally on 20 September 1876, Emma was sent to Biloela after being charged with being in company with bad characters and having no lawful visible means of support.57 The bad characters were very likely to have been her sister, Sarah Jane. It was further detailed that the 'bad' characters were prostitutes. Newspaper reports identified that Emma was fifteen.58

On 13 December 1877, just over a year after her admission, Emma was apprenticed to Rev. W. LUMSDAINE of Burwood for one year and ten months at a rate of three shillings a week. LUMSDAINE had requested a 'young girl' as an apprentice but made no specific request concerning her religion.59 The discharge register recorded a notation beside her apprenticeship details that read: 'absconded not returned' but the record provided no date, strongly suggesting that no readmission to Biloela had occurred.60 While it was rare that a Catholic girl was apprenticed to a member of the Church of England, let alone a minister,61 it did occasionally occur.62 It is thought that because her father was probably Church of England like his brother, and her mother was a Catholic, there would be little religious conflict for her with LUMSDAINE.

No trace of Emma has been identified in the three years between 1877 and 1880, the year that she married. One remaining letter referring to Emma located in the CSIL index is yet to be tracked as it was not located in the box at the time of retrieval. To date no correspondence yet found has confirmed Emma's family.

Emma married Frederick HEYWARD in Sydney in 1880. As Emma HEYWARD she was linked to the family of William and Catherine BLAKE when she and her sister, Leah GRACE, placed an In Memoriam for their father in 1887.63 Emma and Frederick had four children before Frederick's death in 1901. Their eldest son, Frederick, drowned in an accident two years later. As Emma HEYWARD she probably remarried William J. JOHNSON in 1910.64 No further marriages can be confirmed but Funeral Notices placed by her son, Ernest HEYWARD, and her then husband, William KEMP, identified her death.65 Emma died in Sydney as Emily Charlotte KEMP in February 1925. She was buried with her first husband Frederick HAYWOOD [sic] in the Church of England Cemetery at Rookwood on 18 February 1925.66

Sarah Jane BLAKE

The Newcastle inmate, Sarah Jane BLAKE, had been born in about 1854. This name and age exactly match the daughters of both William BLAKE and of John BLAKE.

Sarah Jane was fourteen when she and four other girls, Mary Ann O'HARE, Sarah McDUFF and Amelia and Sarah Jane JOHNSON were brought to court on 8 October 1869, charged under the Industrial Schools Act.67 Constable THOMPSON stated that between seven and eight o'clock the previous night he had found the five girls in York Street. One of them had complained to him that they were all leading bad lives and sleeping out. They told him that they had left their homes on Sunday night and had slept somewhere in Sussex Street that night. They then spent Monday and Tuesday nights in a house in Hay Street. On Wednesday night they went to Ivory's stables in Bourke Street, Surry Hills, where they were going to sleep with a jockey but were turned out by the police. They promised that they would go home but instead they passed the rest of the night in an empty kitchen in Kelly's Lane.

Sarah’s unnamed mother68 appeared in court and stated that she had no control over her daughter. All five girls were ordered to Newcastle and the bench stated that they were of the opinion that the whole of the blame of their present position rested with their parents. The girls were admitted to Newcastle on 9 October 1869.69 Sarah Jane's name would have appeared on the first page of the section of the Entrance Book that has not survived and for this reason no information about either her family, religion, education or discharge can be identified using this source. No parents were identified in newspaper reports of her court appearance.70 Letters in the CSIL clearly identified that the Newcastle inmate's full name was Sarah Jane BLAKE71 but no correspondence yet found identified her parents or their address.

On 3 January 1871, CLARKE arranged a two-year-apprenticeship for Sarah Jane with Frederick WILSON, a farmer, of Nulla Nulla, near Hinton near Maitland. She was to be paid six shillings a week for the first year and seven shillings a week for the second year. He stated that Sarah was 'a smart, active girl with considerable intelligence.'72 This apprenticeship to WILSON did not go ahead because Sarah Jane was involved in the rioting in early January. On 2 April 1871, shortly before the transfer of the school to Biloela, Sarah's unnamed parents appealed to the Central Police Court and requested that she be returned home. A letter from Dugald CAMERON, of 138 Sussex Street, an acquaintance of her family, stated73

I have known the bearer, Mrs Blake, for the past four years also her husband Mr Blake and have known them to be very respectable steady people Also their daughter Sarah Jane Blake to be a steady and respectable girl I was truly sorry when I was informed of the circumstance of her being sent to Newcastle I trust ere This she has repeanted of her Misconduct and her sorrowing parents pray your Intercession for her return home to them trusting That this appeal may not be In vain.

The court was unable to do anything with this correspondence and the bench directed that the appeal be made directly to the Colonial Secretary. Notations on CAMERON's letter, written on 5 May, indicated that Sarah had been apprenticed and that her parents could be informed and could be told where she was located. During this period of negotiating, the new superintendent, LUCAS apprenticed Sarah Jane to Robert STEWART. STEWART and his family lived at Temple Court, Murrurundi.74 This apprenticeship began on 13 April 1871, just days before the transfer to Biloela,75 and was confirmed in LUCAS's subsequent report.76 He described Sarah Jane as:

over sixteen years of age and who is I think one of the best working Girls in the Institution and I should be glad to see her get a comfortable situation. I believe that she was going out in December last but she got mixed up in a riot at that time since which her conduct has been very Good.77

Because this was one of the last Newcastle apprenticeships arranged, by the time Sarah Jane left the school LUCAS had already recorded her as a fourteen-year-old Catholic on one list of girls who were to transfer to Biloela. He subsequently crossed out her name and added the notation 'apprenticed' to the transfer list so she was only recorded on one of the lists of girls sent to Biloela.78

No trace of Sarah Jane can be confirmed after 13 April 1871, but subsequent events very strongly suggest that she returned to Sydney. There is nothing yet found to identify which Sarah Jane BLAKE she was and it is unknown whether the Newcastle girl became wilder or settled completely. The added complication regards the accuracy of statements made by LUCAS. His assessments as reported to the Colonial Secretary cannot be guaranteed as his responses concerning behaviour tended in later to be generic and could even be considered to be expediently made to ensure that the apprenticeship of a badly behaved inmate was not questioned. It may be however that in this case they were accurate.

Who was Sarah Jane?
The girl admitted to Newcastle was one of two girls of this name who were born in Sydney in about 1855. She was almost certainly either the sister of or the cousin of the Emma BLAKE admitted to Biloela in 1876. Both girls would generally match the few general descriptions attributed to Sarah and her family in the records for Newcastle in the CSIL. The general statement made by Dugald CAMERON in 1871 that indicated that Sarah Jane and her family were respectable and steady would have been true at that time for either girl as their fathers were brothers.79

Sarah Jane BLAKE (Daughter of William and Catherine)

Husband unknown b. m. d.
Son Alfred T. BLAKE b. 187380 m. d. 196681

Sarah Jane BLAKE was the sister of Emma BLAKE and the daughter of William BLAKE and his wife, Catherine McNABOE. Family Search recorded that her mother was Catherine McVAVEN and her baptism on 22 July 1855, at St James Cumberland, occurred as Serah Jane [sic] BLAKE.82 This record is not indexed on the NSW BDM Index but can be located on the 'V' reels at NSW Baptism: V1855248 72/1855. This was a Catholic record from St James, Cumberland.

Sarah Jane BLAKE was was baptised on 22 July 1855,83 the and was the daughter of William BLAKE and Catherien McNABOE. Sarah Jane had been born on 26 January 1855, and had been baptised by J. E. GOURBELLION. The record clearly indicated that her mother was Catherine McNAVIN. This record is a transcription of the original register and this register has not been cited. This religion is the same as the one attributed to Sarah Jane by LUCAS in his April 1872 list of inmates. It is unknown whether Sarah Jane's apprenticeship from Newcastle with Robert STEWART was ever completed so it is possible that she returned quickly to Sydney.

It is believed that Sarah Jane was the girl appearing often in the Sydney courts, gaols and newspapers between 1871 and 1878. She was almost certainly Emma BLAKE's sister and was linked by name and relationship to Emma in at least two court appearances prior to September 1876 when Emma was arrested and admitted to Biloela. Although she was also reported as Sarah, she had exactly the same name and age as the girl discharged from Newcastle on 13 April 1871. This woman cannot have been the cousin of Emma BLAKE who married James Watson DENNIS as this girl was imprisoned in Darlinghurst Gaol on 5 June 1877, and remained there at least until 12 June 1877.84 The marriage to James Watson DENNIS took place on 9 June 1877.

On 6 August 1874, Sarah Jane BLAKE was a witness in the trial for her 14-year-old sister, Emma. Emma was charged with riotous behaviour85 and newspapers documented the relationship between the two girls.86 On 29 April 1875, Sarah was sent to gaol for seven days for using obscene language in Miller's Road87 and was also the 21-year-old who appeared in court on 28 October 1875, charged with drunkenness.88 She and Emma again appeared together at a further trial for theft in August 1876.89 Sarah Jane was tried for theft at the Quarter Sessions in Sydney on 30 July 1877,90 after first appearing in court on 5 June.91 She was sentenced to four months hard labour in Darlinghurst Gaol.92 The Police Gazette confirmed that the woman released from Darlinghurst at the conclusion of this imprisonment was a Native of the Colony born in 1853[?].93 She had brown hair and blue eyes.94

The following gaol admissions to Darlinghurst Gaol identify further admissions for Sarah Jane. She was:

tried 9 February 1876 at CPO for drunkenness
tried 6 March 1876 at CPO for drunkenness
tried 6 June 1876 at CPO for indecent language
tried 18 September 1876 at CPO for drunkenness
tried 31 May 1877 at CPO for drunkenness
tried 5 June 187795 at CPO for stealing from the person from William Rennie96
tried 1 December 1877 at CPO for drunkenness
tried 11 April 1878 at CPO for being riotous

It is almost without doubt that this was the same Sarah J. BLAKE who delivered the illegitimate son, Alfred Thomas BLAKE, in Sydney in 1873 and who was stealing to survive. Sarah Jane had been involved in a larceny and had requested money to care for her child. She appeared in the Central Police Court on 5 June 1877, and was eventually tried for theft at the Quarter Sessions in Sydney on 30 July 1877,97 where she was sentenced to four months hard labour in Darlinghurst Gaol.98 Sarah Jane was imprisoned whilst awaiting trial. It is thought that she was lying when she stated that the child was still in her care.99 It was about the time that Alfred was probably admitted for a second time to the Benevolent Asylum.

Alfred Thomas BLAKE can first be found entering the Benevolent Asylum at the age of seven on 3 March 1876. He was recorded leaving the asylum twice. Records suggested that he was admitted on 21 August 1877, however this may be a duplication as Alfred was also recorded as having been discharged from the Benevolent Asylum on 21 August 1878. He appeared in the records of the Randwick Asylum that same day. The Randwick records indicated that Alfred had been deserted by his mother and was nearly eight years old. Alfred's mother, Sarah Jane, cannot be traced from this time. On 21 June 1884, as a sixteen year old, Alfred was apprenticed to Mr. Owen SULLIVAN of Scone. In April 1888, Alfred Thomas BLAKE, described as an apprentice from the Randwick Asylum, was tried in Maitland Court for an indecent assault on Margaret, the three year old daughter of SULLIVAN.100 In September 1891, Alfred, now working at Glen Innes, adverised in an attempt to find his parents.101 Alfred died in 1966.

No confirmation of a girl named Sarah BLAKE or Sarah Jane BLAKE has yet been found in Trove after 1877, strongly suggesting that by this time she had married or assumed another name.

Where has She Gone?

There have been no unaccounted marriages made that could refer to Sarah. She was not the wife of Robert A. DALLEN, who died in 1949. She was not the wife of Cuthbert RICHARDSON who died in 1940. There are only six deaths of a Sarah BLAKE between 1878 and 1940 and none suit this woman except possibly the death in Newcastle in 1895 where both parents were unknown.

No gaol records on ancestry have yet been found that identify Sarah after 1878.

The Sarah BLAKE who was the victim of a robbery in 1879102 has not been identified and may be the Newcastle admission as she can't be either the girl who married James DENNIS or the girl who married Cuthbert RICHARDSON.

Sarah is unlikely to have been the Sarah BLAKE or BATHIN who appeared court for being drunk and disorderly in the SMH on 3 December 1877. This woman was to have been admitted to prison if she didn’t pay this fine. She may however be the wife of Thomas BLAKE nee BALFE who was advertised for as the next of kin of Thomas BLAKE whose father was from Glenloe Abbey near Galway, in 1902 and 1904.103 This family had arrived in about 1880 and were almost certainly not connected.

Sarah Jane BLAKE (Daughter of John and Margaret)

Sarah Jane BLAKE, the cousin of Emma BLAKE, was the daughter of John BLAKE and Margaret KING. It is still possible that she was the girl who had been sent to Newcastle as she was the correct age and could have completed her apprenticeship and returned to her family in time to marry.

Father John Matthew BLAKE b.c. 1816104 m. 1853105 d. 1888106
Mother Margaret KING b.c. 1833107 m. 1853 d. 1889108
Brother James BLAKE b. 1854109 m. none - d. 1863110
Inmate Sarah Jane BLAKE b.c. 1855111 m. (see below) d. 1949112
Brother William BLAKE b. 1854113 m. none - d. 1863114
Sister Emma BLAKE b. 1862115 m. none - d. 1863116
Brother John M. BLAKE b. 1864117 m. d. 1936118
Husband James Watson DENNIS b. m. 1877119 d. 1928120
Daughter Ada DENNIS b. 1878121 m. 1902 George William HOWE122 d.
Son Willie DENNIS b. 1880123 m. d. 1959124
Daughter Maggie DENNIS b. 1882125 m. d. 1949126
Son James DENNIS127 b. 1883128 m. d. 1889129
Son Thomas DENNIS b. 1885130 m. d.
Son John DENNIS b. 1887131 m. d. 1957132
Daughter Nellie DENNIS b. 1889133 m. d.
Son James DENNIS b. 1891134 m. d. 1963135
Daughter Alice DENNIS136 b. 1893137 m. none - d. 1894138
Daughter Alice Ruby DENNIS139 b. 1894140 m. 1920141 Oliver L. R. McCANCE d.
Daughter Mabel DENNIS142 b. 1898143 m. 1923144 Michael J. KELLY d. 1926145

Although no baptism for Sarah Jane has been recorded, her parents were identified on her marriage registration as John Matthew BLAKE and Margaret KING. John BLAKE and Margaret KING had married in Sydney in 1853. It is remotely possible that Sarah Jane's baptism was recorded as Jane BLAKE146 and it had occurred on the same day as that of her younger brother, William.147 The complication is that there is also an 1854 baptism for a James, the son of John and Margaret BLAKE so it is possible that the baptisms for James and Jane referred to the same child and that one was an error on the NSW BDM Index. The baptism of James148 indicated that his father was a labourer of Sussex Street and he had been born on 13 July 1854, and had been baptised on 17 September by W. H. WHITE of the St Lawrence Parish, Sydney. His name was clearly recorded. Because the other baptisms cannot be read it cannot be confirmed whether the name on the other record was James or Jane or whether they were from the same family although, as they were consecutive baptisms, it is thought that this was the case. While the baptism of James matched the known age of Sarah Jane, it cannot be ascertained whether this baptism belonged to her.

In 1863 the family was living at 53 Woolloomooloo Street149 when Sarah's brother, William, died150 and when Emma died at the age of 19 months on 18 September 1863, their abode was described as Woolloolooloo.151 The only surviving children of the family were likely to have been Sarah Jane and her brother, John.

John was from Manchester, England, and his brothers, James and William BLAKE, were also in Sydney. John may have been a grocer and fruiterer.152 John BLAKE died on 9 April 1888, at the age of 72.153 His parents were recorded on the NSW BDM Index as James and Jane.154 John was buried at Haslem's Creek155 in the Church of England Cemetery. His headstone recorded that he had been born in Manchester on 6 August 1816.156 This religion disagreed with the one dubious record for Sarah Jane's religion. She had been identified on one record as a Catholic. This may however be an indication that she was not the Newcastle admission but this is unclear due to doubts about LUCAS's transcription.

Margaret died on 8 May 1889, at the reported age of 56157 so she had been born in about 1833. Her parents were identified on the NSW BDM Index as Patrick and Margaret. Margaret was also buried in the Church of England Cemetery, Rookwood.158

The Margaret BLAKE who often appeared twice in gaol records in Sydney and Goulburn was born between 1829 and 1838. She stated that she had arrived on the Cornwall or Duke of Cornwall. She also went by an alias of CONROY or CONWAY159 but there is no evidence that this may be a reference to Sarah Jane's mother.

Sarah's brother was recorded as John M. BLAKE in the In Memoriam notice.160 The 'M' may refer to Mackee.161 John M. BLAKE possibly married Louisa REALPH in Gosford in 1892162 however this is still unconfirmed. He was still alive in 1928163 and died in March 1936.164

Sarah married James Watson DENNIS on 9 June 1877, while the other girl of this name was in Darlinghurst Gaol. The witnesses were James BALLANTINE and Jane DENNIS. A Family Notice was published.

Sarah Jane BLAKE, the only daughter of John BLAKE of Harbour Street, Sydney, married James Watson DENNIS, the third son of Thomas DENNIS.165

Sarah Jane and John had eleven children. As Mrs James DENNIS, Sarah Jane was identified in the Funeral Notice and the In Memoriam placed for her father, John BLAKE, on 10 April 1888,166 and again on 9 April 1889.167 In 1880 James and Sarah DENNIS lived in Union Street, Pyrmont.168 When Sarah's son, James Watson DENNIS, died in 1890, her brother, John, placed a Family Notice in the paper further confirming the death of their mother the previous year.169

James Watson DENNIS died on 22 January 1928.170 The family had moved from Pyrmont to Yarra Bay some years earlier. Sarah DENNIS died at the age of 95 on 2 September 1949.171 At this time, all her children, including those who were deceased as babies were listed.

DENNIS, Sarah Jane.—September 2, 1949, passed away peacefully, at her daughter's (Mrs. Ruby McCance) residence, 968a Anzac Parade, Maroubra Junction, relict of James Watson Dennis, and dearly loved mother of Ada (Mrs. Howe), Will, James (deceased), Maggie, Tom, Jack, Nellie (Mrs. J. Mitchell), Jim, Alice (deceased), Ruby (Mrs. O. McCance), Mabel (deceased), and loved mother-in-law of Ettie (Mrs. W. W. (Dennis), Jennie (Mrs. T. S. Dennis), Lil (Mrs. J. H. Dennis), Jim, Florrie (Mrs. J. A. Dennis) and Olly McCance, and leaving 22 grandchildren and 26 great-grandchildren, and loving sister-in-law of Jennie Ballantyne, in her 96th year.

Note: Should anyone have any further suggestions about the ancestry of either girl that has not been identified here, please contact the author. It has not yet been possible to ascertain whether these two girls were sisters or cousins but they were almost without any doubt related. The biographies of both girls have been included on this page to provide reference and opportunities to compare, contrast and consider. On the balance of probability Emma and Sarah Jane were sisters and the daughters of William and Catherine BLAKE but no proof for this has yet been located.

Updated September 2016

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