Name Variations BOSWORTH1
Father b. m. d.
Mother b. m. d.
Brother b. m. d.
Sister b. m. d.
Inmate Sarah BOSWELL b.c. 1854 m. 18912 (see below) d. aft. 18743
Husband unknown b. m. d.
Son William BOSWELL b. 18734 m. d. aft.18755
Son William James BOSWELL b. 18746 m. d.

Note: If this biography is read by any of the potential families mentioned below, it would be appreciated if they could make contact with this researcher to see if the tangled lines outlined below can be clarified.

Sarah was admitted to Newcastle on 22 November 1870.7 Her admission details appeared in the missing section of the Entrance Book so her family, religion, education and discharge details cannot be confirmed using this record. Sarah wasn't identified in the Police Gazette for either 1870 or 1871. CLARKE made no record of any admissions in his report for this particular week in November so there is no reference to either Sarah's arrest location or place of trial in his letter book. The location of her arrest and subsequent trial are unknown and she remains one of only two inmates of the school whose trial location remains unidentified. The April 1872 list8 compiled by LUCAS, which did contain other transcription errors,9 had incorrectly recorded Sarah’s surname as BOSWORTH but the transfer list10 and LUCAS’s report of 26 December 1871, where he was reporting on only four girls, confirmed that her surname was BOSWELL.11

Sarah transferred with the school to Biloela in May 1871. The transfer list named the older girls who made this transfer to the island and identified that Sarah was a Catholic who had been born in about 1855. On 26 September 1871 whilst suffering from a severe toothache, Sarah accidentally set fire to the Biloela Number 5 Dormitory. LUCAS reported the incident to the Colonial Secretary but indicated that he believed Sarah's account that the incident was accidental.12 On 12 December 1871, after spending about six months at the school in Newcastle and a further six months on Biloela, Sarah was discharged to Mr. W. TULLY of Gundaroo.13 Further details of her apprenticeship were contained in the letter written by LUCAS when requesting permission to make the appointment. TULLY of Newington, Gundaroo, agreed to pay Sarah a shilling a week for her first year and this pay was to increase by a shilling a year for each year of her apprenticeship. LUCAS stated that Sarah's conduct had been uniformly good.14 His letter did not identify Sarah's initial arrest location but confirmed that she had been in the school since November 1870. Sarah was almost certainly still working for TULLY when she appeared as a witness in a court case in May 1873.15 Her apprenticeship with TULLY would have ended in about December 1874 but it is unknown whether this apprenticeship was completed and if it was, whether Sarah remained in the area around Gundaroo.

It is almost entirely certain that Sarah was the mother of two illegitimate sons whose births were registered at Queanbeyan. These births have been attributed to her. Sarah's first son, registered as William BOSWELL, had been born in 1873. On 26 December 1874, another son, registered as William James BOSWELL, was subsequently born. His birth registration specified that he had been born at Newington, Gundaroo – an exact match for the apprenticeship location of the Newcastle admission. The registration confirmed that William James had an older brother who was still alive but this older child was unnamed on the record. Sarah was nineteen years old and her birth year was calculated as 1855 – an exact match for the Newcastle admission. Sarah stated on this registration that she had been born in Gundaroo. While this may be an error made when she registered her son, this location can't be proved to be incorrect and must therefore be considered to be the truth.

The fate of Sarah BOSWELL and her sons may be solved if her initial trial location can be verified as reports may help to accurately identify a parent or her family. No confirmation of the Newcastle admission has been made after December 1874. It is unknown whether she remained in the Gundaroo/Queanbeyan area.


It is uncertain whether Sarah's birth or baptism was recorded on the NSW BDM Index. Currently her family, their original location and her trial location remain unconfirmed. Based on her statement on the 1874 birth registration of her son, William James, she had been born in Gundaroo in about 1855 and this record verified the records of the industrial school so there is almost no doubt that the Newington apprentice was the mother to the two boys named William.

It was common for the Government to return a girl to the same, a nearby or a similar location to that of her trial so it is possible that Sarah's initial trial in 1870 was in Cooma, Goulburn, Campbelltown or even other localities in far western Sydney. To date no reports of any admissions to Newcastle have been located for any girl from the Parramatta or Penrith courts, nor have any from this area been documented in the Police Gazette. It may be that an as yet unread letter from the CSIL will locate Sarah's trial location or will indicate whether a specific request was made for her to be apprenticed to the Gundaroo area.

Who was Sarah Boswell?
Extensive searching has failed to locate any trial that would assist in the clarification of the identity of either Sarah BOSWELL or her family. No trial location or family details are confirmed. The only accurate link to Sarah occurred with the births of her two sons in Newington, Gundaroo, after her discharge from Newcastle. The following information outlines two possible families and eventually some proof may be found that one of the links suggested below is correct.

It is also conceivable that the two families outlined below were connected by extended family ties and that Sarah was a child of the couple in Family 1 who went to live with extended family in the Queanbeyan area or who had actually been born in Gundaroo before returning to her mother's home in Parramatta. It may be that further information or connections will be made as more papers from this area are scanned into Trove or as further records are located.

Family 1:

Father Joseph DURDEN b. m. (1) d.
Father William BOSWELL b. m. (2) d.
Mother Mary SWEENEY b. 1817 m. (1) (2) d. 188816
Brother b. m. d.
Sister b. m. d.
Inmate Sarah BOSWELL b.c. 1854 m. 189117 (see below) d. aft. 187418
Husband Thomas TIBBETT b. m. 187819 d.
Daughter Gertrude aka Mary Gertrude TIBBET b. 188420 m. 189921 Sydney SHERWOOD d.
Son unnamed TIBBET b. 188722 m. none - d.23
Daughter Daisy May TIBBETT b. unknown m. none - d. 191024
Son William Thomas Leslie TEBBITT b. 189425 m. 191626 Esther E. PASKIN d.

If Sarah had originally been arrested in Parramatta or the western Sydney area then it would seem very likely that she belonged to Family 1 and may have returned to this area after the birth of her two sons where she subsequently married and settled. While it is not proof that the Sarah BOSWELL outlined here was the Newcastle admission, there are two compelling indications that she may have been.

Firstly, frequent court appearances and gaol admissions for one or both of the parents of admissions were a common indicator in the lives of other girls who had been admitted to Newcastle. Sarah's parents were still alive and this arrest pattern, particularly with her mother, strongly suggested that this girl was the Newcastle admission. In addition, significant circumstantial evidence that the Newcastle admission was the child living in Parramatta can be found in the Parramatta church record for the marriage of Sarah BOSWELL to Thomas TIPPETT. This record identified that her father was a gold digger and the closest locations for prospecting to Parramatta were the gold mining areas in the Monaro. The auriferous leases are yet to be viewed to see if a lease remains for William BOSWELL in the Monaro area. For these reasons it is believed that there are very strong indications that the Newcastle admission was the girl from Family 1.

According to his age when he died in Parramatta in 1885, William BOSWELL married Mary DURDEN née SWEENEY in 1857. This marriage resulted in the birth of a daughter, Sarah BOSWELL, who had been born that same year.

William's brother, Charles, also settled in NSW but further members of this family haven't been tracked. It may be coincidence that these two families frequented the area around Parramatta but there may also be some connection – although none has been found. William BOSWELL the younger very likely moved to Parramata, married Mary SWEENEY and died in Parramatta in 1885.27 His death registration has not been viewed and the NSW BDM Index recorded that his parents were William and Elizabeth, matching the parents of the man who arrived in Port Phillip in 1849 but the burial record at St John's Church Parramatta indicated that this man died at the age of 74 years.

Mary SWEENEY had been transported for seven years aboard the Margaret. In 1838, at the age of 21, she married Joseph DURDEN.28 Joseph had a Ticket of Leave, was 27 and had been transported for seven years aboard the Heroine. Permission to marry for this couple was granted by Henry BOBART on 17 August 1838, with the provision that

[t]he consent of the Visiting Justice is necessary which must be obtained before the ceremony is performed.

The baptisms of four children were subsequently registered – William DURDEN,29 James DURDEN,30 Joseph DURDON,31 Mary Jane32 DURDON33 and Martha E. DURDAN.34 Martha died in 184335 Joseph junior died in September 184836 and William died in Helensburgh in 189837 Mary J. DURDON married Joseph NORFORD in 187338 and died in 1876.39 Joseph senior died in 1854 at the reported age of 36.40

At Parramatta in 1857, Mary DURDEN remarried William BOSWELL. William's surname was erroneously transcribed in the NSW BDM Index as BOUVILL.41 In 1857 the birth of their daughter, Sarah, was registered. In June 1865 Mary BOSWELL alias DURDEN, appeared in court charged with stealing oranges.42 She was admitted to gaol in 1868 and the Darlinghurst records confirmed that her ship of arrival had been the Margaret. No trial details have yet been located for this gaol admission. It is possible to track Mary SWEENEY through the NSW BDM Index and by compiling other records. Mary died at the age of 68 in Parramatta in 1888.43

Sarah Margaret BOSWELL's birth was registered in Parramatta in 1857 as Sarah M. BOSWITH. She married Thomas TIBBETT44 in Parramatta on 7 May 1878,45 and the marriage registration confirmed that she was the daughter of William BOSWELL and Mary SWEENEY. The record only indicated that she had been born in NSW. A registration made in Parramatta is not proof that a child had been born in Parramatta so it is possible that the actual birth registration would identify a specific place of birth. This registration has not been viewed.

Thomas and Sarah TEBBITT had four children Gertrude, Daisy May, William Thomas Leslie and one boy who had died by 1895.46 Two of these children were registered in the Central Cumberland area. This potential family is outlined below.

While this Sarah BOSWORTH's birth was registered in 1857, by the time of her death as Sarah TEBBET in Blacktown on 10 May 1895,47 it was recorded that she had been born in 185548 in Parramatta. Sarah was buried in the Church of England section of Prospect Cemetery.49 Thomas died in 192550 as Thomas TEBBET and his obituary confirmed that he had outlived his wife.51

The wife of Thomas TIBBETT was almost without any doubt the nine-year-old52 child, Sarah53 aka Mary54 BOSWELL, who in 1866 was 'under the age of ten' when she was assaulted by James BURNS in Parramatta.55 BURNS was found not guilty.56 No parents or siblings were identified in any reports but newspapers did identify that Sarah had an older sister.57 This older 'sister' was almost certainly Sarah's half-sister, Mary Jane DURDEN, who was to eventually marry Joseph NORFORD. There is little doubt that this child's mother was Mary BOSWELL née SWEENEY who had often appeared in the Parramatta courts for various offences prior to this attack.

There are two complications with attributing these parents to the Sarah BOSWELL who was admitted to Newcastle. Firstly, although at this time period in NSW two years is a small age difference, the age of Sarah BOSWELL, the daughter of William and Mary, is younger than the age recorded for the Newcastle girl. Secondly, Thomas and Sarah had a son, named William Thomas Leslie TIBBETT who had been born in 1894. If Sarah TIBBETT is the Newcastle girl, two older half-brothers, also named William had been born and no trace of these men has been confirmed. While they do not appear on Sarah TEBBET's death registration, this does not confirm that they were not her sons as children of first relationships are occasionally omitted from the registration made by a connection to the family of the second relationship.

Family 2:
If Sarah had been arrested in 1870 in the Queanbeyan area it is considered likely that she belonged to Family 2.

The BOSWELL name was important in the area around Gundaroo as the Goulburn papers reported that a William BOSWELL was resident in this area during the 1860s. This man was William Alexander BOSWELL who had moved to the Gundaroo area near Queanbeyan sometime before 186558 when he married Martha Matilda ELLIOTT.59 Online trees indicated that William had been born in Parramatta in 183760 to George BOSWELL and Emma Jane aka Jane née SCULLY.61 George had been transported on the Hercules and Emma Jane had been born in NSW.62 Emma Jane can't be located on the 1828C but it may be that she was in fact recorded there as the thirteen-year-old Jane SCULLY who stated that she had arrived free aboard the Matilda. George BOSWELL had been born and tried in London63 and had died in 1843.64 Jane aka Emma Jane died in Parramatta in 1878 – well after her son had moved from the Parramatta area.65

Might Sarah be the daughter of one of William's siblings? Could it be that she was the illegitimate child of William Alexander BOSWELL and an unidentified woman and that her step-mother was Martha Matilda ELLIOTT? It is interesting that while William died in Queanbeyan in 1900,66 his widow, Martha, died in Parramatta in 1934.67 There was no indication in Martha's Funeral Notice68 that there was any connection to the BOSWELL family of Parramatta outlined above.

It may be that the following BOSWELL family was connected. In 1849 a BOSWELL family from Norham, Scotland,69 arrived in Port Phillip, Victoria, aboard the Andromache. They were William (b. 1806) and Elizabeth BOSWELL (b. 1806) who arrived with their children Anne (b. 1828), John (b. 1830), William (b. 1832), Robert (b. 1834), Charles (1836 – 1905), Margaret (b. 1849) and George (b. 1846). PROV records for the Andromache indicated that the three older boys were planning to work at Barrabool Hills70 west of Geelong. There were no relatives in Australia mentioned on any of the PROV records.

Where has She Gone?

Sarah was almost certainly not the mother of the William James BOSWELL who married Ada HODGES in Cowra in 1905 but compelling similarities exist between the two women. The difficult, extensive and well-documented research undertaken by descendants of William James BOSWELL indicated that he had been born in Albury and that his parents were George and Sarah BOSWELL née ARNOLD. William's marriage certificate recorded that his mother's maiden name was Sarah ARNOLD. He documented that his mother was alive when he married although Ada's mother was marked as deceased. Because Sarah was alive and known to the family, the fate of Sarah ARNOLD is clear. Even if the Newcastle admission had initially appeared in an Albury court in 1870 she could not be this woman as at this time she had not married so had the surname ARNOLD. The Newcastle admission was admitted as BOSWELL. This woman's descendants document that Sarah ARNOLD married George BOSWELL in Yackandandah, Victoria, on 20 January 1873, at the age of fourteen. They then indicate that the marriage didn't last and that Sarah went on to have her son, William, in Gundaroo, some considerable distance away where her husband, George, was omitted from the registration that clearly shows the birth of an illegitimate son.

It is highly unlikely that this family's William James BOSWELL was the same man who was born on 26 December 1874, at Newington, Gundaroo, unless they somehow adopted him using some informal source. If this is their ancestor major inconsistencies exist with his birth registration. What was missing from the 1875 registration is what very strongly suggested that this was not that of their ancestor. The 1875 registration of William James BOSWELL was an illegitimate birth registered by Sarah BOSWELL at Newington, Gundaroo. It identified no father and clearly indicated that Sarah's maiden name and 'married' name were both BOSWELL. While this boy had probably been born after the marriage of Sarah ARNOLD and George BOSWELL, if he was legitimate why was he not recorded as such and why did Sarah neglect to provide her maiden name? The registration further indicated that one other boy had been born before 1874 and that Sarah had been born in Gundaroo. Even if George had abandoned Sarah shortly after their marriage it is considered highly unlikely that she would record the birth of his first child as illegitimate and provide herself with the stigma of being an unmarried mother when this was not the case. There is also no explanation concerning the existence of an older child who had been registered in 1873 and who was also given the name, William. It is not impossible that the couple travelled the approximately three hundred and fifty kilometres between the Albury area and Gundaroo but it is believed that the additional child, the lack of a father and the lack on the record of Sarah's maiden name of ARNOLD are significant reasons for this registration to be incorrect for this family.

A further inconsistency is the difference in nearly five years between the stated ages of Sarah BOSWELL and Sarah ARNOLD. Descendants identify that Sarah ARNOLD had been born at Jindera near Albury in 1859.71 Her parents were forty-year-old Robert ARNOLD and sixteen-year-old Caroline KEENS who had married in Albury in 1858. As Sarah ARNOLD, she married Peter Daniel TUOHY or TOUHY as TUSHEY at Nymagee, NSW,72 at the age of twenty-seven and her parents, Robert and Caroline, were confirmed on the 1891 registration. Peter and Sarah had no children.73 As Sarah TOUHY, she died in Griffith on 26 June 1944. On her death registration her father was recorded as Robert. The record confirmed that she had been born in Albury and that she had married 'BOSWELL' at the age of fourteen. Sarah's death registration identified that she had had three children, William, William James and Mary who had been born in 1881 and was identified on her marriage certificate as the child of George Henry HODGES. Mary stated at the time of her marriage that her mother, Sarah ARNOLD, was deceased which wasn't accurate but can again be easily explained and may also indicate a turbulent family history. The age difference of ten years from Sarah BOSWELL's age at the time of the birth of William James BOSWELL to that recorded for Sarah TOUHY formerly BOSWELL nee ARNOLD can be easily explained so is not necessarily wrong. The death details however are a better match for Sarah ARNOLD who was born in Victoria in 1859 rather than the Sarah BOSWELL who had been sent to Newington, Gundaroo, from Cockatoo Island. No will has been identified for Sarah in SRNSW.

It was reported in The Truth on 27 August 1933 that an illegitimate child had died on the property of P.D. TUOHY. The resulting inquest identified the child as 'Forbes baby' and was a premature birth.74 The resulting death registration identified that the child was James R. FORBES75 whose mother was Alice J. FORBES who was barely fourteen. This record identified that Alice was 'distantly related' to Sarah TUOMY who gave evidence at the inquest76 and that Alice's grandmother was living on the property.77

It is only possible for this woman to be the Newcastle girl if she was married at the age of fourteen and was admitted to Newcastle in 1870 from Albury under her married name. As she married in 1873 this is highly unlikely. If this was the case she would actually be recorded in correspondence as Sarah ARNOLD but no mentions for an appropriate Sarah ARNOLD have been found in the Police Gazette or the CSIL. There is considerable doubt that Sarah TOUHY née ARNOLD formerly BOSWELL and the Sarah BOSWELL who was admitted to Newcastle are the same person. There is also considerable doubt that the man born in Gundaroo in 1875 was the man who married in Cowra in 1905.

Sarah was not the daughter of James and Rebecca BOSWELL of Mudgee as the child of this couple died in 1861. Sarah can't have married Charles WALL in Wagga Wagga as well as been the mother to illegitimate sons in 1873 and 1875. In addition, Sarah WALL née BOSWELL had family in the Wagga Wagga area. One online tree indicated that she was working as an apprentice in 1871 in an unlocated78 infirmary,79 further indicating that she was not the woman admitted to Newcastle. Online trees and family researchers80 of Charles and Sarah WALL identify that this Sarah had been born in England and her parents were Eli and Sophia BOSWELL.

Updated November 2018

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