Name Variations CHENEY, CHINNEY
Father Barney aka Bernard aka Barnet CHANEY b.c. 17961 m. 18472 d. 18583
Mother Mary alias Jane FLANNERY b. 18424 m. 1847 d. aft. 18865
Sister Mary Theresa CHENEY b. 18446 m. 18837 Michael RALEIGH8 d. 19039
Sister Jane CHANEY b. 184610 m. (1) 186511 (2) 187412 (1) Henry Lawless13 BYRNES (2) Edward DOWER d. 191414
Brother Robert CHINNEY b. 184815 m. 188416 Ellen aka Helen MACDONALD née TAYLOR17 d. 192118
Inmate Ann CHANEY b. 185019 m. (see below) d. aft. 1884
Husband unknown b. m. d.
Daughter Ethel P. CHENEY b. 188420 m. d.
Relationship Name Age Height Hair Eyes Complexion Build Distinguishing features
Father Barney21 20 5' 5" black dark dark ruddy

Annie appeared in the Sydney Central Police Court on warrant on 5 September 1867, as Ann CHINNEY. She was described in court as 'an exceedingly well-conducted girl.'22 She lived with her mother, who wasn’t named but was described as a widow who kept a boarding house in Castlereagh Street, Sydney. Annie was admitted to Newcastle on 10 September 1867, and was recorded in the Entrance Book as Annie CHANEY. She was a Catholic and her educational level was 'sequel number 2 small hand.'23 Annie’s medical assessment by Dr HARRIS showed that she was a virgin.24 According to her mother's statement to constable LARKINS, at the time of Annie's admission to Newcastle, she was 15 years and 6 months however, this age is not supported by her baptism record from 1850. Her baptism clearly recorded that Annie was already seventeen and should not have been admitted to the school, therefore her arrest had been illegal under the Act. At the age of nine in 1859, Annie appeared in the records of the Roman Catholic Orphan School.25 Although another newspaper report made at the time of her arrest described Annie’s mother as a reputed prostitute26 and stated that her house was a resort for persons of ill fame, In his letter to the Colonial Secretary on 1 August 1870, CLARKE stated that the charge recorded against Annie was for having no lawful or visible means of support rather than associating with prostitutes.

On 12 October 1867, Jane, Annie’s mother, wrote to the Colonial Secretary from 6 Hoskins Buildings, Castlereagh Street, politely requesting permission to see her daughter.27 The spelling of her surname in this letter is the spelling that has been adopted in this biography. Jane's letter was forwarded to Agnes KING and presumably permission for the visit was given. Annie's behaviour at the school was recorded as difficult on only one occasion. In her report attached to KING's report to the Colonial Secretary on 18 May 1868, Margaret KELLY indicated that Annie's behaviour in class on one afternoon was very insubordinate.28 KELLY, the teacher commented favourably about Annie's attitude in her teacher's report a couple of months later on 27 July 1868.29 Because she had already turned eighteen, Annie was the first girl discharged by CLARKE after his arrival in Newcastle. A request to take Annie into service had been made to CLARKE from the wife of T. COHEN and because she was already eighteen the Crown Law Office were eager to have her discharged. At the time the Colonial Secretary suggested that:

Mr Clarke might be instructed to induce her to take the situation under Mrs Cohen, as that lady has expressed her willingness to engage her – also to provide her with two sets of clothes and a prayer book of her own church.30

Because of her age Annie was not discharged as an apprentice but went into service from the school to Mr T. COHEN, in Newcastle, on 11 December 1868.31 In August 1870, CLARKE reported that Annie had left Newcastle and was in service with a tailor in Bathurst Street, Sydney.32 While she was recorded on the April 1872 list compiled by LUCAS, he provided no additional information about her.33

It may be that the woman named Mary Jane CHEANEY who was the victim of a robbery in 1872 and who was working as a servant of Mr HOLDSWORTH of Manly Beach is a reference to Annie.34

The illegitimate birth in 1884 of Ethel P. CHENEY has been attributed to Annie but no appropriate death or marriage has yet been found for either Annie or Ethel CHANEY (or variations) in NSW and no further trace of her has been confirmed. No death for Ethel with a mother named Ann (or variations) has been found between 1884 and 1886. No reference to Annie has yet been found in any of the Funeral Notices for her brother or sisters, Mary and Jane – although there is also no reference to her brother, Robert CHENEY, in these announcements and he was known to still be alive. No record has yet been found in the online Benevolent Asylum index that may possibly refer to Annie.


Annie was the youngest child of Jane FLANNERY and Bernard CHENEY who married on 22 November 1847, in St Mary’s Catholic Church, Sydney.35 Both were from Sydney. Bernard signed the register as Barney. The witnesses were John KELLY and Margaret Ann (X) KELLY, although the NSW BDM transcription also recorded an alternate name of Mary Ann KELLY for her. Three older children were baptised for the couple before Ann’s birth on 8 November 1850. Annie’s baptism on 5 December 1850, was recorded in the St. James, Sydney, Roman Catholic register.

Barney was the convict who had arrived in Sydney in 1819 aboard the Malabar. He was a butcher from London.36 Barney was also referred to as Bernard. Between 1845 and 1852 he was recorded in the historic electoral rolls with a dwelling house in Cumberland Street, Sydney.37 Barney appeared in court in 1853 for a trivial offence and was let off with a warning.38 A court appearance in December 1856 located the family in Princes Street, Sydney. By 1856, the family was under financial stress as Bernard CHENEY hadn’t worked for about three months. Jane took him to court to respond to his neglect of his family. She stated that she had four children and had been providing for them herself by selling things. CHENEY said:

he was willing to work if he could get employment. He had been 9 years a journeyman, and 21 years a tenant under one person, and it was well known he had been in good circumstances, and that his wife – who led him a bad life – had brought him down and been the ruin of himself and family by her conduct. The case was adjourned for a fortnight, and the unfortunate man was warned to seek work and look after his family in the meantime.39

Barney was identified him as a butcher of Cumberland Street, Sydney, at the time of his death.40 His death on 16 April 1858,41 was registered as Barnabas CHANEY.42 Barney's death placed pressure on his family and in the years after he died, children were scattered. It is still unknown whether relatives or acquaintances of Barney or Jane cared for them or whether they were sent from various institutions to the locations where they grew up. It may be that some extended family existed in NSW but none that survived have been identified.

No positive identification of Jane FLANNERY has yet been made and no absolute verification of her location has been found after Annie's release from Newcastle in 1868. It is considered very likely that Jane did not arrive with the given name, Jane. A woman named Jane FLANNERY sponsored the arrival of John, Patrick and William FLANNERY in April 1854. When 28-year-old John FLANNERY arrived aboard the Gloriana in 1855, he identified his relation in the colony as his sister, Mrs Mary CHENNY or CHERRY, who was living at Balmain. It is believed that Mary CHENNY or CHERRY was Jane FLANNERY. John's parents were John and Catherine and he had been born in County Clare.43 It may be that this man died in 1856.44 Neither William or Patrick have yet been located arriving on an indent. The arrival of Mary FLANNERY aboard the Woodbridge in 1842 is a very likely arrival of Jane FLANNERY as this woman had been born in County Clare. While this is only circumstantial evidence, it may help explain why Jane is so difficult to find. As a female Irish arrival, it is more likely that her arrival was documented rather than not. If she was John FLANNERY's sister then her parents were John and Catherine FLANNERY.

It is still uncertain whether the following family is connected although it is considered unlikely. In March 1863, a Jane FLANNERY, who cannot be Annie's mother, sponsored the arrival of four people, Elizabeth, John and William FLANNERY and Ellen HOLLOWAY. When Ellen HOLLOWAY and William FLANNERY arrived on the Hotspur in 1863, Ellen identified that her cousin, William FLANNERY, was her relative in the colony but William, who had been born in King's County, Ireland, in 1852, identified that his parents, William and Jane FLANNERY, who were already in NSW, were his relations.45

After Barney died in 1858, there were periods when the children were placed in institutions but it would seem that there were periods when they were returned to their mother. Annie and her brother, Robert, spent some time in the Roman Catholic Orphan School. In September 1864, Mrs CHANEY of 217 Clarence Street, advertised for information concerning Robert.

Robert CHANEY: Some years ago, the above youth, of the age of about fifteen years, was taken from the Parramatta Orphan School. Any person who will forward the said boy to the undersigned will receive the reward of £5, Mrs. CHANEY, 217, Clarence-street.46

No record of Robert has been found in the Orphan School Index. Robert died in Newtown in May 1921.47 It is unknown whether there was any contact between him and any of his sisters. Because Robert lived for some time around Braidwood, it may be that some extended family resided in this area but none has been identified. There is no known connection between members of this CHENEY family with the Robert CHANEY who settled and lived around Wagga Wagga.48 Robert's daughter, Annie Mary49 CHANEY married William Edward OXENFORD in 1902 and lived on the North Coast before returning to Sydney.50

Newspaper reports indicated that in July 1861, the eldest daughter, Mary Theresa, ran away from home. As a result of this, Jane advertised offering a reward for her safe return.51 At this time she was living at 148 Clarence Street, Sydney. It is believed that she went to or was sent to Goulburn and that she was the Mary CHANEY who was advertising the benefits of a concoction made by Dr. MOORE for her epilepsy. This girl, a native of Sydney, had lived in Goulburn for a number of years.52

A Jane CHENEY was admitted to the Benevolent Asylum in early July 1859. Until the records of the Benevolent Asylum have been investigated, it is unknown whether this record refers to a woman or Annie's older sister, Jane. Jane may be identified through Death Notices for Mary RALEIGH53 and Maud Jane Ann JOHNSON54 so it appeared that Mary and Jane remained close. It is unknown where Jane was living after the her father's death but it may be that she had also been placed in one of the orphan schools. When Jane died in Sydney in 1914,55 her parents were recorded on the registration as Bernard and Isabella and it may be that Jane senior adopted this given name. It is unknown whether Jane and Mary maintained contact with Annie.

Jane senior was almost certainly alive and living in Waverley in February 1886 when she placed an apology in the Sydney Morning Herald.

I HEREBY APOLOGISE to Mr. ROBERT WILLIAMS, of McGarvie Street, Paddington, for certain slanderous statements made by me reflecting upon himself and household, and which statements were wholly without foundation; at the same time thanking him for his kindness in withdrawing legal proceedings in the matter.
Isabella-street, Waverley, 19th February, 1886. J. CHANEY. Witness – J. M. FAWL, Solicitor, 96, Elizabeth-street.

It may be that Jane was the Jane CHENEY, referred to in the 1903 Police Gazette as the victim of a theft. This woman was a resident at the Trades Hall Hotel in Sussex Street, Sydney, at the time of the theft.56

Jane can't be the Isabella CHERRY who appeared in courts in June 187857 and was sent to the Government Asylum for the Infirm and Destitute as these records in 1879 indicate that Isabella had been born in Parramatta, had never been married and was Church of England. Isabella CHERRY died in Newington in 1899 at the age of 65.58

Where has She Gone?

Annie hasn't been traced after the birth of Ethel. The Ann CHINEY who was in Darlinghurst and had arrived on the Albatross, may be connected and may possibly be an alternative name for Jane senior. She variously stated her religion as Catholic and Protestant.59 The electoral rolls may find her after 1903 but to date searches have been unsuccessful.

The only death of an Annie with parents Bernard (or variations) and Jane was Annie HANSEN in 193660 and only a daughter, Joan, was mentioned in her Funeral Notice and this couple had married in 1920. This is therefore not the Newcastle admission.

The Annie CHERRY who married Joseph STEEL in Sydney in 1885 is not Annie CHANEY as when she died in 1945 her parents were clearly recorded as George and Mary and online trees indicate that she had been born in about 1861.

The Ethel P. CHANEY who died in 1973 was the wife of Alec E. CHANEY from the Blue Mountains so is not Annie's daughter.

Updated July 2017

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