Fanny Caroline DARLING
Name Variations Frances, Francis
Father John aka Fitzhenry aka Henry aka Frederick DARLING b.c. 18221 m. (1) 18502 (2) unknown d. aft. 18833
Mother Caroline FLYNN b.c. 1830 m. (1) 1850 d. 18664
Step-mother Gabrielle unknown b. m. (2) unknown d. unknown
Sister Eliza Julia DARLING b. 18515 m. 18716 Joseph FINCH d. 18907
Sister Margaret DARLING b. 18528 m. none - d.c. 1853
Brother Hugh DARLING b. m. d.
Inmate Frances Caroline DARLING b. 18559 m. (see below) d. 192510
Sister Grace DARLING b. 185811 m. none - d. 185812
Half-sister Salome DARLING b. 186813 m. none - d. 186814
Husband (1) James JONES b. 185315 m. 187616 d. 190617
Husband (2) George William BENNETT b. 186418 m. 1912 d. 193519
Son Arthur Allen JONES b. 187820 m. d.
Child unnamed JONES b. 188021 m. none - d.c. 1880
Daughter Julia M. JONES b. 188222 m. 189823 Edward Leonard PERRY d. aft. 1905
Daughter Selina M. JONES b. 188424 m. 191325 Joseph C. GEORGE d.
Daughter Venetta C. JONES b. 188626 m. d. 194427
Daughter Frances L. JONES b.c. 1888 m. none - d. 188928
Relationship Name Age Height Hair Eyes Complexion Build Distinguishing features
Father Fitzhenry29 37 5’ 6” black blue tall small make; mole right shoulder; scar over right eye30
Mother Caroline31 31 5’ 0” brown blue

After earlier admissions to the Benevolent Asylum during 1860 and 1861, Frances, recorded usually as Fanny, eventually appeared in court on the afternoon of 14 November 1867, on a warrant issued on the information of Elizabeth Ann SCOTT, of Clarence Street, Sydney, who stated that about two years earlier Fanny’s mother had died in her house and from that time Fanny had lived with her.32 Because Elizabeth was planning to move to Queensland she was now unable to care for Fanny. SCOTT’s statements suggested that only Fanny, and no other children, were with Caroline at the time of her death. SCOTT stated that she believed that Fanny’s father, John Fitz Henry DARLING, was also dead as she had heard nothing from him and no one had ever made an inquiry about Fanny.33 Fanny was admitted to the Newcastle school on 15 November 1867, at the age of thirteen. Her educational level was recorded as 'sequel no. 2' and she was recorded as a Catholic in the Entrance Book.34

Some time before October 1868, Fanny's father, Fitzhenry DARLING, approached KING after meeting with Frederic CANE, and requested that Fanny be returned to him. KING responded stating

Your note respecting inquiries about yourself has been handed to me. … Having heard from Mr Cane that he had seen you in Rockhampton. … I am pleased to inform you she is quite well, very obedient and growing fast.
She was entered as a Roman Catholic but she informs me you are a Protestant. I shall be happy to receive any communication from you respecting her future welfare. Fanny informs me she has heard nothing of her sister, Eliza Julia, since you put her under the care of two Ladies who took her to Murrurundi, N.S.W. … PS. Fanny states she is not aware if you know of her mother's death.35

On 29 December 1868,CLARKE subsequently advised DARLING that he should write to inform them of religious instruction preferences and also to secure Fanny's release.36 DARLING's letter dated 26 January 1868, but probably written on 26 January 1869,37 from East Street, Rockhampton, stated the he wished to get Fanny returned to him in order to

join her sister and unite in sweet harmony and love, in soothing and strengthening by obedience and attention the fast declining days of their anxious and affectionate father.

DARLING verified that Fanny had been left with SCOTT as he had had to go away but

that since my return to the colonies every available step has been taken by me (with the exception of advertising through the various newspapers) to learn the whereabouts of her and her mother, – but unfortunately without success.

DARLING responded to the Colonial Secretary on 16 March 1868, justifying his delay because he was seeking references and referees were not always at home. Positive character references from the Police Magistrate for Rockhampton, William H. WISEMAN, the local Justice of the Peace, Mr W. J. BROWN, Major MUNTIE[?], the Church of England Minister of St Paul's, Rockhampton, John T. BOTTING, and Captain R. HUNTER, were included. He declined to inform the Colonial Secretary about transport arrangements for Fanny until a decision was made concerning her release.38

On 5 April, Fanny's release was approved and on 26 April DARLING wrote that as he was unable to get leave to collect Fanny, Robert ORAMS, the Custom Officer for Sydney, would care for her and send her to Rockhampton with Captain HURLEY of the Mariposa and her fare would be paid on her arrival in Rockhampton. A Mr ADAMS would ensure that Fanny reached Sydney safely. A police check was subsequently run on ADAMS by the orders of the Colonial Secretary.39 Due to this intervention Fanny didn't transfer to Biloela in May 1871 but it is unknown whether she ever reached Rockhampton. She was released from the school by order of the Colonial Secretary on 12 July 1869, and it was recorded that it was into the care of her father. CLARKE reported her discharge in his weekly report on 20 July40 and LUCAS confirmed her discharge on his April 1872 list.41 CLARKE’s letter to the Colonial Secretary on 1 August 1870, stated that her father was 'in a respectable position in Queensland.'42 DARLING was either a very accomplished con-man or had undertaken a major reform and it is unknown whether his statements were correct or part of a further elaborate deception.

Frances Caroline DARLING married James JONES on 11 November 1876, at St. Phillips, Church of England, Sydney. Her father and mother were identified on the registration although Caroline's maiden name was not recorded. No ages were indicated on the marriage registration but Fitzhenry was recorded as a Customs House Officer. James was a shoemaker and the son of James JONES, a tailor, and Charlotte FADDLE [sic]. Charlotte was one of the witnesses at the marriage but it is unknown if this witness was James's sister or his mother. James JONES had married Charlotte FADDEN in Sydney in 1843 and their son James had been baptised in Sydney on 1 May 1853.43 Online trees44 for James and Charlotte indicate that James senior died in 1879 and Charlotte in 1896 but it has not yet been possible to track Fanny through any Family Notices for the JONES family. No online trees have anything further on James junior and the one death on the NSW BDM Index that recorded the correct parents was for a James JONES who died on 11 April 1906,45 and the corresponding Funeral Notices indicated that this was not the correct man.46 Searches on Trove for references to James's mother, Charlotte, have not yet been undertaken.

Identifying the children of Fanny and James is difficult as at least one other couple with this name was having children at the same time and in the same location. It is almost certain that this couple always used the name Frances and occasionally Frances C. or Frances Caroline rather than Fanny on birth registrations. Additionally, Fanny’s first daughter shared a name with Fanny's sister, Eliza Julia.

On 17 December 1912, at St Michael's Church, Surry Hills, the widow, Frances Caroline JONES, married the widower, George William BENNETT. Frances was recorded both as 48-years-old and two years older than George. On the record Frances's father was recorded as Frederick DARLING, a man of independent means, and her mother was unnamed. Both were recorded as deceased. George's parents were Frank and Elizabeth BENNETT. Frances and George were residents of Haberfield. The witnesses were L. M. JONES and J. C. GEORGE.47 It is thought that these witnesses were Selina M. JONES and Selina's future husband, Joseph C. GEORGE. Frances BENNETT almost certainly died on 18 October 1925.48 The SMH and the NSW BDM Index indicated that she was 60 years of age and died in the mental hospital. George was living at Donlington, Howard Street, Canterbury. Her father on this death registration was identified on the NSW BDM Index as James but it is likely that the informant was unclear of details of her past and had erroneously identified her first husband as her father. Francis was buried at the Church of England Cemetery, Rookwood, on 20 October 1935.49 She was recorded as sixty.50 At the time of both her second marriage and her death, Frances was recorded as approximately eight years younger than her actual age so a deliberate or accidental fabrication of her birth year was made from at least 1912. George William BENNETT was buried on 30 December 1935, at the age of 68 in the same grave as Frances at Rookwood.51 A headstone remains and the footstone on the grave reads Fanny.52

France's daughter, Julia M. JONES, married Edward Leonard PERRY on 10 March 1898,53 in Sydney at the age of fifteen years and eight months. Her mother was witness to the marriage and gave permission but it can't be ascertained whether James and Frances were still living together at this time. In 1905 Julia applied for a divorce because PERRY had abandoned her. She stated in the divorce court that after the abandonment she 'then went home, to my mother at Young.'54 The only birth of a child to Edward L. PERRY and Julia was Myra M. PERRY in Young in 1898.55 Myra possibly married John A. MILLER in Young in 192356 although online trees identified a marriage in Redfern in 1921 to John SANDSTROM57 and she may have remarried Osweld Welby JONES in Sydney in 1959 as Myra Hilda JONES. No appropriate marriages or remarriages for Julia have been located. It may be that Julia died in Stockton in 1947 at the age of 6658 as Julia PERRY.

Selina M. JONES married Joseph C. GEORGE in 1913 as J. C. GEORGE was a witness to the marriage of Frances in 1912. She didn't also marry Ernest Stanley KENT ten years later as this woman died in 1978 and her parents were recorded as William and Mary.

Venella/Venetta C. died at the age of 56, on 13 June 1944, at Stockton and was buried in Stockton Cemetery.59 Only her father, James, was named on the registration. This burial location may also suggest an admission to Stockton Hospital although a Doreen Venetta Jones married Ian Leslie ROLSTON in 1961. Doreen also lived at Stockton and was still alive in 1980. This woman may be a child of Venetta.


The Entrance Book recorded that Fanny’s mother was the widow, Caroline DARLING. While it has enabled Fanny to be identified this information contradicts newspaper reports, the NSW BDM Index and subsequent communications from the superintendent that Caroline was still alive. Fanny’s birth was almost without doubt registered as Francis [sic] DARLING whose parents were Fitz Henry DARLING and Caroline FLYNN who married in St Lawrence’s Presbyterian Church, Sydney, in 1850. Both Caroline and Fitz Henry were recorded as ‘alias FLYNN’ in their court appearance on 22 February 1861. Fitz Henry was described in an earlier court appearance in 1860 where he received three months hard labour for theft as 'a notorious rogue and imposter.' On 10 March 1859, Fitz Henry was charged with a serious assault on Caroline for which he was sentenced to one month in prison and in December that year he attempted to embezzle money for his starving family from Sir Alfred STEPHEN who had provided care for the family as a result of this request. DARLING was released from Darlinghurst after one of his numerous offences on 7 September 1862.60 Gaol records show that both Fitz Henry and Caroline were able to read and write.61

Compilations of the various gaol records have identified that Fitzhenry DARLING arrived free on board either the Mary Ann in 1832 or 184462 or the Louisa in 1844. The Mary Ann is the more commonly stated ship although Fitzhenry's last located gaol admission in 1883, identified his ship of arrival as the Louisa. Both ships may be correct as Fitzhenry may have returned overseas and arrived a second time. It is known that he travelled often on coastal voyages. Fitzhenry may also have been a mariner. DARLING was labelled as being born in either St. Johns or New Brunswick, Canada, or America, sometime between 1815 and 1823. His age was calculated from his first located gaol record. He was described as either a clerk or a blacksmith and was described as a Protestant who could read and write. DARING probably died as Henry F. DARLING aged sixty in Parramatta in 188563 as he was located in Parramatta gaol two years before this date.64 After Caroline's death, Fitzhenry began a relationship with a woman named Gabrielle but no record has been found for any marriage for this couple in either NSW or Queensland. Fitzhenry was very unlikely to be the Captain Henry DARLING, shipmaster, in the Brisbane Water trade who married Mary A. or Maria CLINTON in 1863 and whose children were Henry and Jessie, as this would almost certainly have been stated in his application to have Fanny removed from the school.

Caroline FLYNN was imprisoned in Darlinghurst in 1861 and may be partially identified in the Darlinghurst gaol records. She had arrived on the Blinkimoor in 1840, was a Catholic and had been born in Cork in 1830. Caroline's marriage to DARLING failed and in 1860 three of their children were admitted to the Benevolent Asylum – Hugh on 27 March and Eliza Julia and Fanny on 30 March. Hugh was discharged on 19 April and the two girls left two days later. Fanny and Eliza were readmitted on 16 June 1861, and stayed for ten days, being discharged again on 26 June.65 These admissions suggest that the care of the children may have been shared between more than one family with Elizabeth Ann SCOTT caring for Fanny especially as there was no mention in Fanny’s court appearance of any of her siblings. Another sister, Margaret, had almost certainly died before 1860 and her death was probably not registered. Eliza was cared for in Murrurundi and she married Joseph FINCH, eventually moving to the Orange area of NSW. Caroline’s death occurred in 1866. She was thirty-six years old. She can’t be the Caroline STONE who married Patrick FLYNN and had four earlier children as a ship and year of arrival for the wife of Fitzhenry DARLING has been identified. Additionally, there is an advertisement in 1853 requesting that no credit be given to Caroline FLYNN and placed by Patrick FLYNN – three years after the marriage of Fitzhenry DARLING and Caroline FLYNN.66

Note 1: Fanny and her children were not connected to Frances Jane JONES who appeared on a tree for Paul JONES and Stella MANNION which attributed the following children to James Henry JONES and Frances NICHOLLS :– Clara (b.c. Feb 1878-1895); Agnes Sarah (1881-195567) m. George H. S. MARSHALL (d. 191768 in 1902); Ada Louisa (1883-192669 m. William H. HOFF in 1901); Paul JONES of Maroubra70 d. 1955; Alfred E. JONES71 d. 191572 The mother of Clara, Agnes, Ada and Paul died in 1909 and her parents were recorded as Neil and Eliza.73 The death notice for Clara HEATON nee JONES (m. Henry HEATON in 1895) records only Fanny, Paul and Alfred. The death of Agnes Sarah MARSHALL records parents James Henry and Frances Jane. Clara had cousins Mary Ellen JENKINSON and Louisa SIMMONS.74
Note 2: The children of Fanny NEILL who married James JONES in 1881 have not been investigated.

Updated December 2015

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