Sarah Jane DURBIN
Father Charles DURBIN b.c. 18321 m. 18532 d. 19123
Mother Sarah THOMAS4 b.c. 1830 m. 1853 d. 19125
Inmate Sarah Jane DURBIN b.c. 1854 m. (1) 1872 (2) 1886 (3) 1928 (see below) d. 19436
Brother Charles aka Isaac DARBAN b.c. 18657 m. none - d. 18668
Sister Anna M. DURBIN b. 18679 m. (1) 1886 (2) 1912 (1) William LAWTON (2) Frederick CRAWFORD10 d. 191911
Sister Mary A. DERBIN b. 186912 m. 188613 Walter HOLT d.
Brother Edward DURBIN b. 187214 m. none - d. 187515
Sister Elizabeth DURBIN b. 187516 m. 188817 John PENNEY d. 194518
Sister Rachael DENBIN or DURBIN b. 187919 m. 189420 Thomas MOSES d. 190021
Husband (1) Leonard TRUBODY b. m. 187222 d. 188423
Husband (2) William LIVERSAGE b. 186224 m. 188625 d. 192426
Husband (3) William H. GILBERT b. m. 192827 d. 194028
Son Leonard TRUEBODY b. m. none - d. 188129
Son Arthur John LIVERSAGE b.c. 189430 m. 191331 Eileen RAINE d. 191632
Daughter Elizabeth Pearl LIVERSAGE b. 189033 m. (1) 190734 (2) 192035 (3) 193936 (1) John ARCHIBALD (2) Henry A. A. HANLEY (3) John Henry BEVAN d. 194937
Son (twin) John H. LIVERSAGE b. 189138 m. none - d. 189239
Son (twin) Charles Claud LIVERSAGE b. 189140 m. none - d. 189641
Son Henry LIVERSAGE b.c. 189242 m. Elaine d.
Son William Leonard LIVERSAGE b. 189543 m. 191444 Ellen Ruby Pearl UNDERWOOD d. 197445
Daughter Nellie LIVERSAGE b. m. d. 197146
Relationship Name Age Height Hair Eyes Complexion Build Distinguishing features
Inmate Sarah Jane47 18 5' 3¾" fair grey fair medium

It is almost entirely certain that Sarah's first appearance in court was two years before her admission to Newcastle. She had been arrested in Newcastle late one Saturday night in December 1867. She was recorded in the newspapers as Sarah J. TURPIN when she was charged by constable DONOHOE with being a vagrant. Sarah had been in company with a prostitute and was trying to gain access to a brothel but the women in the brothel had refused her entry. Sarah stated then that she had been turned out of both her mistress’s house and also that of her parents who lived in Wallsend. It was decided by the court to contact her parents to see if they wanted her to be admitted to the school at Newcastle48 but no admission occurred until over a year later on 17 March 1869, when she again appeared in court charged with vagrancy. Sarah Jane DERBIN was reported to be about fifteen when she and Rose OSWALD were arrested by constable SMITH after spending the night on the grandstand at Newcastle Racecourse. Her father, Charles, a New Lambton miner, and her mother, Sarah, appeared at her appearance in court. Her mother stated that she couldn’t control Sarah Jane and stated that she would turn fifteen on 15 July 1869.

Both Sarah and Rose were admitted to the school on 18 March, the day after their court appearance.49 Sarah Jane was recorded in the Entrance Book as a fourteen-year-old but there was no record made concerning her writing and reading ability.50 On 4 August 1870, Sarah Jane was a witness at the inquest into the death of Margaret Hughes ELLIS. She stated then that she was:

… an inmate of the Industrial School. I know and attended on the deceased for a fortnight. I slept in the same room at night.51

After discovering that the school was to transfer to Sydney, Sarah's father, Charles, wrote to the superintendent, Captain CLARKE, requesting Sarah's release pmto his care. His application was dated 30 January 1871. On 4 March his application was further supported by the Baptist Minister, John INGRAM, of Wallsend, in a letter where he described Sarah Jane's parents as 'sober, honest and industrious'. CLARKE also recommended Sarah's release stating that she was 'about seventeen years of age, has been two years at this school and her parents are living in their own home and in comfortable circumstances.' The Colonial Secretary accepted the recommendations of CLARKE and INGRAM and approved Sarah Jane's release on 31 March52 and on 12 April, Sarah was discharged to the care of her father, Charles.53

In 1872, as Sarah A. DURBIN, she married Leonard TRUEBODY aka TRUBODY in Newcastle. Earlier in 1872 TRUBODY had been convicted of a rape and had spent six months in prison. This marriage was not happy and on 11 June that year Sarah Jane TRUBODY appeared in Newcastle Court charged with being a common prostitute. She was sentenced to a month's labour in Maitland gaol.54 Two years later Sarah and Leonard appeared in Waratah Police court after an altercation between neighbours at their residence in North Lambton. The couple were living close to Sarah's parents who also gave evidence at the trial.55 Leonard TRUEBODY died in 1881.

In 1886, as Sarah Jane TRUEBODY, Sarah married William LIVERSIDGE aka LIVERSAGE. The marriage was registered in Wallsend. William and Sarah lived in Outtrim, Victoria, for some time before returning to the Hunter Valley. The registrations of many of their children can be found in Victoria's BDM. During great coal strike of 1894, Sarah, at the age of forty was charged, along with eight other women, with unlawfully besetting the house of Lachlan PRICE, a strike-breaker. The charges were dismissed.56 By 1924 Sarah and William had returned to the Hunter Valley where William died in 1924. Sarah died on 24 January 1943. Her death was registered in Kurri Kurri as Sarah Jane GILBERT as in 1928 in Maitland she had married William H. GILBERT. She had retained the name of LIVERSAGE on the electoral rolls. Sarah Jane LIVERSAGE, recorded as nee TRUBODY, was buried with her parents and her second husband, William LIVERSAGE, in the Kurri Kurri cemetery.


Sarah Jane's headstone at Kurri Kurri Cemetery
Photograph Jane ISON, 2014


Sarah’s parents were identified in the Entrance Book57 as Charles and Sarah DERBIN. Although Charles signed his name as 'DERBIN' in his letters to CLARKE,58 the NSW BDM Index most often spelled the surname as DURBIN. This is the spelling adopted in this biography as this is the spelling adopted by descendants of Charles and Sarah.59 The Entrance Book recorded that Charles and Sarah were Protestant and letters from INGRAM confirm that they were Baptist.60 Sarah's 1872 gaol record confirmed that she had been born in Wales61 and her court appearance identified her date of birth as 15 July 1854.62 Sarah Jane had arrived with her parents Charles and Sarah DARBAN aboard the Eastern Empire in 1866.63 The Eastern Empire carried assisted immigrants and arrived in Brisbane on 14 September 1866. Sarah was recorded as twelve years of age on the indent. A one year old brother, Charles, was the only other sibling recorded. This boy may have been incorrectly named on the Eastern Empire indent as his death is registered in Queensland as Isaac DURBIN. He died on 5 August 1866, shortly before or at the time of the arrival of the Eastern Empire in Brisbane. His parents names are confirmed on the registration.

Charles and Sarah moved from Queensland, probably to mine and birth records suggest that her family had arrived in the Newcastle area by 1867. Descendants identify the marriage of Charles DURBIN and Sarah THOMAS on 9 September 1853, in Gwent, Wales. They also attribute another daughter, Hannah Maria DURBIN, to the couple but this girl does not appear on the Eastern Empire indent so is likely to have died before embarkation64. Further siblings were born after their arrival in Newcastle including another sister named Anna Maria DURBIN in 1867. A serious burning occurred to one of the children in September 1874 but the child is unidentified in the newspapers.65 By 1872, Charles, a miner of Waratah, was listed as an insolvent. Sarah senior's death was registered in Kurri Kurri in 1912 and Charles's death at the age of eighty was registered in Newcastle later that year. It is possible that the couple were separated at the time of their deaths.66 Sarah and Charles are buried together and share their grave with their daughter, Sarah Jane, in the Baptist portion of Kurri Kurri Cemetery.

Updated July 2014

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