The EDWARDS Sisters
Name Variations EDWARD
Father Thomas EDWARDS b.c. 18231 m. 18462 d. 19143
Mother Jane HAYCOCK4 b. 18285 m. 1846 d. 18846
Step-mother Mahala MANSER7 b.c. 18338 m. 18889 d. 1896
Sister Mary EDWARDS b. 184710 m. (1) c. 1875 (2) 1887 (1) Thomas LANGHAM (2) James FORESTER d. 192911
Sister Elizabeth EDWARDS b.c. 185012 m. 186913 George TUCKER d. 191514
Inmate Sarah EDWARD b. 185215 m. 1871 (see below) d. 193716
Inmate Alicia EDWARDS b. 185317 m. 1870 (see below) d. 190218
Son Richard James19 EDWARDS b. 1857 m. d. 192720
Brother John T. EDWARDS b.c. 185821 m. none - d. 186122
Inmate Maria Jane EDWARDS b. 185923 m. 1894 (see below) d. 196124
Daughter Fanny Mary EDWARDS b. 1861 m. 188325 Clement YATES26 d. 194027
Son Charles28 EDWARDS b. 186429 m. d. 1943
Son William Michael30 EDWARDS b. 1866 m. d. 1943
Relationship Name Age Height Hair Eyes Complexion Build Distinguishing features
Father Thomas31 14 4' 3" brown blue ruddy freckled scar left side of forehead; scar outside right eye; anchor inside right arm; fish, T E E F lower left arm; five dots back of left hand; scar left side of head; scar back of right foot
Mother Jane32 35 5' 0" brown brown sallow

The sisters, Sarah, Alicia, and Maria EDWARDS, were sent to Newcastle after the elder two girls were arrested for larceny and their mother was gaoled for receiving the property they had stolen. Alicia and Sarah were the two midnight prowlers apprehended for theft33 from various properties in the Bathurst area some time around 5 August 1867. The sisters had been stripping clothes lines and removing the clothing from farms in the neighbourhood of Dennis' Island and Caloola. One morning between 1 and 2 o'clock, Mr. Samuel SWEETMAN and his servant discovered two horses tied up in the bush. The men soon saw the two girls emerging from the creek. They were disguised and pretended that they had lost their way but claimed that they owned the horses. Unfortunately for Alicia and Sarah they were recognized as being the children of 'a man named EDWARDS who resided at Caloola' and as one of them had been living as a servant in the neighbourhood, their story about being lost was not believed. A search warrant was obtained and at their home the stolen articles were discovered and identified. The sisters were taken into custody on the charge of theft, and their mother was arrested for receiving the stolen goods. It was reported that their father was away at the Lachlan with his team and had been gone for some time. Alicia, Sarah and their mother appeared before Judge CAREY even though efforts were made to prevent their going to trial because they were so young. It was reported that a telegram was sent to discover whether Newcastle was an industrial school and the three sisters were sent there when it was discovered that it wasn't a reformatory.


The sisters were the daughters of Thomas EDWARDS and his wife, Jane HAYCOCK. The marriage of Thomas EDWARDS to Jean HAYCORK34 occurred in St Michael's Catholic church, Kelso.35 This marriage can't be easily viewed and descendants36 have identified the date as 10 March 1846.37 When the sisters were admitted to Newcastle their father, Thomas, was named in the Entrance Book and his abode was recorded as Bartlett’s Swamp near Bathurst.38 Alicia's baptism identified their residence as Dunn's Plains and the newspaper articles located Caloola. No contemporary references have been located for Bartlett’s Swamp. The report of the death of Thomas and Jane's son, John, in 1861 specifies that the locality of the family was near Mulgunnia.39 The sisters' mother, Jane, wasn't named in the Entrance Book but by matching the baptisms, registrations and ages of the three sisters admitted, it is possible to identify her given name. Because the family was Catholic, Jane's maiden name of HAYCOCK is identified in both Sarah's and Alicia’s baptisms.

On 23 September 1867, Jane was tried in Bathurst and found guilty of receiving the goods stolen by Alicia and Sarah.40 She was imprisoned in Bathurst Gaol for twelve months with hard labour and was released in September 1868.41 There were reported to be three young children with her when she appeared in the dock. The baby was probably William, but the identity of the other two children is uncertain. Although Jane's three daughters were sent to Newcastle after this trial, none of her sons appear on the Vernon index at this time, although in 1876, Charles was admitted from Rockley at the age of twelve.42 His admission to the Vernon confirmed the name of his father and stated:

Father alive: Thomas Edwards Address Caloola via Bathurst Farmer and Currier. Mother not heard of for 6 years.

The Police Gazette recorded that Jane had been born in NSW in about 183343 but she appeared with her parents as a five-month-old baby on the NSW 1828C44 at Weeo.45 This records permits the calculation of a year of birth of about 1828. Descendants identify that Jane had been born in Tuena and was the daughter of Richard HAYCOCK, who had been transported aboard the Barwell and Mary LINEHAN, who had been transported aboard the Brothers.46 Bathurst Gaol registers, which should elaborate on Jane's details, have not survived for this time. Jane may possibly have been the woman who was charged with stealing 14 pound 12s from James LONSDALE. She had been arrested by constables CHIPLIN and ROCHE of Hargraves police and remanded on bail for trial at Mudgee47 Jane’s descendants confirm that she died in Bathurst in 1884 at the age of fifty-one. In light of the statement – that Jane had not been with her family for six years – made when Charles was sent to the Vernon, it is uncertain whether she ever returned to the family after 1876 and only her death registration will indicate the name of the informant.

Thomas was a difficult man with whom to live and this is supported by family recollections and newspaper articles. Thomas was convicted of larceny at the age of twelve and had been transported to NSW aboard the John Barry in 1836 for seven years. He was an errand boy who had already been imprisoned for one month by the time of his conviction on 3 July 1834. Although he was tried and imprisoned in Middlesex, the indents confirmed that he had been born in Pembrokeshire, Wales48 His son, William, appeared at the Bathurst Quarter Sessions charged with stealing a horse and saddle from his father, identified as Thomas EDWARDS of Dunn’s Plains. William was reported as desperate to leave home as he was badly treated by his father who had a violent temper. William had informed his unnamed brother-in-law of his intention to pay his father when he got work. It is unknown to which brother-in-law this statement refers. The court made a concession and sent William to Windsor Gaol rather than Bathurst Gaol as punishment. Comments in court suggested that all of Thomas’s children had suffered from his outbursts.49

Thomas remarried the widow, Mahala KING nee MANSER, in 1888. He died at his residence, Trunkey Road, Caloola,50 at the age of 90 in early January 1914.51 Sarah's son, Arthur WILSON, was the informant and Arthur omitted both Alicia and Charles from the list of Thomas's children as well as the child, John, who died at a very early age. Thomas's parents were recorded on the registration as James and Elizabeth.


Husband Peter Johann LEMBKE b.c. 183652 m. 187053 d. 190854
Son unnamed male LEMBKE b. 187155 m. none - d. 1871
Daughter Annie LEMBKE b. 187256 m. none - d. 187257
Son unnamed male LEMBKE b. 187358 m. none - d. 187359
Son unnamed male LEMBKE b. 187460 m. none - d. 187461
Son unnamed male LEMBKE b. 187462 m. none - d. 187463
Daughter Anna LEMBKE b. 187664 m. 189965 James T. PERKINS d. 193466
Son Henry LEMBKE b. 187867 m. 190068 Ada Mary CAMPBELL d. 193669
Son Peter John LEMBKE b. 188370 m. 1908 Emma Alice HOGBIN d. 195271

Alicia was born on 13 July 1853, and baptized as Alice on 14 February 1854,72 in the Catholic Church in Bathurst by L.[?] GRANT. Her parents' abode was recorded as Dunn's Plains. The Entrance Book recorded that she was fourteen and a Catholic when she was admitted to the school on 8 October 1867. Her level of education was 'first book on slate.' A medical assessment by Dr HARRIS73 showed that she was a virgin. Alicia spent in excess of a week in the hospital within the school in November 1868,74 with a liver complaint.75 In her report on 17 November 1868, KING indicated that Alicia had been in the hospital ill but was now convalescent.76 On 22 November 1869, CLARKE wrote to the Principal Under Secretary77 requesting that he:

be furnished with the necessary authority to apprentice [Alicia] to Mr C. C. MASON of Dempsey Island, Hunter River, farmer, as general servant at five shillings per week. [She] has been over two years in this institution, is of good character and between sixteen (16) and seventeen (17) years of age.

Alicia left the school on 6 December 1869 to take up the apprenticeship. In his letter to the Colonial Secretary78 on 1 August 1870, CLARKE reported that these indentures were cancelled on 2 April 1870, and Alicia was returned to the school because MASON had had to return to England. CLARKE also confirmed that Alicia had married by this date and stated that 'she is very comfortable and is doing well.' Alicia EDWARD had married Peter Johann LEMBKE in Newcastle on 6 June 1870. The couple had eight children but only three survived for longer than one day. These newborns were buried at the St Andrew's Church of England Cemetery, Mayfield, (North Waratah) between March 1871 and October 187479 The home that she and Peter eventually lived in in Mayfield they named 'Caloola'.80 Alicia died on 3 March 1902, at the age of 50. Her death was registered in Wallsend as Alacia LEMBKE and her parents were confirmed on the registration on the NSW BDM Index. Alicia was buried in Sandgate Cemetery, Newcastle, as Alacia LEMKE. When her daughter, Anna PERKINS died, she was buried in the same plot.81

Maria Jane EDWARDS

Husband Charles James SMITH b. m. 189482 d.
Daughter Ethel M. SMITH b. 189583 m. d.
Daughter Olive May SMITH b. 189784 m. d. 194985
Daughter Grace E. SMITH b. 190186 m. d.
Son Charles SMITH b. m. d. 192787

Maria (pron: Mariah) Jane arrived in Newcastle at the same time as her two older sisters. She was almost certainly one of the two very young children who appeared with their mother, Jane, in her court appearance in Bathurst for receiving stolen goods. On Maria's admission88 at the age of seven on 8 October 1867, her religion was recorded as Catholic and her education level was described as 'alphabet on slate.' Maria’s medical assessment by Dr HARRIS89 showed that she was a virgin. Maria transferred to Biloela on Cockatoo Island in May 1871. She was apprenticed to Thomas. R. HALE, Esq., J. P. of Sydney and permission for this apprenticeship was sought by LUCAS on 29 November 1871. The apprenticeship was for six years and Maria was to receive 1 shilling a week for the first two years, two shillings a week for the third and fourth years and three shillings a week for her final two years. LUCAS described her as well-behaved. The Colonial Secretary recommended the arrangement and commented that HALE was a great supporter of the school so it was considered that he would show an interest in Maria's welfare.90 He confirmed her apprenticeship in his report of 26 December 1871, although in this correspondence there was no indication concerning the date it began.91 LUCAS's April 1872 list erroneously indicated that Maria was apprenticed on the same date as her sister, Alicia.92 This can't be correct as she was only seven on her admission and it is considered highly unlikely that she would have been apprenticed at the age of nine.

Maria eventually returned to Bathurst where in 1894 she married the widower, Charles James SMITH, the twin son of Sergeant-Major and Mrs Joseph SMITH. The births of three children were recorded in Bathurst to Charles and Maria, adding to the three children from Charles's first marriage. The couple were living at 232 Rankin Street, Bathurst, at the time of the death of Sarah's husband, John WILSON.93 A Golden Wedding Anniversary announcement appeared in the Molong Express and Western District Advertiser on 24 March 1944, when the couple were living at 96 Edenholme Road, Fivedock.94 Maria Jane SMITH died in Bathurst in 1961 at the age of 101. Her mother was not named on the NSW BDM Index but her father, Thomas, and her maiden name were recorded on the death registration. Her Funeral Notice appeared in the SMH on 10 January 1961. It was reported that she died on 8 January at the Bathurst District Hospital and was late of Eglington.95 Maria was buried at Caloola cemetery.96

Note: Descendant's don't believe that Maria was the woman recorded as Maria EDWARDS who entered the Sydney Benevolent Asylum on 22 May 1894, at the age of twenty-six, and remained there until 28 July, leaving on 28 July with a daughter, Elizabeth.


Husband John WILSON b. 184497 m. 187198 d. 191899
Son John T. WILSON b. 1871100 m. 1900101 Ellen THOMAS d. 1931102
Son Charles Edward WILSON b. 1873103 m. d. 1945104
Son William Henry George WILSON b. 1875105 m. none - d. 1884106
Daughter Mary Jane WILSON b. 1877107 m. 1912108 William Charles BURGE d. 1978109
Son Arthur James WILSON b. 1880110 m. 1932111 Ivy May DARTNELL d. 1969112
Son Alfred Robert WILSON b. 1882113 m. 1908114 Mary Ann THOMAS d. 1968115
Daughter Maria Elizabeth WILSON b. 1885116 m. 1912117 Frederick Arthur ROLLO d. 1980118
Son Joseph Henry WILSON b. 1888119 m. none - d. 1888120
Daughter Edith May WILSON b. 1889121 m. none - d. 1893122
Daughter Ivy Ellen WILSON b. 1894123 m. 1916124 William George BURGE d. 1963125

Sarah's baptism is recorded as Sarah EDWARD. She was born on 10 January 1852, and was baptised on 4 June 1853, by J. GRANT in the Bathurst area.126 Her father was recorded as a labourer of Brownlee. On her admission to Newcastle her age was pencilled into the Entrance Book127 as sixteen and her education level was described as 'first book on slate.' She was Catholic. Sarah’s medical assessment by Dr HARRIS128 showed that she was a virgin. By 19 December 1868,129 Sarah had been at the school for thirteen months and CLARKE wrote to the Colonial Secretary stating that she and six others were eligible for service and asking permission to find situations for them all – CLARKE having already negotiated positions for five of them. Sarah was discharged to service as a domestic servant at a rate of seven shillings a week on 2 February 1869, to William Howard GREENWAY, Esq., a fruiterer, of Newcastle. GREENWAY was described as a Gentleman. The Colonial Secretary's Department commented that CLARKE should have apprenticed Sarah after seeking permission from the Executive Committee although CLARKE clearly stated in his letter that he had discharged the girls 'in compliance with Instructions I received from that Minister [the Colonial Secretary] when here.'130 Her wages were to be six shillings a week and she remained in this position for ten months. CLARKE in a letter131 to the Colonial Secretary on 1 August 1870, stated that he had been in contact with Sarah’s father who reported that Sarah was well and had returned to Bathurst. Sarah married John WILSON junior, in Bathurst in 1871. The Bathurst papers132 show a Sarah WILSON often in court but no definite evidence that this woman was the girl admitted to Newcastle has yet been located in gaol entrance books. Her death as Sarah WILSON was registered at Rockley in 1937 and correctly recorded the names of her parents. An obituary appeared on page 2 of the National Advocate, Bathurst, on Monday, 11 October 1937.

The death took place on Saturday morning at her residence, ''Rosedale'' Caloola, of one of the oldest residents of the Caloola district in the person of Mrs. Sarah Wilson, at the age of 86 years. Deceased lived in Caloola all her life and was predeceased by her husband, Mr. John Wilson, by 19 years, surviving members of the family are three sons, Messrs. Charles and Arthur, of Caloola, and Alfred, of Lyndhurst; three daughters, Mrs. C. Burge, of Arkell; Mrs. Rollo, of Croydon Park; and Mrs W. Burge, of Cow Flat. The funeral took place yesterday morning moving from her late residence to the Church of England portion of the Caloola cemetery. There was a large attendance of relatives and friends. The pall bearers were deceased's four nephews, Messrs. Percy, Harold and Keith Burge and Fred Barrett. The Rev. Mr. Nelson, of Rockley, officiated at the church and graveside. Many beautiful floral tributes were received.133

Updated June 2019

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