Name Variations Harriett, Henrietta,1 GARDNER2
Father unknown GARDINER b. m. d. aft. 1870
Mother unknown b. m. d.
Inmate Harriet GARDINER b.c. 1855 m. none (see below) d. 18733
Husband Thomas PRINCE b.c. 1816 m. none d. 18844

Harriet was arrested by sergeant DWYER5 as a result of an application for a warrant for her arrest made by her father.6 She appeared before the Water Police Court in Sydney on 15 October 1870, charged with wandering about with common prostitutes. Her father appeared with her in court and described her as uncontrollable and with a bad character,7 adding that he was willing to pay two shillings and six pence8 weekly for her upkeep in Newcastle. Harriet was admitted to Newcastle on 20 October.9 Her admission details were within the pages in the Entrance Book that have not survived so confirmation of her family, educational achievements, religion, and both her admission and discharge details are unavailable in this record.

Harriet spent seven months in Newcastle before the school transferred to Biloela on Cockatoo Island in May 1871. She was described on the transfer list as a fifteen-year-old Protestant10 and was erroneously recorded as Henrietta GARDINER on the April list compiled by LUCAS in 1872,11 which recorded all the admissions to Newcastle and Biloela to that date. In his report on 6 September 1871, LUCAS noted that Harriet and the Biloela inmate, Elizabeth BADCOCK,

… were confined for six days on a bread and water diet for taking away the bread of some girls at meals.

On 8 January 1872, LUCAS reported that Harriet had been conducting herself well and had been apprenticed to Maurice COLLINS of Collector for two years at a rate of two shillings a week for the first year and three for the second year.12 He confirmed these indentures in his report to the Colonial Secretary on 22 January 1872.13 Harriet's apprenticeship with Maurice and Eliza COLLINS14 would have been expected to expire in January 1874, by which time she would have turned eighteen and would have been free to leave or renegotiate further employment in their service or in the area. Newspaper reports indicated that she was healthy and happy as an apprentice with the COLLINS family but they also confirmed that she had a very violent temper.

On Monday morning, 8 September 1873 at about half-past ten, Harriet was sent on an errand by Eliza COLLINS to Mr KERSHAW in the town of Collector. This trip would have been expected to take her about three or four hours. She was seen by Michael CROW and Alice RABJOHN going towards Collector on the Tuesday morning. Michael PURCELL stated that she had reached Collector and had dined with his family before going on to the KERSHAW property. Harriet had then returned to PURCELL's and had collected some eggs to take to Mrs COLLINS.15 When Harriet didn’t return to the COLLIN's property by Wednesday, Eliza COLLINS reported her missing. She stated that Harriet had not been reported as missing until two days had passed as on more than one occasion Harriet had gone out and not returned so her failure to return was not considered unusual. It was further reported that four months before her death she had stayed away from the COLLIN's residence for two or three nights. Eliza COLLINS16 believed that at this time Harriet had been living with a man named Thomas PRINCE, also known as 'Tom Lively', a sixty-year-old unmarried wood splitter who was thought to live towards Gundaroo about eight miles away.

Harriet was finally found on 12 September 1873, four days after Eliza COLLINS reported her missing. Her body was located by Thomas WADDELL about three hundred yards from the COLLINS property. The inquest was held by the Coroner, A. M. BETTS, at Collector and his report and verdict, originally reported in the Goulburn Herald on 17 September,17 concluded that Harriet had died sometime between 8 and 11 September. Although the skin on Harriet’s neck was discoloured, it was reported that there was no sign of a struggle and as her clothes weren’t torn, the verdict of Dr MORTON was that she had died from congestion of the brain produced by exposure. Her death registration confirmed that about 10 September she had died due to exposure from the cold. She was buried at Collector on 14 September. No personal of family details were recorded on her death registration.18


Nothing has yet been confirmed concerning Harriet's life prior to her arrest in 1870. Even her actual age and place of birth are uncertain as there was no place of birth identified on her death registration. Industrial school records suggested that Harriet had been born in about 1855 but no record on the NSW BDM Index exactly matched this age and it is possible that a deliberate lie was told regarding her age to insure her admission. No arrival can be found for a girl of this name and approximate age and it is considered very unlikely, but it is not impossible, that she could have arrived without parents or family members. It is believed that her family was established in Sydney at the time of her arrest but for how long this had been is unknown.

It must be considered that Harriet was actually older than the age attributed to her in both the court and the school records as it was not unusual for a parent to lie about the age of their child to ensure their admission to Newcastle from a situation of danger or poverty or even because they were unable to control their child.19 Harriet's father's offer to pay for her upkeep at the school suggested that the family had no financial concerns and that they were well-established in Sydney. Correspondence confirmed that Harriet had continued to exhibit a violent temper at the school and an admission may have been an advantage to her family if she exhibited this temper at home. It is therefore conceivable that a lie may have been told. Although there is no proof that Harriet's father did lie about her age, there was also no evidence that this was not the case. All letters relating to Harriet recorded in the CSIL index have been viewed so no easily located correspondence remains that may assist in positively identifying either her or her family. Because it is known that Harriet's father paid money to support her while she was at the industrial school, it may be that there remains some reference in a document, such as a receipt, held at Kingswood that will identify her father's name. Unfortunately any reference to payment was not generally recorded on the CSIL index so any receipt or payment details will be difficult to find even if they do sitll exist. It is known that receipting was the method used when acknowledging money received from parents although the one receipt found in the records was considered unusual.20

Whatever her age, Harriet had almost certainly been born before 1856 and it is believed that she had been born in Australia however no proof of any birth has been found. The NSW BDM Index suggested that prior to 1856 there were many GARDINER (or variations) families residing in NSW. There were also many GARDINER (or variations) families living in Sydney and having children between 1840 and 1856.

Who was Harriet?

Investigations into Harriet's family are on-going and there is considerable uncertainty in attempting to identify her. If any researchers can contribute anything to any of the families under investigation here, they should contact through the site.

Family 1:
Currently the family of James and Catherine GARDNER (and variations) is under investigation. James was a limeburner originally from Penrith21 but by 1863 he had moved to Camperdown.22 The family was Presbyterian which suits Harriet's religion recorded in the industrial school documents. James was the son of Christopher GARDINER who had died in 186823 and the brother of Mary GARDENER who had married Joseph HARRIS in 1851.24 James died at the age of 7925 in 1904 at 21 Woodburn Street, Redfern.26 Catherine died in 1911. Her parents were identified on the NSW BDM Index as James and Elizabeth.27 Catherine's maiden name has not been confirmed but it may be that the marriage of James GARNER and Catharine FORESTER in 1846, one year before the birth of the first recorded child, Christopher, occurred, recorded the marriage of this couple.28 Their children were:

Son Christopher GARDINER b. 184729 m. d.
Son James GARDNER b. 184930 m. Mary Ann SHEATHER d. 191931
Daughter Elizabeth GARDNER b.c 185132 m. 1870 Robert TAYLOR d. 191333
Son William GARDNER b. 185334 m. d.
Son Andrew GARDENER b. 185735 m. d. 194136
Daughter Catherine GARDNER b. 186137 m. d.
Daughter Mary Jane GARDNER b. 186438 m. 188339 Robert CANSDELL40 d. 195241
Daughter Margaret A. aka Annie GARDINER b. 186642 m. d.
Daughter Frances Eleanor43 GARDNER b. 186944 m. none identified Albert WARNES45 d. 193246

On 31 October 1883, an Annie GARDINER was admitted to Biloela. The Entrance Book identified that her father was James GARDINER, a lime burner and a resident of Pitt Street, Waterloo. James was prepared to pay for her time at the school. Her birth date was exactly specified as 26 May 186847 and she was clearly identified as a 15-year-old. Her surname was recorded in the Evening News as GARDNER48 but in the Sydney Morning Herald as GARDINER.49 Although a birth registration has not been cited, a check of exact birthdates on the NSW BDM Index uncovered that Margaret A. GARDINER, the child of James GARDINER, whose birth had been registered in 1866, had been born on 26 May.50 There is therefore no doubt that Margaret A. was the girl known as Annie. The year of registration also clearly demonstrated that Annie had been illegally admitted under the Act as in 1883, she was in fact 17 and not 15. Annie's discharge from Biloela is uncertain. She was recorded in the Discharge Register on 17 December 1884, as Annie GARDNER. The register indicated that she had been apprenticed for one year and six months to E. De C. [?], Esq., of Tenterfield but the notation beside her name stated 'certificate of birth produced + girl discharged' suggesting that she had been returned to her parents before taking up any apprenticeship. The CSIL has no correspondence indexed under the names of either Annie, Margaret or James GARDINER (or variations) that may offer some further information about the family.

There would have been about 11 years difference in age between Harriet and Annie GARDINER so it is quite possible that they were sisters. The possibility of a connection between these two GARDINER girls is being investigated but no link has yet been proved. Only a birth registration for a child born after 1855 may record whether this couple did have a child named Harriet. No online trees have yet been identified for any member of this GARDINER family. While Annie probably returned to her family, she has not been identified in any Family Notice yet found. Marriage announcements identified only one unregistered or unbaptised child for this couple and that was the gild, Elizabeth, who was described as the eldest daughter in the family. Elizabeth's her year of birth is uncertain. When Mary Jane GARDINER married she was identified as the third daughter of the couple. The fate of the second daughter, Catherine, who had been born in about 1861 has not been ascertained but she cannot be Harriet as she was too young. Unless Catherine died early and another child was unregistered or unbaptised after Mary Ann's birth, despite their religion, the similarities of the arrest circumstances and situations of Annie and Harriet this family is increasingly unlikely and these similarities are just coincidence.

Family 2:
The Harriet GARDENER who had been baptised in 1850 also had parents named John and Mary GARDINER. At this time it was possible for a 20-year-old to be thought to be only fifteen as this very situation had occurred in a court case referring to the twenty-year-old Mary Ann DEVENEY where she was described as appearing no older than fifteen. The possibility that this child was the Newcastle admission is unlikely but is not able to be conclusively eliminated. The transfer lists did document that Harriet was a Protestant.51 Difference religions of a father or mother of other admissions have been recorded. This situation has been found to create inconsistent religious records for their children52 and transcription errors have also been identified on the transfer lists53 or on other official records. Although no trace of Harriet has been found after her baptism date, the death registration of her mother indicated that her daughter Harriet was still alive in 1905. This and discrepancies in religion and age do make this baptism much less likely to refer to the Newcastle admission but her details have been retained to avoid any re-investigation of this family.

Harriet GARDENER had been baptised in Sydney on 23 March 1850. This baptism was Catholic54 and Harriet's parents were identified as John GARDENER and Mary SULLIVAN. This couple had married in 184755 as John GARDINER and Mary McANERNY. The couple had only one other child, William Henry GARDINER, who had been born on 4 September 1853, and had been baptised in the St James Roman Catholic church on 5 November 1853.56 William had been born in Albion Street, Surry Hills, and this was an approximate location for Harriet's arrest. William Henry moved to West Maitland during the 1880s57 and died in 1932 where is father was erroneously recorded as Duncan.58

While the original marriage record has not been viewed, it is believed by their descendants that Mary (X) SULLIVAN had formerly been the wife of Daniel (X) McINARNEY. Mary had been married to Daniel by Robert CARTWRIGHT in St James Church of England, Sydney, on 30 January 1837. Daniel was a bachelor from the St George, Cook's River, parish and Mary was from the St James parish. The witnesses were Charlotte HANNESSY and William BEAVER. There has been no explanation yet identified why this marriage occurred in a Church of England church but because this was the location, it is conceivable that, if Mary was Catholic, she did not wholly consider that her first marriage was legitimate. Daniel and Mary had two daughters, Mary McINERNEY59 and Margaret McENERNY. At the time of Margaret's birth Daniel and Mary were living in Castlereagh Street. Only one sponsor, Margaret MORIARTY, was recorded on Margaret's baptism.60 Daniel's fate is unknown so it cannot be ascertained whether this was a genuine remarriage of a widow or whether this was a bigamous marriage. It is conceivable that Mary McANERNY aka McERERNEY who was the witness at the baptism of William Henry GARDNER, a son of this couple, and also the witness at another marriage within the extended SULLIVAN family, was either a relation of Daniel McINARNEY or, more likely, his daughter.

Although it has not been possible to locate Harriet after her baptism date, the death registration of her mother, Mary, indicated that she was still alive. Mary died on 5 August 1895 at the age of 81. Errors had been made by the informant on this death record as Harriet's brother, William Henry, was identified as John61 so it is possible that other errors were also present. Mary's parents were identified on the NSW BDM Index as John and Mary.62

GARDINER. – August 5th, at her residence, Randwick, Mary Gardiner; aged 81 years. Requiescat in pace.63

It is difficult to deny the details on Mary's death record even though it contained other errors but it is also conceivable that because Harriet had been a problem for her family and because she had been apprenticed far from home, it may be that her parents were unaware that she had died in 1873. Only confirming the whereabouts of Harriet GARDINER, the actual daughter of John GARDINER and Mary SULLIVAN, will conclusively prove that the girl who died in Collector in 1873 was not their daughter. It may be that if the death of Mary's husband, John GARDINER, can be identified, a more reliable record of the status of his children may be disclosed. Research into this family has been left on this biography on the off-chance that more accurate details may eventually be uncovered or that another researcher who knows the fate of Harriet will inform this researcher and other descendants of William Henry GARDINER and also so this family will not need to be investigated again.

Harriet was not
A daughter of John and Mary GARDNER nee KENNEDY as the researcher for this GARDINER family has not identified any evidence that this couple ever had a daughter.64 This research has been left to avoid completing it again.

John and Mary were the parents of the only child appearing in either the Vernon or the Randwick Asylum records with the surname GARDINER (or variations) around the time of Harriet's arrest. John GARDINER was admitted to the Randwick Asylum on 2 July 1855, at an approximate age of between seven and nine. John was a Protestant but was unable to name either his mother or his religion when he was admitted. It was noted by the authorities that he did not cross himself when he said his prayers. His unnamed father who kept:

… a low brothel in Goulburn St is in custody for neglecting his family. Mother bolted "gone up the country"

It is likely that the John and Mary GARDINER (or variations) who exchanged complaints in the personal notices in the Sydney Morning Herald on 26 and 27 August 1852 respectively, were this boy's parents. While the spelling of the surname differs in each notice, the contents of the newspapers leaves no doubt that these two people were a couple. On 26 August 1852, John wrote:

CAUTION. – Whereas, my wife, Mary Gardiner, has absented herself from her home without any cause. This is to give notice, that I will not be answerable for any debt she may contract, and all persons are cautioned against harbouring her.

Mary responded:

TO THE PUBLIC. – In perusing the Herald of the 26th, I can see my husband has cautioned the public against giving me credit on his account, and my leaving his house without any cause. I hereby state that it is false in the extremes it was his bad conduct to me and my children that occasioned me to leave him, as I was daily in danger of my life, as respectable people can prove if required.

No man named GARDINER can be identified living in Goulburn Street in 1855 in either Sands Directory or in the City of Sydney Assessment Books but it is almost entirely certain that John's father, was the same John GARDINER who had been ordered to appear in the Quarter Sessions in January 1854 charged with operating a disorderly house in Goulburn Street.67 He was admitted to Darlinghurst on 13 January 1854 where he was identified as a Protestant whip-maker, born in Bristol in about 1805, who had been transported aboard the Waterloo in 1835. John senior was on a bond but was free by servitude. He was released from Darlinghurst in August 1854.68 This man was almost certainly identified on Tasmanian musters and on the Waterloo indent of 1835 as a Tasmanian transportee. His conduct report indicated that in 1845 it was recommended that he be given a conditional pardon for the Australian colonies and this was approved on 15 January 1846.69 His description record in the Tasmanian Archives confirmed his occupation of whipmaker and his birth location of Bristol. On 25 January 1847, the 31-year-old John GARDINER, whipmaker, married the 26-year-old spinster, Mary KENNEDY, in the district of St George, Hobart, VDL. The witnesses were Eliza WOODMAN and James HARRIS.70 Mary KENNEDY had been transported in 1843 for ten years on the Margaret after appearing in the Glasgow courts in September 1842. She received her conditional pardon on 30 July 1850.71 It is almost certain that the John GARDNER, whipmaker, who was advertising for the purchase of hides in August 1849 and was living in Elizabeth Street, Hobart, was this man.72

There are two births in 1847 and 1848 that may identify the birth of the boy, John. A possible arrival in NSW from Hobart for the family occurred in November 1850 aboard the Emma which showed John GARDINER with a wife and three children.73 In May 1851, the following year, John and Mary GARDINER nee KENNEDY baptised their son Samuel at the Scots Church, Sydney.74 It seems very likely that by 1853 John had set up a business as a whip-maker in George Street, Sydney, when he was robbed by his employee, Ebenezer ROBINSON75 or ROBISON.76 By 1868 H. T. CLARKE was the only whipmaker in Sydney.77 No trace of John has been confirmed after his release from gaol and he had either changed his occupation or left Sydney. It is suspected that it was more likely that after his son was admitted to Randwick he left Sydney, this therefore makes him unlikely to be Harriet's father as it is known that her father had appeared with her in court and had also probably taken out the warrant for her arrest. It is interesting to note that John GARDENER, the storekeeper at Braidwood who was dealing with financial problems in January 1862, had formerly been living in Sydney.78 The description of this man has been included below to avoid locating it again together with a possibke brother, William, who lived in the Goulburn area.

Relationship Name Age Height Hair Eyes Complexion Build Distinguishing features
Father John79 20 5' 5½" black dark brown pale visage oval and small; head small; forehead high; mouth small; nose and chin M. L. [medium length?]; eyebrows black
Father William80 20 5' 8" grey hazel florid nose [?] and well formed; mouth small lost all teeth; chin medium [?]; scar on forehead [?] eyes; scar on right side of mouth [? ?]; several old marks on arms; several scars[?] on left arm; [?] [?] [?] on right [?]; features oval

In September 1876 in Goulburn, a 76-year-old William GARDINER, born in about 1800 in Bristol, England, and who had arrived on the Waterloo,81 was admitted to Goulburn Gaol for protection.82 No trace has been found of William GARDINER after this admission. It is believed that this man was also a Tasmanian transportee.83 A man of this name with children identified as Susan and John was living in Goulburn in January 1865.84 While it is not likely that this man was Harriet's father due to the location of the family in Goulburn, is interesting that Harriet was sent to Goulburn as an apprentice as it was unusual that she was not apprenticed in Sydney. Unfortunately because the less careful George LUCAS had arranged Harriet's apprenticeship, less credence must be placed on this detail. LUCAS's involvement and less thorough paperwork is believed to have been one reason that Harriet has been so difficult to trace.

Harriet was not the daughter of Charles and Mary GARDNER who had been born in 1858 in Maitland as this girl married Henry BLACKBORROW.

Contradictory reports of the surname of the woman admitted to Darlinghurst Gaol after a trial on 9 March 1862, where she was reported as GARDNER,85 and her gaol admission where she was reported as GARNER86 may suggest another potential spelling of the GARDINER surname but Harriet was not the Harriet GARNER born in 1855,87 even though this was the birth year attributed to the Newcastle admission in the school records. Harriet GARNER married in 187488 and died in 191589 where her parents, William and Harriet Ann aka Hannah, were confirmed on her death registration.

Harriet was not the woman who married William J. HODGES in 1897 in Coonabarrabran.90 This woman had been born at Cassilis in 1861.91 At about the age of 17, she had gone into service with, or was eventually adopted by,92 Mr and Mrs R. HEAD of Barradine. Other newspaper articles indicated that this Harriet was the niece of Thomas and James CONSTABLE of Wollar, near Mudgee,93 the sons of William CONSTABLE and probably, Mary PEARSON. When she died at the age of 39 in December 1900, her parents were confirmed as Thomas and Maria.

It is considered extremely unlikely that Harriet was an unregistered child of George GARDNER and Harriet née RAMPTON who had arrived on the Meteor in 1853. Online trees indicated that further children were born in the Singleton area of the Hunter Valley so this couple did not remain in Sydney.

Updated January 2018

Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License