Margaret HUGHES
Father George HUGHES b. 18251 m. (1) bef. 1863 d. 18652
Step-Father George SINCLAIR3 b. 18334 m. (2) none d. 18735
Step-father George BARNES b. m. (3) 1874 d. aft. 1877
Mother Ann alias Emma CONWAY b. 18356 m. (1) bef. 1863 (2) none (3) 18747 d. aft. 1873 or 1877
Brother George HUGHES b. 18618 m. d. 19089
Inmate Margaret HUGHES b. 186310 m. (see below) d. aft. 1878
Brother Francis HUGHES b. 186511 m. d. aft. 188112
Half-Sister Nellie SINCLAIR b. 186713 m. d.
Half-Brother James SINCLAIR b. 187014 m. none - d. 1876
Husband Leo Mark SCHUCK b. 186215 m. 188416 d. 1926
Daughter Elizabeth Ann SCHUCK b. 188517 m. none - d. 196318
Daughter Margaret Magdaline SCHUCK b. 189319 m. 191520 Frederick J. CASTLE d. 197121
Relationship Name Age Height Hair Eyes Complexion Build Distinguishing features
Mother Emma22 40 5' 1½" brown brown fair medium
Brother Francis23 17 4' 8" strong very low forehead; one hand deformed

Margaret was admitted to Newcastle on 13 March 1871.24 A transcription error in the complete list compiled by LUCAS erroneously reported that she was admitted on 18th.25 She was six years old and was identified as a Protestant.26 This religion differed from what little is known of the family attributed to her and it must be considered that this was a further transcription error made on this record by LUCAS.27 Margaret's family details appear in the missing section of the Entrance Book so her trial location, family, religious, educational and discharge details cannot be confirmed in this source. No arrest details for her appear in the Police Gazette for 1871.

Margaret transferred to Biloela in May 187128 and was apprenticed for five years to Mrs MOULDER of Endsleigh, Orange, on 27 February 1878, who had applied for a girl from Biloela as a domestic servant. Selina WALKER had arranged this apprenticeship and in her letter to the Colonial Secretary seeking approval for it to be undertaken, she confirmed that Margaret had been tried at East Maitland and admitted to Newcastle on 13 March 1871. WALKER had negotiated wages for Margaret for her five year apprenticeship. She was to be paid a shilling a week for the first year, two shillings a week for the next two years and three shillings a week for the final two years.29 WALKER confirmed that Margaret had been apprenticed on 27 February in her report written on 4 March.30 A notation in the Biloela Discharge Register, possibly made in 1883, stated:

Completed term; Very good report; now married.31

No marriage for Margaret has yet been positively identified on the NSW BDM Index. No marriages for a woman of this name were registered in either Orange or Bathurst.


Margaret was the daughter of George and Ann HUGHES nee CONWAY who had arrived aboard the Coldstream in December 1863 with their three-year-old son, George. The Coldstream indent documented that George senior had a brother, Francis, living in Newcastle. His parents were recorded as James and Margaret HUGHES of Castle Blaney, County Monaghan, Ireland. George's wife, identified on the indent as Ann, was the daughter of James and Mary CONWAY from Galway Island, Ireland. Both George and Ann were recorded on the indent as Catholic and neither could read or write.32 While the religion from the indent doesn't match what little is known of Margaret, there is little doubt that the correct family has been identified.

Margaret's birth was almost without any doubt registered in Newcastle in 1863 and the age of this girl exactly matches that of the child admitted to Newcastle. This registration has not been viewed. Margaret was the second child, but the eldest daughter, of George and Ann. A younger brother, Francis, was born in the same year as the death of his father, George HUGHES, as his death was almost certainly registered in Newcastle in 1865. After George's death, Margaret's mother, Ann, adopted the given name, Emma. During one trial in 1873, Constable GRIFFIN of Newcastle police, stated that he had known Ann aka Emma 'for nine years', so, based on this statement, Ann had almost certainly lived in Newcastle since about 1865.33

On 14 March 1871, one day after Margaret's admission to Newcastle, her younger brother, five-year-old Francis, was admitted to the Vernon. The Vernon records indicate that he had appeared in East Maitland Court on 13 March. It is unlikely that this date is a coincidence as his appearance was almost certainly on the same day and the same time as Margaret's court appearance.34 East Maitland Court is adjacent to Maitland Gaol. The Maitland Mercury and Newcastle Chronicle on either 14, 15 or 16 March 1871, do not contain any reference to a trial indicating either Francis's admission to the Vernon or Margaret's admission to Newcastle. Francis's family details in the Vernon admissions states:

That on and for some time previous to the 18th February 1871 he was living with common prostitutes in Newcastle and was living in Maitland Gaol with his mother Emma Hughes alias Sinclair and other reputed thieves and prostitutes.
Born March 1866. Mother's statement, R. Catholic. Education none. Health good. Father dead. Mother in gaol. Not able to support.

The Vernon list from 1872 again confirmed that Francis's father was dead and that Emma was in gaol.35 There is little doubt that Ann became Emma SINCLAIR, as under this name she appeared in the East Maitland Quarter Sessons after earlier appearances in the Newcastle courts, charged with operating a disorderly house together with a man named George BARNES. The court report stated that:

The female prisoner, it appeared, had four children, the eldest of whom was about six years of age, and the youngest was an infant in arms.36

This article identified the eldest child, Margaret, as the six year old, and indicated the presence of her brother, Francis, and two half-siblings. Emma's gaol admission was made under the name of Emma SINCLAIR. Emma's 'husband', identified in a court appearance in October 1873,37 was recorded as the deceased, George SINCLAIR, and this newspaper report also indicated that his death had only occurred within the last few weeks. No marriage has been located for George SINCLAIR and Emma alias Ann as HUGHES or CONWAY and it is considered likely that none occurred. The HVPRI is yet to be checked to see if further information can be discovered using this reference. In her many gaol admissions, Emma consistently stated that she was a married woman who had arrived on the Coldstream in 1861. No person named Emma appeared on the 1863 indent for this voyage and no 1861 voyage can been located. All births of Emma's children to both George HUGHES and George SINCLAIR were registered on the NSW BDM Index using the given name Ann. Margaret's half-siblings, Nellie and James SINCLAIR, were identified in a further court appearance for their mother during October 1873, when it was suggested that an instruction from the Colonial Secretary be sought to decide where they were to be sent.38 Because these younger siblings were eventually sent to the Protestant Orphan Schools on 15 November 1873,39 it may be that a statement was made that they were Protestant or alternatively, the committee for the school simply accepted them as there was a vacancy. The records of the Protestant Orphan School haven't been viewed.

It is almost certain that James SINCLAIR died at the age of six in Parramatta three years after his admission. No further trace has been found of Margaret's brother, Francis, or Nellie, her half-sister. Margaret's older brother, the first child of George and Ann, who had also arrived on the Coldstream, is thought to have remained with and was possibly cared for by his uncle, Francis, on Ash Island in the Hunter River, as when Francis died in December 1891, George placed a Funeral Notice in the Newcastle Morning Herald and Miners' Advocate.40 George, the son of Francis and Julia, died in 186441 and the couple had another son of this name in 1868 and this boy died in 1910. It is thought that Margaret's brother, George, died in Newcastle in 1908. The registration on the NSW BDM Index indicated that his parents were George and Anna.42 This possibility is still being investigated.

No trace of Ann aka Anna aka Emma CONWAY or HUGHES has been confirmed. Based on coincidence and supposition, it is considered likely that the marriage between George BAINES and Emma CORDS in Glebe, Sydney, in 1874,43 is that of Margaret's mother. This marriage has been tentatively attributed to Ann alias Emma CONWAY. This couple almost certainly appeared in court in Sydney in February 1877 as George and Emma BARNES where George was ordered to pay Emma maintenance.44 George had almost certainly returned to Newcastle from Glebe, Sydney, by June 1876.45

Francis HUGHES was apprenticed from the Vernon to James DUNDAS at Robertson near Berrima, possibly in about 1878 when he is mentioned in a letter in the CSIL.46 He absconded on 28 November 1881, and was thought to have gone to Newcastle where it was reported that his mother sill lived.47

Where has She Gone?

The Biloela Discharge Register clearly indicated that Margaret had married after her five year apprenticeship ended.48 The marriage notation was recorded in the register at a later date than that of the notation reporting the completion of Margaret's apprenticeship as it was written in a different hand. Margaret had been apprenticed until February 1883, and at the conclusion of this indenture, she would have been eighteen years old. The year of her documented marriage is uncertain but it is considered that it was very unlikely to have occurred before 1883, although it may have occurred during 1883 if her apprenticeship ended earlier in the year.

Because Margaret had been in either the industrial schools or an apprenticeship for a combined period of thirteen years, it is unknown how much she was able to recall about her earlier life or whether any extended family members kept up some form of communication with her but it is possible that she returned to Newcastle searching for her mother. Two letters referring to her appear in the CSIL Index of 1878. These letters are likely to refer to her discharge from Biloela. Another letter that may refer to her from 1886 is yet to be viewed. It is almost certain that Margaret would have used the name HUGHES rather than SINCLAIR when she married as she had been known and referred to by this name for at least thirteen years.

Based on these considerations it must be considered that Margaret married Leo Mark SCHUCK in Newcastle in 1884 at the age of twenty-one.49 This marriage has been attributed to her. This particular Margaret HUGHES matches well for a woman born in 1863. Online trees identify that Margaret SCHUCK had been born in Newcastle but have identified no parents. It is unknown whether this location was based on a statement made by Margaret on the birth of one of her children or based a 'logical' assumption concerning her marriage location.50 No online trees specify an actual date for the marriage and no church has been identified so it is unknown whether any parents were recorded on the registration. The HVPRI may provide more information about the marriage location but online trees indicate that it occurred at Raymond Terrace.51

The locations of Ash or Dempsey Islands, the residential location of Margaret's uncle, Francis HUGHES, are close to Raymond Terrace. Online trees identify that Margaret and Leo eventually ran a farm on the north coast of NSW52 before moving permanently to Sydney. Leo died in Sydney in 1926 and his wife and their two daughters, Elizabeth SCHUCK and Margaret CASTLE, were identified in his funeral notice.53 Margaret SCHUCK died in Woollahra in 1928 at the age of sixty-six, where only her maiden name of HUGHES was recorded on the index.54

Note While Francis HUGHES and his wife, Julia, also had a daughter named Margaret who was three years older than her cousin who was admitted to Newcastle, online trees indicate that this Margaret HUGHES married Thomas Joseph F. PETERSON in 1881 and died in Mayfield in 1951.

Updated June 2015

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