Fanny Jane LEE was arrested from Newcastle and was recorded in the Entrance Book as thirteen when she was admitted to the school on 2 September 1867. She was a Catholic and her educational level was described as 'Sequel Number 2 writing large hand.'40 At the time this was a very good educational admission level and one letter remains that was almost certainly written personally by her. Fanny's handwriting was beautiful.41 Fanny's medical assessment by Dr HARRIS showed that not only was she was not a virgin but that she was suffering from syphilis.42 After just under a year at the school and shortly before the first riot, Fanny43 was one of ten girls,44 who escaped from the school at about six o’clock on the evening of 8 July 1868.45 They were all recaptured by the Newcastle police – some at Borehole and some at Waratah – before ten o’clock and returned to the school.
On 15 December 1869, after the arrival of the new superintendent, CLARKE, Fanny was identified in his list of girls eligible for apprenticeship46 where it was indicated that she had been in the school for two years and that she was currently aged sixteen.47 On 5 January 1870, CLARKE sought permission from the Colonial Secretary to apprentice Fanny to Mr James FULFORD at the Northumberland Hotel, Maitland, for eighteen months. She was to be paid six shillings a week for the first six months and seven shillings a week for the last year of her apprenticeship. Fanny began her apprenticeship with FULFORD on 13 January 1870, but by March, CLARKE had written to the Colonial Secretary requesting permission to cancel the apprenticeship as Fanny had made a complaint. The letter Fanny wrote to CLARKE demonstrated the high level of writing ability that she had attained. Fanny wrote on 26 February 1870:
I want to write this letter to you hoping that you will grant me my favour as to take me from Mr Fullfords for she beat me and swore she would give me another good beating she tried to choke me but I struggled from her Please Sir I would be very much obliged to you if you would either send for me or come for me I told her that I would pay my own passage down if she would let me go, but she wont let me go until she gets word from you please will you be so kind as to write to her and tell her to send me down. I have no more to say at present hoping you will take me from her I remain your obedient servant
Fanny Jane Lee
Answer as quickly as possible.
CLARKE investigated, made a copy of Fanny's letter and forwarded the original to the Inspector of Public Charities, Frederic KING. CLARKE indicated to KING that he was 'greatly disappointed' with the way Mrs FULFORD treated Fanny who CLARKE described as quiet and ‘in every way obedient.’ Frederic KING indicated that only a bench of magistrates could cancel the indentures and not the government according to the 13th clause of the Act but he did approve of CLARKE's involvement in the ongoing welfare of girls who had been discharged as apprentices. Frederic KING also put in motion changes for the consideration of the Colonial Secretary to help apprentices by supervising their treatment. The Colonial Secretary agreed that Fanny should be returned to the school and re-apprenticed so CLARKE requested permission to transfer the indentures to C. J. SMITHERS, Esq., C.P.S., of Maitland and approval was given by the Colonial Secretary. This apprenticeship with SMITHERS can’t have occurred as on 2 May 1870, an apprenticeship was subsequently arranged for Fanny and Hannah McGILL to Dr W. H. GORDON48 of Murrurundi for eighteen months at six shillings a week for the first six months and seven shillings a week for the rest of the period. Ultimately only Fanny was sent to Murrurundi as GORDON finally opted to only take one apprentice.49 It is unknown whether Fanny ever completed this apprenticeship.
Four years later, in 1874, Fanny delivered an illegitimate son, Henry. It may be that Henry's father was Henry or Harry WILSON50 as this surname has been attributed to Henry by his descendants and on 27 March 1940,51 his death registration as Henry WILSON, recorded both his parents' names. In 1875 Fanny married Thomas PURDY in Newcastle. Thomas and Fanny were still together in March 1876 when Thomas was charged with assaulting Fanny. The charge was settled out of court.52 The marriage didn't last and Thomas abandoned Fanny. It is thought that the couple had separated from at least 1878 when the first GREENWOOD child was born. In 1879 Fanny announced her intention to remarry in the local newspapers,53 an action that was copied by her sister Maria the following year.54 No death has been found in the Hunter region for him but it is possible but unconfirmed that he moved to Coonamble.55
In 1886, although Thomas was very likely to still have been alive, Fanny married John GREENWOOD. Their marriage may have been postponed to avoid any chance of Fanny entering into a bigamous marriage but this can't be verified. Fanny's new partnership with John GREENWOOD was not happy and on 25 November 1878, Fanny first appeared in the Maitland gaol records charged with using threatening language. Two children entered Maitland Gaol with her but they were unidentified. In 1888, GREENWOOD, a miner, was charged with causing grievous bodily harm when he attempted to cut Fanny’s throat.56 He was committed to the next Quarter Sessions where he accused Fanny of prostitution. The domestic arrangements of the couple and their border, Charles ORAM, involved ORAM sharing their bedroom.57 John was found guilty of malicious wounding but without intent to cause grievous bodily harm due to a head injury he had received sometime during the 1860s. He was sentenced to five years imprisonment and his gaol record from Darlinghurst identified that he was a miner who had arrived on the City of Adelaide in about 1871. It further stated
His Honor states that prisoner's wife should not be compelled to cohabit with him and that she should have charge of the children.58
Fanny had at this time reported that she had returned from Mount Kembla59 and her daughter, Maria, had been born in Shoalhaven,60 so it may be that members of the extended LEE family lived in the South Coast area of NSW. Fanny was again admitted to Maitland Gaol in 1890 and again in 1891. One child, probably Maria Ethel, entered the gaol with her in 1890. As Fanny GREENWOOD, Fanny died of a fit brought on by intemperance on 10 December 1891. Neither of her parents were identified on the registration in the NSW BDM Index. At the time of her death it was reported that only a son, who was aged about five, was living with her but it was possible that she had had other children who were living in Sydney.61
Fanny was born on 11 May 1854, and was baptized on 20 August 1854, by the Rev. C. B. DOWLING at St Mary’s Roman Catholic Church, Newcastle.62 Because Fanny's baptism was Catholic, Margaret's maiden name was recorded in the church record. Gaol records indicated that Fanny had been born in Newcastle63 but descendants identified that the actual NSW BDM registrations indicated that she had been born in Sydney, perhaps suggesting some extended family there. She was the youngest child of John aka James LEE and Margaret HAYES. No marriage has been verified in NSW for John LEE and Margaret HAYES but descendants and online enquiries64 confirmed that the couple had married in Victoria in 1843. This marriage was recorded on the NSW BDM Index under the names James LEES and Margaret HAYES65 and this may account for the variations in name encountered in the NSW BDM Index. Fanny's siblings were all baptised by C. V. DOWLING in January 1854, the year before Fanny's birth, in the Catholic church at Newcastle suggesting that, at that date, the family had only recently arrived in Newcastle.
Fanny’s mother, Margaret, was described in the Entrance Book as a charwoman living in Newcastle but she was not named. Margaret was a Catholic who stated that she had arrived free from County Cork on the Warshipman in 1842.66 The Police Gazette identified that her ship was the Midshipman.67 There has been no official record found for either ship arriving into either Victoria or NSW but the Warshipman may have arrived in Victoria68 and this was the likely location for the marriage to Fanny's father. Margaret cannot have arrived in Victoria on the Merchantman in 1854, as, while the indent does identify a woman with the correct name, she was too old and was already married so cannot be Fanny's mother. All Margaret's children were Catholic but by 1874, Margaret was recorded in some gaol records as a Protestant.69 Margaret was frequently in the Newcastle or Maitland courts. Currently the first appearance found for her was in 186370 but she was first located in Maitland Gaol in 1862 as Margaret LEES and this record identified an earlier admission in 1856.71 The 1856 record has not been found and may not be extant. She was described as an old offender when she appeared in Newcastle court 21 October 186872 where she was sentenced to six months in Maitland Gaol. She was tried again in Newcastle on 16 November 1871, for stealing and spent another six months in Maitland, being released in 1872.73 Margaret's last gaol admission identified was in Maitland in 1875. No reports have yet been located in the Newcastle papers for Margaret after 1879 but she was still alive at this time. Margaret had moved to Sydney where she died on 28 August 1880.74
It is considered unlikely but it is not impossible that the application to marry between the twenty-four-year-old Margaret HAYES, who came free, and the twenty-six-year-old Thomas BELLAMY who arrived on the Royal Sovereign is connected as this woman married as Margaret CLARKE.75 The permission was granted by J. J. SMITH of Paterson on 29 January 1842.
Nothing has been confirmed of John LEE but there is a strong possibility that he was the convict of this name who had been transported aboard the Asia. John was recorded on the Newcastle baptisms as a labourer. While the NSW BDM index identified Fanny's father as James LEE, the HVPRI records, transcribed from the original Catholic registers, identify his name as John. While it is possible that the NSW BDM Index has been incorrectly transcribed, the original Catholic record has not been viewed in order to confirm whether there is an error.
Fanny's step-father was recorded in the Entrance Book as James GEE. Because Fanny's father, John, has not been traced, it should be considered that John LEE and James GEE were the same man and that the couple had never married. This possibility has not been disproved but is considered unlikely. It also should be considered that James GEE was Fanny's father as she had been born some time after her siblings and the date of John LEE's disappearance or death has not been identified. Margaret LEE and James GEE appear together in the Maitland gaol records in 1865 but the couple had been living together since at least October 1858.76 James GEE had been transported on the Portsea in 1837.77 He was a Protestant from London and was frequently before the courts in the Hunter Valley. James appeared before the Newcastle Bench in 1856 charged with robbery with violence but was acquitted. His final appearance yet found in the Newcastle newspapers occurred in April 1880,78 and his final gaol admission occurred in Maitland in 1873.79 He has not been traced outside the Hunter Region between these dates. A positive identification of the death of James GEE has not been found but it is considered likely that he died at Parramatta at the age of 62 in 1881.80 More may be known once the asylum records have been viewed.
Fanny’s sister, Maria was gaoled at Maitland Quarter Sessions on 16 July 1867, charged with vagrancy.81 When Maria's son, George Prince LEE, died in 1868, Maria was described at the inquest as a woman of loose character.82
Updated June 2016