Charlotte A. or L. MACDONALD (2)
Father b. m. d.
Mother Mary b. m. d.
Inmate Charlotte A. or L. McDONALD b. 1855 m. (see below) d.
Husband unknown b. m. d.
Daughter Edith Annie McDONALD b. 18732 m. none - d. 19173

Charlotte was fifteen when she was brought before the Court on 14 July 1870, on a warrant instigated by her mother, Mary, who stated that Charlotte stayed away from home at night and kept the company of prostitutes and she had no control over her. Charlotte's surname was variously reported in the newspapersas McDONNELLY4 and McDONNELL.5 Charlotte's name had originally appeared in the section of the Entrance Book that has not survived so no religious, admission, discharge, family or educational details can be confirmed in this record. She was recorded by LUCAS as Charlotte L. MACDONALD in his duplicate list copied from the original record in April 18726 but was recorded as McDONNELL on the transfer lists and no middle name or initial was recorded there.7 LUCAS was unreliable in many of his actions and the accuracy of his records. While the school records are considered more reliable than newspaper reports, there is still inconsistency in these documents and no identification has yet been made for the middle name beginning with either A. or L. Many transcription errors have been identified on the complete inmate list8 and it may be that the use of McDONALD here is yet another example. There are fewer errors on the transfer lists but Charlotte's surname is still unverified. Other than the letter below there are no further communications concerning Charlotte in the CSIL.

In a letter dated 5 April 1871, Rose SELWYN, the wife of the Church of England minister at Christchurch, Newcastle, wrote on behalf of Mrs ARNOLD, of Stradbroke, Paterson, requesting that Mary Ann AYLIFFE and Annie BANHAM be apprenticed to her. Because Mary Ann had already been apprenticed, Mrs SELWYN then requested that Charlotte McDONALD might be sent instead. LUCAS reported that the girls were of good character and he considered that they would make excellent servants so the apprenticeship was approved.9 The fact that Mrs SELWYN requested Charlotte as an apprentice is a strong indication that her ancestry was untainted with either crime or a convict stigma. LUCAS' comments further supported a more acceptable upbringing. Charlotte was not placed in this apprenticeship as by this date she had only spent about nine months of her required year in the school. The intervention by Rose SELWYN also pointed to Charlotte being a Protestant and this religion was confirmed on the Biloela lists when she transferred to Biloela in May 1871.10 Charlotte was eventually apprenticed for two years to J. DOUGLAS, Esq., of Marra Creek on 12 February 1872. She was to be paid two shillings a week for the first year and three shillings weekly for the second year. Marra Creek is a tributary of the Barwon River west of Tamworth. Arrangements had taken some time as DOUGLAS was held up in the interior and LUCAS made a second request to send Charlotte to James BRAY of Berrima which then had to be rescinded.11 LUCAS' 1872 list identified the location as Marrow Creek.12 He confirmed the date of the apprenticeship in his report to the Colonial Secretary on 19 February 1872.13 This apprenticeship should have concluded in about February 1874 but it is unknown whether it was completed.

It is unconfirmed and only a tentative connection but it may be that Charlotte was the seventeen-year-old girl who entered the Benevolent Asylum in Sydney on 12 March 1873. She delivered a daughter, Edith Annie McDONALD, on the 19 May 1873, and the pair left the asylum together on 5 July.14 The NSW BDM Index identified that Edith's mother was Charlotte at the time of her death so this child has been tentatively attributed to Charlotte.


Charlotte's mother appeared in court at the time of her trial but no information can be uncovered concerning any possible family. Her mother was identified as Mary in the newspapers but there is has been no confirmation found that this name was reported correctly at the time and no assisted arrivals have been found that might match either Charlotte or her mother. The inconsistent spelling of Charlotte's surname in both official records from the school and from communications referring to the Newcastle girl, contributes to the difficulty in identifying her. It is still unknown whether her surname was MACDONALD, McDONNELL or McDONNELLY and reports for Winifred MACDONALD also indicated the same variations in the spelling of this surname.

Charlotte's family is therefore difficult to trace but without the newspapers having identifying her mother as Mary, Charlotte would exactly fit the girl born in 1855, the correct time, in Hill End and whose family moved to Sydney in about 1860. The research into this family contains traits that are common in girls admitted to Newcastle and the likely admission to the Sydney Benevolent Asylum is also has a similarity to other Newcastle girls. Additionally Charlotte was apprenticed outside the Sydney area which was unusual but could also reflect the lack of care that was taken by LUCAS, the superintendent who apprenticed her.

For these reasons the family outlined below has been very tentatively attributed to Charlotte although the surname defies Charlotte's reported surname and the reported given name of her mother and is based on coincidence and supposition only.

In 1873, a Charlotte MACDONALD delivered an illegitimate daughter named Edith MACDONALD, at the Sydney Benevolent Asylum. Delivering children before marriage was a common trait for girls admitted to Newcastle. Edith died on 12 August 1917, in Marrickville. Her Funeral Notice identified that she was the niece of William F. MACDONALD,15 indicating that she was unmarried. Edith's uncle, William F. MACDONALD, had married Susannah LITTLE in Petersham in 1885.16 There was no record of Edith in Susannah's Funeral Notice when she died in July 191017 so this was the only notice yet found connecting the family. William and Susannah had only two sons, Arthur and Cecil. These men were are named in Frederick's Funeral Notice in June 1931 together with a niece, Mrs J. BOYLES.18 Mrs J. BOYLES was formerly Emma R. MACDONALD who had married John BOYLES in Woollahra in 1897.19 William's parents in 1931 were identified as Frederick and Ann MACDONALD.

None of these couples have online research but an online tree for Frederick MACDONALD and Ann SUTCH identified that they had had a daughter named Charlotte Ann MACDONALD whose daughter Edith A. MACDONALD also had an illegitimate daughter named Dorothy May MACDONALD. Dorothy married Milton CHAPMAN in 1921. This tree erroneously identified that Charlotte had been born in Hill End, Victoria, in 185620 but Hill End is in actually in NSW near Tambooroora. The NSW Baptism for Charlotte A. McDONALD indicated that Charlotte Ann had been born on 14 June 1855, and had been baptised on 19 August. Her parents were identified in this record as John McDONALD and Ann. John was a goldminer at Bald Hill near Tambaroora.21 It is believed that this baptism identified the Charlotte MACDONALD who was the sister of William F. and Emma R. MACDONALD and this record has either been erroneously transcribed from the original record or written incorrectly at the time by the minister. This is supported because birth registrations for most other members of this family occurred at Tambaroora.

Frederick McDONALD and Ann SUTCH were married by banns by Charles F. D. PRIDDLE at St James, Sydney. The witnesses were Charlotte GUY of Frances Street and Thomas AVERY of Bourke Street.22 Anne SUTCH had arrived on the Talavera in 1853. She was a Protestant and a plain cook who had been born in London in about 1823. Her parents were identified as John and Ann.23 This research therefore confirmed the identity of the family of the woman who gave birth in the Benevolent Asylum in 1874 and information from descendants almost certainly confirmed what was on the unseen NSW BDM registrations.

The other children of this family were Mary,24 Frederick,25 and Emma R.,26 who were all born in Tambaroora and Alice27 who was born in Paddington. Mary died in Paddington in 1860.28 It is interesting that the first child of this family was named Mary and no daughter was named Ann although no significance should be placed on this information. Alice MACDONALD married in 1882 and the announcement for her marriage identified her as the second daughter of the late F. MACDONALD.29 This family position suggested that Charlotte had died before this date as, had she been alive, Alice would have been identified as the third daughter of Frederick. At this date the oldest daughter was Emma. The online tree for Edith has not located the deaths of either Charlotte, Frederick and Ann MACDONALD. Funeral Notices indicated that Ann MACDONALD nee SUTCH died in August 1890.30 Only her father, John, was identified on the NSW BDM Index.31 Like Edith, Ann was buried in Waverley Cemetery.32 It is considered very likely that Frederick died in Paddington in 186933 at the age of 45. Waverley burial records would be interesting to access and a check will be made to see if there is a headstone. This death could have been a contributing factor of Charlotte's admission to Newcastle.

Where has She Gone?

No further references have been confirmed for Charlotte in Trove under any spelling of her surname.

The marriage of Charlotte McDONALD to John Peter JOHNSTON in 188234 is currently being investigated. No births have found registered to the couple under the surname JOHNSTON. John Peter JOHNSTON was in Liverpool in 1883 when he was robbed35 and in 1886 he was a cab driver in Sydney.36

The marriage to George FREW in Sydney in 188537 is very unlikely. The marriage registration of George FREW and Charlotte McDONALD identified that Charlotte had been born in about 1866 in Caithness, Scotland. Her parents were identified as Alexander McDONALD and Charlotte CAMPBELL.38 She was therefore ten years too young to be the Newcastle admission. This woman has not yet been confidently located after 1886 when a daughter was born in Sydney to the couple. It seems very likely that George was the George Clement FREW alias McCLYMOTT39 sentenced to seven years' penal servitude on 15 October 1887, for an attempted rape in Newcastle on Elizabeth DARCY40 or DAVEY.41 George was released from Goulburn on 2 July 1892 by special remission, when he was identified as a boilermaker who had been born in Scotland in about 1861. He had arrived in 1882 aboard the Loch Lyne.42 In May 1887 George had appeared in Newcastle court as on the charge of attempted rape. A birth certificate was found in his pocket that identified that the child's parents were George and Charlotte FREW.43 Perhaps this registration was that of Margaret E. FREW who had been born in 1886?44 There is some confusion concerning whether George's wife and children lived in Newcastle or in Sydney.

The woman who married Henry HOPKINS in Newcastle in 1888 is a possible trail and needs more work. It may be that this woman died in Lithgow in 189545 as Charlotte L. HOPKINS. Her parents were both unknown. There are no births recorded to the couple as either HOPKINS or HOPKIN.

The marriage of Charlotte Isabella McDONALD to Alfred POUNTNEY (as POUNTREY) in 1879 and the death registered in Port Macquarie in 193546 identified that Charlotte's parents were Donald and Mary. This marriage does not appear on the HVPRI. Online trees have her birth anywhere between 1855 and 1860 but most have identified that she was born on 12 April 1860, at Wellingrove.47 This woman was probably therefore five years too young to be the girl who went to Newcastle. While stated ages were very fluid at this time, it is hard to imagine authorities confusing a ten-year-old and a fifteen-year-old so she is almost certainly not the Newcastle admission.

Charlotte was very unlikely to be the Charlotte MacDONNELL48 who died in Auburn in 1926 whose parents were recorded as John and Mary. While this death was that of a single woman, Funeral Notices indicated that by 1926 her mother was still alive. Her sisters all married after 1900 suggesting that this family was too young to be connected to the Newcastle admission.49

The death of Charlotte MACDONALD in Singleton in 1882 with parents John and Marion50 is not the Newcastle admission as online trees indicated that this woman had been born in Scotland in 1826.51

Updated July 2018

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