Catherine MANTON
Name Variations MUNTON1
Father James MANTON b.c. 18352 m. 1854 d.
Mother Mary RYAN b.c. 1839 m. 1854 d.
Inmate Catherine MANTON b.c. 18563 m. (see below) d. aft.1873
Brother James MANTON b.c. 18574 m. d.
Sister Mary MANTON b. 18635 m. none - d. 18646
Husband unknown b. m. d.
Daughter Mary Theresa MANTON b. 18737 m. none - d. 18738

Catherine was recorded as aged between thirteen and fourteen when she was brought to court by constable QUIGLEY on 8 September 1869,9 and charged with wandering about the streets in company of common prostitutes. Catherine told QUIGLEY that she was taken away from her home by a girl named O'HARA and had stayed with her for two nights, sleeping in the open air near the Patent Slip Wharf. Their Worships 'considered that it was their duty to send the girl to Newcastle, where she would be taught some useful occupation.'10 Catherine was admitted to Newcastle on 14 September 1869, and she was recorded as fourteen in the Entrance Book.11 Because the Newcastle inmate's name appeared on the last page of the first section of the Entrance Book immediately before the missing pages, no details of parents, religion, education or discharge can be confirmed from this source.

Catherine was one of four girls12 punished with 48 hours solitary confinement on a bread and water diet for 'sleeping together and making use of obscene language.'13 Catherine transferred to Biloela in May 1871 and was recorded on the list of girls eligible for service, compiled by LUCAS and sent to the Colonial Secretary on 23 June 1871. Catherine had left to work for HALLORAN by 6 September.14 On 26 February 1872, LUCAS applied for permission to transfer Catherine's indentures to Frederic CANE, the Clerk and Storekeeper of the Industrial School at Biloela.15 It is unknown whether this apprenticeship was to replace Kate REDDAN or whether CANE employed both apprentices.

All the references to Catherine in the CSIL have been viewed and none give clues to her ancestry. Catherine was almost without doubt the eighteen-year-old woman who entered the Benevolent Asylum in Sydney on 27 March 1873. She left one month later on 16 April after having given birth to her daughter, Mary Theresa MANTON, who had been born on 24 March and subsequently died on 9 April 1873.16 No trace has been found in NSW of Catherine or Kate after 1873.


It is considered very likely but is unable to be confirmed that Catherine, her siblings and parents, James MANTON and Mary RYAN, who had married in Ireland in 1854, arrived as assisted immigrants on 23 September 1863, aboard the Peerless. Catherine, was seven years old so her date of birth calculated as 1856 which matched very well with the known age of the Newcastle admission. Two siblings, James and a baby born on the voyage, were also recorded on the indent.17

The indent recorded that James had been born in about 1825 at Thurles, County Tipperary, Ireland, and Mary RYAN had been born at Holy Cross, County Cork, Ireland, in about 1838.18

Mary's mother was recorded on the indent as Bridget KELLY who was living at Holy Cross, Ireland. Because the birth registration for Mary MANTON born to the couple whilst in quarantine, indicated that her mother's maiden name was RYAN, it is known that KELLY was a name resulting from a remarriage.

The two Peerless indents are contradictory in that while each recorded that the couple had a child who had been born in quarantine, one noted that this child was male but the other indicated that it was a girl. It is likely that this child was a girl as the NSW BDM Index confirmed that a child named Mary was registered to James and Mary MANTON after the family landed in NSW. Mary's birth record confirmed that she had been born on 26 October 1863, and that her parents lived in Margaret Street, Sydney. This address was recorded on the Peerless indent as the location of their friend in the colony, Michael BARRY.

Catherine's grandmother, also named Catherine, who had been born between 1805 and 1810, together with her fourteen-year-old uncle, William, were also on board the Peerless. Catherine the elder had had parents named James and Theresa FLYNN and she already had two sons and two daughters living in the colony. These children were unidentified.19 The family recorded that their acquaintance in the colony was a friend named Michael BARRY. BARRY was also responsible for the sponsorship of Denis and John MANTON who had also immigrated the previous year aboard the Lady Milton. The names of the two sisters who were in NSW are not yet known. Deaths for Denis,20 John21 and William22 have been identified and these registrations on the NSW BDM Index indicated that James's father was also James and very strongly suggested that the family remained in NSW and did not leave the state. The Funeral Notice for Denis MANTON indicated that his mother Catherine was still living and resided at 79 Sussex Street, Sydney.23 Twenty-five-year old John and thirty-year-old Denis share a grave at Rookwood and a headstone was erected to the pair by the older Catherine.24 William MANTON was killed in the wreck of the Cawarra at Newcastle. His body was identified by his mother and sister.25 No Funeral Notice or In Memoriam notice has been found for William and no inquest report has been located. The mother was unnamed in any newspaper report yet located, so whether Mary had a different surname cannot be ascertained. Because a James MANTON also appearred on various crew lists of the coastal traders,26 it seems likely that he also sought work as a crew member.

It is possible that Mary died and James remarried Catherine CONROY27 in Sydney in 1870 but no appropriate deaths between 1866 and 1870 have been located in NSW. It may also be that James died and Mary remarried John LINCON in 1865.28 One daughter, Christina, was born to this couple.29 Although it is considered unlikely, it may be that the entire family left NSW after Catherine was released from Biloela.

The James MANTON who died in 1892 was 22 years old so had been born in about 1870 in Victoria so isn't connected to this family.30

Where has She Gone?

Only two deaths for a Catherine MANTON – or any of its variations – are recorded between 1879 and 1950. One woman died in Sydney on 22 October 1887,31 and her parents were Michael and Catherine. This woman was only identified as Mrs MANTON in Funeral Notices32 so is unlikely to be the Newcastle inmate. The names of her parents do not match those of the older woman recorded on the Peerless indent but it is still possible that the death recorded the grandmother of the Newcastle admission. The other death was for a 50-year-old woman with a daughter in Molong in 1903 as the result of typhoid.33 She was the wife of E. MANTON.34 Her parents were recorded as Michael and Sarah35 and she cannot be either Catherine or her grandmother.

Catherine was very unlikely to be the girl who appeared in the CPC on 17 May 1869, three months before the Newcastle admission's arrest, charged with riotous behaviour and who was fined or sent to gaol for seven days.36 The Darlinghurst gaol records indicated that this admission was twenty-five and had been born in Newcastle so she was therefore too old and if Catherine did arrive on the Peerless, this woman had been born in the colony.

Updated October 2019

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