Name Variations MOOR
Father Robert MOOR b.c. 18121 m. d.
Mother Mary MOORE b. m. d.
Inmate Mary MOORE b.c. 1855 m. (see below) d. aft. 1871
Brother Walter aka Robert Walter MOOR2 b.c. 1858 m. d.
Sister Alicia aka Bridget MOORE b.c. 1860 m. 18793 Augustus CAESAR d. 19114
Brother John MOORE b.c. 1862 m. d.
Relationship Name Age Height Hair Eyes Complexion Build Distinguishing features
Father Robert5 56 5’ 5” light, slightly grey sallow slight clean shaved; small features; first finger of right hand is straight and stiff
Sister Alicia aka Bridget6 35 5’ 0” brown grey

Mary MOORE was fourteen and a half years old on 26 October 1869, when she was brought before the court in Sydney by constable ROBINSON7 who stated that between five and six o'clock that morning he had found her in Crown Lane. Mary told him that she was over sixteen and had slept in a shed for three nights as she had no home. Her mother, Mary, was in court and stated that Mary had turned fourteen last May. Because she had been in service, she had got Mary into the 'Home', and had paid seven shillings a week for her care there. Mary stated that she hadn’t seen her daughter for the last five months and believed that recently she had been living at an improper house. Mary added that she didn’t know where her husband was and admitted that she had two other children who had been put by Father Sheridan into the Randwick Asylum.8 There was no place available for Mary9 but she was willing to pay something for her support if she was sent to Newcastle. The court agreed and Mary was admitted to Newcastle on 28 October 1869.10 The records for her admission are one of those missing from the Entrance Book so no details concerning her family, education or religion can be confirmed from this source. In May 1870, within a few months of her admission, Mary was one of four girls11 punished with 48 hours solitary confinement and a bread and water diet for 'sleeping together and making use of obscene language.'12

Mary was transferred with the school to Biloela in May 1871. The transfer lists, compiled nearly 18 months after her admission, recorded that Mary was a 14-year-old Catholic.13 Without confirmation of what was recorded in the Entrance Book, it is not possible to know the age recorded there as her admission as she should have been recorded on the transfer lists as a 16-year-old. On 6 November 1871, Mary's mother petitioned the Colonial Secretary requesting her daughter's release into her care. Mary senior provided a reference from the local member of Narellan, Joseph LEARY, for whom she had worked for nine months. LEARY had written Mary's petition for her and this document she signed with a cross. LUCAS supported Mary's release to her mother14 and she was discharged on 6 December 1871.15 LUCAS confirmed her discharge in his report on 12 December 1871.16

No further confirmation of Mary has yet been made after this date.


Mary's mother, Mary, was identified in her court appearance17 and while it was not recorded in the newspapers, she had almost certainly applied for the warrant for her daughter's arrest. Based on the evidence presented at both Mary's trial and in contemporary reports in the NSW Police Gazette, it is almost entirely certain that Mary was the daughter of Robert and Mary MOORE. She was reported to have been born in Victoria.18 Birth registrations from that state have not been supported by births for any of her known siblings so are still unable to be confirmed. By March 1868, Mary, her mother and two younger siblings had been deserted by their husband and father, Robert MOORE, for whom a warrant had been issued in Sydney. Robert and another sibling, ten-year-old Walter, Watty19 or Robert Walter MOORE,20 were reported to have gone to Newcastle. It was further reported that Robert had been a soldier and had also served in the Tasmanian police. The Newcastle Chronicle on 20 May 1868, published an advertisement almost certainly referring to Robert which stated:

ROBERT MOORE, who left Auckland, with his son, Walter Moore, in the A. J. Badger, on May 5th, 1867, and was last seen at Newcastle, is requested to communicate with TYPD, care of Gordon and Gotch, Sydney. Any tidings of him will be thankfully received.21

A similar advertisement appeared in the SMH on 24 December 1868.22 Mary’s siblings, Alicia, recorded as Alacia, and John MOORE, were admitted to the Randwick Asylum on 11 March 1868, where they were both recorded as Protestants. If it can be located, further information may be available in the application number 40 (Min: 15 folio 61) which was referenced in the Randwick records. Like their older sister, John and Alicia were also eventually discharged to their mother beginning about two years after Mary's release from Newcastle – Alicia on 29 May 1873, at the age of thirteen and John, also at the age of thirteen, on 19 April 1875.23 It is possible that at the time of each child's release Mary senior had arranged an apprenticeship to ensure that her children near her, as this would explain why they were not released at an earlier age and at the same time. The difference in religion between Mary and her younger siblings may suggest that their mother was a Catholic and the children may have returned to this religion once their father abandoned them. It also may suggest that Mary and possibly also her brother, Walter aka Robert Walter, were half-siblings to the younger two children. No births for any appropriate families have been found in any state of Australia or in New Zealand.

Mary MOORE attempted to work honestly and in order to do this it was necessary to split up her family so she was able to be employed. The staggered timing of each child's discharge from the industrial school and from Randwick suggested that she needed her children to contribute to the security of the family. It is possible that she was still in service but it is also possible that she had remarried. The marriage of Mary Alicia MOORE to Gerald STOKES in 187924 is not thought to refer to a remarriage of Mary's mother. No ages are shown to enable any confirmation. Mary Alicia MOORE had been born in Ireland and her parents were Thomas MOORE, a stockman and Margaret CARNEY so the record cannot refer to the younger Mary. It is possible that the wife of Gerald STOKES had died by 1888 or the couple had separated, as Gerald was involved in an adultery case as the co-respondent and no wife for him was mentioned.25

It must be considered that Robert MOORE may have been transported to Van Diemen's Land as the man who was almost certainly Mary's father was reported to have been a constable in Tasmania before he had moved to New Zealand. A possible arrival was the man arriving on the Susan on 21 November 1837, who had been born in Burton-on-Trent, Staffordshire,26 and had been tried in Sussex on 20 March 1837.27 More work must be undertaken on this man.

No trace of Mary senior, Mary or John has yet been confirmed but Alicia MOORE almost certainly married Augustus CAESAR or CEASER in 1879. After this date Alicia seems to have adopted the name Bridget as children were subsequently born to Augustus and Bridget CAESAR. They were living at 26 Fitzroy Street, Alexandria, when their daughter Bridget Anne was born in September 1887.28 Bridget was admitted to gaol in 1895, 1897 and 1899. Gaol records identified that she was a Catholic and two gaol records recorded that her place of birth was Sydney. She worked as a dealer.29 It must be considered that the woman Joy STEWART alias CAESAR who was also imprisoned in Darlinghurst Gaol in 1887 was another reference to Bridget aka Alicia MOORE.30 The CAESAR marriage was a violent relationship. In 1890 Augustus assaulted his wife with a dipper31 and in 1893, a whip.32 The couple were rag pickers.33 Bridget died after being accidentally smothered whilst drunk on 30 August 1911. An inquest was held and the conclusion was that her death was accidental.34 The death registration on the NSW BDM Index identified no parents but confirmed her age. No family members were identified in the Funeral Notice.35

Augustus remarried Annie HILLSDON,36 the sister of Mary Eliza HILLSDON, three years later. Augustus died in 1925.37 Because advertisements were also made in the Sydney papers38 it is considered possible that Augustus was the same man who had a wife in Brisbane. Augustus had arrived in Australia in about 1854 or 1855. He had a brother named Julius.39 He left the family and by 1902 advertisements were made in the NSW Police Gazette indicating that he had not been heard from since July 1898. He was described there as being a native of India who was either an engineer or a cook. He had been born in about 1850 and was a half-caste.40 He was described as 5' 6" tall, with a Roman nose, dark brown eyes, stout build, broad shoulders, a dark complexion and dark moustache only as he was very bald. He also went by the alias Sheridan CAESAR.41

It is not possible for the birth of Alice Mary MOORE to Robert MOORE and Mary Ann HOLLOMBY in Bulls Creek, South Australia, on 13 June 1860, to be the birth of Mary's sister. This birth was registered at Strathalbyn, South Australia.42 This couple had a daughter named Mary Ann who was younger than Alicia. This doesn't match what is known of the Newcastle admission. Other children were also born and this couple were still having children in Strathalbyn in 1870 so they cannot be the parents of the Newcastle admission.

Where has She Gone?

No indication has been found that Mary had or used a middle name. There are many references to Mary MOORE on Trove but none can be confirmed as referring to either Mary or her mother. No Police Gazette entries or gaol admissions for Mary MOORE or MOOR are sufficiently detailed to identify whether Mary was imprisoned or arrested after her release. Only newspaper reports indicating an age of an offender can be used to investigate possible arrests. One possible admission to the Benevolent Asylum occurred on 8 September 1885, for the birth of an illegitimate daughter, Margaret,43 who was born on 30 September, and who left the asylum with her mother at the age of three weeks on 15 October 1885. This child died in Glebe later that year.44 No other illegitimate births in Sydney can be linked with a woman Mary’s age.

Updated October 2017

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