Mary MOORE
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.
Description
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

Mary MOORE was fourteen and a half years old when she was brought before the court on 26 October 1869, by constable ROBINSON.6 ROBINSON stated that between five and six o'clock that morning he had found her in Crown Lane, Sydney. Mary had 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 she has 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 were put by Father Sheridan into the Randwick Asylum.7 There was no home for Mary but she was willing to pay something for her support if she was sent to Newcastle. Mary was admitted to Newcastle on 28 October 1869.8 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 Mary was one of four girls9 punished with 48 hours solitary confinement on a bread and water diet for 'sleeping together and making use of obscene language.'10

Mary was transferred to Biloela in May 1871. The transfer lists recorded that she was a 14-year-old Catholic.11 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 also written Mary's petition which she signed with a cross. LUCAS supported Mary's release to her mother12 and she was discharged on 6 December 1871.13 LUCAS confirmed her discharge in his report on 12 December 1871.14

No further confirmation of Mary can be made after this date.

Family

Mary's mother, Mary, was identified in her court appearance.15 Based on the evidence presented at both her 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 Victoria16 but any birth registrations from that state have not been supported by births for her known siblings so have been considered unlikely. By March 1868, Mary, her mother and siblings had been deserted by their husband and father, Robert MOORE, for whom a warrant had been issued in Sydney. Robert and his ten-year-old son, reported as Walter, Watty17 or Robert Walter MOORE,18 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.19

A similar advertisement appeared in the SMH on 24 December 1868.20 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 there as Protestant. 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. John and Alicia were also eventually discharged to their mother 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 1875.21 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.

A possible birth of Alice Mary MOORE to Robert MOORE and Mary Ann HOLLOMBY occurred in Bulls Creek, South Australia, on 13 June 1860. The birth was registered at Strathalbyn, South Australia.22 A brother named William had been born the previous year to the same couple. Alicia almost certainly married Augustus CAESAR or CEASER in 1879. After this date she appeared to have adopted the name Bridget as children were subsequently born to Augustus and Bridget CAESAR. Bridget was admitted to gaol in 1895, 1897 and 1899 and gaol records identify that she was a Catholic.23 This was a violent relationship. In 1890 Augustus assaulted her with a dipper24 and in 1893, a whip.25 The couple were rag pickers.26 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.27 The death registration on the NSW BDM Index identified no parents but confirmed her age. No family members were identified in the Funeral Notice.28 Augustus remarried Annie HILLSDON,29 the sister of Mary Eliza HILLSDON, three years later. Augustus died in 1925.30 Because advertisements were also made in the Sydney papers31 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.32 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.33 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.34

It is possible that Mary senior was still in service and had arranged apprenticeships for her children near her, as this would explain why her children were not released at an earlier age. No births for any appropriate families have been found in Australia or New Zealand. No trace of Mary senior, Mary or John has yet been confirmed.

The marriage of Mary Alicia MOORE to Gerald STOKES in 187935 may possibly refer to either Mary or her mother. 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.36

It must be considered that Robert had been transported to Tasmania 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,37 and had been tried in Sussex on 20 March 1837.38 More work must be undertaken on this man.

Where has She Gone?

No indication has been found that Mary had 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,39 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.40 No other illegitimate births in Sydney can be linked with a woman Mary’s age.

Updated June 2016

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