Name Variations MOOR
Father Robert MOOR b.c. 18121 m. d. aft. 1868
Mother Mary MOORE b. m. d. aft. 1879
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 MOORE b.c. 1860 m. 18793 Augustus CAESAR d. aft. 18794
Brother John MOORE b.c. 1862 m. d. 18835
Relationship Name Age Height Hair Eyes Complexion Build Distinguishing features
Father Robert6 56 5’ 5” light, slightly grey sallow slight clean shaved; small features; first finger of right hand is straight and stiff

It was stated by her mother that 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. Mary's mother, also Mary, was in court and stated that her daughter had turned fourteen last May. Because she had been in service, she had found Mary a place in the 'Home' and had paid seven shillings a week for her care there. Mary stated that they had not seen each other for the last five months and believed that recently her daughter had been living at an improper house. Mary declared 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 her daughter9 but Mary was willing to pay something for her support if she was sent to Newcastle. The court agreed and Mary junior was admitted to Newcastle on 28 October 1869.10 The records for her admission are amongst those in the Entrance Book that have not survived so details about her family, education and religion cannot 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 transferred with the school to Biloela on Cockatoo Island 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 for her admission as she should have been recorded on the transfer lists as a 16-year-old if ages reported in court were used at the time of her admission. There is also a contradiction in religion as Mary's siblings, Alicia and John were both identified as Protestants so it is unknown whether the information on the transfer lists is accurate or whether the three MOORE children had two different religions. On 6 November 1871, Mary's mother petitioned the Colonial Secretary requesting that her daughter be released 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 to her mother on 6 December 1871.15 LUCAS confirmed Mary's discharge in his report on 12 December 1871.16

No further confirmation of Mary has yet been made after this date. Because there was no apprenticeship arranged by the school there are no further government communications where she may be mentioned.


Mary's age has not yet been confirmed as statements made in court and those recorded in government documents gave conflicting ages. According to her mother's statements made in court at the time of her admission to Newcastle she had been born in about May 1855. Mary however denied that she was under sixteen and this also may have been a truthful statement17 as parents who were in desperate circumstances did lie in court to find a secure and safe place for their children.18 Mary was reported to have been born in Victoria.19 The difference in religion recorded for the three MOORE children may suggest that Mary, who was Catholic had a different father to Alicia and John who were Protestant. This may suggest that Mary was the illegitimate daughter of her mother and had potentially been born with a different surname. This is a very real possibility.

Mary's mother, Mary, was identified in her court appearance20 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. Birth registrations for Mary MOORE from Victoria have not been supported by births for any of her known siblings so are still unable to be confirmed. No appropriate births for Mary or either of her two known siblings have been found in any state of Australia or in New Zealand. There is however, a birth of a Robert MOORE to Robert and Mary MOORE nee CONROY in Long Gully, Victoria in 1858 and this year is a known match to the likely but unverified brother who separated from the rest of the family. There is also a birth for a Mary RYAN to Mary CONROY and William RYAN in 1854 in Wangaratta and this may be a relevant record that may identify the birth of the Newcastle admission.21 These Victorian records need further investigation.

By March 1868, Mary, her mother and her 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, Watty22 or Robert Walter MOORE,23 were reported to have left New Zealand and 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, a year after he had left, 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.24

A similar advertisement appeared in the SMH on 24 December 1868, identifying that the ship was the G. A. Badger.25 Mariners and Ships in Australian Waters suggests that the correct name for the ship was likely to be the A. B. Badger26 and newspaper reports at the time report the name as the A. H. Badger. While these advertisements do not identify Robert's family, notices in the NSW Police Gazette that match the newspaper articles, do identify Robert's wife, Mary MOORE. It was about two years after Robert's desertion that Mary was arrested.

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 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 1875.27 It is possible that at the time of each child's release, Mary senior had arranged an apprenticeship to ensure that her children were 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 and so had different religions.

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 MOORE to George GLOVER on 28 April 187528 may refer to a remarriage of Mary's mother. Both participants were 40 and both were widowed. Mary MOORE had been born in Ireland but no parents were recorded and the record had been updated from the original register so no church record will assist in their identification. Mary left George in October 1876 and it is not yet certain that she returned.29

The marriage of Mary Alicia MOORE to Gerald STOKES in 187930 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.31

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,32 and had been tried in Sussex on 20 March 1837.33 More work must be undertaken on this man.

No trace of the inmate Mary or her brother John has yet been confirmed. John MOORE is unlikely to have died in Sydney in May 1883 where only his mother was recorded on the death registration.34 There appears to be no funeral notice for him but Rookwood records indicate that he was 30 rather than 20 years old.

Mary's sister Alicia MOORE married Augustus CAESAR or CEASER on 10 April 1879 and her mother, identified as Mary MOORE, gave permission for this marriage to occur because Alicia was under the age of 21. No place of birth was recorded for Alicia on the registration. It is considered almost certain that Alicia delivered the illegitimate daughter Amy Louise MOORE in Sydney in 187935 in the months before she married. Alicia's marriage did not survive and it is not known when Augustus and Alicia separated. No confirmation of Alicia can be found after April 1879. By 1883 there is no doubt that Augustus was living with a woman named Bridget and Bridget was not an alternative name for Alicia.

The following information has been left to avoid repeating the investigations. After his separation from Alicia, Augustus began an association with a woman named Bridget. Bridget was recorded as IRONS when her son Frank married in 190536 but an appearance for assault in 1895 identified that Bridget's sister, Kate was the wife of Thomas RICE37 and this couple had married in 1888 where Kate's surname was HYNES.38 Bridget and Augustus were living in Redfern in 1883. They were at 26 Fitzroy Street, Alexandria, when their daughter Bridget Anne was born in September 1887.39 Bridget was admitted to gaol in 1895, 1897 and 1899. Gaol records identified that she was a Catholic and two gaol records gave her place of birth as Sydney. She worked as a dealer40 and so did Augustus.41 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.42 The CAESAR marriage was a violent relationship. In 1890 Augustus assaulted his wife with a dipper43 and in 1893, a whip.44 The couple were rag pickers.45 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.46 The death registration on the NSW BDM Index identified no parents but confirmed her age. No family members were identified in the Funeral Notice.47

Augustus had been born in about 1854 or 1855. He had a brother named Julius.48 Three years after Bridget's death, Augustus remarried Annie HILLSDON,49 who may be connected in some way to Mary Eliza HILLSDON. Because advertisements were also made in the Sydney papers50 it is considered possible that Augustus was or was connected to the man who had a wife in Brisbane. 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.51 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.52 Augustus died in 1925.53

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.54 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 other than those related to her arrest. Only those newspaper reports indicating an age of an offender can be used to investigate possible arrests as gaol records in Sydney contain few identifying details. One possible admission to the Benevolent Asylum occurred on 8 September 1885, for the birth of an illegitimate daughter, Margaret,55 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.56 No other illegitimate births in Sydney can be linked with a woman Mary’s age.

Updated February 2019

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