Elizabeth MORGAN
Father William MORGAN b. unknown m. unknown d. aft. 18701
Mother Anna JOHN or JONES2 b.c. 18253 m. d. 18604
Sister Mary MORGAN b.c. 1850 m. 18675 George HARPER d.
Sister Hannah MORGAN b. 18516 m. d. unknown
Brother Matthew MORGAN b. unknown m. d. 19197
Inmate Elizabeth MORGAN b.c. 1851 m. 18708 (see below) d. 19109
Sister Anne MORGAN b. 185810 m. d.
Husband James WISE b.c. 1851 m. 187011 d. 191412
Daughter Matilda H. WISE b. 187013 m. none - d. 187114
Daughter Elizabeth Margaret WISE b. 187315 m. none - d. 187616
Daughter Mary Louisa WISE b. 187517 m. none - d. 187518
Daughter Louisa H. WISE b. 187619 m. none - d. 187720
Daughter Amy G. WISE b. 187721 m. 190222 William CUMMING d. 195123
Daughter Minnie WISE b. 188124 m. none - d. 188125
Daughter Rosa M. WISE b. 188326 m. none - d. 188327
Son William H. (or O) J. WISE b. 188828 m. none - d. 188929

Elizabeth was admitted to Newcastle on 10 September 1867,30 after appearing in Newcastle court. No newspaper record has been found of her trial as the Newcastle newspapers are not extant for this date. The Empire reproduced an excerpt from the Newcastle Chronicle from 11 September suggesting that Elizabeth went straight from the court to the nearby school and this is supported by a letter to the paper that referred to Newcastle’s first committal to the school – a girl named MORGAN – providing her court date as 10 September. The letter stated31 that the 'young creature appeared to feel keenly the unhappy position in which she was placed, and wept bitterly while the constable was giving his evidence.' The Entrance Book recorded that Elizabeth was a Protestant and this was confirmed on SELWYN's list in June 1868.32 Elizabeth's educational level was 'sequel number 2 writing in large hand.' Her age was penciled in as sixteen and her medical assessment by Dr HARRIS showed that she was not a virgin.33 KING identified that Elizabeth, who was recorded as Eliza, had suffered from an undisclosed illness in May 1868.34

Elizabeth was involved in the first riot in Newcastle in July 1868 and her account was recorded by Frederic CANE. Her full statement follows

Age 17. I was one who joined in the riot I threw stones because I saw the others do so. I was not one of those who created a disturbance in the Dormitory. I used improper language to Miss Ravenhill and also to Mrs King at Muster for which I was locked in the Cell. I assisted the others in breaking out of the Cell and in making a noise. I am not aware of any plan among the girls to create a disturbance. When the Constable came up to me I had a knife in my hand to throw at one of the windows I meant to strike two of the Constables and Mrs Kelly with it. If they had not let me go I would have struck them with it. Mrs Heal and Maryann Parker one of the girls took it from me I did not hear any of the girls say they would injure Mrs King. I said while in the Hospital what the rest did I would join in. I was one of those who came up to officers quarters and called in the Matrons to come out I said if Miss Ravenhill comes out I will strike her I had a knife in my hand at the time I would not have used the knife if she had come out I would have used the stick which I had in my hand. My reason for saying I would strike Miss Ravenhill was because she got me put in the cell and took my breakfast - from me for [?] feeding [?] with the punishment of the younger girls and I made use of very improper language to her On the night of a row being made in the Dormitory No. 2. Mrs King came up to my bed and said Is it the old apple man you want and I would crawl after the Rotten Old Sailors while I had a leg under me this was said some months ago. About the time the 3 girls ran away the girls were making a noise in the Muster Room Mrs King said we were too hot we wanted dipping down the well.

Elizabeth made her mark on this statement.35

On 24 December 1868, in a letter responding to the Colonial Secretary, CLARKE, was asked to verify the ages of Elizabeth and Hannah BURT. He responded by stating that

in forwarding the ages of girls eligible for service I was solely guided by the register of this Institution in all cases excepting Morgans [sic] and the entry of her age in that book is in pencil "16 years" on entering this institution on 10 September 1867 - she states that she will be Eighteen on the 3rd of March next, but she looks much older, she has been Fifteen months in this Institution.36 In a further letter on 4 January 1869,37 he stressed the importance of granting permission to appoint Elizabeth and Hannah. He repeated this imperative in another letter on 18 January,38 stating that Elizabeth was 'anxiously looking forward to being discharged.'

Elizabeth was finally discharged to service by order of the Colonial Secretary on 16 March 1869,39 to the Rev. SELWYN of Christ Church Church of England, Newcastle. In a letter40 to Mrs SELWIN [sic] the previous day, CLARKE stated that Elizabeth had

been discharged from the above Institution in obedience to orders of the Honorable the Colonial Secretary, since I have known her, her character has been good and I have confidence in recommending her to you as a domestic servant.

In his letter on 1 August 1870,41 CLARKE stated that Elizabeth

remained in this situation for sixteen months (but) has got into trouble with a young man, a carpenter, who is willing to marry the girl as soon as her father’s consent can be obtained, for which Mr. SELWYN has written.

The Christ Church records in Newcastle indicate that on 27 August 1870, nearly four weeks after CLARKE's communication, A. E. SELWYN married Elizabeth MORGAN, a spinster born in Adelaide, South Australia, to James WISE, a bachelor born in London. James was a cabinet maker and his parents were recorded as James WISE and Mary Elizabeth nee HAMLET.42 Elizabeth and James both signed the register and the witnesses were John RICHARDS and Jane HOLLOWAY. Nine children were registered to the couple in Newcastle but only one – Amy – survived infancy. One daughter, Mary, died when she was scalded in an accident.43

By 1889, James had left Elizabeth and she took him to court for leaving her without any means of support. He was ordered to pay fifteen shillings a week for her maintenance44 and he advertised that he would not be responsible for her debts.45 Elizabeth WISE died in Newcastle in 1910 where her parents are recorded as William and Hannah. She and James were buried together in Sandgate Cemetery.46


Elizabeth's headstone at Sandgate Cemetery
Jane Ison (2016)


Elizabeth’s father, William MORGAN, was named in the Entrance Book as a smelter at Brown’s Creek.47 Elizabeth’s mother was unnamed at the time of her admission to the school and it is thought that this occurred because she had dead. Her full name was recorded in the marriage register of Christ Church, Newcastle, as Anna JOHN when Elizabeth married in 1870. Anna was also recorded as Hannah and when her other daughter, Mary, had married three years earlier, she was recorded as Hannah JONES.48 Her death, as Hannah MORGAN, almost certainly occurred in Kapunda, S.A., on 17 September 1860, at the age of thirty-five. The informant for her death was William MORGAN.

It is not known when the family arrived in NSW from South Australia and it is not confirmed what happened to Elizabeth’s sisters, Hannah or Anne. Anne’s death may be recorded as the burial of a two-year-old recorded in Sydney in 1860.49 An In Memoriam placed by Elizabeth in July 1890 for her nephew, Bertie, the child of George and Marian HARPER,50 identified her other sister, named Mary at the time of her marriage in Newcastle in 1867. It is very likely that Elizabeth was living with Mary at the time of her arrest in 1867. Mary's marriage has not been found in the Christ Church records, the HVPRI or St John's Church of England, Newcastle. The Matthew MORGAN whose death was registered in Lithgow in 1919 was Elizabeth's brother. He is further confirmed as a brother by family researchers of Mary MORGAN.

Updated June 2015

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