Mary Ann NOWLAN
Name Variations NEWLAND1
Father James NEWLAND aka NOWLAN b.c. 18192 m. (1) bef. 1845 (2) none (3) 1854 (4) 1871 d. 19093
Step-mother4 Mary Ann JEFFERY b. unknown m. (1) 18425 d. unknown
Step-mother Margaret McGUIRE b. unknown m. (2) none d. unknown
Mother Emma BROWN b. 18336 m. (3) 1854 d. unknown
Step-mother Margaret T. LEONARD b. m. (4) 18717 d. 19138
Inmate Mary Ann NEWLAND b. 18579 m. 1883 (see below) d. 189110
Sister Isabella NOWLAN b. 186011 m. 188712 Edward McMULLEN13 d. 193714
Brother William Edward15 NEWLAND16 b. 186217 m. d. 193418
Sister Emma NOWLAN b. 186219 m. none - d. 186520
Brother James Alexander NOWLAN b. 186521 m. 188722 Mary WHITE23 d. 193824
Brother Alfred J. NOWLAN b. 186825 m. d.
Half-brother Joseph NOWLAN b. 187226 m. none - d. 190127
Husband (1) Albert Edward DAVIDSON b.c. 1856 m. (1) 188328 d. 192629
Husband (2) Mr BAKER b. m. (2) none d.
Son Arthur J. H. DAVIDSON b. 188530 m. none - d. 1891
Daughter Mary Ann DAVIDSON b. m. none - d. 188731
Son Harold P. DAVIDSON b. 188932 m. none - d. 1891
Description
Relationship Name Age Height Hair Eyes Complexion Build Distinguishing features
Father James33 37 5' 5½" brown blue sallow stout long head; brown whiskers and eyebrows; oval visage; medium height forehead; large nose; medium mouth and chin; ruptured; slightly pockpitted; 5 dots J N between forefinger and thumb – right hand
Sister Isabella34 16 5' dark brown brown fair stout nose short and well formed; mouth and chin medium; body free from marks and scars
Brother William35 23 5' 9" light brown blue

Mary Ann was thirteen when she was arrested on 13 February 1871, by constable BULLA of Goulburn Police36 as she had been living with thieves. She appeared in Goulburn Police Court on 14 February 1871, charged with vagrancy. BULLA stated that Mary Ann had told him that her father, James, had turned her out of the house three days earlier and that she had slept in a cart the night before. James denied this, stating the she had left home again nearly a week ago and often didn’t come home; that she mixed with bad characters and that morning he had found her at McKAY's place.37 This was almost without doubt a reference to Thomas McKAY, the 'step-father' of Margaret DONOVAN, whose house was considered a 'depot for all notoriously bad characters in town.'38 Mary Ann was recorded in the Goulburn Evening Penny Post as Ann NOWLAN.39 James's servant was reported in this article to have been instructed not to lock Mary Ann out of the house but to restrict her movements within the house as she had previously robbed her father.

Mary Ann was admitted to Newcastle on 21 February 1871. Details of her family, discharge, education and religion appear in the missing section of the Entrance Book so nothing can be confirmed from this source. In May 1871 Mary Ann transferred to Cockatoo Island with the school and was recorded as 'In the Institution' on the April 1872 list compiled by LUCAS.40 In his report of 27 May 1872, shortly after the list was compiled, LUCAS indicated that Mary Ann had been discharged from Biloela as an apprentice to Mr Peter THOMPSON of Packer's Hill, Campbelltown.41 No further details have yet been found outlining any terms of this apprenticeship but it is likely that the length of her indenture was was for a period of about three years as Mary Ann would have turned 18 in 1875. No information has been identified concerning whether this apprenticeship was completed.

Mary Ann was married to Albert Edward DAVIDSON of Redfern on 11 January 1883, at St. Michael's Church of England, Surry Hills, by Hulton Smyth KING.42 The witnesses to the marriage were Eva BARNES and Mary Ann's brother, James Alexander NOWLAN, recorded, and known as, Alexander. The marriage announcement identified her as the eldest daughter of James NOWLAN, cordial manufacturer, of Goulburn43 and the registration confirmed that her parents were James NOWLAN and Emma BROWN.

In August 1891, Mary Ann was travelling from Sydney to Adelaide aboard the steamer Gambier. Travelling with Mary Ann were her two surviving children, five-year-old Albert and two-year-old Harold.44 The Gambier was an iron steamship that had been built in Dunbarton, Scotland, in 1874, and was originally called the Ocean. The steamer was captained by Captain BELL. On the night of 28 August 1891, the Gambier was entering Hobson's Bay, Victoria,45 when she was struck by the collier Easby. The steamer sank with the loss of twenty-one lives. This event remains

the worst collision in the bay’s history and the Court of Inquiry into the disaster found both captains guilty of misconduct and their certificates were suspended for several months. Inward bound from Sydney, the Gambier was entering Port Phillip Heads soon after midnight at 7 knots when, near the Popes Eye Shoal, she was struck at right angles by the Easby travelling at 10 knots. The collier penetrated more than a third into the Gambier, near the funnel, sinking her within minutes. Most of those who lost their lives, mainly women, did so when a lifeboat capsized.46

9184387600_c5882bc0d6_z.jpg

A 1912 woodcut reproduction of the SS Gambier
Courtesy of the State Library Of South Australia: (PRG/1/14/721)

Mary Ann and her sons were three of those drowned.47 While it was reported that Mary Ann was going to meet her husband who worked at Broken Hill48 there is almost no doubt that she was leaving her marriage and her husband, Albert, in Sydney and was going to meet a Mr BAKER in Broken Hill. BAKER was described as her friend when he identified her body.49 Family Notices from Mary Ann's siblings located her husband, Albert, in Redfern, Sydney, at the time she died.50 In an earlier report the South Australian Chronicle had disclosed that

Amongst those who lost their lives by the terrible disaster which befell the steamer Gambier a few days ago were the wife and two children of Mr. Baker, of this town. Mrs. Baker purchased the ticket of a Mrs. Davidson for the trip, and as her name did not appear in the early published list of those drowned it was hoped that she had not sailed with the Gambier on her last trip. Subsequent investigation, however, proved that Mrs. Baker really was on board the wrecked vessel, and that she and her children were in the boat which after being launched from the Gambier capsized.51

Another report indicated that her body and those of her children were never found.52 There is no reference to her in the Victorian BDM Index nor any likelihood of an individual inquest report if this was the case. Her sisters and brothers placed an In Memoriam notice in the Goulburn papers a month after the sinking.53

Albert DAVIDSON's death was registered in Ryde in 192654 and his death was confirmed by researchers of his extended family.55 It is unknown whether he remarried after Mary Ann's death.

Note Mary Ann did not make an earlier marriage in 1875 in Sydney to John DOUGLAS.

Family

Mary Ann’s court appearance identified her father and her marriage identified her parents. Her parents were married as James NEWLAND and Emma BROWN by the Baptist Minister, Henry DOWLING, at the residence of Mr SMITH, Charles Street, Launceston, Tasmania, on 7 November 1854. James was described as a tradesman and Emma was a spinster. The witnesses were George and Elizabeth SMITH.56 There was no permission to marry for this couple indicating that by this date they were either both free or they had arrived free. Births were registered to James and Emma in NSW as both NEWLAND and NOWLAN. Mary Ann’s birth was recorded in Chippendale in 1857 as Mary Ann NEWLAND.57 She had been born in 21 December 1856, and was baptized by G. KEMP on 18 February 1857. Her father was recorded as a dealer and the family lived in Newtown.58 The birth of Mary's brother, William NEWLAND, was registered in Goulburn in 1862 but all other children were recorded with the surname NOWLAN.

Clues to James's identity are outlined in his obituary which identified that he had been born in London, England, and had arrived in Tasmania in about 1847. His obituary recorded that he had married twice.59 A Tasmania marriage does not necessarily mean that James had been transported but it is considered almost certain that he was the James NEWLAND who had been transported for seven years from London aboard the Sir George Seymour on 27 February 1845.60 James had been found guilty of receiving and was tried at the Old Bailey on 28 November 1842.61 His conduct report indicated that he was a Protestant and had been born in Mile End, London, in about 1816. He had left a first wife in England. It may be that this woman was Mary Ann JEFFERY as her marriage to James NEWLAND in London occurred on 20 June 1842, prior to his trial for receiving. On this record James signed and was recorded as of full age.62 Mary Ann JEFFERY has been tentatively attributed as the first wife of James. James received a ToL in Tasmania on 9 March 1848, although a fortnight earlier he had been punished for living in a state of adultery with Margaret McGUIRE.

At the time of Mary Ann's arrest, James was operating a cordial manufacturing business in Goulburn and advertisements for his business locate his house in Clifford Street, Goulburn.63 This business was advertised for sale in August 1874, however he was still advertising the business in 1894 and was made bankrupt in 1895.

It is unknown whether James and Emma separated or if she died but there was no reference to Emma at the time of Mary Ann's arrest. Emma and James were still living together in 1865 when their daughter, Emma, died.64 Whether Emma died or whether the couple separated, it is very likely that the relationship between Emma and James NOWLAN did not continue after 1866. No reference to her was made when Mary Ann was admitted to Newcastle. In Sydney in 1871, James made a second marriage to Margaret LEONARD. This registration hasn't been viewed. The funeral notice for their son, Joseph, confirmed Margaret's name.65 James NOWLAN died at the age of ninety on 29 June 1909, in Newtown, Sydney.66 No death registration for James has yet been located. It is possible, but it has not been investigated, that James was connected to the Edward NOWLAN who also lived in the Goulburn area.

Mary Ann's mother, Emma BROWN, had been born in about 1833. Although she married in Tasmania, no appropriate convict has yet been identified and it is thought that she had arrived as a free woman between 1852 and 1853. A Miss Fanny BROWN and Miss Emma BROWN arrived in Tasmania aboard the Tasmania in March 1853.67 The last appearance yet found for Emma on Trove was an assault in September 1866. Emma's parents were David and Mary BROWN who in 1863 were alive and living in Pewsey, Wiltshire.68 It is almost certain that Emma was recorded in the 1841C returns as seven-year-old, Amy BROWN, and in 1851C as 16-year-old, Amey BROWN. Amy was missing from the family on the 1861C. An Emma BROWN arrived in Melbourne on 29 April 1853, aboard the Emigrant but it cannot be ascertained whether this was her as she appeared on an alphabetical indent below a Samuel BROWN so it is unclear whether this was a couple or two separate arrivals. No confirmation of an arrival in Tasmania has been identified. No death for Emma has been identified. It is considered unlikely that Emma was the Emma BROWN, a widow, who died in Goulburn in 1895. This woman's father was recorded as William but her mother was unknown. Her will identified that an Alice BROWN was the executrix69 but an appropriate family has not been located.

In September 1866 Emma's brother, John BROWN, had appeared in court after committing a serious assault upon her.70 John was subsequently identified in gaol records as having been born in Wiltshire, England, in about 1838. He was a wheelwright. He stated that he had arrived in 1863 aboard the Hotchpot.71 No reference to any ship named the Hotchpot can be identified in any newspaper reports on Trove nor in Mariners and Ships in Australian Waters. This was either a deliberately incorrect statement or he was referring to or understood to say the Hotspur. A birth location of Wiltshire would probably be harder to get wrong and does narrow down the location of birth for Emma. John BROWN, a carpenter from Pevensey or Pewsey, Wiltshire, born in about 1838, arrived on the Hotspur with his wife, Prisallas aka Priscilla, in 1863. With them was John's sister, Caroline BROWN. The indent identified that this was Emma's brother as his sister, Emma, was named and their sponsor was James NOWLAN.72 Caroline's details on the indent identified that her brother, William, and her two sisters, Emma and Matilda, were all residing in Goulburn. Caroline married Charles BOOTH in 1866.73 and died in Sydney in 1927 at the age of 87.74 Matilda BROWN was quite a bit older than her sisters having been born in about 1819 and having arrived as an assisted immigrant into NSW aboard the Lady Raffles in 1839.75 John, William, Matilda and Caroline's parents were David and Mary BROWN who were still alive and living in Pewsey, Wiltshire.76 The 1841C and 1851C show John and Caroline and their parents and sister, Amy, living in Pewsey. Only John is with his parents in 1861. Priscilla died in 1898 and the probate jurisdiction of her will identified that John was still alive and described as a gentleman.77

Three women named Emma BROWN were transported. The Emma BROWN who arrived on the Royal Admiral in 1842 was born in about 1822. The Emma transported on the Lloyds in 1845 was born in about 1825. Neither were born in Wiltshire and both were too old. No convict named Emma or Amy BROWN arrived in Tasmania between 1851 and 1854, the year Emma BROWN married James NEWLAND. Unless Emma married and arrived under a married name she cannot be a convict and no convict named Emma arrived between 1851 and 1853 who had been born in Wiltshire. No convict named Amy arrived in Tasmania between 1851 and 1854.

Updated March 2016

Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License