Father Joseph OSWALD b.c. 18241 m. d. 18882
Mother Rose or Rosa WOOD b.c. 1829 m. d. 18633
Step-mother Agnes BLACK nee unknown b.c. 18284 m. 18715 d. 19016
Sister Mary A. OSWALD b.c. 1847 m. none - d. 19177
Brother William OSWALD b.c. 1851 m. d. 19188
Inmate Rose OSWALD b.c. 1854 m. 18749 (see below) d. 192910
Sister Dorothy OSWALD b.c. 1855 m. 1874 Manuel VERO11 d. 194412
Sister Margaret Jane OSWALD b. 185913 m. none - d. 186114
Brother James OSWALD b. 186115 m. 188316 Jane JOHNSON d. 193217
Husband Samuel Richard18 DUNSTAN b. 183919 m. 187420 d. 191621
Daughter Rosannah DUNSTON b. 187722 m. d.
Son John DUNSTON b. 187923 m. 190024 Florence Agnes HAMILTON25 d.26
Daughter Grace DUNSTON b. 188127 m. 190128 Carl NILLSON29 d. 190730
Daughter Dorothy DUNSTON b. 188231 m. none - d.c. 1887
Son Joseph James DUNSTON b. 188332 m. 191633 Vera AULD d. 196634
Daughter Rebecca DUNSTON b. 188635 m. 190736 Arthur R. MacKenzie d.
Daughter Dorothy DUNSTON b. 189137 m. 191938 Ernest Edward GARRED d. aft. 1929
Relationship Name Age Height Hair Eyes Complexion Build Distinguishing features
Father Joseph39 45 5’ 5½” grey brown fair tall has a wooden leg; right arm crippled from elbow
Brother William40 14 4' 9½" light brown brown fair slight three slight scars on right side of forehead; double set of teeth in the upper jaw
Son Joseph James41 46 5’ 8” light grey fair tall

Rose was reported as just having turned fifteen when she and Sarah Jane DERBIN were arrested by constable SMITH after spending the night on the grandstand at Newcastle Racecourse. She appeared in court on 17 March 1869, and was admitted to the school the following day. Constable GRIFFIN reported that her mother had been dead for some years and that her father was serving time in Maitland gaol for larceny. GRIFFIN further stated that he believed that Rose earned her living from prostitution and often slept in abandoned huts with boys.42 The Entrance Book recorded that Rose was a Catholic who was unable to read or write.43 After her father's release from Maitland gaol and just prior to the transfer to Biloela, Joseph OSWALD made two unsuccessful attempts to have Rose returned to his family. The first petition written from Plattsburg on 3 March 1871, indicated that he had remarried. His petition was refused as his gaol record was used against him and stated that

the woman he has recently married is of an intemperate and immoral habits and unfit therefore to have charge of the girl who is also a very bad character.44

Rose subsequently transferred to Biloela in May 1871. She was reported by LUCAS to have been placed on a 'black list' of refractory girls in his report on 7 August 1871.45 On ii November 1871, Joseph again wrote to the Colonial Secretary requesting Rose's release. He indicated that she would be '18 years of age on the 7th Feb 1872.' The Inspector General of Police was again asked for his opinion on the release and he responded that he 'had nothing to add to [his] previous report.' A further notation on the letter referring to letter number 71/9328 written on the 15 December 1871, from the Superintendent, which was not contained in this bundle of correspondence, indicated that the Director of the House of the Good Shepherd would take Rose.46 Rose was therefore transferred to the directors of the House of the Good Shepherd on 29 January 1872, shortly before she would have turned 18.47 The entry in the Entrance Book is unclear but LUCAS's list has the location recorded in the 'Remarks' rather than the 'Discharge' column suggesting that this may not have been an apprenticeship or service so it is unclear whether Rose went to work or as an inmate. His terminology recorded in his report of 5 February 1872, stated that Rose was 'discharged to the care of the Directors of the Good Shepherd Institution in Sydney.'48

By 1874, Rose had returned to the Newcastle area where she married Samuel DUNSTAN or DUNSTON in Lambton. The couple moved to the nearby suburb of Wallsend, near her father at Plattsburg. Samuel died in 1916 and his parents were recorded on the registration as John and Grace. Rose died as Rose DUNSTAN on 18 April 1929, at her home, 3 Holland Street, Wickham. She was buried at the Catholic Cemetery, Sandgate,49 with her husband, Samuel.50


Rose's headstone at Sandgate Cemetery, Newcastle
Photograph courtesy of Sandgate Cemeteries (


The Entrance Book/ indicated that Rose was the daughter of Joseph OSWALD who was in gaol and that her mother was dead.51 Joseph Oswald and his wife, Rose or Rosa WOOD had married in England and had arrived separately as assisted immigrants. Their daughter, Rose, had arrived with her mother, Rose, and her siblings, Mary Ann and William, in 1858 aboard the //David McIvor.52 Rose had been born on 7 February 1854.53

The Police Gazette confirmed that Joseph OSWALD was a miner.

Joseph had been born in England in 1825 and had arrived before his family in 1857 aboard the Montmorency.54 He and Robert OSWALD, who was possibly his younger brother, arrived in Melbourne on 25 May 1857. Joseph was recorded as a 32-year-old English miner.55 His description indicated the difficulties faced by miners at the time around the world as far as their safety was concerned. Joseph was sentenced to twelve months hard labour56 at Maitland QS in February 1869,57 for stealing an iron grate at Platsburgh58 near Wallsend. A record in the deposition registers for Joseph has not been viewed.59 Joseph was released from Maitland in 1870.60 Shortly after his release he made an attempt to have Rose released from Newcastle.

Rose, with her daughters, Rose and Mary Ann, and son, William, arrived in 1858 aboard the David McIvor. They were all recorded as Catholic and Rose had been born in County Tyrone, Ireland. Rose seniors' parents, John and Ann WOOD, were still alive and living in County Northumberland, England. Rose died in 1863 creating pressures for the family. The report of an inquest into the death of another daughter, Margaret Jane, provided insight into the circumstances of the family in January 1861.61

Updated December 2015

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