Rebecca POWER
Father Edward POWER b.c. 18221 m. none2 d. aft. 1872
Mother Mary Ann late CAMPBELL formerly RYAN b. 1827 m. none d. aft. 1868
Sister Elizabeth POWER b. 18503 m. d.
Inmate Rebecca POWER aka CAMPBELL b. 18574 m. unknown (see below) d. aft. 1878
Husband unknown b. m. d.
Daughter Florence Ann POWER b. 18785 m. none - d. 18786
Relationship Name Age Height Hair Eyes Complexion Build Distinguishing features
Father Edward7 36 5’ 8” sandy blue

Rebecca had been tried Bathurst in early February 1868. While the Bathurst papers are not scanned for this period, correspondence from the Bathurst Police Magistrate, W. PALMER, to the Colonial Secretary explain the circumstances of Rebecca's arrest. PALMER was responding to a request written on 10 February 1868, by Dr Matthew QUINN, the Roman Catholic Bishop of Bathurst, to take Rebecca CAMPBELL, who attended the Denominational school in Bathurst, into their orphanage rather than have her sent to Newcastle. PALMER responded

that a warrant was issued by the Bench under the Industrial Schools Act for the apprehension of a child named Rebecca Power – She was brought before the Court and it was proved in evidence that her father is a convicted thief, that he is now in Bathurst Gaol charged with burglary and larceny, that her mother left town some months ago with another man, that she has no home or visible lawful means of support and that she is under the age of sixteen years namely about eleven years of age. … the child mentioned as Campbell is identical with Power.

PALMER had placed Rebecca temporarily in the orphanage to avoid the necessity of sending her to gaol.8 The direction from the Colonial Secretary was that not sending Rebecca to Newcastle would be illegal. Rebecca was admitted to Newcastle from Bathurst on 13 March 1868. She was recorded as a ten-year-old Catholic who was able to read the first book and write on slate. Her parents were identified by name in the Entrance Book.9

Rebecca transferred to Biloela in May 1871 and was listed as eligible for service in a letter from LUCAS to the Colonial Secretary on 23 June 1871.10 She was apprenticed to James WHITE of Merriwa on 15 January 1872.11 This location was erroneously recorded as Berrima in the April 1872 list of inmates.12 Rebecca was recorded as fourteen years of age so her apprenticeship was for four years. She was to be paid two shillings a week for the first two years, three shillings a week for the third year and four shillings a week for the last year of her apprenticeship.13

Rebecca didn't complete her apprenticeship as she was readmitted to Biloela on 18 March 1874.14 On 3 August, J. DALE, the Officer in Temporary Charge of the Industrial School and Reformatory, replacing LUCAS who had been dismissed, wrote suggesting that

… according to the Warrant from the Bathurst Bench no particulars or age is described, and as every enquiry has been instituted by me to ascertain the girl's age but without success – I would respectfully suggest that this girls case might be taken into your favourable consideration – that from her appearance also her own statement she is Eighteen, having been at the time of her admission over Twelve years of age – and that since her readmission from apprenticeship her conduct has been good – the Warrant is herewith attached.15

This letter indicated an age that better matched the birth registration found for Rebecca and further indicated that her admission age recorded in the Entrance Book was incorrect. Although she still wasn't quite eighteen, Rebecca was discharged from Biloela on 26 August 1874.16 It is unknown whether she was returned to Bathurst or released onto the streets of Sydney.

Rebecca may have been the mother of the illegitimate daughter named Florence Ann POWER who was born in 1878 and died later the same year. Rebecca, aged twenty-one, had been admitted to the Benevolent Asylum on 20 February 1878, and discharged on 29 August 1878. Florence Ann appears in the records on 30 March and was entered as discharged on 30 June 1878.17 These dates are likely to be the birth and death dates of Florence.

No further confirmation of Rebecca can be found after the birth of Florence. There are no appropriate admissions for Rebecca POWER to any gaol yet located nor are there any entries in the Police Gazette.


Rebecca was identified in the Entrance Book as the daughter of Edward and Mary Ann POWER. The record confirmed that Edward had been convicted of a robbery and that Mary had absconded. Rebecca's birth was registered in Penrith in 1857. Rebecca was born at South Creek near Wagga Wagga, on 25 May 1857. Her mother, Mary POWER, was the informant. Mary stated that she and Edward had been married in 1854 in Bathurst by a Roman Catholic minister. This marriage hasn’t been found so there is a very good chance that Rebecca was illegitimate. An older unnamed sister who had died was recorded on Rebecca's birth registration but there may possibly be further children not recorded. The family may possibly be the same family as the Edward and Mary POWER who had two daughters in 1848 and 1850 so these two girls, Margaret and Elizabeth, may be her siblings. More investigation into this relationship is being undertaken.

No family background can be found on Rebecca, Edward or Mary in any of the Bathurst papers, as for this period they haven’t been found on Trove.

Rebecca's father, Edward, was described on her birth registration indicated that her father was a native of America and born in about 1832. At this time he was working as a tanner and currier. This age is ten years younger than gaol records identified for the man who was born in New York, United States, in 1822 and it is believed that his correct age was older than stated on Rebecca's birth registration. On 1 May 1865, three years before Rebecca's arrest under the Industrial Schools Act, Edward had almost certainly been arrested in Bathurst for a larceny and a deposition remains.18 On 13 April 1868, Edward was arrested and tried in the Bathurst Circuit court and in the September Quarter Sessions sentenced to five years on the roads.19 Edward was sent to Darlinghurst, and then to Parramatta Gaols during those five years. Gaol records confirmed that he was a Catholic and a cooper who could read and write. He had been born in New York and had arrived free on the Champion in 1849. A further incident of larceny occurred in October 1864, when he was sentenced to six months in Bathurst Gaol.20 A further gaol admission to Bathurst occurred after another burglary in April 1865 where he was again admitted to Bathurst Gaol.21 Four incidents of larceny occurred after this time and on 18 April 1868, Edward appeared in Bathurst Circuit Court where he was sentenced to five years on the roads.22 Edward was discharged from Parramatta on 19 June 1872.23 He returned to Bathurst where the following month he was charged with the theft of a watch and sent to Bathurst gaol for a month.24 A summary of his offences was reported in many newspapers at this time.

On Monday last a man named Edward Power was charged with having stolen a watch. Desirous of knowing the antecedents of the accused, senior-sergeant Waters was asked by the Bench if he was acquainted with the prisoner, and be stated that he had known him some thirteen or fourteen years ; he first knew him as a prisoner at Cockatoo Island in 1858, serving a sentence of five years. He was afterwards arrested at Bathurst in 1864 by the sergeant on a charge of robbery, and was sentenced to twelve months' hard labour in Bathurst gaol. Again in 1865 he received a sentence of two years' imprisonment, with hard labour, for burglary ; and in April 1868, at the Bathurst Circuit Court, he was sentenced to five years' hard labour on the roads for four different charges : on all these charges, with the exception or the former one, be was apprehended by sergeant Waters. The prisoner was sentenced to one months' imprisonment with hard labour in Bathurst gaol.25

Edward was released on August 1872.26 No further confirmation of Edward has been found after this release and no appropriate deaths have been identified on the NSW BDM Index.

Mary POWER was identified as Mary, late CAMPBELL formerly RYAN on Rebecca’s birth registration and she stated that she had been had been born in Ireland in about 1827. It seems likely that she arrived as either an assisted or a bounty immigrant but no appropriate arrival has yet been identified. It has not been possible to confirm any earlier marriages for Mary nor ascertain where she had gone.

The Edward POWER who married Mary GOOLEY in Bathurst in 1864 and subsequently lived at O'Connell Plains near Oberon is not thought to refer to a second marriage for Edward even though it occurred in Bathurst. Mary was originally residing in Thomastown, Ireland, and had arrived in Australia on the Hornet in 1859 with her sister, Ann, with another sister, Catherine, arriving in 1865.27 Mary GOOLEY's parents were Edward GOOLEY and Mary MULDOWNEY. This Edward POWER was still alive in 1891.28 There are no online trees for this family to ascertain his place of birth but in May 186829 Rebecca's father, Edward, was sentenced to five years hard labour on the roads and no gap exists in the birth pattern of the children of Edward POWER and Mary GOOLEY.

Where has She Gone?

No further confirmation of Rebecca can be found in NSW or Queensland BDM and it is unknown whether Rebecca retained the surname POWER or returned to the surname CAMPBELL. It should also be considered that she adopted the surname of the unidentified man with whom she eventually settled. There has been no indication yet found that Rebecca ever reunited with either her father or her mother.

Updated October 2015

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