Jane Elizabeth ROFE
Name Variations ROLFE, ROFFE
Father Spencer ROFE b.c. 1829 m. 1854 d. 18591
Step-father Thomas HALL b.c. 1836 m. 18612 d. 18803
Step-father Michael BENNETT b.c. 1825 m. 18804 d. 19065
Mother Dinas PAYNE b. 18356 m. (1) 1854 (2) 1861 (3) 1880 d. 1911
Inmate Jane Elizabeth ROFE b. 18557 m. 1883 (see below) d. 19298
Sister Frances Annie ROFE b. 18569 m. 188410 John BROWN11 d. 193512
Sister Winifred Susan ROFE b. 1857 m. none - d. 185913
Sister Louisa W. ROFE b. 185814 m. d.
Half-brother George H. HALL b. 186215 m. none - d. 186216
Half-sister Minnie HALL b. 186417 m. none - d. 187618
Half-brother Alfred BENNETT b.c. 1878 m. d. aft. 1911
Half-brother Amos Josiah BENNETT b. 187819 m. d. 193620
Husband John SEDGEWICK b.c. 185021 m. 188322 d. 190323
Son George H. SEDGWICK b. 188324 m. none - d. 189525
Son Reuben S. SEDGWICK b. 188426 m. none - d. 188527
Son Edward Arthur J. SEDGWICK b. 188728 m. d. 195229
Daughter Maud SEDGWICK b. 188930 m. none - d. 188931
Daughter Edith M. SEDGWICK b. 189032 m. d.
Son Burton W. SEDGWICK b. 189233 m. d.
Son Sydney Ernest SEDGWICK b. 189434 m. d. 196435
Daughter Enis S. SEDGWICK b. 188936 m. d. 188937
Son Frederick A. SEDGWICK b. 189838 m. none - d. 189939
Son Charles SEDGWICK b.c. 1895 m. d. 192840

Note: The most usual spelling of Jane's surname has been adopted for use here and is the spelling used on online trees. Standardization of the spelling of Jane's mother's given name has been the spelling identified by online research of the descendants of this family.

Jane’s mother had been attempting to get Jane admitted to the Newcastle Industrial School from as early as 30 April 1869, when Jane

was charged with being under the age of sixteen years, and in the habit of wandering about in company with reputed thieves. Denis Hall, of Newtown, the mother of the child, laid the information against her; she could not say who her daughter kept company with, but she knew they were bad characters; defendant was her daughter by a former husband; she had no control whatever over her; defendant had never slept away from home; she formerly sent her to school, but had not done so lately as she could not bear the expense. The child denied that she was in the habit of keeping company with anyone, except a little girl who lived next door to her mother's. The girl was discharged with a reprimand.41

Almost a year later, on 6 January 1870, fourteen-year-old Jane was again

apprehended at her mother's house, Newtown, on a warrant charging her that, being a female child under the age of 16 years, she habitually wanders in the streets of Newtown in no ostensible lawful occupation. Mrs Hall deposed that she is the mother of the girl before the Court, she wanders about the streets until 11 or 12 o'clock at night; on Wednesday she remained out all night, and came home about 9 on Thursday morning, when she said she would not come home any more, for her protection took this proceeding ; the girl is her daughter, by a former husband, and is fourteen years of age, she is of weak intellect. Their Worships (Captain Scott and Mr. Murphy), judging from the girl's demeanour in Court, believed her to be a subject for the lunatic asylum rather than for the industrial school, and remanded her to the receiving-house for medical examination.42

The court believed that Jane appeared 'slightly deranged'43 so she was placed in Darlinghurst gaol to await an assessment. She was entered there as a vagrant and was described as a fifteen-year-old Protestant.44 On Monday, 10 January, Jane again appeared in court after her remand from the previous week where a certificate was produced from the visiting surgeon45 of Darlinghurst gaol to the effect that, although she was 'of weak intellect, she is not a fit subject for a lunatic asylum.' Consequently Jane was sent to the Industrial School at Newcastle.46 No confirmation of her parents, educational assessment or religion can be determined by using the Newcastle Entrance Book as Jane was admitted during the period where the records have not survived. The complete list of admissions to the school compiled in April 1872 from the original record in the Entrance Book indicated that she had been admitted on 12 January 1870.

Jane did not transfer to Biloela as she was apprenticed to Dr John W. CREED of Scone47 on 24 March 1871,48 by CLARKE in one of his last acts as superintendent. CLARKE wrote:

… for two years at 5/- per week for the first year and 6/- a week for the second year
Rofe is about 16 years of age and has been fourteen months in the Institution she is a very good girl and I should like to see her settled with Mrs Creed.49

Dr CREED sent a pound for Jane's fare to Aberdeen as Mrs CREED had decided to take her as CLARKE

had recommended her so highly. I have recommended that the mail agent to keep a look out for her so that she can start any day that is convenient to you. I have to thank you much for the trouble you have taken in answering so many letters.

Although CLARKE had chosen a compassionate mistress for Jane, this apprenticeship was not completed. Jane's apprenticeship therefore was concluded about eight months earlier than planned. On 19 July 1872, Dr CREED wrote to Henry PARKES requesting that the indentures be cancelled. CREED expressed his concern about both Jane's ability to work as a domestic servant and her 'ungovernable temper' towards other servants. Jane had inflicted minor cuts with a kitchen knife and as a result he and his wife had

lost two good servants who would not live with her. Mrs Creed does not like to lose good servants for this doubtful one. … I should be glad to receive your consent to the cancellation of the indentures and the return of the girl to her mother whose address is
Mrs Thomas Hall,
c/o Mr Hanston
42 Milgate Street
Shepherd's Paddock
South Sydney
if the police advance no objection. I do not [think] it wise if it is to be avoided bringing the girl before the magistrates, as I believe from her disposition it would do her moral harm.

The police had concerns at Dinas's ability to control Jane but the Inspector General of police wrote expressing that Dinas:

Mrs Hall the mother of the girl Rolfe is a respectable woman, and earns her living going out washing. She is in very poor circumstances and I think it very doubtful whether she would be able to control her daughter in Sydney. She is anxious however, that she should return home.
The girl previous to being sent to the Industrial School would not be prevented associating with the Omnibus boys at the south end of the City.

Despite these concerns the Colonial Secretary decided in favour of Dr CREED so on 5 August approved that Jane be returned to her mother some months before her apprenticeship was expected to end.50

By June 1875 Jane was again in Sydney where she was again arrested for 'Derangement of mind' and again placed in Darlinghurst for assessment.51 No report of this incident appeared in the SMH newspaper report of the proceedings on the 4 June before D. F. C. SCOTT. No descriptions from any gaol admissions remain for Jane. As Jane ROFE she married John SEDGEWICK in Redfern in 1883. John died at Riverston in July 1903 at the age of 5352 where he was employed as a bush hand.53 He had committed suicide.54 Jane died on 10 November 1928,55 at her residence 17 Illalong Road, Granville, and was registered at Granville in 1929. She was buried in the Church of England Cemetery, Rookwood.56

Family

Jane’s baptism was registered at the Wesleyan Church at Camden. She was born on 24 March 1855, and was baptized on 28 June 1855, by J. FILLINGHAM as Jane Elizabeth ROLFE. Her parents were recorded as Spencer and Dennis ROLFE. Spencer was a farmer of Cobbitty Paddock. The IGI has a submitted record stating the date of marriage of Spencer ROFE and Dinas PAYNE occurred on the 27 April 1854, in the Wesleyan Church in Sydney but this record isn't indexed under any possible combination of names yet tried on the NSW BDM Index. It now cannot be found on the IGI. If it is possible to identify other marriages at the same church it may be possible to find the record in the 'V' reels using another marriage occurring at about the same time.

No background information concerning the arrival of Spencer ROFE has been found. An unreferenced and now unlocatable record had identified him as arriving aboard the Neptune and attempts are being made to ascertain whether this is correct. Spencer, a carrier, was killed on 28 September 1859, at Towrang near Goulburn when he was run over by his dray.57

The spelling of the name of Jane's mother varies considerably and Dinas has been recorded variously as Denis, Denness or Dennis. As Dennis DAWES, she arrived with her mother, Louisa, and sister, Ann, and their step-father, George DAWES, as assisted immigrants aboard the Orient in 1839.58 After Spencer's death, Dinas remarried Thomas HALL. By October 1866, HALL had deserted Dinas and she must have been under immense pressure to maintain her children as Frances Annie was admitted to the Randwick Asylum on this date and remained there until May 1867 when she was released to her mother.59 Her death was registered as Dinas BENNETT, in 1911.

Updated December 2015

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