Richard and Bridget SADLIER

It is unknown whether Richard and Bridget had any children.


Name Variations SADLEIR
Father Richard SADDLIER b.c. 1808 m. d.
Mother Martha BERRY b.c. 1810 m. d.
Sister Margaret SADDLIER b.c. 1831 m. d.
Staff Member Richard SADLIER b. 1836 m. 18601 d. 19092
Sister Martha SADDLIER b.c. 1838 m. d.
Sister Mary SADDLIER b.c. 1840 m. d.
Sister Jane SADDLIER b.c. 1844 m. d.

Richard SADLIER had arrived with his parents, Richard and Martha, and sisters aboard the John Fielden in June 1853. While he was not a son of Richard SADLIER, R.N.,3 it is considered very likely that he attempted to gain kudos and work opportunities through his sharing this surname with the famous naval officer. It may be that there was a distant relationship but this possibility has not been investigated.

In 1860 Richard was the turnkey at Parramatta Gaol when he met and married the 15-year-old Bridget LYSAGHT.4 How and when the couple gained employment in the industrial school in Newcastle is currently under investigation. They were appointed to the Industrial School in Newcastle in about August 1868 but did not stay employed there for any length of time. They were dismissed by the Matron-Superintendant, Agnes KING, on 20 November 1868, a dismissal that subsequently contributed to her personal dismissal from the position of matron-superintendent. KING's letter to the Colonial Secretary on 21 November 1868,5 outlined her reasons for her decision to suspend the couple.

I have the honor to report for the information of the Hon. The Colonial Secretary that Mr. and Mrs. SADLEIR were permitted to go out on Friday the 20th Inst. They had not returned when the keys to the outer gates were delivered up to me at ten o’clock p.m., as usual. All the inmates were perfectly quiet and in their several dormitories at this hour having been inspected by the House Matron and myself. At fifteen minutes past ten the gate bell was rung but not answered, at twenty minutes past ten, the door of my quarters was violently shaken and upon my opening it, Richard SADLIER was there and requested me to allow him to have the keys to open the gate and admit his wife, stating that he got into the grounds by jumping over the fence. I permitted his wife to enter altho’ couteacy[?] to rule[?], as it was past ten o’clock. … As it was decidedly against the rules and also very wrong for Mr SADLEIR to obtain admittance to the school after ten o’clock p.m., by jumping over the fence – and as Mr and Mrs SADLEIR were making statements to the inmates (since their suspension) of an exciting and untruthful nature, I thought it advisable to request permission for them to leave these premises, pending the permission of the Hon. The Colonial Secretary.
Agnes King

Eventually the couple left the school premises and were gone before 5 December 1868, when the new superintendent, Joseph Hines CLARKE wrote to the Colonial Secretary explaining why he had been unable to sent their final pay. He wrote:

Mrs and Mrs Sadlier have left Newcastle without forwarding me their address. I am therefore unable to comply with the latter part of the instructions I have received.6

On 4 May 1871, once the school transferred to Sydney, Richard again applied to be employed at the Biloela industrial school. He wrote:

I respectfully apply for an appointment in the Industrial School Cockatoo Island. I have been the chief male warder of the Industrial school Newcastle for some time, during which there had been no disturbance amongst the inmates for which I have been complimented by the Police Magistrate, and other gentlemen which I respectfully presume the annexed document will testify. At time I left Newcastle you kindly promised me another appointment for which I now respectfully present my claim.

His letter was accompanied by a reference from Helenus SCOTT written on 10 April 1871. SCOTT wrote:

This is to certify that Richard Sadlier who held the appointment of Warder of the Public Industrial School for Girls Newcastle about two years I believe to be honest truthful and trustworthy and efficient in his duties in the Institution.

It is interesting that SADLIER took advantage of the perhaps inadvertent omission of the word 'since' that should have appeared in SCOTT's statement 'who held the appointment of Warder of the Public Industrial School for Girls Newcastle about two years [since]' as SCOTT's reference was not a true reflection of SADLIER's actual employment history.7

The handwritten notations on the letter written by the Colonial Secretary's office are very unclear but appear to refer to 'papers with 68/6665' and it appears that the application was refused.

Richard's marriage to Bridget was unhappy and ultimately the couple separated. The year that this occurred is uncertain but it is suspected that their separation began shortly after they had been dismissed from Newcastle. Richard seems to have remained unemployed for many of the intervening years and many letters in the CSIL, that have not yet been viewed, suggest many attempts to gain government employment. In late July 1888 Richard assaulted Bridget and further injury to her was circumvented by the woman who was accompanying him. It was confirmed at this time that he was unemployed.8 He was fined 40 shillings for the offence.9 Richard and Bridget divorced in March 1900 when a decree nisi was granted to Bridget on the grounds of desertion.10

It is unknown whether Richard was the same Richard SADLIER who appeared in a divorce court appearance in 1876.11 While evidence has not yet been located, the story is included in this biography as it is very interesting and may possibly have occurred. The 1871 marriage declared by Elizabeth below does not appear in the NSW BDM Index.

The issues to be tried were:—1. Marriage—whether George Gane was the lawful husband of Elizabeth Gane. 2. Adultery— whether Elizabeth Gane since her marriage with George Gane had been guilty of adultery with Richard Sadlier, as alleged in the petition. The petitioner stated that the parties were married by the Rev. W. F. X. Bailey, minister of the Free Church, on the 7th October, 1865. After marriage they lived at Sydney, then at the Clarence River, and cohabited together till August, 1873. In that year Elizabeth Gane left her husband and came to Sydney for medical treatment, and afterwards refused to return, although various sums of money were sent to her for that purpose, and she corresponded with him. About the 26th of January, 1865, George Gane came from the Clarence River, where he was engaged, to look after his wife, and discovered that she had been married to one Richard Sadlier, a 'bus driver (the co-respondent) on the 24th of November, 1871, at St. Francis' Church, by the Rev Patrick Carroll, Roman Catholic priest. Since that date till lately, Elizabeth Gane lived in Sydney in a state of criminal adultery with Richard Sadlier. She has since left Sadlier, and now lives with a Chinaman. There was no appearance for the respondent or corespondent. Mr. H. Stephen, instructed by Mr. Greer, appeared in support of the petition. The marriage was proved by Dr. Bailey and one of the attesting witnesses. The other facts were proved by the petitioner, George Gane, Mary Grace Sadlier, and Mr. Greer. His HONOR found both issues proved. Decree nisi, returnable in six months.

There is little doubt that Richard died in 1909 in Granville as Richard SADLIER because the death registration on the NSW BDM Index confirmed that his parents were Richard and Martha.12

Bridget Theresa LYSAGHT

Name Variations
Father Patrick LYSAGHT b. m. d. bef. 1854
Mother Bridget CALLAGHAN b. m. d. aft. 1854
Sister Mary LYSAGHT b. 1829 m. d.
Sister Anne LYSAGHT b. 1834 m. d.
Staff Member Bridget Theresa LYSAGHT b. 1836 m. 1860 Richard SADLIER d. 190113

Bridget and her older sisters, 20-year-old Anne and 25-year-old Mary, had arrived together in 1854 aboard the Patrician. The girls were Catholic and had been born in Miltown Malbay, County Clare, Ireland.14 Based on her statement concerning her age in 1860, she had been born in about 1845. When she married on 8 May 1860, she was about 14 but she stated that she was 21. Her inquest confirmed that she had been born in Ireland.15

Bridget was appointed as an Assistant Matron in the industrial school and she and Richard lived on the premises, possibly in rooms within the building that was to become the Newcastle Reformatory. Their short stay in Newcastle was fraught with problems. KING was not happy with Bridget's appointment as in her report on 17 November 1868, she complained that Bridget had replaced Mrs HOLDEN, but unlike HOLDEN she was unable to operate the sewing machine. The machine had been purchased for the school so Bridget's appointment meant that 'at present there is no officer competent to use it. I beg respectfully to observe, that as the Assistant Matron is usually employed, in the afternoon, in School, to assist in Sewing, it is essential she should be a good needlewoman and able to use the machine.'16 On 29 October 1868,17 Bridget was attacked 'in a most violent manner'18 by the inmate, Elizabeth SAMPSON, after KING ordered Bridget to search Elizabeth who had been caught 'writing letters to send out of the school contrary to rules' and who had refused to give them up. Bridget preferred a charge against Elizabeth19 and she was tried in Newcastle on 29 October 1868,20 and was sent to Maitland gaol. After Bridget's dismissal from Newcastle, Bridget gained employment in Maitland Gaol where she was often reunited with many girls from Newcastle.

Bridget Theresa LYSAGHT married Richard SADLIER and in later events stated that she was 15 although this was not correct. Her arrival details indicated that she was 24 in 1860. Ultimately Bridget came to believe that Richard had married her for her money.21 At the time of the divorce her evidence included some very dubious statements that considerably embellished the truth – in addition to the understating of her age. Bridget's account of her responsibilities in Newcastle, declared in her divorce trial in June 1900, specifically stated that 'she had been matron of a lunatic asylum in Newcastle, and afterwards was licensee of hotels in different parts of the city.'22 No evidence has yet been found that she returned to Newcastle after the opening of the lunatic asylum in the same buildings as the industrial school in 1871. Bridget further indicated that she and Richard had been separated for 40 years and this was a considerable exaggeration as they were together in 1868 when they were dismissed from Newcastle.

After her divorce in March 1900 when a decree nisi was granted to her on the grounds of desertion.23 Bridget operated the Revolving Battery Hotel in Downing Street, Woolloomooloo,24 which she had operated since 1892.25 She remarried John Thomas TAYLOR in 1900.26 Bridget died at the reported age of 58 on 30 January 1901, after an accident she suffered on 17 January at the Caledonian Hotel, King Street, Sydney. She was closer in age to 65.

The death of Bridget Theresa Taylor, 58, wife of the licensee of the Caledonia Hotel, King-st. came under the notice of the Coroner yesterday. The evidence of John Thos. Taylor was to the effect that his wife went to her room shortly after 10 o'clock on the 17th inst., and a few minutes later witness heard her call out, "Tom, come quick." Witness rushed upstairs, and found his wife in her nightdress, which was burning. Witness put out the flames, dressed several burns about the chest, face, and neck, and called in a doctor next day. Deceased told her husband that she had a lighted candle in her right hand, and as she was stooping to pick up her slippers the flame caught the lace of her night dress. The medical evidence was that death took place about noon on Wednesday, as the result of blood poisoning, caused by the burns received on the 17th inst. A finding of accidental death was recorded.27

Her parents were recorded as Patrick and Bridget on the NSW BDM Index.28 These parents were confirmed in the indent of the Patrician in 1854 and on her 1860 marriage.

Updated January 2017

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