The SMITH Sisters
Father Francis Gould SMITH b.c. 1830 m. 18531 d. aft.1880
Mother Eliza Ann BOULTON b.c. 1828 m. 18532 d. 18663
Inmate Frances Marion SMITH b.c. 1856 m. 18874 (see below) d. 19275
Brother Francis John SMITH6 b. 18577 m. 18828 Anna or Hannah BEARE d. 19349
Brother unnamed SMITH b. 185810 m. none - d.c. 1858
Brother Sidney Hugh Holland SMITH b. 186111 m. 189512 Mary Ethel BIRLEY d. 193313
Inmate Ann Elizabeth SMITH b. 186314 m. (see below) d. aft. 1880

The sisters, Ann Elizabeth and Frances Marion15 SMITH, with their brothers, Sydney and Francis John,16 were arrested by sergeant CHANDLER of Eden Police with a warrant about 5 May 1869.17 John and Sydney were sent onto the Vernon and these records state that they were arrested for 'Being in a destitute condition and without visible lawful means of support.' When they were admitted on 2 May 1869, John's information stated

Roman Catholic. My father went with us to church my mother has been dead two years she was Church of England my father was splitting timber in the bush and he used to fell this timber my father got into gaol under the vagrant act on the 5th of April My mother kept a school when she was alive Two sisters have gone to the school at Newcastle I was born at Parramatta Boys own statement
Father Roman Catholic. Mother Church of England Education fair Father Francis Smith serving sentence in Eden Gaol under Vagrant Act not all means but able to support by labour Carpenter by trade Father refuses to give any information to the age Religion or Character of the children John Smith states he is 11 years of age this[?] month[?] being born at Eden is not in Register of Births.
27 April 1869 E. P. Keon C. H. Baddeley

The name 'Francis' has been inserted before John's name on the record and Sydney's date of birth was recorded as 28 May 1861.18 Three days later, on 5 May 1869, Ann and Marion reached Newcastle and were admitted there. The sisters were recorded in the register as Catholic. Neither girl remained long in the school as they were discharged by order of the Colonial Secretary into the care of their father on 25 May 1869. It is likely that Francis was also successful in removing his sons from the Vernon at this time. There is likely to be a petition from their father to have requested this event but it has yet to be located. CLARKE wrote to the Colonial Secretary on 22 May, in regard to the arrangements for their discharge. The two sisters travelled to Sydney at public expense and CLARKE stated that

… the children state that they are unfamiliar[?] with Sydney and do not know any person there, I deem it necessary to inform you that they will arrive in Sydney about 4 o’clock on Tuesday evening next in order that you may have such steps taken as you may consider necessary to forward them to their destination.19

The original correspondence also contained the postscript omitted from CLARKE's copy.

The children will be accompanied to Sydney by Bridget Downs, who is also forwarded at public expense in compliance with instructions contained in your letter of the 14th Inst.20

This original correspondence also contained the pencilled notation regarding Ann and Marion indicating that the Colonial Secretary attempted to locate someone to accept the children after their arrival in Sydney and this letter will be attempted to be retrieved.

69/3837 Eliza Smith - 20 May
Cannot take Frank Smith's children21

In his correspondence to the Colonial Secretary on 1 August 1870, CLARKE reported that he had heard nothing about the girls after their discharge.22 On 17 July 1871, John and Sydney were again arrested after appeared in court and, on 24 July, were again admitted to the Vernon. They were arrested and charged with 'having no visible lawful means of support or insufficient means, and being found begging about the streets.'23 Shortly after this, on 14 August 1871, Ann was readmitted to Biloela.24


Descendants have identified the marriage of Francis SMITH and Eliza Ann BOULTON. The couple married in Melbourne on 25 June 1853, and subsequently moved to the Bega area on the south coast of NSW. One son and daughter were born on the Victorian goldfields25 and their other children were born in NSW.

Elizabeth Ann BOLTON had arrived as a single woman aboard the Tartar into NSW on 26 July 1852. She had no relations in the colony, was a member of the Church of England and had been born in London. Her mother was still alive and living in Surrey in 1852. Elizabeth was recorded on the indent as a governess.26 Eliza Ann died on 11 September 1866, and her Death Notice identified her ancestry.

On the 11th instant, at her residence, Eden, Twofold Bay, of bronchitis, ELIZA ANNE, the beloved wife of Mr. FRANCIS SMITH, eldest daughter of Dr. Thomas BOULTON, sister of Captain Francis John BOULTON, 12th Regiment, and first cousin of Frances Countess WALDEGRAVE (present Lady FORTESCUE), London, England, aged 36 years, leaving a husband and four helpless children to lament the sad loss of their highly accomplished parent.27

Francis SMITH was recorded as a splitter at Eden when he appeared in the Eden court in July 1865, charged with ill-treating his wife.28 He was the victim of embezzlement when his money was stolen by a John Marshall WALKER in 1866.29 Francis was charged with the theft of potatoes in 1868 and again spent two months in Bega Gaol.30 He was sentenced to six months hard labour in Bega Gaol for vagrancy in April 186931 but reports of this vagrancy case have not been located and Bega Gaol records are not known to be available. Francis, referred to as Francis Gould SMITH alias Francis SMITH, was apprehended on 1 June 1870, and charged with wilfully and maliciously writing and publishing a false, libellous letter, defamatory to the character of Thomas Compton CHANDLER, Sergeant of Police, Eden, on 31 December 1869, at Eden.32 Francis was to be tried at Bega Quarter Sessions, with bail of 40 pound and two sureties of 20 pound allowed or to be confined in default. A deposition remains for this appearance.33 On 9 February 1872, Francis was in Melbourne and sent a telegram addressed to the people of Bega stating:

Melbourne, 7th Feb.
From Francis G. Smith.
I am a candidate for the electorate of Eden, and will see electors shortly. One penny a week cash. Election will be in Bega shortly.
[Our readers can supply their own commentary to above.—ED.]34

It may be that Francis had relatives in Bega as a John SMITH nominated him to represent the Shoalhaven electorate.35 On 14 February, less than a week later, his house at Eden was destroyed by fire. There was a managerial inquiry and the decision was

That from the evidence taken the house and premises of Francis Gould Smith were maliciously and wilfully set on fire by person or persons unknown.36

Descendants suggest that Francis moved to Queensland and died there in 1886 where he was recorded as sixty-five years of age. His parents were identified on the Queensland BDM Index as James and Sarah SMITH.37 It is highly unlikely that this death does refer to this same Francis. Apart from the obvious question concerning why none of his children were named either James or Sarah, this was the only 1886 death in Queensland of a Francis SMITH and it occurred in Brisbane in November and a Funeral Notice for this man identified his son as H. F. SMITH.38

Note: There was a professor and publisher in NSW named 'Francis Gould SMITH' at this time and it may be that Francis intentionally adopted this middle name.

Ann Elizabeth SMITH

Ann was admitted to Newcastle on 5 May 1869, and was recorded in the Entrance Book as five years of age. She was able to read.39 Ann and Marion were returned to their father shortly afterwards but she was arrested a second time for vagrancy approximately two years later. Ann and her two brothers, Francis John and Sydney, were returned to the industrial schools after this event. Ann was sent to Biloela and had been readmitted by 22 August 1871, and this date matches well with the re-admission details of her brothers on the Vernon. Ann's readmission would have been recorded in the missing section of the Entrance Book but no new admission number would have been allocated.40 There is no notation indicating her readmission made on the original page in the Entrance Book, however, the notation 'readmitted' was recorded by LUCAS beside her first admission date on his April 1872 list.41 No age was shown in LUCAS’s report of the readmission.42

The relieving superintendent, J. DALE, reported that Ann was admitted to the school hospital with measles in his report on 1 February 1875,43 and it is believed that this is a reference to the younger child. On 11 May 1876, Mr A. W. JACK wrote specifically requesting Ann or Caroline STANTON as an apprentice. Selina WALKER, the Superintendent at the time replied stating that neither was available as Ann was to be apprenticed immediately to Mrs WANT of Stanmore.44 Ann was discharged at about the age of twelve, to Mrs C. WANT on 15 June 1876, for six years.45 Mrs WANT had specifically requested a 'little girl' and Ann was the only suitable inmate available. Selina WALKER sought approval for this apprenticeship from the Colonial Secretary where she reiterated Ann's former admission and discharge details. She stated that Ann had 'always conducted herself well' and was 'a particularly clean and tidy girl and will make a good servant.'46 This length of this apprenticeship would have expired when Ann reached the age of eighteen. No further notations have been made on the page of the Discharge Register but further references in this register suggest that Ann was returned to Biloela sometime after this date. It is considered likely, but is as yet unable to be proved, that the Anne SMITH who was

discharged to the care of her father by order of the minister of public instruction

on 14 August 1880,47 is this same girl and that she was returned to the island sometime after commencing the apprenticeship with Mrs WANT. Unfortunately the records here are unclear or missing as there is no appropriate readmission to Biloela able to be found but by this stage it is known that the older girl had been apprenticed from the school and no further girls with this name were admitted so it is believed that this discharge refers to her. Only the correspondence from 1880 will clarify the situation and, for this period, many letters have not survived.48

Note: Another girl49 with this name, who seems to have always been referred to as Annie SMITH once admitted to Biloela, appeared in Sydney newspaper reports as Ann SMITH on 31 July 1873.50 It is believed that this older girl was the Annie SMITH who was involved with eight other Biloela girls in an attempt to destroy a wooden door and demolish the window shutters in the buildings and was confined to Number 3 dormitory on 10 November 1873.51 This girl was discharged as an apprentice to Mr J. TIMMS or TIMMINS of Ryanna near Goulburn on 21 September 1874.52

Where has She Gone

Ann was five when she was admitted to Newcastle and was separated from her father and siblings at various times. It is uncertain whether she actually knew the name of either of them. No trace of her has been confirmed after her second discharge from Biloela although she was possibly returned to the care of her father in 1880. There are many references in the CSIL Index to 'Ann SMITH' so locating specific letters that belong to this specific girl is ongoing. It is also unknown whether Ann varied the order of her given names to more closely reflect her mother's name however it is thought likely that she would have kept and used both given names.

Ann is not the girl who was admitted to the Randwick Asylum in 1879 as child was far too young. She was probably not the Ann E. Smith who married William EBZERY in 1887 as online trees indicate that this woman was Elizabeth Ann SMITH whose parents were William Robert and Anne SMITH and who had been born in Araluen in 1867. Her parents at death match these but no relevant birth has been identified and clearly no parents were on the marriage as the trees would have identified a maiden name. This does seem an interesting possibility that requires further investigation.

Ann didn't marry Samuel MAXWELL as Elizabeth A. Smith.

The only way to trace her is to hope that a reference to her was made in one of the Family Notices for one of her siblings and this is a remote chance as the children were separated often.

Frances Marion SMITH

Husband Jeremiah BAKER b. 1835 m. 188753 d. 1902
Son Spencer Freeman BAKER b. 188954 m. D.55 d. 194656
Daughter Emma Eliza Ann BAKER b. 189357 m. 191458 William V. CHAPPELOW d. 194459

Descendants identify that Frances Marion SMITH had been born in Ballarat, Victoria, in 1856. She appeared in the records of the Newcastle Industrial School as either Marian or Marion. At the time of her admission she was recorded as a fourteen-year-old who was able to read and write.60 In August 1871 when her brothers and sister were re-arrested for the second time under the Act for the Relief of Destitute Children, Frances Marion was not involved. By this date she was almost certainly able to pass as over sixteen so was too old to permit arrest under the Act or, alternatively, it may also be that she was in serviceor had an apprenticeship that had been arranged outside the school.

In 1887, as Frances M. SMITH, she married the widower, Jeremiah BAKER, and the couple had two children. Frances Marion BAKER died at Newington at the age of 71 on 13 June 1927. Both her parents were identified on the NSW BDM Index.61 Her death has been identified by SMITH family descendants. Frances Marion was buried at the Woronora Methodist Cemetery on 15 June 1927,62 where a headstone remains.63

Updated December 2015

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