Catherine SMITH (2)
Father Cornelius aka Condy SMITH b.c. 18131 m. 18432 d. 18653
Mother Mary A. McNALLY b.c. 1820 m. 1843 d. 18754
Brother John SMITH b. 18435 m. d.
Sister Mary SMITH b. 18466 m. d.
Sister Margaret SMITH b. 18487 m. d.
Brother Cornelius SMITH b. 18518 m. none - d. 18759
Inmate Catherine aka Kate SMITH b. 185310 m. (1) 1873 (2) none (see below) d. 192611
Brother Phillip SMITH b.c. 185412 m. d. 190713
Sister Ann SMITH b.c. 1856 m. none - d. 185814
Brother Joseph T. SMITH b. 185815 m. none - d. 186116
Sister Jane SMITH b. 186117 m. - d.
Husband (1) John WILLIAMS b. 1844 m. 187318 d. aft. 1885
Husband (2) Dan OPUN19 aka UH PUN b. 1850 m. none d. 192220
Son Albert WILLIAMS b. 187421 m. none - d. 187522
Son George Phillip WILLIAMS b. 187623 m. d. 192624
Daughter Caroline Jane WILLIAMS b. 188125 m. d. 193226
Son Charles Ernest WILLIAMS b. 1885 m. d. 1964
Daughter Mary WILLIAMS b. m. d. 190727
Daughter May Catherine Burfitt PUN b. 188628 m. 1913 Vincent Henry Victor Hip Young d. 1968
Daughter Minnie Loretta O'PUN b. 1888 m. d. 1973
Son Percival Ambrose OHPUN b. 189029 m. d. 194930
Daughter Evelyn Teresa Gertrude AH PUN b. 1894 m. d. 1982
Relationship Name Age Height Hair Eyes Complexion Build Distinguishing features
Father Cornelius31 22 5' 4½" dark brown hazel dark brown and pocked broad featured
Brother Cornelius32 25 5' 5¾" black brown dark33 a reported pugilist
Brother Phillip34 40 5' 4¼" brown to grey grey P S left arm

As Kate SMITH, Catherine appeared in court on 11 March 1869, after being arrested by sergeant GOLDRICK on a warrant instigated by her mother Mary, who complained that Kate lived in a house at the corner of Barrack-street with common prostitutes. According to Mary’s statement, Kate was 15 years and 11 months old35 and her birthday was 23 'of next month'.36 Mary indicated that she was a widow and lived in Bourke-street, Woolloomooloo. She reported that Kate had been in service on and off during the last twelve months but some time ago she took poison and had already been tried at the last sittings of the Central Criminal Court.37 Mary's version of Kate's age was a fabrication and Kate was illegally arrested under the Act. Her age had been reduced by some months between her arrest for attempted suicide and her arrest under the Industrial Schools Act. Newspaper reports of the Quarter Sessions appearance where she had taken poison indicated that Kate was sixteen but by the time of her arrest by Constable MULQUEENY on the night of 2 February 1869, near the Prince of Wales Theatre, she was just under sixteen. This reduction in age ensured her admission to Newcastle and her mother had attempted to ensure her safely by having her taken from the streets.

It was recorded at her trial for attempted suicide in February 1869 that Kate was:

in a state of considerable excitement, and complained of acute pain in the stomach, caused by taking poison; the bottle produced smelt of, and contains, carbolic acid, an instant poison.

Kate had taken this drastic action because she had fallen out with a young man named Billy WHITE. The house physician, Rudolph SCHUETTE, removed the contents of her stomach, which contained carbolic acid38 and Kate was committed for trial at the Quarter Sessions. There she was found guilty but kept in custody until the rising of the court when her employer accepted her back.39 Her mother reported that after this event Kate was discharged from this employment but was offered a situation at Parramatta by the Sheriff's lady. Kate 'refused as she said she would not go out of Sydney for anyone.' Mary maintained that Kate had said that 'she would never lead a good life after her father's death, and that's five years ago.' Kate was ordered to be sent to Newcastle and in a response to the bench she said this would be better that going home to a drunken mother.

Most newspaper reports identify Catherine as Kate SMITH but she was recorded in the Entrance Book on 14 March 1869, as Catherine SMITH. She was identified as a Catholic. No assessment of her reading or writing abilities was recorded in the register. Her parents were not identified and it was recorded that her father was dead.40 It is considered likely, but it cannot be confirmed, that Kate refused to provide any information about her parents due to her anger towards her mother at the circumstances of her arrest and perhaps also because of her continued distress caused by the death of her father.

Kate was discharged from Newcastle by CLARKE on 5 December 1870, to Mr William THROSBY, of Muswellbrook. This apprenticeship was confirmed on the April 1872 list compiled by LUCAS.41 There has been no information yet located indicating whether the apprenticeship was ever completed. No letters specifically referring to Kate have yet been found in CLARKE's letter book, even around the date of her discharge, and there are no references to anyone in the CSIL named either Kate or Catherine SMITH that might refer to the girl admitted to Newcastle and apprenticed before the transfer to Biloela.

Kate becomes extremely difficult to trace after being apprenticed. She does not appear on the Biloela transfer lists compiled in April and May 1871 as she had not been readmitted to the school from her apprenticeship but it is not able to be ascertained whether she was still in Muswellbrook on this date. It is uncertain whether she completed her apprenticeship as no records exist that would confirm this.

When Kate eventually left Muswellbrook is unknown but she had returned to Sydney by 1873 where she married. Without the research of one of her descendants who has provided an online tree,42 Kate, her husbands and children would not have been able to be traced. I am truly grateful for the generosity of the family researcher and hope that s/he will make contact. As Kate SMITH, she married John WILLIAMS in Sydney in 187343 and by 1874 the couple were in Grafton. Kate was recorded as 21 years of age and it is believed that she had slightly inflated her age in order to marry. The register had been updated from the original church register but not parents for either participant were recorded. Kate had been born in NSW and John had been born in China in about 1844. Five children were subsequently born to the couple, the later ones born near Emmaville in Northern NSW. Between about 1885 and 1886, Kate began a relationship with Dan OPUN aka UH PUN who was also of Chinese descent. They remained in and around the Glen Innes and Emmaville areas where four more children were born. Kate died at the age of 75 in Emmaville on 17 November 1926, as Catherine O'DUNN. Her father was identified as Con but no mother was recorded on the NSW BDM Index.


The Entrance Book doesn't identify Kate's parents and only indicated that her father had died. Kate's situation is considered to be a further circumstance where family information was provided to authorities by the inmate at the time of admission and little information seemed to have been forthcoming from her. Newspaper reports indicated that Kate had been very unhappy since the death of her father and had welcomed her admission to Newcastle. She further stated that she was unwilling to live with her mother who drank. Catherine's date of birth, 23 April 1853, was identified by her mother, Mary, in the court case admitting her to Newcastle.44 Mary stated that she had been a widow for 'about five years' so based on this statement, the most likely man to be Kate's father was Cornelius SMITH who had died in 1865. The Catholic baptism of Cornelius and Mary's daughter, Catherine, in 1853, confirmed the details provided in the Entrance Book. Her age, birth date, mother's name and religion exactly matched what was known of the Newcastle admission.

Kate was the daughter of Cornelius (X) SMITH and Mary (X) McNALLY. Mary had received Permission to Marry Condy SMITH from the Rev. F. MURPHY of Sydney on 21 January 1843.45 They were married on 10 February 1843, at St Mary's Church, Sydney, by Michael BRENNAN. The witnesses were Andrew (X) GATELY and Catherine (X) GATELY.46 The couple lived in Stephen Street, Sydney, an address confirmed at the time of the death of their daughter, Ann, in September 1858.47 The property, 6 Stephen Street, was sold in 186448 and the family moved to Blue's Point where the following year, Cornelius died.49 No occupation was shown on Ann's baptism record but Sands Directory identified the man of this name living in Stephen Street in 1861 as a waterman.50

Cornelius SMITH had been transported for life as Condy SMITH aboard the Portland (2) in 1833. He had been born in County Cavan. By the time he married, he had received a ticket of leave. He stated that he was 33-years-old at the time the Permission to Marry was granted.51 Cornelius had been imprisoned in Newcastle Gaol during 1836 but no details concerning this admission have yet been located.52 In 1854 as Condy SMITH, he sponsored the arrival of his sister, the 23-year-old Margaret SMITH,53 who arrived aboard the Bermondsey in May 1855. The Bermondsey indent identified that her parents were Phillip and Bridget.54 Cornelius died in his bed on 15 January 1865, at the age of fifty-two after having worked the previous day. His inquest indicated that both he and his wife were drunkards and confirmed that he was a waterman. The decision of the inquest was that he had died of natural causes.55 The death registration on the NSW BDM Index confirmed that his parents were Philip and Bridget.56

The 1843 Permission to Marry indicated that Mary McNALLY had arrived free on the Jason Matthews and that she was 24 years old. Her ship of arrival was almost certainly the James Matherson which had arrived in 1841.57 She was recorded on this indent as a 17-year-old and was identified as the daughter of John and Catherine McNALLY. Based on these names, it is likely that Mary died in Sydney in 1875 where these parents were recorded on her death registration on the NSW BDM Index. Only the actual registration will verify whether this was her death58 and it has not been viewed. It may be that she was the Mrs SMITH who was recorded in Sand's Directory in 1870 as a laundress at 86 Bourke Street. This woman was possibly at 91 Bourke Street in 1871 and 226 Bourke Street in 1873. The Mrs Mary Ann SMITH of 16 Yurong Street in 1875 and 1876 may also be this same woman. She was no longer living at that address in 1877.

Phillip SMITH and Cornelius SMITH were almost without any doubt Kate’s brothers. They appeared at various times in the gaol records of Sydney. Cornelius probably died at the age of twenty-four in 1875. He had been found lying on the road at Watson's Bay and from there was taken to the Infirmary where he died shortly after his admission.59 No inquest was undertaken. Gaol records indicated that Phillip SMITH was a fisherman and that he also used the alias William SMITH. He lived at Pittwater, Broken Bay in 1895.60 He had been arrested in July 1902 for a theft of shoes where he was identified as a 49-year-old.61 It is believed that Phillip died on 8 May 1907, at the age of 54. No death or Funeral Notice has been located for him in the Sydney Morning Herald until 13 May. He was buried in Rookwood but it is believed that he was buried in a pauper's grave and no family member shares his grave.62 No trace of any other of Kate's siblings has yet been confirmed.

Updated February 2020

Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License