Sarah WHITE (3)
Father Thomas WHITE b. m. none d.
Step-father William LEATHER b. 18121 m. 18692 d. 18783
Mother Bridget NEILL aka O'NEILL b. m. (1) none (2) 1869 d.
Inmate Sarah WHITE b.c. 1854 m. 18724 (see below) d. 19345
Husband William Henry THOMPSON b. 18366 m. 18737 d. 18968
Son William THOMPSON b.c. 1875 m. none - d. 18769
Son Henry THOMPSON b. 187510 m. d. 1950
Daughter Annie THOMPSON b. 188011 m. 1896 Ernest R. SLOGGETT d. 1964
Son Thomas THOMPSON b. 188712 m. none - d. 188813
Daughter Sarina Selina THOMPSON b.c. 188414 m. 1902 Edward Alfred HINDS d. 190915
Daughter Eliza Jane THOMPSON b.c. 188616 m. (1) 1905 (2) none (1) Jacob KEIM (2) Richard Joseph Norman SHAW17 d. 1948
Son William Thomas THOMPSON b.c. 188818 m. Hannah Maria Darch MALLETT19 d. 1956
Daughter Alice THOMPSON b. 1892 m. none - d. 1893
Son John THOMPSON b. 189420 m. d.
Daughter Lily Isabella THOMPSON b. 189721 m. 191322 Robert G. WARREN d. 1970
Relationship Name Age Height Hair Eyes Complexion Build Distinguishing features
Mother Bridget NEILL23 19 5' 1" or 5' 2½" brown or black brown or dark hazel ruddy and freckled or sallow long scar on right cheek near the nose; scar on right eye-brow; mark of boil outside right elbow; lost top of middle finger of right hand; scar inside fore-finger and nail of third finger of same split

Sarah was arrested by senior-constable EWING and constable STAPLETON from Coonabarrabran Police.24 She was admitted to Newcastle on 2 September 1868, at the age of thirteen and was able to read the second book and write on slate. Sarah was a Catholic and only her mother was recorded in the Entrance Book.25 KING, in her report on 9 September confirmed that Sarah had been admitted to Newcastle but didn't record the reason for her arrest.26 No appropriate admissions for any possible or obvious brother have been located for the Vernon. In May 1871, Sarah transferred with the school to Biloela and was recorded on the transfer lists as fifteen years of age. Her religion was confirmed as Catholic.27 In a letter to the Colonial Secretary on 23 June 1871, LUCAS indicated that Sarah was eligible for service.28 No apprenticeship occurred because, on 26 September, Sarah's mother, Bridget, communicated in a letter written for her from Warialda, requesting that Sarah

be permitted to return to me, her mother if I find money to pay the expense of the travel. I am married to William Leather who is a shepherd in the employ of A. A. Adams Esq., of Gineroi.29

LUCAS stated that if the character of Bridget proved to be found to be satisfactory then he was happy for Sarah to be sent to her mother as she had behaved well at the school. On 8 November, the Warialda Police reported:

William Leather bears a very good character and he and his wife (formerly Bridget White) seem to be a very steady hard-working couple. I therefore see no objection to the girl's discharge.

Approval from the Colonial Secretary was granted and LUCAS was instructed to arrange Sarah's transportation to Warialda. On 25 December 1871, William LEATHER wrote and enclosed a cheque for £6.9.9

to defray the travelling expenses of the said Sarah White. You will sir excuse my troubling you in this matter but hope you will place the money in some person's hands who will see her on board the steamer and booked in Cobbs & co coaches which run to here twice a week. We are both too old to travel to Sydney and I cannot leave my employ.30

The bill for Sarah's passage was itemised but the costings are not always clear. The steamer cost 10/6; the train, £1.2.9; Cobb & Co., £2.10.0; Gills £1.1.3; telegrams to Gills, 6d and the remaining 7/6 was given to Sarah to take home but this total does not agree with the amount sent. On 9 January 1872, Sarah was released into the care of her parents,31 'Mr and Mrs LEATHER at Warialda', commencing with her trip to Newcastle on the steamer.32 Sarah's discharge was confirmed by LUCAS in his report to the Colonial Secretary on 15 January 1872.33

While the following marriage is based only on circumstantial evidence and coincidence, this sketchy evidence almost certainly indicates that the following woman was the same Sarah WHITE who was admitted to Newcastle. No absolute proof has been located and while Gineroi and Yallaroi are in the area around Warialda, Gineroi is south of the town, closer to Bingera, and Yallaroi is north of Warialda. While it is possible - even likely - that employment for Sarah was arranged by either her parents or their employer to a nearby station, no proof of this remains. Records available for the family are sketchy and many references to both Sarah and Bridget contain deliberate falsehoods.

On 28 December 1872, within months of her return to her mother, Sarah WHITE, almost without any doubt, was married to William Henry THOMPSON by Thomas A. GORDON in the Presbyterian Manse at Inverell. The witnesses were Minnie and Jane GORDON who were most likely connected to the Manse and not to either Sarah or William. Both participants were residents of Yallaroi Station which is now a town north of Warialda. Sarah had been working at Yallaroi as a domestic servant. No ages, parents or places of birth were recorded on the registration and neither was any permission recorded for Sarah to marry, putting her implied year of birth as about 1851. Attempts to locate a church record in the SAG reel 0229 for this marriage have been unsuccessful. Because it is believed that this woman was the Newcastle admission, she was under the age of twenty-one and permission should have been provided by either her parent, guardian or the local police magistrate if a parent or guardian was unavailable. The registration has not been updated from the original church record but attempts to locate GORDON's register in the SAG reels were unsuccessful and this Inverell register does not appear on SAG: Microfilm reel 0229. It must be noted however, that even if the record can be located and even if an age is provided, it is almost without any doubt going to indicate that Sarah was twenty-one or 'of full age' and the age she provided to GORDON is considered to be a falsehood. The birth registration for her daughter, Lily, in 1897 and Sarah's death registration in 1934, indicate a year of birth of between 1852 and 1855 and not any earlier and these ages are considered more likely to be accurate. Other records identified and used to establish Sarah's correct age, held by her descendants, identify that her year of birth was more likely to be around 185534 and not 1851.

William THOMPSON died in Bingara in 1897 and, at the time of his death, he and Sarah had six children living and three boys and two girls who had died. All their living children were named but two deceased boys and two deceased girls are yet to be identified by descendants. William's last child, Lily, was born shortly after his death.35 Sarah never remarried and she died at Glen Innes Hospital on 7 May 1934, at the age of 79.36 The death registration indicated that her father was Thomas WHITE, a gold miner, and her mother was Bridget O'NEIL. Sarah's son-in-law was the informant. She was buried in the Methodist Cemetery, Glenn Innes, on 8 May 1934.37

The most significant circumstantial and coincidental evidence available for linking these two girls both named Sarah WHITE is the consistent abode of Bingara which is where Bridget WHITE, the mother of the Newcastle admission, married, and where Sarah WHITE who married William Henry THOMPSON lived. Other circumstances suggesting that these were the same girl, stem from the inability of the descendants of Sarah and William THOMPSON to trace their maternal ancestor prior to her marriage and this is also a significant problem with the Newcastle Sarah who has not been located prior to her admission to Newcastle. Other than this marriage the Newcastle admission has not been able to be traced after her discharge to her mother who resided in the Warialda area. Further, the locations of available registrations for both girls and their families, their mother's given name and their similar ages, suggest that only one girl of this name and age with a mother named Bridget existed in this area at this time and that this was the girl admitted to Newcastle from Coonabarrabran in September 1868.


The Entrance Book identified that Sarah was the daughter of Bridget WHITE. Because her father was recorded as dead, he wasn’t named.38 Information on the 1869 marriage registration of Bridget WHITE, the woman identified in the Colonial Secretary's Correspondence as Sarah's mother, strongly suggested that Sarah was illegitimate but there has been no statement to that effect documented in any record yet located. Piecing together Sarah's ancestry and Bridget's identity is ongoing but what follows is considered to be correct although proof may never be found that it is true.

Sarah's mother was confirmed as Bridget WHITE as during 1871, Mrs. Bridget LEATHER petitioned the Colonial Secretary for the release of her daughter, Sarah WHITE, from Biloela.39 Bridget WHITE, who kept a hut, had married William LEATHER in the house of R. H. FITZSIMONS, at Warialda, on 6 October 1869. They were both residents of Bingara.40 It is likely but as yet is unverified, that R. H. FITZSIMONS was the district registrar for the Warialda area. No register for Warialda has yet been located. On the marriage registration, William's parents were recorded as William LEATHER and Margaret BUTTERFIELD but Bridget only stated that her father was 'WHITE' and no given name was recorded. No ages or birth locations for either participant were recorded. Further CSIL correspondence concerning Bridget included a favourable police report on William LEATHER. This indicated that he was a shepherd in the employ of A. A. ADAMS of Guineri, near Warialda. In the unlikely event that an original record can be located, it will probably shed no further light on Bridget's identity as the marriage registration seems to already have been updated from this original record because William's parents were provided. It may be that William was the man described as a 'pensioner of the 3rd Buffs' who had arrived in NSW from New Zealand in 1851.41 William, or less likely his father, died at the age of sixty-six at Tamworth in 1878.42

The marriage record of Sarah WHITE and William THOMPSON indicated that Sarah had been born in Touron, NSW. This is almost without any doubt indicating a birth in The Turon which was the gold mining area north of Bathurst and south of Rylstone encompassing the locality of Tamboroora. Sarah THOMPSON's death record confirmed that she had been born at Sofala, a town in the area once known as The Turon. This birth information has been attributed to the girl admitted to Newcastle. The death further indicated that her father was named Thomas WHITE, who to date has not been identified and it must be considered that he may be a fabrication. It is however very likely that his surname was WHITE and therefore he may have had the given name Thomas.

In December 1852, a woman named Bridget WHITE was sentenced to six months' hard labour in Bathurst gaol. She had been tried at Tamboroora for vagrancy. The scant details included in the records indicated that she had been born in Dublin and had been transported on the Whitby in 1839.43 It is almost certain that she was the same woman who was also admitted to gaol with an unnamed child in about 1860 and 1861 as Bridget O'NEILL and in 1855 as Lydia O'NEAL stating a ship of arrival as the North Britain in 1838. There was no ship named the North Britain but north Britain is geographically where Whitby is located. Only two convicts named Bridget and born in Dublin appear on the Whitby indent. The woman named Bridget DONNELLY, was born in 1800 so was unlikely to be the mother of a child born in about 1855 but the other, Bridget NEILL, had been born in about 1819. She had been transported for seven years for stealing clothes and had been tried in Dublin City on 22 November 1838. She had had a previous conviction resulting in two months in prison. It is believed that this woman was Sarah's mother and that the unnamed child admitted to Bathurst gaol was Sarah but other than circumstantial evidence, there is no document available to link these events. When Sarah THOMPSON died in 1934, her mother was recorded as Bridget O'NEIL so it is almost entirely certain, that the convict from the Whitby is Sarah's mother who was trying to hide her convict past. This identification further adds to the coincidences linking the two girls named Sarah WHITE.

No further marriage registrations exist for Bridget LEATHER and no further trace of her has yet been confirmed in NSW or Queensland. The woman named Bridget WHITE who held the license for the Willow Glen Hotel in Coonamble in 1877, 1878 and 1880 is not Sarah's mother but the widow of George Alexander WHITE who died in 1876. This Bridget WHITE probably died in 1888 at Coonamble at the age of fifty-six.44

Updated January 2017

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