Honora WILLIAMS (2)
Name Variations Hanorah, Nora1 alias Henrica,2 Laura3
Father James WILLIAMS b.c. 18264 m. d. 18865
Mother Mary MALONE b.c. 18196 m. d. 18867
Sister Elizabeth Jane WILLIAMS b.c. 18528 m. 18769 John George CABLE d. 193110
Inmate Honora aka Norah aka Laura WILLIAMS b. 185411 m. 1873 (see below) d. 189312
Sister Mary Ann WILLIAMS b. 185813 m. 187914 Harry MEADS d. 192315
Sister Ann WILLIAMS b.c. 185916 m. 187417 William Thomas FRANCIS18 d. 188519
Sister (Margaret) Ellen WILLIAMS b. 186120 m. 187921 Thomas HALL d. 191622
Brother Alfred WILLIAMS23 b. 186224 m. 188125 Mary Ann26 SMITH d. 193227
Husband (1) Donald ANGUS b. 184828 m. 187329 d. 188830
Husband (2) John MILLER b. m. none d. aft. 1893
Son James ANGUS b. 187431 m. d.
Son Donald ANGUS b. 187632 m. d. 196233
Son Hector Alfred ANGUS b.c. 187834 m. Elsie35 M. unknown d. 193936
Daughter Edith M. ANGUS b. 188037 m. 189938 Daniel O'KEEFE d. 191739
Daughter (Elsie) Annie ANGUS b. 188140 m. none - d. 196941
Daughter Violet ANGUS b. 188242 m. d. aft. 1893
Son Alfred H. ANGUS b. 188543 m. none - d. 188844
Son George T. ANGUS b. 188745 m. 191146 Marion S. PETT d.
Son Charles A. WILLIAMS aka ANGUS b. 188947 m. none - d.
Daughter Lucy M. ANGUS b. 189148 m. d. aft. 1893

At the age of ten, on 21 December 1865, six years before Honora arrived in Newcastle, she was admitted to the Randwick Asylum with her three sisters, Ann, Mary Ann and Ellen.49 Two years later, a letter from their father, James, written on 24 July 1867, requested the release of his daughter from Randwick. He identified his four daughters as Nora, Annie, Mary Ann and Ellen. James explained that the girls had been admitted twenty-two months earlier when his wife, Mary, had been sent to Tarban Creek. His poverty had meant that he couldn’t work and care for his children at the same time. The Randwick Asylum records and the SRNSW online index50 indicated that Honora51 was ten, Ann was eight, Mary Ann was six and Ellen was four. James stated that because Mary had now been released from Tarban Creek, the couple wanted their children back.52 The Colonial Secretary responded that not only would James be required to pay for their release,

it is necessary that [James WILLIAMS] should satisfy the Director that he is able to maintain his children.

No further information was included in this correspondence but the Randwick records indicated that Honora was released almost immediately to her mother on 27 July 1867,53 but the three younger girls were not released to their mother until 22 October 1868. This was probably a financial decision but no confirmation has yet been found.

In November 1870, Honora was apprehended by sergeant LAWLER at a brothel in Castlereagh Street. LAWLER was executing a warrant granted to Honora's mother, Mary, who was unnamed in court. Honora was charged with being under sixteen and wandering about the streets with common prostitutes. Mary stated that Honora had left home a fortnight earlier and since then had kept company with girls of bad character.54 A copy of Honora's warrant was included in the Colonial Secretary's correspondence. She was described as a Catholic in good health with a bad character and she was able to read and write. Her parents at the time of her arrest were living in Wellington Street, Chippendale. The warrant recorded that Honora's date of birth was 9 September 1855.55 This date was almost certainly a deliberate error on Mary's part as Honora's correct birth date of September 1854, would have precluded Honora's admission to Newcastle because she would have been too old. Honora appeared in court56 on 17 November 1870,57 and was admitted to Newcastle the following day.58 She was recorded as Honorah in the Empire.59 While the SMH reported that Honora was to be admitted to the Reformatory, she appeared in the April 1872 list of girls at the industrial school.60 Honora's admission details appear in the missing section of the Entrance Book so no family, religious or educational details can be confirmed from this source.

Honora transferred with the school to Biloela in May 1871 where she was confirmed as a Catholic.61 In November 1871, her parents, identified in the correspondence as James and Mary WILLIAMS, applied to have Honora returned to them. LUCAS expressed no objections and described her as well conducted and a school monitor.62 Despite this request having been made LUCAS continued to seek an apprenticeship for Honora and she was apprenticed on 4 December 1871, to John CRUICKSHANK near Warren on the Macquarie River.63 Honora was to be paid two shillings a week for the first year and three shillings a week for the second year of the apprenticeship. Her clothes were to be provided by her employer.64 James and Mary agreed to Honora taking the apprenticeship and LUCAS confirmed the apprenticeship in his report on 12 December 1871.65 It is unknown whether the appenticeship was completed but by 1873 Honorah married Donald ANGUS at St Stephen the Martyr in Penrith on 11 December 1873. She was by this date a resident of Lapstone and her parents James and Mary were the witnesses. The NSW BDM Index recorded her name as Henrica but the church record she is clearly recorded as Honora.66 Subsequent birth registrations were recorded with the name Norah. Donald had been born in Orange and was a publican. He eventually held the licence at The Carrier's Arms Hotel, Orange. He died in a drunken fit in 1888.67 His death registration recorded his parents as Hector and Sarah.

After Donald's death Honorah remained living in the Orange area but never remarried. Deaths of some of her children were registered in NSW but no marriages or deaths have yet been confirmed for others. When Honorah's sister, Annie, died in 1885, Honorah wasn't named in a Funeral Notice but she was still alive because, as Mrs Donald ANGUS or Mrs N. ANGUS, she placed Family Notices for both her parents. Sometime after her husband's death Honora adopted the given name Laura. As Laura ANGUS or WILLIAMS she delivered the illegitimate children, Charles in 1889 and Lucy in 1891. At the time of her death she was living with the man named John MILLER who was the informant when she died and it may be that he was the father of the two illegitimate children. Laura died in Orange on 12 December 1893. Her death was registered in 1894 as Laura ANGUS and her parents were confirmed on the registration that identified that her father was stationmaster but did not record her mother's maiden name. Laura's children were named on the registration. One child named Charles had died although another child named Charles was recorded as living and three years of age so it is difficult to identify on the record which child had died and therefore this death has not yet been identified. Honora's daughter, Edith O'KEEFFE, placed an In Memoriam in the Evening News on 13 December 1901,68 confirming Honorah's change of given name and Laura's association with the surname MILLER. Honorah WILLIAMS aka Laura ANGUS nee WILLIAMS was buried in the Presbyterian section of Orange Cemetery. It is yet to be ascertained whether a headstone remains.


Honora’s baptism was recorded in Sydney. She was born on 10 September 1854, and was baptised on 25 September 1854, by Rev. D. V. M. O’CONNELL in St James Roman Catholic church, County Cumberland. Her parents were recorded as James WILLIAMS and Mary MALONE of Edwards Street, Sydney. While this year of birth differed from that stated at the time of her admission to Newcastle, there is no doubt that this was the baptism of the Newcastle admission. The change of birth year was almost certainly a deliberately erroneous statement made by her mother in 1870 in order to remove Honora from the dangers of the streets of Sydney.

No marriage has been identified for this couple on the NSW BDM Index and it is expected that none occurred. While no suitable arrivals to NSW have yet been found for either James or Mary, because Mary stated that she had arrived in 1840, it is expected that, because of the ages and birth years of their children, they had arrived separately. An online query from a descendant of Honora's sister, Mary Ann, indicated that James's death registration had stated that the couple had married in San Francisco in about 1850. This query further identified that James had been born in about 1826 in Liverpool, England, and that Mary had been born in about 1826 – possibly in Ireland.69 The veracity of this record must be doubted as there are many reasons why a marriage may not have occurred and many reasons why falsehoods were given on registrations. Confirmation of only the births or baptisms of Honora, Mary Ann and Ellen have been made and at least two other children who don't appear on the NSW BDM Index were variously documented to be part of the family. Ann had been admitted to Randwick with her sisters. The ages of two further children were confirmed by the constables of Sydney in their report made to the Colonial Secretary in 1871 after James and Mary had applied for Honora's release. The constables stated:

The parents of Honora Williams are well conducted and industrious. Their average earnings are about £2 per week. They have two other children aged respectively 9 and 12 years who reside with them and appear to be well cared for.70

The nine-year-old child was probably Ellen and the 12-year-old child was probably Mary Ann. By 1871 Ann would have been aged around fourteen and may not have been identified by the constables if she were working during the day. Family researchers name two further children, Alfred James, who was identified as older than Honora, and Elizabeth Jane, who they indicated was slightly younger.71

James died on 26 November 1886,72 and was buried at Waverley Cemetery the following day. Only his mother, Mary, was recorded on the NSW BDM Index. Family Notices73 for James identified his family members and confirmed that he had been the Station-Master at Millthorpe. He held this position from as early as 1885.74 After his death the responsibility of stationmaster at Millthorpe was taken over by his son, Alfred. This location also indicated that there was family in the area where Honora eventually settled.

After appearing in court on 8 May, Mary was assessed and admitted to Tarban Creek asylum from Darlinghurst on 11 May 1865. She was described on the admission papers as a dangerous lunatic.75 No newspaper reports have been located for this admission. The Darlinghurst records identified her ship of arrival as the William Jardine in 1840 and placed her year of birth as 1819 in Limerick, Ireland.76 An arrival of the William Jardine as an immigrant ship occurred in December 1841 so it may be that this was the correct voyage for Mary although she has not been identified on this ship.77 For all arrivals of this ship as a convict transport the vessel carried only male convicts. Neither Mariners and Ships in Australian Waters or NSW State Records identify an arrival in 1840 although the ship was leaving Sydney in February 1841.78 There is no doubt that the gaol statement refers to Hanora's mother and an arrival in 1840 strongly suggests that she arrived without James, possibly as an assisted immigrant. By March 1867 a medical assessment certified her as of sound mind and she was released.79 There was nothing on the admission papers to identify Mary as the wife of James but this date matched well with the admissions of the four sisters to Randwick. Mary died in October 188680 at the age of 64. No parents were recorded on the NSW BDM Index81 and only her death registration would identify her children. A year after her death, three of her daughters, Honora ANGUS, Nellie HALL and Mary Ann MEADS placed an In Memoriam notice indicating that Mary died on 29 October 1886.82

Updated August 2019

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