The YOUNG Sisters
Name Variations SMITH
Father John YOUNG b. 18191 m. (1) 18532 d. 18673
Step-father Henry SMITH b. m. (2) 18674 d.
Step-father Bernard GEOGHEGAN b.c. 18425 m. (3) 18726 d. 19127
Step-father William R. PHILLIPS b. m. (4) 18918 d.
Mother Elizabeth alias Ellen McGOVERIN9 b.c. 183310 m. (1) 1853 (2) 1867 (3) 1872 (4) 1891 d. aft. 1885
Inmate Sarah Ann YOUNG b.c. 1853 m. 1875 (see below) d. 192611
Sister Margaret YOUNG12 b. 185413 m. 187514 George DONALDSON d. aft. 188615
Brother16 John17 YOUNG b. 185718 m. d. aft. 1872
Inmate Charlotte YOUNG b. 185819 m. 1875 (see below) d. 193820
Inmate Elizabeth YOUNG21 b. 186022 m. (see below) d.
Sister Susan YOUNG b. 186223 m. none - d.c. 1863
Sister Susan or Susannah YOUNG b. 186424 m. none - d. 188425
Half-sibling unnamed GEOGHAN b. 187026 m. d. aft. 1872
Half-sister Catherine Agnes GEOGHHAN b. 187427 m. 190228 James E. NELSON d. 191529
Relationship Name Age Height Hair Eyes Complexion Build Distinguishing features
Grandmother Ellen30 50 5' grey grey pale medium head; round visage; high forehead; small nose and mouth; small chin
Mother Elizabeth31 16 4' 10½" brown grey fair round visage; high forehead; brown eyebrows, small nose and mouth; low chin
Aunt Bridget32 25 4' 11½" black hazel fresh round head & visage ; low forehead; black eyebrows, small nose and mouth; round chin; scar on left cheek

Note: It is believed that there is no connection between the sisters Sarah and Charlotte YOUNG aka SMITH and Charlotte A. YOUNG alias SMITH who were all admitted to Newcastle during the same month and these admissions were coincidence. Differentiating between the two admissions named Charlotte YOUNG aka SMITH is ongoing. It is only very remotely possible that they were sisters with one using an assumed name. There is a separate biography for Charlotte YOUNG (2) who was arrested in Penrith. It is not thought that Elizabeth, the daughter of John and Elizabeth YOUNG whose birth was registered in 1860,33 gave herself the alias of Charlotte and kept it for the rest of her life.

On 31 July 1867, a month before the Newcastle school opened, four sisters, three of whom had births registered on the NSW BDM Index, appeared on the list of at risk children compiled by the constables of Sydney. They were recorded on the list as twelve-year-old, Sarah Ann YOUNG, nine-year-old, Charlotte YOUNG, seven-year-old, Elizabeth YOUNG and Susan YOUNG, who was only three. They were all Protestants and none had had any prior arrests. The constables recorded:

father dead; mother married again to a man named “Smith” who is separated from his wife and is paying 8/- per week for her maintenance. He is a poor man earning a living by hawking fruit, the mother is a notorious drunkard, and keeps a disreputable house in Kent Street, these four children live with her.34

In January 1870, two of these sisters arrived in Newcastle. No reports of the arrest of any of the sisters appear in the NSW Police Gazette. Newspapers report the arrest of two sisters in Sydney but reports of the arrest of the third girl in Penrith are thought not to exist. There is no doubt that the three girls were three of the four girls identified in the 1867 list. One admission has almost certainly been given or has assumed the name of another of her sisters and, because of the similarity of these admission names, distinguishing between two of the girls is very difficult. Details for the sisters were once recorded in the missing section of the Entrance Book so their stated ages, trial locations, family, religion and educational details are unavailable from this source.

The first two admissions had been arrested in Sydney by sergeant GOLDRICK, who stated that they had come to him at the Central Police Station and said that they wished to give themselves up in order to be sent to Newcastle. They stated that they had no parents and for several nights they had been sleeping out at the racecourse. GOLDRICK believed their story and stated that he knew both girls about two years ago,35 or about the time of the compilation of the July list, when they lived with their mother, who was then living with a man named SMITH, who she said was her husband and who kept a brothel. SMITH had left the family in about December 1868.36 It was stated that the younger girl had been in service with a Mrs GILPMAN, who told GOLDRICK that she'd let her out on Christmas Day but she didn't return. It was then revealed that both girls had lied and while they said that they had been in service, they didn't mention that both had run away from it. Elizabeth GEOGHAN37 appeared in court and stated that she was the mother of the girls. She stressed that she had not seen SMITH, the father of the girls, since 1868. Even though it was stated that Elizabeth and her new husband were able to support the elder girl, Sarah, both girls were sent to Newcastle where they were admitted on 4 January. This was unusual as Sarah's age of 17 would have meant that her admission to Newcastle was unusual so the bench must have considered this a lie too. It must be considered that many of the lies that they told remained undiscovered.

LUCAS's April 1872 list documented the dates of admissions of the two girls38 and these dates were confirmed in further records. Sarah YOUNG alias SMITH and her sister, identified as Charlotte, were admitted to Newcastle on 4 January 1870. They had appeared in the Sydney Court the day before. Their ages were stated in court by their mother, Elizabeth, who declared that one was 'eleven years of age and the other will be seventeen in March next.'39 Two weeks after this arrest, on 19 January 1870, Charlotte A. YOUNG alias SMITH was also admitted to Newcastle after appearing before the Penrith Bench.40 No trial details have yet been found in any newspaper for her court appearance.41 It is likely but unable to be proved that this girl had also been in service.

Compiling the scattered newspaper reports, records from the NSW BDM Index and SRNSW needed to identify the YOUNG sisters may suggest that the first two sisters admitted to Newcastle were the fifteen-year-old, Sarah, and her sister, Elizabeth, who had been identified in both the newspapers and the school records as Charlotte. This is currently being investigated. Although the newspapers reported that this younger girl was eleven,42 she was admitted as a thirteen-year-old. There is very strong evidence to suggest that the details recorded by the school was gleaned from a statement made by either Sarah or Charlotte when she was admitted.43 Some days later the middle YOUNG sister, Charlotte, arrived and after her arrival was identified in the school records as Charlotte Ann.

An indication of their age was recorded on the Biloela transfer lists in May 1871. LUCAS had compiled this record from the Entrance Book and it identified that Charlotte YOUNG was thirteen years and five months of age when she was admitted and Charlotte YOUNG alias Charlotte Ann SMITH was thirteen.44 This contradicted Elizabeth GEOGHAN's statement that the girl who was admitted first was only eleven when she was arrested. In his April 1872 list, also copied from the Entrance Book, albeit with some transcription errors and contradicting the Sydney newspaper report involving the arrest of the two sisters, identified no alias for the two.45 It is considered likely that the alias SMITH was not attached to their names as no record yet found attributed this surname to either girl. Charlotte A. YOUNG however, was almost always recorded with both surnames.

Both girls named Charlotte were identified as eligible for apprenticeship in LUCAS's list compiled on 23 June 1871. He draws no distinction between the two girls named Charlotte. Both are records as Charlotte YOUNG and one was recorded as fourteen and one was fifteen. By this date Sarah had been discharged so she was not mentioned.46 LUCAS, in response to a query from the Colonial Secretary, who was responding to a petition by Elizabeth GEOGHAN in June 1872, requesting the return of her daughter, Charlotte, stated:

The girl Charlotte Young, alias Charlotte Ann Smith, aged thirteen years, parents unknown, was admitted into this institution from the Penrith Bench on the 19th January 1870 and was apprenticed 1st January last47
The girl Charlotte Young … was admitted from the Central Police Court, Sydney.48

This record shows two things. This suggests strongly that LUCAS may have inadvertently confused the two girls although his paperwork seems to be correct. It may also suggest that he believed that Charlotte Ann YOUNG alias SMITH was the older child. Significantly, this record clearly indicated that the second admission, Charlotte Ann YOUNG alias SMITH, had not identified her mother when she was admitted to Newcastle. Whether she knew her sisters were at the school when she arrived cannot be ascertained but is not impossible. What is certain is that she would not have known the details that were recorded in the Entrance Book for them.


It is almost without any doubt that all three girls were born in Wollongong. This is the registration district for Charlotte and Elizabeth aka Charlotte YOUNG, who were registered as the children of John and Elizabeth YOUNG. John YOUNG and Elizabeth McGOVERIN49 had married in Hobart, Tasmania, on 21 March 1853.50 Permission to Marry had been granted on 16 February 1853, and this record indicates that Elizabeth had been transported for seven years51 aboard the Lord Auckland (3), arriving on 20 January 1849, but by this date John was free.52 The indent for the Lord Auckland identified that she had arrived with her older sister, Bridget McGOVERIN, and the indent identified that their mother, Ellen, had been transported aboard the Waverley. Ellen was given permission to marry Roger HOWETH on 6 December 1853,53 although no marriage has been confirmed but they may have married as Rodger HOWATH and Ellen McGOUGHLIN in Hobart on 9 April 1855. There is a very good chance that John had also been transported but he has not yet been traced. Elizabeth had received an earlier permission to marry Joseph DAVIS on 21 November 1851.54 John and Elizabeth's first recorded daughter, Margaret, was born in Hobart, Tasmania, on 27 April 1854. A registration or baptism has not been located for their older daughter, Sarah, and Margaret was recorded as the second daughter of John YOUNG when she married in 1875.55 Elizabeth's birth registration for 1860 indicated that John had been born in Northampton, England, and Elizabeth was from County Cavan, Ireland. John YOUNG was likely to have died in Kiama, near Wollongong, in 1867 but this registration has not been viewed.

Statements made by Elizabeth in her daughters' 1870 trial attribute the surname SMITH to the girls’ father however parts of her story in court are inaccurate but John YOUNG was almost certainly not an alias for Henry SMITH, Elizabeth's next partner, even though Elizabeth states that Henry was the children's father.56 Elizabeth stated that because she believed that John was dead, she was married to her present husband last Easter Monday in a private house by a Roman Catholic priest. In this statement she is referring to Benrard GEOGHEGAN and it is a fabrication. The marriage of Bernard GEOGHAN and Elizabeth YOUNG didn’t occur until 1872 – two years later. Elizabeth was not using the name GEOGHAN from as early as 1866 as there is a younger girl also appearing in the court system.57

Court appearances58 identify the girls' mother as Elizabeth GEOGHAN or GEOGEGHAN.59 There is good evidence that Elizabeth had fabricated a past to hide her convict history. The birth registration for her daughter, Elizabeth, indicates that she had been born in County Cavan, Ireland, in about 1832. Only one appearance has been absolutely confirmed for Elizabeth when in 1882 she was charged with cutting and wounding William STUBBLES and was listed for trial at the QS.60 She was released from Darlinghurst, probably after serving a term for this offence, in May 1884.61 In 1887, her husband, Bernard GEOGHAN, deserted her and a warrant was issued for his arrest. Elizabeth is located at this time at Mr Stanley HALL's, Milson's Point, North Shore.62 Elizabeth may be the woman who married William R. PHILLIPS in Narrabri in 1891 but no trace of her has been verified after 1887.

The child, Susan, born in 1862, and who appeared in the constables' July 1867 list, was the age of the second daughter of this name in this family.63 She died as Susannah YOUNG at her residence, the home of her brother-in-law, George DONALDSON,64 34 Chelsea Street, Redfern, on 25 July 1884.65 In Memoriam notices inserted two years later identify two of her sisters as Mrs. George DONALDSON and Mrs. Patrick KENNEALLY. //Funeral Notices at the time of Susan's death name her uncle as John SEYMOUR66 who was either a child or a husband of Bridget McGOVERIN. Margaret married George DONALDSON in 1875 and no death for her has been confirmed. It is possible that Margaret died in Western Australia, as the likely death of her husband, George DONALDSON, in 1926 indicated that he had been born in about 1843 and had formerly lived in WA.67 The identities of the two unnamed birth registrations from 185768 and 187069 have not been made.

Charlotte YOUNG

Husband Patrick KENNEALLY b. m. 187570 d.
Daughter Susannah KENNELLY71 b. 187672 m. none - d. 187673
Daughter Charlotte KENNELLAY b. 187774 m. d.
Son James Joseph KENNELLY75 b. 187976 m. 1911 Mary Anne FLAHERTY77 d. 195478
Son Patrick Joseph KENNELLY b. 188079 m. 191280 Kathleen Mary A. O'CONNOR d. 193481
Daughter Elizabeth KENNEALLY b.c. 1882 m. none - d. 188382
Daughter Ruby F. KENNEALLY b. 188383 m. none - d.
Daughter Frances E. KENNEALLY b. 188584 m. none - d. 188485
Daughter Sarah M. KENNEALLY b. 188786 m. d.
Son John L. H. KENNEALLY b. 188987 m. none - d. 189088

Before she and her older sister, Sarah, approached constable GOLDRICK requesting that they be admitted to Newcastle, Charlotte had been in service with a Mrs GILPMAN but had run away. Her mother, Elizabeth, appeared in court and described her daughter as eleven years of age89 but when she was admitted to Newcastle, her admission age was recorded as thirteen so it is believed that Elizabeth may have made an error. Charlotte's birth was registered in Woolongong in 1858. On the transfer list compiled in May 1871, it was recorded that Charlotte had been thirteen years and five months of age when she was admitted.90 Charlotte transferred to Biloela and was identified on LUCAS's letter to the Colonial Secretary on 23 June 1871,91 as eligible for service. This is the one record where there is no distinction between the two Charlottes. One was shown as fourteen and one was fifteen.

It is unknown whether the following incidents refer to Charlotte, the other Charlotte or whether both Charlottes were responsible. Identification of the culprit will probably never be possible. One of the two Charlottes was mentioned by LUCAS in his report of 19 September 1871,92 to have been placed in No. 3 Dormitory on a bread and water diet for fourteen days for 'bathing in the river'93 with three other girls who were similarly punished.94 It may be that this same girl continued to rebel, as in his report on 20 November later that year, LUCAS reported that Charlotte YOUNG was one of seven girls95 who were 'confined in No. 3 Dormitory for the remainder of the day for holding conversation with some men in a boat cruising off the island.'96

Charlotte was recorded as 'In the Institution' on LUCAS’s List in April 1872. At this stage her sister, Sarah, and the other Charlotte had been apprenticed by LUCAS and had Biloela.97 On 28 May 1872, LUCAS sought and received permission to apprentice Charlotte to J. LANGMORE, Esq., of Gongolan98 for two years at a rate of two shillings for the first year and three shillings for the second year. Charlotte's date of admission to the school was confirmed as 4 January 1870, and she was reported to have been conducting herself well.99 This statement is no indication that she was not the girl involved in the incidents on the island as LUCAS routinely made this statement when he was applying for permission to discharge the girls. The Colonial Secretary gave permission but queried why the apprenticeship to SPROUL had not occurred. This apprenticeship was for the girl identified as Charlotte Ann YOUNG alias SMITH, and LUCAS responded identifying the two girls.100 The following day a petition from Elizabeth and Bernard GEOGHAN for the release of Charlotte was sent to the Colonial Secretary. While they did not name her, she was identified within the supporting documents they included. Elizabeth and Bernard stated:

We have heard that it is the intention of the authorities to send her to a situation up the country … we take this opportunity of beseeching you to return our beloved daughter to us.

Bernard signed but didn't write the petition as the handwriting differs and Elizabeth made her mark. The City Missionary, Nathaniel PIDGEON supported the petition and verified Charlotte's name. A request for police investigation was made and the police constable's report was not favourable. He wrote:

… for some previous to the girl being sent to the Industrial School the mother lived with and passed as the wife of one "Henry Smith" and at the time the child was taken from her "January 1870", she was cohabiting with a man named "Gegan." She then swore before the court that she was the wife of Gegan but I find now that she was only married to him on the 17th of last month. – "Gegan" hawks vegetables during the day and has an oyster stall and has an oyster stall on the corner of Bathurst and Elizabeth streets in the evenings he is a steady and industrious man … They occupy but two rooms in a house off Macquarie Street South and at present they have three of their children at home with them (viz) a girl about eighteen years of age a lad 16 and a child about two years. … The two oldest are only temporarily at home as they are about to leave, the girl to a situation and the boy to a trade where he will be apprenticed.

While the authorities wished Charlotte's apprenticeship to go ahead, she was returned to her mother by 4 July 1872. On 31 March 1875, in Sydney, Charlotte married Patrick KENNEALLY in the Presbyterian Church, Pitt-street, Sydney. Charlotte told James FULLERTON, the senior minister, that she was over twenty-one and old enough to marry without her parents’ permission but after the marriage occurred, Elizabeth GEOGHAN, wife of Bernard GEOGHAN, of Pitt-street, stated that Charlotte was her daughter by a former husband and that she was under twenty-one. Elizabeth further stated that she had visited Patrick at his father's house in Arthur Street and told him she wouldn’t give permission for the marriage. When the marriage went ahead, Elizabeth took Patrick101 and the witness, David ANDREWS,102 to court. During the trial, copies of the registrations of Charlotte’s birth and her marriage were produced. As these documents proved in court that Charlotte was seventeen, this marriage had to be the girl who married irrespective of her name at death. It seems very likely that if she actually was Elizabeth undertaking this marriage that her mother would have used this information in court. Charlotte's birth registration indicated that she was born in Wollongong, on 31 May 1858. A check of the actual birth date on the NSW BDM Index confirmed that this was the birth registration for Charlotte YOUNG.103 The result of the Quarter Sessions case is dramatically outlined in the Clarence River Herald where it is reported in a sensational way and entitled “A Love Affair.”104 Charlotte was in court

supporting her husband in the "hour of tribulation." A plea of guilty was entered ; but the case was opened by Mr Forster, the Crown Prosecutor, in a manner so favourable to the accused that the plea was withdrawn, and one of not guilty entered. It came out in evidence that much good, in a public and private sense, had resulted from the marriage. Mr Buchanan, who was in the court at the time, suggested that the accused might be rewarded for his courage in marrying.105 His Honor said the case was not of a serious character and fined the defendant 5s., and ordered that he be imprisoned till the fine was paid. This announcement was applauded. Defendant had not the amount on him, and his Honor seeing the difficulty, inquired whether there was any friend in court who would relieve the defendant from his difficulties. Then the defendant's attorney started off through the court with hat in hand. No one responded but, strange to say a police officer. The fine was then paid, and the pair left the court ; he to rush into the arms of his mother-in-law, and she into the arms of her step-father who were waiting outside the court.

The marriage was registered under the name of KENNELLEY on the NSW BDM Index. Subsequent births are registered as either KENNELLEY or KENNEALLY and this is the spelling of the surname that appears most common. Patrick was the man, a bootmaker, who was ordered to pay thirty shillings a week for a year for the maintenance of his wife, Charlotte KENNEALLY, in the Redfern Police Court on 28 November 1884.106 As he didn’t pay, he was arrested under warrant and appeared again in the Redfern Court on 9 January 1885, when he was ordered to be imprisoned for twelve months or until he did so.107 He must have returned to Charlotte as births of further children were subsequently registered. Patrick's death has not been identified. While some online trees suggest that he died in 1903 but newspaper accounts of this death indicate that this man was 79.108

The family moved to Western Australia in 1901.109 Charlotte and Patrick's son, James, became a unionist. He was eventually elected as a member of Parliament and was the WA Minister for Industries. By 1934 Charlotte was living at 18 Vincent Street, Highgate Hill. She died in Mt Lawley, Western Australia, on 5 December 1938,110 and was buried in Karrakatta Catholic Cemetery. She is recorded in Funeral notices and in her obituary as Charlotte Elizabeth KENNEALLY. Her obituary confirms that she was born in Wollongong, NSW, and records that she was unselfish, active in the Labor movement and a worker for the relief of the poor.111


Husband Joseph POWELL b. 1851112 m. 1875113 d. 1918114
Son Edward J. POWELL b. 1876115 m. none - d. 1876116
Son Joseph Beck117 POWELL b. 1877118 m. none - d. 1879119
Daughter Emily POWELL b. 1880120 m. d.
Son Edmund George POWELL b. 1877121 m. none - d. 1881122
Daughter Martha POWELL b. 1882123 m. none - d. 1950124
Daughter Sarah Ann POWELL b. 1883125 m. Frank RALPH126 d.
Son Alfred S. POWELL b. 1885127 m. none - d. 1888128
Daughter May POWELL b. 1887129 m. Jim130 d.
Son Charles S. POWELL b. 1889131 m. d. 1989132
Daughter Lucy E. POWELL b. 1890133 m. d.
Daughter Margaret POWELL b. 1892134 m. none - d. 1892135
Son Arthur Armstrong POWELL b. 1893136 m. 1917 Clara MAHER d. 1946137
Daughter Elsie M. POWELL b. 1896138 m. Edward139 d.
Son Norman S. POWELL b. 1898140 m. none - d. 1917141

Sarah was reported to be the eldest daughter of Elizabeth YOUNG aka GEOGHAN aka SMITH but no birth registration has been found to confirm this. A registration has been located for her sister, Margaret, who was born in 1854, so Sarah may have been illegitimate. Records indicate that she was born in about 1855142 but she must have been older than this to be older than Margaret. At the time of her death it was confirmed that she had been born in Tasmania. Statements in court in January 1870 almost certainly indicate that Sarah was the child who was going to be “seventeen years of age next March”143 and this is almost certainly the best indication of her true age even though she was almost certainly recorded in the Newcastle records as fifteen-years-old, otherwise her admission would have been illegal under the act.

On 27 January 1871, CLARKE arranged a two-year apprenticeship for Sarah with Mr Joseph WOODCOCK of Dempsey Island, Hunter River, as a nurse maid. She was to be paid five shillings a week for the first year and six shillings a week for the second year. Permission was granted but unfortunately WOODCOCK decided to move into the town to operate a shop and CLARKE decided that the apprenticeship would be unwise as he considered that "the girl would have a fair chance in such a town as Newcastle."144 He sought permission to apprentice Sarah instead to J. T. WILSHIRE, Esq., of Scone, under the same terms. She was sent to Scone on 21 February 1871, shortly before the school transferred to Biloela, but Sarah was returned to Newcastle by WILSHIRE in time for the transfer. The readmission date is confusing as it is recorded as April 1870, rather than April 1871.145 Sarah's name and the age of sixteen, are pencilled onto the transfer lists just before the move to Biloela was made.146 Sarah was listed by LUCAS in a letter on 23 June 1871, written to the Colonial Secretary as eligible for service.147 Her age in this letter is again recorded as sixteen. Attempts were by made LUCAS to apprentice her to James KINGSBURY, Esq., accountant, of the Fitzroy Dock, but this was disallowed by the Colonial Secretary as by this stage Elizabeth senior had written stating that Sarah was "considerably over 18 years of age."

The Act makes no reference as to proof of age being requisite ; and in this case the girl was, as her mother states, born in the Colony of Tasmania.148

Although the record dates Sarah's discharge occurred before April 1872,149 she was released to her parents sometime after 5 July as this was the date of LUCAS's letter acknowledging the instructions for Sarah's release.150

Sarah married Joseph POWELL in Sydney in early 1875.151 Her sister, Charlotte, was a witness to the marriage and it is almost certainly this marriage to which Charlotte refers when she appeared in court. Fourteen children are recorded but only half survived infancy. The couple remained in Sydney where Joseph died on 26 July 1918,152 at his residence 39 Terry Street, Marrickville. His parents were recorded on the registration as Joseph and Mary J. Sarah died on 7 April 1926, at the age of seventy153 as the result of a fall so an inquest was held.154 Her parents at the time of her death were recorded as John and Elizabeth. Both her age and parents match what is known of the girl who was admitted to Newcastle but the marriage record hasn't been viewed. She was buried in Waverley Church of England Cemetery with her husband, Joseph, and her son, Norman Sydney.155

Sarah may be the girl who, before her admission to Newcastle, took Ann DALY to court for abusive words.156 and may also be the woman responsible for the theft of a money box from Joseph CLARKE in November 1869.157
As Sarah SMITH, a servant, she may be the girl mentioned in the Police Gazette, in a case of robbery from her master. The gazette states that she was about fourteen years of age and “is supposed to be living with her mother in a lane off Castlereagh Street”. No warrant was issued.158 As Sarah YOUNG she may have been one of the girls who was briefly interviewed in a letter presented to parliament concerning the occupation of European women in the Chinese Opium dens and brothels of Sydney.159 No age is recorded. References to the Biloela girls frequenting these particular places are mentioned in the newspapers of the time. This is less likely having found her probable marriage.

Updated July 2016

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