Convict woman Stories.
Alice Julian (Part Three)
The Mercury Monday October 25, 2010
Research undertaken by Dr. Dianne Snowden on convict women who used arson as a means to be transported to Australia.
Dianne Snowden 'A White Rag Burning'- Irish Women who committed arson in
order to be transported to Van Diemen's Land (2005) [PhD UTAS]
THRA Papers and Proceedings Vol. 56, no. 1April 2009 pp.37-57
Dianne Snowden 'A white rag burning': Irish women who committed arson in
order to be transported to Van Diemen's Land
Also look at the following website for other associated articles.
Convict woman Susannah Lallemont.
Susannah Lallamont was born in 1796 and she was a French lace maker by Trade. Records show that her name was spelt in two different ways. The day she was married she signed her name with an X.
At the time of the Huguenot uprising Susannah Lallamont’s parents fled from France to England. They formed a group of clothing workers, many of whom were displaced French lace makers, and they began the City of Nottingham’s lace making industry. It appears that Susannah’s father stole a bolt of cloth in London and because he had a previous conviction he would have been sentenced to death by hanging. In order to save her father his sixteen-year-old daughter Susannah took the blame stating that she was the culprit. Her punishment was transportation.
Susannah was transported from England on board the Emu in 1812 bound for Botany Bay via Cape Horn. In The Caribbean their little wooden boat was taken by pirates. Records state : “ the captain , 40 women , and an unknown number of children were put off , on The Island of St Vincent.”
It was eleven months , before they were ‘rescued’, and taken back to England.
Because Susannah and the others had been convicted , they were not allowed to set foot on English soil. They were thrown into those dreadful hulks to wait on The River Thames. The temperature was sub zero in winter and the river froze. It is incredible that they survived. They were fed bread and water. Rats ran riot amongst them.
Eventually in 1813 Susannah and others were transferred onto a ship leaving their homeland forever.
Enroute to Australia Susannah became involved with the ships armourer Aaron Walters.
Aaron decided he would jump ship once they docked in Sydney Cove in 1814.
Meanwhile Susannah was assigned out as a servant to a Dr. Miller to be his housekeeper.
Aaron fled to the Parramatta area with a ten pound bounty on his head so the Sydney Herald stated.
When Aaron returned he and Susannah were married in St Phillips Church, The Rocks Sydney, January 23, 1815.
The couple decided to live in the Hawkesbury area and Aaron found 20 acres to grow crops at Cattai. This had been land granted to Dr. Thomas Arndell , the ships surgeon with the first fleet.
Aaron was much sought after because of his skill with metal. He could also read and write and so he was able to help others in the area.
At ‘Caddie’ the couple grew food for themselves and they sold the surplus. Aaron longed for land of his own and so he wrote many letters to Governor King requesting a Land Grant.
(These letters in his own hand writing are in the Mitchell Library in Sydney today.)
Aaron's first application was in 1817. While waiting for his grant application to be successful he often rowed to St Alban’s to build a hut for he and Susannah. He would sleep in a hollow log to keep himself safe from harm.
In 1823 Aaron was granted 50 acres in St Alban’s on the Macdonald River, a tributary of the Hawkesbury.
By this time the couple had two daughters Jane and Elizabeth. So Aaron and Susannah rowed their little wooden boat to St Alban’s with all their possessions.
Life was very hard and they were often hungry. The Aborigines who lived within the area were not friendly, and the family were constantly in fear for their lives.
Aaron worked hard. The colony was growing and rumours abounded regarding a Great Northern Road and a Railway Line that would be coming through St Alban’s.
Aaron was a free man who owned his own land so he applied to the Government for convict labour to build a home, as the family were still living in a slab hut.
Five stonemasons were assigned to Aaron and they built the Industrious Settlers Inn out of sandstone, between 1830 and 1834.
Aaron made liquor which he sold at the Inn to folk travelling North through St Alban’s, to the Hunter Valley.
About this time Aaron converted to Methodism, which meant he could no longer continue as a Publican.
The story within the family is that Aaron took the liquor from the cellar and tipped it down the hill and the grass in that area didn't grow for 100 years. It is said that Aaron told the story, as he showed the bare earth
“That is what drink will do to you.
Not even the grass will grow.
Imagine what it would do to your stomach?”
Susannah and Aaron had six more children.
Susannah , Aaron , Moses , Sarah , Ann , and Harriet.
The family experienced many floods, fires and hardship.
Susannah was only 47 years old when she died in 1840 soon after the birth of Harriet.
The couple's six month old infant died and Susannah died soon after. Aaron buried both his wife and his daughter on their property at the bottom of the hill. Today he rests there beside Susannah and Harriet their three headstones marking their graves.
Susannah's story was shared with the six hundred or so people who attended the 'Blessing of the Bonnets' ceremony at St. John's Cathedral, Parramatta in April 2008.
Susannah's great, great, great, great, great grand daughter read out her ancestor's story. At the end she explained the relevance of Susannah's story to her.
Her grandfather Graham Walker descends from John Joseph Walker who married their daughter Jane. There are three convict women in his lineage.
The reader's grandmother descends from their eldest daughter, Elizabeth Walters from,’The Industrious Settler’s Inn’ St Alban
The reader stated that she also had another interest in St John’s Cathedral, Parramatta .
Her great, great, great, great grandmother, Katherine Humphries, was christened at St. John's Cathedral on the December 2, 1807 by the Reverend Samuel Marsden.
The reader concluded by saying
"I am 14.
I cannot imagine their life. And the hardships they experienced 200 years ago."