Mary Ann Dyason (1822?-1849)

by Steve Rhodes

 

Born at the Cape of Good Hope, South Africa about 1822, Mary Ann Dyason had two brothers, Robert and Joshua, and three sisters, June, Eliza, and Sarah. She was 5 feet 1 inch (154.94 cm) tall with light blue eyes, light brown hair, and fair complexion, Protestant, and had learnt to read and write.

It is not known exactly when, but by 1844 she had moved to Faversham, Kent, England and, although a nurse maid, found it necessary to support herself through prostitution and petty theft. She had been imprisoned twice, once for three months for stealing money from the person and once for six weeks for stealing a cow, before she again appeared before the magistrate at the Faversham Borough Sessions on 30 June 1845. She was charged with shoplifting two cap fronts from Mr C. Bryant, found guilty and sentenced to 7 years’ transportation.

Mary spent six months at Millbank Prison in London before being transported, and whilst there was treated for a condition known as leucorrhoea, often associated with sexually transmitted diseases. When the authorities considered her well enough for the voyage, Mary embarked with 169 others on 22 January 1846, on board the Emma Eugenia. During the voyage she was twice hospitalised and treated for a reoccurrence of leucorrhoea, and upon arrival at Hobart on 5 June 1846 was also sent to hospital.

 In early January 1848, Mary was noted as absent and spent fourteen days in solitary confinement for the offence. An application for permission to marry was received by the authorities regarding Mary Ann Dyason and William Williams of the convict ship Layton and approved on 5 May 1848; however, Mary was absent once more, permission was revoked, and instead she was punished with six months’ hard labour at the Cascades Factory at Hobart. The couple again applied to marry in October 1848, but this time were refused. The following year on 29 November, Mary died at the General Hospital in Hobart.

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