Edges of Empire Biographical Dictionary

of Convict Women from beyond the British Isles


Edited by Lucy Frost and Colette McAlpine


Who would have thought that a slave in British Hondurus would end up as a female convict in Van Diemen’s Land? Or that two cousins, the oldest aged 12, would be transported from their native Mauritius all the way to New South Wales? And why was a French-born woman with the extravagant name Emme Felicite Gabrielle Chardonez Mallohomme sentenced at London’s Old Bailey to transportation for life?


Edges of Empire is a Biographical Dictionary offering accounts of many of these convicts among nearly 200 others who were tried or born outside the British Isles. All were transported to the Australian colonies of New South Wales and Van Diemen’s Land between 1788 and 1853. Their life stories have been tracked from numerous sources around the world, sometimes in detail and sometimes with the merest trace of their existence. The contributors to the Biographical Dictionary are researchers of the Female Convicts Research Centre, based in Hobart, Tasmania. For more information go to: http://www.femaleconvicts.org.au.


In addition to the Biographical Dictionary, which includes all the women for whom information has become available,  the more in-depth and comprehensive study, From the Edges of Empire: Convict Women from beyond the British Isles, is available in paperback from Convict Women’s Press Inc.



Feature Story:

Hunt, Mary

Mary Hunt (1812?-?)

by Lyn Horton


Mary Hunt was tried at the Quarter Sessions in Bath, Somerset, England on 18 April 1850 for stealing a handkerchief. Previously she had stolen silk and dolls, earning sentences of one and three months respectively. She was transported for 10 years aboard the Emma Eugenia to Van Diemen’s Land. She gave her native place as Heligoland, Germany. Heligoland consists of two islands off the German coastline in the North Sea. Mary was a widow and brought a fifteen-month-old baby girl, born in 1848 and named Mary Ann, with her. The father of the child was John Jarvis. Apparently, a mother of four, she left behind a son, John William Jarvis and another daughter, Annie Louisa Jarvis whose father was Thomas Hunt. Mary’s brother John and sister Ann also lived in Bath.

At the time of Mary’s transportation, she was 38 years old, a Protestant and could read. Her occupation was given as upholstress and a good needlewoman. She was 4 feet and 11 ½ inches (151.13 cm) tall, with a fresh complexion and brown sandy hair. According to the ship’s surgeon on board the Emma Eugenia, Mary’s health was ‘good’.

A week after her arrival in Van Diemen’s Land, Mary was sent to the Brickfields Hiring depot. Two months later on 10 May 1851, she was sent to the Cascades Female Factory and ten days later she was working for Mrs Jones in Davey Street, Hobart. Like many children residing in the Cascade Female Factory, Mary Ann Hunt succumbed to diarrhoea and died aged just twenty months, on 18 July 1851.

Mary married William Jarvis, who was free man, at St George’s Church of England, Battery Point on 1 March 1852. William was 46 and a coachman and Mary was 39. Five weeks later, she was back at Brickfields and immediately hired out to a J. Watkins of New Town Road. Five months later, she was placed with her husband William, who was residing at Liverpool Street, Hobart. On 26 October 1852, she was told she must serve five years before she was given her ticket of leave. However, her ticket of leave was granted earlier on 7 September 1853.

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Note:  The story of Mary Hunt has been further researched by Diane Munro and you can read her story on the Female Convicts Research Centre website (Convict Stories) under the name of Mary Prior 1813 - 1863. (9/05/2017)


© 2016 Convict Women's Press Inc.