Louisa Bombay (1800?-1853)

by Douglas Wilkie


On 18 May 1835, Louisa Bombay, aged 25, was charged with stealing 21 sovereigns belonging to Robert Girling three days earlier. Appearing at Ipswich Quarter Session, Suffolk on Tuesday 30 June 1835, she was found guilty and sentenced to 14 years at Botany Bay. She was remanded at the Borough Goal. The offence was listed as ‘Larceny from the Person’, also known as ‘man robbery’. Louisa was removed from the Borough Goal on Tuesday 15 September 1825 and sent to Woolwich for transportation on board the Henry Wellesley which was due to leave Woolwich on 23 September 1835. The Surgeon was Mr R Wylie. It did not leave until 9 October, but news arriving in Australia suggested the Henry Wellesley was bound for Hobart Town. Other reports gave New South Wales. It arrived at Sydney on Sunday 7 February 1836.

The documentation that came with Louisa to Sydney said that she was married, a Protestant, and was aged 26. She could read, but not write, and was a needlewoman who could do ‘all work’. She had a dark ruddy, freckled complexion, had dark brown hair, and chestnut eyes. She had two scars on the back of her right hand and had ‘both ears split’. 

Nothing more is heard of Louisa until she was granted a ticket of leave on 12 December 1842. A further silence occurs until 22 February 1850, when, apparently living at Singleton, she was granted a certificate of freedom. The description on her certificate matched that on the indent from fourteen years earlier.

Three years later, the Maitland Mercury carried the following story.

SINGLETON. SUDDEN DEATH.- On Monday an inquest was held at the Cross Keys Inn, before Henry Glennie, Esq , coroner, and a jury of twelve, touching the death of Louisa Bombay, who had suddenly expired on Sunday evening, at about six o'clock. From the evidence of Edward and Sarah Rose, whose house was within a short distance of the one inhabited by the deceased, deceased had that day complained of pains in her chest and head, but as she was much addicted to intoxication they did not take much notice, but upon Mrs. Rose going into the deceased's house, at about six p m, she was found leaning upon the table quite dead. Verdict - died from natural causes.

The Coroner’s records added ‘intemperance’ to the ‘natural causes’.

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