Eliza Herbert (1825-?) *

by Lyn Horton


Eliza Herbert was 21 years of age when she arrived in Van Diemen’s Land on 29 August 1846. She was convicted of larceny, having stolen a hat and handkerchief and was sentenced to 10 years’ transportation. Eliza gave her proper name as Pleasant Tidyman and native place as Germany. Her parents were Edward and Elizabeth Tidyman and her siblings were Edward, James, William, Martha, Susan and Elizabeth. Her first conviction was for stealing and she was given a two year sentence. At this trial she gave her name as Eliza Smith.

She was tried with Elizabeth Langley for the same offence, only Elizabeth was given eighteen months, suggesting that it was her first offence. The women were tried at the Central Criminal Court, London on 24 November 1845. The stolen property belonged to William Cooper of Cromer Street, London. After meeting Eliza and Elizabeth at the ‘Tom and Jerry’ shop and drinking a pot of ale, they and two other unnamed women proceeded to 10 Church Court where William subsequently fell asleep due to being intoxicated. When he awoke there were two policeman in the room. William found at this point that 10/-, a hat and handkerchief were missing. According to William’s friend, William Love, he too was about to go to sleep when the door opened and three fellows entered the room threatening to kill him if he uttered a word. The women proceeded to rob him and left the room. William Love immediately when in search of a policeman. At the trial, William Love was unable to substantiate which of the women actually took the property.

Apparently single, Eliza had several tattoos of hearts, initials and several men’s names, one being John Smith and the other W. Herbert. She was a Protestant and could read and write. A housemaid by trade, the ships surgeon thought her to be orderly and useful. Standing at 5 feet 2 inches (157.48 cm) tall, she had dark brown hair and a dark complexion. Eliza or Pleasant, as she was sometimes known, said she was born in Germany, but brought up in London. On board the Sea Queen, Eliza was admitted to the hospital with tonsillitis on 9 August 1846, but two days later was considered fit for duty.

On arrival in Van Diemen’s Land, Eliza was incarcerated for six months in third class on the Anson. She was employed in Hobart, Ross and Campbell Town. Eliza committed several offences while serving her time, usually for drunken behaviour, being in a public house, assault and absent without leave, and earning her several stints in the Female Factories at Cascades and Ross for periods of one to six months’ hard labour. In 1852 she was fined 5/- for being drunk.

Eliza married George Smith on 26 December 1848 in Campbell Town. George was transported for 7 years on the Barossa, in 1844 for larceny. Like Eliza, he was a Protestant and could read and write. George was granted his certificate of freedom on 11 March 1852. Eliza was granted her certificate of freedom on 24 November 1855. As the surname Smith is common, it has been difficult to ascertain any more facts on their lives.


* The story of Pleasance Tideman alias Eliza Herbert in under review.  For further information please contact us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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