by Cheryl Griffin
A twenty-five year old Bermudan ‘woman of colour’, a newly emancipated slave, Sue was brought before the Bermuda General Assizes on 4 November 1834 and found guilty of robbing her mistress of money. She was sentenced to transportation for life to New South Wales.
Although single, when she left Bermuda for England en route to Sydney, she left behind a daughter. It is not known what became of the child after Sue’s departure.
She was transported with another Bermudan former slave, Peggy, and four black Bermudan men, Joe Bean, Abraham, John and Jem. They were all received on the Hulk Leviathan at Woolwich on 7 July 1835. The men sailed for New South Wales soon after on board the Royal Sovereign (2). After transferring to the Henry Wellesley (1) Sue and Peggy set sail for Sydney where they arrived on 7 February 1836. Also on board was another black convict, Barbadian Matty Beck.
Apart from the fact that Sue arrived in the colony, no trace has been found of her life in New South Wales. No ticket of leave, no certificate of freedom, no application for permission to marry.
Her story ends on her arrival in NSW in February 1836.
Cheryl Griffin, ‘Whitewashing Australia’s convict experience: from the British Caribbean to New South Wales’, in Fromthe Edges of Empire,Convict Women’s Press, Hobart, 2015, eds L. Frost and C. McAlpine, pp. 131-147.
© 2016 Convict Women's Press Inc.