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Elizabeth Benson

Elizabeth Benson, one of 89 convicts transported on the Brothers, 20 November 1823

Name, Aliases & Gender

Name: Elizabeth Benson
Aliases: none
Gender: f

Birth, Occupation & Death

Date of Birth: 1805
Occupation: Housemaid
Date of Death: 18th March, 1853
Age: 48 years

Life Span

Life span

Female median life span was 61 years*

* Median life span based on contributions

Conviction & Transportation

Sentence Severity

Sentence Severity

Sentenced to 7 years

Crime: Shop lifting
Convicted at: Middlesex Gaol Delivery
Sentence term: 7 years
Ship: Brothers
Departure date: 20th November, 1823
Arrival date: 5th April, 1824
Place of arrival New South Wales and Van Diemen's Land
Passenger manifest Travelled with 89 other convicts


Primary source: Australian Joint Copying Project. Microfilm Roll 88, Class and Piece Number HO11/5, Page Number 110
Source description: This record is one of the entries in the British convict transportation registers 1787-1867 database compiled by State Library of Queensland from British Home Office (HO) records which are available on microfilm as part of the Australian Joint Copying Project.

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Community Contributions

Phil Hands on 27th December, 2017 wrote:

Nothing is known of Elizabeth’s background or early life. In 1823 aged seventeen, she was working as a housemaid and living at the ‘Key’ public house, in Chandos Street in London’s West End, when she was tried and convicted at the Old Bailey on 14th May 1823 for shoplifting six yards of printed cotton from a High Holborn linen draper’s shop, during the trial she was described as ‘decent and well behaved’, she was sentenced to transportation for 7 years.
Left England on 6th December 1823.
Ship:- the ‘Brothers’ sailed with 89 female convicts on board, there were no reported deaths during the voyage.
Arrived on 7th May 1824.

Old Bailey Trial Transcription.
Reference Number: t18230514-4

Before Mr. Justice Bayley.
726. ELIZABETH BENSON was indicted for stealing, on the 11th of April , six yards of cotton, value 5 s. , the goods of Thomas Read .
GEORGE GRAY . I am a shopman to Thomas Read, linendraper , High Holborn . On the 11th of April, about half-past ten o’clock in the evening, the prisoner came into the shop, and asked to see a print, which laid in the window - I shewed her several; she bought none, but asked for two patterns, which I gave her; she then bought some muslin, which came to 1 s. 2 d., but said she had only 1 s. without changing a sovereign. As she stood at the counter I saw the second print I had showed her under her shawl; I said nothing until I could be certain it was ours. I missed it from the counter - she was going out, and I went after her; she had got to the door. I saw a woman go from her. I brought the prisoner back, but she had not got the print - I am sure she had it when she went to the door - I have not found it. She said she lived round the corner, at the first butter shop. I said,
“Some one has died at your house” -
“Yes,” she said,
“it was a young person from the country.” When she was secured, she said she lived in Chandos-street.
GEORGE HARRIS . I am an officer. I took charge of her. I found no money on her - she said she must have lost a sovereign in coming to the watch-house, and that she lived at the Key, public-house, Chandos-street.
GUILTY . Aged 17.
Transported for Seven Years .

On arrival Elizabeth was assigned as a servant to Thomas and Christiana Blomfield, landowners of Maitland NSW who had two small boys.
In Mar 1826 Elizabeth gave birth to an illegitimate child fathered by John Blaxland, the son of a neighbouring landholder. Her employer took her before a magistrate and she was ordered back to the Female Factory. The sentence was remitted when an enterprising Newcastle convict, John Mayo (‘Baring’ 1819), offered to marry her.
On 24th April 1826 John and Elizabeth were granted permission to marry:
John Mayo 20 Baring (2) fourteen years [a sentence obtained in Sydney], bond, Rev. G. A. Middleton, Newcastle
Elizabeth Benson, 21, Brothers (1), seven years, bond.
On 29th May 1826 Elizabeth and John were married at Newcastle, NSW, they had 8 children between 1828-1841.

Elizabeth and John established a shop and in 1832 moved to East Maitland. Elizabeth played an active roll in the business and continued running when her husband was ordered to road gangs in 1829, 1831 and 1833 for various offences. From 1830 when her sentence expired, Elizabeth took a more prominent roll (John’s sentence did not expire until late 1834). She was allowed an assigned female convict servant and made a spirited challenge to a magistrate’s action in withdrawing the servant in Apr 1833. From 1838 she assisted her husband in running the ‘Maitland Wine Vaults’ later known as the ‘Hunter River Hotel’ and had attained a high degree of affluence and respectability for an ex convict by the time of her death.

Elizabeth died on 18th March 1853 at Newcastle age 48
John died on 24th June 1860 at East Maitland age 64.

Maureen Withey on 10th March, 2020 wrote:

One of 39 women on board “Brothers” who landed in NSW.
Surgeon’s Comment on Conduct on board during the voyage.

Elizabeth Benson - extremely good.

Convict Changes History

Phil Hands on 27th December, 2017 made the following changes:

date of birth: 1805 (prev. 0000), date of death: 18th March, 1853 (prev. 0000), gender: f, occupation, crime

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