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Mary Downes

Mary Downes, one of 98 convicts transported on the Sarah and Elizabeth, 28 December 1836

Name, Aliases & Gender

Name: Mary Downes
Aliases: none
Gender: f

Birth, Occupation & Death

Date of Birth: 1818
Occupation: Housemaid
Date of Death: -
Age: -

Life Span

Life span

Female median life span was 56 years*

* Median life span based on contributions

Conviction & Transportation

Sentence Severity

Sentence Severity

Sentenced to 7 years

Crime: Robbing a person
Convicted at: Central Criminal Court
Sentence term: 7 years
Ship: Sarah and Elizabeth
Departure date: 28th December, 1836
Arrival date: 23rd April, 1837
Place of arrival New South Wales
Passenger manifest Travelled with 97 other convicts


Primary source: Australian Joint Copying Project. Microfilm Roll 90, Class and Piece Number HO11/10, Page Number 443 (224)
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

Tony Beale on 24th January, 2021 wrote:

Old Bailey Online (DOB from here)

32. JOHN GRAY, MARY DOWNES , and MARGARET MAGNER , were indicted for stealing, on the 29th of November, 1 watch, value 3l.; 2 watch keys, value 6d.; 1 purse, value 1s.; 1 sovereigns, and 8 shillings; the goods and monies of Thomas Gilheany.

THOMAS GILHEANY . I am a tailor, and live in Little Pulteney-street,

Golden-square. On the 28th of November, I met the prisoner Downes in Broad-street, St. Giles’s, and went with her to a public-house in Drury-lane, about a quarter before 11 o’clock—she took me to a house in Charles-street, Drury-lane—I understand it was No, 2—we stopped a while in the room—she then lighted me down stairs—when I came to the street door I met Magner—my money and watch were quite safe then—she asked me to treat her, and I went with her to a public house round the corner—I then returned to the same room with her, and stopped some time—I did not undress then—she asked me to allow her to go out for a little gin—I said yes, and in her absence I looked at my watch—it was twenty minutes after five—she returned with the gin, and we drink it—after a short time, when we were partly undress, she said she was very thirsty, and asked me to let her go out for a pint of porter—I said yes—she requested me to go to bed, and she would return immediately—I went to bed, she stopped in the room backwards and forwards till I was in bed, and she then went out for the beer—I laid in bed about as hour and three quarters, when Gray came into the room and said, “who the b——h——is in my room?”—I said I was—he asked who brought me there—I said a young woman—he told me to get out of bed instantly, or he would break my neck down stairs—he took my clothes and threw them from one chair to another—I heard two persons speaking outside the door, and then both the female prisoners came in together—Magner spoke to Gray, who then pulled a clasp-knife out of his pocket, and said he would run it into the b——guts of any body that contradicted him—I put on my trowsers—I found my watch and purse, containing my sovereigns, were gone—I did not wish to say any thing then, being in fear—I took up my waistcoat, where I had eight shillings in silver, and two watch-keys, and found them gone—I dressed, and then he kept saying if I did not leave the room quickly he would break my neck down stairs—I went down, and met a policeman in the lane—I asked him how I was to act, and showed him the place—the light was still in the room—he got a brother officer, put him at the door, and took me up stairs—he three prisoners were still in the room—he commenced searching, and found my watch, two keys, and 25s. 6d. in silver on Gray I believe.

Gray. The watch was in the bed, not on me—the room was my own—I had a right to turn you out—as to looking at your clothes, it is no such thing, I merely took them off the chair, and threw them on the bed.

Downes. I did not see him after I came down stairs till the policeman took me—I was not in the room when Gray was there. Witness. They both came in as I have said.

JAMES VICARY . (police-constable F 26.) Early on Tuesday morning, the 29th of November, I was on duty in Charles-street, Drury-lane, when the prosecutor complained of being robbed—I accompanied him to No. 2, Charles-street, with another officer—I went to front-room, third floor, and found the three prisoners there—Gray asked what I wanted—I said the prosecutor complained of being robbed, and I had come to search him and the women—he said he had not robbed him—I then saw him take his right hand from his trowsers pocket with the watch in it, and throw it on the bed—I instantly called an officer up and searched Gray—I found two watch-keys and 25s.6d. in his pocket, and a large clasp knife in life left hand—it was shut—I also found another knife in his pocket—two hours before I took the prisoners, I saw Gray and Downes together, at the corner, opposite No. 2—Downes said, “We will wait:” and in about two minutes I saw Magner come out of the house, No. 2—Downes said to her, “Have you got it?”—she said, “Yes”—she said, “How much?” and she counted into Gray’s hands a sovereign and 8s. 6d., one by one—Downes then asked what she had done with the purse—Magner said she had left it in the room—they then proposed to get something to drink, to change the cooter, as they called it, meaning the sovereign—they then walked round different streets, and about two hours after they returned (about three o’clock) I heard a noise in the house shortly after, as if somebody had been fighting, and the prosecutor came to me, and said he had been robbed of a sovereign, 8s., and his watch—I went up, and saw Gray throw the watch on the bed, as I stated before.

(Property produced and sworn to.)

Gray’s Defence. I came in about three o’clock at night—I met these women in Drury-lane, and spoke to them—the money found on me was my own—I received 2l. from my mother, to enable me to get a situation—as to the policeman’s hearing the conversation he states, it is false, he was thirty yards distant—Magner did not court any money at all into my hands—when he came up he said, “I suppose you know what I have come for?”—I said, “No”—he said, “where in the man’s watch?”—I said, “I do not know; he was on the bed, and I dare say it is there”—he looked there, and found it—I had told me man, if he did not go down stairs, when I found him in my bed, I would throw him down—if I wished to rob him, I could have gone down stairs at the same time as him, but I stopped in the room.

Downes’ Defence. I went into the room to borrow something, when the policeman came up and took us.

Magner’s Defence. I asked prosecutor to pay me—he said he would—he took me up stairs, and gave me money to get drink—I returned and asked him, before we went to bed, to treat me with some gin—he gave me half a sovereign—I brought him back 8s. change—I went away afterwards, and returned in an hour and a half.

GRAY— GUILTY . Aged 23.



Transported for Seven Years.

Tony Beale on 4th February, 2021 wrote:

New South Wales, Australia, Convict Indents, 1788-1842 Annotated Printed Indentures 1837
From London England Single catholic who could read and write 5’ 2” ruddy and freckled complexion brown hair and greenish eyes

New South Wales, Australia, Certificates of Freedom, 10/2/1846 Cert No 46/160. States wife of John McCann per ship Layton free by servitude

Tony Beale on 4th February, 2021 wrote:

New South Wales, Australia, Convict Applications for the Publication of Banns,1838 REFUSED Mary Downes 19 bond (7yrs) per ship Sarah and Elizabeth refused as Joseph Mills 27 bond (7yrs) per ship Hercules was married and had 2 children

New South Wales, Australia, Registers of Convicts’ Applications to Marry, 1826-1851
Granted 23/7/1840 Mary Downes 21 Bond (7yrs) per ship Sarah and Elizabeth to marry John McCann 33 bond (7yrs) per ship Layton Rev John Cross Port Macquarie

Convict Changes History

Tony Beale on 24th January, 2021 made the following changes:

date of birth: 1818 (prev. 0000), gender: f

Tony Beale on 4th February, 2021 made the following changes:

occupation, crime

This record was discovered and printed on ConvictRecords.com.au