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Mary Dykes

** community contributed record **

Name, Aliases & Gender

Name: Mary Dykes
Aliases: Dix, Margaret
Gender: f

Birth, Occupation & Death

Date of Birth: 1758
Occupation: -
Date of Death: 1820
Age: 62 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: Stealing money
Convicted at: Old Bailey
Sentence term: 7 years
Ship: Lady Penrhyn, Scarborough and Alexander
Departure date: January, 1787
Arrival date: 22nd January, 1788
Place of arrival New South Wales
Passenger manifest Travelled with 293 other convicts


Primary source: Records of Old Bailey on lIne - Ref No: t17860426-40 HRA Series I. Governors' despatches to and from England. Volume III, 1801-1802 at p.377]
Source description:

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Community Contributions

Robin Sharkey on 25th March, 2016 wrote:

Mary Dykes was on the First Fleet on Lady Penrhyn, sent for 7 years for stealing 6 guineas out of a man’s pocket, tried at the Old Bailey 26th April 1876 with Elizabeth Herbert who was found Not Guilty.
* She must have been aged at least 16 (born 1760) . On death in 1820 she was said to be aged 62 (B 1758)

Mary appears to have worked with Elizabeth Herbert in soliciting men who were drunk in order to steal from them.  Perhaps they were actually prostitutes.  But they were probably part of abider network since they had access to a house where they would fleece the victim, usually inebriated.

Mary’s victim, named Semple, claimed that he reluctantly agreed to go with a woman called Elizabeth Herbert late one night after she accosted him in a lane, so he could buy her a glass of gin as she asked him to do. He said nothing in his evidence about the sexual favours he presumably expected to receive in return. 

At the house they went to, Mary Dykes was in an adjoining room and enticed him in there, Elizabeth following. He said he wanted to leave, not finding ‘the situation of the place’ to his liking.  The women asked for a porter, he said he had only a guinea and no change, and asked them to bring change before he handed over the money.

He said that then “Mary Dykes partly undressed herself; she persuaded me to sit on the bed; I would not, I sat on the chair, and she began to unbutton my breeches in a most scandalous manner.”  Apparently he now becomes suspicious of what was going on and ran out:  ” I then said, I will go and get the porter myself; after that I got out of the house, and found myself clear of the place I ran as fast as I could, and took water ... ”  [i.e. hired a waterman on the river].  Checking his money that would be needed to pay the waterman, he found six guineas missing and went and got an officer of the watch and went back to the house after the women.

Mary was searched ” ... she began to swear and storm about it; they got her into a passage, and she pretended to be in a kind of fit, and they put her into the room again, and they found a guinea; ...” ” after that they insisted on searching further, and Mary Dykes began to storm and swear; and the watchman found another guinea just where he stood; then they were all taken to prison; “


In NSW Mary Dykes married a marine on the First Fleet, Humphry Evans, who then joined the NSW Corps.
At expiry of his NSW Corps term, the Evanses returned to England but in 1801 wanted to come back.

English Under-Secretary John Sullivan wrote to Acting Governor King on 30th Jan. 1802 …….. “Among the persons who will proceed as Settlers in the ships about to depart for the Colony under your Government are Mr Charles Palmer, Humphrey Evans and W. Heath; ...  Inclosed I send you by Lord Hobart’s direction, copies of certificates which Mr . Palmer has obtained in his behalf, together with copies of certificates which your predecessor has given to Heath and Evans, and I am to desire that every advantage, to which these two deserving men may be entitled from their services, may be secured to them on their arrival in the Settlement. ”  [ HRA Series I. Governors’ despatches to and from England. Volume III, 1801-1802 at p.377]

The ships about to depart were the “Perseus”and the “Coromandel” which left Portsmouth together in early February 1802 (or “Coromandel”, and arrived in 1802.  Mary’s 1806 Muster entry says she arrived on “Rolla” but this was unlikely since it did not leave until November 1802 - and from Ireland. Mary and Humphry would have left on “Perseus” from Portsmouth since this was the ship the Palmers arrived on, in May 1802 .

In 1803 Mary’s husband Humphry Evans got a 135 acre land grant at Baulkham Hills.
However he died in August 1805 when a tree he was felling landed on him. Mrs Evans was left with two children (Sydney Gazette, 4/8/1805 p 1).

At the time of Humphry’s death, their convict servant was Hugh Kelly, who did arrive on “Rolla’ in 1803 with a 7 year sentence.  It was likely he had been their GS since shortly after his arrival.

Hugh saw a great opportunity; he was in the right place at the right time to take advantage of those 135 acres, and Mary, aged about 45 or 47 at Humphry’s death, needed a male protector -  Hugh was only aged around 24 yrs.
* IN 1808 on 14th August they married at St John’s Parramatta. Neither could sign their names.
They were married for 12 years until Mary died.

* In 1808 they also had a daughter, named Eliza.  No Baptism record found but ELIZA is recorded as aged 20 in the 1828 Census, daughter of Hugh Kelly.

* there is also Joseph Kelly aged 14 in 1828 Census, which implies that he is also the child of Mary Dykes, however in 1814 she would have been aged 54 to 56 years old.

Hugh Kelly was an energetic young man, and set about raising cattle, making money selling into the government stores and in 1816 getting his own land grant of 35 acres on the Windsor Road, on which he erected a public house and got a licence.  He would ultimately do very well in life.

Meanwhile Mary was presumably raising the two children of Humphry Evans, and it seems Hugh Kelly’s daughter Eliza.

Mary Dykes / Evans/ Kelly died in November 1820. She is buried in St John’s Churchyard at Parramatta.

Hugh went on to marry again several more times and have several more children.

Robin Sharkey on 25th March, 2016 wrote:


Eliza Kelly (1828 Census) was not the child of Mary Dykes and Hugh Kelly.  She was Hugh Kelly’s third wife, aged only 20 years old, formerly Eliza Purcell,BC, daughter of Patrick & Margaret Purcell.

Joseph Kelly(1828 Census) was also not the child of Mary Dykes and Hugh Kelly, however there was a baby Joseph Kelly in 1828 son of Hugh & Eliza.

Convict Changes History

Robin Sharkey on 25th March, 2016 made the following changes:

convicted at, term: 7 years, voyage, source: Records of Old Bailey on lIne - Ref No: t17860426-40 HRA Series I. Governors' despatches to and from England. Volume III, 1801-1802 at p.377] (prev. ), firstname: Mary, surname: Dykes, alias1: Dix, alias2: Marg

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