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Mary Fitzpatrick

** community contributed record **

Name, Aliases & Gender

Name: Mary Fitzpatrick
Aliases: none
Gender: f

Birth, Occupation & Death

Date of Birth: 1784
Occupation: -
Date of Death: -
Age: -

Life Span

Life span

Female median life span was 58 years*

* Median life span based on contributions

Conviction & Transportation

Sentence Severity

Sentence Severity

Sentenced to 7 years

Crime: Stealing
Convicted at: Ireland, Waterford
Sentence term: 7 years
Ship: Atlas
Departure date: 29th November, 1801
Arrival date: 7th July, 1802
Place of arrival New South Wales
Passenger manifest Travelled with 199 other convicts


Primary source: http://www.nationalarchives.ie. Freemans Journal, Thursday, 9 April 1801 p2; NSW State Records - Muster Rolls for 1806, St John's Parramatta Registers - Marriage 1804 and 1807, baptisms 1803 and 1805. Sydney Gazette 26 Oct 1806.
Source description:

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Community Contributions

Colleen Broughton on 9th March, 2016 wrote:

Mary Fitzpatrick’s real name was,Mary A. Fitzgerald.Crime unknown at present,but 3 years after arrival in New South Wales,Mary had met and married fellow convict,Peter McCann,in 1804.They had 2 children,when Peter drowned in the flooded Hawkesbury River in 1806.There is speculation that Mary may have remarried twice,(James Neill 1771-1811),and (John Hill).

Robin Sharkey on 8th April, 2018 wrote:


The following account of Mary Fitzgerald’s crime appeared in the Irish newspapers:

Freemans Journal, Thursday, 9 April 1801 p2
“Waterford, April 3
“Yesterday,[i.e. Thursday 2 April]  the judges left town for Clonmel. Thursday,[ie 2 April]  in the County court, the following persons received sentence:
“James Flaherty and John Flaherty [see entry for transportation of James ‘Flagherty’ on Hercules’ arr. 1802]
“William Gorman and James Walsh [see entry for transportation on ‘Atlas’ 1, arr 1802]

“Thomas McMahon, Eleanor Nevill, Mary Fitzgerald, Eleanore Fitzgerald, Mary Dean, and Winifred Toohy – to be transported for seven years for stealing muslin and another similar articles at the fair of Cappoquin.  McMahon was a pensioner, having lost a leg in his Majesty’s service, Eleanor Nevill is his wife and was indicted and tried under her maiden name but this circumstance was not known till after sentence was passed, otherwise, we believe, she would be considered by the law to be an unwilling offender, she being supposed to have acted under the influence of her husband.”

Thomas McMahon and his wife did not arrive in NSW and neither did Winifred Toohy. Mary Fitzgerald arrived as Mary ‘Fitzpatrick’ on Atlas 1 together with Eleanor Fitzgerald and Mary Dean.

Since all were working together in a little gang at the Cappoquin Fair it’s possible they were somehow related as gangs where women were involved were often family members.

Robin Sharkey on 10th April, 2018 wrote:



Mary had three marriages in NSW and had children with two of her husbands

1. Relationship with Peter McCann
McCann had been tried in Ireland in 1798 and arrived on “Minerva’’ in 1800. See a separate entry for him under that convict transport ship.

They had a son together, Nicholas McCann, who was born on 28th November 1803.  (per baptismal entry).

(Nicholas’ own marriage, when grown up, to Catherine Johnson is in the St John’s Parramatta register for 1826).

On 9 January 1804, Mary and Peter had a double celebration.  Nicholas was baptised at St John’s Parrramatta by Samuel Marsden and Mary and Peter got married while there at the church (Samuel Marsden minister marrying them).

Mary recorded her name as the correct FITZGERALD (not the “Fitzpatrick that the authorities wrote on her convict indent). Both made their marks. Marraige witnesses were Catherine Carty and a man with a very shaky signature rendering of Henry McAllister (Irish per “Anne, 1801).  Mary’s friend, and partner in Irish crime, Eleanor Fitzgerald had married one week before on 2 January 1804 to John Norris.

Mary and Peter’s second child, Catherine McCann, was born in 1805 (NSW BDM 883/1805 V1805883 4)

Peter McCann was also known as Peter Meehan.
Mary was living with him on his rented farm in 1806 called ‘Cornwallis Farm’ at Richmond Hill, where they had 10 acres of land under cultivation and raised pigs. They had an employee working for them, an ex-soldier who came free, John Callaghan.

Peter died on Tuesday 21 October 1806 crossing the flooded Rickersby Creek (now Rickaby Creek)– which runs pretty much north-south joining the Hawkesbury at Windsor, and named after Thomas Rickaby who got a land grant in 1798 where the creek ran. Peter’s death was reported as follows:

Sydney Gazette Sun 26 Oct 1806 p. 1
“In consequence of the late rains a flood took place at the South Creek on Sunday last, [i.e. 19 October] when about 300 acres of wheat and barley were laid under water, about 100 acres of which is apprehended to be spoiled. A rise of 30 feet took place in the Hawkesbury River also; but the cessation of the rains happily put a period to the anxieties that prevailed.
“Peter McCann, a labourer, was unfortunately drowned on Tuesday night at Hawkesbury, in attempting to swim across Rickerby’s Creek.”

Robin Sharkey on 10th April, 2018 wrote:

2. Marriage to James Neale

James Neale arrived as a 7-year convict from County Meath in Ireland aboard the “Marquis Cornwallis” which arrived in Sydney in February 1796. (See his own separate entry under that transport vessel).

In the 1806 muster he was also listed as renting some acreage (23 acres) at Cornwalis Farm, from which Mary and Peter McCann were renting 10 acres.

A respectable year after Peter died, Mary married her Irish neighbour, James Neale, on 2nd November 1807 at St John’s Church Parramatta. The witnesses this time were her good friend, Eleanor Norris (nee Fitzgerald) who was tried and transported with her, and Eleanor’s husband John Norris.

James Neale took on Mary’s two young children Nicholas and Catherine McCann.

He and Mary had their own child together, BRIDGET NEALE born 17 January 1810. (NSWBDM register). He refers to supporting three children (therefore he was including Mary’s first two children as his) in a February 1810 petition for land. He says he had made a “Supplication to Colonel Patterson for a portion of land for his Children which was granted”. Patterson was Governor for almost all of 1809, and then Macquarie arrived at the start of 1810. Patterson gave out a lot of land grants so James Neale may have thought it a timely request, and to use the lever of Mary’s two children as a good reason to back up his request since there is no record of them having had their own child until Bridget’s arrival in 1810.

Baptism of Bridget Neale:
Bridget was not baptised until she was almost six years of age. This was well after her father’s death. Perhaps James and Mary didn’t baptise her when she was born because they were likely to be Catholic, and there was no Catholic priest in NSW during those years. Bridget was eventually baptised Anglican while Mary was married to her third husband, John Hill.

Bridget Neale, daughter of James Neale, Mary; Abode: Windsor; Born 17 Jan 1810 Windsor;
Baptised 24 Dec 1815 by Rev Robert Cartwright; Registered at St Matthew’s Church of England Windsor.

James died, and was buried on 15th February 1811 aged 40 years.

Robin Sharkey on 12th April, 2018 wrote:

Shortly before James Neale died in February 1811, a 4 week old baby named Mary Ann Neal was buried on 5 February 1811, recorded in the burial register of St John’s Anglican Church Parramata. This was likely to have been a third child of James Neale and Mary (nee Fitzgerald).

3) Relationship with John Hill.

Not long after James Neale’s death in February 1811, Mary started a new relationship with John Hill. He lived then around Richmond. He was English, a native of Essex and had arrived as a convict on transport ship “Anne” in July 1810 given a Life sentence for stealing a mare.

About four months after the death of James Neale, around June 1811 Mary conceived a child with John Hill.
Daughter Eleanor Hill born 12th March 1812. (Baptism register of St Matthews Church, Windsor for year 1812). Eleanor was not baptised until she was aged 3 yrs and 9 months, on 24 December 1815 at St Matthews Church in Windsor. Her mother Mary was recorded as “Neale”.

6 November 1813 - John Hill of “Ann” received ticket of leave. (Reference: SRNSW 4/4427; Reel 601). It was noted he was to be struck off the victualling list. (Reel 6002; 4/3491 p.592).

Also in 1813 Mary Fitzpatrick and John Hill got married. She was recorded as Mary ‘Neill”, to John Hill. Married at St Matthews Church Windsor.

Oct 1814 Muster - Mary Fitzgerald; Arrived per Atlas (1), Status: Free;  Occupation/Residence: Mustered at Windsor, Wife to John Hill; Victualling: Off Stores, Children: 2 children on stores, 3 children off stores.
The above has accounted for four living children, however there are FIVE children recorded for the victualling records in the October 1814. The children whose births are eaily found in the NSWBDM indexes were:

1, Nicholas McCann, born on 28th November 1803. Aged nearly 11 yrs in Oct 1814 Muster
2. Catherine McCann, was born in 1805. Aged 9 yrs in Oct 1814 Muster

3. BRIDGET NEALE born 17 January 1810. Aged 4&1/2 years at Oct 1814 Muster

4. Eleanor Hill born March 1811. Aged 3 & ½ years at Oct 1814 Muster

The 5th child from the NSWBDM index is Elizabeth Hill, but she was not born until 25 August 1815.

On 24th December 1815,  Mary and John Hill had their 4 month old baby, Elizabeth Hill, baptised at St Matthew’s Church Windsor.  They made it a job lot, getting older children baptised at the same time:
*their first daughter Elizabeth aged 3yrs 9 months was baptised as well on 24/12/1815, and
* also Mary’s daughter Bridget Neale by her second husband, James Neale. Bridget was only one month away from turning 5 years.

In the 1816 general muster, Mary’s husband James Hill was recorded as being at Richmond

In the 1822 Muster John Hill per “Anne” was recorded as a landholder at Windsor. This could mean he rents land, rather than owning it.

March 1823- Children, Eleanor and Elizabeth Hill, were both recorded in a letter dated 31 March 1823, as being of Castlereagh, on return of the school at Castlereagh.  Elanor would be 12 yrs and Elizabeth 8 years. This may be another Hill family with children of this name. Cross checking is needed.

During 1823, Mary’s daughter Bridget Neale was 13 years old, turning 14 in January 1824. About this time, Bridget gave birth to a daughter who appeared in the 1828 Census as 5 year old Mary Smith, daughter of Bridget, who by then had a married surname (Hughes), all living in Mary’s residence at Parramatta.

In the Sydney Gazette dated 28 Nov 1825, p.3 was the following notice:
“His Excellency the Governor has been pleased to give Directions that FREE PARDONS may be prepared, and submitted for His Signature to the Individuals whose Names are specified below; viz:  … John Hill, ‘Anne’.

In the 1825 Muster, John Hill per “Anne” was listed as being of Bringelly. His daughter Bridget, (father James Neale) was listed as “Bridget O’Neal daughter of John Hill, Bringelly”.  There was another family at Windsor, that of William Hill who had a land grant of 30 acres there since 1815, and his family included a daughter called Bridget.  As there is no other evidence of John Hill and family being of Bringelly, this might possibly be a recording error by the clerks.

In 1826 Mary’s daughter Bridget married at St Luke’s Church, Liverpool. She is recorded as “Bridget O’Neill” marrying John Hughes. Her identity for this marriage is verified by the fact that in the 1828 Census she is recorded as “Bridget Hughes”, residing with her mother Mary Hill.

1827 – Death of Mary’s husband, John Hill. [NSWBDM index 7255/1827 V18277255 2C]. He was recorded as being aged 35 yrs. However, he was in fact 45 years of age, based on his age given for his 1813 Conditional Pardon. Mary was about two years younger.

1828 Census – Individual Page – District of Parramatta no 351
John Hill was not listed with the family
1. Mary Hill aged 44, FbyS, per “Atlas” arrived 1802, Catholic, Employment: Housekeeper Residence: Parramatta. Bracketed with Elizabeth Hill aged 13.
2. Bridget Hughes, “daughter of above” (i.e Mary Hill, Aged 19 , BC
3. Mary Smith, aged 5 years, BC, “Daughter of Bridget”
4. Elizabeth Hill, BC, aged 13, “Daughter of Mary”
Mary Hill signed the page by making her mark with an ‘x’

The previous page on the Census may indicate the neighbouring house.
It was George Brown, 28, TL, Constable, who lived at the Toll Bar at Parramatta.

The page on the Census following Mary’s page be for their neighbouring family. It was John Norris who had married Mary’s ‘friend’ Eleanor Fitzgerald in 1804.  It seems very likely that Eleanor and Mary were sisters.  Eleanor must have died between 1814 (when she is in the 1814 Muster) and 1820 when John Married someone else, Ann Griffiths.  It was John & Ann who lived next door to Mary, so Mary obviously maintained friendly relationship with John Norris. [See John Norris per “Royal Admiral” entry]

Other pointers to Mary and Eleanore being sisters were that:
• Their surnames were both Fitzgerald
• They had been involved together in the same crime
• Eleanor was witness at Mary’s second marriage to James O’Neale
•  Mary’s son Nicholas McCann included “Norris’ as one of his children’s names.
• Mary named a daughter ‘Eleanor’.

Based on the order of pages in the Census returns, next door to John Norris two constables were living,  followed by the family of Mrs Elizabeth Hassall whose residence was listed as George Street. Therefore, Mary Fitzgerald’s Parramatta Residence may also have been in George St.

Mary’s daughters after 1828:

1830 marriage permission for Elizabeth Hill aged 17, BC, to Joseph SMITH aged 30 per Asia 5, Ticket of Leave (7 Yrs)  Permission given on 9 December 1830 for Rev R Hill, Sydney to marry them.

1832 Gaol entry for daughter Eleanor Hill:
-  Born in the Colony, Native Place :Windsor, Protestant, Servant, was admitted to Gaol by the Police on 27 January 1832 for trial. She was “disposed of” to Police Bail on 2nd February.

Convict Changes History

Eric Harry Daly on 27th December, 2012 made the following changes:

convicted at, term 7 years, voyage, source, firstname, surname, alias1, alias2, alias3, alias4, date of birth 1784, date of death 0000, gender, occupation, crime

Robin Sharkey on 8th April, 2018 made the following changes:

source: http://www.nationalarchives.ie. Freemans Journal, Thursday, 9 April 1801 p2 (prev. http://www.nationalarchives.ie)

Robin Sharkey on 8th April, 2018 made the following changes:


Robin Sharkey on 10th April, 2018 made the following changes:

source: http://www.nationalarchives.ie. Freemans Journal, Thursday, 9 April 1801 p2; NSW State Records - Muster Rolls for 1806, St John's Parramatta Registers - Marriage 1804 and 1807, baptisms 1803 and 1805. Sydney Gazette 26 Oct 1806. (prev. http://www

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