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Eleanor Lawler

** community contributed record **

Name, Aliases & Gender

Name: Eleanor Lawler
Aliases: none
Gender: f

Birth, Occupation & Death

Date of Birth: 1770
Occupation: -
Date of Death: 1830
Age: 60 years

Life Span

Life span

Female median life span was 57 years*

* Median life span based on contributions

Conviction & Transportation

Sentence Severity

Sentence Severity

Sentenced to 7 years

Crime: -
Convicted at: Limerick
Sentence term: 7 years
Ship: Marquis Cornwallis
Departure date: 9th August, 1795
Arrival date: 11th February, 1796
Place of arrival New South Wales
Passenger manifest Travelled with 189 other convicts


Primary source: convict ships to NSW. Irish convicts to NSW
Source description:

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Community Contributions

Phil Hands on 31st March, 2017 wrote:

Tried and convicted in Limerick in August 1793, sentenced to transportation for 7 years.
Left Cork on 9th August 1795.
Ship:- the ‘Marquis Cornwallis’ sailed with 163 male and 70 female convicts on board of which 11 males died during the voyage, 11 of those after a mutiny was put down.
Arrived on 11th February 1796.

Eleanor had a defacto relationship with convict Michael John Donovan, they had 4 children.
In Dec 1808 Michael gave evidence at a trial in Sydney and left the colony for Europe soon afterwards, probably before the end of 1809. He sold his farm and arranged an amicable separation with Eleanor Lawler, leaving her with one daughter and £207 in cash (he appears to have taken the other three children with him).

Immediately after Michael Donovan left the colony, Eleanor Lawler took Michael Murphy, (Michael Donovan’s assigned convict) as her de facto husband and invested the money that Michael Donovan had given her prior to his leaving the colony, in improving and stocking the 200 acres Murphy was granted in Nov 1809 on the Prospect Road between Paramatta and Prospect. [Murphy appears to have received a pardon from his life sentence by this time.] The farm fronted the sout side of Old Prospect Road, probably in the vicinity of modern Cumberland Road, Greystanes, they had 3 daughters.

The couple built a house on the land, but lived in the township of Parramatta, leaving an overseer to supervise the day-to-day running of the farm. Prior to Sep 1809 the couple occupied the house next door to Thomas Halfpenny’s in Parramatta township, fronting George Street and close to the river, near the site of modern Charles Street wharf. Murphy may have operated some kind of shop or workshop, or perhaps a public house on this prime commercial site near the wharf and military district.

In March 1813 Eleanor Lawler was described as the de facto wife of Michael Murphy at Parramatta when they both were sentenced to 14 years transportation for receiving stolen cattle. The trial evidence suggests that Eleanor played a strong role in her partnership with Murphy, negotiating on an equal basis with the cattle thieves. In his evidence the Rev. Samuel Marsden suggested that she had played a key role in the affairs, repeating Murphy’s claim that ‘he had done all he could to prevent her from having anything to do with them but she would not be governed by him’.

Eleanor and Michael were both sent to the penal settlement at Newcastle during 1813. Eleanor was back at Parramatta by the Oct 1814 muster, described as a single woman with 5 children. She was sent back to Newcastle in Jan 1815, returned to Sydney and was sent back to Newcastle in Jan 1816. Returning to Sydney again in Aug 1816, she went to Newcastle once more in March 1817.

Convict Changes History

Phil Hands on 31st March, 2017 made the following changes:

convicted at, term: 7 years, voyage, source: convict ships to NSW. Irish convicts to NSW (prev. ), firstname: Eleanor, surname: Lawler, alias1: , alias2: , alias3: , alias4: , date of birth: 1770, date of death: 1830, gender: f, occupation, crime

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