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Amelia Major

Amelia Major, one of 122 convicts transported on the Broxbournebury, January 1814

Name, Aliases & Gender

Name: Amelia Major
Aliases: none
Gender: f

Birth, Occupation & Death

Date of Birth: 1795
Occupation: Servant
Date of Death: 1863
Age: 68 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: Theft
Convicted at: Middlesex Gaol Delivery
Sentence term: 7 years
Ship: Broxbournebury
Departure date: January, 1814
Arrival date: 28th July, 1814
Place of arrival New South Wales
Passenger manifest Travelled with 123 other convicts


Primary source: Australian Joint Copying Project. Microfilm Roll 88, Class and Piece Number HO11/2, Page Number 147 (75)
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

Beth Kebblewhite on 27th September, 2019 wrote:

MAJOR, Amelia (c1795-1863)
Tried - 13 May 1812 Middlesex (Old Bailey)
Amelia was most probably the daughter of William and Elizabeth Major, born about 1795 at Heston, a small village 18kms west of London. In July 1811 Amelia was accused of stealing a shawl belonging to another servant, Harriot Hobbs, of Hamptoncourt. Aged about 16, Amelia admitted her guilt and stated that she meant to return the shawl which was found “in her mother’s house, at Essen, it was in [Amelia’s] box.” The Judge at the Old Bailey sentenced Amelia to transportation for 7 years, however there is no record that ruling took place and it seems most likely that Amelia was acquitted on a technicality. She was not to be so fortunate less than a year later, in May 1812, Amelia appeared back at the same Court charged with stealing a gown, two aprons, a shirt, nine handkerchiefs, a box, a dollar, four three-shilling bank tokens, one eighteen-penny bank token and a sixpence went missing from other tenants at Ann Connor’s house at Teddington. Amelia had been a servant, however she was unemployed and the Court heard that the Parish paid her five shillings per week. Amelia was rooming at the Teddington property and was questioned by the Police who left her in the “cage” for the night. Amelia admitted her guilt the next morning with the words: “I have got nothing to say, I leave it to your mercy”. The Judge sentenced her to 7 years transportation to New South Wales. Amelia was first sent to the Colony in 1812 on the Emu and finally reached Sydney in 1814 on the Broxbornebury.

BC: 1795 (Baptism 08/02/1795 to William and Elizabeth MAJOR at St Leonards Church, Heston, Middlesex (London). Source: http://www.ancestry.com.au London Metropolitan Archives, Saint Leonard, Heston, Composite register: baptisms, burials, Jun 1767 – Dec 1812, DRO/026/A/01, Item 003 or 1798 (Indent)
Sentenced: 13/05/1812 Middlesex [see trial record below] to 7 years transportation – also see trial in 1811 – was Amelia later acquitted?
1811 – Trial #1 - AMELIA MAJOR, Theft > grand larceny, 10th July 1811.
591. AMELIA MAJOR was indicted for feloniously stealing, on the 28th of May , a shawl, value 8 s. the property of Harriot Hobbs, spinster.
HARRIOT HOBBS. I am a servant. I live at Hamptoncourt, I lent my shawl to a Abice Foot. ABICE FOOT. On Sunday, the 26th of May, I was at Mr. Smith’s, Hamptoncourt, I generally stop and help them in the kitchen, the cook lent me her shawl to walk home with; when I got home I took the shawl off and laid it on a table in the room, and laid a silk handkerchief upon it, I had no person in the room but the maid; I missed the shawl and the silk handkerchief. On the Saturday following, I asked her what she had done with the shawl and handkerchief, she answered that she never saw them; I went away to my Parish, she went away in a little time after.
Q. Did you ever find the shawl - A. Yes, in her mother’s house, at Essen, it was in the prisoner’s box, and new things that she had bought with my money. The silk handkerchief I never found.
MR. COLLEY, I am a constable, I produce the prisoner’s box, in the box I found this shawl, and the other things were quite new.
HARRIOT HOBBS. That is my shawl.
Prisoner’s Defence. I took the shawl, I meant to return it again.
GUILTY, aged 16.
Transported for Seven Years.
First Middlesex jury, before Mr. Recorder.
1812 – Trial #2 - AMELIA MAJOR, Theft > theft from a specified place, 13th May 1812.
489. AMELIA MAJOR was indicted for feloniously stealing, on the 21st of April, a gown, value 12 s. two aprons, value 6 s. four handkerchiefs, value 4 s. a box, value 1 d. a dollar, value 5 s. 6 d. four three-shilling bank tokens, and one eighteen-penny bank token and a six- ence, the property of Ann Heath. A shirt, value 2 s. the property of Sarah Redford . Five handkerchiefs, value 5 s. the property of Mary Lineham, in the dwelling-house of Ann Conner.
ANN HEATH. I live at Teddington, in Ann Conner ‘s house. On the 21st of April I went out, as usual, about eleven o’clock, and came back between seven and eight at night; and when I came home my property was gone.
Q. What did you lose - A. A cotton gown, four handkerchiefs, two aprons, and a little snuff- ox, with nineteen shillings and six-pence in it.
Q. Why do you accuse the prisoner - A. She lodged with me, and was in the room when I went out; and when I came back she was at home. I asked her what became of the things. She said she did not know. I thought she did know, because I left her there; she afterwards confessed to taking them.
Q. How did the prisoner live - A. The parish paid her five shillings a week.
SARAH REDFORD. I live in the same house. I lost a shirt I had to wash; it was found with these things.
GEORGE BIRD. I am an officer. I took the prisoner into custody. I put her in the Cage. On the next morning she owned to the fact, where she deposited the things by taking up a board of the landing-place of the stairs; and there I found all the property as she described; and the nineteen shillings and sixpence.
Prisoner. I have got nothing to say, I leave it to your mercy.
GUILTY, aged 16.
Transported for Seven Years.
Second Middlesex jury, before Mr. Recorder.
(Source: Old Bailey on-line http://www.oldbaileyonline.org )
Crime: Feloniously stealing
Previous Occupation: Servant
Age on Convict Indent (Broxbornebury) 18
Ticket of Leave 891; Certificate of Freedom 2197 (indent)
1814 Muster:
Amelia MAJER (?), con, Broxbornebury, on stores, FF, Parra (3299)
c1816 - No record found of marriage for Amelia & Richard TYRELL/TIERNAN.
Children born to Richard and Amelia TYRELL/TIERNAN:
• Sarah TIERNAN born 16/10/1816 Sydney (Sarah, daughter of Richard Tiernan, & Amelia Major; Born 16 Oct 1816 Sydney, Baptised 16 Feb 1817, Registered at St Philip’s Church of England Sydney, Cumberland. Source: V1816-4070-1B & 527-6 & St Philip’s Church of England, Sydney NSW: Church Register - Baptisms; ML ref: Reel SAG 90; Vol Entry# 527), died ?
• John TIERNAN born 27/03/1820 (John, son of John Tull (sic), Amelia; Born 27 Mar 1820 Sydney, Baptised 17 Sep 1820, Registered at St Philip’s Church of England Sydney, Cumberland. Source: St Philip’s Church of England, Sydney NSW: Church Register - Baptisms; ML ref: Reel SAG 90; Vol Entry# 236), died?
• Amelia Elizabeth TIERNAN born 18/04/1823 Sydney (Amelia Elizabeth, daughter of John Tearl (sic), Amelia; Born 18 Apr 1823 Sydney, Baptised 22 May 1825, Registered at St Philip’s Church of England Sydney, Cumberland. Source: V1823- 849-8 & St Philip’s Church of England, Sydney NSW: Church Register - Baptisms; ML ref: Reel SAG 90; Vol Entry# 849), died?
• James Thomas TIERNAN born 31/07/1826 Sydney (James Thomas Terran (sic), [child of] James Terran, Labourer, & Amelia Terran; Abode: Sydney; Born 31 Jul 1826, Baptised 28 Jan 1827, by Reverend William Cowper, Registered at St Philip’s Church of England Sydney. Source: St Philip’s Church of England, Sydney NSW: Church Register - Baptisms; ML ref: Reel SAG 90; Vol Entry# 166), marr 1855 Sydney to Ann McBride, died c1885 Sydney
1818 - Antonio BERINGO per ship Admiral Gambier, received a Conditional Pardon on 31 Jan. 1818, described as – native of France, sailor, tried Middlesex GD 6/12/1809, life sentence, 5’5” tall, dark ruddy complexion, black hair, dark eyes. (Source: SRNSW Convict Pardons, Reel 774, 4/4430, p108)
1819 – “CLAIMS AND DEMANDS. AMELIA MAJOR and Child leaving the Colony by the earliest Opportunity, all Claims to be presented.” (Source: The Sydney Gazette and New South Wales Advertiser , Saturday 12 June 1819, p2 & 19 June)
c1822-1825 - Between 1822 and 1825 Amelia Major (with her children) was living in Sydney as the defacto wife of waterman, Antonio Beringo (or Berengo) (c1785-1828) although there is no record of a marriage. Antonio is not listed as the father to any of Amelia’s children and they may have separated at some point and she may have returned to live with Richard TYRELL/TIERNAN for a short time. There are no known children born to Amelia and Antonio. [Note: Antonio Beringo (or Berengo) (c1785-1828) arr in Sydney on the ship Admiral Gambier (2) on 29 Sep 1811. He had been tried at Middlesex GD for highway robbery on 6 Dec 1809 & was given a life sentence. He was a native of France, a sailor, 5’5” tall, dark ruddy complexion, black hair & dark eyes.]
1822 Muster:
Amelia MEASURE (?), FBS, Broxbornebury, 7 years, wife of A. De Baring (sic), Sydney (A14574) & children – Sarah 5 & John 2 – both BC & listed under Measure
Antonio De BARING (sic), CP, Admiral Gambier 1811, life, labourer, Sydney (A00813)
1823 – 1825 Muster:
Amelia MAJOR, FS, Broxbornebury, 7 years, wife of Antoine (?) Baringo, Sydney (32415) & spouse – Antonio BERENGO, CP, Admiral Gambier 1811, life, waterman, Sydney (11208) & children – Amelia 13, Sarah 8 & John 5 – all BC & named as Berringle & children of Amelia Major (11673-5)
1824, April – Memorial of Antonio, a free man with a wife & 3 children & was finding it hard to pay rent & would like a block of land to build a house. He lived in Argyle St, Sydney. (Source: SRNSW Col Sec Papers, Memorial Fiche 3077; 4/1836A p261)
1824, 5 May – A reply is sent from Col Sec Goulburn to Antonio, who was known to Captain Piper, stating that he could have any vacant allotment he chose. (Source: SRNSW Col Sec Papers, Letters Sent Reel 6013; 4/3511 p124)
1825, Dec, - Amelia was a god-mother to Mary Ann Murray, daughter of Maurice Murray, & Ann Rogers (convict per Broxbornebury), Baptised 26 Dec 1825 Sydney [NSW AUS], Registered at St Mary’s Roman Catholic Sydney, [NSW AUS]; Sponsor David Lee; Sponsor Amelia Tyrrell formerly Major; Additional Information: [Sponsor] Amelia Tyrrell olim [formerly] Major. (Source: St Mary’s Roman Catholic Cathedral, Sydney NSW: Church Register - Baptisms; ML ref: Reel SAG 7)
1828 Census:
• Anthony BERINGO, 46, CP, A. Gambier 2 1811, life, watchman, Harrington St, Sydney (B1061)
• Amelia MAGOR (sic),aged 30, FBS, came per Broxbornebury 1814, 7 years, prot., wife of Anthony Beringo, Harrington St, Sydney *(M1420)
• Sarah TERRELL, child, BC (no age) [Note written: “Supposedly children of Anty (?) Beringo, Harrington St.]
• John TERRELL, child, BC (no age) [Note written: “Supposedly children of Anty (?) Beringo”, Harrington St.]
• Amelia TERRELL, child, BC (no age) [Note written: “Supposedly children of Anty (?) Beringo”, Harrington St.]
• James TERRELL, child, BC (no age) [Note written: “Supposedly children of Anty (?) Beringo”, Harrington St.]
• Also: Rose SHEARIAN (aged 36), lodger & Margaret WILLIAMS (aged 4), lodger. All living Harrington St., Sydney, same address
1828 - Antonio Beringo died in 1828. No burial record found in NSW BDM. “An Inquest was held yesterday at the Saracen’s Head public-house, on the Rocks, on the body of Anthony Baringo, a native of France, and many years an industrious wood-cutter in this Colony. Verdict-Died by the visitation of God. Anthony Baringo has left a large family to lament his loss ; and the worthy Madame Rens, in honour of her countryman, has taken upon herself to defray the expenses of his funeral.” (Source: Sydney Gazette and New South Wales Advertiser, 10/12/1828, p2)
1829, 25 July – “CAUTION. WHEREAS John Tyrrel, aged 14, native of the Colony, from the Male Orphan School, having absconded from me, and is now supposed to be living with his Mother in Sydney, the Public are hereby cautioned against harbouring or employing him on pain of prosecution. RICHARD BROOKS, Denham Court, near Liverpool. 20th July, 1829.” (Source: Sydney Gazette, 25/07/1829, p4)
1830 - Amelia TYRELL (sic) formerly Major, married John Magrath on 08/08/1830 at St Marys RC Sydney. V1830-495-127. Also – John Magrath; & Amelia Tyrrell; married 08 Aug 1830, registered St Marys Roman Catholic Sydney; Witness: Luke Byrne; Witness: Mary Austen. (Source: St Mary’s Roman Catholic Cathedral, Sydney NSW: Church Register -  marriages; ML ref: Reel SAG 7)
Children born to John and Amelia MAGRATH/McGRATH:
• Mary Ann (as McGRATH) born 1834 Sydney, marr 1853 Victoria to Peter Mantova, died 27/04/1901 Granville (headstone Rookwood)
1841, 19 Nov. – “James Tyrrell aged twelve years was convicted of having stolen five fowls the property of John Montgomery of Prince street, on the 26th of October, and was recommended to the mercy of the Court on account of his youth. He was ordered to be confined in a solitary cell in Sydney Gaol, to be well whipt (sic) and discharged to his parents.” (Source: Sydney Herald, 19/11/1841, p2)
1863 - Amelia MacGRATH died in Sydney in 1863, “aged 68”. “FUNERAL. —The Friends of Mr. JOHN McGRATH are respectfully invited to attend the Funeral of his deceased wife, AMELIA, THIS (Saturday) AFTERNOON, 8th August. The procession to move from his residence, Palmer-street, near South Head Road, at 3 o’clock. THOMAS DIXON, undertaker, South Head Road.” (Source: SMH 08/08/1863, p12 & NSW BDM 1863/998) [Note: Funeral was wedding anniversary]

Date of death of John McGrath not known.

Bonnet made for Amelia Major (circa 2010):
“Ina Major all the way from Canada makes two bonnet tributes. One for convict woman Amelia Major when she was transported to Australia on the Emu (1812) and then when she was on the Broxbornebury (1814)
Ina and her sister travelled from Canada to Australia. Ina has just presented the two special bonnets she has made for Amelia Major, her namesake, but not a relative. Amelia Major was convicted and sentenced to seven years transportation on 13, May, 1812. From the Middlesex Gaol Amelia was placed on the ship the Emu, on October 1812.
The Emu was attacked by American privateers and convicts were returned to England and Amelia was transported on the Broxenbornebury (sic) to New South Wales, Australia.
Amelia Major was sent to the Parramatta Female Factory on arrival in New South Wales. Amelia had three children born in New South Wales, Amelia, Sarah and John. Between 1822 and 1825 she was living in Sydney as the ‘wife’ of waterman Antino (sic) Beringo.
By that time she had her freedom. They lived in Sydney on Argyle Street and then Harrington Street. There seem to be no death records for Amelia or Antinio (sic).
Ina Major was able to learn about Ameila Major’s life from Elizabeth Hook, author of Journey to a New Life’.
While Ina and her sister, Maxine, were in Sydney, staying at the Rocks, they were able to visit the spot where Amelia Major had lived in Sydney all those years ago.
Christina would like to thank Ina for the bonnet tributes for Amelia. Thanks for travelling all the way from Canada to Tasmania to hand the bonnets over in person.”
(Source: http://www.rosesfromtheheart.tumblr.com)

From the book “Journey to a New Life…” the story of the ships Emu & Broxbornebury by Elizabeth Hook (3rd ed. 2014). I am the author & can be contacted on hookey5609@yahoo.com.au for further info

Convict Changes History

Beth Kebblewhite on 27th September, 2019 made the following changes:

date of birth: 1795 (prev. 0000), date of death: 1863 (prev. 0000), gender: f, occupation, crime

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