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Name, Aliases & Gender
Birth, Occupation & Death
|Date of Birth:
|Date of Death:
||19th March, 1847
life span was 56 years*
* Median life span based on contributions
Conviction & Transportation
Sentenced to 7 years
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Keith South on 18th April, 2015 wrote:
Native of Kildare Co, 29, married with two children.
John Nairn on 16th October, 2016 wrote:
Celebrating Mary Ann Power. nee Nowlan
by Bede Nairn, 7 May 1997
The first Power in our Australian family was Thomas, born in
Kildare, Ireland, about 1796. He was taught to read and write probably in a ‘hedge school’: these schools were moveable makeshifts for elementary education and rudimentary Catholic instruction: they operated outside the brutal colonial penal laws imposed by Dublin Castle, which was the headquarters and grim symbol of the Protestant English ascendancy in Ireland. Thomas became a ploughman. Possibly, at Moone, Kildare,
just south of Dublin, about 1820 he married Mary Ann Nowlan.
She had been born about 1793.
On 26 March 1826 Thomas was sentenced to seven years’
transportation to New South Wales. Thomas arrived in Sydney on 17 January 1829 on the Sophia, leaving Mary Ann and their two sons, James and Patrick, in Ireland. Thomas, like the great majority of convicts, was not imprisoned in the colony. He was assigned as a labourer to Henry Osborne, a Protestant Irishman from Tyrone. Osborne was a free settler
with some capital, who had been granted land at Marshall
Mount (based on the present town of Dapto, on the South
Coast). He was a forerunner of a family that remains prominent
around Bungendore, in southern New South Wales. Thomas received his ticket-of-leave on 1 October 1833, which meant that he could move around, and if he continued to remain out of trouble, he would become a free man in 1836,
In 1836 he asked that Mary Ann, and James and Patrick, be
allowed to join him.
The chief constable of the Moone area investigated Mary Ann,
and reported in November 1836 to Thomas Drummond,
Under-Secretary at Dublin Castle, that she wished to join
Thomas, and added, ‘from every thing I learn, she is a woman
of good character’.
Thomas Drummond, a Scotsman, knew the Irish countryside
and was sympathetic with the plight of the dispossessed people
who survived there. Backed by an unusually fair-minded
English Viceroy, Lord Mulgrave, Drummond moderated the
harsh colonialism imposed on the Irish. For a while in the
1830s, Dublin Castle was less grisly.
Drummond was more generous than his predecessors in allowing families to join their ex-convict husbands. He set up a national police force, and encouraged Catholics to join it. It is possible that the Moone constable was one of them and was able to appreciate the devoted constancy of Mary Ann Power.
So Mary Ann, with James, officially aged 12, but probably 14;
and Patrick, officially 8, but probably 12, set sail from Kingstown (now Dun Laoghaire) on the female convict ship, Margaret, in December 1836 or January 1837.
No doubt the Moone constable had assessed her correctly as ‘a
woman of good character’.
Obviously, she was also strong, physically as well as mentally.
For ten years she had maintained herself and two children under
what, from our perspective, could only have been substandard
She had kept the faith that consoled her. No doubt, she had
received as much help that could have been given to her by
relatives and friends, who would have been as badly off as she
was. But for a single mother with two small children, it was a very
All of her inestimable qualities of character and would have been needed to survive the looming voyage, She was one of twelve free women on the Margaret; probably they were accompanied by at least fifteen children.
After the Margaret had arrived in Sydney Cove, its surgeon
wrote to the Governor of New South Wales, Sir Richard
Bourke. He said that the free women ‘are a stupid lot of people’, and that he could not obtain any useful information from them: one of them was insane.
There would have also have been about eighty convict females
on board, as well as some of their children.
Mary Ann was not stupid, and certainly not insane. And it is
easy to speculate on some of the nightmarish aspects of her long
sea trip. The death rate on these voyages was one-in-four (25
Including the crew, there would have been about 140 on board
the Margaret, a sailing ship with one deck and minimal
facilities, and smaller than a Sydney Harbour ferry.
With food and water carefully rationed, there would have been
three or four ports of call: in the Canary Islands, South America
and South Africa. Then the ship would have sailed south to
pick up favourable winds to take her below Australia, through
Bass Strait, and north to Port Jackson, where she arrived on 3l
May 183 7 , or shortly before , after sailing about 15,000 miles
(21,000 km) in approximately six months.
Imagine Mary Ann’s mingled feelings as she stepped ashore
with James and Patrick - thanksgiving for a safe arrival; relief
at the end of a harrowing voyage; foreboding as to the future in
a strange uncivilised land. These misgivings, however, were
swept away when she was at last reunited with Thomas.
Then planning for the future. With the small capital that
Thomas would have saved, a move from Sydney would have
By the late 1830s there were good prospects of employment
opening up in the wide Cumberland Plain, which stretched west
from Parramatta; south-west to Liverpool and beyond;
north-west to Windsor; and west to Penrith, including a
government depot at Emu Plains, where the road to the Blue
Mountains beckoned, with a remote hope of acquiring land west
of the lofty range.
Some time between 1837 and the early 1840s, Mary Ann,
Thomas, James and Patrick, probably settled at Regentville, in
the Penrith district.
Regentville took its name from a grant of land in 1805 to
Thomas Jamison, a surgeon who arrived with the First Fleet in
1788. Jamison’s son, Sir John, developed the grant into a large,
Included in the holding was a private racecourse; which might have been the origin of the deep attraction to the turf possessed by very many later Powers.
Sir John Jamison became known as ‘The Hospitable Knight of
Regentville’. He employed many agricultural labourers.
Perhaps Mary Ann and Thomas worked on the Jamison
property, for on 16 April 1849 when their son, James , married
Rose Walsh, at Mount Pleasant Chapel, their place of residence
was shown as Regentville.
James and Rose were married by Father Jerome Keating, a
Benedictine priest, who seems to have been a spiritual prop, and
perhaps more, to the many Catholic settlers around Penrith.
Mary Ann and Thomas had at least two other children, Rosanna,
who died in infancy who is buried with them in McCarthy’s
Lane cemetery not far from here. The other child, John, accompanied James and Rose to Wollar.
Mary Ann died on 19 June 1846, aged 53. Thomas died on 19
March 1847, aged 51.
So, James Power married Rose Walsh in 1849. At this stage we
do not know how many children they had while living at
But we do know that at least three of them were born there:
Thomas in 1851,
Mary Ann in 1854, and
Sarah in 1856.
From the middle 1850s there was widespread agitation throughout New South Wales for reforms which would open up land for settlers with only small capital. This movement was accentuated by responsible parliamentary Government which began in 1856. There were many large leasehold blocks that could be broken up. Sir John Robertson took the lead in the campaign, and carried Reform Acts in 1860-61 . 4
Most likely, James and Rose Power, and their children crossed
the Blue Mountains, and passed through Mudgee, and settled at
Spring Flat, near Wollar, between 1858 and L862. They were
true pioneers of the Great Australian bush.
Their children were listed as follows on the death certificate of
James, who died at Spring Flat on 5 September 1899. Rose had
died in childbirth on 5 August 1871 -
1. Thomas, born 1851
2. Mary Ann, born 1854 (married John Hopkins)
3. Sarah, born 1856 (married ? Bamford)
4. Patrick, born 1858
5. Rosalie, born 1861 (married George Tuckey)
6. Elizabeth, born 1863 (married William Phillips)
7 .James, born 1867
8. Bridget, born 1871 (married James (?) Telfer)
As well, James and Rose had two other sons and one daughter, who were dead when Rose died in 1871.
Convict Changes History
Keith South on 18th April, 2015 made the following changes:
convicted at, term: 7 years, voyage, source: http://members.pcug.org.au/~ppmay/cgi-bin/irish/irish.cgi?requestType=Search&ship=Sophia+(1829 (prev. ), firstname: Thomas, surname: Poor, alias1: , alias2: , alias3: , alias4: , date of birth: 1800, date of de
John Nairn on 16th October, 2016 made the following changes:
surname: Power (prev. Poor), date of death: 19th March, 1847 (prev. 0000)