The Lady Juliana which transported Mary to Australia
Mary Ann Brooker (Wade)
The Pass Room at Bridewell where Mary was first imprisoned
View of Sydney Port Jackson, New South Wales, taken from the Rocks on the western side of the Cove, c.1803 / drawn by John William Lancashire.
State Library of New South Wales.
St Peters Campbelltown
Hawkesbury River
A bullock team on Fitzmaurice Street, Wagga 1860

David Rowland

Mary Ann Wade

Mary Ann Wade was born on the 5th October 1777 in Southwark, London and baptised on the 21st December 1777 at Saint Olave’s Church, Southwark, Surrey. Her parents were George and Mary Wade; nee English. Of Westminster, Middlesex.

She spent her days sweeping the streets of London as a way of begging.

On the 5th October 1788, Mary was with another child, Jane Whiting, 14 years old. They robbed another young girl, Mary Phillips, 8 years old of some clothes namely; a cotton frock, one linen tippet and a linen cap. Mary Phillips was collecting water at the time. The two girls took the items to the pawnbrokers and sold just the frock.

Another girl who knew Mary and saw this happen reported the incident to an Officer of the Law who later found the tippet in Mary’s room. Whereon she was arrested and taken to Bridewell Prison. She was charged with ‘Highway Robbery’ and theft with violence.

Her trial commenced at the Old Bailey on the 14th January 1789, where she was found guilty and was sentenced to Death by hanging. She was returned to the prison to await her punishment.

However, on the 11th March 1789, King George III was proclaimed cured of an unnamed madness; it is assumed that he suffered from ‘porphyria,’ a degenerative mental disease. Five days later, on the 16th March, in the spirit of celebration,  She spent 93 days in the Newgate Prison, before being transported on the ‘lady Juliana’ to Australia. This was the first convict ship to hold a cargo made up entirely of women and children.

Mary’s life

The voyage to Australia took 11 months arriving eventually at Sydney on the 3rd June 1790. Mary Wade was then sent on a further voyage to Norfolk Island aboard the ship ‘Surprise,’ arriving there on the 7th August. 1790.

While she was on Norfolk Island she gave birth to two children, Sarah, who was born on 1793; Mary was almost16 years old at that time.  Sarah was known as a ‘Convict child.’ She grew up on Norfolk Island until she was about 7 years old. She also had another child, William, who was born in 1796, Mary being 19 years old.

The father of Sarah appears to be Edward (Teague) Harrigan, while William’s father appears to be Jonathon’ Brooker.

Edward  Harrigan is described as being ‘an emancipated Irish Transportee.’

When they arrived back in Sydney, Mary lived with Harrigan in a tent on the banks of the Tank Stream in Sydney in 1803. While they were there they produced another son, Edward, who was born in 1800. Sadly he died three years later in 1803.

In 1806 Harrigan left Sydney to go on a whaling expedition and never returned. He was presumed drowned. Harrigan was a whaler by trade but did other things to earn a little money for the family.

In 1809 she met up with Jonathon Brooker near the Hawkesbury River and it was here that Mary raised her family which in total numbered 21 children but only seven reached adulthood.  Mary was very happy with Jonathon and they enjoyed a good life, they weren’t rich but were not on the poverty line. Life became better when Jonathon was given his Certificate of Freedom in February 1811 and was also given a grant of some 60 acres of ground at Tarrawana, New South Wales by Governor Macquarie. Mary finally received her Certificate of Freedom on the first of September 1812.

As a result they settled on the property of Airds (made up of the modern suburbs of Airds, Bradbury, St. Helen’s Park, Rosemeadow, among others.) in Campbelltown, New South Wales with their family, Mary married Jonathon Brooker on the 10th February 1817, at St. Lukes, Liverpool, New South Wales. Mary was then 40 years old. Between them they owned 30 acres of good land. John was making out a living as a chair maker and had very good tools to use to make them.

In 1822 bushfires destroyed all their property as well as Jonathon’s tools, in fact they lost everything, lock, stock and barrel;  As a result the family became destitute and pleaded with the Governor at that time, Governor Thomas Brisbane for some help.

They received some help and finally recovered. Mary and Jon went on to own 62 acres.

They returned to having a good life and they lived contentedly until Hon’s death on the 14th March 1833, when he was buried in the graveyard of St. Peter’s church, Campbelltown NSW.

Mary continued to live on her own until her death on17th December 1859 at the age of 82 years in Wollongong, NSW. Her funeral service was the first to be held in St. Paul’s Church of England, Fairy Meadow, NSW: with her son donating the land on which the church was built.


At the time of Mary’s death she had over 300 living descendants and is considered as one of the founding mothers of the early settlers in Australia. Today her descendants number in the tens of thousands, including Kevin Rudd, the former prime minister of Australia.     

Edward Teague Harrigan was born in 1771 in Cork, Munster, Ireland. 

Sarah Harrigan: –

A few interesting points regards Sarah, Mary’s first child.  

Sarah grew up on Norfolk Island until she was about 7 years old. Then she lived with Mary and Teague Harrigan in Sydney until she was about 11 years old, and then in the Windsor area with Mary and Jonathon Brooker until Sarah was married off to William Ray when she was 14 years old. William Ray was a former convict associate of Sarah’s step-father Jonathon Brooker, and was 32 years old, twice the age of Sarah. Both families remained in the Windsor area for the next few years. Sarah gave birth to children while living there, while her mother had another 3 or 4 children.

About 1813, both families moved to Airds, near Campbelltown where they had acquired land of their own. Sarah had 3 more children to William Ray but by 1822/23 the marriage had broken down as Sarah and the 4 younger children moved in with Nathaniel Boon. He owned the adjoining farm. The couple produced 5 illegitimate children before arrangements were made for Sarah to re-marry in 1831, so that Boon was able to have 2 more illegitimate children and a legal heir.

One of their children was hanged in Wagga for murder.   

Mary is about the youngest person to be transported, a young girl aged just 11 years.

Welcome to the Finsbury Publishing

David Rowland has just launched his 15th and final book, “The Spirit of Winsome Winn II”, all about the B-17 Flying Fortress which crashed at Patcham after being hit by anti-aircraft fire over Germany.


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