Mary Halworth

Mary Halworth
Mary was born at St Ives in 1792. She was married to Thomas Halworth. Her birth surname is unknown. On 12 March 1814, aged 22yrs, she was convicted of larceny at Huntingdon Assizes. Her friends, sisters Ann Lantaff aged 23years and Elizabeth Lantaff, aged 17yrs, were likewise convicted. The group had been caught shoplifting. All three were given the death sentence. This was commuted to transportation to Australia for life.

After a period in gaol at Huntingdon Mary was transferred to either Newgate Prison or the prison hulk Dunkirk moored at Portsmouth. She spent many months in appalling conditions before boarding the Northampton at Portsmouth. There were 110 female convicts on board.

The Northampton set sail on 1 January 1815, the voyage taking 169 days. Joseph Arnold, Northampton's surgeon, wrote a transcript of the voyage.

Convict ship setting sail for Australia
Convict ship setting sail for Australia
Off Madeira on 18 February 1815 they were captured by an American ship, 'but afterwards liberated, the enemy not liking the cargo, and suffered her to proceed on her voyage.'

There were ten deaths, four of whom were convicts. Fatalities were low compared to previous transportations since this was first to have a naval surgeon appointed to care for the convicts. The passenger list included thirty free women and about forty children, most intending to join their husbands who had previously arrived as convicts.

The Northampton arrived in New South Wales on 18 June 1815 and Mary went through a process of disembarkation.

Little is known of how Mary fared in Australia. It appears she was assigned to work for T Turner Lyon on arrival and became his wife. It was not unusual for female convicts to marry soon after arriving in Australia. With nine men to every woman they were in demand and also needed protection.

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