By Lucy Frost
From the crowded tenements of Edinburgh to the feminine manufacturing facility nestling within the shadow of Mt Wellington, dozens of Scottish ladies convicts have been exiled to Van Diemen's Land with their little ones. this can be a wealthy and evocative account of the lives of girls on the backside of society 200 years in the past. within the early 19th century, crofters and villagers streamed into the burgeoning towns of Scotland, and households splintered. Orphan ladies, unmarried moms and ladies all alone all struggled to feed and dress themselves. For a few, petty robbery turned part of existence. Any lady deemed "habite & reputation a thief" may possibly locate herself prior to the excessive court docket of Justiciary, attempted for another minor robbery and sentenced to transportation "beyond Seas." Lucy Frost memorably paints the portrait of a boatload of ladies and their little ones who arrived in Hobart in 1838. rather than serving time in criminal, the ladies have been despatched to paintings as unpaid servants within the homes of settlers. Feisty Scottish convicts, unaccustomed to bowing and scraping, usually aggravated their middle-class employers, who charged them with insolence, or refusing to paintings, or getting inebriated. A stint within the girl manufacturing unit turned their punishment. many ladies survived the convict approach and formed their very own lives after they have been unfastened. They married, had young children and located a spot locally. Others, although, persevered to be tormented by error and failures until eventually demise.
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Extra info for Abandoned Women. Scottish Convicts Exiled Beyond the Seas
All decried the ‘mismanagement and bad state of the Female Factory’. The opening salvos in their campaign were occasioned by inquests. An editorial in Murray’s Review on 6 March lamented ‘distressing disclosures made at the inquest held last week upon the remains of the miserable woman who died in the female factory, (having a child at the breast,) of diseases originating in syphilis’. The editor went on to bemoan the Factory’s location ‘in a morass at the foot of surrounding mountains’, and its ‘system’ of ‘heartlessness’ ‘carrying vengeance even to infants’.
A watchman happened to be nearby, and before there was ‘time for any of the prisoners escaping’, two policemen and McLean confronted his assailants, and took Elizabeth straight to the Calton Watch-house. When a policeman tried to take the stolen watch from her, she dashed it upon the floor and broke the glass. In the evidence gathered for the precognition, witnesses disagreed about what had happened. McAllan denied going into the passageway while Elizabeth was struggling with McLean, and did ‘not think that Williamson had a candlestick in her hand, in the passage or in the rooms—there was no use for it as the house was lighted’.
It looks as if Josiah Spode, with his practised eye, chose well. He used the same expertise to handpick other servants for the colony’s elite. ‘I always select the most respectable among them for the most respectable situations’, he told the 1841 committee of inquiry into female convict discipline. The appropriation record listing each Atwick convict, her skills, and the master or mistress to whom she was assigned shows evidence of Spode’s interventions. Eight women were assigned to masters of sufficient importance in colonial Australia to merit entries in the Australian Dictionary of Biography.