Eliza "Waterman" was a convict; arriving on board the ship Hydery in 1832, after having been convicted of "stealing from the person" and sentenced to seven years transportation. Also on board the Hydery with Eliza, was her seven year old son, William Powell jnr. 1 Extensive research has revealed that Eliza "Waterman" was in fact, Elizabeth (aka Eliza) Mary Smith, daughter of John Smith and Mary Waterman of Oake in Somersetshire, England. Eliza having been baptised on 30 April 1806 and with an older brother William baptised earlier on 5 July 1804. 2
Sometime during the period between about 1820 and 1825, Elizabeth Mary Smith (aka Waterman) possibly married William Powell snr, although no marriage details or registration has been found to confirm this possibility.
Eliza was first convicted of uttering forged coins in 1824 -
GUILDHALL - Saturday, by the Mayor, Eliza Powell, was committed for the sessions, charged with uttering a six-pence, knowing it to be counterfeit, and having other counterfeit money in her possession. 3
She was sentenced to -
... imp[risonment] 6 calendar months, and kept to hard labour ... 4
Eliza at this time, was heavily pregnant with her son William Powell jnr, as his birth was probably during the following March while Eliza was still incarcerated, and his baptism is recorded as being on 1 April 1825 at St David's Church, Exeter. 5
Some years after husband William Powell's trial and transportation to VDL, Eliza Waterman was tried at the Devon General Sessions on 6 December 1831, for the offence of "stealing from the person." Sentenced to transportation for seven years, the local newspaper gave brief details of her examination at Exeter castle prior to her departure to the colonies -
On Friday last, at the Castle, an examination was taken of Elizabeth Smith, otherwise Waterman, one of the gang of utterers of base coin who infest this country, and sentenced at the Devon General sessions, in December, to seven years transportation for felony, with a view to ascertain her settlement, in order to obtaining assistance for the removal of her son, a boy of from 5 to 6 years of age, (stated to have been born in Exeter City prison, while its mother was undergoing confinement there,) to New South Wales, with her, and for obtaining permission for which, application is now being made to the Secretary of State. Her life seems to have been of the most unsettled description, she is a native of the parish of Oke, in Somerset, but Bishops Hull, near Taunton, appears to be her place of settlement. 6
On her arrival, accompanied by her seven year old son on board the convict transport ship Hydery in 1832, Eliza was under sentence within the convict system of VDL, and her son William Powell jnr was admitted to the Queen's Orphanage at New Town in October of the same year.
The Orphan Schools established in Hobart in 1828 were an early form of public education, but a harsh one. Their aim was to transform poor children into ‘respectable’ industrious adults. The system was cruel even by the standards of the day – based on discipline, religion, punishment and control. Most of the children were not true orphans, but the children of convict parents, whose imprisonment and work for the convict system prevented the parents from caring for them. Others were the children of the unemployed, destitute, or those that the authorities perceived to be leading immoral lives. Some Aboriginal children were institutionalised as well. All were separated from their parents, housed in cold rooms with no fires and poor sanitation; disease was rampant and mortality was high. 7
The Orphan Schools That fine building belonging to Mr. Loane, and late the residence of Mr. E. Curr, has been rented by Government for a Female Orphan School. It is singular that this building is erected nearly on the same spot where the late Lieutenant Governor Collins erected an Orphan School nearly 20 years ago. It is to be conducted, we understand, by Mr. and Mrs. Chorley. The Male Orphan School, to be managed by R. W.Giblin, Esq., is to be established at Roseway Lodge, near New-town, so that the boys may be near the Government Farms, on which some of them are to be practised in the habits of agriculture. That the establishment of these laudable Institutions is at length certain, may be perceived by the extensive tenders of articles lately advertised for by the Government. The number of children is however considerably less than was anticipated. This arises from many orphans having been placed under Guardian-ship—and many where the father or mother is still alive, not being permitted by them to go to the institution. To remedy this crying sin, however, as much as possible, the Lieutenant Governor has directed that all prisoners' children, who may be in indigent circumstances, shall be placed in the Orphan School, if not with the parties consent, why without it. We admire this decision of conduct; and strongly reprobate those parents whose wicked obstinacy has compelled His Excellency to adopt the measure which at first sight carries with it the appearance of a stretch of power. But the measure is good—it is called for, and it has our warmest and undivided support. 8
GOVERNMENT NOTICE. No. 69.
Colonial Secretary's Office; March 27, 1828.
THE ESTABLISHMENTS for the KING'S SCHOOLS at Hobart-town; having been reported to The Lieutenant Governor, to be ready for the reception of Male and Female Children, applications for admission will now be received.
Children will be admitted into the King's Schools, according to the following classifications
1. Those who are entirely destitute.
2. Those who have one Parent living.
9. Those who have both Parents living, but whose Parents are totally incompetent to afford them means of Education.
4. Children whose Parents may be enabled to contribute the moderate sum which will be required for the care, maintenance, clothing and education of children in the King's Schools, viz; £12 per annum.
Application for the admission of the first three classes, must be made after the annexed form; and for the admission of the 4th class, by letter addressed to the Colonial Secretary, as the future disposal of such children will be left to the discretion of their Parents.
By Command of His Excellency, J. BURNETT.
FORM REFERRED TO.
To His Excellency The LlEUTENANT GOVERNOR, &c. &c. &c.
The humble Petition, (here insert the name of the Parent or Guardian who signs the Memorial,) in behalf of (the child's name,) sheweth that the said (child's name,) is the child of (father's and mother's name,) as by the annexed Certificates will appear. *
That (¶ here state the circumstances of the Parent, or Guardian, and, as directed by the note referred to, the grounds upon which admission into the Orphan School is requested)
Your Petitioner, therefore, humbly prays, that the said (child's name) may be admitted into the King's School and, if this prayer be granted, your Petitioner hereby agrees that the said (child's name) shall remain in the King's School so long as the Lieutenant Governor shall think fit, and, that when of a proper age, shall he disposed of at his Excellency's discretion, as an apprentice or servant, †
CERTIFICATE AND RECOMMENDATION.
I hereby certify that, according to the best of my knowledge and belief, the several circumstances contained in this Petition on the preceding page of this paper are truly stated ; wherefore I recommend ( ) as an object, worthy of the benevolent attention of His Excellency The Lieutenant Governor, ±
N. B.- A Certificate of Birth or Baptism, signed by the officiating Minister must be affixed to this, in original.
* The Certificate of the Child's Baptism also to accompany them.
† Here state the service and present situation of the Father, the situation of the Mother, (if living), and the number and age of their other Children, (if any)
± To be signed by the Parent or Guardian of (the Child.
* To be signed by the Clergyman, and Police Magistrate of the District. 9
Upon William jnr's release back to his parents six years later in 1838, and after Eliza had gained her ticket-of-leave, William's father is listed as a "a sailor from Launceston." 10 William jnr was then possibly apprenticed to a Mr. Duncan, tailor by trade of Oatlands. 11
Within seven months of her husbands death, widow Eliza remarries James Wright in Oatlands on 2 May 1843. 12 James, a bachelor and farmer reportedly aged 31, and Eliza, a widow reportedly aged 38. The witnesses were James and Catherine Davis and G.A. Goodall.
By 1858, James had a house and land on 5 acres in Oliver Street, Swanston, in the Spring Bay Municipality, with a value of ₤10. 13
James Wright's origins and further details have not been discovered as yet. While travelling home to Swanston, James lost a title deed for which a reward was offered -
One Pound Reward
LOST between Hobart Town and Green Ponds on Wednesday the 8th inst., a Grant Deed for an allotment of land at Swanston purchased from the Crown by James Wright ; any one finding the same and delivering it to Mr. Daniel Burbury, Butcher, Hobart Town, or to the under signed, Oatlands, will receive the above reward. THOMAS BURBURY. 14
Died on the 9th instant, Mr. JAMES WRIGHT, of Swanston, near Oatlands, after a painful illness, the funeral will move from the White Horse Inn, Oatlands, on Thursday the 13th. Friends are respectfully invited to attend. 17
Eliza, and probably with her son William, took over the licence after James' death.
SPRING BAY. 3rd December.
At a General Sessions and Annual Licensing Meeting, held (by adjournment) at the Police Office, this day.
Present:—Francis Aubin, Esq. (Chairman). G. Rudd, Esq. (Warden), James Edwards, John Rudd, and John Gatehouse, Esquires, Justices of the Peace.
The following five applications for certificates of license having been considered seriatim, were granted, no objection being offered to the conducting of either house by the Superintendent of Police, viz., Eliza Wright, Travellers' Rest, Swanston. 18
Eliza's only son, William Powell jnr, would marry and have a large family. Follow his continuing life story here.
- 1. TAHO - Conduct record - image #322
- 2. Ancestry : Somerset Heritage Service; Taunton, Somerset, England; Somerset Parish Records, 1538-1914; Reference Number: D\P\Oake/2/1/3
- 3. EXETER, Wednesday November 3, 1824 : Trewman's Exeter Flying Post Newspaper - (Exeter, England) Thursday November 4, 1824; Issue 3107
- 4. EXETER, Wednesday Jan. 12th : Trewman's Exeter Flying Post Newspaper - (Exeter, England) Thursday January 13, 1825; Issue 3117
- 5. Family Search - England Births and Christenings 1538-1975 - William Powell
- 6. EXETER : Trewman's Exeter Flying Post Newspaper - (Exeter, England) Thursday January 19, 1832; Issue 3454
- 7. The Orphan Schools - Tasmanian Archives and Heritage Blog
- 8. The Orphan Schools - Colonial Advocate, and Tasmanian Monthly Review and Register (Hobart Town, Tas. : 1828) 1 March 1828: p43
- 9. Classified Advertising - The Hobart Town Courier (Tas. : 1827 - 1839) 29 March 1828: p3
- 10. Friends of the Orphan School Database - #4425
- 11. Advertising - Colonial Times (Hobart, Tas. : 1828 - 1857) 25 March 1856 p3
- 12. TAHO : Marriage Registration - Marriage of Eliza Powell to James Wright - RGD 1843/710D/37 Oatlands
- 13. Index to 1858 Valuation Rolls for Central and Eastern Tasmania compiled by Dr Trudy Cowley
- 14. Advertising - The Hobart Town Daily Mercury (Tas. : 1858 - 1860) 21 February, 1860 p. 4
- 15. TAHO - Death Registration - Death of James Wright aged 45 - RGD 1861/725/35 Oatlands
- 16. TAHO - Death Registration - Death of James Wright aged 49 - RGD 1861/826/35 Spring Bay
- 17. Family Notices - The Mercury (Hobart, Tas. : 1860 - 1954) 12 June, 1861 p. 2
- 18. SPRING BAY. - The Mercury (Hobart, Tas. : 1860 - 1954) 8 December 1862: p2.