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Bennett, Elizabeth Agnes (1794–1847)

Elizabeth Agnes Miller, a servant, was found guilty, on 2 July 1818 at the Surrey Summer Assizes, of possessing £3 worth of Bank of England notes. Sentenced to 14 years transportation she arrived in Sydney in 1820 aboard the Janus. Her six-year-old daughter Rebecca accompanied her on the voyage. In October, two months after her arrival, she married William Bennett at Parramatta.

In 1825 Elizabeth was working as a servant for Matthew Miller, a widowed constable who had two children. During this time it seems she had a child with Miller's fellow officer, George Jilks who she may have known in England. Birth records show that 'William Bennett Jilks' was born at Windsor on 9 October 1826 to George Jilks, Chief Constable of Sydney, and a woman recorded as 'Elizabeth'. The name of Jilks's spouse was 'Maria,' while the name of Elizabeth's husband was 'William Bennett.' The boy was given Jilk's surname, and the surname of Elizabeth's husband as a middle name. George Jilks sponsored William's education at Sydney College.

Some speculated that Jilks was also the father of Elizabeth's daughter, Rebecca. In 1832, during a court case involving Rebecca, who was his god-daughter, he stated that he had known Elizabeth in England before either of them had been convicted and had known Rebecca 'from her birth'. He said, though, he was not Rebecca's father; Robert Miller, his (Jilks's) sister's husband, was the father.

The connection between the Bennetts and Jilks families remained strong. Jilks's daughter Margaret was residing at the Bennetts residence when the 1828 Census was held.

Elizabeth had two more children—with her husband—Elizabeth Ann (b.1829) and William Harvard Bennett (1831-1907). She died on 19 October 1847 at Parramatta.

Additional Resources

Citation details

'Bennett, Elizabeth Agnes (1794–1847)', People Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University, http://peopleaustralia.anu.edu.au/biography/bennett-elizabeth-agnes-29837/text36981, accessed 28 October 2020.

© Copyright People Australia, 2012

Life Summary [details]

Alternative Names
  • Miller, Elizabeth Agnes
Birth

1794
England

Death

19 October 1847
Parramatta, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia

Cultural Heritage
Passenger Ship
Occupation
Key Places