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Bishop, Mary (c. 1752–1839)

Mary Davies/Davis was found guilty on 12 March 1785 at Shrewsbury, Shropshire, England, of breaking into one house and stealing a copper kettle, and into another house and stealing clothing. Her death sentence was commuted to 7 years transportation. She was sent to the New Gaol at Southwark before arriving in Sydney in January 1788 aboard the Lady Penrhyn as part of the First Fleet.

Mary was known as Mary Bishop by November 1788, having formed a relationship with Marine Private Thomas Bishop. A pregnant Mary was sent to Norfolk Island on the Sirius in March 1790She gave birth to a daughter, Charlotte, between August and November that year. Thomas was discharged in October 1791 and travelled to Norfolk Island to take up a 60 acre grant at Grenville Vale. Mary married Thomas in the mass marriage ceremony conducted by Rev Richard Johnson on the island in November 1791.

Thomas and Mary Bishop, with their daughter Charlotte left Norfolk Island on the Kitty in March 1793. Following Thomas's death in December 1793 Mary sold his 110 acre grant of land at Concord to James Squire. In 1798 Mary was employed by the family of Harry (Henry) Parson(s) of the New South Wales Corp. From 1800-1810 Mary was  the Housekeeper at Government House, Parramatta.  

In 1809 she was granted 30 acres of land at Bringelly; her daughter was granted an adjoining 100 acres. These grants, made after the Rum Rebellion, were revoked in early 1810 by Gov. Lachlan Macquarie. Mary’s was promptly reinstated as she was deemed ‘a deserving and meritorious person’. Her partner, James Martin, who had also worked directly for the same governors: King, Bligh & Macquarie — as a member of the Governor’s Bodyguard of Light Horse, was on the same day granted an adjacent 80 acres. In the 1828 Census, Mary was recorded as housekeeper for James. Her grandson Alexander Crabb also lived in the house.  

Mary Bishop died at (Curryjong) Kurrajong on 1 January 1839; her age was given as 80.

information from

  • Mollie Gillen, The Founders of Australia: A Biographical Dictionary of the First Fleet (1989), pp 98-99
  • HMS Sirius 1786-90 — accessed 12 August 2020
  • First Fleet Bishop Family — accessed 12 August 2020

Citation details

'Bishop, Mary (c. 1752–1839)', People Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, accessed 21 September 2020.

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