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Ruse, Elizabeth (1768–1836)

Elizabeth Perry (Parry) was sentenced to seven years transportation for stealing one bombazeen gown and petticoat, value 15 s. a cloak, value 6 s. a silk handkerchief, value 5 s. a pair of silk shoes, value 1 s. a pair of cloth shoes, value 1 s. a pair of pumps, value 2 s. two caps, value 4 s. a linen apron, value 1 s. a muslin neckcloth, value 1 s. two guineas and one half guinea, four half-crowns and three shillings in monies from a dwelling-house. She arrived in Sydney in 1790 aboard the Lady Juliana. Her age was given as 21. She was sent to the settlement of Rose Hill where she met, and married, James Ruse, a fellow convict, the same year. They had five children.

In 1806 Elizabeth was listed in the Muster as a landholder in her own right, holding 15 acres by purchase in the Hawkesbury district. She owned 7 pigs, and supported four children and three free workers. The muster entry seems to suggest her marriage had broken down as women listed this way were usually single, widowed, or separated from their husbands. As late as 1820 she was supplying grain to public stores in her own name. DNA tests have proved that two children, Ann (b.1801) and William (b.1806), fathered by James Kiss, who many thought were 'adopted' by the Ruses were, in fact, Elizabeth's biological children.

James and Elizabeth were back together again by 1822 when Elizabeth was recorded as his wife. In 1828 she was described as aged 57 and they were living on a 4 acre farm at Lower Minto. Both were recorded in the Census as working as overseers for Captain Brooks at Lower Minto.

Elizabeth died on 27 May 1836 and was buried at St John's cemetery, Campbelltown.

* information from Michael Flynn, The Second Fleet: Britain's Grim Convict Armada of 1790 (1993), pp 476-77

Citation details

'Ruse, Elizabeth (1768–1836)', People Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, accessed 6 August 2020.

© Copyright People Australia, 2012

Life Summary [details]

Alternative Names
  • Perry, Elizabeth
  • Parry, Elizabeth



27 May 1836
Campbelltown, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia

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