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Mary Ayres (c. 1760–?)

Mary Kimes (c.760- ), alias Mary Potten, was found guilty on 18 April 1787 at the Old Bailey, London, of shoplifting 30 yards of printed linen valued at 30 shillings. Her death sentenced was commuted to seven years transportation. She arrived in Sydney in June 1790 aboard the Lady Juliana as part of the Second Fleet. Her age was given as 30 in May 1789.

Six weeks after landing in the colony Kimes married fellow convict William Ayres. It is likely they already knew each other. As Mary Potten she had been convicted at the December 1783 Old Bailey Sessions for the theft of 13 yards of silk and was transported to America on the Mercury transport; William Ayres was also on the ship. When the convicts mutinied, Kimes escaped and remained at large until June when she was arrested at Bristol. She was sent to Newgate Gaol and in December 1786 was pardoned after it was decided she had 'betaken herself to an industrious and honest course of life'. Four months later she committed the crime which saw her sent to New South Wales.

William Ayres left New South Wales after his sentence expired. As no further trace has been found of Mary in later colonial records he may have helped her to leave the colony illegally.

* information from Michael Flynn, The Second Fleet: Britain's Grim Convict Armada of 1790 (1993), p 383

Additional Resources

Citation details

'Ayres, Mary (c. 1760–?)', People Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, accessed 18 June 2024.

© Copyright People Australia, 2012

Life Summary [details]

Alternative Names
  • Potton, Mary
  • Kimes, Mary
  • Potten, Mary

c. 1760
London, Middlesex, England

Cultural Heritage

Includes subject's nationality; their parents' nationality; the countries in which they spent a significant part of their childhood, and their self-identity.

Passenger Ship
Key Events
Key Places
Convict Record

Crime: theft
Sentence: 7 years