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Mary Hartley (c. 1771–1813)

Mary Hartley was sentenced to 7 years transportation for highway robbery at Dublin, Ireland in 1792. She arrived at Sydney in September 1793 aboard the Sugar Cane.

Hartley was living with a man she referred to as Canless in 1795 when, she says, she was raped by numerous men at Thomas Cottrell's nearby farm. She told the court that she heard one of the men Anderson say that he would have a grinding mill, to grind the corn fine. That having heard that expression before at Sydney, she understood by it, that a number would lay with one woman and use her as they liked.

Six men, charged with sexual assaulting Hartley, were acquitted by the court on 15 April 1795. They were then charged with, and found guilty of, assault. Three of the men were sentenced to 500 lashes and the other three to 300 lashes. 

Hartley was recorded as living at Norfolk Island in 1805 and was working as a seamstress in 1806. She was living in New South Wales in 1811. She was buried (as Mary Hurtly) in New South Wales in 1813.

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Citation details

'Hartley, Mary (c. 1771–1813)', People Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, accessed 22 April 2024.

© Copyright People Australia, 2012

Life Summary [details]

Alternative Names
  • Hastley, Mary
  • Hurtly, Mary

c. 1771


1813 (aged ~ 42)
New South Wales, Australia

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
Social Issues
Convict Record

Crime: theft
Sentence: 7 years
Court: Dublin (Ireland)
Trial Date: 1792