People Australia

  • searches all National Centre of Biography websites
  • searches all National Centre of Biography websites
  • searches all National Centre of Biography websites

Browse Lists:

Cultural Advice

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people should be aware that this website contains names, images, and voices of deceased persons.

In addition, some articles contain terms or views that were acceptable within mainstream Australian culture in the period in which they were written, but may no longer be considered appropriate.

These articles do not necessarily reflect the views of The Australian National University.

Older articles are being reviewed with a view to bringing them into line with contemporary values but the original text will remain available for historical context.

Elizabeth May (1780–?)

Elizabeth Dowling and her sister Winifred were sentenced to life transportation for killing Elizabeth Byrne at Kildare. Their mother had been hanged for the same offence. The sisters arrived in Sydney in 1802 aboard the Atlas. By 1804 she was living with Lawrence May. No marriage certificate has been located.

In 1826 she was sentenced to seven years transportation to Van Diemen's Land (Tasmania) for stealing flour. A number of offences are listed in her convict record. On 22 April 1826 she was reprimanded for being disorderly. On 29 August she was fined 5 shilling for being drunk and disorderly. On 6 September she was charged with being idle and disorderly and was confined to gaol for 14 days. On the 27 July 1828 she was charged with being drunk and disorderly and fined 5 shillings. On 25 October she was sent to the gaol at the House of Corrections for 28 days for the same offence.

On 26 December 1831 she was placed in solitary confinement for four days after appearing drunk in a police station. On 5 January 1832 she was charged with stealing one quarter of wine from her master, D. Murray and was sentenced to 7 years imprisonment. On 18 February 1833 she was found in a public house after hours and was sent back to the Female House of Correction. For being drunk in April she was sentenced to one month's solitary confinement. Drunk again in October 1833 she was sentenced to 14 days hard labour. For absenting herself from her master's house in October 1835 she was sentenced to one month solitary confinement.  She was granted a certificate of freedom in 1840.

Citation details

'May, Elizabeth (1780–?)', People Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, accessed 27 May 2024.

© Copyright People Australia, 2012

Life Summary [details]

Alternative Names
  • Dowling, Elizabeth
  • Dowling, Eliza

Kildare, Ireland

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.

Religious Influence

Includes the religion in which subjects were raised, have chosen themselves, attendance at religious schools and/or religious funeral rites; Atheism and Agnosticism have been included.

Passenger Ship
Convict Record

Crime: murder
Sentence: life