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.

Mary McDonald (1745–1821)

Mary Oliver was sentenced, on 19 March 1787 at Maidstone, Kent, to 14 years transportation. She arrived in Sydney in 1791 aboard the Mary Ann and married Alexander McDonald on 18 March 1792. On 30 November 1792 she was one of the petitioners for a Roman Catholic priest to be sent to New South Wales.

On 14 June 1806 Mary wrote to her daughter Barbara Stiles (Styles) in England, who had been seven when her mother had been transported, suggesting that she come out to New South Wales. Barbara, her husband Thomas, and three children arrived in the colony aboard the Mary Ann in January 1816.

Mary, along withher husband and son-in-law, drowned on 21 December 1821 after the boat in which they were travelling overturned off the Pulpit, about 4 miles from Sydney. An inquest found that the whole party was in a state of intoxication and had been quarrelling.

* information from Mollie Gillen, The Founders of Australia: A Biographical Dictionary of the First Fleet (1989), pp 229-230

Citation details

'McDonald, Mary (1745–1821)', People Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, accessed 20 April 2024.

© Copyright People Australia, 2012

Life Summary [details]

Alternative Names
  • Oliver, Mary
  • Olliver, Mary

Kent, England


21 December, 1821 (aged ~ 76)
Sydney, New South Wales, Australia

Cause of Death


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
Key Events
Convict Record

Crime: unknown
Sentence: 14 years