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Ellen (Nellie) Roberts (c. 1826–1893)

Ellen Hanley (c.1826-1893), the daughter of Richard and Bridget Hanley, was sentenced to 7 years transportation on 6 November 1843 at Limerick City, Limerick, Ireland, for stealing a frock and petticoat. She was on the town and had been convicted and sentenced previously but had 'got off through my father who is with the police'.  The ship's surgeon described her as 'unruly but not badly disposed'. She arrived at Hobart Town, Van Diemen's Land (Tasmania), in July 1844 aboard the Greenlaw.

Hanley's conduct record noted that she was Catholic, could read, and was unmarried. Her occupation was given as housemaid, her age as 18 and she was described as being 62 cms (5 feet 2 inches) tall, with blue eyes and black hair. She had two large scars on her forehead and was pockpitted.

Convict Record

  • 25 January 1845 — 8 days solitary confinement for impertinence to a warden
  • 25 February 1846 — 2 days hard labour for being absent without leave (Hobart Factory)
  • 19 October 1846 — 3 months hard labour for making use of indecent language (Hobart Factory)
  • 27 April 1847 — 7 days solitary confinement for being drunk
  • 4 December 1847 — 3 months for being absent without leave and in a disorderly state
  • 11 July 1848 — 14 days cells for being absent without leave (Launceston Factory)
  • 29 August 1848 — 4 months hard labour, to serve half that time in separate cells for being drunk and disorderly (Launceston Factory)
  • 20 November 1848 — 1 month separate apartments for disorderly ?? (Launceston Factory)
  • 30 January 1849 — 6 months hard labour for absconding, half that time to be served in separate apartments (Launceston Factory)
  • 13 August 1849 — 14 days in cells for being out after hours
  • 3 November 1849 — 3 months hard labour for being drunk and absent (Launceston Factory)
  • 7 January 1850 — 4 months hard labour for being drunk (Launceston Factory)

Hanley married John Roberts on 3 June 1850 at St John's Church, Launceston, both signing with a mark; they had at least two children.

Ellen Roberts died (as Nellie Roberts) at Beechworth Gaol, Victoria, on 28 May 1895. Her age was given as 65, her occupation as domestic servant and her cause of death was given as acute softening of the brain. She had previously been imprisoned for vagrancy at Wangaratta.

Additional Resources

Citation details

'Roberts, Ellen (Nellie) (c. 1826–1893)', People Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, accessed 25 July 2024.

© Copyright People Australia, 2012

Life Summary [details]

Alternative Names
  • Hanly, Ellen
  • Hanley, Ellen
  • Handley, Ellen

c. 1826
Limerick, Ireland


28 May, 1893 (aged ~ 67)
Beechworth, Victoria, Australia

Cause of Death

brain disease

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 Places
Social Issues
Convict Record

Crime: theft
Sentence: 7 years
Court: Limerick (Ireland)
Trial Date: 6 November 1843


Occupation: domestic servant