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 Worsdell (c. 1750–1805)

Mary Lawrence (c.1750-1804), a married woman, was found guilty on 26 May 1784 at the Old Bailey, London, of stealing a silver spoon and tongs from the house in which she had worked as a servant. Sentenced to 7 years transportation, she arrived at Sydney aboard the Lady Penrhyn in January 1788 as part of the First Fleet.

Lawrence disappears from the records after being victualled at Port Jackson in 1788. It has been suggested that she was the woman who married William Worsdell at Sydney Cove on 31 May 1788, signing the register as Maryan Hoffman (both women were near the same age and no convict named Maryan Hoffman appears in any other First Fleet records). If they are the same woman, Lawrence was buried at Sydney as Mary Ann Wosdall on 17 May 1805; she had no recorded children.

* information from Mollie Gillen, The Founders of Australia: A Biographical Dictionary of the First Fleet (1989), p 215

Additional Resources

Citation details

'Worsdell, Mary (c. 1750–1805)', People Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, accessed 23 April 2024.

© Copyright People Australia, 2012

Life Summary [details]

Alternative Names
  • Lawrence, Mary
  • Wardall, Mary
  • Wosdall, Mary Ann

c. 1750


16 May, 1805 (aged ~ 55)
Sydney, New South Wales, Australia

Cause of Death


Passenger Ship
Key Events
Convict Record

Crime: theft
Sentence: 7 years