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A Courtship of Convicts-When Jane met John

NeptunesepIn 1806, somewhere in London, U.K, Elizabeth and Thomas Melvey welcomed the birth of their son, John Melvey.This was the connection that would pave my own existence, the beginning-

The year, 1816, the place, somewhere in Dublin, Ireland, the event, the birth of Jane Green (Parents still unknown)
Fast foward to 1833- sentenced to seven years (charges also still unknown)
Shipped to Australia on board the “Numa”.

As Jane Green, (aged only 17)went about life in her strange new surroundings, somewhere within the N.S.W Colony, was the man she would marry.
The details here are limited, partially because locating the required information has been plagued with blocks!Not knowing the names of Jane’s parents, has really hindered my search, so the whole experience has become somewhat of a jigsaw-puzzle, and I’m still trying to find all missing pieces to present this story, in its true glory.

On December 9th, 1830, John Melvey went for trial, charged with ‘Grand larceny’, apparently guilty of stealing a clock (among other things), with his accomplice; Eleanor, John’s first wife. For this crime, John was convicted whilst his wife, was let go. John was sentenced to serve seven years, in the convict-colony of N.S.W, Australia. He was transported on board the “Surrey 5”, 26/11/1831 from Portsmouth to Port Jackson.I found out just recently, that most prisoners were held in the Middlesex county jail in England, until ships were allocated for their transportation, usually within 12 months from their trials.
After the English authorities began to review the system in 1801 the ships were dispatched twice a year, at the end of May and the beginning of September, to avoid the dangerous winters of the southern hemisphere.

Jane & John’s ‘union’, produced two children:Elizabeth Melvey, born in Melbourne, 1852, baptised the same year.Charles William Dean Melvey, born Prahan, 1855 and sadly, died 17th July, 1857 at the age of only, 2years.
I don’t know the circumstances surrounding his young death, but would assume it was related to illness that had no vaccination?My Google search tells me the list of most common illness/disease around during that period range from: Cholera, smallpox, typhoid fever, typhus, scarlet fever, tuberculosis (consumption), pneumonia, meningitis, dysentery, diptheria, and rheumatic fever, to name just a few. Whatever the reason, still too young to die, and as my search continued through my family, discovered the names of the next generation.

Their daughter Elizabeth, married David Cutler on the 25th of January, 1873 in Emerald Hill, Victoria.
Together, they had: Sophia Elizabeth Cutler, born 1874; John Frederick Cutler, born 1876;
David Henry Cutler, born 1878 and their last child, Mary Jane Cutler, born October, 1880.
As my research continues, so too this story…..

Points of interest: The typical convict woman was in her twenties. She was from England or Ireland and had been convicted of robbery – sentenced for seven years as punishment for her crime. She was single and could read but not write. Many convict women were first offenders and given sentences of transportation for crimes that were quite minor, such as pick pocketing, shoplifting or prostitution.

The Cutler Family
Photos: The Cutler Family, consisting of David Cutler, his wife Elizabeth Cutler (nee Melvey), Sophia Elizabet (standing),John Frederick Cutler, David Henry Cutler, mary Jane Cutler (seated)






Portrait of Jane Green?
Jane Green

Certificates of Freedom issued to both John Mevey(Granted 15th January, 1838) and Jane Green(Granted 22nd February, 1842)

certificate of freedom John Melvey

certificate of freedom Jane Green

Links to the mighty ships:
The Surrey
The Numa