Adelaide de la Thoreza (c.1806–1877)

A Spanish convict woman, ADELAIDE ELIZA DE LA THOREZA was tried and convicted at the Old Bailey, London on 11 June 1829 for stealing sheets and sentenced to seven years transportation per Lucy Davidson (1829). In the colony, ADELAIDE was incarcerated at the Parramatta Female Factory where she gave birth to ALFRED DE LA THOREZA, also known as ALFRED SMITH. She later married an English convict and artist, JAMES MASTERS, with whom she had two more children, THOMAS and ADELAIDE. The former convict passed away 26 December 1877, aged 69.


Names

  • Alias: ELIZA WILSON / WINSON
  • Alternate: THERESA
  • Alternate: ADELAIDE DE LA THORAZA
  • Alternate: ADELAIDE DE THORAZA
  • Alternate: ADELAIDE DE MORESA (c.f. ALFRED’s St. John’s Baptism record)
  • Married name: ADELAIDE ELIZA MASTERS
  • Alternate: ADELAIDE MASTERS

Timeline

  • Born: c.1806. Reverend Cameron’s text records her birth year as 1808 and birthplace as Madrid, Spain
  • Tried and convicted for stealing sheets: 11 June 1829, Old Bailey, London
  • Sentenced to seven years transportation: 11 June 1829, Old Bailey, London
  • Sailed to the Colony of New South Wales per Lucy Davidson: 20 July 1829, London
  • Arrived in the Colony of New South Wales per Lucy Davidson: 29 November 1829, Port Jackson
  • Gave birth to ALFRED DE LA THOREZA: 13 July 1831, Parramatta Female Factory lying-in hospital
  • Son, ALFRED DE LA THOREZA, baptised: 7 August 1831, St. John’s Parish, Parramatta
  • Died: 26 December 1877
  • Buried: December 1877, St. Peter’s Anglican Cemetery, Richmond, New South Wales

Relationships

  • Child of JULIAN DE LA THOREZA
  • Child of DE LA VEGA (mother’s first name not recorded)
  • Parent of ALFRED DE LA THOREZA, also known as ALFRED SMITH
  • Wife of JOHN MASTERS, Englishman, Artist
  • Parent of THOMAS MATTHEW MASTERS
  • Parent of ADELAIDE ELIZA MASTERS (married HENRY ETHERDEN)

Related Content

Adelaide de la Thoreza: A Chequered Career (1878)

By Reverend James Cameron

Abstract: The original full text of Reverend James Cameron’s fanciful treatment of the life of Spanish convict woman Adelaide de la Thoreza, including the original portrait of Adelaide. The work was published a year after Adelaide’s death, age 69. more>>

“A Spanish Convict, Her Clergyman Biographer, and the Amanuensis of her Bastard Son,” in Hamish Maxwell-Stewart and Lucy Frost (eds.), Chain Letters: Narrating Convict Lives, (Melbourne: Melbourne University Press, 2001), pp. 91–104.

By Susan Ballyn and Lucy Frost

Abstract: Ballyn and Frost cast a critical eye over the evidence relating to Adelaide de la Thoreza’s life, dealing in turn with ‘the clergyman biographer,’ ‘the biographer’s version of a childhood in Spain,’ her transition ‘from orphaned aristocrat to convict woman,’ and ‘from convict woman to pioneer mother,’ and the Windsor and Richmond Gazette’s presentation of the life story of her bastard son, Alfred. Finally, the authors discuss ‘secrets or cover-ups,’ and what to make of the ‘improbable’ story of this Spanish convict woman’s life. more>>

The Biography of Adelaide de la Thoreza: Fact or Fiction?” COOLABAH, No. 20, (2016): 38–47

By Susan Ballyn

Abstract: This article centres on the first part of James Cameron’s 1878 biography of Adelaide de la Thoreza, entitled Adelaide de la Thoreza: A Chequered Career, in order to briefly discuss the problematics of biography as a literary genre, but in particular to reveal what appears to be a reconstruction of identity in the figure of Adelaide. Although the discussion will leave many questions unanswered due to the lack of documentary evidence, this very lack of evidence will allow for a series of “reasonable doubts” to cast their shadow over the veracity of Cameron’s text. more>>

Key Words: Biography, Australia, Convicts, Spanish, Madrid, London, Botany Bay


Multimedia

Parramatta Female Factory convict, Adelaide de la Thoreza
CLICK IMAGE TO ENLARGE. “Adelaide de la Thoreza,” title page, Reverend Dr. James Cameron (1827–1905), Adelaide de la Thoreza: A Chequered Career, (Sydney: Foster & Fairfax, 1878), 37 pp. Courtesy of National Library of Australia, Call number: Np 994.402092 T489C, nla.obj-39562168.
A son of Parramatta Female Factory convict, Adelaide de la Thoreza
CLICK IMAGE TO ENLARGE. One of Adelaide de la Thoreza’s children. “Thomas Matthew Masters, 89, of Windsor,” in “TOM OF ALL TRADES,” The Daily Telegraph (Sydney, NSW : 1931 – 1954), Thursday 24 November 1932, p. 4. Courtesy of Trove, National Library of Australia.

Sources


Lists

# Convict

# Spanish

# Punishment: Seven Years Transportation

# Ship: Lucy Davidson (1829)

# Parramatta Female Factory