Mary Best (1778–)

MARY BEST was a convict woman who was tried and convicted at the Old Bailey on 13 May 1812 and sentenced to death. On 5 August 1812 her death sentence was commuted to transportation for life per Wanstead (1814).

On arrival in the colony, she was sent to the first Parramatta Female Factory, i.e. the Factory Above the Gaol, which was located at present-day Prince Alfred Square, Parramatta, including land now occupied by the Riverside Theatres.


  • Tried and convicted: 13 May 1812, Old Bailey, London, England
  • Sentenced to death: 13 May 1812, Old Bailey, London, England
  • Death sentence commuted to transportation for life: 5 August 1812, Old Bailey, London, England
  • Sailed to the colony of New South Wales per Wanstead: 24 August 1813, Spithead, England
  • Arrived in the colony of New South Wales per Wanstead: 9 January 1814, Port Jackson, New South Wales
  • Forwarded to the first Parramatta Female Factory, the Factory Above the Gaol: 13 January 1814, Factory Above the Gaol, (present-day Prince Alfred Square, Parramatta).


Factory Above the Gaol, First Parramatta Female Factory, Parramatta, 1809, early nineteenth century, New South Wales, Female Factory Online, Prince Alfred Square
CLICK IMAGE TO ENLARGE. The Factory Above the Gaol, Parramatta’s first Female Factory, is on the far right of this image near the old gaol bridge, on the present-day site of Lennox Bridge, Riverside Theatres and Prince Alfred Square. “A view of part of Parramatta Port Jackson, [1809?],” in Series 01: Australian paintings by J.W. Lewin, G.P. Harris, G.W. Evans and others, 1796-1809 [32 watercolours], Vol. 3. Courtesy of Mitchell Library, State Library of New South Wales. PXD 388 / FL1152086.


  • New South Wales Government, Copies of letters sent within the Colony, Series 937, Reels 6004-6016, (State Records Authority of New South Wales, Kingswood, New South Wales, Australia).
  • Old Bailey Proceedings Online (, version 8.0), 28 October 1812, trial of MARY BEST (t18120513-20), accessed 4 December 2018.
  • The Digital Panopticon (, Version 1.1), Mary Best Life Archive (ID: obpt18120513-20-defend231), accessed 4 December 2018.


# Convict

# Trial Place: Old Bailey

# Sentence: Death (commuted)

# Punishment: Transportation for Life

# Ship: Wanstead (1814)

# Factory Above the Gaol

This profile is a stub. Further information will be added in due course.