Mary Mumford (1790–1844)

MARY MUMFORD was an Irish woman who, at the recorded age of 37, was tried and convicted at London’s Old Bailey and sentenced to fourteen years transportation per Harmony (1) (1827) for robbing her master and mistress, Mr and Mrs SAYERS, while working as their domestic servant. MUMFORD, however, was actually a nurse and midwife and these skills proved indispensable in the colony where few had medical training and experience. Subsequently, she worked as a midwife at the Factory “for several years,” elsewhere stated to be eight years, during which time she attended the delivery of “more than nine hundred women.” Surgeon MATTHEW ANDERSON (Colonial Government Surgeon) of the Colonial Hospital was her superintendent in that period and issued her with a certificate to officially recognise her status as an experienced and capable midwife.

In early June 1833, MARY, using the name MRS MUMFORD, advertised that she was available to be employed as a midwife to ladies and the general public of Parramatta and surrounds and, in 1835, successfully applied for permission to marry fellow convict THOMAS BURGESS (both were ticket of leave holders). Thus far no record of the marriage to BURGESS has been found, so the marriage may not have taken place. In 1839, the newspaper listed her among those whose tickets of leave had been cancelled, owing to the fact that MARY had been found “in a state of prostitution, district of Parramatta” living with an ex convict named MARTIN CAMPBELL per Isabella (3) (1823). In 1840, a year before her fourteen year sentence was due to expire, her convict indent appears to record “in regret [? illegible], Female Factory 13 April 1840.” By 1843, she was advertising her midwifery services to the people of Maitland as “Mrs MARY GORDON (late MUMFORD).” However, the following year, a person named MARY MUMFORD was recorded as dying at Maitland.


  • Alias: MARY McGRATH
  • Alternate: MARY MUMFRED
  • Alternate: MARY MURNFORD (c.f. State Archives Ticket of Leave index)
  • Alternate: MARY MUNFORD (c.f. Ticket of Leave, Government Gazette, 15 May 1833)
  • Alternate: Mrs MUMFORD
  • Alternate: MARY BURGESS
  • Alternate: Mrs MARY GORDON


  • Born: 1790, Cork, Ireland
  • Commenced working for the SAYERS: c. 30 January 1827, Claremont Place, Rotherhithe, south-east London, Southwark, England
  • Stole from employers and left without notice: 5 February 1827, Claremont Place, Rotherhithe, south-east London, Southwark, England
  • Pawned two spoons and a brooch belonging to employers: 5 February 1827 at John Allen, Pawnbroker, Sparrow-corner, Aldgate, London, England
  • Pawned employers’ petticoat and tablecloth: 10 February 1827 at Mr. Matthews, Pawnbroker, Minories, London, England
  • Arrested for the theft of employers’ belongings: 11 February 1827 at Goden-place-court, Minories, London, England
  • Tried and convicted: 15 February 1827, Old Bailey, England
  • Sentenced to fourteen years transportation
  • Sailed to the colony of New South Wales per Harmony (1): 4 June 1827, London, England
  • Arrived in the colony of New South Wales per Harmony (1): 27 September 1827, Port Jackson, New South Wales
  • Commenced working as midwife at Parramatta Female Factory at unspecified time after arrival in the colony
  • Ticket of Leave announced: 15 May 1833, Parramatta, New South Wales
  • Ticket of leave issued: 20 August 1833, Parramatta, New South Wales
  • Advertised she was making her midwifery services available to the ladies and general public of Parramatta and surrounds as “Mrs MUMFORD”: 4 June 1833, Parramatta Female Factory
  • Residence: 4 June 1833, Mr. HARVEY’S cottage opposite the Roman Catholic Chapel, Parramatta, New South Wales
  • Applied for permission to marry fellow Old Bailey convict THOMAS BURGESS, transported for life per Morley (1) (1817): 25 July 1835 (Note: both were ticket of leave holders at the time)
  • Received permission to marry THOMAS BURGESS, clergyman Reverend SAMUEL MARSDEN: 22 August 1835, Parramatta
  • A Mrs. NEALE arrived from London per Canton and was appointed Factory Midwife: 2 November 1835, Parramatta Female Factory
  • Mrs. NEALE resigned her position as Factory Midwife and entered private practice: 23 March 1837
  • Ticket of Leave cancelled “living in a state of prostitution, district of Parramatta…with a man named MARTIN CAMBELL [sic]”: 8 March 1839, Parramatta, New South Wales
  • Ticket of Leave cancellation published in the New South Wales Government Gazette: 19 March 1839
  • Convict indents record “in regret [?] Female Factory 13 April 1840”: (possible date she left the Factory)
  • Expiration of fourteen year sentence: 15 February 1841
  • Advertised her services as midwife under the name Mrs MARY GORDON (late MUMFORD): 16 December 1843, Shamrock Cottage, West Maitland, New South Wales
  • There is a record of a “MARY MUMFORD” dying at Maitland in 1844


  • Old Bailey Proceedings Online (, version 8.0), 15 February 1827, trial of MARY MUMFORD (t18270215-246).



  • Partner of THOMAS BURGESS convict per Morley (1) (1817) (c.f. convicts’ applications to marry)
  • Partner of MARTIN CAMPBELL Irish convict per Isabella (3) (1823) (c.f. MARY MUMFORD’s ticket of leave)


  • Servant
  • Convict
  • Nurse
  • Midwife


  • Servant to EDWARD SAYERS and JUSTICE SAYERS, 30 January 1827–5 February 1827, Claremont-place, Rotherhithe, south-east London, Southwark, England
  • Convict per Harmony (1): 15 February 1827–unknown date, possibly 13 April 1840, Parramatta, New South Wales
  • Midwife, c. 1827–June 1833 to c. 13 April 1840, Parramatta Female Factory, North Parramatta, New South Wales
  • Midwife, private practice: 1843, Shamrock Cottage, West Maitland, New South Wales


  • Height: 5 feet and a ½ inch
  • Complexion: Fresh
  • Hair: Brown
  • Eyes: Hazel to Grey
  • Education: Reads


  • Protestant

Ticket of Leave

  • 33 / 478 (issued 20 August 1833, cancelled 8 March 1839)




Primary Sources

Secondary Sources

  • Lesley Potter, Mistress of her Profession: Colonial Midwives of Sydney 1788–1901, (Spit Junction, NSW: Anchor Books Australia, 2017).


# Convict

# Irish

# Trial Place: Old Bailey

# Punishment: Fourteen Years Transportation

# Ship: Harmony (1) (1827)

# Parramatta Female Factory

# Factory Personnel

# Midwife