Unidentified Woman

Evidence Type: Newspaper Report
31 October 1827


A “cauty queen,” one of the lately arrived by the Harmony, was charged by the master to whom she had been given up a week or two before as a bond woman, with conducting herself whilst in service, the better portion of her time in one even tenor of wilful negligence and irregularity. For a few fleeting days, her services were valuable, and she worked and sung most lustily, but her passion for working soon gave way to la belle passion, for a stranger-man, who, without a vast deal of labor, gained access to the casket of her affections—

“Built him a willow cabin at her gate,

And called upon his love within the house,

Making the babbling gossip of the air cry” 

Molly came down to me!

The maid, as may be inferred, was not naturally hard-hearted, so she did not fail to go down to him, and to attend his walks more closely than her kitchen, which lay neglected and all forlorn; but stolen visits were not all the maid was charged with — the master found his wine cellar daily diminishing, and this, he inclined to give the maid and her sweetheart the credit of, “for not even love can live on air,” so finding his bond woman’s services scarce “worth a straw” he determined on pruning the evil to the root, and destroying the unworthy attachment which was the main source of nought but loss of rest and loss of property to himself, by representing to the Bench how matters stood; and the latter considering that the adventure of the wine bottles rested a good deal on suspicion, for unseemly conduct alone, condemned the bond woman to a three month’s abode in the Factory, and when they term of probation should have expired, her late master and mistress might have the benefit of her services, if necessary, a second time.

Notes: * Identity of this woman could be SARAH UPCROFT per Harmony (1827). She was admitted to Sydney Gaol on 30 October 1827 for “drunkenness and neglect.” However, contrary to the sentence recorded in the newspaper’s police report, UPCROFT was held in solitary confinement for 7 days and discharged from the gaol (and, presumably returned to her master) on 5 November 1827. Since her master seemed to be open to having her back again, perhaps the authorities thought it prudent to refrain from sending her to the Factory – given the riot that occurred there just days before.


Female Factory Online, (femalefactoryonline.org), “Law Report of UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN,” https://femalefactoryonline.org/law-reports/p18271031/, accessed [insert current date].

See Original

© Copyright Michaela Ann Cameron 2015