Mary Jones, convict of the Broxbournebury 1814 and George Faughtley Wright, convict of the Somersetshire 1814

Mary Jones, was a convict from Middlesex, London, who arrived in Sydney aboard the Broxbournebury on 28 July 1814. George Wright, also from London, arrived on the convict ship Somersetshire on 16 October, 1814. They are the 4 x Great Grandparents of my husband Geoff Rundle. Mary and George had one daughter, Mary Fautley Wright 1815-1888, and four sons, George R. Faulty Wright 1817-1879, William F. Wright 1818-1872, Thomas Wright 1824-1885 and James Faughtley Wright 1826-1889.

New South Wales and Tasmania, Australian Convict Musters, 1806-1849, listing Mary Jones of the Broxbournebury, transported for 7 years, wife of George Wright in 1822.

A perplexing, though not surprising fact was how many Mary Jones and George Wrights had been transported as convicts to the Colony of New South Wales before 1820. My goal was to corroborate Mary and George’s correct ships and their dates of arrival, and this became my objective and challenge.

In this quest, I owe a huge debt of gratitude to the English transportation system for recording the General Musters each year. This very English love for detailed law and order is admirable and in their effort to keep an eye on their convict numbers, they created a forensic way to trace convict ancestors for decades in the early Colony. The inclusion of the ships on which the convicts were transported is the key to unlocking the past. The notated listing on the Musters and Census’ margins of spouses and children of convicts born in the colony (BC), their addresses and employment details is such a bonus.

NSW, Australian Convict Ship Muster Roll 1790-1849 for George Wright, transported for life, aboard the Somersetshire in 1814

George F. Wright is buried at Camperdown Cemetery with his daughter Mary Ann Brown, and her husband William Brown in the Brown Family Vault, just metres from St Stephens Church, on the main driveway loop of the cemetery. In the grave are three of George F. Wright’s grand-children, Henry Brown, died 28 Mar 1854 aged 5, Emma Elizabeth Brown, died 12 May 1885 aged 34, and George Richard Sydney Brown, died 18 Dec 1902 aged 47. They were three of William and Mary Brown’s children, from their large family of fourteen.

My aim is to prove that the mother of George F. Wright’s children is Mary Jones, and present documentary evidence towards this objective, as well as to establish that Mary Whitfield, foster parent of the Wright’s three youngest sons, William, Thomas and James Wright, with her husband Thomas Whitfield, were long-time friends of George F Wright and his common-law wife Mary Jones.

Death Certificate for George Fautley Wright, 4 September 1859, image courtesy of Emma Campbell

My difficulty in searching for Mary Jones has been compounded by incorrect family trees and the acceptance, without proof, that Mary Whitfield, who is listed on George F Wright’s death certificate as his wife of 28 years, was also the mother of his children Mary Ann Faughtley as well her brothers George R. Faulty (sic), William F. Wright, Thomas Wright and James Fauntley (sic) Wright.

On the grave at Camperdown Cemetery, Mary Ann Brown nee Faughtley has her birth date of 12 Sep 1815 written on the right front shield.

To make matters even more confusing some family researchers have listed a Mary Tarlitan as the wife of George F. Wright. Mary Tarlitan married another George Wright and the date 1815 was convenient to tie in Mary Brown, however this connection is incorrect, when censuses and locations are compared.

Recently I did some research into Mary Whitfield. I found a Colony of NSW census for 1828 which lists Mary Whitfield living with her husband Thomas Whitfield, both aged 31 years, and three foster sons with the surname Wright, all listed as living at Parramatta.

Census for the Colony of NSW 1828

The three Wright boys were listed in this order: James Wright (2), William Wright (6) and Thomas Wright (4). Thomas Whitfield is listed as head of house, a Protestant blacksmith and the husband of Mary Whitfield. The three foster children living in the house, have names and ages correctly relating to the children fathered by George F Wright, who was transported in 1814 on board the Somersetshire, convicted of stealing a silver covered dish and a table cloth.

One valuable piece of information from this census record is that Mary Whitfield is listed as arriving in the colony as a convict aboard the Northampton, and her husband Thomas Whitfield as a convict aboard the Indefatigable. The Wright children are all listed as BC meaning, born in the Colony of New South Wales.

A search of the ship’s list for the Northampton revealed the name Mary Mascall and this name was helpful in finding not only details about Mary Whitfield nee Mascall’s convict details, but also her marriage record to Thomas Whitfield.

Australian Convict Transportation Register 1791-1868, Mary Mascall, aboard the Northampton in 1814

Mascall, Mary? Convict Middlesex Gaol Delivery 26 October 1814 7 years

The Northampton arrived in the colony of New South Wales on 18 June 1815. If Mary Ann Faughtley, who was born 12 September 1815 were to be the child of Mary Whitfield, and born 12 September 1815, then clearly George F Wright is not her father, as George arrived in the colony aboard the Somersetshire in 16 Oct 1814 almost a year earlier. This new information clearly eliminates Mary Whitfield as the mother of Mary Ann Faughtley and places Mary Whitfield properly in the position as foster mother of Mary Faughtley’s three youngest brothers, and as a probable friend to George Wright. However, on this information alone, Mary Whitfield could still be the mother to the four sons of George Faughtley Wright. This now seems unlikely, due to her marriage to Thomas Whitfield.

Australia Marriage Index, 1788-1949:

Name Mary Miscell
Spouse Name Thomas Whitfield
Marriage Date 1818
Marriage Place New South Wales
Registration Place Parramatta New South Wales
Registration Year 1818
Volume Number V B

Mary Whitfield had two other valuable original records. In 1828, as petitioner, appealing to the Magistrate presiding over Admissions to Orphans School, so that Thomas and James Wright might be admitted, on account of the fact that their mother was dead, and that their father, a convict, had been sent to Melville Island. The original record includes a handwritten plea to the magistrate from Mary Whitfield.

New South Wales, Australia, Applications and Admissions to Orphan Schools, 1817-1833:
Name James Wright
Record Type Applications for Admission
Date of Application or Admission 15 1828
Petitioner Name Mary Whitfield
Name Thomas Wright
Record Type Applications for Admission
Date of Application or Admission 15 1828
Petitioner Name Mary Whitfield

New South Wales, Australia, Applications and Admissions to Orphans Schools, 1817-1833, Mary Whitfield Plea, 1828 (enlargement)

The reverse of the document is an upside-down note, in the bottom left hand corner, presumably written by the Magistrate, or his office, suspecting that George Wright is actually working at present in Sydney as a plasterer. As I downloaded this original record and clearly remember that I nearly missed this precious piece of information on the second page.

Two interesting pieces of information about this application is that it was addressed to the Rev. Samuel Marsden, who had a reputation as a stern and unforgiving man in the early Colony of New South Wales. Gleaned from the State Archives was the fact that the Male Orphan School was moved from George Street, Sydney to Cabramatta in 1823.

Who then is the mother of the children, if it is not Mary Whitfield?

I decided to search for Census’ for George Faughtley Wright and his elder son George and daughter Mary. I immediately came across a Census for George Wright for 1828, listed as a plasterer working for a Mr Ewings of Sydney, clearly George Wright never went to Melville Island!

1828 New South Wales, Australian Census for George Wright, Somersetshire, 1814

I then found another census for George Wright from the Somersetshire, dated 1822-1824 and listed in the margin is a note saying he was the husband of Mary Jones of Sydney, listed beneath him is his son, George (5). As I looked more carefully at the record I could see just a few listings further down the page, and there were two more sons, William Wright (3) and Thomas Wright (5mos). However, there is no listing for his daughter Mary and of course James isn’t born until 1826.

New South Wales and Tasmania, Australian Convict Muster 1822

The next record I found was a Census document from Parramatta, also dated 1822, this record now lists the Wright family all together, George is listed as a convict from the Somersetshire, T.L. (ticket of leave) and includes Mary Jones, F.S. (freed by servitude) listing the ship she arrived on as the Bloxby. Below George and Mary were their sons, George 5, William 3 and Thomas 3 mos. The record also listed the Captains of the ships and from this I was able to find out that Mary’s ship was in fact the Broxbournebury, which arrived in January 1814. A list of convicts from the ship revealed a Mary Jones on board, convicted at London Assizes. This means that Mary Jones, due to the date of her arrival in the Colony of New South Wales, is most likely to be the mother of all of George F Wright’s five children, including Mary Ann Brown nee Faughtley who was born in 1815. I have not found a birth record for Mary Ann Faughtley, nor a listing for her in a census from 1822, as yet.

New South Wales, Census and Population Books, 1811-1825 for George Wright, Parramatta 1822

NOTES: Extract from

MARY JONES, Theft > shoplifting, 16th September 1812.

Reference Number: t18120916-123 Offence: Theft > shoplifting  Verdict: Guilty > lesser offence

746. “MARY JONES was indicted for feloniously stealing, on the 1st of September, twenty-one yards of printed cotton, value 20 s. the property of Griffith Foulkes, privately in his shop.

GRIFFITH FOULKES. I am a linen-draper, No. 2, Russel-street, Convent-garden, in the parish of St. Martin in the Fields. On the 1st of September, about four o’clock in the afternoon, I saw the prisoner come into my shop; she was alone. She asked to look at some printed cottons. George Banks served her, and Thomas Richardson was in the shop; they are here. They were all the persons who were serving in the shop. When the prisoner got to the door, I observed, she was walking in a singular manner. I suspected that she had something about her. George Banks went after her, and brought her back. And when Banks brought her back, she dropped a piece of print, containing twenty-one yards, at the door.

Q. Did you see her take it – A. No; I had no idea of it. She was a long time being served. The piece of printed cotton had my shop-mark on it.

Q. Had you sold it to her – A. No; nor I had no idea that she had taken anything. I have valued it at twenty shillings. I have no partner.

GEORGE BANKS. I am a servant to Mr. Foulkes. I served the prisoner when she came into the shop. She asked to look at some printed cottons to make frocks. Thomas Richardson shewed (sic) her some; she was twenty minutes at the counter. There were a great many pieces shewn to her; she bought two quantities, it came to four shillings. I was not aware that she had taken anything, when she went out of the shop. I suspected her by her walk; I went after her and brought her back. She had got about a yard from the door; I told her to come back; that she had got something that did not belong to her. She dropped the piece of printed cotton on the sill of the door as I brought her back; it dropped from underneath her petticoats. It was only from her manner of walking, that I suspected her. I received no information from any one. There was nobody in the shop but Richardson, myself, and master, and another young man. He was at the other counter.

Mr. Foulkes. There was another shopman in the shop; he was not serving.

THOMAS RICHARDSON. I assisted in serving the prisoner at the counter. I did not perceive her take anything.

The property produced and identified.

Prisoner’s Defence. I did not take the cotton at all. When I was at the door, the cotton dropped off a chair at the door.

GUILTY, aged 21,

Of stealing, but not privately.

First Middlesex jury, before Mr. Common Serjeant.”

I searched for birth records for the children of George Wright and Mary Jones and I found just one which listed their eldest son George R Faulty.

Australia Birth Index, 1788-1922
Name George R Faulty
Birth Date 1817
Birth Place New South Wales
Registration Year 1817
Registration Place Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
Father George Faulty
Mother Mary
Volume Number V1817189 8

For the first time, I could see George Wright had begun to use an alias and over time I was to pick up the name spelt variously as Faughltey/Faulty/Fautley/Fauntley/Fortley. I also searched for the death records of all five of George and Mary’s children to see if any of them revealed their mother’s surname.

Australia Death Indexes, 1787-1985:
Name Mary Brown
Death Date 1888
Death Place New South Wales
Father’s Name George
Registration Year 1888
Registration Place Sydney New South Wales
Registration Number 797
Name George F Wright
Death Date 1879
Death Place New South Wales
Father’s Name George F
Mother’s Name Mary
Registration Year 1879
Registration Place Sydney New South Wales
Registration Number 1535
Name William F Wright
Death Date 1872
Death Place New South Wales
Father’s Name George F
Mother’s Name Mary
Registration Year 1872
Registration Place Sydney New South Wales
Registration Number 48
Name Thos Wright
Birth Year abt 1823
Age 62
Death Place Prahran, Victoria
Father’s Name Geo
Mother’s Name Mary
Registration Year 1885
Registration Place Victoria
Registration Number 2877
Name Jas Fauntley Wright
Birth Year abt 1825
Age 64
Death Place South Melbourne, Victoria
Father’s Name Geg Fauntley
Mother’s Name Unenown
Registration Year 1889
Registration Place Victoria
Registration Number 17912

I decided to search again for Mary Wright in the Census records and found this listing in the 1828 Census.

1828 New South Wales, Australia Census for Mary Wright BC (Born Colony)

Mary Ann is listed in the same Census book as her father George Wright was listed. The fact that they were not listed together, but two pages apart amongst other Wrights in the colony is not really surprising. Mary Ann was a servant working for Thomas McMahon and most interestingly this is the first document I have found listing Australia instead of New South Wales.

The name Faughtley as an alias for George Wright was an unusual name to pick, and one which he then passed onto some of his children. It was probably not possible for him to keep recording the births of his children under this alias when records were being tightened up in the Colony of New South Wales, so presumably George adopted the middle name ‘F’ for Faughtley to ‘uncomplicate’ things in his life. There is no record of a marriage between Mary Jones and George Wright, as there was probably no application for a convict marriage ever made whilst they were both still serving their convict terms. Therefore their ‘marriage’ is what was termed a common-law marriage in the Colony of New South Wales, convenient for those who found it too difficult gain permission to marry.

It is interesting that Mary Ann, George, Thomas, James Wright all used the name Faughtley/Fautley as their surname when they married, while William listed his middle name as “F”. James kept the surname Fautley and passed it on as a surname to his children.

Marriage of Mary A. Faughtley and William Brown, 17 February 1834, St James Church, Sydney

Name George Faughtley
Spouse Name Esther Onions
Marriage Date 1835
Marriage Place New South Wales
Registration Place Sydney New South Wales
Registration Year 1835
Volume Number V
Name Thomas Faughtley
Spouse Name Ann Boulston
Marriage Date 1844
Marriage Place New South Wales
Registration Place Cook’s River, Petersham New South Wales
Registration Year 1844
Volume Number V
Name James Fautley
Spouse Name Maryann Dawes
Marriage Date 1847
Marriage Place New South Wales
Registration Place Sydney New South Wales
Registration Year 1847
Volume Number V C

Interestingly, there are other Wright family headstones on the back wall of Camperdown Cemetery, one listing the name Faughtley on it. It turns out that this is the headstone is for William Faughtley, the beloved son of Thomas and Ann Wright, who departed this life 25 January 1850, aged seven months. Thomas Wright is the son of George F Wright and Mary Jones, and shortly after the death of baby William Faughtley Wright, Thomas and Ann, together with their daughter Mary Ann, born in 1845, left Sydney and settled in Prahran, Melbourne, where another son William Joseph Wright was born in 1853.

This headstone is amongst four other Wright headstones and it can’t be discounted that the people recorded here are possibly related, and there need to be more investigated to see if there is some relationship, especially if it could lead to the correct family of George’s back in England. It may well be that the headstones were simply grouped together on the back wall because they all had the familiar name Wright.

I searched for a death record for Mary Jones and found this record from 1827 for Mary Wright, which I have accepted as correct.

Australia Death Index, 1787-1985
Name Mary Wright
Death Date 1827
Death Place New South Wales
Registration Year 1827
Registration Place Sydney New South Wales
Volume Number V18277577 2C

This date then ties in with Thomas and Mary Whitfield who were fostering the three youngest sons of George F Wright in 1828, after his wife Mary Jones had presumably died, namely William, Thomas and James. Obviously, it was a struggle for both George F Wright, and then for his friend Mary Whitfield to care for the young boys. Thus, the two youngest were put up for Orphan’s School.

My next search was then to trace the elder children of George F. Wright – Mary Brown nee Faughtley and George R Faughtley, for inclusion in the 1828 census. I searched first in the name of Faughtley but had no luck, however, I found two records for a Mary Wright and a George Wright, with ages that fitted the two children, and I found them both working as servants in Sydney. Mary working for a Mr McMahon and George working for James Clark of Sydney. I am happy to accept these two records as the eldest children of George F Wright as it would be expected that, due to their new circumstances without their mother, they would be found servant positions to assist their father’s grim plight.

This search for information about the identity of the mother of George F. Wright’s five children I hope has now determined that Mary Whitfield is not their mother, with finding of another Mary – Mary Jones, who was the mother of the Faughtley/Faulty/Wright children, and who tragically died in 1827, resulting in her three youngest children being left in the care of James and Mary Whitfield. It has taken considerable time to complete this research and I am now comfortable placing Mary Jones as the common-law wife of George F. Wright, mother to his five children.

Some family researchers have suggested that George F. Wright remarried after his wife Mary’s death in 1827, some ancestry tree have even connected him to Esther Onions, however I am certain that Esther married George R Faughtley ‘Wright’ Jnr, George Wright’s son. I don’t believe George Wright legally ever married, and like his relationship with Mary Jones, George probably maintained a common law marital relationship with Mary Whitfield after her husband either died or shot through.

Death Notice for George F Wright, Sydney Morning Herald, 5 September 1859

Aurora Australia over Sydney skies, Sydney Morning Herald, 5 September 1859

I spied this interesting newspaper clipping on the same page as the death notice for George F Wright. It caused much interest and excitement, and even interrupted the telegraphic services across Australia. The was much scientific analysis available in ensuing editions.

Funeral Notice for George F Wright, Sydney Morning Herald, 6 September 1859

Brown Family Headstone, Camperdown Cemetery, Sydney, listing burial of George F Wright 1859

As much as I have searched for a marriage record for Mary Whitfield and George Wright and have found none, I also cannot be sure about the success of Mary’s marriage to Thomas Whitfield. It may well be that the marriage broke down and Mary actually did end up living with George Wright, and it would certainly make sense for them both. Mary would have bought up George Wright’s three youngest sons for some years and for her to be recorded on George Wright’s death record I have to give credence to this possibility.

New South Wales, Australia, Settler and Convict Lists, 1787-1834

Thomas Whitfield is listed in this document as a convict aboard the Indefatigable and at the very bottom of the page George Wright convict aboard the Somersetshire, is listed. Thomas and George both appeared before the Old Bailey in London. It would seem that Thomas and George knew each other and perhaps this is the friendship connection? All this time I assumed it was Mary Mascall who married Thomas Whitfield who was the “friend” who then did George a favour in fostering his children.

New South Wales Colonial Secretary’s Papers 1788-1825

This document is listing the Marriage Banns for Thomas Whitfield and Mary Mitchell, now for the first time perhaps this document shows Mary’s maiden named properly spelt for the first time. It also lists the ships, Northampton and Indefatigable, that they arrived on.

I searched for a death record for Mary Whitfield, without success, there is always the possibility that Mary may have remarried again after the death of Thomas Whitfield, thereby changing her surname again. I did find a death record for Thomas Whitfield for 1846 but I hesitate to collect it because it may well belong to another Thomas Whitfield. As a matter of complete coincidence, a convict named Thomas Whitfield is listed on the Somersetshire, listed with George Wright, who both arrived in Sydney in 1814, see previous record for George Wright’s arrival in 1814 on board the Somersetshire.

George Wright I believe was a lovable rogue, I have enjoyed collecting record after record of his life of crime, misdemeanours, scrapes with the law, his creditors and his family. George moved just in front of the authorities and the law, however sometimes he got caught and then he served his punishment. His Ticket of Leave was a mess, it had been rubbed out so many times that it was virtually unreadable. He obviously needed good friends during his troubled times, and they must have looked after him and his children, as life dealt out unfairly a series of tragic events that would steer him into the headlights of the law.

The death of his “wife” Mary Jones was one such tragedy which would have left George unable to support his children. The tragedy was that Mary’s death affected all the family, and the stint the two youngest children spent in an orphanage was a sad ordeal. Thomas and Mary Whitfield were obviously good friends to help out George and Mary’s three youngest children. The two eldest were survivors as well, both would have been servants at a young age knowing that there was no home to return to. It was tough growing up in Sydney in the early colony, and tougher still when life dealt out bad cards such as a tragic death, financial hardship and an existence living on the “breadline”. It unsurprising that George changed his name. I think it was survival instincts kicking in, and the best idea the wily George Wright could muster. It was also sad to see that in the end, he suffered a shocking illness from cancer and that his death was most certainly a painful one and dare I say, so unfair after all he had gone through in his life?

It was a lucky day for George Wright when his daughter Mary Ann Wright married William Brown. William Brown, a convict from the Asia in 1822, turned his life around, and in a “rags to riches” story, became a successful business man in the unforgiving and cutthroat world of the Market Street Wharves.

I suspect that William Brown looked after George and some of his wayward sons during his lifetime, being a good son-in-law and indulgent husband to his beloved Mary A. Faughtley.

The internet has been a boon to the family researcher and incredibly the Old Bailey of London criminal trials are all now online, at the press of a button. It was exciting for me to be able to confirm other reseachers’ extracts on George Faughtley and find his life of crime back in London. Like so many before and after him George’s life sentence was commuted to Transportation for Life to the Penal Colony of New South Wales. His reprieve gave him an opportunity for a new life and a new start in a foreign country on the other side of the world.

Old Bailey Proceedings Online (, version 6.0, 24 December 2012), October 1813, trial of GEORGE WRIGHT (t18131027-75).

GEORGE WRIGHT, Theft > theft from a specified place, 27th October 1813.

1055. GEORGE WRIGHT was indicted for feloniously stealing, on the 9th of October, a plated dish and cover, value 2 l. and a tablecloth, value 10 s. the property of John Wilson, in his dwelling-house.

SAMUEL BOLEY. I am a servant to Mr. Wilson; he is a commissioner of his Majesty, for the West Indies; he has an office No. 10, Spring-gardens. I lost these things on the 9th of October, at half after nine o’clock in the morning, from No. 16, Devonshire-street, Portland-place; I lost them out of the pantry; I left the pantry locked, at that time the key was outside in the door. I went into the kitchen to take some bread up stairs for breakfast. The area gate is left open until a certain time in the day, in order to prevent dirt from coming in at the front door. It is a regular rule to lock it up at two o’clock in the day. The key is given to my master every night; he puts the key out in the morning; it is unlocked at eight o’clock, or near nine sometimes. I went upstairs to take some bread, I returned in five minutes, not more than six, to the outside; I found the door open, I missed the dish and cover, which I had left facing the pantry-door; I immediately went into the street, supposing somebody had been there, and saw the prisoner running with a parcel before him; the parcel was supported with his two hands before him; I pursued him, and overtook him in Norton-street; we saw about six hundred yards altogether, before I overtook him; when I got within twenty yards of him, I called stop thief; he then let the dish and cover fall, continuing to run as fast as he could; there were two men approaching at that time in Buckingham-street, they attempted to stop him, he crossed over; I laid hold of him, I collared him; he said, he hoped I would let him go at liberty as it was his first offence. I took him back to my master’s house; another man carried the dish and cover, and tablecloth. They are here.

ELIZABETH ANDERSON. I was up stairs, about half past nine o’clock, I saw the prisoner go down the area, and come up again; my fellow servant came up the area steps. I asked him if he wanted that man that came up the area, I could not hear whether he made any answer or not. I said he was gone up Portland-place; he pursued him. When the prisoner came up the area, he had a parcel before him covered with a white cloth.

JOHN FOY. The dish, tablecloth, and cover, I received it into my custody. I produce them.

Anderson. The tablecloth is my master’s, it has the initials of his name and the dish and cover; is my master’s.

Prisoner’s Defence. I had been out of work some time; coming along Devonshire-street a gentleman asked me to carry this parcel; as I was out of work I carried it for him.

Q. to Boley. This is your master’s dwelling-house, is it – A. Yes; it is in the parish of Mary-le-bone.

GUILTY – DEATH, aged 19. First Middlesex jury, before Mr. Recorder.

Transcriptions from the Old Bailey 1813, page 566

New South Wales Government Gazette, 28 November 1825

Ticket of Leave for George Wright 1829

New South Wales Government Gazette, 21 November 1829

NSW, Gaol Description and Entrance Book for George Wright, 10 November 1829

George was found guilty and sentenced to three months on a chain gang, which must have been a most dreadful period of his life. It is unimaginable how degrading and how low his life had stooped, and for a convict, it was the worst sentence that a convict could receive. It is legendary how badly the chain gangs were treated and how terrible the deprivation that was handed out to them, they were whipped and in many cases neglected, often in the harsh sunlight of a Sydney summer, and their wounds were left untreated.

New South Wales Gaol Entrance, Parramatta, 1833

New South Wales Government Gazette, 11 June 1838

New South Wales Government Gazette, 11 October 1842

George Wright’s convict record could be described as a disgrace, in all his years in the Colony of New South Wales, he was never a truly reformed criminal, and he probably lived on the margins of financial distress, skirting all types of criminal activity. That he was involved down at the Market Street Whaves bears testament to the rough type of person involved in activities such as commission agents, importation licensing, stand-over tactics and I would suggest enormous competition for survival. George I think, lived on the fringes of all these activities and was probably a likable rogue. He was a good father to five children, and obviously kept in touch with his them, which was very commendable considering his circumstances. Sadly, George was probably no better off in Australia than he had been in England’s squalor and poverty. Somehow, he couldn’t bring himself to conquer the demons of his upbringing, and conform to the new Sydney culture that saw it become one of the most law-abiding cities in the world. How ironic this was, coming from a society mostly made up from transported criminals?

Transported in 1814 aboard the Somersetshire, and convicted for life, a term that could have been turned around in a few years with good behaviour, took George thirty-one years to achieve a conditional pardon. It would be many years before he could apply for an absolute pardon, and this record is one that I have not found, possibly it was never granted.

New South Wales, Australia, Convict Registers of Conditional and Absolute Pardons 1788-1870 for George Wright, 1845

George Wright and Mary Jones had five children. Their eldest daughter Mary A. Wright AKA Faughtley 1815-1888 married William Brown 1805-1864. They were the Great-great-great grandparents of my husband Geoff Rundle and their lives have been dealt with in another chapter called William Brown – A Proud Australian.

Pedigree Chart for Sylvia Rita Lenore Farrell – maternal grandmother of Geoff Rundle

This Pedigree Chart is possibly the best way to show the relationship of the Wright and Brown family in our family tree. Geoff’s family, in all branches arrived early to the Colony of New South Wales. In fact, Frederick Meredith arrived on board the Scarborough, as steward to the captain, as part of the First Fleet. It was inevitable that sooner or later that one of Geoff’s ancestors married a convict. Indeed, take your pick, Mary Kirk, James Kidd, George Smith, William Brown, George F Wright and Mary Jones were all transported to the Colony of New South Wales. Geoff’s ancestors made a valuable contribution to Australia, either free or by servitude. Their bravery in coming half way across the world, in leaky boats to a new land which they were proud to call home, is so admirable, especially after wars, religious bigotry, famine, crime, family tragedy and crisis’ drove these migrations.

George and Mary’s eldest son George R Faughtley Wright 1817-1879 married Esther Onions on 15 July 1835 and the had three sons, Robert Faughtley Wright 1837-1853, George W Faughtley Wright 1841-1906 and James Faughtley Wright 1843-1843. After Esther Onions death in 1852, George R Faughtley Wright married for a second time to Sarah Ann Berrett and they had four children, Sarah Ann Wright 1862, William James Wright 1863-1867, Frederick Thomas Wright 1865-1866 and Annie Victoria Wright 1867-1868.

Earlier in this chapter I illustrated the 1822 NSW Census for George F Wright and Mary Jones, living with their three sons. In 1828 George R F Wright is working as a servant for James Clark. George Jnr’s name can be found on the same Census that his sister Mary and father George are also listed.

New South Wales, Sydney, Census for 1828 for George Wright Jnr

George R F Wright Jnr worked down at the Market Street wharves with his father during his early life, and at one stage I believe father and son even had their own Wright’s Wharf for shipping consignments and lading of goods. However most of the newspaper clippings I can find for George show that he was in financial difficulty for most of his adult life. I had trouble working out father and son newspaper mentions of George F Wright. By 1841 George Jnr was working as a brazier in Market Street when he was forced to liquidate his estate.

Sydney Morning Herald, 19 October 1841

Sydney Morning Herald 24 February 1842

Sydney Morning Herald, 22 March 1842

It was alleged in court that some properties in the estate had been sold by the insolvent George Faughtley Wright, to his relatives, instead of for the benefit of creditors.

Sydney Morning Herald, 6 July 1843

Sydney Morning Herald, 28 October 1852

Courier, 13 April 1854

Empire, 12 August 1859

Sydney Morning Herald, 1 September 1859

Sands Directory 1861, listing for George F Wright, tin plater

Evening News, 11 September 1879

Sydney Morning Herald, 10 September 1879

William Faughtley Wright 1818-1872 was the second son of George F. Wright and Mary Jones. William Faughtley Wright married Frances Eleanor Davies at the Presbyterian Scots Church in 1847.

Australia Marriage Index, 1788-1949
Name William F Wright
Spouse Name Frances Davies
Marriage Date 1847
Marriage Place New South Wales
Registration Place Sydney New South Wales
Registration Year 1847
Volume Number V B

Sydney Morning Herald, 22 September 1866

New South Wales Government Gazette, 4 February 1868

Wright’s Wharf, Next to Market Wharf, off Sussex Street, 1875, State Library of New South Wales albumen photoprint ; 12.6 x 19.2 cm.

Sydney Morning Herald, 8 January 1872

Mercury, 13 January 1872

Sydney Morning Herald, 8 January 1872

Thomas Faughtley Wright 1824-1885 was the third son of George Faughtley Wright and Mary Jones. Thomas Faughtley Wright married Anne Boulston in 1844. They had three children, Mary Ann Faughtey 1845-1920, William Faughtley 1850-1850 and William Joseph Wright 1853-1928.

Australia Marriage Index, 1788-1949:
Name Thomas Faughtley
Spouse Name Ann Boulston
Marriage Date 1844
Marriage Place New South Wales
Registration Place Cook’s River, Petersham New South Wales
Registration Year 1844
Volume Number V


New South Wales, Australia, Gaol Description and Entrance Books 1818-1930 for Thomas Wright, Sydney, 1836

Thomas Wright was just fourteen years old when he was listed in this record, listed as born in the Colony of New South Wales in 1822. There is no listing of his crime, just a description of his main features. Five feet seven inches in height, slender build, Light complexion, brown hair and blue eyes. I accepted this record with some reservation, it may turn out not to be his.

Death of Thomas Wright, Telegraph 24 January 1885

Headstone for William Faughtley, son of Thomas and Ann Wright, Camperdown Cemetery, Sydney, born 4 July 1849, died 27 January 1850

This lovely, but damaged headstone is for the son of Thomas Fautley Wright and his wife, William died 25 September 1850 and the inscription is very hard to read. The headstone is now attached to the back wall of Camperdown Cemetery and is one of a large group of surviving headstones removed when the cemetery was quartered in size. Unfortunately, the “experts” of the time decided to attach these historic headstones to the wall with large iron bolts and over time they have expanded and as a result the majority of the headstones have cracked and the bolts have rusted. The weathering of the headstones has been magnified by the weather effect of the cracking and rusting.

Sydney, Australia, Anglican Parish Registers, 1818-2012

Burial Register for William Faughtley Wright, aged 7 months, son of St Stephen’s Church, Camperdown, father’s occupation listed as a writing clerk of O’Connell Town.

James Faughtley Wright 1826-1889 was the youngest son of George F Wright and Mary Jones. James Faughtley Wright married Maryann Dawes on 23 March 1847 and they had four children, William Faughtley Wright 1845-1914, James Faughtley Wright 1847-1926, Mary Ann Eliza Fautley Wright 1849 and George Robert Faughtley Wright 1851-1883.

Anglican Parish Records, Baptism of Mary Ann Eliza Fautley, 30 September 1849

Headstone of William F Wright, Woronora Cemetery, Sydney, New South Wales

William F Wright died 12 December 1914 aged 69 years and his loving wife Frances H Wright died 14 July 1922 aged 65 years. This photograph is courtesy of kojakone family tree. William F Wright was the eldest son of James Faughley Wright and Mary Ann Dawes.

Death notice for James Wright, The Age, 18 December 1889

Funeral notice for James Wright of Leura, St Kilda Road, Argus, 19 December 1889

The work done on this chapter has been one of the most interesting area of original research I have undertaken. It involved trawling through hundreds of NSW Census records, reading scratchy writing and capturing the correct records for our family. The answers I needed were simply just there to find. Mary Jones was well recorded as the common-law wife of George Wright and I hope this documentary evidence will be embraced by other Wright family researchers. It is my hope that eventually the mess of ancestry family trees will slowly be corrected to reflect accurately the early Wright family history in the Colony of New South Wales.

The information in this document was gathered with the assistance of records and their online family trees, online records from the Old Bailey and online shipping documents for convict transportations to Sydney. I also used Trove digitised newspapers where there is a lot of information on the Wright family’s ‘business’ enterprises. I have also corresponded with many family researchers in the compiling of this article, and have recently written a companion article called William Brown – A Proud Australian. I happy to correspond with family researchers and collaborate on more family research, please let me know if there is a mistake and I will correct it.

Virginia Rundle

BA, Sydney University 1975-1978

Certificate of Genealogy Research, Society of Australian Genealogists 2011-2013

April 2014, updated and illustrated January 2018


Old Bailey online records

Camperdown Cemetery Trust

Society of Australian Genealogists and their Transcriptions for Camperdown Cemetery

Online shipping and transportation documents including Ship’s Lists,

Trove Digitised Newspapers

Emma Campbell kindly provided some excelling Faughtley Wright documentation

Ancestry Family Trees: kojakone,

Anglican Parish Records

Sands Directory

NSW, Australia, Convict Indents, Census Records and Transportation Records

New South Wales Government Gazettes online records

State Library of New South Wales

State Archives of New South Wales

1 comments On Mary Jones, convict of the Broxbournebury 1814 and George Faughtley Wright, convict of the Somersetshire 1814

  • Hello there from Susan Henderson nee Wright. Finally one mystery is solved. Have been hitting my head against the wall over Whitfields & Tarlingtons for years. I’m descended from James Wright & Mary Ann Dawes. My father’s Wright line has quite a few William Wrights. They all had the Faughtley/Fautley/Fortley middle name even the females. Unknown how that came about. My grandfather’s name was Arthur Newton Faughtley Wright & my father was Arthur Thomas Wright. They lived in Newtown, Sydney. The mother of Arthur Newton Wright had to renounce her Jewish faith to marry her husband William. She was the daughter of George Louis Asher Davies whose brother Edward Davis was a bushranger hung in 1841. He was the leader of the Jewboy Gang.

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