Black Brush

While her sister Jane Davis and brother-in-law William were still on Ticket-of-Leave and her brother James recently married and living in Hobart, Elizabeth took to crime. In March 1835 while her husband was in Launceston with their five? children, she was convicted of sheep stealing with Edward Westwood (Westlake?). (From this report it seems that Charles Collis had completed his sentence imposed in 1824 but when their daughter Mary Ann, aged 9, was admitted to the orphan school on 16 Nov 1835 the record says both her parents were in gaol..) On 6 December 1836 she was found to be in Campbell Town without a pass and in March of the next year she was sent to the house of correction in Hobart for two months for overstaying her pass. In March 1838 she was assigned to her husband but in July 1840 she was assigned to Mr H Harrison. This seems to have ended when having obtained a pass in Launceston at the end of July she failed to present herself at the Hobart Police Station and was sent back to the house of correction for 3 months. Her reckless behaviour continued and in November 1841 she received another three months at the Cascades Female Factory, this time with hard labour for being in Mr W Palmer’s house in New Norfolk ‘for immoral purposes’. She was released in June 1842 to find that Charles Collis was dead. Mary Ann had been discharged from the orphan school in August 1841 to James Smith of Southport.

Perhaps Charles was ill and this led her into trouble but even after he died, in March 1842, Elizabeth continued to be in strife. She was found in Mr Lamprill’s barn at 6 am instead of being in her assigned master’s house and returned to the Female factory.

Jane probably looked after her sister’s children during these ten years of crime. The 1843 census records William Davis as living in a brick house at Black Brush. On Tuesday March 1844 the 66 year-old Sgt Davis, as he was known, was in Hobart and walking south down Elizabeth Street about 8.30 in the evening. It was a very dark night and the elderly Davis was hard of hearing. He was in company with a young man, Thomas Pickin, who was returning to his house in Argyle Street as they approached what is now Tasma Street in North Hobart. John Crouch was galloping up Elizabeth Street in the dark and while the lad heard the horse fast approaching his warning went unheeded. The horse struck Davis and knocked him down outside No.3 Nile Terrace. Crouch and the lad carried Sgt Davis to the nearby Lame Horse Inn and called a doctor The inquest held at the hotel next morning was told that Davis was conscious after the accident and told Dr. Bright who he was and when he felt a little better the doctor put him in a cab and took him home. Although Bright checked on him later he died of a subdural haemorrhage. Bright’s post mortem revealed that William had a thin skull and the result of impact with the galloping horse caused bleeding in his brain.

Elizabeth, now 53, received a conditional pardon in July 1845 and married Robert McDougal, 54, in Brighton a few days later. She died there on 20 October 1868 aged 77. After William Davis died Jane married James Perry in 1847. It seems she continued to live at Black Brush as that is where she died in 1876.