Jane’s daughters


When her Jane and William Davis were sent to Macquarie Harbour her eldest daughter Sarah was 16: her half sister Eliza was 8 and her half brother William Thomas was only 5. Sarah cared for the five year old but Eliza was sent to the orphanage. On 9 June 1828 Sarah went to Launceston to marry Edward Bailey who was then a publican. Their son Edward Francis was born the next year and another, John Henry in April 1831. When Bailey died in 1832 Sarah returned to Black Brush and married Edward Roach in 1834. He had a son from an earlier partnership with Judith Fenton and it seems Sarah was still raising her half brother. She had more children with her second husband Edward Roach. In 1873 the family moved to Benalla in Victoria where John Henry Bailey had settled. Sarah died there in August 1882.

Jane was not in trouble on Sarah Island, apart from being cheeky to Doctor Barnes, and Commandant Wright let them live together in a hut. Their daughter Amelia Davis was born on Sarah Island in 1825 and was probably conceived there. In June 1829 she and William and Amelia were transferred to Maria Island Penal Station. In November 1830 they were sent to Hobart and given Tickets of Leave.

Jane’s daughter Eliza was admitted to the Orphan School in July 1828 when her half sister Sarah had gone to Launceston to be married. She was then nearly 12.Two years later she was nearly old enough to be employed and Mrs Sophia Degraves, wife of the founder of the Cascade Brewery applied for her to live with them. (See )James Williams II, her half brother had apparently been working for Peter Degraves in his saw mill on the slopes of Mount Wellington. Mrs Degraves application was rejected on the grounds that Eliza’s services had been promised to a Mrs Willis. In February 1831 another application was made, this time by James himself, for Eliza to live and work with the Degraves family. It seems the Committee of the Orphan School rejected this one also. Six months later the Committee reported that Elizabeth had absconded. (see AOT SWD24 and CSO5/86/file 1885 p181.) it seems the family was back at Black Brush for Christmas. William and Jane were pardoned on 31 August 1836 and by 1843 were living in a brick house at Black Brush.

Around this time Peter Degraves was in gaol. Gregory Jefferys wrote
While Peter Degraves was five years in prison in Hobart Sophia Degraves somehow supported her large family as well as her husband. In her own way Sophia Degraves was as much responsible for the success of the Cascades businesses as her brother and her husband yet there is almost nothing recorded of her life. (Sophia Degraves died in Hobart in May 1842)

In 1834 Eliza married John Blacklow a son of the owners of Blendon a neighbouring property. They had 13 children and she lived until 1889. Her brother William Thomas Davis married Harriet Matilda Plaistow in 1842 and they had six children. They also remained in the same general area. One of their grand daughters, Harriet, married Arthur Tasman Rennie and linked the Harrison and Williams families through their daughter Helen and Harold (Joe) Harrison.