In Australia a convict ancestry is highly prized among those interested in such matters. The bicentennial year of Captain Arthur Phillip’s arrival in Botany Bay comprising the 11 ships of the First Fleet in 1788, the founding of the settlement of Sydney and the Crown Colony of New South Wales were commemorated in 1988 and is considered the official bicentenary year of the founding of Australia. Nationwide the year’s activities prompted an awakening interest and pride in our convict past. The Stone family in Australia is able to claim links to convicts on the First, Second and Third Fleets as well as subsequent convict arrivals before ‘transportation’ finally ended. The intermarriage between convicts and their subsequent generations was not uncommon and was driven as much by availability and necessity as any other consideration. A maternal 6th great grandmother First Fleet Convict Ellen Wainwright alias Esther Eccles and a 6th great grandfather and Third Fleet Convict Thomas Guy (sometimes Gay) a highwayman of ‘stand and deliver fame’ underpins our convict heritage. Ellen arrived on board the Prince of Wales one of the first European women in New South Wales 1788. Shortly thereafter Ellen was dispatched to Norfolk Island. In the Australian newspaper March 1, 2020 Norfolk Island blogger and writer Susan Prior wrote: ‘’The New Norfolk Island colony (the colonial settlement as it is known) had only recently been founded in January 1788 and was struggling to produce enough food and goods to be self-sustaining. The island’s new inhabitants, convicts and settlers both, were desperate; they thought they’d been forgotten by the British when, finally, the Sirius heaved into view accompanied by the smaller ship, Supply only to be snagged on rocks and sink in foul weather, just off Kingston. The optimism of the fledgling colonies of Sydney and Norfolk Island sank with that ship, leaving the residents of both settlements devastated and in dire straits, and with only one ship, the Supply, to resupply their needs’’. As the settlement of Norfolk continued to fail the inhabitants were evacuated to a new settlement in Tasmania called New Norfolk between 1807-08. A number of “First Fleeters” had been transferred from Sydney to Norfolk Island just a few weeks after arriving in Botany Bay in 1788 including Ellen Wainwright. In New Norfolk Ellen married Thomas Guy. Our line of descent in Australia includes convicts from the 2nd, 3rd and 4th fleets as well as subsequent transportations; 5th and 4th great grandfathers on the maternal side were convicts as were a number of great uncles and aunts of that era. There is also a direct convict link to the Stone family in the first generation in Australia with the marriage of William Harvey Thorp and Elizabeth Ann aka Annie Stone (daughter of John and Harriet Stone). William Thorp’s parents Edmund Stephen Thorp and Isabel Black were both convicts.

Headstones of Ellen Wainwright and Thomas Guy Magra Tasmania

There is a convict of note Dennis McCarty (also ‘McCarthy’), an Irish rebel who married 5th great aunt Mary Anne Wainwright. He is included in the Australian Dictionary of Biography Volume 2 among some of Australia’s leading men and women. A convicted farmer from Wexford in Ireland, he arrived in Sydney in 1800 on the Friendship. He was one of the many Irish Rebels transported at that time. There is also a connection by marriage to the Lascelles an English aristocratic family. According to the Australian Dictionary of Biography Volume 2, (MUP) 1967 Thomas Allen Lascelles (1783-1859), public servant and settler, was born 29 September 1783 at Salisbury Street, Strand, London, the son of Michael Lascelles and Martha, daughter of Thomas Allen. He joined the 73rd Regiment as an ensign in 1811, became a lieutenant in 1813, finally reaching the rank of brevet captain. He went first to New South Wales in 1811, then in 1813 to Van Diemen’s Land where in April he was appointed private secretary to Lieutenant-Governor Thomas Davey. He married Mary Ann, the widow of Irish convict Denis McCarty, née Mary Wainwright.

Plaque on the headstone of Ellen Wainwright placed by the Fellowship of the First Fleeters an initiative dating from our Bicentennial Year 1988

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