Mary Maguire charged with theft
On the 27 January 1834 at the Sydney Quarter Sessions, Mary Maguire was convicted of stealing and sentenced to 12 calendar months at the Female Factory as a Third Class prisoner (less privileges). Mary worked for James Douglas, who ran Grose Farm in Glebe. She pleaded guilty to stealing a pan worth one shilling, a frock worth one shilling, and a bag of garden seed worth six pence. She also stole another shirt and a pan from Daniel Coffee, who also worked on the farm.
Mary was found Not Guilty on another charge of stealing coin worth 16 shillings from Mr Douglas.
From the deposition papers [4/8459 case nos.5 & 6] a reader can learn more about when Mary arrived in the Colony, how she lived, the people she worked with and her neighbours.
What you may fnd in the records
These papers form part of the series NRS 845 Depositions and other papers, Sydney and Country.
There is an online index for the years 1824-1837 on our website. There is also the Clerk of the Peace Pt 1: Quarter Sessions Records 1824-1920 (Old Guide No. 24) in the reading rooms that provides more information. These papers not only give details on those people in trouble with the law but paint a picture of military personnel and the more prosperous section of the colony that served on juries and were witnesses in many of the cases.
The early deposition papers are in boxes or bound volumes and are generally organised by the location of the Quarter Session: Bathurst, Campbelltown, Liverpool, Maitland, Newcastle, Parramatta, Sydney and Windsor. The online index lets you search by name and/or the above localities.
Typically the records for each quarter session contain all or some of the following documents:
- A calendar of cases to be heard at the particular session;
- Gaol report (list of prisoners held for trial);
- Memorandum of civil jury;
- Return of sentences;
- List of civil jury (including street address and occupation);
- Nominations of officers to serve on jury (i.e. military jury – includes rank and regiment);
- Precept to summon civil jury;
- Notes (by or to clerk of the court);
- Return of prisoners tried and
- Deposition papers relating to each case (includes statements from witnesses and accused, and any other relevant papers).
Unfortunately, for the period 1841-1920 few deposition papers have survived but researchers can still look up calendars and indexes for this period and later. For a full listing see the catalogue under Clerk of the Peace (Agency No. 35).
This content first appeared in Now&Then 29 December 2007