Mary Brown

Mary Brown

Last Name


Given Name:


Alternative Name:

Mary Browne, Mary Adlam, Mary Adlum

Arrival in Queensland

1 November 1830

Date of Birth

ca. 1805

Place of Birth

London, Middlesex, England

Date of Death



Manning River, NSW

Place of residence in Queensland

Moreton Bay Penal Station


Robert Adlam

Place Married

Parramatta, NSW


Eliza Adlam (ca. 1830 - 8 Aug 1899)


Mary Brown, a housemaid and nursemaid, was born around 1805 in London, England. On 14 September 1826, she was sentenced at the Middlesex Gaol Delivery (Old Bailey) to seven years' transportation for stealing a watch, watch chain, watch key, two seals, a handkerchief and five shillings from George Hallows on 11 July 1826. Hallows gave evidence that he slept with Mary at her lodgings in the Almonry and when he woke in the morning, she had disappeared with his watch and other items. Mary Brown arrived in New South Wales on 6 August 1827 on board the Princess Charlotte. A year after arriving in Sydney, Mary married Robert Adlam, an assigned convict, on 4 August 1828 at St John’s, Parramatta. On 9 June 1830 Mary and Robert Adlam were found guilty of receiving stolen goods and sentenced to 14 years' transportation. Mary was sent to Moreton Bay and Robert to Norfolk Island.

Mary arrived at Moreton Bay on 1 November 1830 on board the Isabella and departed on 9 May 1839 when the penal settlement closed. When she was sentenced to a term of punishment in the third class of the Parramatta Female Factory in 1842, her daughter Eliza Adlam was sent to the Female Orphan School. Eliza's date of birth is not known but, based on her age, it may have been just before Mary was sent to Moreton Bay in November 1830 or shortly after arriving at the penal station. Mary Adlam died in Manning River (near Taree), NSW in late 1844. In 1845 Robert Adlam applied for Eliza to be released from the Female Orphan School. Six years later, in 1851, Eliza Adlam married ex-convict Josiah Dent in Toowoomba, Queensland. Josiah and Eliza Dent had a large family of 17 children, so while Mary Brown's stay at Moreton Bay was relatively short, she has many descendants in Queensland.

Biography by Jan Richardson, Harry Gentle Resource Centre.
Date of publication: 29 November 2022.

Note: Information about the Brown, Adlam and Dent families was provided by descendant Lorene Richards.

Image (above): Pencil sketch of Moreton Bay, 1831, State Library of Queensland.

Archival Resources

NSW State Archives, NRS 12188, Item 4/4012, Microfiche 665.

Indent of the Princess Charlotte (1827).

Parish marriage registers, St Johns Anglican Church, Parramatta, NSW, REG/COMP/2, Vol 2.

Marriage of Mary Brown and Robert Adlam, 4 Aug 1828.

NSW State Archives, NRS 2514, Item 4/6430, Roll 851 .

Sydney Gaol, Entrance Book, 10 May 1830.

NSW State Archives, NSW Sheriffs Papers, Box 3, Roll 831.

16 Oct 1830.

NSW State Archives, NRS 2515, Item X843, Roll 1864.

Sydney Gaol, Entrance Book, 22 May 1839.

NSW State Archives, CS Ref No. 4/2701.5, 45/5501, 45/5394.

Colonial Secretary's Correspondence, 1845.


Shackled: Female Convicts at Moreton Bay 1826-1839

Jennifer Harrison, 2016.
Melbourne: Anchor Books


Supreme Court

Sydney Gazette and New South Wales Advertiser
10 Jun 1830

Government order

Sydney Gazette and New South Wales Advertiser
1 Jul 1830

Online Resources

Old Bailey Online, Mary Brown, 14 Sep 1826, Ref No. t18260914-327.
Convict Records of Australia, Mary Brown per Princess Charlotte (1827).
Chronological Register of Convicts at Moreton Bay, Mary Brown, Prisoner No. 558, p. 68.
Griffith University, Prosecution Project, Mary Brown, Trial ID 567709.
NSW State Archives Convict Index, Certificate of Freedom, 6 Oct 1842.