Joseph Dolleur (ca. 1814 – 1879), a French-Canadian convict, was tried in Montreal in the Canadian province of Quebec. He was transported to the colonies for 21 years on board the Waterloo, arriving in Sydney in 1838. Dolleur and his Irish wife, Mary Kelleher, resided at Moreton Bay during the mid-1850s. Mary arrived in Queensland as an assisted immigrant on the ship Argyle which docked at Moreton Bay in 1852. Joseph and Mary likely married in Queensland in 1852 or 1853 and their eldest son, Francis, was born at Moreton Bay on 5 February 1854. In 1855 or 1856 the Dolleurs departed Queensland and lived the rest of their lives in New South Wales. Joseph Dolleur died at the Liverpool Asylum for the Infirm and Destitute in 1879 and was buried in a pauper’s grave.
Dolleur was found guilty of housebreaking in Montreal, Canada in February 1837 and sentenced to transportation for 21 years. His trial record states that he and an accomplice, James Gordon, were ‘part of a gang of thieves who have infested this city for some time’. Dolleur was described as 5 feet and 8 and half inches tall. He had multiple tattoos including initials and the name ‘Louise Boldague’, along with images of two women, a flower, a star and a cross.
Dolleur was granted a ticket of leave for Maitland, NSW in 1850 but it was cancelled in 1851 as he was ‘illegally absent from the district’. In 1852 he was imprisoned in the Darlinghurst Gaol in Sydney, but from at least February 1854 to March 1855, Dolleur and his wife, Irishwoman Mary Kelleher, lived at Moreton Bay. The eldest of their ten children, Francis, was born in Queensland on 5 February 1854, though his surname was spelled ‘Dollard’ and Mary Kelleher was recorded as ‘May Caleher’.
In November 1854, Dolleur was called as a witness in an enquiry into the disappearance of two men who set sail from the Kangaroo Point wharf with several Aboriginal men for Moreton Island. The final trace of Dolleur in Queensland occurs on 21 March 1855 when ‘Joseph Dolleur, of Kangaroo Point, was fined 20s [shillings] and costs for using profane language’.
After leaving Moreton Bay, the Dolleurs lived the rest of their lives in New South Wales. Joseph Dolleur died of cardiac arrest at the Liverpool Asylum for the Infirm and Destitute in 1879 and was buried there in a pauper’s grave. Dolleur’s surname was spelled many ways during his lifetime, but later in life, ‘Delore’ was more commonly used. After Joseph’s death, his wife Mary remarried and was known as ‘Granny Rennie’.
Note: Additional information for this life story was provided by descendant Jeremy De Lore of Queensland.
Jan Richardson, ‘Joseph Dolleur (ca. 1814 – 1879)’, Harry Gentle Resource Centre, Griffith University, 2022, https://harrygentle.griffith.edu.au/life-stories/joseph-dolleur-2/.
Archives Canada, File D123 - Dominus Rex vs Charles Ouellette, Joseph Dolleur, George W. Donato et Martin Cullen, 24 Feb 1827 to 10 Mar 1837, CA Quebec TL19-S1-SS62-D123.
New South Wales State Archives (NSWSA), Indent, Waterloo 5 (1838), NRS 12189, Item X641, Microfiche 732.
NSWSA, Ticket of Leave Butts, NRS 12201, Item 4/4222, Reel 964*, No. 50/21, 28 Jan 1850, Joseph Doleur [sic].
NSWSA, Conditional Pardons, NRS 1172, Item 4/4477, Reel 796, pp. 143-144, No. 56/17, 13 Feb 1856.
State Library of Queensland, Letters Relating to Moreton Bay and Queensland, A2 Reels, A2.16, pp. 647-648, Statement of Joseph Dilleur [sic], 31 Oct 1854, CS Reg No. 54/10006.
Birth and death registrations of children of Joseph and Mary Delore/Dellore/De Lore: Joseph Dellore, birth registration, 1857, no district, 1301/1857 V18571301 121A; Joseph Dellore, birth registration, 1857, Maitland, 8130/1857; Andrew Dellore, birth registration, 1861, Port Stephens, 11997/1861; John De Lore (also John Delore), death registration, 1862, Port Stephens, 5632/1862; Jane Delore, birth registration, 1863, Port Stephens, 12636/1863 ; John P. Dellore, birth registration, 1864, Port Stephens, 13934/1864; Edward A. Delore, birth registration, 1867, Port Stephens, 15111/1867; Sophia H. Delore, birth registration, 1869, Port Stephens, 17055/1869.
NSWSA, Liverpool Asylum for the Infirm and Destitute, Surgeon Superintendent's Weekly Reports, NRS 4951, Joseph Delore [sic], admitted 21 Nov 1879.
List of absconded convicts, New South Wales Government Gazette, 16 May 1851.
Moreton Bay, Tasmanian Colonist, 30 Nov 1854.
Police cases, Moreton Bay Courier, 24 Mar 1855.
Conditional pardons, New South Wales Government Gazette, 7 Mar 1856.