Convict Martha Brooks
Sentenced to Death

Martha Brooks, who was born in Exeter, England in 1796, appeared at the Devon Assizes on 19 March 1821 on a charge of burglary. She was sentenced to death but this was commuted to a term of transportation for 14 years. Nine months later, on Christmas day, 1821, she left Portsmouth on board the Mary Ann and arrived, firstly in Van Diemen's Land on 2 May 1822, and thence to Port Jackson where she finally stepped on to dry land on 20 May 1822.

She was one of 108 convicts who travelled for 146 days on board the Mary Ann and at the same time 15 other convict transports made the journey delivering convicts to both Hobart and to Sydney. 1822 saw the arrival of 2528 convicts in Australia. Other vessels were Providence, Arab, Mary, Southworth, Isabella, Shipley, Richmond, Phoenix, Guildford, Prince of Orange, Asia, Caledonia, Mangles, Eliza and Amboya.

A report in the Sydney Gazette, dated Friday 24 May 1822 said all females from this voyage went to the female factory.

Marriage to James Scott

Six months after arrival, on 3 October, 1822, Martha married James Scott at St Phillips Church in Sydney. She had applied for permission to marry him on September 2 1822. He had been a boatswain on the Mary Ann which had delivered Martha to the new colony. James, who applied to remain, obtained a sailing job with a Mr Berry. In November of the same year Martha had been working for a V Jacobs.

Martha Brooks and James Scott were both 24 at the time of their marriage. They had one child, a daughter, called Charlotte, who was born in 1824. Charlotte married John Francis Duffy in 1840 and they had 17 children. Charlotte lived for 84 years, dying in Sydney, on 9 January 1908. Her father, James Scott, did not enjoy such longevity but died, at the age of 27, a year after his daughter, Charlotte, was born.

Widowhood and Remarriage

Martha became a widow and remained that way for several years until she married another convict, Henry Pollard, on 8 June 1829 at Scots Church, Church Hill, New South Wales. The couple lived in Sydney while their first three children were born. Their address in the 1828 Census was Market Street, Sydney, and they then moved to the South Colah district.

The couple had seven children, Harriet (born and died 1830), William (1832), Maria (1833), Harriet (1836), Thomas (1839), Mary (1842) and Martha (1846).

Martha died in Sydney on 11 December 1863 at the age of 67. Her husband, Henry Pollard, lived for a further twenty years. A headstone for Martha is at All Saints Cemetery at North Parramatta.

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This page was updated by Diana Kupke (Diana Mann) on 7 January 2024