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Mary Bryant Mary Bryant i(A76522 works by) (birth name: Mary Broad) (a.k.a. Mary Braund)
Born: Established: 1765 Cornwall,
United Kingdom (UK),
Western Europe, Europe,
Gender: Female
Arrived in Australia: 20 Jan 1788 Departed from Australia: 28 Mar 1791
Heritage: Cornish
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Mary Bryant was born in Cornwall in 1765. She was convicted of theft in March 1786 and sentenced to transportation for seven years. She arrived in Australia aboard the Charlotte, one of the ships in the First Fleet, on January 20, 1788. 

While on board the Charlotte, Mary met fellow convict, fisherman William Bryant, also from Cornwall, and they married on the 10 February 1788. The couple had two children Charlotte, born on board the ship during the journey to New South Wales, and Emmanuel, born on 6 May 1790. In March 1791, Mary and William, their children, and six other convicts including James Martin escaped the colony aboard a stolen rowboat belonging to Governor Arthur Phillip.

They survived by masquerading as shipwreck survivors before they were recaptured. William, Charlotte, and Emmanuel all died from fever during the journey home. Mary and the other survivors arrived back in England on 18 June 1792. 

Instead of hanging, the prisoners were sentenced to carry out the remainder of their terms in Newgate Prison  It is thought this was due largely due to the intervention of lawyer James Boswell.

Mary was released on the 2 May 1793 and it is believed she returned to Cornwall to live with her family. Boswell paid her a pension of £10 for the remainder of her life.

Mary has captured the imagination of writers and historians because she is the only female convict to have escaped from the colony of New South Wales. 

Most Referenced Works


  • See also the full Australian Dictionary of Biography Online entry for Mary Bryant

Last amended 7 Dec 2017 10:59:06
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