Johannah was my great-great-great-great grandmother on my mother’s side as they say. That is – she was my GGGGGrandmother if in fact it was her son who fathered Peter Mark. It could have been one THOMAS HOGAN. For the time being we will stay with the legal records and claim Johannah as kinfolk.

This is her story as Phil Ready recorded it for READY OR NOT.


” The ARCHDUKE CHARLES , a one class two decked vessel of five hundred and twenty five tons burthen was built in Newcastle England in 1809.  With J.P.  JEFFRIES as master and JOHN PAWSON as surgeon the ship sailed from Cork, Ireland on Friday 15th May 1812 with 147 male and 54 female convicts for the Penal Colony of NSW. Travelling via Rio de Janeiro she arrived at Sydney two hundred and seven days later on 16th February 1813. ( The Convict Ships by Charles Bateson)

Among the prisoners was 47 years old Johannah Ready sentenced by the court during 1811 in County Tipperary, Ireland to fourteen years transportation to the Colony.

On disembarking at Sydney Cove, Johannah was taken to the women’s barracks and then allocated to work at Government House Windsor. This necessitated a journey that was long and dangerous at that time for there were many thieves and bushrangers about so the party travelled with an armed guard. Johannah is listed in the Windsor Ration Book as receiving rations during 1813 and 1815 ( loc A 803 pp 59,90,122 ML) and during this time became Housekeeper at Government House.

Records show that she received payments for this position during 1814 and 1815 from the Police Fund. (Wentworth Papers loc. D1 M4 pp 121 137 ML)  Her salary was published in the following editions of the SYDNEY GAZETTE.

5 AUGUST 1815 12 MONTHS WINDSOR 20 pds
11 MAY 1816 6  MONTHS PARRAMATTA 10 pds
8 FEB 1817 12 MONTHS WINDSOR 20 pds


As housekeeper at Government House Johannah would have come in contact with some of the most influential people in the Colony including the Rev Samuel Marsden and William Cox , Magistrate.

Johannah’s son John Ready, arrived as a prisoner aboard the convict ship THE THREE BEES in June of 1814 and by the end of the year had become overseer of the Government Dairy at Windsor.

In July of 1814 there was great excitement in the Colony for Governor Macquarie had accepted the generous offer of William Cox to build a road over the mountains along with the route discovered by Blaxland,  Lawson and  Wentworth. So well did the team work that by 21 Jan 1815 the road had been completed and by May the Governor with his wife and a well equipped party was able to travel along the new road from Parramatta. Crossing the mountains Macquarie was able , with the help of Cox to lay out the proposed town of Bathurst on the banks of the Macquarie River which had been discovered by George Evans the previous year.

Two years later John and Johannah both still  at Windsor, testified at an inquest held on Wednesday 16th December 1817 into the accidental drowning of a dairy stockman. In their testimony they stated that the stockmen John Holland  and Edward Knight were good friends at the time of the accident.

Holland and Knight had gone to a nearby creek to bathe at a spot that John Holland considered safe but unfortunately neither could swim and when Holland got out of his depth Knight was unable to help him. He ran to a nearby Mill but being unsuccessful there went on to Government House where he asked the Gardener for help. As only one of those who came to help could swim ( very few people at that time could) it was two hours before John Holland’s body was recovered.

The Coroner being absent the Rev Samuel Marsden swore in the Chief Constable Francis Oates to act in his stead and Johannah unable to write put her mark on her testimony whilst her son John signed his name ( INQUESTS AONSW)

On 31 August 1819 both Johannah and John Ready received their pardons from the Governor and just over 6 months later on 7 Feb 1820 John married Elizabeth Curtis, daughter of John Curtis and Ann Moran . Elizabeth born in 1803 was now 17 years of age and John 30.

Although of the Catholic faith the wedding took place in St Johns Church of England Parramatta for at that time Catholicism was discouraged with no Catholic Priest being allowed to officiate.

In 1822 Johannah applied to the new Governor Sir Thomas Brisbane, to have her sone Phillip and his family brought out as assisted immigrants from Ireland stating that Phillip was known to Mr Walsh the gaoler at City Cork where both she and John had been held for some time before embarkation but there is no record of the family ever having migrated to the Colony ( Governors Despatches 1822 loc 1193 p 230 ML)

Finally restrictions on the Roman Catholic Faith were relaxed with a move made to build a RC Chapel at Parramatta. Johannah is listed in the SYDNEY GAZETTE EDITIONS

17 MAY 1822
11 OCTOBER 1822
13 MARCH 1823
17 MARCH 1824

as making a subscription towards this aim. However as the Chapel had not been built by the 9th June 1824 Johannah was obliged to use St John’s Church, this time for her own wedding , for at the age of 59 she married 46 year old FRANCIS PRENDERGAST.


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