John Ready’s mother, Johanna Pendergast

Another snippet – John Ready’s mother, Johanna Pendergast died 3 December 1838 and was buried at St Matthew’s RC Church, Windsor (Burial No 112, page 225, Windsor burial register 1835-1874, described as a settler, officiating priest W Brady).



I am placing the READY OR NOT research on a page of its own. (see above). Updated today is the story of JOHANNAH READY and FRANCIS PENDERGRAST. 


THE SAG Newsletter reports that Dr Tanya Evans, now of Macquarie University, is engaged in researching the history of motherhood in early Colonial Australia and Britain between 1750 and 1850. The focus has caught my fancy. My Mind seems to have taken a disproportionate amount of time in recovering from the Change of year and the Summer Season and I haven’t been able to get my mental historical  hard drive functioning at all but this little article has begun to bring the ghosts back to life again. Dr Evans is asking for assistance from any who have worked extensively on their family histories and have details of mothers from these early times. Dept of Modern History at Macquarie University, Sydney would have the contact details for you.

As for me, it has me thinking of all the Mothers of Mine who and the folkore I have been given. The Scottish Widow who was asked to be Laird of the Clan but came out here with her children instead.  Johannah Ready Prendergast, whose son John was sent as a convict to Government House at Windsor where his mother was Housekeeper. I wonder often about Johannah who was 47 when convicted in Ireland. She tried to have another son and his family sent out but failed. When John’s marriage failed and he became excessively odd in his behaviour and was sentenced to Moreton Bay, Johannah disappears from the records. I like to think she followed him.

Ann Moran and Hannah Hutchings/Hitchens. What was it like for them to be mothers here in the early 19th Century ? Young convict women. Ann had 5 children to John Curtis who was already husband and father to a family in England and had attempted to have them brought to him.  Hannah was recorded as a ‘ loose woman’ on the convict ship THE BROTHERS. How did her life as a mother develop from that starting point and from the death of her first husband in the Lunatic Asylum, Liverpool ?

Mariners and Ships in Australian Waters

Mariners and Ships in Australian Waters 

Mary-Anne Warner’s site transcribing STATE RECORDS of SHIPS. easy to navigate. Detailed.

There’s many a story to tell . . .

Masters, crew, a stowaway or two; passengers, cabin, saloon and steerage; births at sea, deaths at sea; deserters; vessels with one crew and one passenger and those with 70 crew and hundreds of passengers; simple single sail boats, barques, brigs, large steam ships; whaling voyages, regular coastal passenger trips, voyages from other Australian ports, London, San Francisco, China and other exotic ports – you will find them all here. 

The lists on this site are being transcribed from the State Records Authority of NSW Reels of the Shipping Master’s Office, Inwards Passengers Lists . . . . . . are added to weekly



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.