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Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Unofficial A-Z Challenge: W Is For Wade, X is For Ximenes

We're nearly at the end of the alphabet. I think I'll finish here rather than going on to hunt for a Y and Z. 

So far, all my listed crooks and convicts have turned up in my book, Crime Time: Australians Behaving Badly, but today, I'm going to slip in one of whom we know  very little, who wasn't in the book, but whose surname began with X. Couldn't resist! 

W Is For Mary Wade

The Lady Juliana by Robert Dodd. Public Domain

A couple of years ago, one of my students asked me if there was anything in the library about Mary Wade. With a smile, I handed her my book, which does have a paragraph or two. She was doing a PowerPoint presentation for Year 9 History, and used the story of Mary Wade as an example of how even someone who came here in chains could do well for herself.

Mary Wade was probably the youngest female convict to be sent here, only eleven. She was lucky at that; the country was celebrating King George III's coming out of his madness, so there were some amnesties given and the young girl was sent here instead of being executed.

Why was she on death row? She and another girl had mugged and robbed a younger child in a public convenience, taking her clothes from her. Mary is supposed to have said that she was only sorry they hadn't thrown the victim in the toilets!

She came here with the Second Fleet, in 1789, on the ship Lady Juliana. In New South Wales she eventually married a fellow convict and had twenty-one children; by the time she died, she had three hundred living descendants. By then, the family was well off. In England, she had been a street sweeper.

She now has several thousand descendants, including a former Prime Minister, Kevin Rudd.

X Is For Jose Estorias Ximenes

I'm including this convict because he had a surname beginning with X. About all that I could find on-line was his convict record. He arrived in Australia along with 265 other convicts on January 31, 1839, on the ship  Theresa.  He was sentenced in Trinidad to life imprisonment in Australia. What did you have to do in those days to get a life sentence? Not much, probably,  considering what Mary Wade did to be sentenced  to death! But then, that was in the 1780s.

That's all I could find. If you, or someone you know, is a descendant, please do get in touch!

Did you enjoy this? 

My children's book on crime in Australia, Crime Time: Australians Behaving Badly, is available on line. There are plenty more stories where these come from. I've only given you rewritten snippets of some of them here. And believe me, there are some doozîes! I wrote it for children - right now, I'm reading bits of it with my literacy class - but adults can enjoy it too - and have. 

The publisher's web site,, has links to a number of web sites where you can get it, in print or ebook. If you've enjoyed this series, why not check it out?


A Tarkabarka Hölgy said...

Eleven years old sentenced to death and then sent to Australia... Wow. Also, twenty-one children!!
I like your theme :) I'll have to read back.

@TarkabarkaHolgy from
The Multicolored Diary

Sue Bursztynski said...

So pleased you liked it! I came across the story of Mary Wade in the newspapers while researching my crime book - amazing what turned up that year! It was in the papers because her descendant, Kevin Rudd, was our PM at the time and had just been presented with a book about his convict ancestors. I thought it might be a good story for a children's book.

Welcome to my blog, by the way! I've been enjoying yours for a couple of weeks now. As a folklorist perhaps you might enjoy my post of February 7, about a science fictional Loathly Lady story?