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Mary Bradshaw 1769 - 1827

“a high coloured mulatto”

Mary Bradshaw was no youngster when she boarded the vessel in Cork, since she was said to be aged forty, having been born in 1765 (see later note on Mary’s age). She had been tried in Dublin City in September, 1802 and had received a seven year sentence, of which she had already served nearly three years when she left Ireland. Mary had been charged with stealing a gold broach, a hat and ten shillings and she was sentenced to be transported for her crime. The Freeman’s Journal commented on Mary’s case on November 11, 1802 making the observation that Mary was “a high coloured mulatto” and passing the judgement that she was “ill favoured in the extreme”. Despite the judgement of the Freeman’s Journal Mary was one of the convict women who formed a liaison during the voyage of the Tellicherry. Mary Bradshaw’s lover, George Kay, a British sergeant had been born Sheffield, Yorkshire, England in 1748 and was fifty seven years old in 1805. George Kay (sometimes spelt Keys) was a long serving professional soldier, having joined the joined the 31st Regiment, at the age of 27 in 1775. Kay had risen quickly through the ranks since he served only one year as a private before becoming a Corporal in 1776, a rank in which he served for only four years. Perhaps because he had served in many colonial postings George Kay appears not to have Mary Bradshaw’s half caste background or by her striking colouring in any way distasteful.

                            By 1779 Kay had reached the rank of Sergeant and in 1800, when he joined the 102nd Regiment, he was aged 50. Officially the 102nd Regiment of Foot was stationed in NSW for a brief period between 1809 and 1810 but in fact the most of the troops had a much longer colonial experience than this record suggests. In 1805 the 102nd had been first posted to Australia and, as was the custom, the regiment was sent out in detachments of twenty to thirty men, each being given the responsibility of guarding convicts on a different vessel on the outward voyage. Sergeant Kay left Ireland per Tellicherry in 1805 and arrived in Australia for his colonial tour of duty in February 1806 Because of his age and rank it must be assumed that George Kay may have been one of the British soldiers who had served in the American War of Independence and it appears that he had risen through the ranks on his own merits. On arrival Sergeant Kay was transferred to the NSW Corps from the 8th Royal Veteran Battalion. Having been placed under the command of Lieutenant Grose Kay began his guard duties in the colony. As a NCO Kay had the opportunity to move freely outside the barracks and it appears that in the next few years he purchased a cottage. Here he established a home for Mary Bradshaw and in 1808 a son, named George, was born to the couple.

                     Mary Bradshaw did not embarrass her lover by naming the father of the child on the Birth Certificate but it is clear that George Kay Senior was willing to acknowledge his boy. By 1808 George Kay’s commanding officers were Lamb and Forveau and in 1809 George Kay was attached to John Macarthur’s 8th company. In 1810 Mary Bradshaw was awarded a Certificate of Freedom and in the same year, at the age of 60, Sergeant Kay transferred to the NSW Veterans Corps. George Kay married Mary Bradshaw on 4 June 1810, at the Anglican Church of St. Phillips in Sydney. It is not known if Mary had previously been a member of the Church of Ireland but her marriage in a Protestant Church appears to have begun a life long adherence to that church. At the time of her marriage Mary was said to be 31 years of age (note the discrepancy) In 1812 a daughter, named Mary Ann, was born and this event was registered in Sydney. By 1814 George Kay arranged to sell his cottage in Sydney to Richard Scotlock so that he might buy an allotment of eight acres located near Windsor to support his family.