Person:Maria Bryson (1)

Maria Bryson
  • F.  William Bryson (add)
  • M.  Rebecca Canwell (add)
  1. Maria BrysonAbt 1835 - 1907
m. 7 Jan 1863
  1. Mary Ann Balderstone1855 - 1936
  2. William Balderstone1856 - 1909
  3. Christopher Balderstone1860 - 1860
  4. Christopher Balderstone1861 - 1942
  5. Rebecca Balderstone1865 - 1865
  6. Amelia Balderstone1867 - 1939
  7. James Balderstone1869 - 1939
  1. John Frederick Balderstone1863 -
Facts and Events
Name Maria Bryson
Gender Female
Birth[1] Abt 1835 County Londonderry, Northern Ireland
Marriage 7 Jan 1863 Sandhurst, Victoria, Australiato Christopher Balderstone
Residence[2][7][8] 1865 Red Jacket Gully, Victoria, Australia
Residence[3][4][5][6] 1866 Talbot, Victoria, Australia
Residence 1866 Talbot, Victoria, Australiawith Christopher Balderstone
Marriage Victoria, Australiato John McWilliams
Death[9] 1907


Maria in Ireland


Maria's arrival in Australia

During the 1865 inquest into the death of her 6th child Rebecca, a witness deposes as to have known Maria "ten or twelve years ago in Adelaide" [10]. We know this is where husband Christopher was at around that time (1853-ish) so it stands to reason that the two travelled to the goldfields together (unmarried, of course, until 1863 - well after their fourth child is born).

A search of shipping records in Australia has turned up the following entry, the only viable candidate for Maria's immigration to Australia from Londonderry:

Ship: Epaminondas
Date of Arrival: 2 Aug 1852
Port of Arrival: Adelaide, South Australia, Australia
Departed: Liverpool 14 April, Plymouth 30 April 1852
Passenger: Maria Bryson, single female, 19yo housemaid from Derry

She is a ship of 1,071 tonnes, recording only five deaths during the journey and all of them infants under 3 years of age. The ship was the twelfth commissioned that year to ship in government-sponsored immigrants. Demand for skilled labour and fit young workers was high, as evidenced by the affront in the following article[11]:

We are informed that the Emigration Agent committed a singular indiscretion on the arrival of the Epaminondas. Mr. Williams of the Patent Copper Company attempted to board the vessel on her arrival, for the purpose of engaging men to proceed to Port Wakefield. He was not allowed to do so ; and if the reason was, that the muster-roll of the emigrants had not been called, the Emigration Agent was undoubtedly justified in exercising his authority to prevent persons from crowding on board. But it is stated that the Emigration Agent objected to give Mr. Williams the opportunity of picking his men, 'as the Government wished to engage some of the emigrants.' As a rule, the Government can never interfere with private parties in the labour market; but at this moment, when serious apprehensions are entertained as to the power of the stockholders and agriculturists to procure a sufficient number of hands to carry on the most pressing and necessary operations, such interference would be exceedingly unjust and injurious.

We find Maria in the Single Women section of the passenger list, a 19-year-old housemaid born of Derry. This would put the approximate birth year at 1833 which is close to our known approximate birth year. She does not appear to be traveling with any other family but why she came to Australia is yet to be discovered.

Image Gallery
  1. Marriage 1863/223, in Victorian Registry of Births, Deaths and Marriages. Pioneer Index, Victoria, 1836 - 1888: Index to Births, Deaths and Marriages in Victoria
    1863/223, 9 Jan 1863.
    Marriage Index Entry, 1863
  2. ABUSIVE AND THREATENING LANGUAGE, in Bendigo, Victoria, Australia. The Bendigo Advertiser
    XII.3264/3, 10 Nov 1865 .
  3. Neglected Children, in Bendigo, Victoria, Australia. The Bendigo Advertiser
    XIII/3368.p.3, 13 Mar 1866.
  4. Deserting His Child, in Bendigo, Victoria, Australia. The Bendigo Advertiser
    XIII/3374.p.3, 20 Mar 1866.
  5. A Neglected Child, in Bendigo, Victoria, Australia. The Bendigo Advertiser
    XIII.3380/2, 27 Mar 1866.
  6. NEGLECTING to Support a Child, in Bendigo, Victoria, Australia. The Bendigo Advertiser
    XIII.3439/2, 5 Jun 1866.
  7. Manslaughter, in Bendigo, Victoria, Australia. The Bendigo Advertiser
    XII.3284/3, 4 Dec 1865.
  8. Manslaughter, in Bendigo, Victoria, Australia. The Bendigo Advertiser
    XII.3207/Supp1, 5 Sep 1865.
  9. Unproven
  10. COMMITTAL FOR MANSLAUGHTER, in Bendigo, Victoria, Australia. The Bendigo Advertiser, XII.3222/Supp.p1, 22 Sep 1865, Questionable quality.
  11. South Australian Register, XVI.1840/p3, 7 Aug 1852.