Mary Wilson (c1820-1864)
ANCESTORS’ CHARTS :
(Parents of Peter Byrnes):
(Scroll down for full list):
Line of Descent to Peter Byrnes:
|c1820-23 in Ireland|
|February 20, 1864 at Rawbelle, near Monto Qld, of dropsy|
Cemetery at Old Rawbelle
|1. William SEXTON (prob 1844, County Meath, Ireland)|
(Margaret) Mary SEXTON (September ?4, 1845)
William SEXTON (1847-1917)
Sarah SEXTON (1851-)
Joseph SEXTON (1853-)
|2. Francis BURNS (unconfirmed - probably de facto)|
 [see James SEXTON above]
Mary first comes into our official records in September, 1845 when she gave birth to a daughter on the Pestonjee Bomangee, a convict ship contracted by the British
Government to transport convicts to Van Dieman’s Land.
husband was an English soldier, William Sexton. After many years in England's American colonies (the West
Indies and the territory which was to become Canada), William's regiment
had come home to be based in Ireland from 1843-45. Although there are no official records of their marriage,
it's probable that this was when William and Mary met and married, when
Mary was in her early 20s, with William at least 10 years her senior.
William, an Army private, was part of the Pestonjee Bomangee's Army escort made up of a Captain of the 65th Regiment of Foot, a lieutenant, four non-commissioned officers and 41 rank-and-file of the 65th. Also on board were six woman (including Mary) and six children - and another soldier, Private Francis Burns, destined to be Mary’s second partner.
The journal of the ship's surgeon makes interesting reading, with his comments on the extreme weather conditions at the start of its voyage, and on the health of the convicts. Mary herself on at least one occasion after the birth of her baby, was admitted to sick bay, suffering "obstipatis", possibly a post-natal complication. After three days treatment, Mary was deemed "cured" by the Surgeon.
birth of Mary's baby was registered by the master of the
Pestonjee Bomanjee in January
1846, after the ship arrived in Hobart, with its cargo of 298 convicts.
However, the child had previously been baptised in Woolwich, before the
vessel lifted anchor and headed south. The Woolwich baptism
register recorded her name as "Margaret",
while the Tasmanian papework renamed her as "Mary".
The regiment, and the Sexton family, returned to Sydney before
sailing on to Wellington, New Zealand later in 1846.
second child, a son William, was born in Wellington in 1847, followed by
Sarah in 1851, Joseph in 1853, and James in 1857. This youngest child was most likely the child who became
known as James Byrnes, taking the name of Mary’s second partner, Francis
in the 1850s, at the time when the Sexton Family lived in Tinakori Road
In the early 1860s, Mary and Francis, along
with her children, lived and worked on the property Rawbelle, in the
Monto/Gayndah district of Queensland, where Francis was employed as a
shepherd. Mary, a housekeeper
at Rawbelle, died at the young age of 41, soon after the family made the
move from New Zealand to the much harsher country of the sheep property.
Her death certificate, which spells her
surname as BURNS, gives her husband's name as Francis Burns.
It says Mary was born in Ireland, of unknown parents, and had five
children living. She died of dropsy (an ailment of the kidneys), from which
she had suffered for six months before her death at Rawbelle.
She was buried in an unmarked grave in a little cemetery (below), beside the banks of the Nogo River.
The lonely cemetery at Old Rawbelle Station.
Mary’s unmarked grave is at the far right of the
Notes on the history of [Old] Rawbelle station
"Nothing now remains to mark the site except a peaceful little graveyard, in which sleep two former managers of Rawbelle, two other white men, a white woman, and a Chinaman".
that white woman.
Notes from Surgeon’s Report on Pestonjee
Bomangee ( Tasmanian Archives, Admin 101/59 reel 3206) refers to Mary as
the wife of Pte Sexton; and Qld death certificate of Mary’s son James
Surgeon’s Report as above
 William Sexton’s Queensland death certificate, 1917.
Birth certificate of Sarah Sexton, 1851,
Mary’s death certificate, as above.
Marriage certificate of James Byrnes and
Grace Pobar, 1882 (Queensland BDM) and James’ death certificate 1932 (Queensland BDM)
for this information on the birth of Mary's first child, I'm
indebted to family history researcher, Margaret Pope, The
baptism can be found in the1845 baptismal records of the
Parish of Woolwich, page 199.
 for this information on the birth of Mary's first child, I'm indebted to family history researcher, Margaret Pope, The baptism can be found in the1845 baptismal records of the Parish of Woolwich, page 199.
 Souvenir of the Centenary of the Central and Upper Burnett River district of Queensland, 1848-1948, page 21