Julia Leahy (c1778-1840)
(parents of Joan Gaffey):
Line of Descent to Joan Gaffey
bet 1778 and 1780 in Ireland
|Aug 1808 in Dublin (age 30)|
1809 in to New South Wales
Sep 26 1840 in Pitt Town,
near Windsor NSW (age 62)
Sep 28 1840 in Windsor R/C
|Lear, Lehy, Leahay, Leehy|
(Jul 18 1814 in St. Matthews C of E, Windsor)
Eleanor WILLIAMS (1810-1883)
Julia WILLIAMS (1813- )
Mary Ann WILLIAMS (1820- )
Julia was born probably in Dublin, Ireland, around 1780 - but that is all that is known of her early life before her transportation, as a convict, to New South Wales in 1809.
She was sentenced to seven years
exile, but what crime she committed to earn this (comparatively) light
sentence is also unknown. All
that remains is a date of conviction, in Dublin in August 1808.
Unfortunately, Irish transportation documents (and other historic
records, including nearly all early census material) were destroyed in a
fire in Dublin in 1922.
Julia was almost certainly
illiterate, as various spellings of her name have cropped up, all spelt
according to the ear of the recording clerk.
The variations range through Lehy, Leahay, Leehy, and even Lear.
She was sent to Port Jackson on
the second voyage of the Experiment,
which left Cork in southwestern Ireland under Captain Jos Dodds on January
21, 1809, arriving in Sydney on June 25.
Julia must have quickly established herself in a relationship with
another convict, William Williams on a farm at Pitt Town, near Windsor -
their first child Eleanor was born in 1810.
Although Julia is listed as a Catholic in the convict
records, her husband was Protestant, and the couple married in the
Church of England, with their children christened Protestants, partly,
one assumes because Catholic priests were not allowed to operate until
1820, with the arrival of Father Thierry.
(Other priests had arrived earlier, as convicts, after an Irish
rebellion in the late 1790s, but were not allowed to practise)
Julia and William had two children before they married in
1814, with their third child and only son William arriving just a few
months after their marriage.
According to the NSW Census of 1828, William and Julia Williams had four
children, ranging in age in 1828 from 18 to 9.
Julia’s husband died in 1840,
leaving her a pension of £30stg. In
his will, William decreed that all his property be converted into cash,
and held in trust to provide the pension for his wife, and after her
death, to be divided equally between their four children.
Julia herself, however, lived less than three months after William’s death. Her end was tragic – a brief Coroner’s inquest at Windsor held two days after her death found that “death was caused by burning while intoxicated”.
She was buried apart from her husband (who
had been interred in the historic St. Matthews churchyard), just a few
hundred metres away in the old Catholic cemetery at Windsor.
In the church records of her burial, Julia's age was given as 62.
She was simply described as a widow, who lived in Pitt Town.
Photo: courtesy Elizabeth Marshall
Census/Muster. 1828 Census; Church Records.
NSW Registrar of BDM.
Burial records from St. Matthews Catholic church, Windsor
 Census/Muster, 1811, page 76.
1828 NSW Census
 Church Records - NSW Registrar of BDM, St Matthews, Windsor (RC); Gravestone - cemetery records
 indices of births/ deaths and marriages, held at Newcastle Library. Registrars of Births, Deaths and Marriages for all Australian States; Church Records (NSW Registrar of BDM); Census/Musters
 Church Records - NSW Registrar of BDM., St Matthews, Windsor
 possibly two years earlier in 1778 - the birth year records vary from the 1828 NSW Census, and her age in the burial register at St. Matthews Catholic Church, Windsor.
 State Records of NSW, Reel 2921, (Register of Coroners' Inquests and Magisterial Inquiries, No. 874)