Friends of the Orphans Schools logo
Orphan Number: 2562
Orphan: Mary Ann HILLIARD
Mother:THOMPSON, Margaret
Father:HILLIARD, Patrick
Mother's ship:Emma Eugenia
Father's ship:
Age when admitted:3yrs
Date admitted:17 Jul 1862
Date discharged:11 Mar 1873, 28 Aug 1874
Institution(s):Queens Orphan School
Discharged to: Miss S M Hogan, 177 Macquarie St, Horan
Remarks: parents dead - won infant prize 1864 and reading prize 1869
References: SWD26/5, 27, 32/1, 52/1, 53, 54


This orphan has been claimed by: Graeme Martyn

Claimed from the Orphan Schools

My great-grandmother was Annie Hilliard. She married my great-grandfather, George William Adams, at Roxburgh, Otago, New Zealand on 12 May 1890. Her age is recorded on the marriage register as 27, which if correct would mean she was born about 1863. Her name is recorded as "Annie" and we have no record of her as "Mary-Ann". The marriage certificate records Bride's parents as "Unknown to Bride who is an orphan". Her birth place is given as: "Hobart, Tasmania".

The Queens Orphan School records for Mary Ann Hilliard state her age on admission in 1862 to be 3 yrs which would mean she was born abt 1859. It seems highly probable that Annie and Mary Ann may be the same person but we would need to know what became of Mary-Ann after she left the orphan school to be sure of this. Can anyone help with information on this?

It looks like she was discharged twice - 11 Mar 1873 and again on 28 Aug 1874 - once to Miss S M Hogan but did she stay with her or then go to someone else? I understand that she completed her apprenticeship in 1877.

Mary Ann Hilliard’s parents were both convicts. Her mother was Margaret Thomson (Thompson) (5211) (Emma Eugenia 1850-51) and Patrick Hilliard (Equestrian 3 1852). They were married at St Joseph's Church, Hobart Town, on 9 January 1854. Their two eldest children died early:  Thomas b 23 Jan 1854, d. 25 May 1854; and Margaret b. 24 March 1855, d. 29 April 1857.  Patrick had been a police constable until dismissed in 1855 for being drunk on duty. According to a note on Mary Ann’s orphanage admission file he died at O’Brien’s Bridge abt December 1859. Margaret died in Hospital 3 June 1861. Mary Ann was with her mother in hospital and remained in the Hospital Nursery after Margaret’s death until the age of 3yrs when she was admitted to the Queens Orphan School on 17 July 1862.

We know that our Annie Hilliard was a Catholic. She had a child, Donald Archibald Hilliard (Archie) in Lawrence, Otago to an unknown partner in 1885. Her age on the birth certificate was given as 23 which means she would have been born abt 1862. That child went into care by Court Order at age 4 mths. She seems to have worked as a domestic servant prior to marrying my great-grandfather in 1890. We know that both Annie and George had been working at The Robert Burns Hotel, Ettrick, Central Otago, when the hotel burnt down on 12 June 1888. (Tuapeka Times, 25 July 1888, Page 3.)

George and Annie lived most of their married life at Rongahere, a small settlement on the Clutha river, where George, an ex-seaman, was employed for a number of years as Puntman. His occupation was also given as labourer and miner. Together they had a family of 5 boys and 2 girls but also appear to have adopted Annie’s first child Archie who became known as “Archie Adams”.

Annie died of stomach cancer at Rongahere on 11 April 1910 and was buried at Lawrence cemetery. Her age was given on the death certificate and her headstone as 46 which means she would have been born abt 1864. However, a newspaper death notice gives her age as 50 which if correct would she was born abt 1860 which is closer to the date of abt 1859 which the Ophanage Admission records seem to indicate.  I have been unable to find any registration of Mary Ann Hilliard’s birth in Hobart.

Tuapeka Times, Volume XLII, Issue 5732, 13 April 1910

DEATH ADAMS. - On April 11th, at her residence, Rongahere, Annie Hilliard, beloved wife of George W. Adams, aged 50 years.  Deeply Regretted.

Given the confusion over Annie’s age, the lack of a birth record for Mary Ann, and a lack of information as to what happened to Mary Ann after she completed her apprenticeship, it is not possible to conclude without any doubt that they are the one and the same person. However, after considerable searching I have found no evidence of Mary Ann living anywhere else (eg on the Australian mainland) and until evidence to the contrary is found I am tentatively claiming Mary Ann Hilliard (Orphan 2562) as my great-grandmother.

I would be most happy to correspond with anyone who has any further information or suggestions for further research.

Updated 27 Nov 2017



You can use this contact form to send an email message to Graeme Martyn

Your first name*:   Your last name*: 

Your email:*        Telephone number: 

Your message*:

Claim this Orphan

Use this facility to register your interest so other researchers can contact you. Add up to a 2000 character short story about your orphan and what became of them after they left the Orphan School. You can add links to other web sites and upload a photo.  Note that you can claim more than one orphan and that any orphan can be claimed more than once.
If you need to contact our researchers then email us and quote the orphan name and index number above.

Site last updated October 2017