|Age when admitted:||5yrs|
|Date admitted:||3 Jun 1851|
|Date discharged:||7 Jul 1854|
|Institution(s):||Queens Orphan School|
|Discharged to:||mother, Ticket of Leave|
Annie Kelly was born in Kilkenny, Ireland in 1845, one of a family of four. By the time Ann was five years of age, the Great Famine had led to poverty and starvation for many Irish families. In 1850, her father, James Kelly had been forced off the land that he farmed, and had been relegated to the workhouse. Her mother, Margaret O'Neil, had few prospects for providing for her children as she was unable to read and write. Margaret had managed to secure work as a house servant to provide for her family's needs. In her desperation, she broke into a house and stole two dresses. Margaret was tried in Kilkenny in June 1850, and sentenced to 10 years for burglary and robbery. Three months later, Annie's 23 year old sister Catherine was also sentenced to 10 years for burglary and robbery of clothing. Both women were to be transported to Van Dieman's Land on the same ship.
Margaret was forced to leave two of her children behind in Kilkenny. Due to Ann's age, she was permitted to journey on the Blackfriar with her mother and sister. Ann had most likely spent time in the workhouse prior to their journey, and would have been malnourished and at high risk of infectious diseases in the cramped quarters. A number of other children died on the journey across. The surgeon's records note that Ann was vaccinated on board the Blackfriar, and that she required treatment for severe eye infections on two occasions.
Margaret's behaviour on board was reported as being "good," and there are no records of any indiscretions during her servitude in Van Dieman's Land. The ship' surgeon rated Catherine's behaviour as good on the journey, but her conduct was less compliant in the years to come, probably reflecting her youth and spirited personality. On arrival at Hobart Town, Margaret and Catherine spent time in Brickfields and in the Cascade Female Factory, and were sent into service. Ann was admitted to the Queen' s Orphanage on 7 June 1851.
On the 26 June 1854 Margaret was granted a Ticket of Leave, and on 7 July, Ann was discharged from the Orphanage into the care of her mother. Margaret received a conditional pardon in 1856, fourteen months before Catherine. Margaret then applied for approval to marry William Atkinson, who had been transported on the John Calvin to Norfolk Island, and latter had been transported on to Hobart on the Tony. The marriage was officiated on 21 May 1855.
Ann took on the name of her step-father and at some stage journeyed across Bass Strait to her new life on the Australian mainland, in Victoria. In June 1864, Annie Atkinson gave birth to her firstborn daughter, Elizabeth in Collingwood. Her mother Margaret Atkinson served as her midwife. Her partner, Frederick Robert Podbury was a baker from St Andrews, Clifton, Bristol, Gloucestershire, the son of Robert Podbury and Elizabeth Crick. Elizabeth's birth certificate stated that Annie and Frederick had married in Hobart Town in 1862. In fact, there is no evidence of their marriage occurring until 1891, when Nathaniel Kinsman, a part time furniture salesman and part time cleric officiated over their union in the Victorian Free Church in Moor Street Fitzroy. By that time Annie had given birth to ten children, including Frederick Robert Podbury who was to continue the business of the family bakery. The bakery had been established by Frederick and Annie in Collingwood, and had been successfully relocated to Geelong following a period of financial insolvency in about 1866.
Annie outlived eight of her children and died in Geelong Hospital in 1938 at 93 years of age. Her eldest daughter, Elizabeth Stephenson, died a week later.
To this day, Ann and Frederick's many descendants are a testimony to their
resilience, adaptability, loyalty and enterprise. Annie's arrival in Van
Dieman's Land and period in the Queen's Orphanage had remained an ongoing
mystery to her extended family for over 150 years. Her remaining great
grandchildren are now in their eighties, and still remember this remarkable
woman who lived in Cumberland Street Geelong with great affection.