Julia was a half-sister to Eleanor McDonald (orphan no. 3574) and John McEvoy or Newby (orphan no. 3624 and 4109). She was born in Hobart on 16 June 1825 and baptised by Rev. Bedford on 16 October that year. She was recorded as Juliet MacDonald, parents Charles and Eleanor who had, the register stated, been married in Hobart. This was untrue. They did eventually marry but not until 1831.
Eleanor McEvoy (my 4x great grandmother) had been convicted of larceny in Dublin in 1815, transported for 7 years, and arrived in Hobart on the Kangaroo in April 1816, with her infant daughter Eleanor. For some years she cohabited with Thomas Newby, relocated from Norfolk Island and by then long free, and had a son John with him in 1817. Newby was sentenced to another term of transportation in 1823 and around this time Eleanor appears to have commenced a relationship with Charles McDonnell (or McDonald). He was a native of Tyrone, Ireland, who had a very troubled history indeed in Van Diemen’s Land. He had been granted a ticket of leave by 1820 but lost it again in 1824. Eleanor McEvoy had a clean conduct record while living with Newby, but after she began associating with McDonnell things went downhill. McDonnell assaulted her in 1823, and Eleanor began to get a record of drunk and disorderly convictions.
When the census of children was taken in 1827, Julia, said to be aged three, was recorded with her two older half siblings in Brisbane Street. The mother’s name was Newby and the father was by then confined to the Prisoners’ Barracks.
Julia’s admission to the Orphan School (John was admitted at the same time) coincided with the conviction of her mother and older sister. On 12 July 1828 Eleanor junior was sentenced in Hobart's Supreme Court to transportation for 7 years for stealing from her employer, and her mother for 14 years for receiving the stolen goods.
In 1829 Julia’s younger sister Mary Ann was baptised in Hobart and in July 1831 Eleanor and Charles finally married at Green Ponds, permission having been granted on their second application. Julia and John were discharged from the Orphan School the following December. The family lived at Oatlands, where McDonnell commenced business as a general dealer in 1832, but he continued his colourful criminal and often confrontational career (harbouring runaways and destroying the glebe cottage amongst other things). In 1835 he was sent to Port Arthur and in 1840 allowed to reside in the Morven area with a ticket of leave but “on no account to be allowed to go to Oatlands.” He finally received a conditional pardon in 1845, his wife having received hers five years previously for, believe it or not, “living in good repute with her husband.”
In 1845-7 Julia was living in Hobart where McDonnel was, with her assistance, running a school associated with Holy Trinity church. The vicar, Rev. Dry, who obviously regarded old McDonnell as a complete scoundrel quite unfit to conduct a school, evicted them from their cottage in High Street. McDonnell sued (successfully) for trespass and the case was reported in the Colonial Times on 15 June and 14 December 1847. Julia was sometimes referred to as “Mrs. Southam” in these reports, but I have been unable to find a marriage or identify her partner.
Although Julia's siblings Eleanor (married name Salmon) and John Newby are well documented in the Oatlands district I have been unable to trace Julia after these reports. Nor have I been able to trace her younger sister Mary Ann. The mother died in Hobart in 1849. McDonnell appears to have moved to Victoria in 1852, and died at the Melbourne Benevolent Asylum in 1857.