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Orphan Number: 1811
Orphan: Martha FERNS
Mother's ship:Mellish
Father's ship:
Age when admitted:6yrs
Date admitted:9 Jan 1833
Date discharged:2 Jul 1840
Institution(s):Queens Orphan School
Discharged to: T Smith
Remarks: mother in gaol, convict record Ann Fern - father unknown
References: SWD28, CSO5/86/1885, CSO5/191/4635

This orphan has been claimed by: Geoffrey W Mitchelmore

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Julia is my great great grandmother.
Julia (1824) and Martha (1826) were born in Scotland to father William Ferns and mother Ann Ferns nee McIntyre.

Julia and Martha Ferns travelled to Van Diemen's Land with their mother aboard the MELLISH female prison ship arriving in Hobart Town on 22 September 1830.  Martha and Julia were not shown on the shipping list, the number of children belonging to the convict women the only indication that children were on board. (It is listed in records on Prisoners & Survivors website that Ann was accompanied by two children on the trip out to Van Diemen's Land.) They were subsequently transferred with their mother to the Cascades Female House of Corrections.
As their mother Ann was incarcerated in the Cascades Female House of Corrections when they arrived in Hobart Town, Julia (6) and Martha (3) would probably have been transferred to a female orphan school in Hobart Town.
Martha was admitted to the new orphanage from the Female House of Corrections as is shown in the admittance book for the orphanage sourced in the Tasmanian Archives. Her mother, Ann, was serving a 4 month sentence in the Crime Class for drunkenness in the Female Factory at this time.
Martha was released from the orphanage on 2 July 1840 at age 14 years. As orphans were apprenticed out at age 14 years, it is possible that this date was Martha's birthday as the orphanage would not wish to care for orphans any longer than that required by the colonial government!
King's Orphan School Register
NAME: Martha Ferns
AGE: 6 years
ADMITTED|: 9th January 1833
PARENTS NAMES: From House of Correction
TIME OF REMOVAL: 2nd July 1840
RELIGION: Protestant
REMARKS: From Female House of Correction.  Apprenticed to T. Smith, Ross      
When the orphans turned 14 years of age, they were apprenticed out and were forced to work for no money until 18.  They were at the mercy of their masters regarding food, clothing and housing. Martha was apprenticed to T. Smith, at Ross, and it was here that Martha was to meet and marry her future husband, Uriah Martin, in 1842.

Martha's son John married Elizabeth Hudson in Victoria and it was their eldest daughter, Annie Maud Martin, who married John Mitchelmore, my grandfather.

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 Site last updated June 2021