Tag Archives: Esther Abrahams

Esther Abrahams – convict, farmer, drinker and an all-round admirable woman


Esther Abrahams in 1811 (aged 39). State Library of NSW

In July 1786 a teenage girl with dark hair and a long, attractive face, stepped into a shop, took two cards of black lace to the counter and asked the price.

“Twenty-five shillings,” she was told.

Young Esther Abrahams, for that was her name, tartly replied that she would pay no more than a guinea and soon left without buying anything. Moments later, the shop assistant rushed out onto the London street and caught up with Esther, angrily accusing her of theft. Esther denied it, but the shop lady was insistent. The disputed goods were found and, ever so predictably, Esther was charged, jailed and – despite excellent character references – sentenced to transportation. Seven months after the incident in the shop Esther gave birth, inside Newgate Gaol, to a baby girl she called Rosanna.

So far, so very much like every other story of convict-girl-with-heart-of-gold-forced-into-theft-by-circumstances-beyond-her-control.

Except that Esther and her family made a genuine and important difference to the course of Australian history. And she lived quite an interesting life along the way. Oh, and she was Read the rest of this entry