On the 2nd of June 1790 to the profound relief of the settlers and the Governor, a group of ships heading for Port Jackson was sighted. Among these ships of the Second
Fleet as it became known, was the Lady Juliana, a transport carrying more than 200 convict women.
The voyage of the Lady Juliana and the other vessels of the Second Fleet has been well documented by Michael Flynn (1) and others and a book entitled "The Floating
Brothel" by Sian Rees describes the behaviour of the women prisoners on the Lady Juliana (2).
Within six months, William Hubbard had married Mary Goulding, from the Lady Juliana at a ceremony at Rose Hill on 19 December 1790 (3). Both signed the marriage
certificate with their "X". They were married by the first Anglican chaplain in New South Wales, the Reverend Richard Johnson. Marriages were always conducted on a
Sunday after church services.
It appears quite possible that Mary became pregnant on the voyage from England to either a seaman from the ship or to a visitor in one of the ports the ship called at. It
is impossible to say with any certainty as there is no official recording of the birth of the Hubbards' first child, Ann in Sydney either in late 1790 or early in 1791. Much
later, in the 1828 Muster Ann described herself as aged 38 which would indicate she was born just after the marriage of her parents in 1790. Whatever the case, William
did not treat Ann any differently to his other children with Mary but the next child was not born until 1796.
Mary had been born in or near London in about 1769 and at the age of 17 or 18, on 9 January 1788, "was indicted for feloniously stealing, on the 8th of January , four
yards of printed cotton, value 12 s. the property of Richard Birchall and Henry Wilding , privily in their shop" (4). After hearing sworn testimony, the judge found her
"GUILTY , Death. She was humbly recommended to mercy by the Jury. Tried by the second Middlesex Jury before Mr. Justice ASHURST." (4)
The voyage to New South Wales took a full year and there is a report (6) that the 245 women and the
few babies on board received good treatment and victualling whilst on the slow, plodding trip down
the Atlantic calling at Teneriffe, Rio de Janiero and the Cape of Good Hope.
Similar to the assignment system in Van Diemen's Land, it is possible that Mary was assigned to
William as a housekeeper, in recognition of their marriage. Governor Phillip and his successors
maintained the view that marriage was a very good stabilising influence on convicts so such a scenario
is not wildly implausible.
Newgate Prison (5)
On 23 May 1787 Mary was brought before the Court again to find "Mary Atkinson , capitally convicted in January sessions, received his Majesty's pardon, on being
transported to the same place for seven years." That "same place" as for others sentenced that day, was the "Eastern coast of New South Wales" (4). For the next two
years Mary languished in Newgate Prison in London until on 12 March 1789 she was transferred to the Lady Juliana which first proceeded down the Thames to
Portsmouth and eventually sailed for Botany Bay on 4 June 1789. As Mary was transferred from Newgate, her age was given as 20 (1).