Melinda was daughter of convict and servant girl to Rev Richard Hill. A young woman recorded as Protestant on the census but registered as Roman Catholic on baptismal papers of 1824 with her father Patrick McNally as witness. The McNallys were living down in Kent Street en famille and Melinda was up in Castlereagh St. She then marries the son of a missionary and marries him in a Presbyterian Church. What was happening in her world in the 1820s – 1830s ?
THE ROCKS AND SYDNEY: SOCIETY, CULTURE AND MATERIAL LIFE 1788-C1830
University of Sydney, History
This study explores the early history of Sydney’s Rocks area at two levels. First, it provides a much-needed history of the city’s earliest, oldest-surviving and best-known precinct, one which allows an investigation of popular beliefs about the Rocks’ convict origins, and which challenges and qualifies its reputation for lowlife, vice and squalor. Second, by examining fundamental aspects of everyday life – townscape, community and commonality, family life and work, human interaction and rites of passage – this study throws new light on the origins of Sydney from the perspective of the convict and ex-convict majority. Despite longstanding historical interest in Sydney’s beginnings, the cultural identity, values, habits, beliefs of the convicts and ex-convicts remained largely hidden. The examination of such aspects reveals another Sydney altogether from that presented by governors, artists and mapmakers. Instead of an orderly oupost of empire, a gaol-town, or a ‘gulag’, the Sydney the Rocks represents was built and occupied largely according to the tastes, priorities and inclination of the people, with relatively little official regulation or interference. While the Rocks appeared ‘disorderly’ in the eyes of the elite, it nevertheless functioned according to cultural rules, those of the lower orders – the artisans, shopkeepers, publicans, labouring people, the majority of whom were convicts and ex-convicts.