4. Elizabeth Jillett & Her Children - An amazing lady

Elizabeth Jillett's only crime was to marry Thomas Bradshaw, and to receive permission to accompany him to the colony on the ship "Hillsborough".

Elizabeth arrived in Sydney on the Hillsborough in 1799.  What a brave lady she must have been.  There were 6 ladies who travelled as free settlers, on the Hillsborough.  Five of them came without payment, and the other was charged 150 guineas to come.  What an exhorbant amount of money in those days.

Elizabeth would have need help on her arrival.  It can be supposed that Thomas her husband, died at arrival.
There were no houses, nor shelter, and so it is reasonable to expect that Elizabeth would have been given a
convict to help her build some sort of house.  It seems that Robert was the one of choice.

To build the house, Elizabeth would have been granted land.  That land was in a most desirable location.
The building would have been only built with wattle branches.  Her young daughter was only 2 years old. 

The author Frank Clune has written some very interesting stories about the convicts and early life.
  He followed the lives of 3 of the ladies on the Hillsborough, and two of them became very wealthy ladies indeed.

So where does Robert Jillett fit into this cosy picture.  Unfortunately Thomas Bradshaw either died before landing, or after landing in Sydney Cove.  He had been sick on board the Hillsborough, and was nursed by Elizabeth, as described by the convict Noah in Frank Mc Clune's book.  No records are available about Thomas.  Many of the poor souls that arrived were far too sick to even make it off the boat.  Some just slipped into the water, never to be seen again.  None of them had any clothing when they arrived, as is described in the letters written by the Colonial Secretary to London.

As a free settler, Elizabeth would have been granted a convict.  So Robert obviously was in her charge.  She bore two sons in Port Jackson, William and James, both who took her name only.  That was the norm within the colonies, if children were born to unmarried mothers.  Robert worked on Elizabeth's punt that plied between Sydney and the Hawkesbury.  When he was arrested for stealing (177lb) 1/2 pig from the commandants store, in April 1803, she sold her home and the boat and travelled to Norfolk Island with him.

Elizabeth owned land in Sydney, as written in the book Scallywags of Sydney Cove, by Frank Clune.

"On 18 April 1803 he (HB Hayes) paid Elizabeth Bradshaw £27.7.0 for a house lately occupied by Robert Gillet, situate in Chapel Row, Sydney, also a boat on the stock"  These records can be found in the Archives, she also puchased in March 1803 a property known as Badlife Farm, in the Hawkesbury region.  It was originally granted to John Badlife, a convict, who sold it to another convict before he sold it to Elizabeth for £150.  That was an enormous amount of money in those days, and poses the question "why did Robert need to steal if she had that much money"?

Note:  The original name Chapel Row was changed firstly to Camden Street, then by Governor Macquarie in 1810 Castlereagh Street.

What would that property be worth in today's monies?      Sir H.B. Hayes later built Vaucluse. 

It seems the Elizabeth was busy selling her assets to travel with Robert to Norfolk on the Buffalo.  It would also seem that she paid for Robert's reprieve at the scaffold. 


[PRO HO 11/1, p.255, Reel 87]

              Thomas Bradshaw - convicted - Warwick Assizes, 31 March 1798, sentenced for life
                Arr. Sydney, Hillsborough, 26 July 1799.

                No subsequent record. Quite probably died soon after landing, as did a number of prisoners from this "fever ship".


List of Expired or Emancipated Convicts and Free People, off the stores in 1801.

                Ref. No. AE070, Ship Hillsborough, Elizabeth Bradshaw, resident at Sydney,                          Ticket No. 066, arrived free.

                [No reference to Robert Jillett in convict lists.  Possibly under his alias,  ELSTON
                but more likely that serving convicts were excluded from these lists].

[Notes: - The original name Chapel Row was changed first to Camden Street, then by Governor Macquarie in 1810 to Castlereagh Street.
Sir H. B. Hayes later built Vaucluse.  He was the holder of a Ticket-of-Leave, issued February 2, 1803, and was the subject of
correspondence of Governor Hunter, mainly in connection for his involvement in organising unauthorised Freemasons Lodge meetings.

             - after Elizabeth Bradshaw and Robert Jillett transferred to Norfolk Island, the Little William continued to trade between the Hawkesbury and Sydney.  She arrived on Saturday 18th August, 1804 with a load of maize and after weathering a storm was moored to a stump in Cabbage Tree Bay.]

Elizabeth Bradshaw - An Amazing Lady
Bradshaw, Elizabeth

bap       26JUL1796 @ Trinity Church, Coventry, Warwickshire

Bradshaw, Mary Anne

bap     30 JAN1797 @ St Johnís Church, Coventry, Warwickshire
arr      26JUL1799, Sydney per Hillsborough, free
                    at Norfolk Island 3 children, FEB1805 [Norfolk Island Muster] {JBJ}
l         14FEB1808  from Norfolk Island plus 5 children
d        09?(02)MAR1842 Hobart [1842:967] @ 67 of Decay , tombstone inscription, St. Peter s, Oatlands TAS

and had issue including: 5 sons and 4 or 5 daughters (Elizabeth Bradshaw, her mother's eldest child, was
the daughter of Thomas Bradshaw)
Elizabeth had two daughters born in England, when she was married to Thomas Bradshaw
Rev Knopwood married Robert and Elizabeth in the St Davids Church in 1812
They lived in Wapping Campbell Street.
Throughout this website the one common thread is the death of so many of Elizabeth's young grandchildren.
Return to Elizabeth Jillett
These stories can be found on the Newspaper Archives Australia 

Hayes  took up residence in Chapel Row, Sydney. He purchased the property which he called 'Vaucluse' on 22 August 1803. The first published notice of the name Vaucluse is in an advertisement in the Sydney Gazette, 29 January 1804.

The NSW Archives indicate that Elizabeth sold land in Chapel Row and a boat to Sir Henry Hayes, and that she sold a house & baking trough in Chapel Row to Thomas Brooks
While Elizabeth's name is recorded on the Thomas Jillett Family Crypt, she is not buried there.  She possibly was buried at New Norfolk, but nothing can be found in the old cemetery at Back River.

Elizabeth Bradshaw's signature on a document signed in 1804 to Captain Piper on Norfolk Island, she was the only woman who signed the petition

Elizabeth and Robert's Marriage Certificate, Hobart, St David's 1812. 
Early map of Sydney (French)