Mary Jemima Austin

Mary Jemima (or Jemima Mary) Austin is a person of mystery. According to her death certificate, her father's name was Alfred Austin. No mother's name was provided. From information on her children's birth certificates, she was born in Dublin about 1834. Her arrival in Australia has yet to be found.

She married Edward Elliott in Maitland NSW on 26 December 1852. From information on the birth certificates of her children, she may have been married prior to her marriage to Edward Elliott. Her maiden name provided on these certificates is not Austin, but variations on Solomon (allowing for accents and clerical errors, possibly Sullivan. Further investigation is required. This is supported by her death certificate, on which her maiden name was given as Mary Jemima Austin Solomony).After her marriage to Edward Elliott finished, she next married Jonathan Watson on 28 August 1873 in Coonabarrabran NSW. On her marriage certificate, she states that she was a widow. From her death certificate, she apparently spent some time in Queensland and Tasmania, but no details of this have been found at this time.

Between these two marriages, Jemima had a total of seventeen children, fourteen to Edward Elliott and three sons to Jonathan Watson. It is not known at this time if she had any other children. For further information on the Elliott family, click here

Family legend has it that Jonathan kicked his stepson, Thomas Elliott, out of the house, when Thomas was about 12. According to the birth certificates for the three Watson boys, Jonathan Watson was born in America. However other evidence suggests that he was born in England. On 9th January 1874, Jonathan was committed to trial at Coonabarrabran, charged with forgery. His trial was held in Mudgee in April 1874. He was found guilty and sentenced to two years hard labour at Darlinghurst Gaol. According to his admission papers, he was born in Liverpool England in 1834, and arrived in New South Wales in 1859 on the "Shamrock". In 1886, a warrant was issued by the Bourke bench for the arrest of Jonathan Watson, charged with unlawfully deserting his wife Jemima at Dubbo. He was said to be accompanied by a boy of about 12 (possibly their son Francis), and was supposed to have been shearing at Pangee. Nothing further is known about what became of Jonathan.

Jemima died 31 July 1904, and is buried at Nyngan.