Segments in this Video

Lower Class England (02:47)


Missionaries tried to help working class families in Victorian England— descendants will explore their family's forgotten history. Britain banished three sisters who committed petty crimes and exiled them to a thief colony. Pat Wardley is the great-great-great-granddaughter of Mary Ann Gadbury. (Credits)

Victorian London (02:13)

William Miles believed that a criminal class was emerging in England and to prove his theory he interviewed over 200 imprisoned children in the 19th century— listen to excerpts from his notes. Miles published his interviews three years before "Oliver Twist" was released. Wanting to speak to a female repeat offender, a prison guard introduced him to Caroline Gadbury.

Caroline's Story (03:25)

Caroline originally stole with her sister Sarah, but after she was released from prison, she abetted her other sister, Mary Ann. Police discovered Mary Ann leaving a haberdashery shop with 20 yards of fabric concealed in her gown. Although there was no evidence, the judge sentenced Caroline to seven years transport.

In Van Diemen's Land (03:59)

At the Port Arthur penal colony, Caroline frequently re-offended, trying to escape indentured servitude. Within three years, two of her children and her lover died. Caroline met George Ogilvie— they got married and merged their families.

Jimmy's Sons (04:14)

Eric and Albert Ogilvie grew up above a pub in a working-class household. They became politicians and ascended to the Premier and the Attorney-General of Tasmania. When Albert died of a heart attack, the government gave him a state funeral in Hobart.

Tour of "The Dock" (04:28)

Albert Ogilvie, Jr. never knew his ancestors were convicts. Members of Parliament share stories of their relatives. Madeleine Ogilvie explains how forced migration gave criminals an opportunity for upper social mobility.

Amelia Cleary (03:47)

Sarah married Arthur Miles and sent her six children to a private school in Hobart. Melinda Clarke and Kathy Rundle share images and enrollment information on Caroline's grandchildren. Influential families would remove pages from official documents to erase the "convict stain."

Moving To Sydney (02:49)

Nell and Elsie, Sarah and Arthur's unmarried daughters, bought two boarding schools and tried to appear Victorian upper class. Elizabeth Young was raised in Chester Hill, but she moved to Randiwick when she was five because her mother believed that she would find a more suitable husband there.

Caroline's Descendants (03:53)

Gabrielle, Caroline's great-great-great-granddaughter, is not embarrassed by her families past and feels it just demonstrates her ancestor's resourcefulness and resilience. Her friend Michael compares the Australian class system to the English caste system. Michael Slattery finds it ironic that two of Caroline's descendants are judges in New South Wales.

Tough Separation (02:48)

Sarah's gang allotted money for lawyers and to bribe the police. Within a year, police arrested her and she awaited trial in Newgate Prison— listen to an excerpt of a letter she wrote to her alleged husband. Unlike Caroline, Sarah never self-medicated and found other ways to cope.

Convicts Labeled as Currency (02:03)

The judge ruled Sarah would be transported to Australia. After traveling to New South Wales, she worked in the Hunter Valley as a servant for a free settler. While Tasmania was more upwardly socially mobile, Sarah faced harsher discrimination because of the amount of free settlers in NSW.

Sarah's Descendants (03:01)

Sarah married William Robbins, a former convict and they had nine children. When Stanley Paul Berquist's father was born, the family moved to "Pollywood," a shantytown. After the Great Depression, the family moved into assisted housing in Newcastle and took jobs as coal miners.

Descended from a Convict (02:30)

Bree Larson works at the Beachcomber Resort at the Gold Coast and Surfer's Paradise. She feels that discrimination for having relatives who were convicts still exists today in Australia. Karen Berquist tells her son to share with the teacher his ancestry and feels there is no stigma attached.

Staying Together (03:20)

Sarah stopped her criminal activities when she arrived in Australia. In 1906, Sarah died in the home of her daughter, Susan. Sarah and Caroline's living descendants meet for the first time in Sydney.

The Third Sister (05:54)

A judge sentenced Mary Ann to six months in prison and she never re-offended. Robert Wardley shares how his family continues to live in the East End of London— none of his children or grandchildren has ever been tried for a crime. Miles traveled to Australia to become Sydney's Chief of Police.

Credits: The Gadbury Sisters— The Secret History of My Family: A Social History (00:34)

Credits: The Gadbury Sisters— The Secret History of My Family: A Social History

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The Gadbury Sisters—The Secret History of My Family: A Social History

Part of the Series : The Secret History of My Family: A Social History
DVD (Chaptered) Price: $300.00
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The story of three pickpocketing sisters raised in 1830s Shoreditch, in the heart of London's criminal underworld, and how two of them were banished to England's "thief colony." Among the girls' Australian descendants are two Supreme Court judges and a government premier, and the descendants of the sister left behind in England are a bin man and a window cleaner. The incredible true story of the Gadbury girls and the generations that followed them is told by their descendants.

Length: 53 minutes

Item#: BVL124981

ISBN: 978-1-63521-922-7

Copyright date: ©2016

Closed Captioned

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