John Bugden married his first wife Elizabeth Lockyear in Wiltshire in 1820. But she was left behind when he was gaoled and then transported to NSW. His second marriage to Margaret Roach (below) raises the question of bigamy. This was a situation many convict men and women faced after transportation to NSW separated them from their British spouses. Divorce was not available to the common person until the late 1800s and even then was expensive and scandalous. However, the situation soon developed that married convicts were permitted to legally remarry after seven years separation, even if the spouse was still living, as long as they were abroad. The Government's rationale was that they encouraged marriage for convicts as a means of rehabilitation, and was more desirable than co-habitation.

In fact, Tomlin's Law Dictionary (London, 1820, vol.1.) p.50 says after seven years, bigamy was probably not a crime: "BIGAMY ... is yet no felony ... where either party has been continually abroad for seven years...."

The National Archives in England hold a "Settlement Examination" document dated 18 September 1826 regarding Elizabeth Bugden, aged 24, who was born in the Parish of Coombe and was at that time residing in the Parish of St Martin. She was asking for permission to settle in Salisbury. She declares that she has had no contact with her husband for three years or that they had any children together. It was noted, however that she was pregnant and that the child was not her husband's. The document also reveals that shortly after they were married, John and Elizabeth had been removed by magistrate's order from the Parish of Pitton and Farley to the Parish of Clarendon, where she was 'relieved' by the Parish Officer of Clarendon. This indicates dire poverty and she would have entered a Workhouse. Perhaps this prompted John's burglary; he wanted her freed. The document was witnessed and Elizabeth made her mark. Beyond this, her fate is unknown.

Margaret Roach was John Bugden's second wife and was one of the women of the Female Emigration Scheme which brought single women to the colony as servants. The date, cause and place of her death remain unknown as do her birth details and parentage.

 She came on the Duchess of Northumberland leaving in October 1834 from Cork and arriving in Sydney on the 27th February 1835. The female passengers included 'House of Industry' girls and 50 others from the city of cork and suburbs. The Belfast News-Letter, Tuesday, October 28, 1834 reported the departure in a single sentence: The Duchess of Northumberland with female emigrants for New South Wales, sailed from Cork on Saturday last. Find out more about the scheme here.

Between 1833 and 1837, fourteen ships disembarked approximately 2700 female migrants at Sydney, Hobart and Launceston under the first scheme for female emigration between Great Britain and the Australian colonies. At the outset of the scheme, emigration was open to single women and widows between the ages of 18 and 30 years of age, but before the first ship departed, the minimum age was lowered to 15 years. With the inclusion of some selected families on later ships, girls as young as 12 years of age were deemed to be eligible for the government bounty, provided they were travelling with their families. The women who emigrated under this scheme had to obtain references from two reputable people, as 'health and good conduct' were linked as two basic prerequisites for potential emigrants. The final check was an interview by the committee or its agent.

The Belfast News-Letter (Belfast, Ireland), Tuesday, October 28, 1834 reported the departure in a single sentence: The Duchess of Northumberland with female emigrants for New South Wales, sailed from Cork on Saturday last. The master was Robert Jobbling.

The Sydney Gazette and New South Wales Advertiser, Tuesday 3 March 1835, page 2

We observe by a notice in our front page the female emigrants by the Duchess of Northumberland, are to be landed this morning and that Mr Barton's Premises adjoining the Bazaar, in Macquarie-place have been prepared for their reception. Reports speak favourably of the conduct of these emigrants during the passage out; and they are also chiefly composed of young women of that station in life which are more wanted here than the generality of those who have hitherto been sent out the committee at home.

EDITORIAL COMMENT The Sydney Gazette and New South Wales Advertiser, Thursday 5 March 1835, page 2

The female emigrants by the ship Duchess of Northumberland, were landed on Tuesday, and proceeded to the temporary residence prepared for them in the premises adjoining the Sydney Bazaar (opened in December 1834 for the sale "fancy goods"). Every attention was shown them by the members of the Committee, but many of the poor women appeared to be very much dispirited. If however, we may judge from the numbers of respectable persons who visited the Bazaar in the course of Tuesday and yesterday, these females are not likely to he long unprovided with suitable employments. They are, we understand, chiefly from the country districts in Ireland, and such females are in generally well qualified for ordinary house or farm servants. We would recommend, them, however, to he moderate in their demands for wages, and not permit the exaggerated reports which prevail at home on that subject, to influence them so as to reject fair offers of comfortable homes.

The Colonial Secretary's Office, Sydney, New South Wales, 7 May 1835.

"Since I had last the honour of addressing His Majesty's Government on the subject of emigration, the ship 'Duchess of Northumberland,' ... has arrived in Port Jackson with 226 female emigrants.... The appearance of these emigrants on their landing created a favourable impression, as they seemed to be better suited to fill situations as servants than the females who had arrived by former ships; and the greater portion of them were engaged by reputable householders within a few days after their disembarkation..."

Extract of a despatch from Major-General Sir Richard Bourke to the Secretary of State for the Colonies; dated Government House, Sydney, 8 May 1835.

"I am further called on to reply to the observations ...regarding the treatment of the emigrants on their arrival in this colony. It is said they were 'placed in the lumber-yard, at that time stated to be in very bad repair;' and it is added, 'that the provisions served out to them were of the worst description, and that no attention whatever was paid to their comforts.....In reply to this statement, I beg leave to remark that in this colony there are very few public buildings which are not constantly required for the purposes for which they have been appropriated; and that to find accommodation of any sort for between 200 or 300 women in Sydney is a matter of some difficulty. The lumber-yard buildings were those which offered the greatest conveniences for the reception of the emigrants, and the intercourse which they required to keep up with the inhabitants in order to procure engagements. The inclosure of its walls at the same time afforded to those who were desirous of it some protection from the rudeness of ill-disposed persons. The apartments, though out of order, were safe, and furnished with the most needful articles for taking food and rest, and generally, I believe, superior in such accommodation to the ship the women had just left, and to the dwellings of many of them in the countries of their birth....The complaint of badness of provisions is wholly without foundation, and the ration, composed as is stated in the margin, will probably be considered as furnishing not only what is required for mere sustenance, but for some degree of comfort.... Military Bread 1¼lbs. Fresh Beef 12 oz. Vegetables 8 oz. Tea ¼oz. Sugar 1½ oz. Salt ½ oz. Soap ¼ oz."

Elizabeth was employed by Mr James Raymond of O'Connell Street Parramatta, to be paid 10 shillings a year. He was prominent in the Colony of NSW, and was made Postmaster-General in 1835. She was employed at the same place with another migrant also called Margaret Roach, who came out on the same ship. The other woman was 40 years old. Our Margaret was 22 years old. Whether or not they were related is not known. Her movements after this appointment are not known. However, James Raymond lived at both Parramatta and Campbelltown. These were also places where John Bugden had his tickets of Leave a couple of years before Margaret arrived: first at Airds near Campbelltown from September 1831 and then altered from 28th of February 1832 to Paramatta. Conceivably John and Margaret could have met in these places. John may even have worked for O'Connell; he was a groom by training and James Raymond kept racehorses. A letter from the Principal Superintendent of Convicts Office dated 23 January 1835 (letter No. 35/37) records his abscondment and adds that he had never mustered in either of these places.

In 1839 the first of her four sons was born: John in 1839, Robert in 1844, Patrick in 1845, Michael in 1847. She had eight children all together. As for a date of death, Margaret Roach, her last child, Bridget was born in 1849 and little is known of Margaret's life after this point. On daughter Ellen Bugden's Notification of Marriage Certificate (dated 7 July 1859), her father is listed as her only parent. However, according to a birth certificate for Margaret Schneider, born 27th March 1864 at Lyndhurst Vale "Mrs. Bugden Senr" was present at the birth. Additionally, a birth certificate for Robert Bugden on 28th January 1869 (son of Robert and Leonora) also gave the place of birth as Lyndhurst Vale and present at that birth was a "Mrs. John Bugden and Mrs Schneider". These records indicate that Margaret Roach was alive in 1869 when she and John lived at Lyndhurst Vale. She disappears from the records after this time. The date and place of her death remain unknown. Marian Bugden also has an unrecorded death. She is listed as dead on father John Bugden's death certificate in 1876. Perhaps mother and daughter died before that time from accident or illness.

We do know from Baptismal Sponsor Records from Parish Films for St Joseph's East Maitland that Margaret Bugden was active in her church, sponsoring:

'Joseph' Bugden 14/1/1846 (This is a mistake; "Joseph" is in fact her husband John)

Bridget Roach 21/3/1849

Michael McDean 23/6/1858

Mary Burke 4/7/1860

Maurice Walsh (This is NOT a son of William Walsh and Margaret Bugden)


Return to Menu