mary reiby in latter life
May 1777 Mary Reibey, baptised Molly Haydock, born in Bury, Lancashire,
England. Orphaned, she was reared by a grandmother and sent into service.
She ran away, & was arrested for horse stealing in August 1791.
arrested she was dressed as a boy and using an alias, however her identity
was revealed during the trial. She was 13 years old when sentenced
to seven years' transportation,
she arrived in New South Wales on the Royal Admiral.
1792 she was
assigned as a nursemaid in the household of Major Francis Grose.
September 1794, 17-year-old Mary married Thomas Raby, junior officer on the
store ship Britannia,formerly
of the East India Company
Raby also used the surnames Raiby, Reiby and
Reibey interchangeably, but the family adopted the spelling Reibey in later
was granted land on the Hawkesbury River, where he and Mary lived and farmed
following their marriage. He commenced a cargo business along the Hawkesbury
River to Sydney, and traded in coal, cedar, furs and skins.
Reibey's business undertakings prospered, enabling him in to build a
substantial stone residence on a further grant of land near Macquarie Place.
riebys house is to the right of
the lane with the pitched roof
Thomas bought a schooner &
into a partnership with Edward Wills, and trading activities were extended
to Bass Strait, the Pacific Islands and, from 1809, to China and India.
falls ill after a voyage to India
5 April 1811
Thomas Reibey died. Mary was left with seven children and control of a
large business which included rural properties, Bass Strait sealing
operations and overseas trading. Through enterprise and hard work she became
one of the most successful businesswomen in the Colony. As she rose in
affluence, she also rose in respectability and socialised in Governor
opened a new warehouse
extended her fleet with the purchase of two more ships.
returned to England with her daughters.
sole responsibility for the care of seven children and control of numerous
Now a woman
of considerable wealth, Mary Reibey continued to expand her business
In 1812 she
opened a new warehouse in George Street
her shipping operations with the purchase of further vessels.
gradually retired from active involvement in commerce, she had acquired
extensive property holdings in the city.
emancipist society of New South Wales she had gained respect for her
charitable works and her interest in the church and education.
1825 She was
appointed one of the Governors of the Free Grammar School
she lived in
retirement, in the house she built at Newtown,
30 May 1855
mary reibey died
at the age of 78.
Five of her
seven children had predeceased her.