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Significant individuals: Mary Reibey
Mary Reibey Letter
The role that a significant individual or group played in shaping a colony; for example, explorers, farmers, entrepreneurs, artists, writers, humanitarians, religious and political leaders, and Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander peoples. (ACHHK097)
- use a range of sources to investigate the role of a particular man, woman or group and the contributions each made to the shaping of the colony
Background Notes for teachers
Mary Haydock was only 13 years old when she was convicted of horse stealing and sentenced to seven years transportation to New South Wales. Mary dressed as a boy and used the name James Burrow when she committed the crime, but at her trial, her real gender and identity were discovered. She was 15 years old when she arrived in Sydney in 1792. Mary was assigned as a nursemaid to the household of Major Francis Grose.
In 1794 Mary married Thomas Reibey, a merchant and landholder and they had seven children. After Thomas' death in 1811, Mary became a prosperous businesswoman in her own right with interests in trading vessels and property. She died in 1855, a wealthy and respected member of colonial society. You can see a portrait of Mary in her old age on our twenty dollar note.
Mary was a favourite of Governor Macquarie as he saw her as an example of the value of integrating convicts who had served thier sentence back into society. Macquarie's official encouragement of this was calling his Emancipist policy.
For more information about the life of Mary Reibey investigate her entry in the The Australia Dictionary of Biography
Note: Mary's last name has been spelled variously as 'Reibey', 'Reiby' and 'Raby' in historical documents.
Researching Mary Reibey
NSW Syllabus for the Australian Curriculum History K - 10
- HT3-1 describes and explains the significance of people, groups, places and events to the development of Australia
- HT3-2 describes and explains different experiences of people living in Australia over time
- HT3-5 applies a variety of skills of historical inquiry and communication
Comprehension: chronology, terms and concepts
- sequence historical people and events (ACHHS098, ACHHS117)
- use historical terms and concepts (ACHHS099, ACHHS118)
- identify and pose questions to inform an historical inquiry (ACHHS100, ACHHS119)
Analysis and use of resources
- locate information relevant to inquiry questions in a range of sources (ACHHS119, ACHHS121)
Perspectives and interpretations
- identify different points of view in the past and present (ACHHS104, ACHHS123)
Explanation and communication
- develop historical texts, particularly narratives and descriptions, which incorporate source materials (ACHHS105, ACHHS124)
- use a range of communication forms (oral, written, graphic) and digital technologies (ACHHS106, ACHHS125)
- Significance: the importance of an event, development or individual/group
- Perspectives: people from the past will have different views and experiences
Learning across the curriculum
- Work and enterprise