Mary Eckford was sent to Australia as a convict, having stolen an apron and handkerchief at age 14 in Devon in England.
She arrived in Sydney in 1801. A year later, she married William Eckford. He was in his forties and she was about 18 then. William later became Newcastle's harbour pilot.
The pair were thought to have met on the voyage to Sydney on the ship Earl Cornwallis, with Mary [her maiden name was Horrell] as a convict and William as a free settler. They went on to have eight children.
Mary is one of a number of convict women to appear in a Newcastle Library exhibition to be launched on Tuesday.
The exhibition, They Sent Me North: Female Convicts in the Hunter, is about women who overcame hardship to help establish Newcastle and its surrounds.
The exhibition and a book of the same title were developed by Newcastle Family History Society to celebrate the lives of 1600 women transported to the Hunter between 1804 and 1822.
Newcastle lord mayor Nuatali Nelmes described the women as "hardy European pioneers".
Cr Nelmes said it was a "must-see exhibition", particularly for those wondering about their ancestral connection to the women.
"The book is a fascinating database of the female convicts sent to Newcastle and the Hunter, and includes 70 short biographies penned by their descendants."
One remarkable character was retailer Ann "Hannah" Langham.
Transported for stealing a watch at age 19, Langham (nee Williams) was assigned to a reverend's Aboriginal mission in Lake Macquarie after arriving at Port Jackson in 1829.
The former London laundress married Samuel Langham as a free woman in 1832. Following his two-year jailing over debt and the death of a daughter, they opened their store opposite the old courthouse in the mid- to late-1840s.
"Her Hunter Street shop was fondly remembered by Novocastrians well into the 20th century. We'd love to hear from one of her descendants ahead of the exhibition," the lord mayor said.
Mrs Langham's store was Newcastle's "commercial world" in 1859, according to the Newcastle Morning Herald.
It became "the only business of any consequence on the main street" and a "fancy warehouse".
Mrs Langham closed her store in 1879 - a quarter century after Samuel died. She died at the Benevolent Asylum in Waratah at age 87.
The cause of death was listed as "senile decay", but the Herald reported "she retained all her faculties to the last".
The exhibition is part of Roses from the Heart, an Australia-wide initiative created by Dr Christina Henri, which pays tribute to all convict women sentenced to transportation in Australia.
Dr Henri and Cr Nelmes will launch the exhibition on Tuesday at 5.30pm at Lovett Gallery at Newcastle Library.
An anti-abortion advertisement has been removed from a billboard on the Pacific Highway at Belmont North.
The pro-life ad showed an image of a pregnant woman's stomach, alongside the phrase: "A heart beats at four weeks".
"We honestly don't understand what part of the advertisement simply stating the scientific fact that an unborn child has a heartbeat at four weeks from conception is offensive," Emily's Voice CEO Paul O'Rourke said.
The same advertisement was recently banned from the side of a bus in Newcastle, after Transport Minister Andrew Constance instructed Keolis Downer to remove it.
Abortion has been in the news a bit recently, with the rally in Newcastle last Sunday, calls for the NSW government to remove abortion from the Crimes Act and the so-called "heartbeat bills" in several US states.
We sure do live in strange but interesting times.
We wrote yesterday about a Wickham woman who was surprised that a Newcastle highway patrol officer tapped on her window and warned her against drinking coffee while driving.
The road rules state that a driver must not drive a vehicle unless the driver has proper control of the vehicle. We reported that research showed that drinking water while driving was not a distraction from driving.
In response Ray Dinneen said: "I have thought for some time now that the police have abandoned their charter of enforcing the law and keeping the peace. In other words, helping make all our lives better. The way things are going, we will need a second police force to keep us all safe and sound."
Graeme Bennett said: "If you drink coffee with one hand and hold the steering wheel with one hand you are clearly not in complete control of the vehicle. In my opinion, the cop should have fined her."
As we said, interesting times.
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