Burren(s), Stephen Amos and Johanna

Full name:

Burren, Stephen Amos and Johanna

Dates recorded for being in Berrima:


Occupation if known and land ownership:




Stephen A Burren(s), was listed as a constable on the September 1841 Berrima Police Register but was not a resident of Berrima. He was living at Bong Bong and appears as Number 96 on the 1841 Berrima District Census. The record shows him as being between 45 and 60 and living with him is a younger woman aged between 21 and 45, an older woman aged over 60 and two young children, a boy and a girl between two and seven. One person is listed as Church of England, the rest Catholic. The two children were born in the colony while the man arrived free and the two women were ex-convicts.

Family records on ancestry show Burren was born in 1795 in East Fairley, Kent, England so that he was 46 at the time of the 1941 Census. He arrived in the colony in 1825 as a soldier on board the Sir Charles Forbes with the 57th Regiment of Foot and in 1826 enlisted in the mounted police attaining the rank of corporal. Two dates are given for his discharge, 1832 for the army and 1836 from the mounted police, the reason given for the latter being a reduction in the number of troopers.

In 1832 Stephen sought and was granted permission to marry Johanna Robertson, a convict aged 19 years who arrived in 1831 on the Hooghly lll sentenced to transportation for seven years. She was listed as a housemaid from Kerry, Ireland and her crime was the theft of clothes. The record that confirms her certificate of freedom in 1839 says she was at that time living at Kissing Point married to Stephen Burrowes – presumably a spelling error. For there is a high probability that we have the right person as her record on the Irish Convict database says that travelling with her on the Hooghly lll was her mother, Margaret Grady, born in 1786 and sentenced to 7 years for stealing a cloak.[1] Margaret was in all likelihood the older woman in the household but may have been around 55 years old not over 60.

No records of the two children alive in 1841 have been found and they are not included in the family records on ancestry.com. But one of them, the boy, is mentioned in a report of Berrima school in 1844, where Master Burren came a close second to young Bryan McMahon and ‘displayed a great deal of acuteness during the severe examination which he underwent’.[2] Two further children were born to the couple, Bridget in 1845 (possibly at Appin), Stephen A in 1848 and possibly another child, Robert, who died, an ‘infant’ in 1850.[3].

Stephen Burren is mentioned as assisting the chief constable of Berrima in completing the electoral lists in the electoral district of Camden in 1843, but the Berrima police ledger says that in January he left the Berrima police force. He may not, however, have left the district as his name is on the list of people donating to the Irish Relief Fund in the Sydney Chronicle of 10 October 1846.

The family had left by 1849, However, as there is an unfortunate record of an assault on their daughter, Bridget. A Hartley Smith was indicted for having assaulted Bridget Burren, a child of three years old on 19 January. It appeared that the prisoner, on the afternoon of that day, was seen to take the child into a recess on her father’s premises, between the stockyard fence and the pigsty. The child was immediately missed by her mother, who, having heard where she was, ran to the spot, and found the prisoner and the child in a position that left no doubt of his intentions.

The jury returned a verdict of guilty, and evidence having then been given of his former conviction for a similar offence, the prisoner was sentenced to three years’ work on the roads.[4]

Burren purchased land in the Goulburn area, a town allotment in Goulburn in 1852 for £7/10/- and 27 acres in 1856.[5]

Family records (Clark Family) on ancestry.com suggest Johanna died in 1852 aged 41 and state records gives the death of her mother, Margaret, a year earlier in 1851 aged 67.[6] Stephen died at Whroo, south-west of Shepperton in Victoria in 1863 (birthplace given as East Fairleigh, Kent) aged 68 years.

[1] http://members.pcug.org.au/~ppmay/cgi-bin/irish/irish.cgi

[2] Morning Chronicle, 16 November 1844

[3] Family record on ancestry.com V1845 253 63, birth registered at Appin; NSW BDM Records V18481304 65/1848; NSW BDM V1850240 110/1850

[4] Maitland Mercury and Hunter River General Advertiser ,14 February 1849

[5] Goulburn Herald and County of Argyle Advertiser, 27 March 1852 and SRNSW Archive Reel:1756, Series: 1216; also SRNSW Copies of Deeds of Grant to Land Alienated by Grant, Lease or Purchase Series:13844; Roll:1724.

[6] NSW BDM V18521301 118/1852