Dunshea, Andrew and Mary

Full name:

Dunshea, Andrew and Mary

Dates recorded for being in Berrima:

1841 - ?

Occupation if known and land ownership:



Arrived Free

Andrew Dunshea was the son of William and Jane Dunshea and was born on 3 Dec 1816 in Belfast, Ireland who had married in 1815 and came from Lisburn in County Antrim.

William, Andrew’s father, was convicted of stealing two pigs and was sentenced to transportation for seven years. He arrived in Sydney in 1818 on board the convict ship Martha.

William’s history in the colony is complex. In 1822 he was in Bathurst, assigned to Richard Wise.[1] But, also in 1822, there is a record of him being in Windsor and being sent for two years (1822-24) to Port Macquarie penal settlement. But by 1825 he was back in Windsor, had a certificate of freedom and was appointed a constable.[2] Later in 1825 he was dismissed from this post for allowing prisoners to escape.[3]

Family members state Jane Dunshea joined her husband in 1828 as a free immigrant on the Sir Joseph Banks bringing son Andrew, who was then thirteen-years old.[4] The couple were to have more children but records suggest William did not have a smooth passage through life and died young, aged only fifty-two, when according to family, he was living in Woolloomooloo, Sydney.

So what of Andrew? At some point Andrew Dunshea had moved to the Braidwood district, one website suggesting that he worked in the mines while another states he was a carpenter. He met Mary Brett (Butt) who was also Irish and a free immigrant, coming from Dublin. She too was born in 1816.

The birth certificates of their children show the couple moving between Braidwood and Berrima districts: James, their eldest was born at Mongarlowe near Braidwood in 1837; Charles, Andrew and Robert born in Berrima in 1838, 1840 and 1842 respectively; William born in Majors Creek in 1846; Elizabeth Jane, Henry, and John Charles born in Berrima in 1847, 1849 and 1851 respectively. Isaac Henry Farmer Delaware Dunshea who was born in 1853 in Majors Creek was possibly adopted by them.

At the time of the 1841 census Andrew and Mary and their three sons were living in a wooden cottage in Jellore Street. The census has them as married but the genealogy website gives their marriage as taking place on 2 April 1842 at Berrima Presbyterian Church (there was no Presbyterian church in Berrima at that time and the register of Birth Deaths and Marriages gives it as a Presbyterian Church in the Bungonia/Goulburn District) just before their fourth child was born in 1842.[5] Given that on the census one is Church of Scotland and the other Church of England it is possible they had married earlier and that they chose to marry again into the other’s faith, but there is no record of this in the NSW records.

A reference to Andrew in 1847 confirms his employment as a carpenter when he tendered to supply ‘two new cedar tables & four new cedar forms ….. made on 1 inch planks in a strong and substantial & workmanlike manner such as will be approved of by the visiting Justice ….. for the sum of £4/0/0.’[6]

A newspaper article in 1850 reported that a Matthew Yates pleaded guilty to obtaining four pairs of boots, one half-crown, and two shillings from Andrew Dunshea by means of false pretences.[7]

Mary Dunshea died at Major’s Creek in 1855, two years after giving birth to their last child and in 1864 Andrew remarried. His new wife was Sarah Ann Wright. He died in Marrickville in 1893 and is buried in the Church of England section of Waverley Cemetery.

Most of the Dunshea children married and remained in the Braidwood/Major’s Creek area. A Daniel Dunshea is listed as donating £1 for an Episcopalian church in Berrima in 1846, but no family link can be established.[8]

It is thanks to The Monaro Pioneers Project – Pioneers and Settlers Database[9] and the Dunshea Genealogy page[10] that we have a better knowledge of this family

[1] SRNSW List of Non-Artificer Prisoners, 1822; Volume: 4/4521SRA

[2] SRNSW Series: NRS 898; Reel or Fiche Numbers: Reels 6020-6040, 6070; Fiche 3260-3312

[3] SRNSW Port Macquarie: List of Convicts, 1822-1825; Volume:4/3864; SRNSW Col. Sec. Papers NRS 898; Reel or Fiche Numbers: Reels 6020-6040, 6070; Fiche 3260-3312

[4] Re-united the couple had five more children: Elizabeth Jane born 1829, John Charles born 1831, William born 1833, Isaac born 1835 and Samuel born 1838

[5] NSW Register of Births. Deaths and Marriages – V18421222 76/1842

[6] Personal communication – source to be checked

[7] Sydney Morning Herald, 11 Feb 1850

[8] Sydney Morning Herald, 16 April 1846

[9] Accessed 2017

[10] Accessed 2017