Posted by Ian Ballantine on Sep 09, 2020
My family history on my mother’s side is interesting, I am sure that her mother’s side of the family would have a story to tell and I know some of it... I remember vividly my great grandmother talking about her youth in Wagga Wagga and hearing the aborigines at corroboree in the distance, but my memories are not detailed and would need to be substantiated and I am not inclined to do the long hours to research required to compile the history ...however on my mother’s fathers side her cousin has been prolific and detailed in her research, so I submit the following
John Gray & Elizabeth Gray (Nee Killett)
The Gray story begins so far as this country is concerned, with the birth of one John Gray in England about the year 1762. Not a great deal is known about his early life except that he joined the Army and saw service as a private in the 26th Regiment.
When he was 32 he fell foul of the Law in a country which at that time was in turmoil of social upheaval. Crime and poverty were both rampant. In addition there was a penal code which by no stretch imagination could be considered just or humane. The celebrated English jurist Sir William Blackstone pointed out in 1760 when John Gray was two years old, that there were no less than 160 felonies punishable by death. These ranged from the obvious ones of murder and rape to such minor misdemeanours as stealing a letter or being found begging if a soldier or a sailor.
By this time the Penal settlement at Botany Bay was already six years old and four years later, in 1798, John Gray was sent on a six months journey across the seas on the "Barwell" to serve out his sentence in Australia.
John Gray was found guilty of feloniously receiving a quantity of goods the property of Mr Samuel Doubleday in the Market place knowing the same to be feloniously stolen was made a Capital Offence for which he received Sentence of Death.
Ann Gray wife of the said John Gray and James Price charged as his accomplices were acquitted."
A number of other prisoners were tried and sentenced on the same day. John Gray just happened to be first. Towards the end of the report was this one :Richard Crop, convicted of manslaughter, in killing and flaying John Naylor, of the above city was fined one shilling and discharged." Interesting Priorities!
Many believe that Elizabeth Killett was the daughter of Robert and Mary Killett (nee Lighten) of Norwich, England and believe her to have been born on the 17th February 1775 and Baptised 18th February, 1775 at St. Andrews Church, Norwich.
However, in a letter written by Elizabeth on the 2nd May, 1867 she gives her date of birth as 28th April, and says it is her 89th birthday (1778). She makes reference to her age in three other letters, but as she is old and confused by this time the year of her birth is variously 1779, 1775 and two references which calculate out to 1778.
The first record which connects Elizabeth to Australia is recorded at South Western Circuit, Suffolk that Elizabeth Killett of the Parish of Bradwell, single woman in the dwelling of John Crow, on the 27th day of April in the fourtieth year of the Reign of the Sovereign did steal and take and carry away Bank and Pound Notes. Sentence, Seven Years... 31st July 1800 at Suffolk. She was nineteeen (19) years of age. She arrived in Australia on 14th December 1801
How John and Elizabeth met we do not know, but obviously they were both exemplary and well behaved convicts because they were free to marry in 1803 in St John's Church Parramatta, with the ceremony being performed by that pioneer Anglican clergyman the Rev Samuel Marsden.
(this from The Women of Botany Bay by Portia Robinson)
“Elizabeth Killett was an example of the successful “convict” business women of New South Wales. She was tried in Suffolk 1800 at the age of nineteen and transported to Botany Bay on the Nile. She married John Gray two years later. In 1818 her husband the assistant Clerk of the Market in Sydney was drowned. The Sydney Gazette reported  “He was much respected as an old inhabitant of the colony, and has left his wife and seven children to lament his premature destiny”. Three weeks later her son John Gray is appointed to his father’s position. By the next year his widowed mother was Lessee of the Tolls of the Sydney Market and continued to hold the spirit licence. In 1820 she petitioned Macquarie for the continuation of her licence...she is the person who at present holds the Market at Sydney together with the Market House. Licensed for the Accommodation of Settlers’ and Others. This ex convict women received her Spirit and Beer Licence for the Macquarie Arms in George Street, as well as being appointed Poundkeeper. As clerk of the Market she was responsible for public notices for alteration of market days and for payment to the Police Fund for Market Duties often in excess of 150 pound. Elizabeth Killett was one of the women that become vitally involve in and responsible for economic ventures in New South Wales”
 In 09/09/1820  the following  "To be SOLD BY PRIVATE CONTRACT, all that valuable PIECE of GROUND, with the Buildings erected thereon, situated and being No. 62 George Street, Sydney, the present Residence of Elizabeth Gray. The situation of these Premises are well known, being contiguous to the Market Place and in the Public Street and possessing the Advantage of a Licence.
 In 05/05/1821    Grant of land given to Elizabeth Gray of 50 acres at Bathurst. Grant signed by L. Macquarie.
22/10/1875    Elizabeth Gray died at Myrtle Street, Darlington. Cause of death was given as exhaustion.