Eleanor McCabe (c.1763-1793)

Though Eleanor McCabe was a First Fleet convict, transported per Lady Penrhyn (1788), and appears in the St. John’s parish burial register, she is not one of St. John’s First Fleeters. In fact, she is not even buried at St. John’s Cemetery, Parramatta. She is, however, the mother of the first person ever buried in the cemetery: James Magee.

On 11 May 1785, Eleanor McCabe, approximately 22 years of age, was found guilty of assault and robbery along with her partner in crime Ann George. Both young women were sentenced to seven years transportation. Eleanor married fellow First Fleeter Christopher Magee, also known as Charles Williams, who became the first person granted land in Camellia, to the amount of 30 acres (12 hectares). When Eleanor and her child Mary both drowned near Breakfast Point along with a woman with the surname “Green” after a night of drunken, riotous revelry, Eleanor’s husband buried his wife and daughter near the family home rather than in the cemetery where their son James was already at rest. Their headstone is still standing on the banks of the Parramatta River in the grounds of a factory at Camellia.


Burial Location

  • Eleanor is not buried in the cemetery, though she appears in the St. John’s parish burials for 1793. Eleanor’s husband, Charles / Christopher, buried Eleanor and their daughter Mary near the family home after the pair drowned. Their headstone is still standing on the banks of the Parramatta River in the grounds of a factory at Camellia.

Names

  • Alternate: Eleanor McCave (St. John’s parish burial register)
  • Alternate: Eleanor Magee (married name)

Relationships

  • Partner in crime: Ann George
  • Spouse of First Fleet convict Christopher Magee (Charles Williams)
  • Mother of James Magee
  • Mother of Mary Magee

Occupations

  • Hawker
  • Prostitute

Positions

  • Convict Lady Penrhyn (1788)

 Sources

  • David Collins
  • London Lives 
  • Mollie Gillen, The Founders of Australia: A Biographical Dictionary of the First Fleet, (Sydney: Library of Australian History, 1989)
  • Old Bailey Online: trial: t17850511-32
  • Parish Burial Records, Textual Records, St. John’s Anglican Church Parramatta, New South Wales, Australia.