Was a young offender, possibly no more than 14 years old at the time of her trial at the Old Bailey on 18 April 1787, for feloniously stealing, on 10 April, one pair of velvet breeches value 4s, two cloth waist-coats value 1s, being the property of John Carter.
At the trial, John Carter swore, I lodged, the 10th instant at No.11 in Fleet-lane; I lost a pair of velveret breeches, and two cloth waistcoats; they were taken out of the room where I lodge; I saw them there on the 9th at night; in the morning I missed them; they were found on the prisoner; I never knew the girl; she was taken up with these clothes upon her; her mother lodged in a room in the house, and I believe she came to see her mother; I did not hear anybody comes in; there were two children in the room.
In her defence Ann swore, being an unfortunate girl, I was away from my mother, so about four or five I went up to my mother’s room to see if she would take me in; as I went up I met a man in a brown coat and a round hat, and he asked me to take them to a pawnbroker’s; as I was going up Queen Street when the watchman stopped; he saw the watchman before I did, and he run away; I told the watchman it was nothing belonging to him; he said let me see what it is, and he took me to the watch-house.
Even after two character witnesses in Ann’s defence were called, she was found Guilty. Sentence, seven years transportation.
On 3 May, just two weeks following her trial, Ann was on her way by wagon to Portsmouth for embarkation on Prince of Wales. Her trip to Sydney Cove was uneventful.
The Prince of Wales Girls
Many of the young women who arrived on Prince of Wales knew one another. Surviving on the London streets, making a living through what-ever means it took, and in some instances partners in crime, they were drawn together as welcome company and support. Ann with three of these girls, Ann Smith, Mary Mitchcraft and Phebe Flarty, on 7 December 1788, stood before Collins and Hunter sitting as magistrates. They were accused by Captain Brown of the Fishburn of making use of insulting and improper language towards him. He said that as he passed the women on the 23 September they called out, Who bottles pease soup? Who puts their men in the coal hole? Ann Smith who virtuously claimed she had not opened her mouth, was discharged. The others were acquitted on the promise not to make other taunting remarks. Ann in trouble again this time with Phebe Flarty, was charged with stealing some pork from John Jepp and sentenced to 25 lashes at Rose Hill on 7 October 1789.
Norfolk Island and Sydney Cove
On 6 March 1790 Sirius, with Ann aboard, and Supply departed Port Jackson for Norfolk Island. Ann stayed on the Island until September 1792 when she left by Atlantic with a son, Joseph (c1791) for Port Jackson. In February 1794 she stated in court that she had recently lost a lot of property. She was giving evidence at the trial of two men for the theft of a large quantity of clothing from a house occupied by herself and Thomas Abbott (Albemarie 1791).
No further information is known on the life of Ann Mather.
Cobley, John, The Crimes of the First Fleet Convicts
Cobley, John, Sydney Cove 1788
Gillen, Mollie, The Founders of Australia
Old Bailey Online – The Proceedings of the Old Bailey 1674-1913