The Sydney Gazette 11 March 1806 listed Wearing Apparel and other property of the late Mrs J Dundas, to be sold at Auction by Mr David Bevan on 2 April. Jane Dundas had accumulated considerable personal effects in her 15 years as servant to the King household.
From her trial at the Old Bailey, Jane Dundas at the end of her life, was given a public funeral at which His Excellency Governor King and family attended.
Jane Dundas was in service as laundry maid to the Hon Sir John Skinner when she was sentenced at the Old Bailey to seven years transportation on 18 April 1787. With good references and popular with the butler, who testified at her trial, she unfortunately had a passion for lotteries. Indicted for stealing on the 26 February 1787, one linen tablecloth, value 4s, two napkins, value 2s, one towel, value 4d, the property of the Right Hon John Skinner, Knight, Jane stated I beg for mercy, I have nobody to my character; I leave myself entirely to Sir John’s mercy and the gentlemen of the Jury. Summing up, the judge commented, you could not be distressed for money in that service (Mr Skinner) I sure. Jane’s reply, It was for the lottery.
Jane was held over for twelve days, before being sent from Portsmouth for embarkation on Prince of Wales.
Once in Sydney Cove Jane served loyally as servant to Governor Philip who was then living in a draughty canvas house, until being installed as servant in the King household. Mrs Anna Josepha King found her the kind and affectionate person she needed. Upon being appointed lieutenant governor to Norfolk Island, Philip Gidley King, his wife and Jane left Sydney on 6 October 1791 aboard Atlantic. The King family remained on Norfolk Island until 25 October 1796 when they returned to England by Britannia. Jane had finished her seven year sentence while at Norfolk Island and as free by servitude returned to England with them.
In April 1800 the King family disembarked from Speedy in Port Jackson. King returned as Governor replacing Governor Hunter. During the voyage from England Anna Josepha kept up her daily diary entries. On 17th March she records that there were heavy seas and the women were obliged to be battened down in their berths and beds in very hot conditions however their health was good and they were merry and very happy and indeed cannot be otherwise when every indulgence is properly allowed to them. (Jane) Dundas has just fallen down the companion stairs and dreadfully bruised her back and a foot. A convict woman has fallen down the main hatchway and splintered her leg very bad, another has scalded her foot in fact the ship rocks and lumbers about so much that I wonder how the sailors keep on their legs. Two days later Jane Dundas was still suffering….Dundas scarcely can move – nor can she lay in bed – every time the ship gives a lurch, she is ready to scream out with pain.
Jane was the King’s maid, nurse and later housekeeper; she even achieved the honorary married status of Mrs and Jeanette instead of Jane.
On 22 December 1805, Jane died in her quarters at Government House aged 57 years.
The Sydney Gazette wrote of her death.
22 December 1805
This day at noon died Mrs. Jean Dundas, Housekeeper to His Excellency the GOVERNOR; whose Family deeply lament the loss of an honest, faithful, and affectionate servant, which character the deceased has maintained during a service of 15 years.
29 December 1805
On Monday evening were interred the Remains of Mrs. Jeannette Dundas, whose death we noticed with regret on Sunday last. At four in the afternoon her numerous friends as assembled in apartment at Government House appropriated to their reception and at five a
funeral procession formed; at which His Excellency and Family attended, accompanied by several Officers and persons of the fine respectability, whose presence added to the solemnity of the occasion.
The words on her tombstone in the old Sydney burial ground were written by the Governor.
Cobley, John, The Crimes of The First Fleet
Heney, Helen, Australia’s Founding Mothers
Gillen, Mollie, The Founders of Australia
Old Bailey records on-line