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Wi3W Ep 11 – Poem ~ Charlotte Simpson-Hall (My Convict past) – Written and Spoken by Greg Dodge

Charlotte SIMPSON / HALL was born in 1767 in London. Charlotte was convicted of stealing a pair of silk stockings, value 1 s. a cotton gown, value 2 s. a handkerchief, value 1 s. and one paste pin, value 1 s. the property of Joseph Bradley. The Old Bailey sentenced her to 7 years transportation. Charlotte was convicted in 1787 and waited for her ship to leave Plymouth.
The 225 females selected for transportation, which finally left in June 1789, included petty thieves, prostitutes and con artists, who were rounded up from various prisons in London and shipped out with 35 sailors on the “Lady Juliana”. This boat was later named “The Floating Brothel”. (A book and film of the same name).

Past Australian Prime Minister, Kevin Rudd was also a descendant from a 13 year old convict on the same boat as Charlotte Simpson-Hall, her name was Mary Wade. It must have been a relief to move away from London’s notorious, overcrowded Newgate gaol which was literally overflowing with prisoners and filth. Although, Charlotte arrived after an eleven month journey with 225 other woman and 35 sailors in Sydney Cove on the “Lady Juliana” on 4/6/1790. Thirty six babies were conceived on the ships travel.


Ralph Dodge was born to Charlotte’s fling with a sailor, John Thomas Dodge.
When they arrived in 1790 at Port Jackson the First Fleet arrivals rejected them, because they had their own food shortages issues, along with the arrival of the Second Fleet.
Charlotte and John Dodge were then sent to Norfolk Island on “Surprize” on 1/8/1790

Charlotte had a relationship with John Thomas DODGE and they had three children; Ralph, William and Sarah. John then disappeared to Hawkesbury River in NSW, never to be heard of again.

Charlotte then married Hugh McGUINNESS on 16/10/1810 at Hobart, Van Diemans Land (Tasmania) and they had the a further five children; Hugh, Rebeca, John, William and Elizabeth.

Charlotte died 31/12/1828 at Carlton, Tasmania, Australia

Dodges Ferry was named after Ralph Dodge (1791-1871), Charlottes first born child, who travelled from Norfolk Island. He was born there and came to Van Diemens Land when the Norfolk Island settlement was first abandoned in 1807/08. Lagoon Farm was built on land granted (stolen from the First Nations people through the Vandemonian Wars) by the Commonwealth to Ralph Dodge in 1864. Ralph worked with the military and police to clear the land of native peoples. These were called the Black Wars or the Frontier Wars and caused endless trauma, stress, massacres and dispossession of the land for the Palawa People.

Ralph Dodge (pictured above) and his wife Charlotte built a substantial homestead on the property, and when he died his youngest son Robert inherited Lagoon Farm and homestead. Robert and his family had William, his wife had Thomas and therefore Greg was the sixth generation descendant born from Charlotte Simpson-Hall.

Greg Dodge has written this poem in 2020, to highlight the journey made to this land and is tells the story of his thrice great grandmother and her son, Ralph. This poem shares the disruption and destruction of an ancient culture and hopes this truth telling helps in some way towards healing and unification through the sharing of our respective ancestry stories.

If you also have a similar Australian story to share, please contact us and we will share it in our Yarn Up area of the website.

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