MARY ANN ROBLEY: Second Generation Australian

Mary Ann was the daughter and eldest child of Christopher Robley and Mary Commins. She was born in Sydney in 1816 and at the very early age of 14 years and three months she married John Harris Miller, the son of John and Mary Miller, at St. Philip's Church, Sydney. John was only 18 and a half years at the time, born in the Colony, and his occupation is recorded as blacksmith. In 1831 they had a son, John jnr. who died as an infant in January 1832. John snr. died at the early age of 21 on the 10th February 1833. No cause of death is recorded.

In May 1835 Mary Miller, now 20 years old, was remarried to 32 year old Adam Rainey, of Brisbane Waters, in the Presbyterian Church in Sydney. Adam was born in Belfast, Ireland in about 1798.

Adam was employed as Station Overseer on Mr. Bloodsworth's Duralong Stock Station near Wyong during 1834 and 1835 and prior to his marriage. He is mentioned in Keith Clouten's Book, "Reid's Mistake".

The book makes reference to Adam Rainey's Hut. There is no mention though of whether the newly married couple made their home in Rainey's Hut, which doubtless was pretty primitive!

There had been several incidents, mainly in a three week period over Christmas and New Year of 1834/35, when the local Aborigines had indulged in threatening behavour towards Rainey and the stock he was managing. Hardly a suitable situation for his new bride. My guess is that they lived elsewhere in a more secure place.

On the 13th December Rainey had reported to Mr.Warner that several blacks had been hanging around his hut, for a few days, but had not stolen anything. On a previous Saturday though they had speared a cow. On the same day a bullock had one of its horns knocked off by a waddie that had been thrown at it.

Two days later on the 15th of December, a native known as Abraham came to Rainey's Hut and warned him that should he put up any resistance, if the natives robbed the Station, he would be killed! Rainey could have apprehended Abraham at the time but was afraid to do so, as he believed that there were more natives hiding nearby.

The whole detachment of the Military had recently been withdrawn from Brisbane Waters and he feared that the natives would again be troublesome. On January 2nd. 1835 the natives had continued to lurk in the bush near Rainey's Hut occasionally asking for milk and food, which were given to them to avoid further trouble. By this time rewards had been offered for the capture of five ringleaders tied to robberies in Brisbane Waters.

So on the 2nd January Adam Rainey in company with three others hid in the hut and waited in ambush. A short time later six natives entered the hut including the five wanted men. A scuffle ensued and three of the natives escaped through a small hole in the slab walls. Another powerfully built native, Jack Jones was shot and severely wounded in the neck. He and two other natives, Jago and Nimbo were handcuffed and taken to the lock up in Brisbane Waters. Due to the carelessness of the warder all three managed to escape on the same day, but Jack Jones was recaptured and sent to jail in Sydney where he probably spent the rest of his days.

Later in 1935 Adam Rainey was to appear in court, to testify against an Aborigine, but failed to turn up and was said to be very ill and unable to give evidence

Bloodsworths station seems to have been a focal point for native dissent, during that time, and there were several other reported incidents of theft and livestock speared


Adam died in Goulburn in May 1853 and Mary Ann in Sydney in 1871.

Written by John Robley, from the research of Eileen Sarah Young.