Elizabeth Burgess

#363, b. 22 September 1800, d. 8 February 1844
  • Father: Thomas Burgess
  • Mother: Elizabeth Osborn

Individual's Timeline

Birth22 September 1800Elizabeth Burgess
Marriage26 September 1822Elizabeth Burgess1
Death8 February 1844Elizabeth Burgess

Primary events

Secondary circumstances

  • Name Variation: She was also known as Elizabeth Osbourn On the christening register for some of her children.
  • Married Name: Her married name was Cato.

Census details

  • Elizabeth Burgess and William Cato were named in the census taken in Australia in 1841 (TNA copy).. The address was listed as Bridge Street, Richmond, Tasmania, Australia. In an unfinished house owned by BURGESS, most likely a relative of Elizabeth's. Married couple and 2 children one male aged under 7 and one female between 7 and 14. All were born overseas, and the family business was a shop.
Some aspects of Elizabeth Burgess's life. Overseers of the Female House of Correction.2

Some aspects of Elizabeth Burgess's life. William & Elizabeth CATO - Thier time running the Cascades Female Factory (Information on William & Elizabeth Cato supplied courtesy of John Kumm, a great great great grandson.)

William Cato arrived in Hobart Town in March 1831. His wife and surviving children had preceded him by some three months. He immediately applied to Jeremiah Spode, the civil servant in charge of the dispersal of convicts, for the position for himself of Overseer and for his wife Elizabeth as Deputy Matron at the Female House of Correction, Hobart.

The appointments were made on 16 April 1831. In May 1835, Elizabeth was also appointed as mid-wife for the Cascades Female Factory.

During his time as overseer, William outlined the nature of duties, which provides an interesting insight into life at the time in the Cascades Female Factory:

5 am Ring bell

5:30 am Tubs out of wards

6 am Muster. Wool weighed out, yarn weighed in

7:30 am Rations weighed out for breakfast

8 am Breakfast served

8:30 am Prayers, after which women go to work. Women in cells attended to, women at work supervised

10:30 am Rations for dinner weighed

12 noon Dinner served

1 pm Women to work – attendance on them, arrival of rations. Rations weighed out for supper and supper attended to. Tubs, wool, etc. occupy the whole of the afternoon, and muster in the evening.

Many of the women coming to Cascades Female Factory were pregnant on arrival, and it was Elizabeth’s duty to deliver and care for their babies and supervise their children. The only playing-space available to the children was a wet flagged yard, sunless for four months of the year, and the children’s wards were overcrowded.

Governor Franklin on his arrival in Tasmania seemed to look less favourably on the administration of the Female Factory than had Governor Arthur, and an enquiry into conditions in March 1838 reported unfavourably.

In April 1841, the Catos were suddenly dismissed from their positions on the grounds that they had accepted parcels brought in from outside by prisoners. The 'parcel' named was a fowl that was discovered 'plucked and trussed' in Elizabeth’s kitchen.

Source: Porter, UB (Ed.), Growing Together, Queensberry Hill Press, 1981.

Research Notes

  • Research note 01: Detail of Elizabeth's ancestors is available on http://www.theweald.org/N10.asp?NId=4683.

Children of Elizabeth Burgess and William Cato


  1. Website Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com) "Original Doc accessed."
  2. Conclusion of, Tasmanian Field Trip, April 2000.
  3. International Genealogical Index (IGI), c025782.