Jane McManus (c.1770–1826)

JANE McMANUS is one of St. John’s First Fleeters and one of the seventeen who have memorial plaques. Originally sentenced to death at just sixteen years of age, JANE was given a reprieve and her sentence was commuted to seven years transportation. She arrived per Charlotte (1788) and went on to live in all the major settlements of the colony: Sydney, Norfolk Island, the Hawkesbury, and Parramatta.


  • Maiden Name: JANE POOLE
  • Married Name: JANE McMANUS
  • Alternate: JANE McMANIS


  • Born: c.1770
  • Convicted: 19 August 1786 at Wells, Somerset, England
  • Sentenced to death by hanging: 19 August 1786
  • Death sentence commuted to seven years transportation: 24 August 1786
  • Held on the Dunkirk hulk: August 1786 – February 1787, Plymouth, Devon, England
  • Embarked on the Charlotte: February 1787
  • Sailed with the First Fleet per Charlotte: 13 May 1787
  • Arrived at Botany Bay per Charlotte20 January 1788
  • Arrived at Port Jackson per Charlotte: 26 January 1788
  • Sailed to Norfolk Island settlement per Supply: 11 November 1789
  • Arrived at Norfolk Island settlement per Supply: 3 December 1789
  • Birth of daughter MARGARET POOLE: 1790
  • Married JAMES McMANUS (I): November 1791 (married by Reverend Richard Johnson)
  • Returned to Port Jackson per Atlantic: August 1792 with husband, James, and daughter Margaret.
  • Birth of daughter SARAH McMANUS: 4 May 1793
  • Death of daughter SARAH McMANUS: 21 October 1793
  • Birth of son JAMES McMANUS (II): 1794
  • Birth of son JOHN McMANUS: 3 June 1797
  • Death of husband JAMES McMANUS (I): 1798 (Buried in the Old Sydney Burial Ground)
  • Co-habited with convict RICHARD RIDGE: by 1802, at Mulgrave Place
  • Birth of daughter MARTHA POOLE with RICHARD RIDGE: 14 May 1803
  • Lived at Parramatta: by 1811
  • Death of daughter MARTHA POOLE: 17 June 1821
  • Died: 26 November 1826 at Parramatta
  • Buried: 26 November 1826 at St. John’s Cemetery, Parramatta

Burial Location

  • Section 1, Row N, No. 7 at St. John’s Cemetery, Parramatta


  • Spouse of JAMES McMANUS (I) (buried at St. Phillip’s, Sydney)
  • Partner of RICHARD RIDGE
  • Parent of MARGARET POOLE
  • Parent of SARAH McMANUS
  • Parent of JAMES McMANUS (II)
  • Parent of JOHN McMANUS
  • Parent of MARTHA POOLE


  • Settler’s wife
  • Settler


  • Convict, Dunkirk, August 1786–February 1787
  • Convict, Charlotte, 1787–1788

Related Content

Jane McManus: The Maid Freed From The Gallows (2016)

By Michaela Ann Cameron

Abstract: Jane Poole was a mere 16-year-old girl when she faced the possibility of being hanged by the neck until she was dead. For nine days she nervously waited while His Majesty the King decided at His Royal Will and Pleasure to save her from the gallows pole. After receiving the much lighter sentence of seven years transportation to the Colony of New South Wales, Jane spent five months on the Dunkirk hulk and sailed with the First Fleet on the Charlotte. Even when she became a free settler, Jane’s colonial life was one of constant movement and turmoil. Towards the end of her life, Jane would again find herself at the mercy of the powers that be, waiting for them to make a decision about her life at their own will and pleasure. more>>

James McManus (II): The Wrath of Madman (2016)

By Michaela Ann Cameron

Abstract: It is doubtful that First Fleeter Jane McManus rested in peace in her grave at St. John’s Cemetery. For if ever a person had an “unquiet grave” it was Jane…thanks to her son James. At first glance, it would seem this child of two First Fleeters had taken after the right parent: the father, also named James McManus, who came to the colony as a free marine as opposed to the mother, Jane Poole, who came to New South Wales as a convict. However, James McManus the younger inherited more from James McManus the elder than his name and a predilection for positions of authority. Like his father, whose life seemed to be respectable only to take a turn for the worst and featured a suicide attempt, James McManus II went from being a decorated ‘Chief Constable’ and family man to a deranged axe-murderer and long-term resident of multiple ‘lunatic asylums’ whose erratic life came to a violent end. more>>



Primary Sources

Secondary Sources

  • John Cobley, The Crimes of the First Fleet Convicts, (North Ryde, N.S.W.: Halstead Press, 1970), p. 223.
  • Judith Dunn, The Parramatta Cemeteries: St. John’s, (Parramatta, NSW: Parramatta and District Historical Society, 1991), p. 76.
  • Mollie Gillen, The Founders of Australia: A Biographical Dictionary of the First Fleet, (Sydney: Library of Australian History, 1989), pp. 290–91.


# First Fleet

# Convict

# Punishment: Death (commuted)

# Punishment: Seven Years Transportation

# Hulk: Dunkirk

# Ship: Charlotte (1788)

# Burial Year: 1826

# Grave: marked