Memorial in Australia for Lucy Atkinson’s mother

A plaque in memory of Mary Ann Finley, Lucy Atkinson’s mother, has just been installed at the cemetery in Dubbo, New South Wales, Australia, where she was buried in 1877. The plaque was the initiative of Marianne Simpson, who is a descendant of Mary Ann’s third-oldest son, William York Finley (b.1815).


Two years after her husband Matthew’s death in 1847 Mary Ann emigrated to Australia, where her eldest son – also Matthew – was already settled. Together with her children Thomas, George and Mary Ann, she sailed to Australia in December 1849 on the Katherine Stewart Forbes.  The ship – a three-masted barque weighing just 457 tonnes – had originally been used to transport convicts to Australia, but when the Finleys sailed they were almost the only passengers, the holds being full of trade goods. They arrived at Port Jackson on 16th May 1850.

Mary Ann’s eldest son, Matthew Smith Finley, was already in Australia working with the Union Bank of Australia. Her son William and daughter Elizabeth married and remained in England. Sons Horatio and Joseph – and maybe also their sister, Maria – travelled separately to Australia. Her eldest daughter Lucy, as we know, travelled to Russia in about 1840 and stayed there until she returned to England with her husband Thomas Atkinson in 1858.

Mary Ann lived out her final years with her daughter Mary Ann Smith’s family on a property near Wellington, NSW. Mary Ann died aged 84 on 1st May 1877, and is buried at Dubbo, NSW.

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