Overlying the lid of one of the graves discovered in 1991 was the
upper portion of a Georgian headstone, made of Sydney sandstone.
Remnants of an inscription were visible:
In Memory of
Eliz Steel died
1795 Aged …
Historical research revealed that the headstone belonged to Elizabeth
Steel who arrived in Sydney Cove as a convict on board the ‘Lady
Juliana’ on 3 June 1790, aged 23 or 24. At the time of her
sentencing authorities described her as being ‘mute by visitation
of God’. After two months in Sydney, Elizabeth Steel was transferred
to Norfolk Island. In November 1791, Steel married a fellow convict,
Irish born James Mackey. Together they successfully farmed a ten
acre leasehold until the expiry of their sentences. Steel returned
to Sydney in 1794, but died the following year aged 29.
Although this headstone was found above the remains of the vault
containing the skeletal remains of a female, forensic tests confirmed
that there was no relationship between them. It is thought that
the headstone may have fallen from another grave, possibly during
the construction of the Town Hall in the late 1860s.
(image: City of Sydney Archives, CRS 904/1126/4 )