Jane Torr (c. 1808-1852)
Jane Torr, dressmaker and milliner, was transported in 1830 for the theft of ‘wearing apparel’. She was assigned to the Superintendent of Convicts, but within a year the servant-girl faced a charge of prostitution.
Evidence emerged that the Colonial Surgeon Dr Spence tolerated the Hospital being used as a brothel. Hospital Overseer John Ayton doubled as a ‘bawdy house’ pimp, sleeping in the women’s ward, providing alcohol, and inviting strangers onto the ward.
Jane did time at Female Factory where she birthed a child, daughter Margaret. At age five Margaret’s muslin dress caught alight and the child was tragically burnt to death. The following year a bereft Jane Torr returned to England. On the voyage, she met Captain William Garner. Together they returned to Van Diemen’s Land, married, settled in northwest Tasmania, and raised a family of three sons.