Described in an eulogy as a "Pioneer Statesman", William Bede Dalley, who was born in Sydney on 5 July 1831, made a significant contribution to the state of New South Wales in the second half of 19th Century across the fields of law, politics and literature.
He set trends in colonial dress with his colourful cravats and buttonholes which reflected a unique flair and style.
The statue in Hyde Park was erected by public subscription at the instigation of Sir John Robertson (Premier). It was placed where it is today, looking down Macquarie Street to the Law Courts and Parliament House. There is also a stained glass window and commenorative plaque to Dalley in St Mary's Cathedral, Sydney, and a plaque in St Paul's Cathedral, London. Dalley is buried in Waverley Cemetery in Sydney.
But it is his family history that it most interesting to me as both his parents were convicts.
History Services NSW records that his father was John Dalley who arrived in the colony on 31 December 1818 on the ship General Stewart. He was aged 19 years, from Dorsetshire and a wool comber and dyer by trade. He was sentenced to life on 12 March 1818.
His mother was Catherine Spillane who arrived at Port Jackson on 10 July 1825 on the ship Mariner. She was aged 27 years and was a housemaid from County Cork who had been sentenced to seven years transportation.
Catherine was recorded as being at the Female Factory in Parramatta in 1825, and in 1829 applied to marry John Dalley. But as was the case with many transported convicts she had already been married back home and permission was refused.
It you would like any more information on either John Dalley or Catherine Spillane, or are researching your convict ancestor, you can go to the website at :