“Woman, MAI 20, 1837 on upper; woman’s bust, flower and J*D*R on lower right arm; filigree work on back of right wrist; large scar on upper left arm; “Louise Boldague” and two women on lower left arm; star and cross on back of left hand.”
The tattoos of this young romantic, Joseph De Lore (Dolleur), were recorded when he was arrested in Montreal, Canada in 1837 for housebreaking. Narrowly escaping the death sentence he was transported to England and imprisoned on a convict hulk before being transported to Australia for 21 years.1 As a 24 year old he arrived in Sydney on the convict ship “Waterloo” in 1838.2
Joseph had several misdemeanours recorded including running away and being captured on a steam dredge in Morpeth in 1846, burglary in the house of Dr McCrae in 1848 and absconding from his registered district of Maitland in 1851 while holding his ticket of leave.3 He was found living in Moreton Bay (Brisbane) but was allowed to remain there and had his conditional pardon restored in 1853.4 He married Mary Keleher in 1853 in Moreton Bay and she would become known as “Granny Rennie” for her future nursing work. Together they had ten children and eventually moved to Tuncurry where Joseph worked in John Wright’s timber mill and ship building business.
In 1879, Joseph became gravely ill with cardiac disease. With no hospitals in the area, he was forced to apply for a bed in the Liverpool Asylum for Infirm and Destitute Men where he died soon after. It must have been heartbreaking for Mary being a healer and unable to help or even be with her husband when he died. His death certificate contains only basic details with no mention of his parents, wife or ten children (which were normally recorded) and he was buried in a pauper’s grave in the asylum grounds.5
Joseph De Lore still holds some secrets that were inked on his skin. Who was Louise Boldague? What significance is the 20 May 1837? Mysteries for future relatives to explore maybe?
Authors: Janine Roberts and Marilyn Boyd
1 Ancestry.com.au, NSW Convict Indents, 1838, Joseph Dolleur.
2 Ancestry.com.au, Convict Index for Joseph Dolleur.
3 NSW Government Gazette, 16 May 1851 [Issue No. 53], 796; Ancestry.com.au, Criminal court records, Calendars of persons tried on criminal charges in Sydney courts.
4 Ancestry.com.au, Tickets of Leave, Joseph Doleur [sic], Dec 1849 – Sep 1851.
5 NSW BDM, Death Certificate No. 1879/006349; Liverpool Pioneers’ Memorial Park, https://www.liverpoolpioneersmemorialpark.com.au/history/Asylum-and-Pauper-Burials