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What made Mary Reiby famous?

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Answered 2007-11-15 02:04:28

Mary Reibey (1777-1855) (also spelled 'Reiby', 'Raby', and 'Raiby'[1]) was born Mary Haydock in England. At the age of fourteen, she was arrested and convicted of horse stealing. She was transported to the Colony of New South Wales as a Convict to serve out her sentence in 1791. Landing in Sydney in 1792 she was assigned to a Major and given the duties of nursemaid in his household. In 1794, she married Thomas Reiby, formerly of the East India Company. Thomas soon branched out on his own as Entally House. At the beginning of 1803, Thomas owned three boats and traded coals and wheat up the Hawkesbury and Hunter rivers. By 1807, Thomas had bought a schooner for trading with the Pacific Islands. He fell ill after a voyage to India in 1809; his health never completely recovered. After his death in 1811, Mary was left with seven children and control of Entally House which by then included rural properties, sealing operations in Bass Strait, as well as overseas trading. Thanks to enterprise and hard work, Mary Reibey became one of the most successful businesswomen in the Colony. With her new affluence came the hard-earned reward of respectability: Mary was now part of Governor Macquarie's social set. Mary opened a new warehouse in 1812, enlarging her fleet with the purchase of two more ships by 1817. In 1820, Mary returned to England with her daughters. On returning to Sydney she began buying property, starting several building projects in the center of town. Mary was quickly able to retire and live on her investments. In 1825, in recognition of her interest in church, education and charity, Mary was appointed one of the governors of the Free Grammar School. Her later years were spent in Newtown, where she lived the remainder of her life until her death in 1855. Mary Reibey on the $20 note. Enlarge Mary Reibey on the $20 note. In recognition of her philanthropy Mary Reibey is put on the front of Australian 20 dollar banknote.

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