Hayter, Kezia Elizabeth (1818-1885)

Kezia Elizabeth Hayter, 1818-1885. Kezia Elizabeth Hayter, 1818-1885.

Kezia Elizabeth Hayter was matron on board the ship Rajah, which left Woolwich, England, on 5th April 1841. The Rajah is directly linked to a 1841 convict quilt called the Rajah quilt.

As matron, Hayter was in charge of keeping order among 180 women prisoners and their ten children who were being transported to a British penal colony on Tasmania (Australia). The trip took fifteen weeks and the ship landed at Hobart, Tasmania on 19th July 1841. 

Hayter, upon the recommendation of Elizabeth Fry, was acting as an agent of the British Society of Ladies for the Reformation of Female Prisoners. She was an educated woman of genteel background, who received a free passage to Australia in exchange for her work. Her position for the Society makes it very likely that Hayter supervised the making of the Rajah quilt.

Hayter remained in Tasmania, living for a while at Government House, to work with the Lieutenant-Governor’s wife, Lady Jane Franklin, for the benefit of women convicts. In her diary, now in the Tasmanian government’s archives, Hayter wrote about falling in love with the Rajah ship’s captain, Charles Ferguson. The two married in 1843 and had seven children.

Source: COWLEY, Trudy and Dianne SNOWDEN (2013). Patchwork Prisoners: The Rajah Quilt and The Women Who Made it. Hobart: Research Tasmania.

Digital source of illustration (retrieved 1st July 2016).


Last modified on Wednesday, 31 May 2017 16:58