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Mary Reibey Memorial Plaque
Mary Reibey Memorial Plaque

Photographs supplied by Peter F Williams

The plaque commemorates the emancipist convict, Mary Reibey (1777 - 1855) whose perseverance and enterprise bought her renown in the colony and success in business and shipping.

Mary Reibey, baptised Molly Haydock, was born on 12 May 1777 in Bury, Lancashire, England. She was arrested for horse stealing in August 1791. Sentenced to seven years` transportation, she arrived in New South Wales on the Royal Admiral in October 1792. On 7 September 1794, 17-year-old Mary married Thomas Raby, a junior officer on the store ship Britannia. Raby also used the surnames Raiby, Reiby and Reibey. Thomas Reiiby was granted land on the Hawkesbury River, where he and Mary lived and farmed following their marriage. He commenced a cargo business along the Hawkesbury River to Sydney, and later moved to Sydney.

Thomas Reibey`s business undertakings prospered, and he acquired several farms on the Hawkesbury River where he traded in coal, cedar, furs and skins. He entered into a partnership with Edward Wills, and trading activities were extended to Bass Strait, the Pacific Islands and, from 1809, to China and India. When Thomas Reibey died on 5 April 1811, Mary assumed sole responsibility for the care of seven children and control of numerous business enterprises. Now a woman of considerable wealth, Mary Reibey continued to expand her business interests. In 1812 she opened a new warehouse in George Street and in 1817 extended her shipping operations with the purchase of further vessels. By 1828, when she gradually retired from active involvement in commerce, she had acquired extensive property holdings in the city.


Address:Argyle & Playfair Streets, On side of Legacy Fountain, The Rocks , 2000
GPS Coordinates:Lat: -33.859014
Long: 151.208056
Note: GPS Coordinates are approximate.
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Monument Type:Plaque
Monument Theme:People


Actual Monument Dedication Date:Tuesday 1st September, 1981
Front Inscription

Mary Reibey  1777 - 1855

When only 13, Mary Reibey was transported to New South Wales for a prank involving horse stealing.

In 1794 she married Lt. Thomas Reibey who became a successful businessman.

On his death in 1811, Mary was left with seven children and many business interests. Her perseverance and enterprise brought her renown in the Colony and success in business and shipping which she managed from a warehouse at 12 George Street, The Rocks.

Church education and works of charity occupied her in later years until her death in 1855.

This memorial stands before the East Store of the Argyle Stores Complex which embraces the partially constructed residence and office which she owned during 1828. 

Designed and constructed by the Sydney Cove Redevelopment Authority.

Unveiled by Legatee C.G. Ferguson, President of Sydney Legacy on 1st September 1981. 



Source: H,MA,ADB
Monument details supplied by Monument Australia - www.monumentaustralia.org.au