John Pendergast was obviously one of the many supporters, and probably a member, of the United Irishmen and was arrested for participating in one of the preliminary skirmishes. In Dublin in February1798 he was tried as a rebel and convicted to seven years transportation to New South Wales. Between 1800 and 1806 eight ships carried rebels from the Irish Rebellion to New South Wales. John left Cork on 24 August aboard the convict ship, Minerva. One hundred and sixty-five male convicts and twenty-six female convicts were aboard the ship. The Minerva arrived at Port Jackson on 11 January 1800.
Later that year John married a convict named Catherine. Nothing further is known about her and she possibly died shortly after giving birth to their son John, in 1801. Convict records show that in 1806 Jane Williams was housekeeper for John Pendergast and was possibly the carer of his son. John and Jane must have been living together long before that as by 1806 they a son James (born in 1803) and another son, Thomas (born 25 February 1805). Their daughter, Sarah Jane was born in 1806. They had another two children, William (born 1808) and Bridget (born 1810).
No record has been found for the marriage of John and Jane. Not all marriages were recorded and sometimes early records are missing. It is also possible that there may not have married. John was a Catholic and although many of the convicts in the colony were Catholic the first Catholic priest did not arrive until three arrived with other Irish rebels in 1800. One of the priests was granted permission to hold services in 1803 but this permission was withdrawn the following year. It was not until 1820 when two Catholic priests were allowed to travel to Australia and the foundation of St Mary's Cathedral were laid in Sydney that Catholic church services were officially allowed. Until that time Catholics were expected to attend Anglican services.
Meanwhile John was receiving small grants of land, initially in the Hawkesbury area, and establishing himself as a landholder and farmer. However, although the land was fertile, farming in the area was not always easy especially in years such as 1806 when the Hawkesbury River flooded three times. However John pressed on and, possibly in 1808, purchased Adlams Farm, 80 acres of property on Upper Half Moon Reach on the Hawkesbury River. The land was used for growing maize and wheat and for livestock included cattle and pigs. On 12 September 1812 John was allowed to obtain cattle from Government Stores at Seven Hills. On 20 June 1816 John was granted 30 acres of land in the Airds district near Campbelltown and on 9 December 1820 received another grant of land in the Hawkesbury district. As his land holdings grew additional convicts were assigned to work on his land.
|Pendergast graves at St Matthew's Catholic Church, Windsor|
|St Matthew's Catholoc Church, Windsor built 1832|
John was my great (x3) grandfather