Melbourne, July 31 : Hard to believe, but true! Australia's Prime Minister Kevin Rudd is a descendant of an 18th-century street urchin accused of "highway robbery" when she was 11 years old.
Rudd's ancestor, Mary Wade, also escaped a death sentence for stripping another girl of her clothes in an outdoor toilet.
After her transportation to Australia, Mary Wade became a well-known figure in this country.
Thomas Rudd, his paternal fourth great-grandfather, was transported to Australia in 1881 to serve a seven-year sentence for stealing a bag of sugar.
He married fellow convict Mary Cable, who had stolen a bolt of cloth, before his sentence was complete. Another ancestor stole 200 pounds of glue and a great-grandmother was convicted in 1798 for forging coins.
Elder Vinson, who presented the ancestral history to Mr Rudd today with other church leaders, said another ancestor, Mary Wade, was a "grand Australian matriarch who began life begging for food as an urchin on the streets of London''.
"In 1788 she and an older girl named Jane Whiting coaxed an eight-year-old girl into a privy where they stripped her off her dress, petticoats and linen tippet and cap and absconded,'' The Australian quoted Vinson, as saying.
After the pair where caught, the young Mary was revealed of having threatened violence during the attack: "I was in a good mind to have chucked her down the necessary (another term for privy) and I wish I had done so,'' she said.
Sentenced to be "hanged from the neck until she be dead" she instead spent moths in a rat-infested jail before being transported to Australia before she was a teenager.
A transcript of Mary Wade's trial is available on the Old Bailey website.
The church presented two leather-bound volumes containing Mr Rudd's pedigree at a private handover at the Lodge this morning.