First Fleeters

“A View of Botany Bay.” An engraving of the First Fleet in Botany Bay at voyage’s end in 1788, by an unknown artist from The Voyage of Governor Phillip to Botany Bay (London: John Stockdale, Picadilly, 1789).

St. John’s First Fleeters is a collection of peer-reviewed essays on the First Fleeters buried at St. John’s Cemetery, Parramatta and/or registered in the St. John’s Parish burial register, as well as two feature essays about the history and significance of the cemetery.

The collection, edited by Michaela Ann Cameron, is being researched and written by a team of historians. The biographical essays are being published gradually from 2016 onwards.

Over 50 First Fleeters registered in the St. John’s Parish burials register, but the majority have no memorial plaques and lie in unmarked graves, exact location unknown. Ultimately, a complete list of St. John’s First Fleeters will appear on this page. The full-length essays completed thus far and currently available can be accessed below.

Augustus Alt: The Baron

Frances Hannah Clements: The Convict’s Child

Thomas Daveney: The Tyrant of Toongabbie

Henry Dodd: The Faithful Servant

Elizabeth Eccles: The Dairy Maid

Thomas Eccles: The Swine Connoisseur

Edward Elliott: The Husbandman

Thomas Freeman: Minding the Store

Deborah Herbert: A Prigger of Toggery

John Herbert: From Felon to Farmer

Hugh Hughes: The Wheelwright Made Right

John Irving: The Best Surgeon Amongst Them

Mary Kelly: The First Lady of Kellyville

David Killpack: The Merry Mutineer

Isaac Knight: The Trusty Sergeant

The Magees: The First Burial

John Martin: The Self-Freed Slave

Jane McManus: The Maid Freed from the Gallows

Lives Left Behind: The Forsaken Families of First Fleeters William Gloster and James Ogden

Christopher Palmer: Perils of a Purser

John Palmer: The Purser, The P.O.W

Richard Partridge: The Left-Handed Flogger

Ann Smith: A Plunderer in the War Against Want

James Wright: The Highwayman


This project is supported by the NSW Government through Create NSW.

This project has been supported through a Parramatta City Council Community Grant.

This project has been assisted by funds allocated to the Royal Australian Historical Society through the Heritage Branch of the NSW Office of Environment and Heritage.

Authors: Caitlin Adams, Michaela Ann Cameron, Alexander Cameron-SmithJudith Dunn, Penny Edwell, David Morgan, Danielle Thyer, Ben Vine.

Editing, Multimedia, and Publishing: Michaela Ann Cameron

Research Assistance: Jennifer Follers, The Fellowship of First Fleeters

Further Reading

Dicky Bennelong (coming soon)

A. M. Fernando: Return to the Old Bailey

James McManus: The Wrath of a Madman

Daniel Mow-watty: The Boy Who Strayed from the Bush Path