Deborah Herbert (c.1767-1819)

One of 17 First Fleeters with memorials buried at St. John’s Cemetery, Parramatta. Deborah was a convict transported with the First Fleet per Prince of Wales (1788). She married fellow St. John’s First Fleeter, John Herbert. Though Deborah can claim Australia’s first domestic violence case to be brought before the Courts, the couple remained together and went on to become successful settlers. Note: FULL-LENGTH BIOGRAPHY COMING SOON (2018).


  • Alternate: Deborah Elam
  • Alternate: Deborah Ellam
  • Alternate: Deborah Elias (c.f. 1806 muster)


  • Born: Lower Walton, Cheshire, England, c. October 1765
  • Baptised: “Debby Ellom” St Elphin’s Church, Warrington, Lancashire, England, 18 October 1765
  • Arrested for stealing clothing and cloth along with Elizabeth Hewitt and Alice Halton: < August 1784
  • Tried and convicted of theft: Chester Quarter Sessions, Chester, Cheshire, England, 30 August 1784
  • Sentenced to seven years transportation: Chester Quarter Sessions, Chester, Cheshire, England, 30 August 1784
  • Imprisoned at Chester Gaol:  c. August 1784 – 14 March 1787
  • A letter ordered Ann Daly and Deborah Ellam from Chester Gaol and 11 men from the hulks be sent to Portsmouth: 28 February 1787
  • Chester Gaol Turnkey brought Ann Daly and Deborah Ellam on board Prince of Wales: Portsmouth, 9pm, 14 March 1787
  • Sailed with the First Fleet per Prince of Wales: 13 May 1787
  • Arrived at Botany Bay per Prince of Wales: 20 January 1788
  • Arrived at Port Jackson per Prince of Wales: 26 January 1788
  • Married fellow First Fleet convict John Herbert: Sydney Cove, 2 April 1788
  • Took her husband to court for domestic violence, was ordered to receive 25 lashes and return to her husband: 5 December 1788
  • Died: Parramatta, 23 June 1819
  • Buried: St. John’s Cemetery, Parramatta, 26 June 1819



  • Convict, Chester Gaol, (c. August 1784 – 14 March 1787)
  • Convict, Prince of Wales(14 March 1787 – 26 January 1788)

Related Content

John Herbert: From Felon to Farmer (2016)

By Penny Edwell

Abstract: Dramatic reversals of fortune defined the lives of many First Fleet convicts, and John Herbert was no exception. A former marine, Herbert was reduced to committing theft to support himself after being thrust into unemployment at the end of the American War of Independence. A conviction for the crime of highway robbery paved the way for a new life in the colony of New South Wales where he arrived as a common criminal but died, more than four decades later, a successful farmer. Despite a fiery early dispute that landed them in front of the colony’s Judge Advocate, John Herbert is buried next to his first wife Deborah. Both are among the 17 First Fleeters with memorials buried at St. John’s Cemetery Parramatta. more>>



# First Fleet

# Convict

# Ship: Prince of Wales (1788)

# Burial year: 1819

# Grave: marked