Henry Dodd (1748–1791)

HENRY DODD was an experienced farmhand who arrived on the First Fleet as Governor ARTHUR PHILLIP’s personal servant per HMS Sirius (1788). His skills as a farm manager and supervisor of convicts were quickly recognised and his early death was a great blow to the colony. Dodd is one of more than fifty First Fleeters in the parish of St. John’s and one of the seventeen with memorial plaques at St. John’s Cemetery, Parramatta. His grave is the oldest known grave with headstone in situ in Australia and his funeral was the first public funeral in the colony.


  • Full name: HENRY EDWARD DODD


  • Born: 1748
  • Baptised: 1 September 1748, Hodnet, Shropshire, England
  • Began to work for ARTHUR PHILLIP: c.1763
  • Sailed with the First Fleet per HMS Sirius: 13 May 1787
  • Arrived at Port Jackson: 26 January 1788
  • Appointed Farm Superintendent at Farm Cove: 1 February 1788
  • Appointed Farm Superintendent of the Government Farm at Rose Hill (Parramatta): Replaced JAMES SMITH in March 1789 (site in present-day Parramatta Park)
  • Died: 28 January 1791
  • Burial: 29 January 1791 at St. John’s Cemetery, Parramatta. (Australia’s first public Christian funeral)

Burial Location

  • Section 4, Row D, No. 4, St. John’s Cemetery, Parramatta


  • Farmer
  • Personal servant of ARTHUR PHILLIP
  • Public servant
  • Able bodied seaman, HMS Sirius (1787 – 1788)


  • Farm manager and Superintendent of Convicts at Farm Cove
  • Farm manager and Superintendent of Convicts at the Government Farm, Rose Hill (Parramatta)

Related Content

Henry Dodd: The Faithful Servant (2016)

By David Morgan

Abstract: First Fleeter Henry Dodd’s grave in St John’s Cemetery, Parramatta is the earliest known, undisturbed European grave with headstone in situ in Australia. Having worked for Arthur Phillip on his estate in England for more than two decades, Dodd had the skills Phillip knew he would need to make Britain’s colony in New South Wales self-supporting. Dodd followed his master to the other side of the world aboard HMS Sirius, and rapidly made himself indispensable. He would have returned to England with Phillip, but his conscientiousness – which had saved the colony from starvation – in the end proved fatal for him. more >>



Primary Sources

Secondary Sources

  • Judith Dunn, The Parramatta Cemeteries: St. John’s, (Parramatta, NSW: Parramatta and District Historical Society, 1991), p. 185.
  • “DODD, Henry Edward (c1752–1791),” in Mollie Gillen, The Founders of Australia: A Biographical Dictionary of the First Fleet, (Sydney: Library of Australian History, 1989), pp. 105–06.


# First Fleet

# Came Free

# Ship: HMS Sirius (1788)

# Burial year: 1791

# Grave: marked