James Wright (c.1757-1825)

James Wright was a convict transported per Scarborough (1788). He is one of 17 First Fleeters with memorial plaques. Wright started out as a highwayman, but his transportation to the Colony of New South Wales saw him start a new life as the colony’s first baker at Port Jackson and then the Government baker at Parramatta for 17 years.


  • Born: c.1757
  • Committed Crime: July 1783
  • Imprisoned: July 1783, Newgate Prison, London
  • Trial: 11 August 1783, Maidstone, Kent, England
  • Received Death Sentence: 13 August 1783, Maidstone, Kent, England
  • Death Sentence Commuted to seven years transportation: 1783
  • Transferred to the Censor Hulk: 20 October 784, River Thames
  • Embarked on Scarborough: 27 February 1787
  • Sailed with the First Fleet per Scarborough: 13 May 1787, Spithead, Portsmouth, England
  • Arrived in Botany Bay per Scarborough: 19 January 1788
  • Colonial Baker under Governor Arthur Phillip: early 1788-c.1792
  • Government Baker at Parramatta: 1792-1809
  • Birth and death of son, James Wright II: July 1792
  • Birth of son, George Wright: 1794
  • Birth of daughter, Jane Wright: 1797
  • Birth of daughter, Shepherdess Wright: 1799
  • Married Letitia Holland: 10 April 1810, St. John’s Church, Parramatta
  • Died: 15 March 1825
  • Buried: 18 March 1825 at St. John’s Cemetery, Parramatta

Burial Location

  • Section 1, Row I, No. 21, St. John’s Cemetery, Parramatta


  • Spouse of Letitia Wright
  • Parent of James Wright (II)
  • Parent of George Wright
  • Parent of Jane Wright
  • Parent of Shepherdess Agland


  • Baker
  • Farmer
  • Publican


  • Convict Scarborough, 1787-1788
  • Colonial Baker under Governor Arthur Phillip at Port Jackson
  • Government Baker at Parramatta

James Wright: The Highwayman (2016)

By Michaela Ann Cameron

Abstract: The colony’s first baker, James Wright, started out as a highwayman. Wright nearly did not get the chance to try out his baking skills, though, as he almost went to the gallows for holding up and stealing the watch of the young, wealthy son of an American Revolutionary War hero on one of the highways running out of London. His death sentence, however, was soon commuted to seven years transportation to Africa. During his sentence, he was incarcerated in Newgate Prison and spent more than two years on the Censor prison hulk on the Thames before finally being transported – not to Africa, but to what was about to become the Colony of New South Wales. Soon after his arrival on board the First Fleet convict transport Scarborough, Wright was appointed baker at Port Jackson. Later, Governor Arthur Phillip made him the Government Baker at Parramatta; it was a role Wright kept for 17 years. But the watch-stealer who had by then risen far above his convict status also learnt that what goes around comes around… more>>



  • Judith Dunn, The Parramatta Cemeteries: St. John’s, (Parramatta, NSW: Parramatta and District Historical Society, 1991)
  • Mollie Gillen, The Founders of Australia: A Biographical Dictionary of the First Fleet, (Sydney: Library of Australian History, 1989)
  • Parish Burial Records, Textual Records, St. John’s Anglican Church Parramatta, New South Wales, Australia.


# First Fleet

# Convict

# Hulk: Censor

# Ship: Scarborough (1788)

# Burial year: 1825

# Grave: marked