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 biographies in this collection have been selected and edited by Dr. Michaela Ann Cameron, with a number of historians contributing individual essays. The biographical essays are being published gradually from early 2016 onwards. Over 50 First Fleeters are registered in the St. John’s Parish burials register, but the majority have no memorial plaques and lie in unmarked graves, exact location unknown. For the complete list of St. John’s First Fleeters see the First Fleet dataset here. The full-length essays completed thus far and currently available can be accessed below.

Augustus Alt: The Baron**

The Killing and Keening of Simon Burn*

Thomas Chipp: The Marine*

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 Wretched, Rascally and Depraved Magees, and the Story of St. John’s First Burial”*

John Martin: The Self-Freed Slave***

Thomas Martin: Ripples of a Revolution*

Jane McManus: The Maid Freed from the Gallows***

Lives Left Behind: The Forsaken Families of First Fleeters*

Christopher Palmer: Perils of a Purser*

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

Richard Partridge: The Left-Handed Flogger

Ann Smith: A Plunderer*

James Wright: The Highwayman***


  • This project is supported by the NSW Government through Create NSW. (Essays are marked*)
  • This project has been supported through a Parramatta City Council Community Grant. (Essays are marked **)
  • 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. (Essays are marked ***)
  • Essays without an asterisk were voluntary contributions.

Collection Design, Research Assistance, Editing, Multimedia and Publishing: Michaela Ann Cameron

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

Research Assistance: Jennifer Follers, The Fellowship of First Fleeters

© Copyright Michaela Ann Cameron 2015–2020