D’Arcy Wentworth (II) (1762–1827)

D’ARCY WENTWORTH was an Irish surgeon who could have been a Second Fleet convict himself, thanks to three charges of Highway Robbery at the Old Bailey in December 1787, but he was found not guilty of the first two charges and then acquitted of the third due to a lack of evidence. In 1789, when he was again brought before the judge at the Old Bailey on a charge of committing highway robbery and found not guilty, the judge was informed “the prisoner at the Bar, has taken a passage to go in a fleet to Botany Bay and has obtained an appointment in it as Assistant Surgeon and desires to be discharged immediately.”

WENTWORTH came as a free man to the colony on board the Second Fleet convict transport ship Neptune (1790). While aboard he formed a relationship with convict CATHERINE CROWLEY. He was commandant / supervisor of convicts and made use of his medical skills in Norfolk Island, Sydney, and Parramatta. He was appointed a justice of the peace and elected to sit in the Governor’s Court in 1810, a role in which he committed many convict women to Parramatta’s Female Factories.


  • Alternate: DARCY WENTWORTH

Burial Location

  • Section 2, Row J, No. 3, St. John’s Cemetery, Parramatta

Trial Records


  • Common-law husband of CATHERINE CROWLEY
  • Father of WILLIAM CHARLES WENTWORTH (by Catherine Crowley)
  • Father of D’ARCY WENTWORTH (III) (by Catherine Crowley)
  • Father of MATTHEW WENTWORTH (by Catherine Crowley)
  • Father of MARTHA WENTWORTH (by Catherine Crowley) (did not survive infancy)
  • Common-law husband of MARIA AINSLIE, convict per Indispensable (1796)
  • Common-law husband of MARY ANN LAWES, free woman per Lady Madelaine Sinclair (1806)
  • Stepfather of JOHN JAMES MCNEAL (son of Mary Ann Lawes and James McNeal)
  • Father of GEORGE WENTWORTH (by Mary Ann Lawes)
  • Father of MARTHA WENTWORTH (by Mary Ann Lawes)
  • Father of SOPHIA WENTWORTH (by Mary Ann Lawes)
  • Father of ROBERT WENTWORTH (by Mary Ann Lawes)
  • Father of CHARLES JOHN WENTWORTH (by Mary Ann Lawes)
  • Father of MARY ANN WENTWORTH (by Mary Anne Lawes)
  • Father of KATHERINE WENTWORTH (by Mary Ann Lawes)
  • Father of CHARLES D’ARCY WENTWORTH (by Mary Ann Lawes)

Related Content


By Catie Gilchrist

Abstract: In the late eighteenth century transportation across the seas to Botany Bay was a fate worse than death for many. But some early exiles used it as a chance for reinvention, recovery and rich redemption. Most survived, some made good, and a few made vast fortunes. D’Arcy Wentworth was a divisive figure, then as now. In many respects, though, his story encapsulates the early years of colonial New South Wales where luck, determination, hard work and the rehabilitation of a reputation were possible in the circumstances of a strange new society struggling to establish itself. more>>


By Catie Gilchrist

Abstract: Catherine Crowley was just seventeen years of age when she was involuntarily sent to the far-flung shores of ‘Botany Bay’ in 1790. Yet she survived the horrors of the Second Fleet and served out her penal sentence in relatively gentle circumstances on Norfolk Island. Later at Parramatta, she lived quietly and in comfort until her early death in 1800. Perhaps the biggest tragedy of her short life was never knowing the lasting legacy she bequeathed to colonial New South Wales. more>>


By Michaela Ann Cameron

Abstract: Saturday 7 January 1804: a convict thrusts a shovel into the fresh grave of little Mary Grimshaw, and tosses the soil aside. There have been whispers of foul play, and surgeon D’Arcy Wentworth will not rest until a full examination allows him to either confirm or allay his worst suspicions. The pile of earth beside the grave grows higher, till at last the five-year-old’s body is exhumed and back among the living. It is now Surgeon Wentworth’s turn to do the digging; to open up her earthly remains and uncover what is lying beneath the skin, bone and tissue. His late patient is something of a whited sepulchre herself, for he is convinced that, deep inside, this innocent one is unwillingly keeping the rotten secret of her own convict father’s ‘merciless’ violence. Accordingly, when he gets his chance in court, Wentworth will all but plait the rope for Richard Grimshaw’s neck. But, two hundred and seventeen years later, “The Old Parramattan” Dr. Michaela Ann Cameron offers a new suspect; for perhaps it was never so much a question of who killed Mary Grimshaw, but whatRead more>>


By Michaela Ann Cameron

Abstract: Did the Old Parramattans string up the dead body of Australia’s first Catholic schoolteacher in gibbet irons on the site of what later became the Lancer Barracks, for the murder of Mary Smyth in 1807, as a lesson to all and sundry? The case of Mary Smyth and her killer John Kenny is a fascinating one for those interested in how religion and the law intersected to provide judges with two gory options for punishing a murderer in this world and the next, whilst simultaneously ‘harnessing the power’ of his corpse to deter others from committing murder. Since gibbetting cases in the British context have received very thorough academic attention in recent years, however, the value of this case lies more in it being one of only a few examples of this post-mortem punishment in the British penal colony of New South Wales, where gibbetting remained an option for three whole years after it was abolished in Britain in 1834. Read more>>



Primary Sources

Secondary Sources


# Second Fleet

# Irish

# Trial Place: Old Bailey

# Came Free

# Ship: Neptune (1790)

# Burial year: 1827

# Grave: marked