Isaac Knight (c.1750–1842)

ISAAC KNIGHT, per Alexander (1788), is one of St. John’s First Fleeters. KNIGHT was also a British veteran of the American War of Independence, (during which he became a target of the first ever submarine attack), the superintendent of convicts at Coal Harbour (Newcastle), and briefly the superintendent of agriculture at the Government Farm at Castle Hill until Governor Macquarie made it the colony’s first lunatic asylum. In later life, KNIGHT was an auctioneer at Liverpool. He is buried in a marked grave at St. John’s Cemetery, Parramatta.


  • Namesake: Knight Hill (present-day Kurrajong Heights)


  • Born: c.1750, Portsmouth, Hampshire, England
  • On board HMS Eagle when it was attacked by the Turtle submarine: 6 September 1776 (American Revolutionary War)
  • Discharged from duty “being prisoner”: 15 September 1778
  • Served in the Mediterranean on HMS Ganges: 1782. Fellow First Fleeter Thomas Freeman was also on board Ganges.
  • Involved in the Battle of Cape Spartel: 20 October 1782, aboard HMS Ganges near Gibraltar
  • Discharged from HMS Ganges: 13 October 1786
  • Sergeant of Marines on First Fleet ship Alexander: 1787
  • Sailed for Botany Bay with First Fleet per Alexander13 May 1787
  • Suspended from duty: October 1787 at Cape of Good Hope, South Africa
  • Arrived at Botany Bay per Alexander and returned to duty: 18 January 1788
  • Arrived at Port Jackson per Alexander: 26 January 1788
  • Served in company of Captain JAMES CAMPBELL: 1788
  • Went on excursion from Rose Hill to South West: August 1790, in the company of WATKIN TENCH, Lieutenant WILLIAM DAWES & surgeon GEORGE WORGAN.
  • Went on another excursion: 24 May 1791 with TENCH, DAWES and WORGAN beyond Richmond Hill and across the Hawkesbury
  • Knight Hill named after him: 24 May 1791. (Now known as Kurrajong Heights)
  • Sailed for England per Atlantic: 11 December 1792 (ARTHUR PHILLIP was also on board)
  • Arrived in England per Atlantic: May 1793
  • Discharged from marines for the final time: May 1793
  • Master-at-Arms on HMS London: May 1793
  • Married MARY TALBOT: 7 April 1794, St. Mary’s, Portsea, Hampshire, England
  • Death of wife MARY TALBOT: sometime before 1802.
  • Married widow ELIZABETH WHITE (née ELIZABETH MARKS): 10 June 1802, Portsea, Hampshire, England
  • Birth of son ISAAC KNIGHT (II): c.1802
  • Applied for passage to Colony of NSW: July 1802
  • Sailed for Colony of NSW per Glatton: 23 September 1802
  • Arrived in Colony of NSW per Glatton: 11 March 1803 (with wife, child, and two stepchildren)
  • Received land grant: 1803
  • Appointed Superintendent of Convicts: 25 March 1804 at Coal Harbour (Newcastle)
  • Arrived at Coal Harbour: 30 March 1804
  • Birth of son DANIEL MARKS KNIGHT: 20 August 1804
  • Resigned as Superintendent of Convicts at Coal Harbour: 16 March 1805
  • Birth of son JOHN MARKS KNIGHT: 2 December 1806
  • Death of son ISAAC KNIGHT (II): 21 January 1809
  • Appointed Superintendent of Agriculture, Castle Hill Government Farm: 18 December 1810
  • Discharged as Superintendent of Agriculture: 28 September 1811
  • Appointed auctioneer at Liverpool and surrounds: 21 August 1819
  • Death of wife ELIZABETH: 13 July 1827
  • Died: 17 April 1842 at Macquarie Grove, Cowpastures, the property of Samuel Otto Hassall
  • Buried: 21 April 1842, St. John’s Cemetery, Parramatta

Burial Location

  • Section 3, Row B, No. 13, St. John’s Cemetery, Parramatta


  • Spouse of MARY TALBOT: 7 April 1794–< 1802
  • Spouse of ELIZABETH WHITE (née ELIZABETH MARKS): 10 June 1802–13 July 1827
  • Parent of ISAAC KNIGHT (II)
  • Step-parent of WILLIAM WHITE
  • Step-parent of JAMES GEORGE WHITE


  • Marine, British Royal Navy
  • Auctioneer, Liverpool, New South Wales, Australia
  • Farmer
  • Settler


  • Marine
  • Sergeant of Marines
  • Master-at-Arms
  • Superintendent of Convicts at Coal Harbour (Newcastle)
  • Superintendent of Agriculture at The Government Farm, Castle Hill
  • Settler

Related Content

Isaac Knight: The Trusty Sergeant (2016)

By Ben Vine

Abstract: Before he settled in New South Wales, Isaac Knight traversed much of the late eighteenth-century British Empire while serving as a marine in the Royal Navy. His most significant periods of service were in the American Revolutionary War and the Anglo-Spanish War that was closely linked to the fight for American Independence. His life reveals that the memory of the American Revolution remained a part of New South Wales society well into the nineteenth century. more>>



Primary Sources

  • Parish Burial Registers, Textual Records, St. John’s Anglican Church Parramatta, New South Wales, Australia.

Secondary Sources

  • Judith Dunn, The Parramatta Cemeteries: St. John’s, (Parramatta, NSW: Parramatta and District Historical Society, 1991), p. 153.
  • Mollie Gillen, The Founders of Australia: A Biographical Dictionary of the First Fleet, (Sydney: Library of Australian History, 1989), p. 209.


# Event: American Revolutionary War (1775-1783)

# First Fleet

# Came Free

# Marine

# Ship: Alexander (1788)

# Ship: Glatton (1803)

# Burial year: 1842

# Grave: marked