Ann was born on the 1st
September 1771 to John and Hannah Forbes(Nee Davis) in
the East End of London, Spitalfields Markets where her
father John was a gardener and a greengrocer.
Her baptism was held at Christ Church Spitalfields on 15
stole 10 yards of printed cotton along with Lydia Munro
and they were arrested on 28th October 1786,
committed on the 30th with a hand written
note on the margin of her court transcript stating
to be Hanged’
she was sent to Newgate prison.
She was then tried at the Surry Lent Assizes on 5th
April, 1787 where her death sentence was firstly upheld
then reprieved to Transportation for 7 years on the 17th
April, 1787. What a terrifying 12 days she must have
Ann was transferred by prison wagon travelling shackled
by day and by night, to the
waiting in Portsmouth harbour in an area called the
Mother Bank off the coast of the Isle of Wight.
They travelled through many villages where people closed
doors, drew curtains, and closed their shops as the
prison wagons passed by.
After the fear and filth of Newgate prison, and then the
bone shattering ride in a wagon devoid of any
suspension, on rain soaked roads and where bogging was
frequent their arrival at the new ship (the Prince of
Wales was build in 1786) must have seemed like heaven.
However Captain Arthur Phillip commented that many of
the crew and most of the women were sea sick for most if
not the entire journey, another hell on earth to be
Ann arrived with Lydia on the Prince of Wales on January
20th 1788 in Sydney Cove.
We know nothing about what she did within the colony in
those early days but we do know that soon after landing
she formed a relationship with George Bannister and she
gave birth to her first child Sarah in 1789.
What happened to Sarah is unknown but as she did not
join her parents when they went to Norfolk Island in
It is believed that she died in early childhood.
Ann and George left for Norfolk Island on the Sirius in
This ironically was the ill fated journey of the Sirius.
The weather was not conducive to the Sirius or its
accompanying ship the Supply to land within the harbour
at Sydney Bay.
Therefore Sirius sailed to Cascade Bay on the leeward
side of the Island where the Marines and the women and
children were put ashore having to walk about 2 miles
through thick forest across the Island back to Sydney
Ann and George parted company at some time over the next
Then on the 5th November 1791 Ann married
William Dring in a mass ceremony presided by Rev
Johnston and a daughter Ann was born in 1792 and
another, Elizabeth in 1794.
Ann and William had a small plot of land on which they
had a house and enough land to grow their food and
William worked as a coxswain and, according to Phillip
Gidley King he was
most useful man
By 1792 they were off stores and selling a surplus to
the government and by 1793 Lieutenant Phillip Gidley
King commented in his journal that William had become a
Marriage and perhaps with the settling hand of Ann he
had calmed down.
As William was sailor and it could be suggested that he
knew little if anything about growing crops so perhaps
as well as having a settling effect on William it was
Ann with her family knowledge of growing vegetables that
bought about the success of their garden.
Then in the period between October 1793 and December
1794 trouble began to brew between William and the NSW
A certain Charles Windsor began to show interest in Ann
and frequented their property whilst William was away
attending to his duties as Coxswain.
is reported to have hit a Charles Windsor who had been
found in the company of his wife’.
this he received a fine of 20 shillings and a surety of
good behavior which was obtained and all was well until
two soldiers were over heard in December 1793
threatening his life.’
Charles Windsor was also at this time accused by Govern
Phillip Gidley King as one of the perpetrators of the
incident referred to the Christmas mutiny of the NSW
Corps. They complained of being less well treated that
The failure of the mutiny meant that the marines
involved were returned to Sydney Cove for Court martial
and Ann and William continued their lives.
In August 1794 Ann gave birth to another daughter
Elizabeth and in November 1794 they returned to Sydney
Cove with daughters Ann 2 years and Elizabeth 4 months.
On their return young Ann died in January 1795 the cause
is unknown leaving Elizabeth the only surviving Dring.
In August 1796 a son was born but he too died in
Ann had named him Charles. Was this after Charles
Windsor we will never know for sure? However, I think it
is possible as Charles was still in the colony as he did
not leave until 1810 when the NSW Corps was recalled.
He married in 1802 so it is possible that he and Ann had
continued the affair on Ann’s
return to Sydney.
Was there an argument between Charles Windsor and
William Dring? Did the NSW Corps Marines finally murder
William or did he escape their clutches by going to sea?
There are no answers at present.
In 1798 Ann had another daughter Jane F Dring and it is
believed that this child was the first of 10 Ann she had
Thomas had come directly to Norfolk Island in 1791
arriving on the Salamander in the third fleet.
Ann and Thomas no doubt knew each other then.
Thomas received a grant of 55 acres in Windsor in
September of 1794 on his returned to Sydney and Ann was
assigned to him as his housekeeper around 1798.
They had 10 children and lived on Thomas’s
second land grant given to him as Thomas Huxley on the
Hawkesbury River at
Thomas had 3 boats to take goods to Windsor and Sydney
and bring supplies back.
Their future generations remained in the Hawkesbury area
spreading branches of the family tree throughout NSW.
By the time Ann died in 1851 at Sackville Reach where
she is buried at St Thomas’s
graveyard, she had 116 Grandchildren and Great
Thomas died Richmond in 1854 and is buried in St Peter’s
Church of England Cemetery in Richmond.
Thank you Ann for being a wonderful
of this wonderful nation.
Sources for Article on Ann Forbes
1. Parish: Christ Church, Spitalfields County: Middlesex
Borough: Tower Hamlets Parent(s): John, Hannah Record
Type: Baptism Register Type: Parish Register
2. Guilty, No Chattles’ to be Hanged by Ian Forster
3. Morgan’s Run by Colleen McCulloch
4. Documents that Shaped Australia by Ian Thompson
5. The Goodwin Family Book Outland ‘A Misfortunate Girl
- Lydia Munro
6. Phillip Gidley King’s Journal on Norfolk Island
Mitchell Library Manuscripts pp 341-42;398-99;401-402
(the Christmas Mutiny, William’s trouble with the NSW
Corp and Sinking of the Sirius and the information on
how Ann and William lived)
7. NSW Census and Population Books 1811-11-1825
8. NSW Returns of the Colony 1822-1864
9. NSW Marriage Index 1788-1950
10. Australian Cemetery Index 1808-2007
11. NSW and Tasmania Australian Convict Musters
12. Australian Convict Transportation Registers - other
Fleets and Ships, 1791-1868
13. NSW, Australia Colonial Secretary Paper, 1788-1825
14. NSW, Australia Settler and Convict Lists 1787-1834
15. NSW, Australia Convict Ship Muster Rolls and Related
Submitted by Lynne
McDonald # 7709
B.A History, Ancient History and
English. UNE, Armidale
Descendant of William
Dring and Ann Forbes/Huxley.
The birth of Ann Forbes has been put into doubt by a
number of new information being found. I had come to
doubt the parentage we had in 2015 and after receiving
an email from a fellow researcher Barbara Parker with a
death of an Ann Forby in Spitalfields Markets in early
1776 I have begun to do further research.
I have since found resounding evidence to suggest that
Ann Forbes daughter of John and Hannah Forbes may not be
the Ann Forbes who came in the First Fleet. This
evidence is speculative but highly probable. There are
in fact 3 other Ann Forbes who could be our Ann.
I therefore wish it known that further research is being
undertaken and that the birth information in this
article and may not be correct.
When I have made a decision on these new facts I will
article to express the new findings.
Lynne McDonald # 7709