FF GEORGE GREAVES/GRAVES Boatswain ‘HMS Sirius’(c1740-1788)


George Graves, able seaman aged 46 from Fife Scotland, joined Sirius on 28th October 1786.

He died on 10th July 1788 and was buried at Port Jackson, in Sydney’s first cemetery, at Dawes Point, near the present site of the southern pylons of the Harbour Bridge.

On the day he died he made a will to Abraham Kimmey, pensioner at the Royal Hospital, Greenwich. The will of ‘George Greaves’ was proved to Kimmey on 13th June 1789, apparently with permission only to administer the probate. A fresh probate was granted on 29th January 1791.


A headstone erected to his memory was discovered in 1871 as a paving stone in Bethel Lane off George St in the Rocks.

It was then taken in the possession of the Archives of NSW and reads “in memory of George Graves late boatswain’s yeoman on HMS Sirius who departed this life ye 10th July 1788 aged 48 years”


It is the oldest extant headstone in Australia.




There has been placed on exhibition at Vaucluse House a tombstone which marked the grave of  George Graves, Boatswain on H.M.S. Sirius, flagship, of the First Fleet to arrive in Australia, which put into Port Jackson in January, 1788.


The tombstone records that Graves, who was 46 years of age, died on July 10, 1788, less than six months after the first settlement was formed at Sydney Cove.

The tombstone was unearthed in Lower George Street, Circular Quay, about 60 years ago, and for many years was stored under a staircase in the Public Library. The stone was sent to Vaucluse House several years ago, and has now been made available for public inspection.


The discovery of the tombstone in Lower George Street is probably explained by the fact that the first interments in the colony were made at the rear of Campbell's Wharf.  

That was before a burial ground was established on the present site of the Town Hall, which was known as the old George Street Cemetery.-·The Sydney Morning Herald (NSW : 1842 - 1954)Sat 29 Apr 1939 Page 4


The Fellowship of First Fleeters installed a FFF Plaque on George Graves’s Grave on 10th September 1988 and rededicated it on 10th October 2012.

Complied by John Boyd 2020.

Refer FFF Web Site:http://www.fellowshipfirstfleeters.org.au/graves.html

Under  see FFF Plaque 61 – Installed 10th September 1988

                                                           -Rededicated on 10th October 2012 for

FF GEORGE GRAVES/GREAVES Boatswain’s Mate‘HMS Sirius’(c1740-1788)


 Source:-The Founders of Australia by Mollie Gillen p148.



Copyright Fellowship of First Fleeters