FF JAMES MORRISBY, Convict ‘Scarborough’ (c 1757-1839)


James Morrisby (as indicted) is believed to have been born at Cawood, Yorks, in 1757

On 7th July 1784 James Morrisby was sentenced in the Old Bailey to transportation for seven years for theft of a 10lb iron bar valued at 10 pence. He had been observed wrenching it from the window it secured.
James was a blacksmith and stated that he had serve about 10 years in the Guards and that he has a wife and five children. A James Morrisby from Cawood had enlisted in the Scots Guards on 3rd April 1776 he was aged 19, 5ft.7ins. tall and had brown eyes.

James was transferred from prison to the “Censor” hulk on 6th September 1787 and on 24th February 1787 he was transported by wagon for embarkation on the “Scarborough” three days later.
The “Scarborough” was one of the convict transports of Australia’s “First Fleet”.

James arrived on Norfolk Island, aboard HMS Sirius in March 1790, embarking on HMS Sirius in Sydney on 5 March 1790, disembarking at Cascade Norfolk Island on 14 March 1790.

On Norfolk Island James was with Ann Brooks, Convict, Lady Juliana 1790. Ann and her son William Brooks arrived on Norfolk Island aboard the Surprize in August 1790.


In July 1791 James was living on a Sydney town lot and sharing a sow with Ann Brooks, also known as Ann Lavender, and her son William who had been transported aboard the “Lady Juliana” with his mother as part of the Second Fleet. They were one of the many couples married by Reverend Richard Johnson in November 1791 on Norfolk Island

In May 1794 James Morrisby, with wife (Ann) and three children (William, Richard and George) had 12 acres of cleared ground, has by this year’s growth, 200 bushels of maize, with 16 swine.

In June 1794 Ann Brooks was recorded as a convict, married, off stores with three children supporting by James Morrisby, settler
In December 1796, James Morrisby was granted 12 acres of land, being Lot 57 on Norfolk Island,

He had occupied this land since December 1791. In 1795 James Morrisby was recorded as a Settler, on rations. William Shurburd received a 34 acre land grant as William Shirbird on Norfolk Island in October 1796, being Lot 94.This land was leased to James Morrisby for 14 years on 30 May 1802

The family had increased by the birth of six children between 1791 and 1805.

James, Ann and five children left Norfolk Island to travel to Van Diemen’s Land aboard the “Porpoise” in December 1807 as part of the demise of the first Norfolk Island settlement.

They left behind them 55 acres of land, 14 of which were sown in grain, 10 in pasture and the rest fallow.
They owned 7 hogs and held 200 bushels of maize in store. Their buildings were valued at £90 included a house 12ft x 26ft, boarded floored and shingled, two floored barns and one outhouse.

In April 1809 James held 80 acres at Clarence Plains (now Rokeby) in Tasmania.

Ann Morrisby aged 51 was buried on 2nd February 1813, buried St David’s Cemetery Hobart.

James Morrisby, age 66 years married Eleanor Murphy, (Convict Catherine 1814), age 40 years, 18 November 1816 Hobart.


Eleanor Morresby, free, age 49 years, died 14 February 1821 Hobart, buried 16 February 1821 St Davids Hobart.

James died 29 May 1839, age 83 years, Clarence Plains, buried St. Matthews Clarence Plains

Eleanor, his wife, had been buried on 14th February 1821.


The Fellowship of First Fleeters installed a FFF Plaque on James Morrisby’s Grave on 1st November 1989.

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

Under FFF Plaque 76 – Installed 1st November 1989for

FF JAMES MORRISBY Convict‘Scarborough


Written By D Wong on 9th July, 2015


-The Founders of Australia by Mollie Gillen p253

-Dispatched Down Under by Ron Withington p353 & 354

Convict Records:https://convictrecords.com.au/convicts/morrisby/james/67815



Copyright Fellowship of First Fleeters