On the 20th March 1786, at the Devon Lent Assizes, Joshua Peck was charged with stealing from:-


John Scadding – one cloth coat, value 30 shillings and other goods value of 17/6

Robert Turpin – three linen shirts, value 16 shillings and other goods value of 12 shillings

Samuel Thompson – two cloth coats, value 20 shillings and other goods value of 32 shillings.


He was also charged with breaking and entering the dwelling of Sarah Mitchell and stealing three silver castors value 58 shillings and other goods to the value of 20 shillings.

Joshua was found guilty on all theft charges, but not guilty of breaking and entering.  His sentence was “To be transported across the seas for a term of seven years.”


From there Joshua was sent to the prison hulk Dunkirk, in Plymouth harbour. He was embarked on the Charlotte on 17th March 1787. He was aged about 30 at this time. There is some conjecture that he was transferred to the Scarborough when this ship, along with the Supply, Alexander and Friendship were sent ahead of the remainder of the fleet in November 1787

Soon after arriving in New South Wales, Joshua was employed at the hospital. In July 1788 he, along with two others, John Small and Thomas Chadwick, was charged with stealing wine from the hospital tent.  Although all three were found in various stages of drunkenness, their general conduct was highly commended by witnesses such as Surgeon John White and Captains John Shea and Watkin Tench of the marines. White stated of Peck, that “his conduct appeared so good he took him for his servant; and… had an equal confidence and good opinion of prisoner Small”. Tench added that both Peck and Small both came out in the ship (Charlotte) with him (the two convicts had also been on the Dunkirk together) and said of Peck, “… he had an opportunity of knowing much of and had a good opinion of him…”

All three were acquitted of the charges, as Judge Advocate David Collins (subsequently the first Lieutenant-Governor of Van Diemen’s Land) later wrote, “… on the want of sufficient evidence…”. In any case they were all moved on from hospital duties.


In October 1788 Joshua Peck was sent to Norfolk Island, aboard the Golden Grove. In January 1789 a planned mutiny on the island was discovered. Joshua was aware of the plot, but was not among the leaders.  

In August 1792, he shared a sow with William Blackhall, Ann Yeoman and Mary Frost (second fleeter) whom he married. This could have been as early as the previous year, when Reverend Richard Johnson visited the island. The Reverend states that he married over 100 couples during the visit, but no record has been found of these marriages.

Joshua and Mary left Norfolk Island to settle at Prospect (now Toongabbie) where he was granted 30 acres in 1794. In 1803 “Peck’s Farm” (then 100 acres) was sold and Joshua and Mary returned to Norfolk Island.


With the closure of the Norfolk settlement, Joshua, his wife and six children arrived at Hobart on the Porpoise on 17th January 1808. He was granted 45 acres at New Norfolk with one boundary on the Derwent River. This grant was confirmed in 1813.

At some time between the above grant confirmation and the Cornwall Muster of 1819, the family moved to northern Van Diemen’s Land. By this time Joshua was renting a farm of 21 acres. He is listed as having a wife and five children.

From the following account of the trial of Joshua Senior and three sons, from the Hobart town Gazette of 9th June 1821, it would appear the family were living in the Camden Plains (now White Hills) area.

“Joshua Peck, the elder, William Peck, Joshua Peck the younger, and Thomas Peck, were placed on trial charged with having feloniously killed sheep, the property of our Lord the King.

Also, with having feloniously killed an heifer, the property of one Thomas Daley.”

Daley stated in his evidence that he was an overseer of the Government flock including a stock-yard at Camden Plains, about nine miles from Launceston and that the prisoners lived about ¾ of a mile from the yard.


They were all found guilty and sentenced to be transported to Newcastle for 14 years. William subsequently escaped, but was recaptured and sent to Macquarie Harbour.

During his time at Newcastle, Joshua Senior petitioned Governor Sir Thomas Brisbane on two occasions – once for permission for him and his sons to complete their sentence in Van Diemen’s Land and the other to return to Van Diemen’s Land to grow tobacco, claiming he had a number of years’ experience in America. Both requests were rejected.

Joshua died in 1825 and was buried at the Newcastle Church of England cemetery on the 25th February. The remains from this cemetery were subsequently transferred to the Sandgate Cemetery.

Mary remained in Van Diemen’s Land, living with her daughter Elizabeth (Lette) at White Hills until her death on 14th November 1847, aged 96.

There is some confusion how many children Joshua and Mary had. Joshua, in the first of the above petitions, stated he “and his present wife” had 12 children. Mary, in 1844, declared on oath that she had “six sons and four daughters”.  Records have been found for a total of 11 children including John, Mary Ann, Jane, Jeremiah, James, Charles and Sarah (not mentioned previously).

#8252 Graeme Peck


Hilton M Peck, As I Sailed out from Plymouth The Story of Joshua Peck  - p7

Hilton M Peck, As I Sailed out from PlymouthThe Story of Joshua Peck  - p11 (also queried in a number of sources, including records listed at and

Hilton M Peck, As I Sailed out from Plymouth The Story of Joshua Peck  - p13-14 and

Mollie Gillen, The Search for John Small – First Fleeter – p109-110

Hilton M Peck, As I Sailed out from Plymouth The Story of Joshua Peck  - p17-22

NSW AO Reel 1232 (4/1870 p45)

NSW AO Reel 1231 (4/1867 p12)

Church of England Register - Marriages, 1818-1825. Deaths, 1821-1825.

Hilton M Peck, As I Sailed out from Plymouth The Story of Joshua Peck  - p55



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