William Tyrrell  (Tyrrill)

b circa 1759 d 1827


Arrived with the First Fleet in Sydney Cove 26 January 1788

On board the Convict Transport Ship



William Tyrrell was sentenced at Winchestor Haunts March 1785.

(A) Charged with William (John) Handford, for cutting & stealing 160 pounds weight of lead value 20s. the goods of the King. ….

(B) For stealing one iron bar of 20 pounds weight value 3s. and other goods value 3s. the property of the King.

Found not guilty on the first charge. …. Guilty on the second charge.

He was received on the “Ceres” hulk in 1786 age unknown, then delivered to the “Alexander” 6-1-1787.


William Tyrrell and Ann Ward, from the “Lady Penryhn”, were married 6-4-1788 in the colony by Rev. Richard Johnson. William signed the register. Ann was transported for stealing a hand muff. Their eldest son George was born 7-3-1790.


Tyrrell received a 60 acre grant 22-2-1792 at Eastern Farms (Kissing Point) to be known as Tyrrell’s Farm, authorised by Arthur Phillip Governor-in Chief of NSW. Eastern Farms on 18-12-1799 a grant of 90 acres to Charles Peat was canceled and sold. William Raven received 60 acres and William Tyrrell a further grant of 30 acres to be known as Peat Farm, free from fees taxes quit rents for a space of 5 years. Authorised by Governor John Hunter.


William Tyrrell had four acres in grain by October 1792; by mid 1800 he had eight acres cleared, three acres sown in wheat with five ready for planting maize. He owned three pigs and the household included William and his wife off stores and one child on stores. Two years later no wheat had been sown and six acres were ready for maize. All in the household were off stores with nine bushels of wheat in hand. In 1806 he had eleven acres in grain, one acre in vegetables and 18 acres in pasture. Holding eight bushels of grain, he was providing for himself and one child. Tyrrell’s wife had been buried as Ann Terrell at St John’s Parramatta on 23-6-1804.


From late 1806 he was living with Ann Sandell (convict who arrived on the Nile 1801) who appears as (alias) Hannah Sutherland in some records. She had a daughter, Elizabeth 1805 by Thomas Mansfield.

Later records list William Tyrrell and Ann Sandell as married, they had four children, My Ancestor Mary Ann born 6-9-1807. William Richard born 1809, Ann born 1812 and Thomas born 1813.


Saturday 13th January 1810 lightning struck Tyrrell’s house his wife was struck on the left side of her face by the electric fluid, which severely scorched her face and neck, and much crippled her in her limbs. A barn was also struck and 15 bushels of wheat reserved as seed for the next season’s crop were destroyed by fire. The Sydney Gazette wrote: “this poor man has twice previously had his house and everything he possessed destroyed by fire, he is now reduced to extreme distress from causes against which t’is not in the power of mankind to guard. On 24 May his 60 acre grant, with dwelling house and a 90 foot sheep shed were offered for sale by James Squire (qv). 1820 Tyrrell had 20 acres by purchase.


Ann died in June 1821 aged 50 and was registered as buried in the parish of St Phillip’s.  Their youngest son Thomas aged 8 was admitted to an orphanage 3 rd November 1821. Tyrrell senior was now residing in Pitt Street Sydney he lived and worked as a carpenter with his eldest son George until his death.


William Tyrrell died in Sydney aged 68 years; 25th June 1827 was buried C of E section Sydney Burial Ground, Devonshire Street, (The Sandhills). Rev. William Cowper performed the ceremony in the parish of St Phillip’s.

His tombstone read:


To the Memory of

William Tyrrill

Who Departed this Life June 25th 1827

Aged 68 Years

Who Arrived in the First Fleet in the

Year 1788

“Do not Lament, my children dear I ham not dead, but Sleepeth Here”.


The headstone was removed to Botany Cemetery, it was in an upright but poor condition, and was not kept for the Pioneer Section.


Thomas Tyrrell age 12 years left the orphanage April 1827 to live and work as an apprentice for Richard Brooks, a landholder who owned 13364 acres at Lower Minto.


William Tyrrell had been active in colonial affairs, to the extent that he was a signatory to Settlers’ petition of Grievances in 1798 and signed a petition to Governor Bligh from the Hawkesbury settlers in 1807 and another from the Inhabitants of New South Wales in 1808. It was most probable that Tyrrell abandoned farming and returned to his trade as a carpenter after a disaster in 1810. On 14 January of that year the Sydney Gazette reported this disaster; it was indicative of the difficulties faced by settlers and may also be seen as a report of some of the childhood experiences which may have influenced the native-born to prefer the life of a tradesman to that of a farmer.


Eldest Son, George Tyrrell is listed on the 1828 Census as a carpenter like his father. George Tyrrell’s youngest son, called William after his ex-convict grandfather, became an apprentice blacksmith in Sydney.

In May 2016 a memorial plaque to William Tyrrell Convict "Alexander" was installed in the First Fleet Memorial Park in the Eastern Suburbs Memorial Park



Submitted by Jean Irene Mortimer:

Fellowship of First Fleeters Member # 6409 & South Coast Chapter (Founding Member)


Jean, 6th Generation Australian

Daughters: Alice FFF # 6410 & Glenda FFF # 6411, 7th Generation.

Granddaughters: Laura & Bianca, 8th Generation.


Sources of information:


BDM & Convict Indexes.

Southampton Lent Circuit 1785.

Landholders of Sydney from 1792 By Bryan Thomas.

State Records NSW.

State Library Sydney.

Shared Information Mr L R Baxter FFF # 3413.

1828 Census.

Lineal proof from BDM Transcripts & Certificates.


Jean Irene Mortimer, terryjeanmort@yahoo.com.au


Return to Alexander


Copyright Fellowship of First Fleeters