FF WILLIAM THOMPSON Convict ‘Scarborough’ (c1756-1836)


WILLIAM THOMPSON was indicted for stealing, on the 7th of May , one shift, value 2 s. and one table cloth, value 3 s. the property of John Kelly. John Orange saw the prisoner running with some things, near the prosecutor's house, and stopped him; and Mr. Kelly deposed to the things.

Prisoner: I bought the things in Back-lane of a person who is not here.

GUILTY: Transported for seven years at the Old Bailey on 26 May 1784

Tried by the first Middlesex Jury before Mr. Rose


William was received on the Censor hulk, age 28, on 6 September 1784. Some three years later on 24 February 1787 he was sent by wagon to Portsmouth to embark on the Scarborough on 27 February 1787.

From Port Jackson William was sent by the Golden Grove to Norfolk Island on 2 September 1788, as part of the second group of settlers to Norfolk Island where, as the first of the name on the island he was recorded as William Thompson 1st.


Extract from the Journal of John White, General Surgeon (Charlotte) to the Settlement: 2 October1788 – The Golden Grove sailed for Norfolk Island, with a reinforcement of 21 male and 11 female convicts; four free men, as gardeners; a midshipman from the Sirius to fill up the vacancy occasioned by the death of Mr Cunningham; a sergeant, corporal, and six privates; and a supply of necessaries for eighteen months. On Thursday 2nd October 1788 Daniel Southwell able seaman HMS Sirius entered in his diary: the Golden Grove stood out at day break. At 6, weighed with a fine breeze. We took now our depart from the entrance to Port Jackson.

At the end on January 1789 William earned 50 lashes for stealing corn from gardens and in July 1791 he was subsisting two persons on a one-acre Sydney Town lot, with 149 rods cleared. Six months later on 11 February 1792 he was listed as working for various settlers.

Settled himself on ten acres by July 1792, William had cultivated all of them at October 1793 and was elected as a member of the Norfolk Island Settlers Society.


In May 1794 he rented four acres to William Shore (Convict Alexander), and as William Thompson 1st he was living with Mary Carroll (Convict Lady Penrhyn) who had married John Nicholls (Convict Scarborough) on 24 March 1788 with both signing the register. Mary was sent to Norfolk Island on the Golden Grove in October 1788, as did William, but Nicholls did not go with her. Mary was ordered to return to Port Jackson on 26 June and left by Francis in July 1794.


There were several land transactions at Norfolk Island that could have applied to William 1st or William Thomason (Convict Alexander)) One lease of 72 acres on 30 October 1796 ‘as from 1 September’; One bought [part of a 24 acre grant] from James Bryan Cullen (Convict Scarborough) in 1798; One in September 1804 bought for 160 pounds as part of Joseph McCalden’s (Marine Private Alexander) grant WilliamRedfern (Convict Minorca). William seemed to have prospered on Norfolk Island.


As a single man, on 3 September 1808, William was aboard the City of Edinburgh for Van Diemen’s Land. In the 1811 Muster it shows that his place of trial was ‘Denham’ (Dunham?) He left buildings valued at forty pounds and took up just over 100 acres at Argyle. A William Thompson also held 600 acres at Lennox.

William Thompson, a farmer, died at Argyle St Hobart and his burial was recorded on 25 April 1836 in the Holy Trinity Parish Register. His age was noted as 94 years, although his actual age was around 80 years. 


Complied by John Boyd 2020

Sources:-The Founders of Australia by Mollie Gillen p357 ,65, 66

 Sydney Cove 1788 to 1800 in 5 Volumes by John Cobley

-The Crimes of the First Fleet Convicts by John Cobley

-Norfolk Island Settlementby Cheryl Timbury January 4, 2012

- www.firstfleetfellowship.org.au/convicts/norfolk-island-settlement/



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