Amongst the peoples of the First Fleet were many nationalities. These people embarked as convicts, able seamen, cooks, marines, officers and children. They are collectively known as Non English First Fleeters. You might ask, who were they?
BLACKS – There were twelve black Africans, Americans or West Indians that sailed on the First Fleet. Eleven were convicts with cook George Nelson, off the Prince of Wales, who drowned in the harbour at Port Jackson on 16 February 1788.
CHANNEL ISLANDERS – There were two that sailed as crew.
Roberts, Peter, Able Seaman, Sirius. From Guernsey. Sailed between Norfolk Island and Port Jackson, on Sirius and Supply. Returned to England on Waaksamheid as quarter gunner, discharged at Portsmouth in April 1792.
Swesey, John, Able Seaman, Supply. From Jersey. Promoted to carpenter’s mate on 2 November 1788. Remained with the ship until the voyage ended at Deptford early in March 1792.
IRISH – There were one hundred and forty one known First Fleeters having been born in Ireland or whose surnames suggest they may have been Irish or of Irish extraction. They made up nearly all of the First Fleet people.
JEWISH– There were certainly nine Jews that sailed with the Fleet. Some publications have suggested another nine Jews were board.
Abrahams, Esther, Convict, assigned Prince of Wales, transferred to Lady Penrhyn. Had children with First Lieutenant George Johnston, married him on 12 November 1814. Inherited with son Robert the Annandale Estates, on George’s death. Died 26 August 1846, buried beside her husband at Waverley Cemetery NSW.
Abrahams, Esther/Rosanna, Child, born in Newgate Prison to Esther Abrahams, arrived with her mother Esther. Aged 17, married widower Isaac Nicholas, as Rosanna Julian. Had three sons. Remarried James Stuart (Stewart) following the death of Isaac Nicholas. Recorded as a householder in Kent Street, Sydney NSW. Died, age given as 49 on 11 April 1837.
Harris, John, Convict, Scarborough. Sent to Norfolk Island by Supply and farmed. Had children with Mary Green. Returned to Sydney Cove and farmed.
Hart, Frances, Convict, Friendship, transferred to Charlotte at Rio. Married William Robinson on 13 February 1788. Sent to Norfolk Island and left there on 21 September 1792.
Hart, John, Convict, Scarborough. Married Laura Taura (Flora Larah) on 13 February 1788. Sent to Norfolk Island by Supply. Died on the Island on 3 January 1795.
Larah, Flora, Convict, Prince of Wales. Married John Hart on 13 February 1788. Sent to Norfolk Island by Supply November 1789, following Hart’s departure in February 1789. Was back in Port Jackson when the 1814 Muster was recorded.
Levy, Amelia, Convict, Lady Penrhyn. Sent to Norfolk Island on 4 March 1790. Married William Knight, and no children. Left for Port Jackson in July 1794 by Francis.
Levy, Joseph, Convict, Scarborough. Was buried on 15 April 1788, said to have been the first Jew buried in Australia.
Opley, Peter, Convict, Alexander. Sent by Sirius to Norfolk Island on 4 March 1790. Farmed on the Island. Left Norfolk Island for Europe in June 1796 by Marquis Cornwallis.
NORTH AMERICANS – At least fourteen North Americans are known to have sailed with the First Fleet. Laurence Lebogue from Nova Scotia, deserted before the Fleet left Portsmouth.
OTHER NATIONALISTS – Eight black convicts whose origins are uncertain were probably from America, the West Indies or Africa. Other seamen listed were from Madagascar, Germany, Norway, France, Sweden, Portugal and Holland.
SCOTTISH – It has been established that there were thirty-three Scottish First Fleeters (a number of others bore surnames of probable Scottish derivation). No First Fleet convict was convicted in Scotland.
Balmain, William, Alexander, Assistant Surgeon. Went to Norfolk Island 1791, lived with convict Margaret Dawson.
Bayne, David, HMS Sirius, Seaman. Drowned trying to land supplies at Norfolk Island.
Beard, William, HMS Sirius, Seaman, Fate unknown.
Bones, James, Alexander, Third Mate. Died of scurvy on return voyage.
Brody, Walter, HMS Sirius, Seaman. Returned to England in 1792 but came back to Sydney in 1793.
Brown, John, Scarborough, Marine Private (later joined NSW Corps). Went to Norfolk Island. Became a farmer. Married Judith Lightly in 1811.
Clay, James, Lady Penrhyn, Seaman. Fate unknown.
Coventry, James, HMS Sirius, Quartermaster. Drowned trying to land supplies at Norfolk Island.
Drummond, John, HMS Sirius, Quarter Gunner. Stranded at Norfolk Island after the wreck of the HMS Sirius.
Dunlap, Gavin, Supply, Gunner. Fate unknown.
Goodall, William. Alexander, Marine Corporal (later joined NSW Corps). Living in retirement in the Hawkesbury by 1814.
Greaves, George, HMS Sirius, Seaman. Died at Sydney Cove.
Gunn, George, HMS Sirius, Marine Private (later joined NSW Corps). Norfolk Island 1793 to 1795.
Hunter, John, Captain, HMS Sirius. Became second Governor of NSW.
Johnson, James, HMS Sirius. Seaman. Fate unknown.
Johnston, George, Lady Penrhyn. First Lieutenant Marines (later joined NSW Corps). Became Lieutenant Governor after William Bligh’s arrest. Married convict Esther Abrahams.
McDonald, Alexander, Friendship, Marine Private. Drowned with his wife and son-in-law when boat overturned off The Pulpit.
Middleton, John, HMS Sirius, Seaman. Fate unknown.
Mitchell, William, HMS Sirius, Boatswains Mate. Went to Norfolk Island 1790 and later Van Diemen’s Land. Lived with Susannah Hunt.
Moore, Henry, HMS Sirius, Seaman. Fate unknown.
Moore, Samuel, Supply, Seaman. Fate unknown.
Nairn, James, HMS Sirius, Corporal. Went to Norfolk Island.
Phillips, David, HMS Sirius, Carpenter’s Mate. Fate Unknown.
Ramsay, John, Scarborough, Convict. Married Mary Leary 19 December 1790.
Reed, David, HMS Sirius, Seaman. Fate Unknown.
Reid, William, HMS Sirius, Seaman. Discharged 7 March 1791 and chose to become a settler.
Ross, Alexander, HMS Sirius, Quartermaster. Norfolk Island 1790.
Stewart, Peter, Friendship, Marine Sergeant. Fate unknown.
Storey, John, Charlotte, Seaman. Fate unknown.
Vallance, Patrick, Friendship, Second Mate. Died on voyage when drowned. Fell overboard when drunk.
White, James, Charlotte, Marine Private (later joined NSW Corps). Fate unknown.
White, Peter, HMS Sirius, Sailmaker. Fathered a son by Ann Powell in 1791. Hospitalised on return voyage.
Yule, Robert, HMS Sirius, Seaman. Norfolk Island 1788 to 1791. Died on return voyage at Cape of Good Hope.
WELSH– There were nine persons shown in navy or army records as born in Wales or were tried there. A much larger number of First Fleeters bore surnames of probable Welsh origin. It appear that only four of the First Fleet convicts were tried in Wales.
Davies, David, HMS Sirius, Seaman. Deserted the ship at the Cape of Good Hope.
Davis, James, HMS Sirius, Carpenter’s Crew. Worked as a Sawyer on Norfolk Island after the wreck of HMS Sirius. Returned to England in 1792.
Davis, William, Alexander, Convict. Worked as a Baker in Sydney Cove. Died at the Sydney Benevolent Asylum, burial registered 26 June 1830.
Edmunds, William, Alexander, Convict. Farmed on Norfolk Island prior to leaving for Van Diemen’s Land in 1808. Took up land at Clarence Plains. Died 4 October 1843.
Phillips, Thomas, Private Marine 8th (Portsmouth) Company. A mason, he worked in the colony as stone cutter from September 1788 to December 1789. Returned to England 1792.
Watkins, Mary, Convict, Charlotte. Went to Norfolk Island and farmed. Returned to Sydney Cove with Isaac Tarr in November 1794. No further information.
Williams, Frances, Convict, Prince of Wales. Went with Private Robert Ryan and their children to Norfolk Island in 1794. Frances disappeared from the records prior to Ryan leaving the Island in 1804. The children were left in the community as orphans.
Williams, James, Private Marine 23rd (Portsmouth) Company. Discharged from ship’s book and became a settler on Norfolk Island. Re-enlisted on return to Port Jackson. Had children with Rachael Watkins (Neptune 1790). Died 16 March 1820.
Young, Richard, Seaman, Lady Penrhyn. Was a great fisherman.
Reference: Gillen, Mollie, The Founders of Australia – A Biographical Dictionary of The First Fleet