The Meeting Place

Looking back on our Ancestors

Do you have an interesting story to tell about your ancestors and how they came to live in  Australia? I'm sure many of you do and you are most welcome to come on to this site and tell us. I have already told my story under another heading but was told to start up another site. Come on all, give it a go, we'd love to hear. 


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Ny 19 my cousin has been delving back into the family history and he found that one of our great greats was also transported for stealing ladies dresses. There was apparently a gang of them and he was only 16.

Hi Fiona. Theft of clothing was probably pretty common in those days but according to court records my great great great grandfather stole only 3 items of male clothing. It was a terribly harsh punishment to send him to the other side of the world and tear his family apart for such a minor crime. When I think about it though, if he hadn't committed the crime and received that punishment I would never have existed :). 

my ancestor known as john randall dont know his real name was from africa but taken as a slave by the americans he fought in one of their wars but somehow got to england was transported to aus on the alexandra first fleet because he stole a watch chain he married another slave from jamaca esther howarth this was one of the first marrages in a church esther died in childbirth he later married a mary butler 2nd fleet, he was granted a pardon and land at parramatta because he was the first person to shoot an emu with a gun, he became a sydney town constable he then sold his land to become a constable in the nsw icould go on and on but it would be like a book  

Interesting mrswig

I think part of your family may have been covered by SBS in The Feed

Did you know there were 12 Africans on the First Fleet?

... click on the link below and have a read.

Sorry I put it under the wrong reply

mrswig - What an interesting story. I do hope you have kept a record of your families history to be handed down to the grandchildren. They may not appreciate it now but as they get older I'm sure they will.  One of our family members on my husband's side, and was a lovely artist, has drawn a large family tree on their loungeroom walls and has written down members of the family with photos. I would love to see it. 

i have as much as i can the only thing we cant find out is where in africa he was from or what his african name was


Interesting mrswig

I think part of your family may have been covered by SBS in The Feed

Did you know there were 12 Africans on the First Fleet?

... click on the link below and have a read.



HOLA that family tree on the wall sounds wonderful


Hi mrswig...

Like the others, I also find your history fascinating. I came across this but it's stuff you probably already know.


BUTLER, MARY ( 17??-1802)
Mary Butler and Mary Desmont were carrying a basket containing nine pecks of French beans in Covent Garden market at 3.30 am on 5 August 1789 when a suspicious marketer overhead them conversing in Irish. The man was familiar with the language and said they had not expected anyone to understand them. When he challenged them they ran off and were caught. The two woman said the stallholder to whom the beans belonged owed Desmont a grudge, and had been impudent to her, calling her an Irish bitch, at which she had slapped his face. The women said they were at labour, although neither was known at the market, according to the prosecutor. Both were sentenced to seven years transportation at the 9 September 1789 Old Bailey Sessions. Butler was held in Newgate Goal until 11 November when she was embarked on the Neptune transport. About six weeks after arriving in the colony Butler married the First Fleet convict John Randall on 5 September 1790. He was an African-American from New Haven, Connecticut who worked as a game hunter around Sydney. The couple baptized three children: Lydia (1791-1793), Mary (1793) and John (1797). Randall received a 60 acre land grant in the Northern Boundary district in 1792 which he sold for 40 Pounds in 1800 and joined the New South Wales Corps. His wife Mary was buried on 29 July 1802.


There’s more here….



thankyou all for the info i have some of this but not all

My Grandmother was born on board a sailing ship enroute to Australia from England in the 1800's.  Her family owned a  well known biscuit factory in  Toowong Brisbane.

I am deprived, I have no convicts in my family. My Italian great grandfather went to Asia, married into Chinese nobility. Many years later my Dad, Mum and rest of siblings came to Oz on Air Alitalia.

So you have Italian blood like me Lucca, see we have something else in common.

Eh?? In your  dreams 


I have a Great Great Grandmother who was born in NSW but later returned to England where she married and, after having a tribe of kids,  later died in England. I have tried to find out why her father was in NSW in the late 1820s but I can find no record of him. The only record I can find is her baptism. I know he was not a convict as they were throroughly documented on Muster Lists. I do not think he was in the Army so he may have been a free settler but why did he come to NSW and when did he leave. There is no record I can find of him being given a land grant so it is a mystery. Was he here as a colonial representative of an English company. The important question is can I claim to be a 5th generation Australian or must I be revert to being a lowly 1st generation, the child of immigrants?


Sophie one of my ancestors was born on board the Neptune and had it as his middle name.

 An older sibling died about the time he was born.

Hi Fiona...

For anyone to survive on that ship must have been a miracle. It was infamous for being the "Death Ship." Proves you come from very strong stock!

Perhaps you already know this, but here's a link to read more about the Neptune.

Yes Sophie what a dreadful ship the Neptune was.

My late husband's ancestors, two brothers, came out in the Second Fleet in the Neptune. It was the worst ship of all. Wonder they survived.

Such is the use of private contractors on some occasions.

Surprize, Neptune, and Scarborough were contracted from the firm Camden, Calvert & King, which undertook to transport, clothe and feed the convicts for a flat fee of £17 7s. 6d per head, whether they landed alive or not. Of the 1,038 convicts embarked, 273 died during the voyage (26%) and 486 landed sick.

The Chaplain, Reverend Richard Johnson, who boarded the transports on arrival and denounced the conditions he saw as horrifying. Convicts lay between decks almost naked and lacking bedding and beds. Many were in irons. Scurvy, dysentery and fever were rife. Reverend Johnson saw poor, fettered wretches die before his eyes. The bodies were thrown overboard and allowed to lie upon the rocks.

When news of the horrors of the Second Fleet reached England, public and official response was shock. An enquiry was held but no attempt was made to arrest Donald Traill, master of Neptune and described as a demented sadist, or bring a public prosecution against him, the other masters, or the firm of contractors. They had already been contracted by the government to prepare the Third Fleet for sailing to Port Jackson in 1791.


When the Second Fleet arrived in Australia… on the Neptune was Kezia Brown, a gardeners' labourer convicted of stealing clothing.

Kezia was the fifth great grandmother of Scott Morrison our PM.

Fine example of a guy from humble beginnings doing well.

Well done Scotty!

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