The End of a Long Journey NI to VDL




The End of a Long Journey

(C) Irene Schaffer

In June 1803 Lord Hobart in London advised Governor King in NSW, that, because of the expense entailed in the upkeep of Norfolk Island, its distance from Sydney and the lack of a safe anchorage, the British Government had decided to remove part of settlement of convicts and military personal to Port Dalrymple in Van Diemen’s Land.




 This was to be the beginning of the end for those on Norfolk Island who had called the island their home for over twenty years.


Norfolk Island was occupied three weeks after the First Fleet sailed into Port  Jackson in 1788, in an endeavor to prevent the French from landing there.


De La Perouse’s vessels, La Boussole and L’Astrolabe sailed to Norfolk Island on 13 January 1788 en route to Sydney. La Perouse tried to get ashore at about the same spot that Captain Cook did in 1774, but conditions prevented him from doing so and he described the island as ‘only a place fit for angels and eagles to reside in’. [2]



The eleven ships of the first fleet had over 1,500 men and women convicts on board when they arrived at Port Jackson in 1788, forty having died on the voyage.[3]


A large amount of the convicts were tried in London at the Old Bailey for transportation to the Colonies for upward of 5 to 15 years and life. Most of them would never see their homeland or their families ever again.



 On arriving at Port Jackson twenty-five men and women were selected by Lt. King to accompany him to Norfolk Island, and it was hoped that this would not only keep the French from occupying the island, but would also attempt to harvest the flax and the timber on the island.


Of those twenty-three selected to accompany Lt. King to Norfolk Island, (8 officials, 9 male convicts and 6 female convicts) [4] Six of these convicts were later to play a big part on Norfolk Island and in Van Diemen’s Land. They were Edward Garth, John Mortimer, Noah Mortimer, Olive Gascoigue and Susan Gough (Garth).[5]


Norfolk Island was to become a haven away from Sydney Town as Governor Phillip sent more of the First Fleet convicts there, and it was not long before nearly half of those who arrived in 1788 as convicts were living on the island. [6]


When the Sirius was wrecked at Norfolk Island in March 1790 the population on the island escalated from 498 to 718[7] and it was sometime before another ship called at the island and returned the sailors and soldiers from the Sirius back to Sydney. It was from this time that Norfolk Island became the second settlement of NSW. 


As more convicts arrived from England some were sent to Norfolk Island, from both the Second and Third Fleet.  Over the next twenty years many married and had families. Land was granted to them and on receiving their freedom they settled on their land as free men and women, some doing very well.


These pioneers of the settlement were most reluctant when it was known that they were to move and start again in Van Diemen’s Land and leave the island that was now their home.[8]


Governor King in Sydney was also reluctant to close Norfolk Island and he continued to delay the evacuation and to propose measures, which would reduce the numbers on the island slowly rather than remove all the population at once.


Lt. Governor Foveaux commandant of Norfolk Island in 1803, produced a list of those Norfolk Islanders willing to go to Port Dalrymple on the 19 July 1804. Of the 41 free men that put their names forward only 5 were to leave and go to Port Dalrymple, the rest having withdrawn their names. It was not until 1807 that some of the settlers were persuaded to leave Norfolk Island and go to Hobart Town in Van Diemen’s Land.[9]


Although the departing Norfolk Islanders were allowed the option of choosing other locations in NSW they did not avail themselves of this offer mainly because of the lack of available ships, and were finally obliged to sail to VDL until the island was completely cleared of people and stock by 1814. All houses were burnt and the island was left once again, void of all human life.



Finally the time came when the first of the families had to leave their homes and with all their worldly possessions trudge down to the longboats that would carry them out to the Lady Nelson. It would have been sad to farewell their friends and neighbours, not knowing when next they would see them.


It was a small party of 34 persons, 15 men, 6 women and 13 children that were heaved up over the side of the Lady Nelson on the 9 November 1807.[10]


The Lady Nelson would have been known to those who were about to sail on her from Norfolk Island to Hobart Town, as they would have seen her regularly on her visits from Sydney since her arrived from England in 1800. She must have seen small to them and along with their luggage and a few animals that they were   allowed to take, very crowded.


Being only 60 tons and with her flat bottom and three center-boards the Lady Nelson was a very different type of ship that most of them arrived on from England. The center-boards took up a lot of room on the deck and with the crew handling the sails, the passengers would not have had much room to move around. 


Below deck would not have been much better, making their sleeping quarters very sparse. Cooking would have had to be done on the deck, making mealtime a nightmare for the women.


The Lady Nelson left Norfolk Island on the 9 November 1807. She took 20 days to sail the 1,400 miles to the River Derwent and anchor at Hobart Town, arriving there on the 29 November 1807.[11]


It was later recorded that two of the men who came on the Lady Nelson committed suicide after their arrival, Samuel Hussey on the 17 April 1808 and Humphrey Lynch on 28 December 1816. Samuel was regarded as a very industrious man and the reason why he took his own life is not known. The reason why Humphrey Lynch took his own life may have been that his wife had died ten months before, leaving him completely on his own.[12]


It is hard to imagine what the passengers would have been thinking as they sighted the small scattered settlement of Hobart Town.  Only three years old, Hobart Town was still virtually a frontier town with only a few thatched cottages that had been hastily built for the government officials, the settlers and a few convicts and their families, when they arrived in 1804. Houses with a skillions on the back, were built mostly of lath and plaster and could cost up to £150.


The new settlers had been promised two acres of land in return for one acre that they had on Norfolk Island, a house, 2 convicts, plus grain, and free stores.  Not many of these promises were forth coming and though they were given land the soil was not always fertile. Some went to what is now New Town, Sandy Bay, while others later went to, New Norfolk, Clarence Plains, Sorell and later Norfolk Plains (Longford) in 1813.[13]


One month later on the 26 December 1807 the second batch of settlers embarked on board the Porpoise ready to sail to Hobart Town, arriving there on the 17 January 1808.


The Porpoise was a much larger ship than the Lady Nelson, she was owned as most of the ships were at that time, by the Government. A ship of 399 tons she was able to carry 182 passengers. She took 19 days to sail to Hobart Town.


The weather was mostly calm for the duration of the trip for those on the Porpoise.  Even so it was not easy for those on board.  Because of her larger size, many more animals were allowed to accompany the settlers than had come on the Lady Nelson. Cattle, pigs, sheep, goats, and poultry, which was in abundance, plus some grain from the last harvest. Unfortunately many of the animals perished. Water was the main problem and rationed to 1 pint a day for the passengers and the small animals. The cattle were allotted 1 gallon each per day.


This information along with other snippets is the only insight on what the conditions were like on any of the ships that made these voyages during 1807-1808. Thankfully it survived in a letter sent to Robert Nash on Norfolk Island from William Maum in Hobart Town.


William Maum was an Irish political prisoner who arrived in NSW in 1800. He made his presence known in NSW by criticizing Governor King. He was sent to Norfolk Island where he continued to write about the problems in the Colony and was kept under the watchful eye of the Commandant.


Maum was sent on board the Porpoise when she left Norfolk Island, but his name was not recorded on the passenger list.[14]  In his letter to Robert Nash he reveals what conditions had been like on board the Porpoise. He also gave instructions on what Nash should take with him on the City of Edinburgh, and who to look for if he needed help.


Robert Nash was a miller on Norfolk Island and Maum advised him to bring his mill stones and mill works with him and he would attempt to assist him in finding sufficient water for him to set up his mill.



Keeping the animals under control on board would have been difficult and must have caused the crew a great deal of trouble. One of the longboats was used to hold 75 sheep. Grain belonging to the passengers was stowed below deck.[15]

Maum writes about the early arrivals on those who came on the Lady Nelson in 1807.



`We found some of the Lady Nelson passengers settled, they have taken

 their farms about two and three miles from the town,[16] and many of those

that came with us (Porpoise) have settled in this vicinity likewise – but the

greatest  portion and those that arrived next, are to settle in the same place

the fertility of which is highly spoken of named Herdsman’s Cove,[17] about 15 miles from hence where there are most extensive plains, on the road direct to Port Dalrymple’.


Some other advise, given to Robert Nash by Maum was.


`Your plough if you settle there (Herdsman’s Cove) will perform much excursion – the last crop here (Hobart Town district) has been most favourable and I declare to you, I never in my life saw such charming wheat as what was produced here – the ear is at least one half longer than those on Norfolk Island wheat, and amazingly full’.



The Lady Nelson sailed again from Norfolk Island, this time with 43 passengers on the 14 February 1808, arriving in Hobart Town on the 1 March 1808. This time taking only 18 days.


Only one person from the Lady Nelson was granted land within Hobart Town, she was Catherine Kearney and her land grant was for 1,677 feet on the Hobart Rivulet, near the hospital. She received this grant even though she was recorded as a seditious character.[18]



The Government Schooner Estramina, 102 tons, was the fourth vessel to evacuate another 62 passengers. She left Norfolk Island about the 15 May 1808, arriving at Hobart Town on the 5 June 1808.


The last group to leave for this period was those who came on the City of Edinburgh, leaving Norfolk Island on the 3 September 1808 and arriving at Hobart Town on 5 October.


The City of Edinburgh was a ship of 500 tons. She carried 226 passengers. This voyage from Norfolk Island took the longest of all the ships, taking 32 days. She sailed after a delay of three months at Norfolk Island. The delay seems to be put down to the passengers being reluctant to leave. Many took to the bush and had to be rounded up by the ship’s crew. The weather was bad and she was driven well out into the Pacific Ocean. When the ship arrived at Hobart Town most of the passengers were in a wretched state, some almost naked. [19]


This brought the number who sailed from Norfolk Island to VDL to between 554-578 men women and children. Governor Collins had been told to expect 100. No wonder he was anxious when he received over five times that amount.  He was short of food, clothes and stores, and had very few convicts in his party who knew anything about building or farming.


As it was on Norfolk Island, when the first of those who arrived in the early years, had faced starvation, the mutton birds had saved them on Norfolk Island and the kangaroos were to do the same in Hobart Town.


After the removal of those who left on the City of Edinburgh, Captain Piper continued as Commandant of Norfolk Island. There were still 250 persons reported on the island in 30 September 1808 as well as 3,000 sheep and a herd of cattle.


Those remaining on Norfolk Island were well supplied with provisions. They   remained there until they were ordered off by instructions from Secretary of State Earl Liverpool, to Governor Macquarie in July 1811.


Finally the remainder of the Norfolk Islanders left in 1813 on the Government brig the Lady Nelson on the 31 January 1813, arriving at Port Dalrymple on the 1 March 1813 with 45 passengers, and the transport ship Minstrel, 351 tons, from Sydney via Norfolk Island on 14 January 1813 with 63 passengers, arriving at Port Dalrymple on the 4 March 1813. These two ships sailed into Port Dalrymple where they received their promised land grants, along the South Esk River.


Piper’s successor as Commandant on Norfolk Island was Lt. Crane, who was a member of Governor Macquarie’s regiment. His role was that of caretaker and it was left to him to complete the evacuation of the remaining settlers.


In February 1814 the principal buildings were demolished and the settlers, convicts, officials and soldiers were removed to Sydney[20] Norfolk Island was to remain uninhabited until reopened as a penal settlement in 1824.


Life in Van Diemen’s Land for the ex Norfolk Islanders would have been very difficult, most of the men were past their prime and they found they had to establish their new homes and grow their wheat and maize in virgin soil as well as fence in their stock.


These families were granted land in various parts of the island. None of these places were of a high quality, as the best of the land was being taken by the officials who came with Collins in 1804 and others that had arrived during the next few years.


New Town saw 17 Norfolk Islanders settled but only a few remained there in the following years. Sandy Bay proved unsuitable for farming and most of the settlers moved to other districts such as Clarence Plains and Sorell.  New Norfolk was better situated and these farms became well established in later years. Norfolk Plains (Longford) was also unfavourably selected. The farms along the river were flooded over the first years and the road and farms moved to higher ground.


Life had been difficult enough for those who had arrived with Lt. Col. Collins only three years earlier, without having to now share what they had with the expected Norfolk Islanders. Kangaroos were the main food supply as their own stocks dwindled, and had become difficult to obtain. The aborigines were making it harder for the white men to hunt the kangaroos as they were pushed further back into the interior and one hunter had been killed.


The settlers bought or begged food from the passing whalers, but it did nor stem their hunger. Meat was 3/6 pound, very small fish was 2/- a dozen. Wheat was not to be had but when it was it was 6 pound a bushel. Barley was 5 pound a bushel, salt pork 2/6 pound, potatoes 1/6 pound, and very coarse sugar 1 pound a pound for those who could afford it.


This was the conditions that the Norfolk Islanders found when they began to arrive in November 1807 at Sullivan’s Cove.


Late in 1807 Governor Bligh had sent 12, 500 pounds of beef, 83,000 pounds of pork and other items a month after he took office in NSW.[21] This certainly relieved some of the food shortage, but not for long.


We know almost nothing about the lives of the women or the children for this period.  The day-to-day living must have been hard indeed. The women having to cope with their large families, there were no schools so the children, who by then would have numbered over 300 would have spent their days roaming around the town, that was mainly full of convicts.


Many of the women who made up this group had arrived on the Lady Juliana in 1790 and who have been the subject of many books and a documentary. The 60 women from the Lady Juliana who came from Norfolk Island between 1807 and 1813 were amongst those who came to VDL. They had survived a very harsh life since leaving England, but they were now wives, mothers and in some cases grandmothers who pioneered this island and are thought very highly of by those who have read about their lives.[22]


By 1809 many of the new settlers were reported in the general muster as having in the short space of two years, growing wheat and barley on their land. Some even had cattle, sheep, goats and pigs by this time.[23]  With the little amount of farm tools they had, they toiled on their land to keep their families from going hungry, some had even come off Government stores and were keeping themselves.



These families were to set the foundations for the future of Van Diemen’s Land. Unlike those who had arrived with Lt. Col. Collins in 1804 they brought with them a large number of children of all ages. In Collin’s party there were 36 families (both free and convicts) with a total of 39 children. The Norfolk Islanders arrived between 1807-8 with 62 women and 219 children. 


With an abundance of young people, many of the marrying age it was not long before the population rapidly increased. This would not have happened as quickly at it did if it was not for the arrival of the Norfolk Islanders.


Early historians covered this period of the history of the arrivals of the Norfolk Islands to VDL with almost indifference, very little was written until the 1980s. Lloyd Robson in his book A History of Tasmania refers to the Norfolk Islanders that settled at Longford ‘as being mainly convicts transported in the first place for theft, many he described as being of a less respectful origins’.  


It was however these people that became the forefathers and mothers of the island we now know as Tasmania and the need for them to be acknowledged is very important and long overdue.


 The Forgotten Generation written by Reg Wright in 1986 revived interest in the early days on Norfolk Island. His research helped so many descendants in their quest in learning more about their ancestors.


The passenger’s list only recorded women if they came on their own (sometimes with children) otherwise it was the males that were named on the passenger lists with reference to a wife and if any children. [24]


The following list has attempted to name the wives who left Norfolk Island on the seven ships or who were married after arriving in VDL.



Passengers on the Lady Nelson from Norfolk Island to VDL 1807.


Name                                 Wife                                    Children on Board   (13)

Briggs  Ben ***                     (Ann McCloud)                   

Buckall  Anthony                                 -

Crips  John ***                                     -

Hand   William **                                (Ann Jones)

Hussey  Samuel *                   Ann Hughes *

Kidner Thomas *                  (Jane Whitting) * 1 child

Linton  Hopton  ***              (Mary Thorpe)

Lynch  Humphrey *              Ann Stokes **

McCloud  John  ***               Mary Potter ***                                  5 children

Mince  William ***                              -

Mitchell  Henry ***                             -

Newhouse  Michael ***                       -

Ronay  Hannah **                                                                           2 children

Wife of the late Bartholomew Reardon *

Sponsford  Zachariah***       (Cath. Lewis) **

Sultan                                                    ?

Walford Barnard ***              Jane Molloy **                                   5 children


*First Fleet  ** Second Fleet  *** Third Fleet   (   ) Married in VDL




Passengers on the Porpoise  from Norfolk Island to VDL 1808


Name                           Wife                                         Children on board  (76)


Able  William                        Mary Ann Morey                                  3 children

Barnes  John  ***                 Martha Edwards                                    2 children                             

Barry  John  ***                   Abigail Cummings

Browne  Richard *                Mary Pindar *

Burn  Susan                                          -

Chaffey Thomas   **             Maria Israel **                                       6 children

Chambers  Robert  ***                        -

Clark William  *                                  -              

Clark  Charles  *                  (Mary Lemanon)  **

Collins  William                   (Ann Stockwell )

Columbine  Samuel             Servant

Conn  Ram John                  (Christina Cameron)

Cox Robert  ***                    (Susannah Bullock)                             1 child

Crahan  Thomas                   Mary Monks                                        5 children

Cropper  John *                    (Frances William)

Crowder  Thomas *              Mary Christmas **                              2 children

Cullen  Bryan *                    Elizabeth Bartlett                                 3 children

Davis  James                         Rose Dale

Dempsey  William  *            Jane Tyler  **

Dodding  James    *              Elizabeth Thackery *

Duncombe  John  ***           (Elizabeth Hambley)

Fisher  Edward ***               Elizabeth Gregory  **                          5 children

Fletcher  Anthony                 Mary ?                                                2 children

Folly John  *                         Catherine Hyland  **                          2 children

Fowles  Thomas    ***          Ann Coombes  *

Foyle  William  *                  Jane ?

Francis  Thomas                                   ?

Free Samuel ***                   Elizabeth Smith  **                                 5 children

Garth  Edward *                    Susannah Gough  *                               6 children

Goodwin  Andrew *              Lydia Munro *                                      7 children

Hall  John  *                          Elizabeth Farrell **

Hall  Joseph  ***                  Mary Johnson  **

Hambley  William  *            (Mary Springham)                                  2 children

Hawkins  William  ***                        -

Herbert  John                        (Elizabeth Smith)

Hibbins Thomas                   Ann Clark                                              5 children

Kenton  Thomas                   Servant

Levy  Andrew                                         -

Lockley  John  *                                    -

Longford  William                                -

McCarty Harriet                   (John Devereux)

McDonald  William                              -

Mitchell  William  *             Susannah Hunt  **                                 3 children

Morrisby  James  *               Ann Brooks  **                                     5 children

Murphy  Thomas  **            Mary Craig  **

Newby  Thomas    **           (Sarah Jones)  **

Nairn  James                                         -

Peek  Joshua *                      Mary Frost  **                                       6 children

Phillimore  Richard  *         Mary Marshall  *

Priest  Thomas  **               Catherine Rochford                                4 children

Redding  Andrew  ***                          -                                              1 child

Robley  John  **                   Jemina Wasker  ***                               1 child

Warwick  James      ***        Ann Smith  ***

Whittaker Hannah               (Thomas Hopkins)

Windows  Richard                 -


* First Fleet  ** Second Fleet   *** Third Fleet    (   ) Married in VDL




Passengers on the Lady Nelson  from Norfolk Island to VDL 1808.

Name                                      Wife                                            Children on board (11)


Bane  Ben                                              -

Bastian                                                   -

Blondell  John                     (Elizabeth Anderson)

Boswell  James                                     -

Bradshaw  Elizabeth            (Robert Jillett)                                      5 children

Clark  Thomas                                      -

Cockran  Samuel                 -

Coventry  William                                Mary? Martin

Cox  Massey                                          -

Cross  William  *                  Elizabeth Stewart

Gavin  Roger                         (with Catherine Kearney)

Hatherway  Henry *             Eleanor Watson  **

Heath  William                                     -

Jillett  Robert                       (Elizabeth Bradshaw)

Kearney  Catherine             (with Roger Gavin)                               2 children

Knight  John                                         ?

Lowe  James                          Mary Stanley

Manning  Sarah                   (James Paynter)

Messias  Jacob  *                 -

Morrison  Patrick                 -

Mortimes  John *                 (Elizabeth Cotterell)

Mortimes  Noah *                 Mary Cottle                                           1 child

Moulton  William  *             Jane Meech  *                                         1 child

Rock  William                                       -

Repeat  Charles    *              Lucinda Woods  *

Shuttleworth  Ann  **          Joseph Wilcox                                          1 child

Silletto  Joseph                                     -

Simpson  George                  -

Standley  William                 Mary Anster                                            1 child

Vickery  William  *                              -                              

Woodcock  Peter  


* First Fleet  ** Second Fleet  *** Third Fleet  (   ) Married in VDL


Passengers on the Estramina   from Norfolk Island to VDL 1808


Name                           Wife                                         Children on board (22)


Atkins  William                    (Mary Allen Procter)                           

Bedell  Joseph                                       -

Bentley  John                                        -

Boyle  John  *                       Catherine Henry  *

Broughton  John                   (Deborah Davis)

Davis  Deborah                     (John Broughton)

Devereux  John                     (Harriett McCarthy)

Dutton  Henry                       (Catherine Sullivan)

Dyer  Timothy                                      -                                              

Gregary  Thomas                  ?                                                              1 child

Hall  John                                              -

Hamilton  Thomas                               -

Hunt  Thomas Martin          Ann Rock

Jones William                   -

Lee  Michael                                         -

McGinnis  Hugh ***            Charlotte Simpson                               6 children

Martin  Stephen                   (Hannah Peeling)                                 1 child

Mayberry  James                                  -

Mordacai  Jonas                                    -

Proctor  Mary  *                    (William Atkins)                                  3 children

Redfern  William  (Sarah McHenry)

Seals  Thomas                                      -                              

Shirley  James                      Mary ?                                                   

Slater  William                     Mary Smith                                           3 children

Steel  John                                            -                                                                                              

Sullivan  Catherine             (Henry Dutton)                                     3 children

Thomas  Elizabeth *            (James Waterson)                                 5 children

Waterson  James                 (Elizabeth Thomas)

Wood  Matthew                   (Catherine Sponsford)



* First Fleet   ** Second Fleet   ***  Third Fleet   (   ) Married in VDL






Passengers on the City of Edinburgh  from Norfolk Island to VDL 1808


Name                           Wife                                         Children on board  (97)


Bately  John                          (Mary Ann Martin)

Belbin  James                       Ann Meredith                                       5 children

Bellet  Jacob *                       Ann Harper  **                                     8 children

Berrisford  John  *               Hannah Berrisford  *                           2 children

Berrisford Joseph                 Mary Ann Leviston

Berrisford  Mary                   (Michael Purdon)

Broughton  Mr Wm *           Elizabeth Heathorn ***                       4 children

Brown  George                                          -

Burn  Mary                            (William Roach)                                   2 children

Burrows  Richard                  Elizabeth Cole *                                   4 children

Buzeau  Abraham                 -

Byron  Henry                                        -

Carter  M                                               -

Cassaways                                             -                   

Cham  James                        Margaret Hamilton                              1 child

Chandler  Anthony              Mary Healy                                           1 child

Chipman  Joseph                  Catherine Burn                                                                                   

Clapson  John                                         -

Colly  John                            Elizabeth Chaffey

Cone  Henry                          Mary Ann ?                                           1 child

Conolly  Mary                                         -

Cooper  John                                           -

Cooper  Robert                                        -

Cox  Francis                          Sarah Edge                                            2 children

Douglas  Peter                      Ann ?

Dyers  James                                         -

Edmonds William                 -

Elder  John                                            -

Flexmore  Francis                  (Elizabeth Bruce)    *                              5 children

Fisk  Thomas                                        -

Francis  John                                        -

Gay  Thomas                         Ester Wainwright                                    3 children

Geary  Dennis                       (Ann Carroll)

Genders  Joseph                   Elizabeth Stokes                                       1 child

Gibson  John                                         ?

Gordan  Jano                         (William Scattergood)                             2 children

Haley  William                                       -

Haley  James                         Margaret ?

Hands  Abraham *                                -

Hannaway  James                 -

Harrington  John                  -

Harris  William                                      ?

Hazelwood  John                  (Elizabeth Hopper)                                 1 child

Hoddy  Rachael                     (Isaac Williams)                                    6 children

Holland  Henry                                       -

Hopwood  George                  Ann Sherburd

Howard  John  *                      -

Jenders  William                  Mary Garth                                           2 children

Jenks  John                                           -

Johnson  John                                       -

Kimberley  Edward  *           Maria Cavanough  **                           3 children

Kingston  Robert                  Esther Berrisford

Knight  John                                         -

Knight  William                                    -

King  Samuel *                     (Elizabeth Thatckery) *

King  William                                         -

Lancaster  Robert                   -

Larm  James  *                                        -

Lucas  Thomas  *                  Ann Howard  **                                    4 children

McCarthy  John    *             (Ann Beasley)

McCarthy  Dan                     Jane Bailey ?                                       

McCoy  John                         (Mary Thomas)

Marritt  Thomas                   -

Massey  John                                        -

Maul  John                                            -

Morris  John                                         -

Nash  Robert  ***                 Ann Hannaway **                                  4 children             

Nash  Mary                                            -

Norman  Thomas                  ?                            

 (alias Simmons)

Normington  Luke                                -

O’Brien  Thomas  *             Susannah Mortimer  **                            8 children

Oakley  George                    (Dorothy Berrisford)

Orman  James                                        -

Palmer  Thomas                                     -

Parsons  William                  Ann Doyle                                                3 children

Paul  John                                             ?                                             3 children

Phillips  Richard *                                -

Pillenger  James                   Elizabeth Wood                                        2 children

Plyer  George  *                   

Porter  George                      (Susannah O’Brien)

Presnell  William                 Ann Fowler *                                            3 children

Purden  Michael                   (Mary Berrisford)

Pyers  Samuel                       Sarah Johnson                                        3 children

Quinton  Barnard                 (Rebecca Vallerday)

Risby  Edward  *                    Ann Gibson  **                                     5 children

Rogers  John                                         -

Rougas  John  *                                     -

Scattergood  William           (Jano Gordan)

Scott  John                                            -

Selvy  William                                      -

Shurburd  William               Esther Thornton                                   6 children

Smith  William                                       -

Stanfield  Dan (Sen) *         Alice Warmsworth *                              4 children

Stanfield  Dan (Jnr)             Maria Kimberley

Templeman  James                              -

Thompson  William  *         (Maria Hamilton) *

Tolhurst  Richard                 -

Triffitt  James                       Mary Higgins                                        2 children

Westlake Edward *               Ann Wood  **                                       6 children

Whitehouse  John                                -

Williams  John                                     -

Woods  John  *                    Mary McDonald                                    1 child




* First Fleet    **  Second Fleet   ***  Third Fleet   (   ) Married in VDL





Passengers on the Lady Nelson  from Norfolk Island to Port Dalrymple VDL 1813


Name                                      Wife                                       Children on board (17)


Blackhall  William *            Ann Yeoman  **

Clayton  William                  -                              

Cox John                               Ann Brooks                                           7 children

Davie  James                         (Catherine Jordan)

Day  Samuel  *                     Mary Bolton  *                                        2 children

Eady  John                                             -

Eggleston  George  *                            -

Fisher  William    *              Mary Randall *                                        2 children

Hassan  John                                         -

Lock  Thomas                                        -

Lowe  Joseph                         Elizabeth Hayward *                              2 children

Moore  John                          (Catherine Wells)

Poare  Anne                                           -

Sparks  Thomas    *                              -

Sydes  Richard                      Ann White  **                                         5 children

Taylor  John                                          -

Trinby James                        Mary Eagan                                          

Trinby  Joseph (Snr)  *        (Elizabeth Scaney)

Trimby Joseph                                      -

Walsh  John                                          -

Wriam  Zimram                                    -


*  First Fleet    **  Second Fleet   ***  Third Fleet   (   ) Married in VDL





Passengers on the Minstrel from Norfolk Island to Port Dalrymple VDL 1813


Name                           Wife                             Children on board (9)


Baker  Samuel                      (Elizabeth Lewis)

Blow  James                                          -                              

Carter  Samuel                                     -

Clayton  Henry                     Mary ?

Clayton  Sarah                     (Dicky White)                                       2 children

Davies  John                                          -

Dawson  James                                     -

Delany  John                                         -

Edge  Fane                                             -

Edwards  James                                     -

Harrigan  Neal                                      -

Harrison  Joseph  *                              -

Higgins  Richard                   -

Hilton  Thomas                     Prisoner

Hurbart  John                       (Hannah Bolton)                                 2 children             

Jones  William                      prisoner

Jorden  James                       Mary Butler (died NI)                          4 children

Jorden  Richard                    (Sarah Wright)

Knight  William                                   -

Knowland  John  *                (Catherine Murphy)

Mackey  George                    Prisoner

Mahon  Patrick                                     -

Mason  Thomas                    Prisoner

Matthews  Hannah               (Robert Matthews)

Mullins  Henry                     Prisoner

Mosquetto                                      -

Nicholls  Elizabeth               (David Gibson)                                      1 child

Roche  William                     (Mary Burn)

Saltmarsh  William             (Elizabeth Stevens)

Sellick  Thomas                                   -

Sheatch  Thomas   *                             -

Skeene  Patrick                                    -

Smith  John                                          -

Smith  John                                          -

Stevens  John                        (Mary Phillips)  *                                  3 children

Townsand  John                    (Mary Clary)

Tyre  John                                             -

White  John                                           -

Windsor  William[25]              (Mary Ann O’Neil)


*  First Fleet    **  Second Fleet    ***  Third Fleet    (   ) Married in VDL  


Additional reading:

The Norfolk Island Story – Frank Clunes.

Norfolk Island. An Outline of its History 1774-1968 – Merval Hoare.

Norfolk Island – the First Settlement 1788-1814 – R.N. Dalkin.

A History of Tasmania – Lloyd Robson.

The Forgotten Generation of Norfolk Island & VDL – Reg Wright.

The Norfolk Settlers of Norfolk Island & VDL – Peter C Sims.

Exiled Three Times Over  -  I. Schaffer & T. MCKay.

Land Musters and Stock Lists in VDL 1803 -1822 – I. Schaffer.

The Founders of Australia – Mollie Gillen

The Second Fleet – Michael Flynn

Norfolk Island and its first settlement 1788 – 1814 Raymond Nobbs.

The Convict and the Carpenter – Trish Wood.

Sandy Bay A Social History – Nicola Goc.

David Collins A Colonial Life – John Currey.



Index to Early Land Grants VDL 1804-1823 – Thelma McKay

Register of Land Grants VDL 1824-1832 – Thelma McKay

List of NI who sailed from NI to VDL 1807-1813 – I. Schaffer.

The Link between Port Jackson, NI and VDL 1788-1814 – I. Schaffer.

The Norfolk Islanders and their new life in VDL. – I. Schaffer.

Norfolk Islanders who settled in the Glenorchy District 1807-1832 –I. Schaffer


Excursion Books 1990 – 1996.  I Schaffer                           


Sandy Bay – Geeveston

Rokeby – Sandford

Bridges & Early Buildings Hobart – Broadmash

Longford – Evandale

Forcett – Tasman Peninsula


 The story behind the story.




From the moment I first became aware of the history of the Norfolk Islanders I wanted to know more about them. Twenty-five years on I am still captivated by its history and will properly be so as long as I live.


Discovering that my stepfather was a descendant of James Jordan, Irish convict on the Queen in 1792, sent to Norfolk Island and later came to VDL on the Minstrel in 1813. I found I could not stop looking for more information about those who were on Norfolk Island even after I had written his story. Looking for it was one thing finding it was another.


Up to the early 1980s very little had been written about the first settlement on Norfolk Island 1788-1814 and those that had been written were hard to find.  In 1985 I decided to copy out the passenger list of those who came on the seven ships to VDL between 1807-1814. This was to take over six months because of the difficulty in reading the names of the passengers. When this was completed I had it printed and this became the basis of my future writings about the Norfolk Islanders.


This list only gave the name of the head of the household and in doing this the names of the wives and children was not recorded. Finding this I decided to do profiles of each family starting with those who came on the Lady Nelson in 1807.  This was achieved with the help of my then co-worker Thelma McKay. We began by researching in the Archives and the Lands Department.  The first book Profiles of the Norfolk Islanders to Van Diemen’s Land, Lady Nelson 1807 was printed in 1986, followed by Profiles of Norfolk Islanders to Van Diemen’s Land, Porpoise 1808. Vol. 1 & 11., printed 1989-1990.


In 1991 the three volumes were published into one book and renames Exiled Three Times Over by the Government Printers along with Land Musters & Stock Lists in Van Diemen’s Land 1803-1822.


During this time Reg Wright published his The Forgotten Generations of Norfolk Island and Van Diemen’s Land 1788-1814. This book opened the door for many descendants to discover their Norfolk Island and Van Diemen’s Land family history.


It was my intention to continue on with the profiles of the other ships but soon realized that this would take many years and both Thelma and I were beginning to be involved with other projects.  I became interested in the building of the replica of the Lady Nelson and continuing to search for more records relating to the Norfolk Islanders who settled and became a very large part of Tasmanian history, and Thelma in writing her books.


During those first ten years many Norfolk Island descendants became known to me and I formed the VDL & NI Interest Group, having monthly meetings and taking them on excursions throughout Tasmania and writing a book and making it available on the day, showing the districts where their ancestors first settled. This was great fun and everyone was disappointed when I closed the group after ten years to become the purser on the Lady Nelson.


Being part of the Lady Nelson did not prevent me from continuing with my interest in the Norfolk Islanders and 20 years later I am still receiving mail and requests for help from descendants. 


It gave me great pleasure to watch the replica of the original Lady Nelson being built, if a little disappointing seeing her go to the mainland on completion and not return until 1996.  From then on I became completely involved in her for the next eleven years.


During this time I sailed as the purser and crew member to Stanley, Sydney, Strahan, around Tasmania and Portland, as well as taking part in weekend sails and historical excursions on the River Derwent.


While I sailed on the Lady I was also busy researching and writing books about the original Lady Nelson.


It was surprising to find that very little had been written about her and the other ships involvement in the evacuation of the Norfolk Islands to VDL from 1807-1813 and why over 700 people were sent to VDL. I have spent years trying to discover why this happened the way it did. 


At last I discovered that those on Norfolk Island had been told they could choose where they wanted to go, other than VDL, but I could fine very little written evidence about this.  They were finally herded onto the ships and sent to VDL.[26]


The other question I keep asking myself is why these 700 people were not written about during the past 200 years.  Early historians just left it out of their publications when they wrote about Norfolk Island or Tasmania. When I did find a mention or an episode dealing with these two islands, it left out the period from 1807 to 1814, except to mention that Norfolk Island had been cleared of all human life in 1814.


These pioneer settlers from Norfolk Island were all but forgotten by those in Sydney and seemed of no consequence to our history in VDL.


Three early authors I did find who took an interest was Frank Clune The Norfolk Island Story, published in 1967, and  Merval Hoare in her book  Norfolk Island An Outline of Its History 1774-1967, published in 1969. Frank Clune’s book does not have an index and this was to make it hard to use as a research tool, but it did prove actuate in most of what he wrote.  R. N. Dalkin followed in 1971 with a paper in the Royal Australian Historical Society “Norfolk Island The First Settlement 1788-1814, again a very good account but not much on the subject I have discussed here. None of them wrote in any dept about the departures in 1807-14 or about the ships that brought them to VDL or the hardships they faced in their new surroundings.


Recording the history of these forgotten pioneers had not been completely lost, thanks to many descendants who have for many years painstakingly worked on their family history. I would like to thank them all for their interest in continuing to do this over the years.

I hope what I have written over the past 20 years will at least bring this remarkable part of history out into the open and give those who helped build Tasmania, a place in history.


(c) Irene Schaffer   2007 


[1] Lord Hobart to King 24 June 1803, HRA Series 1 Vol. 4 p304; Hoare. Melval, Norfolk Island.

   An outline of its History 1774-1968. 1969

[2] Dalkin. R. N., Norfolk Island -The First Settlement, 1788-1814. Journal of the Royal Australian Historical Society Vol 57 Pt. 3 September 1971 pp 189-212

[3] Gillen. Mollie, The Founders of Australia.

[4] Male convicts –John Williams, Charles McLaughlin, Nathaniel Lucas, Noah Mortimer, John Mortimer, Edward Garth, Edward Weslake (sic), Richard Widdicombe and John Rice. Women convicts – Ann Innet, Elizabeth Colley, Elizabeth Lee, Elizabeth Hipsley, Oliver Gascoigne and Susan Gough. Dalkin pp193-4

[5] Schaffer. I, The Link between Port Jackson, Norfolk Island and VDL 1788-1814; Nobbs. Raymond, Norfolk Island and its first settlement 1788-1814, p98.

[6] Nobbs. Raymond, Norfolk Island and its First Settlement 1788-1814. pp 5, 46. notes 29 p175.

[7] Ibid p5

[8] Norfolk Island Embarkations to VDL 1807-1813 (list of head of the families and their wives and  children)

[9] There was confusion by the British Government with the names of the new settlements in VDL and Port Dalrymple was often mentioned in dispatches in mistake for Hobart Town.  Schaffer. I, The Link between Port Jackson, Norfolk Island and VDL 1788-1814, with full list of the 41men names on the petition.

[10] Exiled Three Times Over (Profiles of those on board pp2-26

[11] Dates differ to exact dates that the ships sailed. The shipping records of NSW do not coincide with the

  VDL ones, nor did some of the passenger’s lists.

[12] Exiled Three Times Over. pp14 & 20

[13] Schaffer. I, The Norfolk Islanders and Their New Life in VDL 1807-2007.

[14] It’s possible that there were many others who went to VDL at this time and not recorded. Maum records a Betsy on the Porpoise, it is not known who this woman was. Maum was recorded as being a delinquent, which he found very offensive; Schaffer. I, Norfolk Island Embarkations to VDL 1807-1813, (list of passengers)

[15] The sheep were much small than they are today.

[16] Sandy Bay, New Norfolk, Glenorchy and Clarence Plains

[17] This may have been meant for what was later New Norfolk, Herdsman’s Cove land had been distributed out to the marines who came with Collins in 1804.

[18] Schaffer. Irene, Catherine Kearney, Dairy Farmer, Hobart Town 1808-1830

[19] Hoare. Merval, Norfolk Island an Outline of its History 1774-1968 p35.

[20] Clune. Frank, The Norfolk Island Story. 1967 p107.

[21] Robson. Lloyd, A History of Tasmania.

[22] Schaffer. I, The Lady Juliana Women who came to VDL form NI 1807-1813 (list of women and who they married)

[23] Land Musters, Stock Lists in VDL 1803-1822 pp53-57. When this list was published in the HRA only two pages were printed leaving out well over half of the names.

[24] This was one of the main reasons why I decided to write the book Profiles of Norfolk Islanders To Van Diemen’s Land (Lady Nelson & Porpoise 1807-8) so the women, some of whom were first, second and third fleeters’, could be recorded, and not just be the wife of those who arrived from Norfolk Island at that time.

[25] Exiled Three Times Over (mostly male names, women added)

[26] While David Collins was stationed in NSW between 1788 and 1797 he expressed his idea that the Norfolk Islanders could be sent to VDL. This may have been remembered later on.

A booklet is available complete with maps and photos see my booklist.


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