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Burrows, Elizabeth (c. 1760–1821)

Elizabeth Cole (c.1760-1821) was found guilty on 20 March 1786 at Exeter, England, of the theft of a woman's gown and other goods. Sentenced to 7 years transportation she was sent to the Dunkirk hulk in September 1786 and embarked for New South Wales on the Charlotte in March 1787, transferring to the Friendship at Rio in August and to the Prince of Wales at the Cape of Good Hope in October. She arrived at Sydney in January 1788 as part of the First Fleet.

Cole was sent to Norfolk Island on the Sirius in March 1790 with her son Thomas, fathered by marine William Ellis. She may have been the Elizabeth Cole who received 25 of 100 lashes for defamation on 15 February 1794. She was listed that year as having one child and earning her living by dry nursing.

Cole remained on the island and by 1795 had a daughter with James Tucker. From about 1796 she lived with Richard Burrows; they had three children by 1807.

Cole, Burrows and five children left Norfolk Island for Van Diemen's Land (Tasmania) in 1808 on the City of Edinburgh, settling at Glenorchy. Elizabeth and Richard were married on 25 February 1810 at St David's Hobart.

Elizabeth died, as Elizabeth Burroughs, on 31 January 1821 in Hobart; her age was given as 59.

* information from Mollie Gillen, The Founders of Australia: A Biographical Dictionary of the First Fleet (1989), p 76

Citation details

'Burrows, Elizabeth (c. 1760–1821)', People Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, accessed 26 November 2020.

© Copyright People Australia, 2012

Life Summary [details]

Alternative Names
  • Cole, Elizabeth
  • Coole, Elizabeth
  • Coal, Elizabeth
  • Burroughs, Elizabeth

c. 1760
Devon, England


31 January 1821
Tasmania, Australia

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