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Fowkes, Francis

Francis Fowkes, a navy midshipman who had been discharged in 1783 and had been unable to maintain himself at various jobs, was found guilty on 13 December 1786 at the Old Bailey, London, of stealing a great coat and boots. Sentenced to seven years transportation, he arrived at Sydney aboard the Alexander in January 1788 as part of the First Fleet.

Fowkes shared a hut with John Ryan at Port Jackson. He was sent to Norfolk Island on the Supply in November 1789 and was returned to Port Jackson on the Queen in 1791, accused of trying to ferment a conspiracy among the convicts and making accusations against the governor Major Ross. He had been confined in irons on 31 October 1791.

Fowkes married Susannah Bray on 21 October 1792 at Parramatta. He was granted 30 acres at Mulgrave Place in May 1797 and a further 85 acres at Toongabbie in October 1799. His wife was granted 30 acres at Mulgrave Place on the same day. The couple were off stores by mid 1800.

Fowkes left the colony as a supernumerary in October 1800 on the Buffalo, arriving at the Cape of Good Hope on 28 February 1801; there was no mention that he was accompanied by his wife. Registers of the Land Titles Office show several transactions in 1799-1802 in which Fowkes, a government clerk with a wife and child, disposed of his land. In 1804 he was recorded as a 'resident of the Cape'. No further records have been found for him.

Fowkes produced maps and sketches of the settlements at Sydney and Norfolk Island. A map of Sydney Cove, embellished with drawings of trees, hills, ships at anchor and the governor’s house and initialled 'F.F.’ has long been attributed to him.

* information from Mollie Gillen, The Founders of Australia: A Biographical Dictionary of the First Fleet (1989), pp 132-33

Citation details

'Fowkes, Francis ', People Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University, http://peopleaustralia.anu.edu.au/biography/fowkes-francis-31144/text38532, accessed 6 December 2020.

© Copyright People Australia, 2012

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  • Fowlkes, Francis
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Convict Record

Crime: theft
Sentence: 7 years