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Mackey, James (c. 1759–?)

James Mackey (c.1759- ), a weaver, was baptised James McKey on 14 September 1759 at Dublin City, Dublin, Ireland, the son of John and Margaret McKey. He was found guilty (as James Mackey) on 10 September 1783 at the Old Bailey, London, of stealing two waistcoats from a warehouse. Sentenced to 7 years transportation to America, he was among the prisoners who mutinied on the convict transport Mercury in April 1784. Recaptured, he was sent to the Dunkirk hulk in June 1784. He was discharged to the Friendship in March 1787 and arrived in Sydney in January 1788 as part of the First Fleet.

Mackey was sent to Norfolk Island on the Sirius in March 1790. He received 50 lashes in November 1790 for advising people to ask for more free time. By 1 July 1791 he was subsisting two people on a Sydney Town lot with 144 rods cleared and was elected a member of the Norfolk Island Settlers Society in 1793. He was living with Elizabeth Steel by June 1794 (they had probably been living together since 1791; Elizabeth died in Sydney in 1795). 

As James Mackie he joined the New South Wales Corps at Norfolk Island on 12 July 1794. He returned to Sydney that year but was back on Norfolk Island in 1795. By 1799 he had again returned to New South Wales and in 1808 was stationed at Parramatta with the NSW Corps. He was described as a dark complexioned, long-faced man, 5 feet 8 inches tall, and had grey eyes and dark brown hair.

Mackey returned to England in 1810 when the NSW Corps was withdrawn from the colony. He was discharged on 11 July 1811, at Horsham Barracks, Sussex.

* information from Mollie Gillen, The Founders of Australia: A Biographical Dictionary of the First Fleet (1989), pp 231-32 and HMS Sirius 1786-1790 — accessed 10 August 2020

Additional Resources

Citation details

'Mackey, James (c. 1759–?)', People Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, accessed 3 December 2020.

© Copyright People Australia, 2012

Life Summary [details]

Alternative Names
  • Mackie, James
  • Mackay, James
  • McKay, James
  • Macky, James
  • McKey, James

c. 1759
Dublin, Ireland

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Convict Record

Crime: theft
Sentence: 7 years