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Morrisby, James (c. 1757–1839)

James Morrisby, a blacksmith, was found guilty on 7 July 1784 at the Old Bailey, London, of the theft of a ten pound iron bar, valued at 10d, and for wrenching it from a house. Sentenced to seven years transportation, he was sent to the Censor hulk, until embarking on the Scarborough for New South Wales in February 1787. The ship arrived in the colony in January 1788 as part of the First Fleet.

Morrisby was sent to Norfolk Island on the Sirius in March 1790. In July 1791 he subsisting 4 people on a Sydney Town lot and shared a sow with Ann Brooks; the couple married in November 1791. By December Morrisby was settled on 12 acres at Queenborough. On 30 May 1802 he took a 22 acre lease. He was also working as a constable.

With his wife and five children he left Norfolk Island for Van Diemen's Land (Tasmania) on the Porpoise in December 1807. In April 1809 he held 80 acres at Clarence Plains. Following his wife's death in 1813 he married (as Morresby) Eleanor Murphy on 18 November 1816. James was buried at Clarence Plains on 29 May 1839.

* information from Mollie Gillen, The Founders of Australia: A Biographical Dictionary of the First Fleet (1989), p 253

Additional Resources

Citation details

'Morrisby, James (c. 1757–1839)', People Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, accessed 26 October 2020.

© Copyright People Australia, 2012

Life Summary [details]

Alternative Names
  • Morrisly, James
  • Morrisby, John
  • Morresby, James

c. 1757
Cawood, Yorkshire, England


28 May 1839
Clarence Plains, Tasmania, Australia

Cause of Death


Cultural Heritage
Passenger Ship
Key Events
Key Places