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Wilkinson, Elizabeth (1760–1832)

Elizabeth Fitzgerald (c.1760-1832), a widow when she was convicted — her maiden name is not known, was found guilty on 13 December 1786 at the Old Bailey, London, of stealing a cotton gown valued at seven shillings. Sentenced to 7 years transportation, she arrived in Sydney in 1788 aboard the Lady Penrhyn as part of the First Fleet.

In March 1790 she was among the group of convicts sent to Norfolk Island aboard the Sirius. At some point she began a relationship with William Mitchell, a mariner, who was also on the ship. Twin girls were born in February 1791. Mitchell married another woman in November of that year. Elizabeth returned to Sydney aboard the Kitty with her daughters in 1793. She was granted her freedom shortly after.

By 1795 she was living with Thomas Wright, a corporal in the New South Wales Corps. She was recorded in the 1806 Muster as the 'concubine' of Thomas Wright with three daughters – the twin daughters she had with William Mitchell and a daughter with Wright. In 1808 Elizabeth followed Wright when his regiment was assigned to Launceston, Van Diemen's Land (later Tasmania). Her daughter Susannah accompanied her.

In 1814 Wright's regiment was deployed to Ceylon (Sri Lanka). Elizabeth remained in Tasmania and later in the year (using the surname Mitchell) married Henry Wilkinson. Her daughter Susannah was also married in that church three days later. By 1819 the couple were living at Longford and were caring for one child – presumably a grandchild. Elizabeth Wilkinson died on 2 August 1832 at New Norfolk, and was buried at Christ Church cemetery, Longford.

information from

  • Mollie Gillen, The Founders of Australia: A Biographical Dictionary of the First Fleet (1989), pp 127-28
  • 'Elizabeth (Fitzgerald) Wilkinson', Fellowship of First Fleeters, http://www.fellowshipfirstfleeters.org.au/elizabeth_wilkinson.htm — accessed 3 September 2020

Additional Resources

Citation details

'Wilkinson, Elizabeth (1760–1832)', People Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University, http://peopleaustralia.anu.edu.au/biography/wilkinson-elizabeth-27776/text35493, accessed 24 October 2020.

© Copyright People Australia, 2012

Life Summary [details]

Alternative Names
  • Fitzgerald, Elizabeth
  • Mitchell, Elizabeth
  • Wright, Elizabeth
Birth

1760
Dublin, Dublin, Ireland

Death

20 August 1832
New Norfolk, Tasmania, Australia

Cultural Heritage
Passenger Ship
Occupation
Key Events