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Matthew Bowles Alt (1765–1836)

Matthew Bowles was a midshipman aboard the Sirius which arrived in Sydney in January 1788 as part of the First Fleet. A nephew of the surveyor-general, Augustus Alt, Matthew had planned to take his young wife — Amy Bowles Phillips — on the voyage with him but she was removed (as Mrs Holt) from the ship on 20 May and returned to shore.

Alt returned to Port Jackson from Norfolk Island after the wreck of the Sirius on the 19th. On 1 August he was discharged by request and returned to England aboard the Neptune. In April 1791 he was back again in Sydney as the master of the southern whaler, Chesterfield. The colonial government chartered his ship to deliver people and stores to Norfolk Island and bring passengers back to Port Jackson.

By August 1795 Alt was a lieutenant in the navy; he retired as commander on 27 June 1835. In 1816 he had returned to Sydney to erect a monument at his uncle's grave. Following his wife's death in 1817 he married Mary Ann Reece on 31 July 1817. Following her death in 1825 he married Julia Powell in 1827. Alt died in July 1836 in London.

* information from Mollie Gillen, The Founders of Australia: A Biographical Dictionary of the First Fleet (1989), p 7

Citation details

'Alt, Matthew Bowles (1765–1836)', People Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, accessed 21 May 2024.

© Copyright People Australia, 2012

Life Summary [details]


10 May, 1765
Oxford, Oxfordshire, England


July, 1836 (aged 71)
London, Middlesex, England

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