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James Baker (?–1789)

James Baker was a marine in the 55th Portsmouth Company. He arrived in Sydney in January 1788 aboard the Friendship as part of the First Fleet. He was court martialled during the voyage and sentenced to 200 lashes for trying to smuggle spurious dollars ashore at Rio de Janiero.

Baker served in Captain James Campbell's company at Port Jackson. On 7 November 1788 he was involved in a serious fight with fellow marine Thomas Bullmore over a convict with whom he had spent a night. In fights on subsequent nights with other marines Bullmore was so badly wounded that he died. All the combatants were tried and sentenced to 200 lashes for manslaughter.

Baker was executed at Sydney Cove on 27 March 1789, along with five other marines, Richard Asky, James Baker, James Brown, Thomas Jones and Luke Haynes, for persistent theft from public stores, much of the loot being liquor. One of the group, Joseph Hunt, turned King's evidence and was pardoned.

* information from Mollie Gillen, The Founders of Australia: A Biographical Dictionary of the First Fleet (1989), p 16

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'Baker, James (?–1789)', People Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, accessed 21 May 2024.

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