People Australia

  • searches all National Centre of Biography websites
  • searches all National Centre of Biography websites
  • searches all National Centre of Biography websites

Browse Lists:

Cultural Advice

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people should be aware that this website contains names, images, and voices of deceased persons.

In addition, some articles contain terms or views that were acceptable within mainstream Australian culture in the period in which they were written, but may no longer be considered appropriate.

These articles do not necessarily reflect the views of The Australian National University.

Older articles are being reviewed with a view to bringing them into line with contemporary values but the original text will remain available for historical context.

William Brown (c. 1761–1787)

William Brown (c.1761-1787) was found guilty on 29 July 1783 at Winchester, Hampshire, of a highway robbery that netted him a silver watch worth £3. His death sentence was commuted to 7 years transportation to America. Brown was among the prisoners who mutinied on the convict transport Mercury in April 1784. Recaptured, he was sent to the Dunkirk hulk and was discharged to the Charlotte in March 1787, to be sent to New South Wales.

Brown fell overboard at sea on 19 September 1787. Though the ship was hove to and a boat hoisted out to retrieve him, he could not be saved. 'The ship went directly over him'.

* information from Mollie Gillen, The Founders of Australia: A Biographical Dictionary of the First Fleet (1989), pp 402-03

Citation details

'Brown, William (c. 1761–1787)', People Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, accessed 21 July 2024.

© Copyright People Australia, 2012

Life Summary [details]


c. 1761


19 September, 1787 (aged ~ 26)
at sea

Cause of Death

shipping accident

Passenger Ship
Key Events
Key Places
Convict Record

Crime: theft
Sentence: 7 years