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.

Peter Burn (c. 1754–1788)

Peter Burn (c.1755-1788) was found guilty on 10 September 1783 at the Old Bailey, London, of stealing a wooden cask containing 36 gallons of rum from his captain's ship. Sentenced to 7 years transportation he was sent to the Censor hulk and embarked for New South Wales on the Scarborough in February 1787, arriving in the colony in January 1788 as part of the First Fleet.

On 21 May 1788 Burn was sent to gather greens on the east side farm at Port Jackson. According to an eyewitness, William Ayres, Burn was dragged away by Aboriginal people. A few days later Burn's torn and bloody clothing, pierced with spears, was found. His body was never found.

* information from Mollie Gillen, The Founders of Australia: A Biographical Dictionary of the First Fleet (1989), p 60

Citation details

'Burn, Peter (c. 1754–1788)', People Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, accessed 30 May 2024.

© Copyright People Australia, 2012

Life Summary [details]


c. 1754


21 May, 1788 (aged ~ 34)
Sydney, New South Wales, Australia

Cause of Death

spear wounds

Passenger Ship
Key Events
Key Places
Convict Record

Crime: theft
Sentence: 7 years