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Simon Burn (c. 1754–1794)

Simon Burn (c.1754-1794), a stocking weaver, and John Haydon, were found guilty on 11 August 1783 at Exeter, Devon, of highway assault and the theft of a tin box, other goods and £1/11 shillings. His death sentence was commuted to seven years transportation to America. Burn was one of the prisoners who mutinied on the convict transport Mercury in April 1784. Recaptured, he was sent to the Dunkirk hulk in June 1784. He was discharged to the Friendship in March 1787 and arrived in Sydney in January 1788 as part of the First Fleet.

Burn married Frances Anderson at Sydney Cove on 10 February 1788. By April 1790 he was in charge of a gang of labourers. After being involved in a brawl with some soldiers on 5 January 1791 he was sentenced 'to be turned into a Gang'. By 17 August he was settled on 50 acres at the Northern Boundary Farms. On 30 November he was among the signatories of a petition asking for a Catholic priest in the colony.

On 5 October 1795 Burn was murdered after coming to the aid of a female neighbour who was being threatened with violence by the man with whom she was living.

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

Additional Resources

Citation details

'Burn, Simon (c. 1754–1794)', People Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, accessed 29 May 2024.

© Copyright People Australia, 2012

Life Summary [details]

Alternative Names
  • Bryan, Samuel

c. 1754


5 October, 1794 (aged ~ 40)
Parramatta, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia

Cause of Death


Religious Influence

Includes the religion in which subjects were raised, have chosen themselves, attendance at religious schools and/or religious funeral rites; Atheism and Agnosticism have been included.

Passenger Ship
Key Events
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Social Issues
Convict Record

Crime: theft
Sentence: 7 years