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William Butler (c. 1767–1837)

William Butler (c.1767-1837), a former seaman, and Andrew Goodwin were found guilty on 7 July 1784 at the Old Bailey, London, of stealing 200 pounds of lead from a building. Sentenced to 7 years transportation they were sent to the Censor hulk on 6 September 1784. They arrived in Sydney in January 1788 aboard the Scarborough as part of the First Fleet.

William Butler married Jane Forbes on 13 March 1791. They settled on 50 acres of land at Prospect which Butler worked in partnership with George Lisk. The partnership was still in force in 1800. In 1806 Butler was described as a self-employed carpenter and in 1814 as a shipwright.

He is probably the William Butler who married Elizabeth Higgins on 22 May 1815 at St Philip's, Sydney. In 1822 and 1825 he is shown in musters (as Butter) as holding farming land in the Parramatta district. He was probably the William Butler, shipwright, who died at Sydney Hospital whose burial was recorded at St Philip's on 4 January 1837.

* information from Mollie Gillen, The Founders of Australia: A Biographical Dictionary of the First Fleet (1989), p 61

Additional Resources

Citation details

'Butler, William (c. 1767–1837)', People Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, accessed 28 May 2024.

© Copyright People Australia, 2012

Life Summary [details]

Alternative Names
  • Butter, William
  • Buttler, William

c. 1767


3 January, 1837 (aged ~ 70)
Sydney, New South Wales, Australia

Cause of Death


Cultural Heritage

Includes subject's nationality; their parents' nationality; the countries in which they spent a significant part of their childhood, and their self-identity.

Passenger Ship
Key Events
Key Places
Convict Record

Crime: theft
Sentence: 7 years