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.

John Matthew Cox (c. 1754–1808)

John Matthew Cox (c.1754-1808) and John Pontie were found guilty on 7 July 1784 at the Old Bailey, London, of the theft of 13 yards of thread lace from a haberdasher. His death sentence was commuted to life transportation on 7 August 1786. He was sent to the Ceres hulk, where he remained until he embarked for New South Wales on the Scarborough in February 1787, arriving in Sydney in January 1788 as part of the First Fleet.

Cox's name was corrupted to John Massy Cox at Port Jackson. He was made a member of the night watch in August 1789. In November 1791 he was sent to Norfolk Island on the Queen. He settled on 10 acres at Mount Pitt Path. He was recorded in 1805 as without a family, with 7 acres cultivated and owning 10 swine. He left Norfolk Island (as John Massey Cox) for Van Diemen's Land (Tasmania) in February 1808.

Cox was buried at St David's Hobart on 15 August 1808 as John Massa Cox; his age was given as 56.

* information from Mollie Gillen, The Founders of Australia: A Biographical Dictionary of the First Fleet (1989), pp 84-85

Related Entries in NCB Sites

Citation details

'Cox, John Matthew (c. 1754–1808)', People Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, accessed 22 July 2024.

© Copyright People Australia, 2012

Life Summary [details]

Alternative Names
  • Cox, John Mathew
  • Cox, John Massy
  • Cox, John Massey
  • Cox, John Massa

c. 1754


14 August, 1808 (aged ~ 54)
Hobart, Tasmania, Australia

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: life