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William Cross (c. 1763–1831)

William Cross (c.1763-1831) was found guilty on 21 March 1783 at Coventry, Warwickshire, of the theft of fowls and ducks from the outhouses of two farms. Sentenced to 7 years transportation, he was sent to the Justitia 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.

On 30 March 1791 Cross, who, by then, was technically a free man, was sentenced to wear an iron around his neck for a year for the theft of corn and greens. He married Elizabeth Stewart on 10 September 1791; they went to Norfolk Island on the Atlantic on 26 October where he worked a 12 acre farm at Queenborough. At the end of 1796 he leased 33 acres and in December 1800 he bought 22 acres. By 1805 he was selling meat and grain to the government, with 20 acres cultivated, 20 waste; he also owned 20 swine.

Cross and his wife, but with no children listed, left Norfolk Island for Van Diemen's Land (Tasmania) on the Lady Nelson in February 1808, settling on 80 acres at Cambridge. William Cross was buried on 6 September 1831 at Sorell. His age was given as 79 and he was identified as a Coal River farmer.

* information from Mollie Gillen, The Founders of Australia: A Biographical Dictionary of the First Fleet (1989), pp 87-88

Citation details

'Cross, William (c. 1763–1831)', People Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, accessed 13 June 2024.

© Copyright People Australia, 2012

Life Summary [details]


c. 1763


6 September, 1831 (aged ~ 68)
Sorell, Tasmania, Australia

Cause of Death


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Convict Record

Crime: theft
Sentence: 7 years