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Jane Dempsey (c. 1765–1840)

Jane Tyler (1765-1840), a servant, was found guilty on 18 April 1787 at the Middlesex Old Bailey Sessions of stealing money from her employer. Her death sentence was commuted to life transportation in April 1789. She arrived at Sydney in June 1790 aboard the Lady Juliana as part of the Second Fleet.

Tyler was sent to Norfolk Island on the Surprize, arriving in August 1790. She married William Dempsey, a settler, in a mass wedding ceremony on the island in November 1791. They lived on a 60 acre farm at Phillipsburgh. The couple left Norfolk Island, without any children, for Van Diemen's Land (Tasmania) on the Porpoise in December 1808, settling on a farm at New Norfolk.

Jane Dempsey died (as Janet Dempster) on 22 May 1840 at New Norfolk hospital and was buried with her husband; her age was given as 75.

The Dempseys were childless but adopted an Aboriginal girl who was baptised Mary Dempsey, aged 7, in 1816. Mary died in 1826.

* information from Mollie Gillen, The Founders of Australia: A Biographical Dictionary of the First Fleet (1989), pp 583-84

Citation details

'Dempsey, Jane (c. 1765–1840)', People Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, accessed 20 May 2024.

© Copyright People Australia, 2012

Life Summary [details]

Alternative Names
  • Tyler, Jane
  • Dempster, Janet

c. 1765


22 May, 1840 (aged ~ 75)
New Norfolk, Tasmania, Australia

Cause of Death


Passenger Ship
Key Events
Convict Record

Crime: theft
Sentence: life