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.

Stephen Donovan (c. 1759–?)

Stephen Donovan (c.1759- ) arrived at Sydney as second mate aboard the Alexander in January 1788 as part of the First Fleet. He was sent to Norfolk Island on the Golden Grove in October 1788 where he taught some of the free people how to use muskets each Saturday. When some of the convicts were plotting to take over the island Donovan was to have been captured and held with the commandant. He assisted Commandant King interrogating the plotters.

Donovan was appointed pilot in December 1791. When no ships were at the island he acted as superintendent of convicts. He was commissioned lieutenant RN to HMS Termagent for rank only on 28 April 1792. He left Norfolk Island for England on the Kitty in June 1793.

* information from Mollie Gillen, The Founders of Australia: A Biographical Dictionary of the First Fleet (1989), pp 108-09

Citation details

'Donovan, Stephen (c. 1759–?)', People Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, accessed 21 May 2024.

© Copyright People Australia, 2012

Life Summary [details]

Alternative Names
  • Dunnivan, Stephen

c. 1759
Belfast, Antrim, Ireland

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