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William Dring (1767–?)

William Dring was convicted of stealing clothes, brandy and other goods and was sentenced to seven years' transportation. He arrived in Sydney aboard the Alexander in January 1788 as part of the First Fleet and was sent to Norfolk Island. On 11 May 1789 he received 3 dozen lashes for being absent from the settlement without permission.

With Henry Barnett and Charles McLaughlin, Dring stole potatoes from gardens and was sent to Nepean Island in irons for six weeks on 15 May 1791. They were brought back 4 weeks later on 12 June. 

After serving his sentence, Dring left Norfolk Island in 1794 with Ann Forbes and their children and settled in New South Wales. By 1798 he was either dead or had left the colony. He may have left on a whaling ship.

There are a number of marriages for William Dring between 1797 and 1806 in England which could be him. There is also a William Dring, seaman, who was lost at sea, in March 1845 aboard the Wills Watch, reported in the Australian 15/5/1845, p 2, column 1 but he would have been 77 years old, if he was 'our' William, an unlikely age for a seaman.

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

Citation details

'Dring, William (1767–?)', People Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, accessed 13 June 2024.

© Copyright People Australia, 2012

Life Summary [details]


Hull, Yorkshire, England

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Convict Record

Crime: theft
Sentence: 7 years