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Joseph Dunnage (c. 1756–?)

Joseph Dunnage (c.1756- ), a former seaman, was found guilty on 30 April 1783 at the Old Bailey, London, of the theft of a glass window from a chariot at a coachhouse. Sentenced to 7 years transportation to America he was among the prisoners who mutinied on the convict transport Swift in August 1783. Recaptured, he was sent to the Censor hulk on 6 September 1784. He embarked for New South Wales aboard the Scarborough in February 1787, arriving at Sydney in January 1788 as part of the First Fleet.

Dunnage married Sarah Parry on 13 February 1788 at St Philip's Church, Sydney; she died the following month. Dunnage was sent to Norfolk Island on the Sirius in March 1790. He was sentenced to 50 lashes for repeated disobedience and neglect of duty on 3 October 1791. He left the island on the Kitty for Port Jackson in March 1793 and was granted 30 acres of land at Mulgrave Place in November 1794. He was living with Hannah Jackson by 1800 and had sown two acres in wheat, with five acres ready for maize. By 1802 he had cleared 11 acres. He had lost his farm by 1806 and was renting land from John Palmer and farming in partnership with Robert Reed.

Dunnage was charged with distilling spirits in October 1813 and was sent to Newcastle penal settlement in November 1813; he was still serving his sentence in 1817. Following his release he worked as a labourer at Windsor. He was recorded in the 1828 Census as a labourer at Richmond; he was living with Hannah Jackson and his age was given as 70. No further records have been located for the couple.

* information from Mollie Gillen, The Founders of Australia: A Biographical Dictionary of the First Fleet (1989), pp 111-12 and HMS Sirius 1786-1790 ttps:// — accessed 7 August 2020

Citation details

'Dunnage, Joseph (c. 1756–?)', People Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, accessed 15 July 2024.

© Copyright People Australia, 2012

Life Summary [details]

Alternative Names
  • Dunage, Joseph
  • Dullege, Joseph
  • Dunage, Jeremiah

c. 1756

Passenger Ship
Key Events
Key Places
Social Issues
Convict Record

Crime: theft
Sentence: 7 years