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William Edmunds (c. 1757–1843)

William Edmunds (c.1757-1843) was found guilty on 21 March 1785 at Monmouth, Wales, of stealing a heifer. His death sentence was commuted to 7 years transportation on 19 May 1785. He remained at Monmouth Gaol until 29 April 1786 (during which time he escaped and was recaptured) when he was sent to the Ceres hulk. Discharged to the Alexander in January 1787, he arrived at Sydney in January 1788 as part of the First Fleet.

Edmunds was sent to Norfolk Island on the Supply in March 1790. By July 1791 he was subsisting himself on a Sydney Town lot with 90 rods cleared. The pig which he had bought had produced a litter of five and made him independent of meat on 22 August 1791. He was self sufficient of food after 1793. By May 1794 he was working as a butcher. In 1805 he was defined as a third class settler.

With neither wife nor children, Edmunds moved to Van Diemen's Land (Tasmania) on the City of Edinburgh in September 1808, settling on 30 acres at Clarence Plains. He died (as William Edmonds) on 2 October 1843 at New Norfolk, Tasmania. His age was given as 92, occupation as labourer, and cause of death as debility.

* information from Mollie Gillen, The Founders of Australia: A Biographical Dictionary of the First Fleet (1989), p 116

Citation details

'Edmunds, William (c. 1757–1843)', People Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, accessed 21 April 2024.

© Copyright People Australia, 2012

Life Summary [details]

Alternative Names
  • Edmonds, William

c. 1757


2 October, 1843 (aged ~ 86)
New Norfolk, Tasmania, Australia

Cause of Death

general debility

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
Key Places
Convict Record

Crime: theft
Sentence: 7 years