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John Fendlow (c. 1768–1796)

John Fendlow/Finlow (c.1768-1796), a tinsmith, indicted as Fendlow, was found guilty on 10 December 1783 at the Old Bailey, London, of the highway assault of a woman and the theft of a bundle of linen. Sentenced to 7 years transportation to America he was among the prisoners who mutinied on the convict transport Mercury in April 1784. Recaptured, he was sent to Newgate Gaol in June 1784. He was embarked on the Friendship in March 1787 and arrived in Sydney in January 1788 as part of the First Fleet.

As John Fenlow he was sent to Norfolk Island on the Supply in March 1790. By July 1791 he was subsisting two people on a one acre farm at Phillipsburg and was sharing a sow with Martha Cutler and and Thomas Newby. By May 1792 he was working 12 acres at Cascade Stream as a settler. He left Norfolk Island for Port Jackson on the Chesterfield in March 1793 and received a 30 acre grant of land at Mulgrave Place in November 1794. He lived with Eleanor Byrnes.

Fendlow was hanged on 8 August 1796 for murdering his servant David Lane on 4 July 1796. Byrnes testified that the three of them had been drinking spirits on a boat on 4 July and that she had gone up to the house where Land had tried to 'lay with her'. She had struggled with him, Fendlow had come in, saw what has happening and had shot Lane dead during a struggle. Fenlow later confessed that the murder was premeditated.

Citation details

'Fendlow, John (c. 1768–1796)', People Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, accessed 22 June 2024.

© Copyright People Australia, 2012

Life Summary [details]

Alternative Names
  • Finlow, John
  • Fenlow, John

c. 1768
Middlesex, England


8 August, 1796 (aged ~ 28)
Sydney, New South Wales, Australia

Cause of Death


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
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Convict Record

Crime: theft
Sentence: 7 years