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William Foyle (c. 1760–1847)

William Foyle (c.1760-1847) was found guilty on 9 July 1785 at Salisbury, Wiltshire, of stealing a box containing three guineas in gold, 14 shillings in silver and some half pence from a house. His death sentence was commuted to 7 years transportation on 10 August 1785. He was sent to the Dunkirk hulk, where he remained until he embarked for New South Wales on the Charlotte in March 1787, arriving in Sydney in January 1788 as part of the First Fleet.

Foyle was sent to Norfolk Island on the Sirius in March 1790. By July 1791 he was subsisting on a one acre lot. He purchased 10 acres from Peter Hibbs in May 1791 and 15 acres from John Watts in 1799. In 1805 he was listed as a third class settler without a wife or children, with six of his acres cultivated and owning 19 swine. In August 1807 he held 22 acres.

Foyle left Norfolk Island for Van Diemen's Land (Tasmania) on the Porpoise in December 1807, settling on 30 acres at New Norfolk. He still held this land in 1821.

William Foyle died on 10 July 1847 and was buried the next day at St Matthew's, New Norfolk; his age was given as 89 and cause of death as 'old age'. A Sarah Foyle, aged 75, died on 4 April 1836 at New Norfolk.

* information from Mollie Gillen, The Founders of Australia: A Biographical Dictionary of the First Fleet (1989), pp 133-134

Citation details

'Foyle, William (c. 1760–1847)', People Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, accessed 23 July 2024.

© Copyright People Australia, 2012

Life Summary [details]


c. 1760


10 July, 1847 (aged ~ 87)
New Norfolk, Tasmania, Australia

Cause of Death

general debility

Passenger Ship
Key Events
Key Places
Convict Record

Crime: theft
Sentence: 7 years