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Ellen Guy (c. 1769–1839)

Ellen Wainwright (c.1769-1839), alias Esther Eccles, was found guilty at the January 1787 Preston Quarter Sessions, Lancaster, of stealing a scarlet woollen cloak, a blue stuff quilted petticoat and a black silk hat. Sentenced to 7 years transportation, she arrived at Sydney aboard the Prince of Wales in January 1788 as part of the First Fleet. As Esther Eccles she received six lashes on 16 September 1787, during the voyage, for theft.

Wainwright's daughter Mary Ann, fathered by seaman James Wilson, was baptised at Port Jackson on 24 May 1789. Mother and daughter were sent to Norfolk Island on the Sirius in March 1790; Mary Ann died on 9 April 1792. Wainwright had two more children on the island by an unknown father; Henry (b. 1791) and Mary Ann (b.1795); she earned her living by dry nursing.

Wainwright returned to Port Jackson on the Supply in November 1795 and then went back to Norfolk Island on the Reliance in January 1796 where she had three children with Thomas Guy. With Guy and her three youngest children (Mary Ann joined them later) she left the island for Van Diemen's Land (Tasmania) on the City of Edinburgh in October 1808, settling at New Norfolk. She married (as Eleanor Wynwright) Thomas Guy at Hobart on 24 May 1812.

Ellen Guy died of natural causes at Back River, New Norfolk, on 8 November 1839; her age was given as 72.

information from

  • Mollie Gillen, The Founders of Australia: A Biographical Dictionary of the First Fleet (1989), p 368
  • 'Ellen (Wainwright, alias Esther Eccles) Guy', Fellowship of First Fleeters website, — accessed 22 September 2020

Citation details

'Guy, Ellen (c. 1769–1839)', People Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, accessed 14 April 2024.

© Copyright People Australia, 2012

Life Summary [details]

Alternative Names
  • Wainwright, Ellen
  • Eccles, Esther
  • Guy, Esther
  • Mainwright, Esther
  • Wainwright, Eleanor
  • Wheelwright, Elen
  • Wainwright, Helen
  • Wynwright, Eleanor

c. 1769
Rishton, Lancashire, England


8 November, 1839 (aged ~ 70)
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
Social Issues
Convict Record

Crime: theft
Sentence: 7 years