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Joshua Harpur (c. 1753–?)

Joshua Harpur (c.1753- ) was found guilty on 10 September 1783 at the Old Bailey, London, of stealing two feather beds, a quilt, a bed rug, a looking-glass, and 12 printed curtains from a house. Sentenced to 7 years transportation, he was sent to the Censor hulk in October 1783, where he remained until he embarked for New South Wales on the Scarborough in February 1787, arriving in Sydney in January 1788 as part of the First Fleet.

Harpur is recorded at mid 1791 as having absconded from the colony but another record said he had left free after serving his sentence. He would have been free by servitude in September 1790. He left on the Matilda in December 1791, bound for Peru. The ship was wrecked on 25 February 1792; the 29 survivors, including Hapur, made it to Tahiti on four boats. where he joined the crew of HMS Providence, under the command of Captain William Bligh. He was listed as a seaman, aged 31, from London. Harpur was discharged from the crew in London in September 1793.

* information from Mollie Gillen, The Founders of Australia: A Biographical Dictionary of the First Fleet (1989), pp 160-61

Additional Resources

Citation details

'Harpur, Joshua (c. 1753–?)', People Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, accessed 21 April 2024.

© Copyright People Australia, 2012

Life Summary [details]

Alternative Names
  • Harper, Joshua

c. 1753
London, Middlesex, England

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