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Mary Johnson (c. 1763–1806)

Mary Johnson (c.1763-1806) and Elizabeth Cole were found guilty on 26 April 1786 at the Old Bailey, London, of stealing nine pairs of men's stockings from a shop. Sentenced to 7 years transportation, Johnson embarked for New South Wales on the Prince of Wales in May 1787, arriving in the colony in January 1788 as part of the First Fleet.

Johnson may have been the Mary Johnson who shared a hut with Esther Abrahams in October 1792 at Sydney Cove. Although she is not listed in official records as Mary Hughes she is probably the woman of that name who stated, in November 1789, that she was living with Captain James Meredith. She definitely bore Meredith a son, James, baptised on 9 May 1790. Meredith took their son with him when he left the colony on the Gorgon in December 1791. Mary, who was at the time pregnant with their daughter Mary, remained in the colony. The child died on 22 October 1793.

Johnson (as Mary Hughes) was recorded in 1801 and 1806 as living with John Sparrow and then disappears from records. She was probably the Mary Hughes who was buried in Sydney 0n 19 December 1806.

 * information from Mollie Gillen, The Founders of Australia: A Biographical Dictionary of the First Fleet (1989), pp 194-95

Additional Resources

Citation details

'Johnson, Mary (c. 1763–1806)', People Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, accessed 14 July 2024.

© Copyright People Australia, 2012

Life Summary [details]

Alternative Names
  • Hughes, Mary

c. 1763


19 December, 1806 (aged ~ 43)
Sydney, New South Wales, Australia

Cause of Death


Religious Influence

Includes the religion in which subjects were raised, have chosen themselves, attendance at religious schools and/or religious funeral rites; Atheism and Agnosticism have been included.

Passenger Ship
Key Events
Key Places
Convict Record

Crime: theft (shop)
Sentence: 7 years
Court: Old Bailey, London
Trial Date: 26 April 1786


Children: Yes (2)