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Samuel Lightfoot (c. 1763–1818)

Samuel Lightfoot (c.1763-1818) was found guilty on 14 March 1785 at Exeter, Devon, of stealing linen shirts, handkerchiefs and other goods but was acquitted of breaking into a house at night. Sentenced to 7 years transportation, he was sent to the Dunkirk hulk early in 1786 and was discharged to the Charlotte in March 1787. He arrived at Sydney in January 1788 as part of the First Fleet.

Lightfoot was assigned to the laboratory tent at Port Jackson. He was granted 30 acres of land on the north side of the harbour opposite Sydney Cove in February 1794; he sold the land shortly afterwards.

Lightfoot returned to England when his sentence expired but petitioned to return to the colony with his wife (there is no evidence his wife actually came however). He arrived at Port Phillip aboard the Calcutta in 1803. The settlement was removed to Van Diemen's Land (Tasmania) the following year. Lightfoot was an overseer at Hobart in 1810 and an assistant at Hobart's general hospital in 1812. He died suddenly at Hobart on 17 May 1818. A coroner's jury attributed his cause of death as 'visitation of God'. His age was given as 65.

information from

  • Mollie Gillen, The Founders of Australia: A Biographical Dictionary of the First Fleet (1989), p 220
  • Biographical Database of Australia

Additional Resources

Citation details

'Lightfoot, Samuel (c. 1763–1818)', People Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, accessed 15 July 2024.

© Copyright People Australia, 2012

Life Summary [details]


c. 1763
Exeter, Devon, England


17 May, 1818 (aged ~ 55)
Hobart, Tasmania, 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
Key Places
Convict Record

Crime: theft (house)
Sentence: 7 years
Court: Devon
Trial Date: 14 March 1785


Married: Yes


Left the colony: Yes