People Australia

  • searches all National Centre of Biography websites
  • searches all National Centre of Biography websites
  • searches all National Centre of Biography websites

Browse Lists:

Cultural Advice

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people should be aware that this website contains names, images, and voices of deceased persons.

In addition, some articles contain terms or views that were acceptable within mainstream Australian culture in the period in which they were written, but may no longer be considered appropriate.

These articles do not necessarily reflect the views of The Australian National University.

Older articles are being reviewed with a view to bringing them into line with contemporary values but the original text will remain available for historical context.

James Martin (c. 1760–?)

James Martin (c.1760- ), a bricklayer and stonemason, was found guilty on 20 March 1786 at Exeter, Devon, of stealing eleven screw bolts and other goods. Sentenced to 7 years transportation, he was sent to the Dunkirk hulk and was discharged to the Charlotte in March 1787. He arrived at Sydney in January 1788 as part of the First Fleet. He was described in 1791 as being 5 feet 7 inches (170 cm) tall, with a dark complexion and had a lisp in his speech.

Martin may have been the convict of that name (or it may have been Abraham Martin (1744-1811) who, on 7th March 1789, with six other convicts, received 150 lashes and was ordered to wear a leg iron for a year after leaving the brick kiln where they were working to march to "Botany Bay... to attack the natives and to plunder them of their fishing-tackle and spears". 

With one year left to serve, Martin absconded from the colony with William and Mary Bryant, six other men and two children, on 28 March 1791. They sailed in an open boat to Timor where they were arrested and sent to Batavia (Jakarta, Indonesia). Martin was then placed on the Gorgon at the Cape of Good Hope and sent back to England. He was tried at the Old Bailey for returning before the expiration of his sentence and was released from Newgate Gaol in November 1793.

* information from Mollie Gillen, The Founders of Australia: A Biographical Dictionary of the First Fleet (1989), p 238

Related Entries in NCB Sites

Citation details

'Martin, James (c. 1760–?)', People Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, accessed 21 May 2024.

© Copyright People Australia, 2012

Life Summary [details]

Alternative Names
  • Martyn, James

c. 1760
Antrim, Ireland

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
Social Issues
Convict Record

Crime: theft
Sentence: 7 years
Court: Devon
Trial Date: 20 March 1786


Occupation: bricklayer


Left the colony: Yes