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William McNamara (c. 1762–?)

William McNamara (c.1762- ), a former seaman, was found guilty on 10 September 1783 at the Old Bailey, London, of stealing a pair of stone knee buckles, valued at 20 shillings, from a shop. His death sentence was commuted to seven years transportation. McNamara was among the prisoners who mutinied on the convict transport Mercury in April 1784. Recaptured, he was sent to the Dunkirk hulk in June 1784. He was discharged to the Friendship in March 1787 and arrived in Sydney in January 1788 as part of the First Fleet. Both his legs had been placed in irons on 24 July 1787 until 13 August during the sea voyage for impertinence to the convict cook.

McNamara was sent to Norfolk Island on the Sirius in March 1790. He was ordered to receive 50 lashes on 27 April 1790 for disobedience of orders but, after attempting to stab himself with a blunt knife while stripping, he was instead chained to the grindstone.

In May 1791 McNamara was sent to Port Jackson on the Supply, returned to Norfolk Island on the Pitt early in 1972 and left again for Sydney on the Kitty in March 1793. He had a son, William, with Sarah Beazon(?) in 1795. No certain further colonial records have been located for William McNamara.

* information from Mollie Gillen, The Founders of Australia: A Biographical Dictionary of the First Fleet (1989), p 233 and HMS Sirius 1786-1790 — accessed 11 August 2020

Additional Resources

Citation details

'McNamara, William (c. 1762–?)', People Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, accessed 21 July 2024.

© Copyright People Australia, 2012

Life Summary [details]

Alternative Names
  • MacNamara, William
  • McNamar, William

c. 1762

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Convict Record

Crime: theft
Sentence: 7 years