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John Nicholls (1754–1822)

John Nicholls (1754-1722), a servant and porter's assistant with a hair merchant and perfumer, was found guilty on 24 February 1784 at the Old Bailey, London, of stealing a large quantity of goods including 57 razors, 6 bunches of human hair value, 62 ivory combs, 12 pairs of scissors value, and 22 boxes of soap. Sentenced to 7 years transportation he was sent to the Censor hulk and embarked for New South Wales on the Scarborough in February 1787, arriving in the colony in January 1788 as part of the First Fleet.

Nicholls married Mary Carroll on 24 March 1788 at Sydney Cove. Mary was sent alone to Norfolk Island in November 1788. Listed as unmarried Nicholls received a 30 acre grant at Prospect Hill, New South Wales by 1792. By 1801 he had 90 acres of land, 56 acres of which were under cultivation for wheat/maize. In the 1810 Muster he gave his occupation as district constable.

Nicholls was registered as living with a woman in the 1801 muster. She was probably Ann Pugh; they were married on 25 August 1803 at St Johns Church of England, Parramatta and had at least 12 children. He was buried at Sydney on 26 December 1822; his age was given as 67.

* information from Mollie Gillen, The Founders of Australia: A Biographical Dictionary of the First Fleet (1989), pp 264-65

Citation details

'Nicholls, John (1754–1822)', People Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, accessed 19 April 2024.

© Copyright People Australia, 2012

Life Summary [details]

Alternative Names
  • Nichols, John
  • Nicholas, John

Birtsmorton, Worcestershire, England


24 December, 1822 (aged ~ 68)
Petersham, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia

Cultural Heritage

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Passenger Ship
Key Events
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Convict Record

Crime: theft
Sentence: 7 years