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.

Susannah O'Brien (c. 1763–1846)

Susannah Mortimore (1763-1846) was found guilty on 17 March 1788 at the Exeter Castle Assizes, Devon, of the theft of two sheep. Her death sentence was commuted several weeks later to 7 years transportation. She remained at the county gaol until she was discharged to the Lady Juliana in 1789. She arrived at Sydney in June 1790 as part of the Second Fleet. A daughter Susannah was born during the voyage.

Mortimore and her daughter were sent to Norfolk Island on the Surprize in August 1790. They lived with Thomas O'Brien on his 60 acre farm at Phillipsburg. Mortimore and O'Brien were probably married in the mass wedding ceremony held on the island in November 1791; they had at least eight children.

With her husband and children she left Norfolk Island for Van Diemen's Land (Tasmania) aboard the City of Edinburgh in September 1808, settling on 100 acres at New Town.

Susannah O'Brien died on 31 December 1846 at Glenorchy, Tasmania.

It is thought that she might be related to Noah Mortimer. Her son James cared for Noah in his later years.

information from

  • Michael Flynn, The Second Fleet: Britain’s Grim Convict Armada of 1790 (1993), p 448
  • Judith Adams, 'FF Thomas O'Brien Marine "Scarborough"', Fellowship of First Fleeters website, — accessed 31 March 2021

Citation details

'O'Brien, Susannah (c. 1763–1846)', People Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, accessed 23 July 2024.

© Copyright People Australia, 2012

Life Summary [details]

Alternative Names
  • Mortimore, Susannah
  • Moretimer, Susannah
  • Mortimer, Susannah

c. 1763


31 December, 1846 (aged ~ 83)
Glenorchy, Hobart, Tasmania, Australia

Passenger Ship
Key Events
Convict Record

Crime: theft (livestock)
Sentence: death
Commuted To: 7 years
Court: Devon
Trial Date: 17 March 1788


Children: Yes (9)