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Peter Opley (c. 1767–?)

Peter Opley (c.1767- ), a butcher, was found guilty on 13 March 1786 at Maidstone, Kent, of stealing a woman's printed cotton gown. Sentenced to 7 years transportation, he was sent to the Ceres hulk on 13 June 1786 and was discharged to the Alexander in January 1787. He arrived at Sydney in January 1788 as part of the First Fleet.

On 30 April 1788 Opley (as Hopley) received 100 lashes for stealing a quart tin pot belonging to Margaret Stewart which he sold to Mary Phillips for a handkerchief. 100 lashes was ordered on 16 January 1789 for being absent without leave from the Rose Hill camp for three days. 25 more lashes were ordered on 15 March 1789 for the theft of bread.

Opley was sent to Norfolk Island on the Sirius in March 1790. By July 1791 he was maintaining himself on a Sydney Town lot and was off stores by March 1792. In early 1793 he gave up his land and became a sawyer. In May 1794 he was recorded as working by the month as a sawyer for Aaron David. He left Norfolk Island for Europe in June 1796 on the Marquis Cornwallis.

information from

  • Mollie Gillen, The Founders of Australia: A Biographical Dictionary of the First Fleet (1989), pp 268-69
  • Cathy Dunn, 'Peter Opley – Hopley, Convict, Alexander 1788', HMS Sirius, — accessed 28 June 2021

Original Publication

Citation details

'Opley, Peter (c. 1767–?)', People Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, accessed 14 June 2024.

© Copyright People Australia, 2012

Life Summary [details]

Alternative Names
  • Hopley, Peter
  • Hoplee, Peter
  • Oppley, Peter

c. 1767

Religious Influence

Includes the religion in which subjects were raised, have chosen themselves, attendance at religious schools and/or religious funeral rites; Atheism and Agnosticism have been included.

Passenger Ship
Key Events
Key Places
Social Issues
Convict Record

Crime: theft
Sentence: 7 years
Court: Kent
Trial Date: 13 March 1786


Occupation: butcher


Left the colony: Yes