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John Penny (c. 1754–1799)

John Penny (c.1754-1799), a jeweller, was found guilty on 25 February 1784 at the Old Bailey, London, of stealing clothing and linen worth £15.14s in a trunk from a cart. Sentenced to 7 years transportation to America, he 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.

Penny was sent to Norfolk Island on the Surprize in August 1790. He was subsisting two people on a Sydney Town lot by July 1791 and left Norfolk Island on the Atlantic in August 1792. While working as a nightwatchman on 17 March 1796 with Henry Kable and William Haynes, Penny was involved in an attack on two convicts apprehended after trying to break into a house; all were declared not guilty of murder after one of the convicts died of his wounds.

He was probably the John Penny who was buried at Sydney on 11 April 1799.

* information from Mollie Gillen, The Founders of Australia: A Biographical Dictionary of the First Fleet (1989), p 282

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Citation details

'Penny, John (c. 1754–1799)', People Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, accessed 20 April 2024.

© Copyright People Australia, 2012

Life Summary [details]

Alternative Names
  • Pinny, John
  • Pinhey, John
  • Pinney, John

c. 1754


10 April, 1799 (aged ~ 45)
Sydney, New South Wales, Australia

Cause of Death


Passenger Ship
Key Events
Key Places
Convict Record

Crime: theft
Sentence: 7 years