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.

John Pettitt (c. 1758–1796)

John Pettitt and John Ayres were sentenced, on 21 April 1784 at the Old Bailey, London, to seven years transportation for stealing musical instruments from a shop window in St Martin's le Grand, London. Sentenced to seven years transportation, the prisoners were sent to the Censor hulk before disembarking on the Scarborough in February 1787.

Pettitt was sentenced to receive 50 lashes after playing cards at 2 am with Edward Goodwin in October 1789. As John Petit he left Port Jackson on the Endeavour on 18 October 1795. The ship proved to be unseaworthy and had to be scuttled. Her crew and passengers were taken to Norfolk Island. Pettitt died there on 25 June 1796. 

* information from Mollie Gillen, The Founders of Australia: A Biographical Dictionary of the First Fleet (1989), p 284

Related Entries in NCB Sites

Citation details

'Pettitt, John (c. 1758–1796)', People Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, accessed 18 July 2024.

© Copyright People Australia, 2012

Life Summary [details]

Alternative Names
  • Petit, John

c. 1758


25 June, 1796 (aged ~ 38)
Norfolk Island, Australia

Cause of Death


Passenger Ship
Key Events
Key Places
Social Issues
Convict Record

Crime: theft
Sentence: 7 years