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John Ramsay (c. 1762–1836)

John Ramsay (c.1762-1836), a seaman, and William Johnson were found guilty on 24 March 1784 at Battersea, Surrey, of the highway assault and theft of silver shoe buckles, knee buckles, two handkerchiefs, two muslin stocks and two shillings. The men's death sentences were commuted to 7 years transportation. Sent to the Justitia hulk, they were dispatched to the Scarborough in February 1787 and arrived at Sydney in January 1788 as part of the First Fleet.

Ramsay married Mary Leary on 19 December 1790 at Parramatta; he signed the register. The couple had at least three children. They settled on 30 acres of land at The Ponds in 1791 and by 1820 he held 410 acres. He was almost certainly the 'Ramsay' who accompanied Matthew Everingham in an attempt to cross the Blue Mountains in 1795. He worked as a gardener at Kissing Point in 1828.

Following his wife's death in 1813, Ramsay had a daughter (Elizabeth Harriet, 1819) with Elizabeth Moore. Their son John Thomas, born in 1823 was placed in the Male Orphan School in April 1829. The admission record noted that 'John Ramsay is in service to Mr T. C. Farnell at Kissing Point. has a wife living — but an abandoned woman living with another man — has a little girl about 8 years of age in the Female Orphan Institution'.

John Ramsay was buried on 21 January 1836 at Sydney; his age was given as 85 but was probably nearer 73.

information from

  • Mollie Gillen, The Founders of Australia: A Biographical Dictionary of the First Fleet (1989), pp 287-88
  • Biographical Database of Australia —

Citation details

'Ramsay, John (c. 1762–1836)', People Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, accessed 16 July 2024.

© Copyright People Australia, 2012

Life Summary [details]

Alternative Names
  • Ramsey, John

c. 1762


20 January, 1836 (aged ~ 74)
Sydney, New South Wales, Australia

Cause of Death


Cultural Heritage

Includes subject's nationality; their parents' nationality; the countries in which they spent a significant part of their childhood, and their self-identity.

Passenger Ship
Key Events
Key Places
Convict Record

Crime: highway robbery
Sentence: death
Commuted To: 7 years
Court: Surrey
Trial Date: 24 March 1784


Occupation: merchant sailor


Children: Yes (5)