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Isabella Richardson (c. 1753–?)

Isabella Rosson (c.1753- ) a laundress, was found guilty on 10 January 1787 at the Old Bailey, London, of stealing a waistcoat, four bed curtains, and a set of cotton bed curtains from her mistress. Sentenced to seven years transportation, she arrived in Sydney in 1788 aboard the Lady Penrhyn as part of the First Fleet. Her occupation was recorded by the ship's surgeon as dressmaker. Rosson gave birth to a child, Mary (recorded as Mary Lawson), who died during the voyage. She was recorded as Isabella Lawson when she landed at Botany Bay.

On 15 February 1879 Isabella's son Joseph (fathered by Joseph Abbott, a drummer in the NSW Corps) was baptised; the infant died on 12 November. Isabella was assigned to the Rev Richard Johnson in 1789 and began teaching at his school. Signing herself as Isabella Rosson, she married William Richardson (who was also teaching at the school) on 5 September 1897. The couple continued to teach at the school until 1810 when it is believed they returned to England. By then William had joined the NSW Corps.

* information from Mollie Gillen, The Founders of Australia: A Biographical Dictionary of the First Fleet (1989), p 315

Additional Resources

Citation details

'Richardson, Isabella (c. 1753–?)', People Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, accessed 15 April 2024.

© Copyright People Australia, 2012

Life Summary [details]

Alternative Names
  • Rosson, Isabella
  • Lawson, Isabella

c. 1753

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
Convict Record

Crime: theft
Sentence: 7 years