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Elizabeth Rope (c. 1762–1837)

Elizabeth Pulley (c.1763-1837) was found guilty on 14 March 1783, at Thetford, Norfolk, of breaking into a house and stealing food with a total value of 8s.6d. Her death sentence was commuted to 7 years transportation. Pulley was held at Norfolk gaol until transferred to the Dunkirk hulk in October 1786. Discharged to the Friendship in March 1787 she was transferred to the Prince of Wales at the Cape of Good Hope in October 1787, and arrived at Sydney in January 1788 as part of the First Fleet. Pulley had spent a number of days in irons during the voyage — before the voyage had even started she broke through the bulkhead to the sailors. She was ordered in irons on 9 June for 10 days, as well as 3 July, and on 24 July 1787 she was handcuffed to Elizabeth Thackery though soon ordered free by the doctor after it was found she was ill and blistered. 

Pulley married (as Elizabeth Pooley) Anthony Rope on 19 May 1788 at Port Jackson; both signed with a mark. The couple had eight children and were still together in 1828, living on a farm.

Elizabeth Rope died on 9 August 1837 at Castlereagh; her age was given as 80.

* information from Mollie Gillen, The Founders of Australia: A Biographical Dictionary of the First Fleet (1989), p 296

Citation details

'Rope, Elizabeth (c. 1762–1837)', People Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, accessed 25 June 2024.

© Copyright People Australia, 2012

Life Summary [details]

Alternative Names
  • Pulley, Elizabeth
  • Powley, Elizabeth
  • Pully, Elizabeth
  • Pulling, Elizabeth

c. 1762
Norfolk, England


9 August, 1837 (aged ~ 75)
Castlereagh, New South Wales, Australia

Cause of Death


Cultural Heritage

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Convict Record

Crime: theft
Sentence: 7 years