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William Saltmarsh (c. 1770–?)

William Saltmarsh, a labourer, was found guilty on 28 March 1785 at Kingston, Surrey, of suspicion of theft from a shop and the theft of five handkerchiefs from the shop. Sentenced to 7 years transportation he was sent to the Justitia hulk before embarking on the Alexander for New South Wales in 1787 as part of the First Fleet, arriving in January 1788.

Saltmarsh worked as a cooper at the commissary's stores and later at the wharf. He was sentenced to 50 lashes on 11 August 1788 for the theft of spirits. On 6 June 1789 he helped capture the renegade convict John Caesar who was raiding the settlement for food. On 13 October Saltmarsh was sentenced to 50 lashes for stealing oars from Lieutenant Ralph Clark's boat. His daughter with Elizabeth Hollogin was baptised on 20 December 1789.

Saltmarsh was sent to Norfolk Island on the Surprize in August 1790. The Second Fleet convict Mary Butler was also on the ship. In July 1791 he was cultivating a small piece of land at Sydney Town, living with one other person, who may have been Butler. In April 1792 Saltmarsh received 100 lashes and was ordered to work in a gaol gang after he had been detected in a theft. The next month he left the island for Bengal on the Pitt, never to return, leaving behind a heavily pregnant Mary Butler. She had their child the following month.

* information from Mollie Gillen, The Founders of Australia: A Biographical Dictionary of the First Fleet (1989), p 322

Citation details

'Saltmarsh, William (c. 1770–?)', People Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, accessed 16 June 2024.

© Copyright People Australia, 2012

Life Summary [details]


c. 1770

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Convict Record

Crime: theft
Sentence: 7 years