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Philip Scriven (?–?)

Philip Scriven/Skirving, a seaman aboard the Lady Penrhyn on her voyage to Sydney in 1787-88, is believed to be the father of Henrietta Fletcher, born to Jane Langley at the Cape of Good Hope on 21 October 1787.

At Port Jackson on 29 February Scriven was reported missing having last been seen near the women's tents. He was found on 9 March about 8 miles from the settlement at Botany Bay. Arthur Boyes Smyth reported in his journal:

In the Afternoon one Allan, Gamekeeper to the Governor who is almost constantly out in the Woods shooting, happen'd of our Missing Sailor abt. 8 miles off the Camp, beyond Botany Bay, half starved & perished &: quite naked, & conducted him home to the Ship, to the surprise & joy of his messmates, (he was a very good man) he sd. in all the time he had been absent he had eat only 1 dozen perriwinkles he pick'd up on the rocks — that he fell in wt. a party of the Natives who stript him & pelted him wt. stones — that he got sight of the Ships lying in Botany Bay & bent his course that way, but was always opposed by the Natives who wd. he believes at last have murther'd him but he ran into a swamp up to his Neck &: there lay conceal'd among the rushes — He continued very weak & feeble for along time, but by proper means perfectly recover'd.

Scriven left the colony on board the Lady Penrhyn on 4 May 1788. The last record we have of him is on 3 July in the surgeon’s log when it was recorded that Scriven was unlikely to survive till the ship reached Tahiti, on its return journey via China.

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

Citation details

'Scriven, Philip (?–?)', People Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, accessed 29 May 2024.

© Copyright People Australia, 2012

Life Summary [details]

Alternative Names
  • Skirving, Philip
  • Shewing, Philip
  • Screven, Philip
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