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William Thompson (c. 1754–1805)

William Thompson (c.1754-1805) was found guilty on 26 May 1784 at the Old Bailey, London, of the theft of a shirt and a tablecloth. Sentenced to 7 years transportation, he was sent to the Censor hulk on 6 September 1784, where he remained until he embarked for New South Wales on the Scarborough in February 1787, arriving in Sydney in January 1788 as part of the First Fleet.

Thompson married (as Jerry Thompson) Maria Hamilton at Sydney Cove on 24 March 1788. On 28 August 1788 he received 30 lashes (his wife received 25) for drunkenness and insolence. The couple and their young son were sent to Norfolk Island on the Sirius in March 1790; two more children were recorded as being born on the island.

As Jeremy Thompson he received he received 50 lashes on 10 May 1790 for concealing fish. By July 1791 he was subsisting his family on a one ace Sydney Town lot with 53 rods cleared and by December was settled on 12 acres at Queenborough and was selling grain to stores by 1793. He died at Norfolk Island on 26 July 1805.

* information from Mollie Gillen, The Founders of Australia: A Biographical Dictionary of the First Fleet (1989), pp 356-57

Additional Resources

Citation details

'Thompson, William (c. 1754–1805)', People Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, accessed 14 April 2024.

© Copyright People Australia, 2012

Life Summary [details]

Alternative Names
  • Thomson, William
  • Thompson, Jerry

c. 1754


26 July, 1805 (aged ~ 51)
Norfolk Island, Australia

Cause of Death


Passenger Ship
Key Events
Key Places
Social Issues
Convict Record

Crime: theft
Sentence: 7 years