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John Turner (c. 1739–?)

John Turner (c.1739- ), a shipwright, was found guilty at the 1783 Easter Maidstone (Kent) Quarter Sessions of stealing a cask containing about 28 gallons of small beer. Sentenced to 7 years transportation to America, he was among the prisoners who mutinied on the convict transport Mercury in April 1784. Recaptured, he was sent to the Dunkirk hulk in June 1784. He was discharged to the Friendship in March 1787 and arrived in Sydney in January 1788 as part of the First Fleet.

Turner was reprimanded on 6 September 1788 for being found with three pints of rum. He was reprimanded and discharged because he was 'a very old man'.

He was probably the John Turner who lived 'under a Rock ... on the other side of the Hill' with Joseph Owens, another old man, who had also been on the Dunkirk hulk and the Friendship. With two other elderly convicts (Dorothy Handland and Henry Barnett), Turner was ordered a passage to England by the lieutenant governor. He left the colony on the Kitty in 1793 and was reported to have arrived safely at Cork, Ireland, in February 1794.

* information from Mollie Gillen, The Founders of Australia: A Biographical Dictionary of the First Fleet (1989), pp 361-62

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Citation details

'Turner, John (c. 1739–?)', People Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, accessed 23 May 2024.

© Copyright People Australia, 2012

Life Summary [details]


c. 1739
Kent, England

Passenger Ship
Key Events
Key Places
Convict Record

Crime: theft
Sentence: 7 years