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James Walbourne (c. 1765–?)

James Walbourne (c.1765- ) was found guilty on 10 September 1783 at the Old Bailey, London, of stealing a linen handkerchief, worth 12 pence, from a man in the street. Sentenced to 7 years transportation, he was sent to the Censor hulk on 4 October 1783, 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.

Walbourne married Sophia Lewis on 24 March 1788 at Sydney Cove. The couple, and their infant son William, were sent to Norfolk Island on the Atlantic in November 1791. Their son James was born on Norfolk Island in October 1794. James snr settled on 12 acres at Pitt Path, Queenborough, but by May 1794 was doing jobbing work for settlers.

The couple had returned to Port Jackson with their family by 1800. On 13 January 1800 Walbourne was charged with assaulting his wife. The couple was ordered to live apart, divide their property and take a child each. In February 1800 Walbourne was sworn in as a constable. Sophia was still recorded as Walbourne's wife in 1806 and was listed as a soldier's wife in 1814. But she may not have lived with him. Walbourne and his son William, who lived with him, joined the New South Wales Corps in 1800 (William as a drummer) and went to Ceylon (Sri Lanka) with the 73rd Regiment in 1814. James stayed with his mother, working as a sailor and carpenter in the colony.

James Walbourne snr was described as being 5 feet 8 inches tall with a thin face, light brown hair, hazel eyes and a fair complexion. Pay records show him with the 73rd Regiment as late as December 1815.

* information from Mollie Gillen, The Founders of Australia: A Biographical Dictionary of the First Fleet (1989), pp 368-69

Additional Resources

Citation details

'Walbourne, James (c. 1765–?)', People Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, accessed 23 April 2024.

© Copyright People Australia, 2012

Life Summary [details]

Alternative Names
  • Walbourn, James
  • Walburn, James
  • Walbron, James
  • Walborn, James
  • Wallbourn, James
  • Waldbourn, James

c. 1765
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States of America

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Convict Record

Crime: theft
Sentence: 7 years