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John Williams (c. 1754–1788)

John Williams (c.1754-1788) was found guilty on 18 August 1783 at Bodmin, Cornwall, of breaking into a house and stealing a chintz cotton gown and other goods. His death sentence was commuted to 7 years transportation on 2 September 1783. He was sent to the Dunkirk hulk on 10 June 1794 as John Williams or Floyd, where he remained until he embarked for New South Wales on the Charlotte in March 1787, transferring to the Scarborough at Portsmouth in April. He arrived at Sydney in January 1788 as part of the First Fleet.

This is most likely the John Williams who was sent to Norfolk Island on the Supply in February 1788 to help settle the colony. He drowned on 6 August 1788, along with three other men, when their boat overturned after it was caught in heavy surf.

* information from Mollie Gillen, The Founders of Australia: A Biographical Dictionary of the First Fleet (1989), p 385

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Citation details

'Williams, John (c. 1754–1788)', People Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, accessed 14 April 2024.

© Copyright People Australia, 2012

Life Summary [details]

Alternative Names
  • Floyd, John

c. 1754


6 August, 1788 (aged ~ 34)
Norfolk Island, Australia

Cause of Death


Passenger Ship
Key Events
Key Places
Convict Record

Crime: theft
Sentence: 7 years