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Rachel Williams (c. 1759–1840)

Rachel Watkins was found guilty on 17 March 1785 at the Hereford Assizes of stealing goods in two burglaries. Sentenced to 7 years transportation she spent time at Hereford Gaol before arriving at Sydney in 1790 aboard the Neptune as part of the Second Fleet. In August 1790 Watkins was sent to Norfolk Island on the Surprize. In early 1791 she was given a piece of land at Charlotte Field (Queenborough) and in February was given a government sow to share with convicts Jeremiah Leary and Joseph Pigot. By 1 July 1791 Watkins had cleared 47 rods of her land.

Watkins bore two daughters while on the island and had two more children after she left the island for Port Jackson in 1796. The youngest child was definitely fathered by James Williams with whom, by 1806, she was living. It is thought that he may have fathered all of her children.

Following James Williams' death in 1820 Watkins lived with her daughter Sarah. By 1828 Rachel, and other family members, were employed by Simeon Lord at Botany. Rachel died there on 10 February 1840; her age was given as 98.

* information from Michael Flynn, The Second Fleet: Britain’s Grim Convict Armada of 1790 (1993), p 596

Citation details

'Williams, Rachel (c. 1759–1840)', People Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, accessed 15 June 2024.

© Copyright People Australia, 2012

Life Summary [details]

Alternative Names
  • Watkins, Rachael

c. 1759


10 February, 1840 (aged ~ 81)
Botany, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia

Cause of Death


Cultural Heritage

Includes subject's nationality; their parents' nationality; the countries in which they spent a significant part of their childhood, and their self-identity.

Passenger Ship
Key Events
Key Places
Convict Record

Crime: theft
Sentence: 7 years