FF ELLEN/Eleanor (Redchester) FRASER


Convict "Prince of Wales"  (1764-1840)


Eleanor Redchester was born in November 1764 in Aldborough, North Yorkshire, England to Robert Register and Dorothy Simpson. She was known as Ellen or Nell. Although her father's surname was spelt Register, all his children had the spelling of Redchester.

She was baptised on the 16th of November in St Andrew's Church in Aldborough.

She married William Fraser (sometimes spelt Frazer or Frazier) on the 8th of November 1783 at St Andrew's Church in Aldborough.

In 1784, Ellen and William had their first child, a son named William. Unfortunately William died in infancy.

Ellen and William were both tried and convicted for stealing cloth. They were sentenced to 7 years transportation at Manchester Quarter Sessions on the 8th of January 1787 for larceny. Her crime was that "Ellen Fraser alias Ellen Redchester of Manchester, singlewoman, stole six pieces of fustian, one piece of yellow canvas, and half a gross of white filletting, property of James Leigh, Robert Leigh, Thomas Leigh, Thomas Darwell; also goods the

property of Marmaduke Clarke".

While awaiting transportation to Australia she was imprisoned in Lancaster Castle. Prison reformer John Howard visited Lancaster in 1776 and noted the conditions in the prison. His efforts to instigate reform led to prisoners in gaols throughout the country being separated by gender and category of their crime. Improvements were also made to sanitation; in the 18th century more people died from gaol fever than by hanging. In the last two decades of the century, around £30,000 was spent rebuilding Lancaster's county gaol. Architect Thomas Harrison was commissioned to complete the work. Under his auspices, the Gaoler's House was built in 1788 in a Gothic style.


She was recorded as being a single woman, which if she had taken advantage of her real marital status to claim influence by her husband, she may have been acquitted. It was only after their request to the Gaoler Higgins, at Lancaster Castle, to be sent to the same place that Higgins on the 5th of April 1787 sent a letter to Evan Nepean, enclosing a copy of her marriage certificate dated 8th of November 1783 from Aldborough, Yorkshire, and reporting their wish to be sent to the same place "as they have been married some years and have had children". The name was spelt "Frazer" in the marriage register.

Ellen and William both arrived in Sydney on the 26th of January 1788. Ellen departed England on the 9th of April 1787 aboard the "Prince of Wales". Ellen’s husband William arrived in Australia on the "Charlotte" and it may be that Ellen was transferred to the "Charlotte" at Rio on the 13th of August 1787, as one female convict was transferred from the "Prince of Wales" to the "Charlotte" at Rio. The Census of 1828 indicates that she arrived on the "Charlotte". She was 1 of the 189 female convicts that arrived as part of the First Fleet.

After arrival William Fraser settled in to the new life he and Ellen would now face.

"He was employed as a blacksmith in the early days of the colony, and was a favourite of Captain Tench and Governor Phillip, who once asked Fraser to examine some locks that Phillip had specially imported for the Public Store. Frazer reportedly asked for a crooked nail and in an instant picked the locks." (Extract taken from "1788 The People of the First Fleet" by Don Chapman).

He is described by Collins as "an excellent workman, who seldom chose to accept any article but spirits in payment for work done in his extra hours".

On the 7th of June 1789 their second son, John Fraser, was born in Sydney. John would later change his surname to the spelling of Frazier. John was one of the first British children born in Australia. He is generally regarded as the second born white child in Australia.

The first born is generally regarded to be William Nash who was baptised on the 25th of May 1788, and died on the 19th of June 1789. Governor Phillip's reports are published in The Historical Records of Australia Series 1 Volume 1, but there is no mention of the first birth in the colony; on 12 February 1790 he simply states the number of births (59) and deaths (72) that had occurred to date.

William Fraser died on the 13th of June 1791 in Sydney aged 31 years. His death was a result of heavy drinking.

One month later, on the 18th of July 1791, their third son, Daniel Fraser, was baptised shortly after his birth in Sydney. With the birth of her third baby and the death of her husband the month earlier, Ellen began seeing William Morgan who arrived in Australia on the 28th of June 1790 as part of the Second Fleet as a Private aboard the ship "Neptune".

It is most probable that William and Ellen never married. They had 5 children; Ann Morgan, Lucy Fraser Morgan, William Fraser Morgan, Sarah Fraser Morgan, and Richard Fraser Morgan, all of whom took the middle name of Fraser.

On the 20th of February 1794 Ellen received her first land grant of twenty acres at Concord. She is believed to be the first woman to own freehold land in the Colony.

On the 22nd of July 1794 she received a further twenty acres.

William Morgan had a grant adjoining Ellen. Ellen had 15 acres under full cultivation of wheat and maize, and had 6 prisoners working for her.

60 acres of land belonging to
Frederick Meredith was close by and. Ellen and William's daughter Sarah would marry First Fleeter Frederick Meredith's son Frederick Jnr.


On the 3rd of November 1798 William Morgan was charged with illegally withholding some of Ellen's pigs, which the court made him return. It was said at this time that they had separated after living together for seven years, but by 1800 they were back together again as Ellen bore him their second child Lucy, and they were to have more children before finally separating permanently sometime after 1806 when their last child, Richard was born.

After her relationship with William ended she began a relationship with Thomas Humphries. Thomas was an ex-convict who was assigned to her in her early days as a land holder, and remained with her until her death.

On the 12th of July 1806 her third child, Daniel Frazier, passed away at 15 years old. He was crossing Homebush Bay on the Parramatta River when the canoe he was in overturned. A man who was with him survived the capsizing, however young Daniel did not.

His funeral was held at St. Phillip's Church of England, Sydney. He was buried on the 14th of July at The Old Sydney Burial Ground (now the site of Sydney Town Hall), in George Street. He was not buried with his father as his father was buried in the first Sydney cemetery which was on "land adjacent to the military barracks near the present day Grosvenor Street in the Rocks.


The Old Sydney Burial Ground was used between September 1792 and September 1820, but then closed. When the new Town Hall was to be built, graves were cleared, but mainly where the foundations would be located. Any remains that were found were reburied at Rookwood Cemetery and a single monument raised presumably because no names were known. If any of Daniel's remains were found they would have been re-interred at Rookwood.


On the 10th of December 1823 her second child, John Frazier passed away aged 34 years old. At this stage in her life, all of her 3 children to her first husband William Fraser had passed away.

William Morgan died on the 22nd of October 1828 aged 64 years.

Ellen continued to live at Concord until her death. At the time of her death she was seen as being a highly regarded settler.

Eleanor died on the 18th of November 1840 at her residence in Concord aged 76 years. She was buried on the 20th of November in St Luke's Church Cemetery in Liverpool under the name Eleanor Fraser along with her son John.

A comment in the publication “Concord - A Centenary History” noted that “Eleanor Frazer was obviously a woman of remarkable resilience and fortitude who well deserves recognition as a pioneer of Concord”. Eleanor bequeathed her land at Concord to her two sons William and Richard Frazer Morgan but also requested in her will that Thomas Humphries be provided for. Thomas Humphries died 11 years later in 1851.

Will of Eleanor Frazer "Willed and bequeathed to William Frazer Morgan and Richard Frazer Morgan 20 acres each of land originally granted to Richard Hudson. Provided that Thomas Humphries (carpenter) to be provided for, for the rest of his life. Witness - Isaac Nichols, James Hopson, John Kelly (by his mark) Executors - George Nichols, Thomas Humphries Will No. Serial 1 No. 1261 dated July 6 1833".

One of the witnesses of her will, Isaac Nichols, was one of the main land owners in the area of Concord. The 50 acres of land he had on the coast still remains today. This land includes the Dame Edith Walker Estate which can be visited today.

Ellen and William's adjoining properties today make up part of the Concord Golf Course.


by Clayton Talbot 2020




The Fellowship of First Fleeters installed a FFF Plaque on Ellen Fraser’s Grave on 14th August 1977.

This Plaque was replaced in 1993.


Refer FFF Web Site:http://www.fellowshipfirstfleeters.org.au/graves.html

Under FFF Plaque 3 – Installed 14th August 1977 (*Replaced in 1993) for

FF ELLEN/Eleanor (Redchester) FRASER Convict‘Prince of Wales’(1764-1840)






Copyright Fellowship of First Fleeters