Hannah Smith and Daniel (Janel) Gordon were committed for trial on the 17th January, 1785, for robbery at the house of Charles Hancock in Upham, Wiltshire. They stole a quantity of clothing, which included a checked apron, a dowlas shirt, a red cloak, 2 pairs of shoes, a pair of worsted stockings, 2 handkerchiefs and a pair of shoe buckles valued at 7/6d 1.

Hannah was tried at the Winchester Assizes on the 5th April 1785. She was sentenced to 7 years transportation and held in gaol until December 1786, when, at the age of 28, she was ordered to the Dunkirk hulk, which was moored in Plymouth.  She was received there on 7th December 1786 with a baby son about 3 months old.  According to Major Ross’s List (Commanding officer of the Marine Corps Detachment of the First Fleet) Hannah was taken aboard the transport Charlotte on the 21st March 1787.


Hannah and her son William sailed from Portsmouth on board the Charlotte with the other ships of the First Fleet on the 13th May 1787.  How did this young mother feel as she left behind the land of her birth for a strange new land thousands of miles away?  Maybe she was full of hope that this would lead to a new and better life for both her young son, William, and herself. 

On the 11th August, 1787 while the fleet was anchored at Rio de Janeiro, Ralph Clark noted in his journal that Hannah was discharged to the Friendship with the child, William.  After arriving at the Cape of Good Hope on the 28th October, 1787, Ralph Clark stated she was once again transferred, this time to the Lady Penrhyn  The surgeon on board this ship, Arthur Bowes Smyth, kept a journal in which he named Hannah’s child as Edward.


After the First Fleet arrived in Sydney Cove on the 26th January 1788, Hannah, along with the other female convicts, was not allowed on shore until the 6th February.  One can only wonder at her feelings on this auspicious occasion and at her chance to make a new life.  After a long voyage of nine months Hannah was one of only six convicts to be moved aboard three of the transports in the fleet. 

Nothing more is recorded of Hannah until the 6th June when her young son William died 2.  What a sad time for this mother, with no other family to support her, in a country so different to the homeland she had to leave behind. 


However, during this time she had made the acquaintance of another convict, a carpenter by the name of Edward Pugh.  Edward had also recently experienced tragedy, his wife Elizabeth Parker, a convict, dying just thirteen days after coming ashore in February.  He had a young daughter Ann to look after, so he and Hannah would have been able to understand and comfort each other.  They married on the 15th June 1788, just four months after arriving in the colony 3, with their name being recorded as Pue.  Sadly, just fifteen days after their wedding, tragedy struck again when Edward’s daughter, Ann, whose mother was Elizabeth Parker, died.  So Hannah and her new husband, Edward, continued on alone, both suffering the loss of a very young child in the early months in this new country.

On Christmas day, Thursday 25th December their house was burgled and a pound of flour was stolen.  The following day Michael Dennison was charged with stealing a bag and a pound of flour from Hannah Pugh.  Hannah and a Jeremiah Leary gave evidence.  He was found guilty and was sentenced to 200 lashes, of which he received 150 4.


Hannah and Edward’s first child, a son named David, was born on the 8th March, 1789 5, and five months later, on the 15th August, 1789, Hannah was charged with having nine worsted caps in her possession 6.  She pleaded that the caps had been given to her and that she had made them into a bed quilt to cover her child.  This was substantiated by John Harris and others, and so she was discharged.  This shows a very tender side of Hannah, caring so much for her young baby and trying to do her best to keep him warm.


They had another son, Simon, baptised in the parish of St. John’s Church, Parramatta, on the 29th May 1791 7.  Edward’s sentence expired on the 17th July 1791 and he and Hannah were among the first settlers to be granted 70 acres of land at Prospect Hill on the 22nd February, 1792 8.  They must have felt very happy regarding their life at this stage, as it would have been very difficult for this couple to become landholders back in England.  How proud they must have felt having their two healthy sons and a parcel of land only four years after arriving in this harsh new land.

On the 12th September 1794 Hannah gave birth to their third son Edward 9 and on the 1st October 1796 Hannah had another baby, their first daughter whom they name Harriet 10. On the 29th May 1799, Hannah gave birth to their last child, another daughter, named Charlotte 11. They now had a family of five children and all seem to have been healthy.

In January 1800 Hannah’s husband enlisted in the NSW Corps and the next record of her is in The General Muster of 1806. Here she is listed as Hannah Smith or Pugh and being Free by Servitude, and in the remarks column is written Edward Pugh, Scott.  In The Sydney Gazette & New South Wales Advertiser, on Saturday 16 June, 1810, is a notice from the Colonial Secretary’s office stating that Hannah has been granted her Certificate of Freedom by his Excellency the Governor.  She had achieved much since arriving here in the colony.  In the same year her husband was discharged from the New South Wales Corps.  Once again they were farming together.


Hannah was still on the land in 1814, as in the Muster of that year she is listed as being off stores, Free by Servitude, ship Lady Penrhyn, one child and wife to Edward Pugh, who is also listed as being a landholder at Parramatta.  Charlotte, the youngest child, was the only one still at home with her parents.

Things changed, however, and in the 1820 Muster they were living in Richmond and Edward was working for a Mr Withers.  In the 1822 Muster they were in Windsor and on the 1st May, 1824, it appears she and Edward were looking after two of her grandchildren (eldest daughter Harriet Parker’s children, David and Sophia) and applied to the Colonial Secretary to receive them into the Male and Female orphan schools 12. They were accepted and so it is possible that Hannah was not in good health at this stage of her life.  It is difficult to know her true age at this time as her age differs on the various documents.


Sadly, in 1826 Hannah Pugh nee Smith died and the funeral ceremony was performed in the Parish of St Phillip’s, Sydney. She was buried in the Sandhills Cemetery on the 17th October.  Her age given on her Death Certificate was 77 years but this may be incorrect as it means she would have been born in 1849.  If the age given when she was taken aboard the Dunkirk Hulk in 1786 was 28, it means she would have been born in 1858.  This would have made her 68 years of age at the time of her death.


 According to the book The Old Sydney Burial Ground, Hannah’s body and headstone were moved to Botany Cemetery in 1901. In 1976 when the Pioneer Memorial Park, was established at Botany, the headstone had become illegible, and could not be included.


Hannah was a true founding mother of Australia. She arrived with the First Fleet and survived the early difficult years of a struggling new colony so far away from its homeland. She stayed with her husband all their married life and together they raised five children and helped in their own small way to make the Australia we know and love today.  Her many descendants are very proud to say Hannah Smith was my ancestor.


Some of these descendants are busy working on a full family tree for Edward and Hannah, and interested persons are directed to their website www.ffps.org.au

In May 2016 a memorial plaque to Hannah Smith Convict "Lady Penrhyn" was installed in the First Fleet Memorial Park in the Eastern Suburbs Memorial Park



Valerie Williams #8050




1 Hampshire Record Office Winchester


Crimes of the First Fleet by Dr. John Cobley


2 Copy of Death Certificate No, 77 Vol 2


3 Copy of Marriage Certificate V178850 3A/1788


4 John Cobley’s book 1788


5 Mutch Index


6 Minutes of Proceedings, Bench of Magistrates Returns,1788-1792


7 Mutch Index


8 Land Grants 1788-1809 page 6, item 42, entry 69,


9 NSW Births V1794382 1A/1794


10 NSW Births V 1796674 1A/1796


11 NSW Births V 1799262 148/1799


12 Colonial Secretary’s Correspondence 1788-1825




Copyright Fellowship of First Fleeters