ISAAC TARR, Marine and Tailor


Isaac Tarr was born at Brassington, Derbyshire about 1750 and served as a marine and tailor. He arrived with the First Fleet aboard the Sirius.


Upon his arrival at Sydney Cove on 26th January 1788, Isaac remained as a marine until he was discharged on 2nd July 1788 to join the Sydney Cove Headquarters at the Port Jackson Garrison under the command of Captain John O’Shea.


On the 4th March 1790, Isaac departed Port Jackson aboard the Supply bound for Norfolk Island where he landed on the 19th March 1790.  The Sirius accompanied it and was subsequently wrecked on the outer reef at Kingston Town, Norfolk Island.


Isaac remained on Norfolk Island and in 1792, was granted 60 acres of land as Lot 83 at Morgan’s Run in the Queenborough area where he lived with Mary Watkins. Mary had arrived as a First Fleet convict aboard the Charlotte; her sentence was for seven years for stealing linen caps. Mary had arrived on Norfolk Island in November 1789.  Isaac farmed this land in 1793 with 16 acres under cultivation while Mary kept hogs.


In 1794, Isaac sold the land to Charles Grimes, the Deputy Surveyor of Roads on Norfolk Island, and, with Mary, they returned to Port Jackson aboard the Daedalus where Isaac joined the NSW Corps. After arriving back at Sydney Cove, Mary disappeared from all records. 


On the 10th April 1797, Isaac married Elizabeth Crook at St John’s Church of England Church at Parramatta.  Elizabeth was a convict who had arrived aboard the Indispensible. On 6TH January 1799 a daughter, Elizabeth, was born; their only child.


In November 1799, Isaac was granted 40 acres by Governor Hunter in the Field of Mars district. Isaac established firstly, Watkins Farm, that later became known as Tarr’s Farm on the banks of the Parramatta River. By this time the Tarr family was self-sufficient and off stores.


After many years of working the farm, in 1814, Isaac’s health began to deteriorate and although he had WilliamMonks, a convict assigned to him, conditions became extremely difficult. Monks had arrived in Sydney in 1813 aboard the Earl Spencer


In 1818, Isaac’s only daughter Elizabeth married William Monks; the couple lived with her ageing parents to help support them. By early 1820, Isaac became a paralyzed invalid and unable to support himself or the family.


In the Sydney Gazette dated 26th July 1822 Isaac’s farm was advertised for sale: ‘Farm for sale, by private contract 40 acres in the Field of Mars known as Tarr’s Farm, frontage to the Parramatta river and in a superior state of cultivation and delightfully situated.’


In early 1828, Elizabeth wrote to Governor Brisbane requesting assistance stating Isaac could no longer walk and needed full time care and she wished to go onto stores at Parramatta.


Isaac died on the 16th June 1828 aged 78 and is buried in an unmarked grave at St John’s Parramatta, though his name is inscribed on a commemorative stone dedicated to First Fleeters who are buried there.


Isaac’s former land is now in the suburb of Rydalmere close to Johns Street and includes part of the Eric Primrose Reserve. The river, in those early years, was the common means of transport.


#7279 Geoffrey Lamb



Copyright Fellowship of First Fleeters