John Bennett.

Born in England circa 1769—Died in the Colony 1788.


John Bennett was convicted at Shrewsbury, Salop, for highway robbery (“stealing goods”) on 18 March 1786 and sentenced to transportation for seven years. His name appears on official records, but the contractor’s failure to include it in what was actually a very deficient list both in spelling of names and of people listed who did not embark has caused much unnecessary conjecture among historians. Aged 17, he was sent to the Dunkirk hulk, where he behaved “remarkably well”, before discharged to “Friendship” on 11 March 1787; Ralph Clark said he was aged 19 with no trade.


Bennett’s behavior deteriorated on the voyage. On 28 May, Ralph Clark recorded “flog this day” John Bennett, a convict, with 37 lashes for breaking out of irons, a young man but an old rogue. In mid November, Clark was again pessimistic about Bennett after he had been found asleep in the longboat, having stolen some of the other convicts’ provisions. “Mark my words that we will not have been at Botany above six months before this young Villain…comes to the Gallows”.


At Sydney Cove, Bennett was flogged for theft on 15 February 1788, and on 2 May he justified Clark’s comment. John Bennett was hanged for another theft, admitting that young as he was, he had been an old offender.


The life of John Bennett ended 2 May 1788.





Oh, to be back in England

To witness the wind-song from the sea.

Oh, it was in my newfound land,

my heart stood still for eternity.

My soul shall thirst no-more.



Founders of Australia,

M. Gillen.

Verse: J. Mortimer # 6409.  



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