FF JOHN GRIFFITHS Marine ‘Friendship’ (c1762-1844)

John GRIFFITHS was born c1758

He joined the Plymouth division (27th Company) in January 1783, a former labourer aged 24, with fair complexion, hazel eyes and nearly 5ft 10ins tall.


John was a private marine 51st Plymouth Company and arrived in Sydney Cove on 26/1/1788 on Friendship.

At Port Jackson he served in the company of Captain James Meredith.


He then worked as a carpenter (a tolerable sawyer) to 6th Jun 1789 when he was sent to Norfolk Island by Supply.

Here he was a settler on lot No 74 at Creswell Bay by lease in February 1792, with 50 to 60 acres ploughable, eight cultivated, at October 1793

In June 1794 he was living with JANE THOMPSON (Neptune 1790)and two children, and selling grain to stores.

Jane had been sent on the Suprizeon 7th August 1790 with her small son Robert- aged 6 years-, who was born in England and had survived the voyage on the Neptune.


Victualling records show at least two children: John (15th January 1792) and Elizabeth (1794). However the muster of the Supply, sailing for Port Jackson in April 1796, shows Griffiths sailing with Jane and three children as James, Jane and George.


By 1796 Griffiths was sharing a 75 acre grant with two others at Mulgrave Place.

At the end of 1802 he was a Sergeant in the Sydney Loyal Association.

In the 1806 Muster Jane Thompson is with John Griffiths, and Marsden’s list as a concubine with three male and two female children- Robert 1784, John 1792, Elizabeth 1794, George Birth Date not known and Mary 1803.


On 30thDecember 1809 he leased a town lot of 78 rods at the Rocks near Cockle Bay where he operated as a sawyer; he had been granted 100 acres a month earlier in St George’s parish. The 100 grant had been made by Col Patterson, Administrator of the Colony after the overthrow of Governor Bligh. This grant was revoked when Governor Macquarie arrived as Governor in 1810, and the grantees has to make petitions setting out reasons why they should have their land re-granted.

John, in his petition to Macquarie, he stated that he had arrived in the Colony as a Marine at its First settlement and had conducted himself in a manner becoming a soldier and citizen. He had been appointed a Sergeant in the Loyal Association by Governor King, and had been a Sergeant Major. He had a wife and five children to support, and in view of the long time he had been in the Colony and his conduct during that time, he humbly transmitted the grants to the Governor in accordance with general orders and ardently craved the honour of the Governor’s illustrious notice.


Jane Thompson died in February 1812, her age given as 44 years, which would make her 19 at the date of her conviction in 1787, and 16 when Robert Thompson was born. He death, as Jane Griffiths, was mentioned in the Sydney Gazette-‘aged 44 years, from Manchester, Ship Neptune’ FBS Funeral 5th February 1812
John was recorded as a sawyer in Sydney 1814.


\On 1/2/1819 he married Bridget Ann HOLLAND (aka Bridget Ann MOORE- Indispensable) at Castlereagh.

He continued to live in NSW and in 1822 and again in 1828 he was working as a sawyer, then aged 67 years in 1829 he was a dairyman at Evan to Sir John Jamison, son of Thomas Jamison, assistant surgeon on HMS Sirius

With him were his wife Ann Bridget, Mary (his daughter with Jane Thompson) who became Sir John Jamison’s mistress then wife and two small children James and Mary, probably his grandchildren.


Thomas had acquired extensive property in NSW, and when he died in 1811 appointed his son, Sir John, a naval surgeon, who had been knighted by the King of Sweden, his principal heir and executor.

Sir John arrived in the Colony in 1814 added considerably to the family property, and when he died, in 1844, was one of the wealthiest and most influential men in the colony.


In the early 1820’s, he built a mansion which he named Regentville, on the banks of the Nepean River. It was a large two storied building with a veranda across the front and a single story wing on each side. Built before other large houses, such as Captain Piper’s Henrietta Villa, Regentville was the pride of the Colony


His hostess at Regentville was his mistress, 22 y/o Mary Griffiths John Griffiths and Jane Thompson’s daughter

She had his seven children and Sir John married her in 1844 not long before his death. But by then his fortunes had suffered a reverse due to the failure of a bank and the depressed economy. Mary died in 1874


First Fleeter John Griffiths died 5/5/1844 at his son-in-law’s home in Hobart


Obituary Notice:

DIED. At Hobart Town, on the 5th instant, at the residence of his son, Richard John Griffiths, formerly of the Royal marines, and one of the first settlers in New South Wales, aged 82 years and three months.-Sydney Morning Herald Tue 21 May 1844 p. 3


Complied by John Boyd 2020.


The Fellowship of First Fleeters installed a FFF Plaque on John Griffith’s Grave on 11th September 1999.

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

Under  see FFF Plaque 107 – Installed 11th September 1999for

FF JOHN GRIFFITHS Marine‘Friendship’(c1758-1844)



-The Founders of Australia by Mollie Gillen Pages 150-151


-The Women of the Neptune by Ann Needham, Laurel Riddler, Merle Hadley and Phyllis Scott Pages161-162



Copyright Fellowship of First Fleeters