FF LYDIA (Goodwin) MUNRO Convict ‘Prince of Wales’ (c1770-1856)

A child born to Sarah and Alexander Monro at the British Lying-in Hospital in Endell St Holburn on 27 October 1767 and baptized with the name Lettice may have been our First Fleeter Lydia Munro. Her parents may have had Scottish forebears.


The details of Lydia’s early life are unknown and her occupation was never recorded during her three trials. At the age of nineteen she was caught shoplifting and was at the Old Bailey on the 31 May 1786 on trial for ‘grand larceny’ with Catherine McCord; both being indicted for feloniously stealing, on the 5th day of May last, one pair of women’s stuff shoes, valued 2s 6d, the property of Archibald Smith.Both were found not guilty.


Lydia was tried again on the same day, this time with two other girls, Phebe Flawty and Catherine Moreing, who were indicted for feloniously stealing, on the 15th day of May last, thirteen yards of thread lace, value 13s and eighteen yards of sick lace, value 12s, the property of Isaac Brown, privily in his shop, along with Richard Chapman and Ann Draveman who were indicted for feloniously receiving the same, knowing them to be stolen. There being no evidence of Lydia’s involvement apart from being an accomplice, she was acquitted.


The third time Lydia was before the courts for shoplifting there was a very different outcome. On Thursday morning 5 April 1787, as preparations were underway for the departure of the fleet, two young women stood in the courtroom at Kingston-on Thames in South London and listened as an indictment was read to the court, for a crime they committed on 30 October 1786


The Jurors for our Lord the King upon their Oath present That Ann Forbes late of the Parish of Saint Olave within the Borough of Southwark in the County of Surrey, Spinster and Lydia Monro late of the same, Spinster, on the twenty eighth day of October in the twenty seventh Year of the Reign of our Sovereign Lord George the Third (1786) now King of Great Britain &c with force and arms at the Parish aforesaid Ten yards of Printed Cotton of the Value of twenty Shillings of the Goods and Chattels of James Rolison in the shop of said James Rolison then and there being found privately and feloniously did steal take and carry away against the peace of our said Lord the King his Crown and Dignity.

The verdict: Guilty, No Chattels, to be Hanged.


Returned to prison, the girls waited two weeks before a decision was reached on their fate. When it did come on the 17 April 1787, Ann and Lydia learnt their death sentences had been commuted to transportation. Ann was given seven years while Lydia received a fourteen-year sentence, the latter perhaps because of her age and earlier convictions.  They were ordered on the 28 April from Southwark goal to Newgate Prison to join a group of women convicts being sent to Portsmouth for embarkation on 3 May, aboard the transport ship ‘Prince of Wales

On 13 May 1787 the First Fleet set sail from Portsmouth. Lydia had an uneventful passage except for the bouts of seasickness and cramped quarters that affected all the convicts. The fleet took on fresh water and supplies from Tenerife, Rio de Janeiro and the Cape of Good Hope.  On the final leg of the journey the ships encountered the worst possible weather conditions. They were hit by squalls and storms for several days with mountainous seas which frequently broke over the tops decks. Conditions on board the Prince of Wales were particularly bad according to diarist Surgeon White.

Nine months after their arrival, being Saturday, 13 September, a convict named William Boggis appeared in Court before David Collins and John Hunter, accused by Lydia Munro ofwanting to have connexion with her against her will. John Owen was charged with aiding and assisting the alleged offence.

White’s journal has the details: ‘Lydia Munro informs


that Yesterday Afternoon on leaving work, she went over the Hill on the West Side to bathe herself being very warm – accompanied by Elizabeth Cole – that they met the Prisoner and John Owen – who followed them – that she told them to go home, for their Company was not wanted – that they persisted in following them – that the Prisoner said to Owen he would have Connexion with her before he went Home – that on hearing this she and Elizabeth Cole were returning Home, as they could not get quit of them – that the Prisoner threw her down in the Woods among the Bushes – saying he would have connexion with her – she told him to go away, as she would have him punished – that he persisted in his Attempt to have connexion with her – that on her (crying) out a Man came to her Assistance who drove him away – that Cole was standing by and that Owen was endeavouring to keep her off.


Elizabeth Cole informs to the same … as Munro, with the addition of her receiving a Blow from Owen – That Munro cried out and did everything that lay in her power to resist Boggis.Daniel Gordon informs that hearing Munro cry out Murder he went to her Assistance – that he found the Prisoner laying upon her – that he struck him with his Stick and told him to “Get up” – that (Munro’s) Petticoats were half up.The Prisoner Boggis says that it is unlikely he would want to have Connexion with a Woman when there were two or three other People present’.

Boggis was found guilty and sentenced to receive one hundred lashes while Owen received fifty lashes for his part. A notation to the transcript states ‘Afterwards forgive’. The Court met again on Saturday 20 September when Boggis convinced the magistrates that Lydia Munro and Elizabeth Cole were considered prostitutes by other convicts.  Both men were then acquitted.Whether Lydia and Elizabeth were actually prostitutes, as stated by Boggis, is pure conjecture as most convict women suffered ruthless sexual exploitation. Daniel/Janel Gordon, who saved Lydia from being raped, was a black man, who had been sentenced to seven years transportation for theft. 


There is no further record of Lydia until Sunday 19 July 1789, when her daughter Mary was christened. Andrew Goodwin was named as the father. On Tuesday 2 March 1790 Andrew and Lydia were married in the make-shift church of St Philips Sydney Cove, by the Fleet’s Chaplain Reverend Richard Johnson, in the presence of Richard and Elizabeth Hawkes. Both signed with an X.

On 14 February 1788, when the new colony was only three weeks old, the Supply sailed for Norfolk Island with Philip Gidley King in charge of a small detachment of marines and convicts. By 6 March the Supply had unloaded provisions and people in Sydney Bay to lay the foundations for a settlement.


In October 1788 Captain John Hunter was ordered to take the Sirius to the Cape of Good Hope for provisions. He safely returned to Port Jackson loaded with flour and wheat. Although this voyage had helped the settlement from starvation, in early January 1790 Phillip noted that all goods would be exhausted by May that year. On 14 February 1790 the order was given for the Sirius to prepare for a trip to China to purchase supplies. It was agreed that Norfolk Island was in a better position to support people than Port Jackson so a substantial number of soldiers and convicts were to be transferred. Two days after they were married, Andrew, Lydia (or Letitia as she was liked to be called) with six-month old Mary were among 161 convicts and their children who boarded Sirius bound for Norfolk Island.

Sydney Cove was now in drought, food had become desperately short, and severe rationing imposed. To avert disaster Governor Philip dispatched the Sirius to Norfolk Island with convicts and marines hoping to relieve pressure on the limited government rations that remained. The Sirius was then to proceed to Canton in China to purchase desperately needed food and supplies for the colony.

Andrew, Lydia and six-month old daughter, Mary, were among 184 convicts and their children who boarded Sirius bound for Norfolk Island. Poor weather conditions forced the unloading of convicts and some marines at Cascade Bay on the northern side of the Island. With improved weather conditions the Sirius returned to the southern shore to complete the unloading of cargo and provisions. Disaster struck as rising strong winds and flood tides drove the ship onto the jagged reefs. There was no loss of life but the population of the tiny island had suddenly risen to 498 people. The arrival of huge flocks of mutton birds or ‘Birds of Providence’ saved them from near starvation until more provisions arrived


Andrew was allocated an acre of land at Sydney Town in July 1791 where he raised his allotted pig; he later expanded his holdings to twelve acres at Creswell Bay (Lot 98) which he cleared to grow grain. Government records list him as a farmer. In 1794 the family decided to leave Norfolk Island as Andrew, and others, were dissatisfied with the Government’s payment for their crops. Lydia and son John sailed away on the Daedalus on 6 November 1794. Andrew and their two girls joined Lydia in Sydney, arriving on the Fancy in March 1795. Regrettably, they found there was no means of supporting themselves and they had to rely on Government rations


They decided to start again back on Norfolk Island. Andrew sailed from Sydney on Fancy in July 1795 and arrived just five days later. Lydia and the three children followed on the Supply arriving on 31 October. He purchased a land grant of prime sixty acres (Lot 64) on Middlegate and Queen Elizabeth Roads, Norfolk Island. Andrew’s crops were moderately successfully as, on 31 December 1798, he received eight pounds from the Government as payment for maize


On 26 August 1802 Andrew acquired the lease of Lot 85 (23 acres) and the family moved location. In time the farm buildings consisted of a house, 20 feet long by 12 feet wide, which was shingled, boarded and had two floors. His large barn was boarded and floored and the one outhouse was boarded and thatched.

 A lengthy note from Major Foveaux dated 26 March 1805 convinced the British Government to evacuate the whole of the Norfolk Island community to Van Diemen’s Land (later Tasmania), outlining the details of compensation to be awarded. The settlers and other inhabitants were divided into two of three classes:

The Second, which covered the Goodwin family, consisted of former Convicts who have conducted themselves with propriety, or who had large families. This group were to be victualled and clothed, for two years at the Public Expense, and allowed the labour of two Convicts for the same period.


The Muster taken of settlers and landholders on 2 August 1807 records Andrew Goodwin as having 23 acres; 3 in wheat, 9 in maize, nil barley etc. 11 pasture, 15 male hogs, 15 female. In hand – 280 bushels maize. He was supporting himself, wife and 7 children ‘off the stores’, and had one free man in his employ.


Andrew was amongst a list of settlers to receive a General Order on 17 September 1807 stating that he, his wife and seven children were to be removed to Port Dalrymple or Hobart Town. On 9 November 1807 the Lady Nelson sailed from Norfolk Island with the first group of settlers to be relocated at the Derwent. The Porpoise followed on 26 December 1807 carrying 182 settlers including Andrew, Lydia and seven children.

Temporary housing was offered in the town until they selected their blocks. The new settlers received land both up and down the river from Hobart Town and by April 1809 Andrew had selected his allotment, 23 acres of a 46 acre property at Clarence Plains opposite Hobart Town which he worked in partnership with another emancipist, William Hawkins. After they had erected shelters for themselves and their families with the help of convict labour and tools supplied by the government they began to clear and farm their land. The land was later shown on the map as being owned by James Garth and Andrew Goodwin after William Hawkins left and later again James Garth became the farm’s sole owner after Andrew Goodwin left.


Not much is known of Andrew’s whereabouts thereafter; he died in 1835. He was described as an ‘Old Settler’ in the Burials in the Parish of St David’s in theCounty of Buckingham in the year 1835 register. He was buried on 4 August 1835 in St David’s Burial Ground, having died on 1 August. Andrew’s age is given as 79; if he had been born in 1766/7 in Leek Staffordshire his age at death was 68/9.

Lydia had been legally married to Andrew for 45 years and a widow for 21 years, when as an elderly frail lady she passed away on 29 June 1856, aged  85 (actually 89) from ‘Decay of Nature’ at the home of her daughter Maria Everall. The burial service for Letitia (as shown on the Death Certificate) was held in the Anglican church of St David’s on 4 July after which she joined Andrew in St David’s Burial Ground.  It is not known if there was ever a headstone, as in 1926 the burial ground was made into a park and all the surviving headstones were mounted on a memorial wall.


The following the death notices were inserted in the local newspapers: The Hobart Town Courier – Tuesday 1 July 1856: On Sunday, the 29th instant, Mrs Letitia Goodwin, aged 85, after a long and protracted illness. The deceased was a very old colonist, having arrived here upwards of forty years ago. The funeral will start from her daughter’s (Mrs Everall), late the Birmingham Arms, Murray Street on Thursday, at half-past one o’clock.

The Launceston Examiner – Thursday 3 July 1856: On Sunday at Hobart Town, Mrs Letitia Goodwin, aged 85. The deceased arrived in the colony upwards of forty years ago.


The Fellowship of First Fleeters installed a FFF Plaque for Lydia (Goodwin) Munro on the Memorial Wall on 29th November 1992.

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

Under FFF Plaque 89 – Installed 29th November 1992for

FF LYDIA (Goodwin) MUNRO Convict‘Prince of Wales’ (c1770-1856)


Article prepared by #8853 Christine Frith, with additions from various sources and records.



Frost Family Papers






Copyright Fellowship of First Fleeters