William John Faddy



Introduction by Isabel Graham: (William Faddy’s g/g/g granddaughter):

"The Faddy Family: the Early Beginnings.  'Every story must have a beginning and some may say an ending.  This family history has two beginnings and hopefully has no ending.  The first tangible insight into our early ancestry took place in far off Ireland, in the 11th century' (PJ).  Some six hundred years later the name Fadahay became Faddy.  There is a long history which has been well documented.  Our ancestor Peter Fadahay was fighting in the Battle of Lestoz (1742) with William, Duke of Cumberland, and was injured in the leg.  The Duke sent the Prince (then known as Peter, Count of Taaffe) to St James Palace in England to be cured.  While there Peter met and married 'an English girl of royal blood' (PJ).  Their firstborn child was called William after the Duke.  He became William John Faddy, a marine officer in the First Fleet to Australia.  There were eight children as a result of the Prince's marriage to the English girl.  William John and his English wife Martha Johnson had three children…"[1]


1.  WILLIAM JOHN6 FADDY (PETER5 FADAHAY, NICHOLAS4, JOHN3, JOHN2, WILLIAM1) was born 1746, and died 1 August 1798.  He married MARTHA ESCOTT JOHNSON abt. 1765.  She was born abt. 1750.

William John Faddy became a Second Lieutenant of Marines in the Royal Navy.  MG: "He had a fair amount of sea service before going to NSW with the First Fleet.  His commission as Second Lieutenant 88th Company was dated 20 July 1780, but he is found with that rank on HMS 'Champion' (from 'Repulse') on 9 March that year... On 25 November 1780 he went to 'Medway' for a month and to 'Crescent' from Plymouth headquarters on 15 January 1781, thence at the end of 1783 to 'Leander.' 

"On 18 February he was transferred to the 54th (Plymouth) Company, and on 18 November he married Martha Escott Johnson, daughter of an Exeter grocer.  Their children included: Amelia (1785), William and Peter (twins, born 1783? both baptised 1787).  On 30 April 1787 Faddy was officially instructed to go with the Fleet on 'Friendship', which he already entered on 9 March." 


Isabel Graham wrote (November 2005): "On the transport ship 'Friendship' with him was Second Lieut. Ralph Clark and Captain James Meredith.  The ship was much smaller than the ten other ships, only 275 tons.  The surgeon on the ship was Dr Thomas Arndell.  Francis Walton was the ship's master." 

MG continued: "On the voyage and during his years in NSW and at Norfolk Island, (William) Faddy was often drunk and quarrelsome, though perhaps no more than most of the other marine officers" (MG, page 123).  Accounts of conditions on the ships, or at Sydney Cove and Norfolk Island during times of near famine, with concern about ships and supplies, show that there was plenty to cause emotions to vacillate and relations with others to move from boredom to antagonism (ED, page 447).  "Those with no strong moral convictions for temperance found diversion or solace in gambling, rum... and other activities."


After leaving Teneriffe on June 10, 1787, Lieutenant Ralph Clark wrote an entry in his diary on his wedding anniversary, June 22.  Feeling the loneliness of separation from his "adored Alicia", that evening "he, Dr Arndell and Lieutenant Faddy had a drinking party, and sang until ten o'clock at night" (Clark, ME, page 63). 

Another day "a convict woman, Elizabeth Barker, brought 'allegations' against the doctor, Captain Meredith, and Lieutenant Faddy", for which she was punished. 

Clark goes on to say "Faddy cannot sleep for the bugs, but Clark thanks God he is free of them" (Clark, ME, page 64).  January 3, 1788 "brought sharp gales, seals, and a triangular quarrel between Meredith, Faddy and Clark" (Clark, ME, page 89).  At one point William Faddy insulted Ralph Clark to the point where the latter asked for a court marshal to clear himself, but was persuaded to accept an apology, giving up several points "on account of his (Faddy's) Young Family".  On 4 January 1788 Clark wrote a glimpse of the social life in the "Friendship's" mess: "The mess mates drew for something that could not be divided; there were three prizes and a blank.  I was the most lucky; I drew the filtering stone" (for filtering water? 

Note: The claimed connection from Taaffe through Fadahay to Faddy has not been viewed in available records, although one document shows the Fadahays as being "Dukes of Taaffe in Ireland. (W.G.).


Perhaps a "dripstone" as in Colleen McCullough's novel of Richard Morgan, "Morgan's Run").  "The doctor drew the mustard pot and Mr Faddy a rotten pumpkin, Capt. M. the blank.  Capt. M. and Mr Faddy had some words again.  Mr. F. is the most Selfish Grumbling and bad hearted Man I was ever Mess mates with, I am glad he is going to leave our mess when we get to Botany Bay..." (MG, and ME, page 89).


"At Norfolk Island, however, where both men had been sent in March 1790 (Clark by 'Sirius', Faddy by 'Supply') Clark took Faddy's part in the altercation between him and Lieutenant Robert Kellow, which led to a duel in July 1790."  With the increase in "mutton-birding", supplies of other (salted) meat was reduced, then stopped altogether, and other foodstuffs depleted. 

Strife developed mid-1790.  "Lieutenants Faddy and Kellow quarrelled, and Ross (a thorn in the side of many, according to ED, page 447) refused to sit at table with either, for one had lied to him... An inquiry put the blame on Kellow..."  Regarding this incident, JR adds that the other officer "was sent back to England.  Many years later Mary Steeper (daughter of Sophia Faddy from her first marriage to ?? Hopkins) was shown Faddy's paddock where the duel was fought." 

In March 1791 a Captain Hill arrived in Norfolk Island with a fresh detachment of 21 men.  Received with enthusiasm, he soon became an enemy of the "establishment".  Quarrelling with Major Ross, he also "did not speak to Lieutenant Faddy for ten weeks" (ME, page 335).  Clark "ended his NSW association with Faddy on good terms.  On 26 November 1790, Faddy was nearly drowned in a boating accident while going to Phillip Island to shoot birds.  Their boat was upset in the surf.[2]  He lost his gun, greatcoat and cap, the boat's crew losing all their clothes and fishing lines (MG, also ME, page 331).  "Faddy returned to Port Jackson by 'Queen' in December 1791" (MG). 

"Lieut Faddy was given a grant of land, which we understand was where the Domain now is.  My father tried to find the document, because if written on parchment it was still legal; but he could find no trace of it.  After waiting for over twelve months for word from his wife, who refused to come out here, Lieut. Faddy gained permission to return to England" (JR). 

He sailed to England by "Gorgon".  On 18 April 1793 he was "commissioned First Lieutenant 76th Company, and served on the 'Royal Sovereign' in 1794.  He was promoted Captain Lieutenant on 24 July 1797.  On 31 December that year he went on 'Vanguard', where he served until his death in action on 1 August 1799 at the Battle of the Nile" (MG).

Major Peter Faddy (PF) wrote to his nephew Sam: "Of (Peter Fadahay's) sons, my father William, you know was killed on board Lord Nelson's ship the 'Vanguard', at the Nile on 1st August 1798, being a Captain of Marines." 

He died insolvent, mostly (according to his wife) because his years in NSW had ruined his private affairs.  Mrs Faddy, however, found a patron in Admiral Nelson. 

On 11 December 1803 she was thanking Nelson for orders that sent her son William to "Renard", and five letters pay tribute to Nelson's friendship. 



2.   i.           WILLIAM7 FADDY, b. 8 January 1783; d. September 1810.

2.   ii.           PETER FADDY, b. 8 January 1783.

2.   iii.          AMELIA FADDY, b. 1785.



Letters, books, photos and certificates supplied by Isabel Graham. Other reference books, and Family Tree Maker (11) Database, supplied and filed by Warwick Grace, Fellowship of First Fleeters, South Coast Chapter, Nov. 2005 and 2013.

Note by Warwick Grace (W.G.): Books or letters quoted (with code for author):

Molly Gillen (MG): "The Founders of Australia", p. 123;

M.B. Eldershaw (ME): "Phillip of Australia" (A&R, 1972);

see also Jonathan King: "The First Fleet" (MacMillan, 1982);

Eleanor Dark (ED) novel "The Timeless Land" (Imprint, 1940). 

References to PF are to a letter from Major Peter Faddy, Indian Army, 1862. 

JR refers to Jessie Robertson's letter, 1974. 

Another letter was by Phillip Johnson, in 1990 (PJ). 

The Descendant Chart is based on Bruce Manuel's list (BM), edited for a direct line to Isabel Graham (nee Faddy).


Warwick Grace # 6496.1

Member of the South Coast Chapter.


Copyright Fellowship of First Fleeters