Convict Ann White
A teenager is transported to Australia

My great great great grandmother, Ann White, was born in London in 1771. She was only 18 years old when her new life, as a convict, began. On 28 October 1789 she was found guilty at London Goal, of stealing four yards of printed cotton then valued at eight shillings and was sentenced to seven years. Ian McAinsh has kindly brought my attention to the Old Bailey transcript of Ann White's court case.

Ann White - Court Case at the Old Bailey

She was placed on board the Neptune on 11 November 1789 which sailed, from Portsmouth, as part of the second fleet, on 19 January 1790.

The purpose of the Second Fleet, which was far smaller than the First Fleet and had only six ships, was to bring supplies to the struggling colony which was running out of food. One of the ships contained only stores while another, the Guardian, was wrecked during the voyage. Altogether there were approximately 1580 people on the fleet, (excluding crew members), who included 984 male convicts, 323 female convicts, government officials and members of the New South Wales Corps plus their wives and children.

Convicts die at the rate of knots

The number of convicts on board the Neptune is given variously as 514 and 551. The number decreased alarmingly as the voyage was marked by the death of 158 convicts being 147 men and 11 women. After sailing for 84 days the Neptune arrived at the Cape of Good Hope where it took on supplies plus 12 convicts who had survived the wreck of the Guardian. After a voyage lasting 158 days the second fleet landed at Port Jackson on 26 June 1790.

Conditions were appalling for the convicts. In addition to those who died, 269 out of the remaining 353 who landed at their final destination, were sick or were hospitalised.

After this very long voyage Ann arrived at her new home in Australia and began a relationship with John Scott who had arrived in Australia as a sailor on board the Sirius which was also part of the second fleet. On July 24 1791 Ann gave birth to a daughter, Elizabeth (Scott), who died a few months later and was buried on September 6, 1791. Soon after the death of the child John Scott was discharged and, together with Ann, they sailed, on the Queen, for Norfolk Island where he planned to become a settler. This voyage was comparatively short as they left Sydney on 2 November 1791 and arrived on Norfolk Island nine days later.

John deserts Ann

Less than four years later, on September 26, 1795, John Scott deserted Ann and left Norfolk Island to sail to Asia. After he left her, Ann became the partner of another convict, Kennedy Murray, who was sent to Norfolk Island on 1 October 1796. They had two children, both born on Norfolk. Kennedy was born on 4 August 1799 and Elizabeth (my great great grandmother) on 20 March 1802. Soon after Elizabeth's birth Kennedy Murray, who had lived with Ann for four years, also did a flit and moved to Evan which is now called Penrith where he was granted 30 acres of land and managed to fit two more Anns into his life, one of whom he discarded into a mental asylum.

Our original Ann became the partner of another convict, Richard Sydes, and they had a daughter, Mary Ann, who was born in 1804 on Norfolk Island. Richard, who arrived in Australia on the Ganges in June 1797, was a blacksmith and an overseer of stock. He had been tried in Warwick in 1794 and had been sentenced to 14 years transportation.

A new life in Van Diemen's Land

The couple and their children, (including Kennedy and Elizabeth, her children with Kennedy Murray), travelled on board the Lady Nelson from 20 January 1813 to 1 March 1813 when they arrived in Van Diemen's Land. They lived at Norfolk Plains, now known as Longford, where they had four more children, John (1806), Ann (1806), Thomas (1811), and Margaret (1815). The couple married at St John's Church in Launceston on 14 March 1814 where Richard Sydes was the superintendent of government blacksmiths at George Town until December 1920. This was also the month when Ann, aged 49, died.

Links to other Convicts Associated with My Family

Links to historical convict information

Links to surnames associated with my family

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This page was updated by Diana Kupke (Diana Mann) on 8 January 2024