Elizabeth Thackery

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Elizabeth Thackery
Died7 August 1856 (age 89)
Criminal chargeTheft
Criminal penalty7 years transportation
Thomas Thackery
(m. 1785; separated 1787)

Samuel King
(m. 1810; died 1849)
Partner(s)James Dodding (c. 1790 – 28 January 1810)

Elizabeth Thackery (1767 – 7 August 1856), died age 89 years (according to the Convict Records Office), and is the last known survivor of the First Fleet, male or female, and was generally known throughout her long lifetime as the first convict female to land in Australia. Her husband Samuel King is thought to be the last male survivor of the "First Fleet".

She was from Manchester, Lancashire, England. She was tried on 4 May 1786, and sentenced to seven years transportation for the theft of two black silk handkerchiefs and three white handkerchiefs to a total value of one shilling.[1]

She left England on the convict transport Friendship in May 1787, aged 21 at the time, later transferred to the ship Charlotte. She was placed in irons a number of times during the voyage.

On 28 January 1788 2 days after arrival 17 marines' wives were landed from the ship Prince of Wales to the northern side of the harbour.

On Tuesday, 5 February, 5 of the more well-behaved women convicts were landed from the ship Prince of Wales near the Governors' eastern side of the harbor. They had been selected for subsequent transport to Norfolk Island ten days later on 15 February 1788.

The next day, however, on Wednesday 6, February by 6 am, during the bulk unloading of the women convicts, Betty Thackery left the ship Charlotte and excitedly jumped from her longboat to the beach before anyone else on the western side of the harbor at The Rocks.

She, therefore, became the first and most widely known of the convict girls to run up the beach in Australia amidst much cheering from the crowd of waiting male convicts and guards.

She and 6 other girls had been transferred from the ship Friendship to the ship Charlotte at 1 pm on Sunday 28 October 1787 to make way for a large number of livestock that were loaded there at Cape Town in South Africa.

After arriving in Australia, she received 25 lashes on 14 July 1791 for coming in from her settlement without permission. She lived for a while with James Dodding and subsequently made her way to van Diemen's Land (Tasmania) on the Porpoise.[2]

On 28 January 1810, the Reverend Robert Knopwood married Betty to Samuel King, a Marine Private who had arrived aboard the ship Sirius of the First Fleet. They settled in the Derwent Valley. They were married for 46 years.

Betty King died 7 August 1856 at the age of 89. She is buried next to her husband in the Methodist Chapel churchyard in Lawitta Road Magra, Tasmania (3 km north of New Norfolk)[3]


  1. ^ Elizabeth THACKERY Archived 24 August 2006 at the Wayback Machine
  2. ^ "First Fleet". firstfleet.uow.edu.au. Retrieved 21 February 2018.
  3. ^ Towns, Cities, Mountains & Lakes in Tasmania, Australia