Edward Whitton- The First Fleet.

Anne Slater- The Third Fleet.

Edward Whitton was a convict who was transported to Botany Bay, in 1788, with the First Fleet under Governor Phillip. He formed a relationship with another convict, Anne Slater who arrived in Australia with the Third Fleet. This was the beginning of our family in Australia.

At Kent Lent Assizes which began at Maidstone, England on Monday 10th March 1783 before Sir William Henry Ashurst Knt. and Jerome Knapp Esq. Justices the following prisoners were tried on the Friday afternoon of March 14th-:

William Holmes, Richard Buxton and Edward Whetton (sic), each "late of the parish of Greenwich in the County of Kent... on the 11th day of October... with force of arms in the parish aforesaid... in the King's Highway therein and upon Joseph Knowles... feloniously did make an assault and... one watch with the inside made of Silver and capped with Gold of the value of six pounds, one Steel Watch Chain of the value of sixpence, one Stone Seal set in Gold of the value of ten shillings, one other Stone Seal set in base metal of the value of sixpence, and twenty pieces of the Gold Coin of this realm called Guineas of the value of 21 pounds, of the goods and chattels and monies of the said Joseph Knowles then and there feloniously and violently did steal and take and carry away.

"Guilty no chattels - To be hanged...Reprieved...To be transported to Africa for life."

Edward's occupation was stated as a laborer and his age as 26 years in 1783.

During much of the 18th Century England's method of getting rid of her surplus criminals was to send them to the American Colonies, where they were sold by the shipping contractors into virtual slavery on the plantations at up to 25 Pounds a head.

With the outbreak of the War of Independence, which ended in 1783 in victory for the rebel colonists, this outlet was suddenly and permanently closed. The English Government was then faced with a serious problem, and one, which was to become worse with the passage of time. With America no longer available as a dumping ground for these wretched people, jails in England soon became impossibly crowded.

One expedient, designed to be temporary but in the event lasting nearly 100 years, was the hulks - old warships and merchantmen moored in the Thames River and later at Portsmouth and Plymouth used as prisons. The conditions soon became worse than in ordinary jails, disease spreading more rapidly among the inmates because of the river fogs, damp and cold.

The hulks system was investigated periodically by Parliament, while the question of resuming transportation became a hardy perennial. In 1775 an attempt was began to establish a penal settlement in Gambia, on the west coast of Africa, but tropical diseases, an appalling climate and starvation resulted in the death or desertion of eighty percent of the 746 convicts sent. In the face of hostile public opinion, the scheme was finally abandoned and another destination to which convicts could be sent had to be found.

Captain Cook had sailed along the east coast of Australia 18 years earlier and claimed it for Britain. With the prisons overcrowded and the possibility that France would claim Australia if it was not colonised soon, Britain decided to send the convicts to Australia.

Edward Whitton who had been convicted in 1783 had been transferred to the cramped, overcrowded hulks which were used as convict penitentiaries where conditions were appalling. He was to spend some years in the hulks until the First Fleet was assembled in 1787. He was on the hulk "Censor" in 1787, which was stationed on the Thames river at Woolrich. He is listed under the name Edward Whittons, aged 33, convicted at Maidstone in March, 1783 with a sentence of life imprisonment - Africa.


As Edward Whitton was sentenced to be transported to Africa, it is fortunate for us that this was later changed to New South Wales.

It was not long after that the First Fleet was being assembled by Captain Arthur Phillip, by a little known but efficient naval officer, who was appointed to be the colony's first Governor, for the voyage to Botany Bay and Edward Whitton was transported to Australia on the "Scarborough".

The "Scarborough" was one of eleven very small ships, which sailed to Australia in the First Fleet, a voyage which was to take eight months.

Together with the Alexander, Charlotte, Friendship, Lady Penrhyn and Prince of Wales, the "Scarborough" was to transport all the male and female convicts. The supply vessels were the Borrowdale, Fishburn and the Golden Grove which were to carry stores sufficient to last the colonists for two years. Heading the First Fleet were the warships H.M.S. Sirius, of 520 tons and her consort H.M.S. Supply, an armed tender of 170 tons.

Apart from the ships' crews, there were 1,044 people aboard the Fleet made up of 568 male and 191 female convicts, 13 convicts' children, 206 marines (to guard the prisoners on the voyage and to serve as a garrison in the new colony), with 27 wives and 19 children and 20 officials and servants.

The youngest convict was nine years of age, who had been given seven years transportation for stealing, and the oldest, a woman of eighty-two, who had been convicted of housebreaking.

The "Scarborough" was built at Scarborough in 1782 and had a length of 111 feet 6 inches(34 metres), a breadth of 30 feet 2 inches (9 metres) and a height between decks of 4 feet 5 inches. She was a two decked, three masted vessel rigged as a barque and was owned by three Scarborough merchants, Thomas, George and John Hopper.

The "Scarborough", the second largest convict transport in the fleet, embarked her 208 male prisoners at Portsmouth on May 13th, 1787. She carried some of the most hardened criminals and after not long at sea her master, John Marshall, believed that a serious plot had been formed amongst the convicts to seize his ship, as an informer had alleged that a rising was planned and named the ring leaders as Phillip Farrell and Thomas Griffiths. Each was given 24 lashes and transferred to the "Prince of Wales".

The fleet under charge of Captain Phillip sailed via Tenerife (21 days), Santa Cruz, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil (56 days), Cape of Good Hope (39 days) and finally anchored in Botany Bay on January 20th 1788 after taking 250 days, including 68 days in ports en route. Phillip was not pleased with Botany Bay and the entire fleet went round to Port Jackson on January 26th. The "Scarborough" in contrast to the other ships in the fleet did not lose a single person during the passage from England. She sailed again in early May to China and eventually returned to England with a cargo of tea.
The tiny Colony was to experience extreme hardships during the first three years due to lack of food leading to near famine conditions.

Little is known of Edward Whitton but on December 3rd 1794 -

Governor Francis Grose provided him with a Land Grant of 30 acres fronting the Hawkesbury River with a quit rent of one shilling a year commencing after 10 years. The property was at Mulgrave Place on the western bank of the river. The Windsor Bridge now occupies part of the original allocation.

Governor Grose arrived in New South Wales in 1790 with the New South Wales Corp as its commander with the rank of Major and had been appointed Lieutenant-Governor. He assumed control of the colony when Governor Phillip departed for England in 1792.

Edward Whitton received his conditional pardon on June 4th, 1800.

The Settlers Muster of 1800 reveals the following entry for Edward Whitton.

Time of Being Settled: 3rd Dec. 1794.

Names: Edward Whitton.

Sheep or Hogs -: 9.

Cattle or Horses -:

Wheat Sowed Acres -: 17.

Maize to be Planted Acres -: 5.

On or Off Store-: Off.

Men On or Off Store -:

Women On or Off Store -: 1 Off.

Children On or Off Store -: 2 Off.

Where Situated -: Mulgrave Place.

How Acquired -: Grant.

If they have any claim on Govt.:

Remarks -: Prisoner.

It would therefore appear that in 1800 Edward Whitton was living with Anne Slater and had two children.
These children were Mary Whitton and William Whitton both of whom were to each inherit fifteen acres of the farm .

On 27th July, 1802, Anne Slater applied for Letters of Administration to be granted to her as the Executrix of the late Edward Whitton, however no will has been located. There is no record of a marriage between Anne Slater and Edward Whitton.

The Muster of 1802 reveals -:

Land and Stock Return 1802 August 10-17.

No. 2207.

Ship -: Queen.

Name -: Slater Ann

Land Now Held -: Total Acres 30.

Where Settled -: Mulgrave Place.

Whether Now Free From England or Prisoner -: F (free).

Anne Slater came out from Dublin on the "Queen", the first convict ship from Ireland, which was the part of the Third Fleet and it departed for Port Jackson before news of the appalling conditions of transportation and the high mortality rate of the Second Fleet reached England. Of the 1268 prisoners transported in the Second Fleet, 267 died during the voyage and 124 died in hospital after arrival. The Third Fleet consisting of 12 ships with 2459 convicts of whom 230 were female arrived in Sydney between July 9th 1791 and February 14th, 1792 with 218 convicts dying on the voyage.

Anne Slater had been tried in 1788 when she was 30 years of age. Her sentence was 7 years.

Nothing is known of Anne Slater’s parents or her early life in Ireland but Anne Slater was to become one of the first pioneer Irish - Australians.

The "Queen" sailed from Cork Cove, County Cork, Ireland in April, 1791 with 23 Irish convict women and 133 Irish convict men and arrived at Port Jackson in September, 1791. Seven convict men and one convict woman died on the voyage. Within a year half of the men who sailed on the "Queen" had died,

Whilst there is no record of a marriage to Edward Whitton, we cannot be certain as some very strange practices were adopted in those days by the authorities in the colony.

The first Commissary Andrew Miller said in a statement to Governor King on his methods of identification of female prisoners -:

"The children of the convicts who are born here, I call after the mother's names (they give them what Christian names they please) otherwise it would be impossible to know, hereafter, who was the mother of the child, should it be necessary. The convicts, who are married here, I never alter their names. There would be no end to it. The names they were convicted by in England are the names they should go by here."

The following birth is recorded in the T. D. Mutch index, Reel 2125 -:

Slater, William

s. Edward Wither (sic) and ................(left blank)

born June 8th.  bapt. Aug. 21st, 1799

St. John's, Parramatta.

William Whitton was to later petition Governor Brisbane for a grant of land.

It would appear that after the death of Edward Whitton who died on 6th July, 1802 that the 30-acre grant was subsequently divided in two between two children. Anne Slater presumably gained no interest because she was only a de facto wife and not a de jure wife.

Anne Slater was later to marry John Norman at St. Phillips, Sydney on August 28 1803. John Norman married again in 1807.

No records have been located of the death of Anne Slater or Anne Norman.

The Sydney Gazette and Advertiser on September 28, 1810 reported -:

"On Tuesday last a child in the orphan asylum whose name is Mary Whitton by an accidental fall had a leg broke in consequence of which she now lies dangerously ill."

The orphan asylum at that time no doubt left a great deal to be desired particularly for a young girl of 13 years of age.

For example part of an order issued by Governor Lachlan Macquarie on January 27th, 1810 read -:

"It appearing from a recent investigation directed to be made of the circumstances attending the elopement of two of the girls from the Orphan School, that very unfair and improper means were used, by Persons residing at Sydney, to seduce them from the Path of Virtue, and to entice them to quit that Asylum. HIS EXCELLENCY the GOVERNOR, as the PATRON OF THAT VALUABLE INSTITUTION, deems it his Duty thus publicly to make known his firm Determination to prosecute all such Persons, of whatever Rank, Class, or Denomination, to the utmost Rigour of the Law, who shall attempt to seduce or entice away any of the Girls of the Orphan School from that Institution, besides exposing their Names publicly in the SYDNEY GAZETTE.

Edward Whitton and Anne Slater had two children, William And Mary who inherited half each of the property known as Whitton Farm on the River Hawkesbury. No records can be found as to what happened to William Whitton but Mary Whitton grew up to marry Richard Barnes and went on to establish the family line.

Land Grant to Edward Whitton.

By His Honour Francis Grose Esq., Lieutenant Governor in & over His Majesty’s Territory of New South Wales & its Dependencies, etc. etc.

Whereas full Power & Authority for granting Lands in the Territory of New South Wales to such Persons as may be desirous of becoming settlers therein, is invested in His Majesties Captain General & Governor in Chief (or in his absence the Lieutenant Governor for the time being) in & over the said Territory and its Dependencies, by His Majesties Instructions under the Royal Sign Manual bearing date respectively the Twenty fifth day of April One thousand seven hundred and eighty seven & the Twentieth day of August One thousand seven hundred and eighty nine.

In pursuance of the Power and Authority vested in me as aforesaid I do by these Presents Give & Grant unto Edward Whitton His Heirs & Assigns to have & to hold for ever Thirty Acres of Land to be known by the name of Whitton Farm, laying & situate on the River Hawkesbury in the District of Mulgrave Place; the said Thirty Acres of Land to be held by him the said Edward Whitton His Heirs & Assigns free from all Fees, Taxes, Quit Rents & other acknowledgments for the space of Ten years from the date of these Presents; Provided that the said Edward Whitton His Heirs or Assigns shall reside within the same & proceed to the Improvement & Cultivation thereof; such Timber as may be growing or to grow hereafter upon the said land which may be deemed for Naval Purposes to be reserved for the use of the Crown & and paying an Annual Quit of One Shilling after the expiration of the Term or Time of Ten years before mentioned. And it is hereby provided that the said Edward Whitton shall reside upon & cultivate The Lands hereby granted for & during the Term of Five years from the Date hereof, Provided the said Edward Whitton Shall so long live; & any sale or conveyance of the said Lands before the expiration of the said Term of Five years shall be void & the said Lands shall in such case revert to His Majesty His Heirs & Successors, except it shall be certified under the Hand and Seal of the Governor or in his absence the Lieutenant Governor of His Majesty's Colony of New South Wales for the time being, that the same was made with his Consent. In Testimony whereof I have hereunto set my Hand & the Seal of the Territory, at Sydney, in the Territory of New South Wales, this Third day of December in the year of Our Lord One Thousand seven hundred & ninety four.

Signed & Sealed in ) J.Foveaux.

the )                              T.Rowley.                                                                    (Signed) Francis Grose.

Presence of - )            Edwd. Laing.

Registered in the Secretary's Office,

(Signed) David Collins.

Secy. to the Governor.      L. S. 343.

Letters of Administration.

New South Wales

27 July 1802

Anne Slater


Richd. Atkins Esq.


Bond on taking out

Letters of Admn to

Edwd. Whitten, decd.

Know all Men by these presents that Me Anne Slater (named in the last Will and Testament of Edward Whitton deceased as Executrix thereto) Samuel Forster and John Redmond of Sydney are severally held and firmly bound to Richard Atkins, Esquire His Majesty's Judge Advocate for this Territory as follows that is to say the said Anne Slater in the sum of Two Hundred Pounds sterling and the said Samuel Forster and John Redmond each in the sum of One Hundred Pounds sterling to be paid to the said Richard Atkins Esquire his Heirs or Successors for which several payments well and truly to be made We severally bind ourselves firmly by these presents. Sealed with our seals respectively dated the twenty seventh day of July in the year of Our Lord One Thousand Eight Hundred and Two.

Whereas the above bounded Anne Slater hath applied for Letters of Administration to be granted to her as the Executrix of the late Edward Whitten deceased of the Goods Chattels and Effects of the said Edward Whitton deceased and Letters of Administration have been accordingly granted to Her upon the Usual Condition of Her entering into a bond with two sureties for the true performance of the said Trust AND WHEREAS the above bound in Samuel Forster and John Redmond have agreed to become sureties for the said Anne Slater.

NOW THE CONDITION of the above written Obligation is such that if above bounden Anna Slater as Administratrix of all the singular the Goods, Chattels, and Effects of the said Edward Whitton Deceased in this Territory do tender or cause to be tendered a just full true and perfect Inventory of all and singular such Goods Chattels and Effects which have or shall or may come into the Hands Custody Possession or Knowledge of her the said Anne Slater or of any other person or persons for her and that for such Inventory She will well and truly exhibit or cause to be exhibited unto the Judge Advocate for the time being or unto the Court of Civil Jurisdiction Whereas she shall be called upon or required so to do and that she will well and truly administer according to Law and do all such things as by the Statute in that Care are made and required of persons taking out Letters of Administration THEN this Obligation to be void and of nones Effect or else to and remain in full force.

Sealed and delivered in the                                                                                            Anne Slater.

presence of -:                                                                                                                 Her Mark.     

M. Robinson. Saml. Foster.


New South Wales.

I,  Anne Slater Do Solemnly Swear that I will well and truly administer all the Goods Chattels and Effects of Edward Whitton deceased which may come into my hands on his Account or be due and owing to his estate and received by me as Administratrix as aforesaid AND that I will pay all the debts of the deceased Edward Whitton contracted and owing in this Territory as far as his said Goods Chattels and Effects will go and extend and tender a just Account of my administration to the Judge Advocate of this Territory or to the Civil Court whenever called upon or required so to do.


Sworn & Subscribed Before                                                                                                                      X  Anne Slater
Me the 27th Day of July                                                                                                                                    her Mark
               Rd Atkins.
                           J. A.

Humble Petition


William Whitton, Wilberforce.


The Indulgence of Land.

To His Excellency, Sir Thomas Brisbane, KGB, Captain in Chief and Governor in Chief in and over The Territory of New South Wales and its Dependencies, etc. etc. etc.

The Humble Petition of William Whitton

Most Dutifully States Forth.

That Petitioner is a native of the colony and is 23 years of age, is in possession of 15 acres of land bequeathed to him by his father, now deceased, and that the whole of the said land is in cultivation.

That petitioner has from early youth to the pursuits of a farmer and humbly hopes his character will bear the strictest scrutiny.

And petitioner most humbly prays -:

That His Excellency Sir Thomas Brisbane KGB. may be graciously pleased to take the above into his consideration and to grant petitioner such portion of land and to be so as to His Excellency may seem

13th July, 1824.

Petitioner is a young man of good moral character and industrious habits and we beg leave to recommend him to the favorable consideration of His Excellency the Governor.


Various Names

Copy of Petition

If you can add or correct any of this information

                                                               Please email Ray Lane

                                                              [email protected]

Table of Contents - Homepage