Free Settler or Felon
Convict and Colonial History

Colonial Events 1800

Land Grants at Lake Macquarie
Entrance to Lake Macquarie

John Hunter Governor of Australia until September 1800

May 3

Arrival of the convict ship Minerva from Ireland. Master Joseph Salkeld. Irish Rebel Thomas Brady one of the convicts on board.

February 16

Arrival of the convict ship Friendship. Master Hugh Reed. David Collins' description of the convicts of the Friendship - On the 16th the Friendship transport arrived from Ireland with convicts who came in good health; notwithstanding which, they were not calculated to be of much advantage to the settlement; but little addition being gained by their arrival to the public strength. Several of them had been bred up in the habits of genteel life, or to professions in which they were unaccustomed to hard labour; such must become a dead weight upon the provision store; for, nothwithstanding the abhorrence which must have been felt for their crimes, yet it was impossible to divest the mind of the common feelings of humanity, so far as to send a physician, the once respectable sheriff of a county, a Roman catholic priest or a protestant clergyman and his family, to the grubbing hoe, or the timber carriage. Among the lower classes were many old men.


Hawkesbury River in Flood

April 15

Arrival of botanist George Caley and Lieutenant Governor King and family on the Speedy.

June 26

Major Joseph Foveaux appointed acting Lieutenant Governor of Norfolk Island. This officer was appointed Major in the New South Wales Corps the 10th of June, 1796; Lieutenant-Colonel in the army the 29th of April, 1802; Colonel in the army the 4th of June, 1811; and Major-General the 4th of June, 1814. He served on the Staff in New South Wales; subsequently served for a short time on the Staff in Ireland as Inspecting Field-Officer of the Waterford Recruiting District, since which he has been unemployed - The Royal Military Calendar, Or Army Service and Commission Book.Volume 3 edited by John Philippart


Entrance to Lake Macquarie discovered by William Reed/Reid when he confused the entrance to the lake for Newcastle harbour. The lake was known for many years as 'Reid's Mistake'

July 9

The Anne departed Cork 26 June 1800. Master James Stewart.

August - September

Irish Conspiracy uncovered. The plan was to overturn the government by putting Governor King to Death and confining Governor Hunter. The rebels were to meet at and take Parramatta and then before day light take the Barracks at Sydney. And afterwards to live on the Farms of the Settlers until they heard from France where they had intended to dispatch a ship. The rebels were well armed with pikes and were to be joined by soldiers who it was planned would take the guns to South Head and other places of security. When the plan was revealed, Governor Hunter ordered an enquiry.


Governor King established a system of Fees and Assessments to which all masters of English or foreign merchant vessels arriving at Port Jackson were liable. This revenue from imported goods was the beginning of a 'Custom's House' in the colony.

September 28

Governor John Hunter embarked on the HMS Buffalo. Captain Philip Gidley King assumed administration of colony. Rev. Richard Johnson also returned to England on the Buffalo

September 28

Examples of flora and fauna sent to England on the HMS Buffalo John Hunter took 'many curiosities' back to England amongst which were:
Three black swans (Caledonia Mercury 4 June 1801)
Three emus (David Collins)
A joey was produced by the kangaroo taken to England some months before (Morning Chronicle 10 March 1801)

September 28

Surgeon of the Buffalo, Martin Mason appointed assistant to principal surgeon of colony. More about Martin Mason at Newcastle in 1801

October 1

Purchase of building for the Orphan Institution.

October 19

Departure from France of Nicolas Baudin on the 30-gun corvettes, La Geographe and La Naturaliste. Louis Claude Desaulces de Freycinet joined this expedition which, was commissioned by the French government, as surveyor.


In November, 1800, Governor King was much concerned to hear of the piratical seizure of the Government decked boat Norfolk, of 25 ton, laden with 500 bushels of wheat, by a gang of 15 desperate convicts, who had boarded her in Broken Bay on her voyage to Port Jackson from the Hawkesbury in October. The runaways proposed proceeding to the Dutch settlements among the Moluccas, and on their voyage there they called in at the Hunter River, where their vessel was driven on shore, and they seized a small vessel belonging to one of the Sydney traders. Find out more about the seizure of the Norfolk here

November 6

Arrival of the Porpoise with four tons of 1 oz., 1797 dated cartwheel pennies struck by Matthew Boulton.

November 20

Arrival of the convict ship Royal Admiral.

November 30

Death of Judge Advocate Richard Dore


Arrival of James Grant on the Lady Nelson. Sailed through Bass Strait, the first ship direct from England to do so.


Richard Atkins appointed Judge Advocate