Free Settler or Felon
Convict and Colonial History

Major West R. N.,

Convict Ship Surgeon-Superintendent

Major West was born in Londonderry c. 1777. He was employed as Surgeon on the convict ship Francis and Eliza in 1815. He lost most of his belongings including surgical instruments when the vessel was plundered by the privateer Warrior during the voyage.


He later settled in New South Wales and was employed as Assistant Surgeon at Sydney [1815-17], Parramatta [1817-1821] and Windsor [1821]. He was also in charge of the Lunatic Asylum at Castle Hill from February 1819-May 1821.

In 1822 he resided at Windsor and requested that a clearing party be assigned to his 700 acre grant at Prospect known as Quakers Hill.

Sarah Keaton

Major West was a widower. In the 1825 Muster at Windsor Major West employed as housekeeper Sarah Keaton who was stated to have arrived on the convict ship Janus as a convict under sentence of 7 years transportation. Their children Major Keaton born in 1821, John Keaton born in 1824 and Joseph or Thomas Keaton born in 1822 resided with them at Windsor. (*Note - No prisoner can be found in the convict indents by the name of Sarah Keaton or Keeling. )

The New South Wales Births, Deaths and Marriages index records Major West as marrying Sarah Keeling (Keaton) in 1825 at St. Mary's Sydney.

In 1828 Major West resided at Parramatta and gave his age as 36. Living with him was his wife Sarah Jane age 23, and their sons Major age 7, Joseph age 5 and John age 4 and daughter Sarah Jane aged 2 (born 3 May 1826). Three servants were assigned to them, two of whom lived at Prospect. (1828 Census)


The New South Wales Births, Deaths and Marriages index has two entries for death of Major West in 1832.

In 1832 application was made to the Orphan school for Joseph and John. They were admitted on 11th and 12th August 1832 with the notation that their mother was in Sydney.

Notes and Links

Two families of West arrived on the Westmoreland in 1821 - including John West and family (several children including Major West age 15) and Thomas West and family with six children).