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Esther Abrahams

** community contributed record **

Name, Aliases & Gender

Name: Esther Abrahams
Aliases: Esther Abrams, Esther Julian
Gender: f

Birth, Occupation & Death

Date of Birth: 1767
Occupation: Milliner
Date of Death: 26th August, 1846
Age: 79 years

Life Span

Life span

Female median life span was 53 years*

* Median life span based on contributions

Conviction & Transportation

Sentence Severity

Sentence Severity

Sentenced to 7 years

Crime: Larceny
Convicted at: Old Bailey
Sentence term: 7 years
Ship: Prince of Wales
Departure date: April, 1787
Arrival date: 22nd January, 1788
Place of arrival New South Wales
Passenger manifest Travelled with 56 other convicts


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Community Contributions

Eric Harry Daly on 8th January, 2013 wrote:

Abrahams was tried at the Old Bailey, in London on 30 August 1786 for stealing lace with a value of 50 shillings. Esther was found guilty of theft, although the evidence was circumstantial. She was 15 years old when tried; her occupation was listed as milliner. The teenager was imprisoned in Newgate Gaol, London, where she bore an illegitimate child named Roseanna, father unknown, on 18 March 1787. Esther’s name is sometimes shown as ‘Julian.’ From 1800, instead of Abrahams she called herself Julian, originally Juliano, after a renowned Judeo-Spanish family. Esther and her daughter were transported to Australia with the First Fleet, which departed London in May 1787 and reached Sydney in January 1788). Sources show them as being transported on the ship Prince of Wales.

Esther took up a relationship with George Johnston, First Lieutenant of the Marines, who had accompanied the First Fleet. She bore him seven children, including their two sons David and Robert. Their house was probably a wattle and daub cottage built by convicts with local timber. On 26 January 1808, George Johnston led the ‘Rum Rebellion’, and overthrew Governor Bligh. Her daughter Roseanna (or Rosannah) grew up to marry emancipated convict Isaac Nichols (the first Postmaster of the colony), in 1805.
Because of his rank, George Johnston received huge land grants. He was born in Annandale, Scotland, and named their farm after that place as was the custom. It is now a suburb of Sydney. George’s River was named after him. Esther received land grants in her own right in 1809. Despite having led the rebellion, Johnston was able to keep his land when he returned to Australia after an absence of four years. Esther had been left in charge of the estate in his absence.
When George Johnston finally married Esther Abrahams in November 1814, Roseanna and her husband were witnesses at the wedding.
In 1823, George Johnston died. Disputes followed over inheritance of the properties. Her son David had been left property of his own. However, Robert was to inherit Annandale on Esther’s death. He issued a writ (March 1829) against her, and proceeded to have her declared insane. Esther put up a strong fight, producing many witnesses to prove she was lucid. Robert won, and Esther went to live with her son David.
Esther died in 1846, and was buried beside her husband in the family vault on the Annadale property. Esther was described by her grandson as “always a stirring industrious woman”. Her portrait hangs in the Sydney Jewish Museum.
While her husband is remembered in various geographic names, there was, until 2002, no such feature in Sydney named in Esther’s memory. In 2002 a pavilion was dedicated in Bicentennial Park, in Johnston Street, Annandale, New South Wales, near the Anzac Bridge.

Natalie Lonsdale on 20th January, 2020 wrote:

Esther Abrahams was the first Jewish woman to step foot on Australian soil. Her daughter Rosanna was the first ever free Jewish female in Australia.  Esther’s story is told in the biography ‘Esther - the extraordinary true story of the First Fleet girl who became First Lady of the colony’ by Jessica North.

Convict Changes History

Eric Harry Daly on 8th January, 2013 made the following changes:

convicted at, term 7 years, voyage, source, firstname, surname, alias1, alias2, alias3, alias4, date of birth 1767, date of death 26th August, 1846, gender, occupation, crime

Dylan Yu on 20th May, 2020 made the following changes:


Dylan Yu on 20th May, 2020 made the following changes:


Iris Dunne on 20th May, 2020 made the following changes:


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