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Dorothy Handland

Dorothy Handland, one of 262 convicts transported on the Lady Penrhyn, Scarborough and Alexander, January 1787

Name, Aliases & Gender

Name: Dorothy Handland
Aliases: Dorothy Handlyn, Dorothy Gray, Dorothy Henley
Gender: f

Birth, Occupation & Death

Date of Birth: 1705
Occupation: -
Date of Death: 1788
Age: 83 years

Life Span

Life span

Female median life span was 61 years*

* Median life span based on contributions

Conviction & Transportation

Sentence Severity

Sentence Severity

Sentenced to 7 years

Crime: Perjury
Convicted at: London Gaol Delivery
Sentence term: 7 years
Ship: Lady Penrhyn, Scarborough and Alexander
Departure date: January, 1787
Arrival date: 22nd January, 1788
Place of arrival New South Wales
Passenger manifest Travelled with 293 other convicts


Primary source: Australian Joint Copying Project. Microfilm Roll 87, Class and Piece Number HO11/1, Page Number 3
Source description: This record is one of the entries in the British convict transportation registers 1787-1867 database compiled by State Library of Queensland from British Home Office (HO) records which are available on microfilm as part of the Australian Joint Copying Project.

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Community Contributions

Anonymous on 4th June, 2011 wrote:

She was 82 years old and a dealer in rags and old clothes

Eric Harry Daly on 27th January, 2013 wrote:

Dorothy Handland sentenced on the 22 Feb 1786 at the Old Bailey for Perjury to 7 years transportation:
At 82 on arrival per the Lady Penrhyn at Port Jackson NSW with the First Fleet, she was the oldest convict in the fleet.

Robert Hughes author of The Fatal Shore credits Dorothy with being the first suicide in Australian settlement history. Quoting from page 73 of The Fatal Shore.
“The oldest convict was Dorothy Handland, a dealer in rags and old clothes who was 82 years old in 1787. She had drawn 7 years for perjury. In 1789 a fit of despair she was to hang herself from a gum tree at Sydney Cove, thus becoming Australia’s first suicide.”
A brick cairn in the town of Coomba Park on the foreshore of Wallis Lake mentions Dorothy Handland as one of the areas early Pioneers on a plaque.

Official government records show a different story:
On the alphabetical indents for the first fleet Dorothy Handland was given permission to leave the colony at the end of her sentence “left the colony June 1793 per Kitty for England”

Lieutenant Colonel of Marines, David Collins 1756-1810:
wrote of Dorothy Handland in his book:
An Account Of The English Colony In New South Wales.
Lt Col Collins mentions that Dorothy left the colony of Sydney on the 4 Jun 1793 on board the “Kitty” bound for England with other time expired elderly convicts, 2 of them being Henry Barnett and John Turner.

Convict Changes History

Eric Harry Daly on 27th January, 2013 made the following changes:

alias1, alias2, alias3, date of birth 1705, gender, crime

dihydrogenmonoxide on 4th June, 2018 made the following changes:

date of death: 1788 (prev. 0000)

This record was discovered and printed on ConvictRecords.com.au