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John Larcombe

John Larcombe, one of 1063 convicts transported on the Neptune, Scarborough and Surprize, December 1789

Name, Aliases & Gender

Name: John Larcombe
Aliases: Larkham
Gender: m

Birth, Occupation & Death

Date of Birth: 1741
Occupation: Labourer
Date of Death: 22nd October, 1808
Age: 67 years

Life Span

Life span

Male median life span was 60 years*

* Median life span based on contributions

Conviction & Transportation

Sentence Severity

Sentence Severity

Sentenced to 7 years

Crime: Theft
Convicted at: Wilts. Assizes
Sentence term: 7 years
Ship: Neptune, Scarborough and Surprize
Departure date: December, 1789
Arrival date: 26th June, 1790
Place of arrival New South Wales
Passenger manifest Travelled with 1072 other convicts


Primary source: Australian Joint Copying Project. Microfilm Roll 87, Class and Piece Number HO11/1, Page Number 68
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

Phil Hands on 28th January, 2018 wrote:

John was tried and convicted at the Wiltshire Assizes in Salisbury on 8th March 1788 for cutting and stealing 17 yards of superfine dark blue woollen cloth from an outdoor rack at Bradford, Wiltshire, belonging to William Hart, John Moggeridge and John Jones. He was sentenced to death, he was reprieved before the end of the Assizes to seven years transportation. He had been described as a labourer of Bristol when committed to Fisherton Gaol in Salisbury and charged with the crime in early October 1787.
On 14th June 1788 he was conveyed by wagon to be taken aboard the ‘Dunkirk’ hulk moored at Plymouth, his age was given as 29. There he remained till he was to embark on the ‘Neptune’ in late November 1789, were he would of been secured with irons.
Left England on 19th January 1790.
Ship:- the ‘Neptune’ sailed with 424 male and 78 female convicts on board of which 147 males and 11 females died during the voyage.
Arrived on 28th June 1790.
The ‘Neptune’ formed part of what is known as the second fleet, arrived at the Cape of Good Hope on 13th April, after a passage of 84 days. They refreshed at the Cape for 16 days and sailed again arriving in the Colony 28th June 1790.
The ‘Neptune’ was said to be the most brutal convict ships ever to arrive in Sydney. Convicts suspected of petty theft were flogged to death, most were kept chained below decks for the duration of the voyage; scurvy and other diseases were a endemic; and the food rations were pitiful.
During the voyage 158 convicts died and 269 were sick when landed. Reverend Richard Johnston described the convicts on the ‘Neptune’ as “all were in a indescribably filthy state, covered almost with their own nastiness, their heads, bodies, clothes, blankets all full of filth and lice”.
Both the Neptune’s Master and Surgeon were later tried for grose neglect at the Old Bailey, no punishment was recorded.

John prospered rapidly in the colony and had saved a considerable sum of money within two years of the expiry of his sentence in 1795. In July 1797 he became involved in a dispute with first fleet convict Anthony Rope over the farm at ‘The Ponds’ he bought from Rope for the value of crops and won the case at the Sydney Court Civil Jurisdiction.

He married convict Mary Weir (‘Indispensible’ 1796) in January 1799 at Parramatta, John was 58 and Mary 43, they had one child John b1799.

In 1808 John was recorded with 14 acres sown in wheat and 11 in maize. Already prosperous, he owned a horse and 15 pigs, and with Mary and the child was receiving Government rations. He had purchased more land by 1802, totalled 40 acres.
As the couple became steadily more prosperous they suffered a series of robberies and setbacks. In spite of these setbacks the years 1802-1806 saw a rapid expansion of Larkham’s farming interests. In 1806 he held 210 acres by purchase at ‘The Ponds’ and in the Hawksbury district. Only six were sown in wheat and half acre in potatoes, while 130 acres were in pasture. He owned 17 sheep, 4 goats and 6 pigs, and supported a woman and child.
Two farms, each of 80 acres, James Manning’s and John Carver’s were situated on the north bank of the Parramatta River.

Sydney Gazette Sunday 3rd July 1803 p. 1
Whereas a most daring robbery and burglary were committed on the 24th instant about midnight, by four men present unknown, on the dwelling and property of John Larkham, settler at the Field of Mars; which was aggravated by the most inhuman and cruel treatment of Larkham’s wife, by the ruffians who committed the above crimes.
In order to bring the offenders to justice His Excellency is pleased to offer a conditional emancipation, and the privilege of settling, with future hopes of a free pardon to either of the accomplices, prosecuting to conviction, excepting the two principals, who are known to be an elderly and young man…

Sydney Gazette Sunday 7th August 1803 p. 2
Druce and the other persons taken into custody at Hunter’s River, were re-examined, on suspicion of the burglary and robbery committed in the house of Thomas Larkham at the Field of Mars; Markham;s wife, who was on that occasion used with much cruelty being requested to survey the prisoners attentively, in order to ascertain whether any among them had assisted in the depredation, positively identified one of the parties and entertained a strong suspicion of two others among the number: in consequence they were all remanded to be further examined upon this charge.

John passed away on 22nd October 1808 in Parramatta, New South Wales, at the age of 67.

Obituary Notice
Sydney Gazette 22nd October 1808.
On Saturday the 22nd instant, John Larkham settler and resident of Kissing Point, in his year 67th year- He was seized with an internal complaint on Wednesday proceeding, and died about four in the afternnon on Saturday. ( probably meaning he suffered a stroke) A headstone survives in St. Johns Cemetery Parramatta recording John LARKIM (spelling is incorrect) 22nd October 1808.

Sydney Gazette Sunday 30th October 1808 p. 2
On Saturday, the 22nd instant, John Larkham, settler, residing at Kissing Point, in his 67th year - He was seized with an internal complaint on the Wednesday evening and died about 4 in the afternoon on Saturday.

Mary died on 11th March 1841 in Sydney age 84.

Convict Changes History

Phil Hands on 28th January, 2018 made the following changes:

alias1: Larkham, date of birth: 1741 (prev. 0000), date of death: 22nd October, 1808 (prev. 0000), gender: m, occupation, crime

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