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Sarah Leadbetter

Sarah Leadbetter, one of 296 convicts transported on the Earl Cornwallis, August 1800

Name, Aliases & Gender

Name: Sarah Leadbetter
Aliases: none
Gender: f

Birth, Occupation & Death

Date of Birth: 28th February, 1780
Occupation: -
Date of Death: 11th July, 1830
Age: 50 years

Life Span

Life span

Female median life span was 60 years*

* Median life span based on contributions

Conviction & Transportation

Sentence Severity

Sentence Severity

Sentenced to 7 years

Crime: -
Convicted at: Lancaster Quarter Sessions
Sentence term: 7 years
Ship: Earl Cornwallis
Departure date: August, 1800
Arrival date: 12th June, 1801
Place of arrival New South Wales
Passenger manifest Travelled with 294 other convicts


Primary source: Australian Joint Copying Project. Microfilm Roll 87, Class and Piece Number HO11/1, Page Number 279 (139)
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

James Duncan on 6th June, 2016 wrote:

My 4x Grandmother, married William Lawson the explorer.

Phil Hands on 1st April, 2017 wrote:

Tried and convicted at the Lancaster Quarter Sessions in 1799, sentenced to transportation for 7 years.
Left England on 18th November 1800.
Ship:- the ‘Earl Cornwallis’ sailed with 193 male and 95 female convicts on board of which 27 males and 8 females died during the voyage.
Arrived on 12th June 1801.

Sarah became romantically attached to Ensign William Lawson, a member of the Norfolk Island garrison, later to be promoted to Lieutenant, the couple had 4 children before they married on 23rd March 1812 at Parramatta, in all they had 11 children between 1803-1826.

Citation details: 1812 p. 102 no. 395

William Lawson of the parish of St John Parramatta and Sarah Leadbeater of ditto were married in this church by special licence granted by His Excellency Governor Macquarie this twenty third day of March in the year one thousand eight hundred and twelve by me Samuel Marsden
Both William and Sarah signed the register in the presence of Rowland Hassall and Sophia Jull [sic] who both signed the register.

William Lawson (1774-1850), explorer and pastoralist, was born on 2nd June 1774 at Finchley, Middlesex, England, the son of Scottish parents who had lived at Kirkpatrick. Educated in London, William was trained as a surveyor, but in June 1799 he bought a commission in the New South Wales, Australia Corps for £300. As an ensign he arrived at Sydney in November 1800 in the Royal Admiral and was soon posted to the garrison at Norfolk Island, while there he became romantically attached to convict Sarah Leadbeater. He returned to Sydney in 1806, was promoted lieutenant and served for a time as commandant at Newcastle, a position he again occupied in 1809.

Like many of his fellow officers Lawson quickly began to acquire agricultural interests. About 1807 he bought a small property at Concord, where he kept 6 horses, 3 bulls and 14 cows. By 1810 this property had extended to 370 acres (150 ha). As an officer he also acted on several courts martial, including those of D’Arcy Wentworth in 1807 and of John Macarthur on the eve of the rebellion against Governor William Bligh in 1808. In the interregnum after this, Lawson was appointed aide-de-camp to Major George Johnston and received a grant of 500 acres (202 ha) at Prospect; here his wife lived when he was sent to England in 1810 as a witness at Johnston’s court martial. Lawson was not very enthusiastic in the cause of the rebellion, and in January 1812 returned to Sydney in the Guildford. He accepted a commission as lieutenant in the New South Wales, Australia Veterans Company. From this circumstance, when his grant at Prospect was confirmed by Governor Lachlan Macquarie, Lawson named it Veteran Hall. Here he built a fine 40-room mansion in early colonial style.

Sarah died on 11th July 1830, following a long illness, it was a blow to William, his wife had always been a tower of strength for the family, especially during his long absences.

In his later years William Lawson dabbled in politics and in 1843 became the member for Cumberland in the first partly elected Legislative Council.  He attended parliament regularly at first, though he did not feature prominently in its debates. At the time, William Charles Wentworth, Lawson’s companion in the trek across the Blue Mountains three decades earlier, was one of the leading parliamentary figures, but Lawson did not subscribe to all of Wentworth’s views and opposed him on various proposals. However, from 1846 onwards Lawson’s attendance at the legislature was intermittent, and he did not seek re-election in 1848, preferring to keep to his own home and his own counsel, while his son Nelson took his place in parliament.
On 16 June 1850, less than a fortnight after celebrating his seventy-sixth birthday, William Lawson died at Veteran Hall. In the application for probate, his goods were sworn at under £12,000 but it was in his real estates that his wealth lay. They amounted to more than 85,000 acres (34,398 hectares) and were bequeathed in their entirety to his son William Jr, and friends Thomas Agars and Thomas Icely, to be held in trust for the benefit of his surviving children and grandchildren.

Convict Changes History

James Duncan on 6th June, 2016 made the following changes:

date of birth: 28th February, 1780 (prev. 0000), date of death: 11th July, 1830 (prev. 0000), gender: f

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