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Richard White

Richard White, one of 298 convicts transported on the Hilsborough [Hillsborough], October 1798

Name, Aliases & Gender

Name: Richard White
Aliases: "dickie"
Gender: m

Birth, Occupation & Death

Date of Birth: 1774
Occupation: Servant
Date of Death: 1849
Age: 75 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 Life

Crime: Highway robbery
Convicted at: Middlesex Gaol Delivery
Sentence term: Life
Ship: Hilsborough
Departure date: October, 1798
Arrival date: 26th July, 1799
Place of arrival New South Wales
Passenger manifest Travelled with 298 other convicts


Primary source: Australian Joint Copying Project. Microfilm Roll 87, Class and Piece Number HO11/1, Page Number 249 (125). Tasmanian Archives - hotels https://linctas.ent.sirsidynix.net.au/client/en_AU/names/search/results?qu=richard&qu=white&qf=NI_INDEX Record+type Hotels+&+Properties Hotels+&+Properties
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

D Wong on 12th January, 2013 wrote:

Richard White was born in the USA, a creole, his father was white, mother a Jamaican slave.

Richard arrived in Sydney 26/7/1799 and was transported to Norfolk Island in 1802.  He received a land grant in Launceston in 1815 and in 1822 he built the Launceston Hotel.

Richard’s first wife Elizabeth, died in London in 1799 and he married Sarah Clayton in Launceston in 1845.  He gained a free pardon in 1813/14.

19/7/1849: Richard died in Launceston.

Carol Axton-Thompson on 9th February, 2013 wrote:

Richard “Dickie” White was a well known identity in Launceston, Tasmania with portraits and memorabilia to him.

Richard’s second wife, Sarah Clayton, was the previous wife of William Clayton (transported to NSW, Norfolk Island and Van Diemens Land) per the ‘Glatton’ and ‘Lady Nelson’.

There are descendents.

David Cail on 24th August, 2013 wrote:

Richard was born in Edmonton, London, Middlesex, England, to John White & Jane Waller. He married Elizabeth Fletcher (1772-14 Oct 1799) in 1797. Richard and his 2nd wife Sarah Clayton (1773-14 Sep 1853), were buried in Church of England Cemetery, Launceston Tasmania, Australia. Richard was pardoned in 1814 and received a land grant in Launceston in 1815, where he built the Launceston Hotel in 1822, was a keen gambler and a sharp dresser.  He would often be seen in Wellington Boots, white buckskin breeches, frock coat, top hat, wearing eyeglasses and carrying a walking stick.  The original Johnny Walker was said to have been based on his likeness.

Virginia Ling on 30th September, 2013 wrote:

Convict register states American Servant

Sue Cooper-Haboeck on 21st June, 2014 wrote:

Richard was NOT born in USA as reported and did NOT have a Jamaican mother. This information posted is incorrect

bronwyn white on 14th December, 2014 wrote:

Old Bailey records list Richard White as ‘Mulatto’. In this era this was the only term to describe a mixed race individual, with one parent of african origin and the other of caucasian origin. Old Bailey records also indicate his place of birth as New York.
*Publication of actual citations to disprove these characteristics would be greatly appreciated.

Janet White on 11th July, 2015 wrote:

David Cail where is your proof that Richard White was born in Middlesex.  Have you considered having DNA done?  A fellow descendant has recently had DNA and results showed a small percentage of West African which ties in with being part Jamaican.  All reports with description describe him as mulatto, creole, dark, or with coloured skin.  I hope you will check your research.

Bill Hammond on 7th September, 2015 wrote:

NSW Archives recently released the registers for Certificates of Freedom 1810-1814 to ancestry.com.au. Richard White’s unconditional pardon entry dated 31 January 1814 stated his native place was “New York, America” and under General Remarks “half American black”.

Peter McCormick on 7th November, 2015 wrote:

My father (Alan Macneill McCormick) used to often talk about ‘Dickie’ White who he used to see in one of the front bars at the Launceston Hotel.  He said he wore old fashioned clothes.  I believe this was around about the 1960’ies when Dad often visited Launceston on business.
I had also heard or read that ‘Dickie’ White was one of the backers of Batman and Fawkner for their private expedition which founded Melbourne in 1835. I think that most of their backers were from Northern Tasmania. If so, he would have become very wealthy.
Regards,  Peter McCormick.

Angela Aaltink on 30th July, 2016 wrote:

Looking for information on Dicky (i.e.) White convict late of Norfolk Island to Tasmania.
Im an interested in the circumstances of his birth in the USA/England, his mother Negro ??, his father and how his father John White came to go to the US.
I think I am 6th generation.  Have a family photo of ‘grandfather and granny White (John White) Dickies son/ grandson not sure.  This photo has my great aunt and great grandmother in it.  The photo was taken on the occasion of their 60 wedding anniversary.
All help and information appreciated.
Many thanks
Angela Aaltink

Rhonda Cole on 22nd April, 2019 wrote:

1) May we put to sleep the furphy that Richard White had anything to do with Johnnie Walker? The origin is almost certainly a harmless remark to be found in the Dennis Hodgkinson papers in the Local Studies Library at Launceston. Hodgkinson writes: “We can picture him ‘got up to kill’ rather like Johnny Walker…” [Even Hodgkinson couldn’t spell it properly.] And so we get a succession of people making unwarranted assumptions. Tom Browne, who drew The Striding Man for the company wouldn’t have had a clue who Richard White was or what he looked like.

2) It was very fashionable in the reign of King George III for the wealthy to parade their wealth by outdoing each other. Exotic grooms, pet monkeys, cabinets of curiosities and… exotic servants I believe that Richard White really was from North America. You can’t help wondering if he had a guardian angel. He got his death sentence commuted, he survived just about the worst hellship, he became a constable on Norfolk Island and, in VDL, he must have become very wealthy indeed.

3) In William Noah’s account of the Hillsborough voyage he gives Richard White an alias of “Coates”. I don’t believe this was an alias at all. Only three names above White we find “Isaac Warren Alias Old Hike”: in other words, just a nickname. And “Coats” was an old nickname for a servant, just as we call electricians “Sparks” now. It doesn’t mean he was a coatman but, if he worked for the wealthy, he may well have had a uniform. Perhaps that’s why liked to dress up.

Convict Changes History

D Wong on 12th January, 2013 made the following changes:

alias1, date of birth 1774, date of death 1849, gender, crime

Virginia Ling on 30th September, 2013 made the following changes:


Nell Murphy on 30th July, 2016 made the following changes:

source: Australian Joint Copying Project. Microfilm Roll 87, Class and Piece Number HO11/1, Page Number 249 (125). Tasmanian Archives - hotels https://linctas.ent.sirsidynix.net.au/client/en_AU/names/search/results?qu=richard&qu=white&qf=NI_INDEX Record+t

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