Nathaniel Lucas

March 24, 2013 11:40 am Published by




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Nathaniel Lucas was born in England in 1764 ((Colonial Tasmanian Family Links Detail, Archive Office of Tasmania)). The only official reference to his birth I have been able to find so far is in the  Archives Office of Tasmania.


Joiner and Carpenter ((Old Bailey Online))


First: Margaret Mitchell – 25th August 1782 ((Marriage Certificate)).

Second: Olivia Gascoigne – 1791, Norfolk Island ((Colonial Tasmanian Family Links Detail, Archive Office of Tasmania)). I have been unable to find any official record that gives a specific date for this marriage

COURT PROCEEDINGS – 7th JULY 1784 ((Old Bailey Online))

719. NATHANIEL LUCUS was indicted for feloniously stealing, on the 6th of July , one cotton apron, value 4 s. one towel, value 2 d. six muslin aprons, value 12 s. nine muslin handkerchiefs, value 18 s. three muslin caps, value 3 s. a muslin shawl, value 5 s. the property of Mary Davis , spinster .


I am a single woman, I live in Red-lion street, Holborn , with my father; on Tuesday last I lost the things mentioned in the indictment from my father’s house, I went out about five in the evening, I went to the drawer in the garret for an apron, and the drawer was full as usual, the casement was left open by neglect, when I returned about eleven I went to put the same apron back, and the drawer was forced open and all the things gone, they were all in this drawer but the cotton apron and old towel, I am sure I left it locked.

Court. Can you speak with precision to these identical things? – I am sure I missed them all, as soon as I found I was robbed my father went to the next door, and I immediately recollected the things I had lost, and upon that recollection I now speak (The things produced and deposed to) all the handkerchiefs are marked except one that is worked by my sister, I am sure it is mine, and this shawl my sister worked, the cotton apron I marked, and one of the muslin ones, the others are worked ones, I know them particularly, the towel is not marked, I cannot speak so positively to that as the rest, I know nothing of the prisoner.


I am a painter, I suspected the prisoner, who lodged at the next door, at a public house, I got a constable and beadle, and went up into the prisoner’s room along with the publican, the prisoner was in bed, we looked about the room and could see nothing, and we at last made him get up, and between the sacking and the feather bed there was this cotton apron, and the towel, I found nothing else in that room, and in the adjoining room, the door of which was latched not locked, and which was an empty room, we found all the rest of the things doubled up in a feather bed, I knew the shawl particularly, because I drew the pattern for my daughter to work it; I took the prisoner next day to the Justice, the things have been in my possession ever since.

Court. Is there a possibility of getting out of one garret window into another? – By going along the parapet wall it is very easy, the parapet is even.

Could a man get in at that casement? – Very easy.


I keep a public house in Red-lion-street, I have more lodgers besides the prisoner, and upon the same floor, I have an infirm old lady in the back room about eighty.

Court. Have you any other lodgers in the house? – Yes, in the two pair of stairs; I went up with Mr. Davis, he came in and asked me what lodgers I had; I said all were good but one that I did not know, that my wife took in.

Is this old lady very active? – No, Sir, she goes double, she is three-quarters of an hour going from the top of the house to the bottom.

Did the prisoner say any thing about the things? – He said he did not know any thing of any of the things; them are the things we found which are produced.

Prisoner. Why did not he like me?

Court. That is not evidence, unless you chuse to have it so, unless you chuse to put the question.

Prisoner. I chuse to put the question? – Because he had no box nor any thing there, and I did not go after his character, and he seemed rather a surly kind of a man.

Prisoner. Because I did not go to his house to get drunk, I always went to bed by nine o’clock, he did not like me for that, and his wife asked me for the money before it was due, and I was rather surly to her.


It was my night to sit up at the watch-house, I went up stairs with Mr. Davis; Mr. Davis looked upon the wall to see if he could see any marks of foot-steps, but we did not, it was very dry weather; I made the man get up up, and between the sacking and the bed there was this apron and towel, and I found the other things in the empty room, as they have been described; the prisoner said he knew nothing of them, but his countenance changed very much; he was not in bed though he pretended to be.

Was he or not asleep? – He pretended to be asleep, but it is a thing impossible for him to be asleep, because there was so much noise in the room.

How long was it before you awoke him? – About five minutes.

Did he appear to be in sleep during that time? – Yes, we took him to the watch-house.

Court to Miss Davis. Are you sure the cotton apron is your’s? – Yes, my Lord, it is marked.


I am very innocent, another person is as likely to go into the room where I slept as I was myself, the room was always open; there was one man slept with me at times.

Court to Mr. Davis. When you went up, did you find his room locked? – No, the door was open.

Court to the Publican. What time did he go to bed? – About nine, I did not see him after.

Court to Prisoner. Have you any witnesses? – No.

What are you? – A joiner and carpenter .

Have not you a master to speak for you? – My master said he would come to speak for me at the Justices unknown to me, this gentlemen here heard what character he gave me; there was a man slept with me at times.

Mr. Carwardine. The man had not slept with him for two nights, and nobody was in bed in the room but the prisoner when I went up.


SENTENCE: Transported for seven years .

Tried by the London Jury before Mr. ROSE.



Nathaniel Lucus was transported ((Australian Convict Transportation Registers – First Fleet, 1787-1788)) to Botany Bay on the ship “The Scarborough” ((New South Wales, Australia, Settler and Convict Lists, 1787-1834)) in what became known as the First Fleet.


Six weeks after arriving in Botony Bay Nathaniel Lucus was one of the hand picked First Fleeters to be sent to Norfolk Island ((First Fleet Index – And who were those first settlers on Norfolk Island 203 years ago)). There were 23 settlers: 7 freemen, 15 convicts and the commandant, Lieutenant Phillip Gidley King ((Norfolk Island The Website)).

Whilst on Norfolk Island he married fellow First Fleeter Olivia Gascoigne in 1792. ((Colonial Tasmanian Family Links Detail, Archive Office of Tasmania)) (This differs from a more widespread date (1791) but I have not found any official record with this particular date on it. I have ordered the death Certificate of Olivia Gascoigne and hope a marriage date is noted).

1789 Birth of daughter Ann Lucas ((Colonial Tasmanian Family Links))
17th August 1790 Birth of twin daughters Mary and Sarah ((Plaque placed in honour of twins in 2002))
1792 Birth of son William Lucas ((Colonial Tasmanian Family Links))
14th August 1792 Death of twin daughters Mary and Sarah ((Plaque placed in honour of twins in 2002)) The following is a extract from a letter Nathaniel wrote to his Father but for whatever reason was not delivered and is now held in the Mitchell Library:

” …I had the unspeakable misfortune to lose two twin girls by an accident which could it be reprsented in a proper manner, would awaken the most tender feelings and melt the hardest heart into sympathy. It was by the fall of a Pine Tree which stood near my house which burried my lovely infants in the ruins and almost my worthy partner who merely escaped with her life, for she was dragged out into a situation in which her life was despaired of. Oh! Father I am not able to express the poignant grief I felt on this very shocking scene without dwelling long upon the subject together with the variety of misfortunes liable to those who transgress the Laws of their Country.”



Nathaniel Lucus died under mysterious circumstance on the 28th April 1818 ((Headstone)). His body was found on the beach near Moore Bridge, Liverpool ((Sydney Gazette and the New South Wales Advertiser – May 9th 1818)).

Although not in the best shape (according to church staffsomeone from the family of Nathanial Lucas came a long time ago and tried to clean the head stone up but unfortunately used the wrong chemicals) it has been possible to make out the inscription.


In Memory of
of Sydney
who departed this Life
the 28th day of APRIL 1818

Aged 54 Years

He left a Widow and large Family
consisting of Seven Sons and Four
Daughters to Lament the life of a
kind Husband and Indulgent

The headstone is currently located against the outside wall of St Lukes Church, Liverpool, Sydney.



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