Youngest Convict – Elizabeth Hayward


Credit : Haunted & Historic Australia

Oldest & Youngest Female Convicts send to Australia in the First Fleet

The Convicts of the First Fleet were of all ages, when they were sent as punishment to Australia. Here are the tales of two women who survived the journey and their stories are legendary. Dorothy Handland, the oldest convict at over 80 years when she arrived in Port Jackson and Elizabeth Hayward who was the youngest female transported at 13 when she departed England.

Each convict had their own journey, many we will never know about, Haunted and Historic Australia would like to share these known stories with you, so even though their lives have ended, their past lives on.

Elizabeth’s Story

Our story begins with the birth of a daughter to Samuel and Elizabeth Haywood, on 20 July 1773 in Stepney, of the Parish of St Mary White Chapel, whom they named Elizabeth.

On Wednesday 10 January 1787, Elizabeth Haywood/Heywood/Hayward, aged 13 years, was tried by the second Middlesex Jury before Mr Recorder at Justice Hall in the Old Bailey.  Her occupation at the time was a clog maker, and she was apprenticed to a Mr Thomas Cross.  A month previous, on 19 December 1786, Elizabeth had stolen from her employer a linen gown, value 4s, a silk bonnet value 2s, and a bath cloth cloak, value 1s.  These goods she then pawned to a person, named Sarah Phillips, otherwise known as Constant.  Elizabeth was found guilty and sentenced to transportation for 7 years.  Sarah Phillips was found not guilty, but Elizabeth was sent to Newgate Prison to await transportation to Botany Bay.

When the First Fleet sailed, Elizabeth was aboard the Lady Penrhyn and thus became the youngest female convict on the First Fleet.  It was reported that the Alexander and Lady Penrhyn had the worst conditions, the Alexander having its convicts on board for more than two months before sailing date.  The Lady Penrhyn had been loaded with convicts from the hulks on the Thames, and also from Newgate Prison.  This ship was supposed to take only seventy, but had more than hundred on board, many of who were grossly undernourished, and a great number of women who were supposedly suffering from venereal disease.  The clothes for the women had been left behind and the Lady Penrhyn is said to have sailed very badly, nevertheless apart from finding Elizabeth listed in the diary of the First Fleet Surgeon I have not found any other record of her during the voyage out.

On the 26 January 1788 the fleet arrived in Sydney Cove, and on the evening of 6 February the convict women were landed.  It was a suffocatingly hot night and a violent electrical storm hit the Cove.  It was said that London at its seamiest had arrived in Botany Bay, and the surgeon Arthur Smyth was to describe it as a Scene of Debauchery and Riot.

Elizabeth was assigned to Mary Johnson, wife of the chaplain the Reverend Richard Johnson, and was a servant in her household until some months later when on Monday 9 February 1789 her name is listed in The Supreme Court documents along with five other convicts who were apparently dealt with by the Judge Advocate. Elizabeth Haywood was ordered 30 lashes for insolence to Mr Johnson.  It is difficult to ascertain exactly what insolence meant in 1789, but we can be reassured that whatever Elizabeth did she certainly would have affected the dignity of the Reverend Richard Johnson.

It was apparently for her insolence charge that Elizabeth was aboard the ill fated HMS Sirius in March 1790 when it was shipwrecked in dangerous surf off Norfolk Island.  However, like many others she survives yet another trauma, and four years later, on the 2 March 1794, a daughter was born to her, and is also given the name Elizabeth.  The father of this child is believed to be William Nicholls, who was transported for 7 years and arrived aboard the convict vessel Royal Admiral.  William Nicholls went to Norfolk Island in December 1792 in the American trader Philadelphia.  Elizabeth Haywood had another child born 21 November 1795, but obviously died, as no other record of this baby has been found.  A daughter Margaret was born in 1796, and we presume that William Nicholls was the father, although he disappears from Norfolk Island records in that year (1796).  A son George was born in 1802 but it is not certain who the father of this child was, as in later years George acquired the surname of Collins.  It is more than probable the father was the convict George Collins, who arrived on the Island in 1801 and died 2 March 1803.  Captain Piper’s Settlers and Landholders return of 1810 show Elizabeth Haywood as a time expired convict and her eldest daughter Elizabeth Nicholls as a freewoman owning 10 sheep and a cow.

To continue reading her story click here :

Credit : ABC Convict Kids

ABC Convict Kids

Australia was a British penal colony between 1788 and 1868 and over 160,000 convicts were ‘transported’ here. Learn about these child convicts, why they were transported, how they lived in the colony and what became of them.

You can watch Episode 1 above : Transportation

More Videos here : ABC Convict Kids


A story of the First Fleet, from the acclaimed author of MY MOTHER’S EYES and ANGEL OF KOKODA.

Beth is a child convict, caught stealing on the streets of London and sent to Australia on the First Fleet. Through Beth’s story, we discover the unbearable hardships those first convicts suffered, not only on the long journey to Sydney Cove but also in the two years of near-famine following their arrival. The story also explores the new arrivals’ relationship with the Indigenous population, and the devastation that the Europeans brought with them.

But through Beth’s experiences we also see the sense of hope that many in the new colony held for the future, and how they survived – and in some cases thrived.

This moving story, illustrated with Mark Wilson’s beautifully crafted and evocative artwork, was inspired by the experiences of Elizabeth Hayward, the youngest female convict with the First Fleet, and the journals of naval officer William Bradley and Arthur Bowes Smyth, the surgeon and artist from the First Fleet vessel ‘Lady Penrhyn’.

Buy the book here :

Story Box Library

Imagine the best stories being read aloud to you by our favourite storytellers – well that’s Story Box Library!

We get kids excited about reading, inspire their imaginations and let them have fun with stories, improving their language and literacy skills along the way.

With an ever-growing library, suitable for preschool and primary aged children, it really is Storytime, Anytime!

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Watch the preview of Beth here :


Q What is Elizabeth Hayward famous for?

Elizabeth Hayward (1773-1836), a clog maker, was found guilty on 10 January 1787 at the Old Bailey, London, of stealing a linen gown, silk bonnet, and a cloak from the man to whom she was apprenticed

Q How old was Elizabeth Hayward when she was on the First Fleet?

She was the youngest female convict, at 13, on the First Fleet. She received seven years transportation at the Old Bailey in January 1787, for being accused of stealing clothes from the clog maker she was working for