Matthew James Everingham
A Convict of the First Fleet
The first book in the trilogy about the Everingham dynasty.
Sentenced in the Old Bailey at the age of fifteen years, Matthew James Everingham spent almost three years at hard labour while incarcerated on the prison hulk, Censor, moored on the River Thames, before eventually being transported to New South Wales on board Scarborough as part of the First Fleet.
He witnessed Governor Arthur Phillip raise the British flag and declare the new settlement in Port Jackson, naming it Sydney Cove, then worked as a convict in Sydney Cove and in Parramatta. In June 1791, he married Elizabeth Rymes, a sixteen-year-old convict who had arrived on Neptune, the “Hell Ship” of the Second Fleet.
After his emancipation in 1791, Matthew and Elizabeth took land grants and struggled to eke out a living as farmers in the Parramatta and Hawkesbury regions. They weathered droughts, fires, floods, attacks by Aboriginal raiders and exploitation at the hands of the Rum Corps. They saw five governors come and go, as well as the rebel administration which followed the deposing of Governor William Bligh in Australia’s only political coup.
Matthew James Everingham is one of the best documented convicts and pioneer settlers in Australia’s history.
This is his story