John Birchall1

#5419, b. 6 May 1779, d. 1860
  • Father: James Birchall2 b. b 1761
  • Mother: Elizabeth (?)2 b. b 1761

Individual's Timeline

Birth1779John Birchall1
EmigratAU1803John Birchall3
Marriage24 October 1809John Birchall4,5
Marriage of Son23 January 1840John Birchall6,7
Marriage of Daughter4 February 1857Ann Birchall8
Marriage of Son14 July 1857Edward Birchall9
Death1860John Birchall

Primary events

Secondary circumstances

  • EmigratAU: John Birchall emigrated to Australia in 1803 in ship 'Calcutta' from Australia. a convict. tried at Chester 23/10/1802, sentanced to life. Name may be Birchell or Buckhall.3
  • Occupation: John was Prior to this John must have been the District Constable for Pitt Water, as on this date it was proclaimed in the Hobart Town Gazatte that he had been removed this post.
Some aspects of John Birchall's life. Tamiot has a note from his headstone. It says he arrived in the colony with Governor Collins, and that he was the 1st settler in Pittwater. The stone was erected by Edward BIRCHALL. NOW according to the convict records the Calcutta WAS the ship to bring the first convicts to Tasmania (more or less with Gov COLLINS, who was originally on the Calcutta, arrived on a different ship). However the dates are correct, and I have never seen mention of any other John BIRCHALL in the records. (Note of a personal nature from Shirley - I think this headstone inscription shines a light upon the 'old' way of thinking of our convict history. Proud of the achievements, but loathe to admit the reality. I am pleased we have matured enough to be interested in, and mostly proud of, the reality of our ancestors' lives.
Brushes with the LAW

BIRCHALL, John. Per "Calcutta", 1803

John Birchall c.1779-1860. Aged 23 at the time of his trial he was a native of Woore, married with four children. He was the son of James and Elizabeth Birchall, tenant farmers of Woore Hollows. One of five children, he was baptised at Woore on May 6th 1779.

Birchall was tried at the City of Chester Pleas of Sessions on October 23rd, 1802, for the theft of five pounds' worth of goods, the property of Thomas Benbow and for breaking gaol on October 31st 1802. He was retaken in London on April 24th 1803.

At his trial he was acquitted of theft but sentenced to death for breaking gaol. He was reprieved and sentenced to transportation for life. Gaoled in Chester Castle, he was transported to the Captivity, a hulk moored at Portsmouth. He is mentioned in the Hobart musters of 1810, 1818, 1819 and 1823. He was granted a conditional pardon in June of 1810 and freed in 1818. Granted 55 acres of land at Pitt Waters, he purchased 400 acres in 1819 and employed seven servants. A further 433 acres were added to his property in 1831. He contracted to supply the commissariat and the military with large quantities of grain and meat.

He married Sussanah Bellett on October 24th,1809. She was the daughter of a Jacob Bellett, a First Fleeter from Norfolk Island. They had nine children between 1812 and 1819. Their eldest son, James, the first native-born white child, married Sarah Reardon the daughter of a neighbour, Bartholomew Reardon who was also a First Fleeter.

Birchall acted as a district constable for the Pitt Water district until 1819. He built a schooner which he used to carry passengers and goods across the lagoon between Pitt Water and the opposite bank.

He was absent from work for five months in 1806 and stole a dog. For these misdemeanors he received 500 lashes. In 1818 he was tried for beating a prisoner but there was insufficient evidence to convict him. Later in 1818 he was removed from his duties as a constable.

He was buried on May 9th, 1860.10,11

Children of John Birchall and Susannah Bellett

  • James Birchall2 b. 10 Sep 1810, d. 25 Mar 1870
  • John Birchall7 b. 1812, d. b 1817
  • Charles Birchall12 b. 1815, d. 12 Aug 1853
  • John Birchall1 b. 23 Sep 1817, d. 18 Feb 1857
  • George Birchall b. 4 Apr 1820, d. 16 Jul 1896
  • Elizabeth Birchall12 b. 4 Apr 1822
  • Susan Birchall12 b. 1 Jan 1824, d. 1855
  • Edward Birchall12 b. 14 Oct 1826, d. 25 Nov 1826
  • Ann Birchall13 b. 17 Aug 1832
  • Samuel Birchall12 b. 1833, d. 1904
  • Edward Birchall14 b. 26 Apr 1834, d. 5 Aug 1911


  1. Conclusion of, Shirley.
  2. Marjorie Tipping, Convicts unbound.
  3. Lloyd Robson, A history of Tas 0 - 1855, Appendix 3.
  4. BDM in Australia, Aust Vital Records 1788-1905, 1809/40.
  5. Tas Marriages 1803-1830, online, Entry 40.
  6. BDM in Australia, Aust Vital Records 1788-1905, 1840/656.
  7. Tasmanian Family Link, online
  8. BDM in Australia, Aust Vital Records 1788-1905, 1857/528.
  9. BDM in Australia, Aust Vital Records 1788-1905, 1857/841.
  10. Correspondence on line index, by unknown photographer,
    In index to land grants in Van Diemen's Land; listed as Burchall (Fiche 3262; 4/438 pp.6, 11)

    1819-22; 1823
    On list of persons owing quit rents in Van Diemen's Land; for land in the District of Gloucester. Also listed as Burchall (Fiche 3270; X19 pp.3, 11)

    1823 Feb 7-Mar 5
    Of Pittwater. Thomas Newby convicted by Court of Criminal Jurisdiction of forging promissory note drawn on Birchall (Reel 6023; X820 p.81).

  11. Misc web sites, online see Citation Detail,…
  12. International Genealogical Index (IGI), LDS Member submission.
  13. BDM in Australia, Aust Vital Records 1788-1905, 1832/4635.
  14. BDM in Australia, Aust Vital Records 1788-1905, 1838/8997.