John Easty

Arrived on: Scarborough
Left colony: December 1792 on the Atlantic (Governor Arthur Phillip returned to England on the same ship)
Four companies of the British Marine Corps travelled with the First Fleet to maintain law and order in the new British settlement.

Volunteers rushed to sign up for the adventurous posting, and Private John Easty was one of 213 marines selected for a term of three years’ service in the colony. His written account gives a rare glimpse of the long voyage and life in Sydney Cove through the eyes of an ordinary soldier.

Despite the fact that he was stationed to maintain discipline, Easty was a known rule breaker. He was detained for one week after being found intoxicated on duty during the voyage to Sydney, and in March 1788 he was ‘Confined by Serjt Hume for bringing a feameale Convict into Camp’ and received 150 lashes. While some marines chose to settle in the growing colony after the replacement NSW Corps arrived in 1791, Easty returned to England, to his ‘unspeakable joy’.

Source: John Easty – Journal, 1786–1793, State Library of NSW.

Colour illustration of the uniforms of the British Marine Corps 1755-1807

'Uniforms of the Royal Marines, 1755-1807'. Charles C Stadden, 1972. Royal Marines Museum, RMM 1972/62/2. Permission for use of artwork Mrs B A Stadden 2016