John Hudson

Arrived on: Friendship
Sentence and crime: Seven years transportation for breaking and entering
John Hudson, described as ‘sometimes a chimney sweeper’, was the youngest known convict to sail with the First Fleet.

Voyaging on board the Friendship to NSW, the boy thief was 13 years old on arrival at Sydney Cove. He was only nine when first sentenced.

Hudson was one of the many convicts relocated to Norfolk Island in March 1790 as Governor Phillip grappled with the very real risk of mass starvation in the colony. However, conditions on the island settlement soon proved just as dire. The wrecking of HMS Sirius in fierce seas in Sydney Bay, Norfolk Island’s main port, saw the majority of the settlers’ food stores lost. The convicts and marines were left to supplement their meagre rations, as recorded by Able Seaman Jacob Nagle:

the Next Saturday Our last provisions ware to be Served Out which was but one half Barrel of flower to be Served Out Amongst 700 hundred Souls the Birds ware destroy'd … & as for fish it was very Uncertain … 

Strict rules imposed on the island also saw Hudson receive 50 lashes ‘for being out of his hutt after nine oClock’.

The last possible mention of the young convict exists in a Port Jackson store record dated 24 October 1795.

Colour illustration of group of boys.

Oliver amazed at the Dodger’s mode of ‘going to work’, George Cruikshank, in Cruikshank’s water colours, with introduction by Joseph Grego, A & C Black, London, 1903. State Library of NSW N741.64/30