A webpage containing research into


the Australian First Fleet Convict

featured in COLLEEN McCULLOUGH'S novel


While on holiday on Norfolk Island in 2008 I read Colleen McCullough's book Morgan's Run. I was fascinated by the story of First-Feet convict Richard Morgan and was able to visit the approximate sites of his first houses in Arthur's Vale and at Morgan's Run.

The book concludes in the year 1793 and Catherine Clark pregnant with Richard's second child to her. Richard is about 34 years of age. Colleen McCullough mentions in her Author's Afterword that "the saga of Richard Morgan is not ended; he was to live for many years to come and experience yet more adventures, disasters and upheavals. I hope to continue with his family's story."6

Curiosity got the better of me and I decided to do a little research on the continuing story of Richard Morgan. This webpage details what I discovered.

I hope that Colleen McCullough at some stage in the future writes a sequel to Morgan's run.

The novel Morgan's Run, published in 2000, inspired Morgan's Run The Musical in 2010. The musical, written by Colleen McCullough and Australia's Gavin Lockley, was staged by the Blue Mountains Musical Society (Australia) in May/June 2011. I had the good fortune to see the musical and I enjoyed it very much.

May 2008
updated September 2011
email me


Image of Richard Morgan (source: State Library of Tasmania, http://eheritage.statelibrary.tas.gov.au/)

Richard Morgan's signature1

Richard Morgan was born in 1749. He married Margaret Biggs (born 1750) in Bristol in 1767 at the age of 18. They had two children, Mary (1770-1773) and William Henry (1775-1784). Both children died young, with William Henry dying the same year as Richard's wife in 1784.10

Richard was tried at Gloucester, Gloucestershire on 23 March 1785 for assault and stealing a metal watch with a value of 163 shillings. He was sentenced to transportation for 7 years and left England on the Alexander in May 1787 aged about 25. He had no occupation recorded.1

Richard arrived at Port Jackson as a member of the First Fleet on 26th January 1788. Two months later, on 30 March 1788, he was given permission to marry another convict, Elizabeth Lock, who had been in gaol with him at Gloucester10. Elizabeth Lock was tried at Gloucester, Gloucestershire on 26 March 1783 for burglary with a value of 11 shillings. She was sentenced to transportation for 7 years having been originally sentenced to death, and left England on the Lady Penrhyn aged about 23 at that time (May 1787). Her occupation was listed as servant.1

Richard was sent to Norfolk Island on 8th January 1790 on the Supply. Elizabeth followed in February 1790 and there appears to have been no further contact between the two, nor did they appear to have had any children10. (Colleen McCullough's book Morgan's Run has his arrival some 17 months earlier in October 1788). Elizabeth left Norfolk Island after October 1796.5 (However another source has her leaving NSW in 1795.)1

Catherine Clark (born c1770) was charged with stealing ten yards of muslin from a shop on 15th August 1788. A second count involved the theft of four yards of linen cloth from another shop. She, along with three other women, was sentenced to seven years transportation in March 1789. She was aged 18 years. About 2 months after arriving at Sydney Cove Catherine was sent with 193 other convicts to Norfolk Island arriving 7th August 17903 on the Lady Juliana.2 In February 1791 she lived with Richard Morgan and John Lawrell.3 This arrangement was part of Major Ross's plan to encourage as many convicts as possible to become self sufficient. It was probably from this time that Catherine's relationship with Richard commenced.3

By May 1792 Richard and Catherine were cultivating a 12 acre purchased farm at Morgan's Run, Queenborough. In June 1794 they were recorded as an unmarried couple with one child. In 1805 Morgan held 50 acres.3

Richard prospered on Norfolk Island eventually supplying pork to the government. He was employed as a sawyer and an overseer. He and Catherine had a number of children on Norfolk Island including Catherine (1792), William Henry (1794), Richard (1796), twins Sophie and Margaret (1801) and further twins George and James (1804). James was the second child of that name born to Richard and Catherine - an earlier James was born in 1798 and died in the same year10.

Aurthur's Vale looking towards the site of Richard Morgan's first house.

Further up Arthur's Vale again looking towards the site of Richard Morgan's first house.
The dam in the foreground was built by the convicts and is mentioned in the novel.

In October 1805 Richard sailed with Catherine and children# for Sydney (The Female Muster 1806 8 lists Catherine as having 9 children - 4 males and 5 females). Shortly afterwards they sailed for Hobart, Van Diemens Land, and moved to a 130 acre farm at Kangaroo Point, Clarence Plains. (This was well before the colony at Norfolk Island was abandoned in February 1814.)3

In 1809 the family was already well established with 18 acres of the grant sown in wheat, 9 cattle, 97 sheep, 2 goats and a pig. The couple and 7 children# were receiving public rations. In 1819 Morgan was recorded holding 200 acres reflecting a solid and growing level of prosperity.3 In Clarence there is a restored barn which is thought may have been built by, or for, Richard.

In 1815, Richard was constable at Kangaroo Point, a post he was dismissed from the following year. Richard was supplying meat to the government and had his own slaughtering house for which he was licenced, but in 1818 he, jointly with Rowland Loane, was charged with slaughtering cattle without a license.10

Catherine died aged about 57 and was buried on 27 July 1828.3

Richard died at Kangaroo Point, Clarence, in September 1837 aged 78. Their children included Catherine (1792-1877), William (1794-1850), Richard (1796-1877), Mary (1799-1821), Sophia (1801-1844), Margaret (1801-), George (1804-1815) and James (1804-1836).3,10

# The number of children and birth dates seems to vary with different sources.


One further story: Richard's son William Henry Morgan, born on Norfolk Island in June 1794, married Emmeline Hibbins in 1814. He was granted 100 acres of land in 1816. On the 16th February 1819 he stole 200 sheep and subsequently absconded from gaol and a reward of 25 pounds was offered for his capture. He was captured and committed for trial in Sydney and gaoled. He then returned to his wife in Hobart where he died in 1850.9


Children listed in Norfolk Island and its First Settlement 1825-1855, Raymond Nobbs
with Surname Clark and Family Name Morgan:

Cath (born at NI on 15/02/1792)
William (born NI on 23/6/1794)
Richard (born NI prior to Jan 1804)
Mary (born prior to Jan 1804, died 29/05/1805)
Margaret (born prior to Feb 1805)
Jane* (born prior to Jan 1802)
James* (born prior to Feb 1805)
Elizabeth* (born prior to Jan 1802)
Sophia* (born prior to Feb 1805)
* listed only as Surname Clark

Children Listed on Archives Office of Tasmania website:

Richard 1796-1877 (Married Elizabeth Dark in 1838) Had 12 children: Charles 1829 (one child James Louis 1867), Mary 1831, Richard 1831, Caroline 1833, George 1836, Elizabeth 1838, Francis 1840, Lewis 1844, Robert 1844, Ada 1846, Adela 1847 and Jane 1849.

William Henry 1796-1850 (Married Emmaline Hibbins in 1814) Had 2 children: Sophia 1816 and Emma 1818.

Mary 1799-? (Married David Smith in 1815)

Sophie 1801-? (Married Robert Graves in 1821) Children to Robert listed as Georgiana 1827 and George 1827 (a further child, John 1829, is listed by the Female Factory Research Group.10 After Robert died in 1829, Sophia married Peter Buchanan and had 2 further children. Sophia passed away on 15 January 1844 and, sadly, this was the day that her daughter, Georgiana, was married.)

George 1804-?

James 1804-?

Sarah 1820-? (Married David Crawn in 1838) Had 2 daughters and 2 sons.

Gravesite of Richard Morgan, Jnr, St Matthew's Anglican Church, Rokeby, Tasmania

Penny Lane, a direct decendent of Richard Morgan, sent me these photos of the grave site of Richard Morgan's son, Richard Jnr, in 2009.

The inscriptions on the monument are as follows: In Loving Memory of Elizabeth MORGAN born 1806 died Oct 1869, also Richard MORGAN husband of the above born 1797 died June 1877, also Ada Augusta Sophia fourth daughter of the above born February 1846 died June 1881, also their eldest daughter Marie Louise born November 1831 died August 1896, also their daughter Elizabeth Susannah CRONLY born June 1838 died January 1922, also their son Francis Morgan born July 1840 died [couldn't read that part], also their fifth daughter Adela Blanche born December 1847 died May 1919, also their youngest daughter Jane Margaret Morgan born 25th November 1849 died 12th May 1935, also their grandson Richard Louis Morgan born Feb 18 1881 died Feb 10 1931, also William DART (Master Mariner) born 1822 died Nov 1880, also John Dart born 1827 died Jan 1888, Sons of the late Elizabeth Morgan, also John Roderick Malcolm, son of John Campbell McDonald and nephew of Richard Morgan born May 1837 died January 1915. In Loving Memory of Elizabeth Helena SPOTSWOOD born 1864 died November 1925, also Francis Desailly SPOTSWOOD beloved husband of the above died 3rd Feb 1941 aged 82 years.

View of third settlement convict ruins on Norfolk Island.
This was also the site of the first settlement.


  1. University of Wolongong - First Fleet Online
  2. Irene Schaffer's Website - Lady Juliana Convicts
  3. Michael Flynn, The Second Fleet - Britain's Grim Convict Amada of 1790, Sydney, 2001
  4. Archives Office of Tasmania - Colonial Tasmanian Family Links Database
  5. Raymond Nobbs, Norfolk Island and its First Settlement 1825-1855, Sydney, 1988
  6. Colleen McCullough, Morgan's Run, New York, 2000
  7. James Donohoe, Norfolk Island 1788-1813, The People and their Families, Maryborough, 1986
  8. Musters of NSW and Norfolk Island 1805-1806, Sydney, 1989
  9. Irene Schaffer, Exiled Three Times Over - Profiles of Norfolk Islanders Exiled in Van Diemen's Land 1807-1813, Tasmania, 1992
  10. Cascades Female Factory Historic Site
  11. Reg Watson, The Historic Rosny Barn & Richard Morgan and Family,Tasmania, 200?