Dictionary of Sydney

The Dictionary of Sydney was archived in 2021.

Burn, Simon

Convict who arrived in Sydney on the Friendship in 1788. Described as a stocking weaver and timber getter, he was convicted in Exeter in 1783 of highway robbery and sentenced to transportation to America for seven years, but escaped before departure in the convict mutiny on the Mercury in 1784. Recaptured, he was transported to New South Wales. On 10 February 1788 he married fellow convict, Frances Anderson and given a land grant in Parramatta in July 1791. Accused in 1794 by Marsden of drunkenness on the Sabbath, a few weeks later he was murdered by drinking partner John Hill when he tried to defend a woman, Hill's partner, from an attack. He was the first emancipist in the colony to be murdered by another colonist.

Arrived Sydney
Jan 1788
05 Oct 1794
05 Oct 1794
Bryan, Samuel
1787 - 1788
05 Oct 1794

Sydney’s Oldest Unsolved Murders

CC BY-SA 2.0

With colonisation came numerous acts of violence inflicted upon the First Nations people, including murder. It was several years, however, before murders were committed in Sydney by the colonists upon each other. Identifying Australia’s oldest case of unsolved murder in this context is not necessarily a straightforward task.