John Curtis was probably born in Daglingworth/Bristol England c 1750 and was married at St Phillips and Jacobs in Bristol to Jane Purrier in 1773. They had 10 children. John practiced accountancy until the early 1790’s .

In March 1795 he was tried and convicted at the Lent Assizes in Gloucester on 4 counts of “forging, counterfeiting, coining . . . silver coin of the realm called a sixpence”. He was sentenced to 7 years which was transmuted to transportation to Australia. He left England on the Ganges in August 1796 and arrived in Sydney on 2 June 1797.

In his first years in NSW he worked for the Government as a dairyman at Toongabbie. He was promoted to overseer and Superintendent of the Government herd in 1802.

John was emancipated on 4 June 1802 and the next year petitioned Governor King for permission to return to his family in England, unaware that his wife, Jane, had died from consumption in 1800. Despite his good reputation and that Governor Patterson, George Johnston and Rev. Marsden signed his plea he never returned to England.

In 1802, an Irish convict, Ann Moran arrived in NSW and was assigned to work for John. They eventually married in 1814 and had 5 children (not necessarily in that order).

In 1809 John was granted 80 acres of land at Liberty Plains (now Chester Hill), Sydney. Curtis Rd in Chester Hill runs across part of this land grant. By 1821 he owned a house in Parramatta, which he left to his oldest daughter, Betsy, 26 head of cattle and a mare, a 30 acre farm on Sydney Rd, near Haslem’s Creek (now Lidcombe), adjoining a grant of 100 acres made to Ann after John’s death. This land stayed in the family.

The Villawood Migrant Hostel in Millers Rd Villawood stands on John Curtis’s original estate.



John Curtis Petition to Governor King in 1803




This is from “Kings Papers” in Sydney Library. It was sent to me by Ken Eccleston about 15 (?) years ago. Looking at the handwriting it is very similar to my father’s handwriting (also a John) – he always had the reputation of having beautiful handwriting when he was young; may be it is inherited. Dad was also an accountant.

John Curtis Letter to Governor MacQuarie




John died on 12 September 1821 and is buried at St John’s Pioneer Cemetery Parramatta.



John Curtis Will:






Ann Moran (c1767 – 1832)

Born c 1767 in Ireland. She was one of the first hundred Irish women convicts to come to Australia. She arrived on the “Hercules” in 1802 after being convicted in County Heath, Ireland.

After arrival she was assigned to work for John Curtis1 They eventually married on 6 August 1814 at St John’s Parramatta, NSW, and had 5 children, not necessarily in that order.

After John’s death in 1821 she applied for and was given a further land grant of 100 acres adjoining John’s original 30 acres in c1824.

Ann died ion 6 October 1832 and was buried at the site of Central Railway Station in Sydney. Later the original cemetery was moved to the Pioneer Cemetery at Botany.


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