David Collins

David Collins (1756-1810), a Royal Marines officer, served (1788-96) in New South Wales. As deputy judge-advocate, he was responsible for the colony’s legal establishment. He was appointed lieutenant-governor of a dependency that he founded at Hobart Town in 1804. He administered, benignly but with mixed results, this neglected and barely viable establishment of convicts and free settlers until his death.


11 February 1788

First criminal case

Governor Phillip assembles Australia’s first Court of Criminal Jurisdiction, and Samuel Barsby is the first person to be brought before Judge-Advocate David Collins and the six officers of the Court. Barbsy is found guilty of personally abusing a drum major in the Detachment of Marines and of striking a drummer with an adze. He is sentenced to receive 150 lashes with a cat-o’-nine-tails.


Colonel David Collins. Courtesy National Library of Australia
21 February 1804

Penal settlement in Hobart

Colonel David Collins chooses the site of Hobart as the base for the new convict settlement of Van Diemen’s Land, and serves as Lieutenant-Governor until his death in 1810.


Colonel David Collins, Esq.