Marine 1st Fleet
He was a Private from the 41st Company when he joined HMS Sirius at Portsmouth on 24th February 1787 as part of the ship's marine complement, arriving Sydney Cove 27 January 1788.
The following year, on 5th June 1789, Michael was discharged from the ship's books to the Port Jackson detachment. He continued his service career, doing duty on board the Gorgon while she was in port, from 31stOctober to 11th December 1791, joining the NSW Corps on 6th April 1792 and serving his five years until April 1797. On 6th April 1798 he received a land grant of 60 acres on the Georges River in the district of Bankstown, at a rent of 1 shilling per year commencing after 5 years, and eight months later, in January 1799, he and Stephen Gilbert shared a grant of 200 acres, also in the district of Bankstown at a rent of 2 shillings per year commencing after five years. This grant was subsequently cancelled when Lieutenant Matthew Flinders was granted 300 acres on 1st January 1800 including the Murphy-Gilbert land which he purchased from them.
A new century had dawned, and Michael rejoined the NSW Corps on 6th February 1800, becoming a member of the 102nd Regiment in which he served in Van Diemen's Land (VDL) until the Corps was recalled in 1810. At that time, he applied for transfer to the 73rd Regiment, but was instead transferred to the NSW Veteran Company and remained in VDL. At this time, he was about 52 years of age.
It is not known how, when or where Michael Murphy and Hannah Williams met, but it is assumed that their relationship began sometime soon after she arrived in the Colony in December 1801. They had been together before their marriage and their first four children were all christened on the same day that the couple married.
Also, in that year a new settlement was established by Colonel Paterson in Van Diemen's Land, at Port Dalrymple. Michael, as a member of the 102nd Regiment, went on the Buffalo from Port Jackson to Port Dalrymple, accompanying the Lady Nelson, Integrity, and Frances. It is highly likely that Hannah was one of the contingents of convicts which also made the journey; there were 74 convicts in all but it is not recorded if they were male or female. Certainly, she was with Michael, as the births of their subsequent children attest.
Twelve months after their arrival in VDL, Colonel Paterson wrote to Earl Camden describing some of the difficulties they had encountered, and indicating that he considered these to be largely overcome. Buffalo had brought "a proportion of such stores and provisions as could be spared, 120 ewes, 2 rams, 6 cows, 2 bulls, 1 mare, and 1 horse: 50 prisoners were also sent." Some five free settlers also arrived, allotments were chosen and measured out and "everyone exerted themselves as much as possible. Unfortunately, many of the blocks proved to be unsuitable for cultivation – the lots on the hillsides produced poorly and those on low ground were subject to flooding. Col Paterson recommended that, as the first settlers, they be compensated for their losses by being granted better blocks on the banks of the Tamar River.
It was quite common in the early days, when ministers of religion were few and far between, for couples to commence their life together until such time as it was possible to have their union formalised. This was probably the case for Michael and Hannah. On 10th March 1811 Michael Murphy and Hannah Williams, both of Launceston, Port Dalrymple, were married after banns by Robert Knapwood MA. Both signed with their mark, and the witnesses were Major Commandant G. A. Gordon, and Kenny. On that day their daughters Ellenor, Elizabeth, and two more, Mary and Jane, were baptised. There were two more children – a son, Michael, reportedly born about 1812 and baptized at St John's Launceston on 13 March 1814, and Maria, born circa 1814.
From this time on there is some doubt about the exact movements of Michael. As previously noted, he transferred to the NSW Veteran Company and is recorded as serving back in New South Wales, at Parramatta, between 1814 and 1816, and at Emu Plains until his death in 1823. A land grant of 100 acres was made to a Michael Murphy at Parramatta in 1809 – whether this is the same man or not is unclear. There are various other records of land held by Michael Murphy - in October 1816, 35 acres at Appin; in 1820, 81 acres by grant plus 50 purchased at Parramatta. There was at least one other Michael Murphy in the colony at the time, so some of these parcels of land may not have been 'our' Michael's.
Michael died on 10th January 1823, aged 63, and was buried the following day at St Matthew's, Windsor. The transcribed death certificate supplied is made out in the name of Archibald Murphy. Researchers who viewed the original document, or a photocopy, stated that the name was abbreviated and that there is a strong similarity between that for Archibald and that for Michael. There are no records of an Archibald Murphy.