William Dring 1767-1854
William Dring was convicted of feloniously stealing six bottles of brandy three blue and white shirts two pair of trousers a pair of red leather boots and several other things of the value of ten pence from Joseph Mitchinson.
William Dring was tried at Kingston upon Hull, Yorkshire on 7 October 1784 for theft of unknown value. He was sentenced to transportation for 7 years and left England on the 'Alexander' of the First Fleet aged about 17 at that time (May 1787). He had no occupation recorded.
Governor Phillip sent a party of Officials, Marines and convicts to settle Norfolk Island and in October, 1788 Dring was one of those sent. He was employed there in various ways, probably in preparing the land for farming. In 1790 Dring and another convict volunteered to swim out to the "Sirius", which had been wrecked on the reef, in order to throw off the livestock and any remaining stores, which were still on the ship. They were allowed to do this and were successful in their efforts. They remained on board after they had completed the task and got drunk on the alcohol still on the ship. Eventually a marine was sent out and he removed the two men. They were punished by being put in prison and also made to wear leg irons. Even when they were released they were forced to continue wearing the irons.
Dring was apparently a competent seaman and contributed much in the associated work. He was praised by Governor King for his work. He was given a grant of land on Norfolk Island and then formed a relationship with Ann Forbes who had arrived in the First Fleet, on the "Prince of Wales". She had been convicted of stealing ten yards of cotton, the property of James Rollinson. Her trial was held in 1787 at the Surrey Lent Assizes. She was sentenced to be hanged but was reprieved and her sentence changed to seven (7) years transportation. Ann was sent to Norfolk Island and with her was the child she had borne to George Bannister, in 1789.
During their lives together William and Ann had three children, the last of whom was born in 1796. There was a great deal of unrest on the Island, because there were many marines stationed there and they endeavoured to entice the wives away from their husbands or the men with whom they lived. This brought many complaints form the emancipists and Dring had had cause to complain that his wife had been 'tempted away' twice. Finally he assaulted a marine and was charged. Governor King interceded on his bahalf and Dring was only fined 20 shillings. This judgement was another source of trouble on Norfolk Island. The family returned to Port Jackson in 1794 by the "Daedelus". They stayed together at least until the 20 August, 1796, when the last child was baptised. After this the partnership broke up. Little is known about Dring except 'he died in the Colony'.