James Lee was a marine private in the 35th Portsmouth Company, enlisted in the NSW Marines, and arrived in NSW aboard Scarborough in Jan 1788. James was a private, assigned to Captain Campbell’s Company of the Port Jackson garrison. In Nov 1788 his name appears on the muster roll of the Marine Garrison for NSW Settlement.
One asks the question was James Lee ever on Norfolk Island where he cohabited with Sarah Smith fathering children – William and Maria Smith – Lee. This has resulted in the “Lee Family Saga”.
- Download report on James Lee, First Fleet Marine and the Lee family Saga by Cathy Dunn and Glen Lambert.
In 1946 Thomas Mutch reviewed Edric Hubert Brady, A Short Chapter of Australian History: the Lee Family Records (1921). Mutch stated that is was an “example unreliability of biographies prepared by members of Australian Families who set out to write the history of their forebears without having any knowledge of Australian History”. Mutch continues to show the false claims of the Lee family that they are descendants of the First Fleet marine James Lee. (Letter held by the Mitchell Library Sydney).
In our publication Deaths and Burials Norfolk Island 1788 – 1814 a non proven death of James Lee in December 1795 is listed. This now is in error as a postscript.
 James Lee, Marines, 1788 Victualling book [T1/668], ML, PRO Reel 3551 and COD 88, with no other notation.
- Marines, Scarborough Jan 1788
- Captain Campbell’s Company: Port Jackson Marines 1788
- George Lee
- Maria Smith – Lee – Pantony – Bloodworth
©Cathy Dunn and Glen Lambert September 2017