Free Settler or Felon
Convict and Colonial History

Arnold Fisk

Newcastle Harbour Pilot

Arnold Fisk was born at Rhode Island, U.S.A.

He first arrived in Australia on the L'Enterprise in 1802.[3]

First Mate on the Harrington

He was employed as First Mate on the brig Harrington which was seized by convicts in 1808 after which Fisk and the other sailors were put in a boat 20 miles off the coast and left to make their way to the shore. By 1809 he was employed as Master of the vessel Favorite. He led an adventurous life in these early days of the colony, sailing to Fiji and China in search of sandalwood. [2]

Family Life

He was married to Mary Ann Bunker, daughter of Eber Bunker and later abandoned sea-faring and settled to life on the land in Hobart where he and Mary Ann produced a large family of ten children.

He was known as a pioneer of Tasmania having purchased an allotment of land in Lower Collins Street from Captain Murray, Commandant of Hobart Town.

The first water powered mill was erected by Arnold Fisk on the Hobart Rivulet between Molle and Gore streets in 1815.


Arnold Fisk came into financial difficulties which resulted in him taking up an appointment as landing waiter and pilot at Newcastle in August 1828.[1]


In 1829 his large family were left destitute when he died suddenly at Newcastle. An appeal was made and despite the difficult financial times, hundreds of people from all over the colony contributed donations including livestock, to assist the family.[5]

Mary Ann Fisk and one of their daughters later opened a school in Phillip St. Sydney.

Arnold Fisk was buried in Christ Church Cathedral burial grounds at Newcastle [4]

His duties as pilot were taken over by James Pawsey.

To find out more about Arnold Fisk read the fascinating and comprehensive biography of his life - 'Brought To This Distress'. The Life of Captain Arnold Fisk, A Colonial Loser. by M.D. Cobcroft, 1987

Notes and Links

1). Success of the Whaling Industry

2). Buccaneer William Campbell - Loot from Spanish Prizes

3). Romance of Hobart Rivulet - Arnold Fisk is said to have built the first Mill in Hobart - Water powered, known as the Upper Mill, erected on the Hobart Rivulet between Molle and Gore Streets. Built and working in 1815

4). A Waiuka Centenarian - Mrs. King, daughter of Arnold Fisk - Born in Hobart 11 January 1816

5). Pirate to Pewholder - Arnold Fisk from Tahiti


[1]. Sydney Gazette 6 August 1828

[2]. Sydney Gazette 20 August 1809

[3]. Brought To This Distress'. The Life of Captain Arnold Fisk, A Colonial Loser. by M.D. Cobcroft, 1987

[4]. Register Book of Christ Church Cathedral, Newcastle p.8

[5].Sydney Gazette 8 September 1829