Peter Payne was born in 1760 in Westbury-on-Severn where he worked as a labourer. He was married to Jane and had two children one of whom died in childbirth. On 13 January 1789, at the age of 28, he was sentenced to be transported for seven years for the theft of 17 pounds of new copper, the property of John Hopkins of the Verdy Grease Works. After a year on a hulk, he was transferred to the Scarborough which was part of the Second Fleet which set sail for New South Wales on 19 Jan 1790 and arrived on 28 June 1790.
The Second Fleet was a convoy of six ships carrying settlers, convicts and supplies to Sydney Cove, Australia in 1789. It followed the First Fleet which established a European settlement in Australia in the previous year.
The Second Fleet has achieved notoriety for the poor conditions aboard the vessels, and for cruelty and mistreatment of its convicts. Of the 1006 convicts transported aboard the Fleet, one quarter died during the voyage and around 40 percent were dead within six months of arrival in Australia. The captain and some crew members of one vessel were charged with offences against the convicts, but acquitted after a short trial.
Peter Payne’s wife, Jane, died in 1802.