Jorgen Jorgenson

Jorgen Jorgenson (AOT, PH30/1/483)

Jorgen Jorgenson (17801841), Danish adventurer, was born in Copenhagen and went to sea aged fourteen. He arrived in Sydney in 1800, and in the Lady Nelson took part in the exploration of Bass Strait and the establishment of settlements at Port Phillip (1803) and the River Derwent (1803, 1804). He returned to Denmark in 1806.

In command of a Danish privateer, Jorgenson was imprisoned by the English in 1807. Despite this, he joined two English trading ventures to Iceland in 1809, and when the Danish governor was deposed, Jorgenson was appointed administrator of Iceland hence his title 'The Convict King'. Returning to England, Jorgenson lapsed into imprisonment for debts and theft, but despite this wrote plays and books and travelled to Europe for the Foreign Office. He was transported to Van Diemen's Land, arriving in 1826. Here he was explorer, constable, leader of parties against the Aborigines and newspaper editor. His full pardon was obtained in 1835. In 1831 he married, and he died, without issue, in Hobart.

Further reading: D Sprod, The usurper, Hobart, 2001.

Dan Sprod