First Bricklayer in Australia


As we celebrate Australia Day on 26 January, let’s acknowledge Australia’s first bricklayer, James Bloodsworth, who arrived with the First Fleet.

James Bloodsworth was a convict, sent to Australia in 1788.  He was sentenced for the theft of just one game cock and two hens at Esher, Surrey, UK.  But James proved to be one of the European settlers best assets – a master bricklayer and builder, ultimately responsible for the construction of many of the colony’s buildings between 1788 and 1800.

The quality workmanship of James Bloodsworth was evident in substantial buildings of the time such as the first Government House and the storehouse at King’s Wharf on the shore of Sydney Cove.

In the next 226 years, thousands of bricklayers have followed in his footsteps from many parts of the world, to build Australia as we know it today.  There are currently 24,000 bricklayers in the workforce, many of whom are very passionate about the trade and proud of the projects they build.  Brick and block buildings stand as fine examples of the skills and expertise of the bricklaying trade.

state_library_240Many of today’s bricklayers are also great trainers as they diligently coach their apprentices in the skills and work practices to be successful in the trade.

This teaching of others was also a feature of James Bloodsworth’s success. His initiative and leadership ensured that many others gained the skills to build and train others, during the rapid development that followed the European settlers.

Check out our earlier blogs for further information on James Bloodsworth:

Celebrating the life of Bricklayer James Bloodsworth

Australia’s First Bricklayer – James Bloodsworth – A Real Success Story

First Fleet Fellowship Organisation

Geoff Noble

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