Charlotte Badger

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Charlotte Badger
Born c.1778
Piratical career
Type Pirate
Years active 1806-1808
Base of operations New Zealand

Charlotte Badger (b 1778 - d in or after 1816)[1] is widely considered to be the first Australian female pirate despite being from Bromsgrove, Worcestershire, England. She was also one of the first two white female settlers in New Zealand.[2]


Badger was born in 1778, the daughter of Thomas and Ann Badger. She was baptised on July 31, 1778.[2] Her family was poor, and one day in 1796,[3] she stole several guineas and a silk handkerchief in an attempt to support them,[4] but was caught and arrested. She was sentenced to seven years' penal servitude in New South Wales.[4] She served at the Parramatta female factory there, during which she gave birth to a daughter. In the 1825 convict muster there is listed a Charlotte Badger, with 10-year-old daughter Maria, who arrived on the Earl Cornwallis in 1801. While the birth date is estimated at 1785, it's highly unlikely there were two Charlotte Badgers - one who became a pirate and another who was listed in Parramatta in 1825. Reference: New South Wales and Tasmania, Australia Convict Musters, 1806-1849. In 1806, three years after the end of her sentence, she traveled with her child aboard The Venus, with plans to become a servant.[4] The captain of the ship, Samuel Chase, was in the habit of flogging the women for entertainment, until his charges and crew mutinied.[4] Badger and another convict, Catherine Hagerty, talked the men on board into seizing the ship, while the captain was ashore at Port Dalrymple in northern Tasmania.[5]

There is a story that she escaped from the ship and was believed to have taken refuge among the Aborigines in the vicinity of Norroundboo near Port Sorrell.

Badger and Hagerty and their lovers, John Lancashire and Benjamin Kelly, went to the Bay of Islands in the far north of New Zealand, where they settled at the pa at Rangihoua, but led very difficult lives.[5]

Some stories suggest that the other mutineers all fled but were eventually caught and hanged,[4] while others suggest that they went pirating after Badger, Hagerty, Lancashire and Kelly left, despite not knowing how to navigate the ship. Then the Māori captured The Venus, and burned it to retrieve the scrap metal, and cooked the men on board. Meanwhile, Lancashire, and Kelly were also recaptured and Hagerty died of a fever.[5] Badger's fate remains a mystery, although it has been said that she lived with a minor chief at the Bay of Islands, or that she was picked up by a passing American whaler on Vavau in the Tonga archipelago.

References in media

  • Australian/New Zealand playwright Lorae Parry told part of Charlotte Badger's story in her play Vagabonds.[6]
  • In January 2013 Jack Hayter released "Charlotte Badger" on Audio Antihero records, a sympathetic re-telling of the story.[7]


  1. "Oxford Dictionary entry of Charlotte Badger". Oxford University Press. 2004. Retrieved 2008-06-16.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  2. 2.0 2.1 "History of Immigration to New Zealand". Retrieved 2008-06-16.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  3. Journal of Lesbian Studies Published 1997 Haworth Press Google Books Retrieved on 2008-06-16
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 4.4 "Frontier of Dreams trivia site". Retrieved 2008-06-16.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>[dead link]
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 "Swashbuckle - Real women pirates". Kelly Gardiner. 2006. Retrieved 2008-06-16.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  6. Playmarket: Vagabonds
  7. The Sound of Confusion: Jack Hayter - Charlotte Badger/Glass Bells Chime

Further reading

  • Charlotte Badger - Buccaneer by Angela Badger; Published 2002, isbsbooks. ISBN 0-9578735-2-2