John Harris was convicted of stealing eight silver spoons in 1783 in London and escaped from captivity aboard the transport ship ‘Mercury’ in 1784. He was then transported to NSW aboard ‘Scarborough’ in 1787. Shortly after his arrival in the colony and because of his good conduct and behaviour, he became a member of the Sydney Night Watch and then spent eight years in the Norfolk Island night watch police unit. He was known for his liberal views considering that convicts as well as the military had rights.
He received a pardon in December 1792 which was then confirmed by Gov John Hunter in 1796. Harris resided in Green Hills now Windsor and kept an in known as the Cross Keys located near present day Thompson Square. He lived with his partner Mary Green, the couple had three children John, Elizabeth and Susannah. Harris did not continue as a member of the night watch nor the police when he returned to NSW from Norfolk Island.
See Hawkesbury Settlement Revealed by Jan Barkley-Jack (2009)