This was John Love's last appointment as
surgeon superintendent on a convict ship. He was well experienced having
been first appointed as assistant surgeon twenty two years previously.
His appointments to convict ships included to the
1829, Mellish in 1830
(to VDL), and the Atlas
in 1833 (to VDL)
One hundred and fifty
male prisoners arrived in Port Jackson on
September 1835. The
voyage had taken 109 days and two prisoners died on the way.
It was a clear day at 6am in Sydney on
the 29th September, with winds from the SW, however by midday the skies
had clouded over. Rain began the following day.
seven young prisoners on board - Denis Connors and James Hogan were both
15; John Drummy and Thadie Cronin were 14; Patrick Mullins was 13; and
Patrick Carney an errand boy from Cork was only twelve years old.
departed Portsmouth bound for Van Diemen's Land on 16
Joseph Steret kept a Medical Journal from 12
August 1835 to 18 January
The Guard ordered for the Bardaster consisting of
thirty non commissioned Officers and privates of the 28th
regiment and two Commissioned Officers, embarked on the 22nd
August. According to the surgeon they were accompanied by an
unusually large proportion of women and children. There
being nine of the former, and the same number of the latter,
mostly infants under sixteen months. On the evening of their
embarkation one of the soldiers of the Guard was taken ill
with cholera and for the greater part of the night his life
was despaired of.........
..........We moved from Deptford to
Portsmouth where we were ordered to embark our prisoners; on
the 25th August we anchored at Gravesend. On the 29th we
weighed anchor and proceeded down the river. On 1st
September, I examined at the hulks Leviathan and York, two
hundred and forty male convicts who were embarked the same
day. They were in general healthy but four or five were
found to have disease of the lungs. Our sailing orders did
not arrive till Wednesday the 10th when the wind had lifted
to the SW where it continued blowing a gale till the 16th.
On that day it moderated and we weighed anchor. At night it
again blew hard and continued to do so till the 21st
September. We cleared the Channel on the 23rd
notwithstanding the unfavourable weather, but
had by this time established itself on
The surgeon isolated those affected in
the forecastle and such took precautions as the overcrowded
ship would allow. The weather continued very boisterous and
almost all the prisoners were sea sick. On 21st a prisoner
boy was carried into the hospital. He had been constantly
sea sick since sailing from Portsmouth and had not been
vaccinated from small pox. The surgeon now had three cases
of small pox to deal with. He made the hospital a 'pest
ward' and the sick were visited in the prison.
...........In the severe and confluent
disease it is impossible to convey by writing any notion of
the loathsome mass of suppuration and putrescence which the
patients became. The treatment consisted in moderating the
fever by bloodletting, purgatives and by keeping their body
naked and by applying clothes dipped in water. But I do not
think I succeeded in preventing the formation of a single
pimple in all, the face and extremities were literally
covered and the body nearly so. The secondary fever very
There was not room enough in the hospital
to accommodate all who became ill and so those who had been
inoculated and had only a modified form of the disease were
isolated on one side of the deck during the day. As well as
small pox there were also consumptive cases and a case of
apoplexy which proved fatal. There were six deaths
altogether on the voyage, one of them being a seaman who was
affected with small pox.
The Bardaster arrived in Van Diemen's Land on 13 January 1836, after a
voyage of 119 days.
Joseph Steret was also surgeon on the convict ships
in 1833 and the
Neptune in 1838 (VDL).
The Baring was built in London
in 1801. She was 3 decked with a length of 146ft 1 ½in (44.5
was launched at Deptford for Robert Charnock and taken up for
East India Company. In 1814 she left the East India service and was hired out as a convict ship.
Baringwas the next convict
ship to leave England bound for New South Wales after the departure of the
Northampton on 1st January 1815. The Baring departed England on
20 April 1815
called at Madeira and Rio de Janeiro on the way.
David Reid was employed as surgeon superintendent on the
Baring. He was about 40 years of age on this voyage. His journal for the
voyage has not survived and so there is no indication as to how the
prisoners were treated by him, however when he died in 1840 his obituary
described his death as a public lossby it the colony is bereaved of an
upright and zealous Magistrate, and society of a truly honest man.
He was also surgeon on the
in 1822. His journal for the voyage of the Baring in
1819 survives and he recommended stopping at Rio rather than the Cape as
vegetables were plentiful there.
The Guard consisted of a
detachment of the 34th regiment; the officers were
Captain Saunders (or Sanderson) and Lieutenant Norton.
Captain Norton, late of the 34th regiment, donated to the
Passengers included Mr. Parker,
and Mr. Pucking and family.
7 September 1815
the Baring arrived in Sydney Cove with 298 prisoners, two
having died on the passage out. Twenty of the prisoners were
under the age of sixteen. The youngest were Walter Barlow, John Briggs,
George Carter, William Potter and Charles Tilley who were all fourteen years
of age; and Joseph Frednam, James Kettle who were only thirteen years old.
The prisoners were all disembarked on
15th September 1815 and distributed to settlers and government service.
Seventy four men were sent to Windsor; thirty four to Liverpool; and thirty
three to Parramatta.
Captain Lamb of the Baring gave
notice of his intention to depart the colony in October,
however before he could do so several of the crew absconded -
William Jones, James Campbell, James Anderson, William
Jenkins, Matthew Ainsby, John Hill and William Wilson. Captain
Lamb offered a reward for their apprehension and Campbell,
Anderson and Jones were apprehended and thrown in gaol. The
Baring left without them and later there was a request
that they be assigned to William Campbell of the vessel
Governor Macquarie. (1)
The Baring departed Port Jackson bound for Calcutta on 6th
November 1816, however returned to the Heads of Port Jackson
on the following Sunday before once more setting sail on
the Monday. A woman who had found means to conceal herself on
board, with intent to escape from the Colony, was delivered
into custody on her return.
Thomas Whyte arrived as a convict on the Baring. Although he only
lived for another eleven years, he led a life of far more
freedom than many of his shipmates.
In October 1816 twelve months after
Peter Allen who arrived on the Baring was
arrested for stealing a bullock. He and another man by the
name of John Hall were sentenced to three years in prison in
solitary confinement and for all of that time to be fed only
bread and water. He became dreadfully ill and was examined by
a doctor at the instigation of Rev. Marsden on 14th November.
He was then removed from the gaol to the hospital where he
remained until the following March. In March he was considered
well enough to be returned to the gaol to complete his
sentence and remained there until the following August when
his sentence was remitted by the Governor.
Prisoners to be transported on the Baring in 1819 were
held in various Hulks prior to transportation. Many of those
who were tried at the Old Bailey were sent to Newgate prison
and transferred to the Retribution Hulk on 3rd October
1818. The were embarked on the Baring on 4th December
Passengers on the Baring included Captain Charles
Coates of the 89th regiment, commanding the guard of the 48th
regiment, and ensign Grove White of the 48th regiment. Other convict ships bringing soldiers of
the 89th regiment included the
Passengers on the Baring included Peter Roberts Esq., Deputy Assistant
Commissary General; Rev. John Cross and family with the Rev.
John Butler and Mrs. James Kempe, and Mr. Francis Hall,
Missionaries and their families; Mrs. Turnbull and family; and
Tooi and Tetterree, New Zealanders who had travelled to England in the
and arrived at Madeira on the 10th February, thirteen days from the Downs.
According to the Asiatic Journal, all the convicts, passengers,
troops and crew were in the highest state of health and order
and she immediately continued her voyage to New South Wales,
however many became ill after leaving the Cape. Light winds
delayed the ship on on approaching the Equator and the heat
affected many of the convicts and some of the guard with
'chronic affectations of the liver and jaundice'. Five of the
They met with a series of light easterly
winds which rendered the latter part of the voyage very
tedious and prevented the passage through Bass Strait. Surgeon
Reid noted that
exclusive of those who died 'we had about 30 more ill with slight
complaints of the same kind but we kept the disease at bay with lemon
juice and fresh meat till we got to the Derwent when we had a plentiful
supply of fresh meat, vegetable and potatoes and when we arrived at Port
Jackson all had recovered'.
However the Hobart Town
Gazette reported that when the Baring put
into Hobart on 14th June to procure fresh provisions and
water, five prisoners suffering extreme debility were landed
and one of them died the following day. The following month 21
year old Private Edward Edwards died after suffering a
debilitating illness on the voyage out. The Baring
was planning to proceed from Hobart to Port Jackson on Sunday
20th June. (Hobart Town Gazette 19 June 1819)
The Baring arrived at Port Jackson on
26 June 1819 with 290 prisoners.
Of those prisoners an astonishing eighty two were under the
age of twenty one years. Two were only eleven years old.
to read the parliamentary
debate which was brought about by the petition of Dr. Lawrence Halloran,
who had been convicted of fraud and was transported on the Baring.
Petition of Dr. Halloran - Mr. Bennet presented (to
parliament), a Petition from Dr. Halloran, sentenced to seven years
transportation, for forging a frank, complaining of the unprecedented
severity of the punishment for such an offence, and of the treatment
which he had experienced since his conviction. The hon. gentleman said
he had inquired into the circumstances of the case. Dr. Halloran was
unquestionably a man of considerable literary talents, he was advanced
in life, and had a large family. The sentence pronounced upon him
certainly appeared much too severe for the offence; but it was the
cruelty which Dr. Halloran complained that he had suffered since his
conviction to which he was desirous to call the attention of the House.
Dr. Halloran had, on his apprehension, been sent to Coldbath-fields,
where he was imprisoned with felons. He was thence removed for trial to
Newgate, where he was confined in the condemned cells with thirty or
forty boys. From those cells, he was transferred to the hospital among
the sick felons. He by no means imputed any blame to the magistrates or
to the keeper, but it did so happen, owing to the crowded state of the
prison, that a very severe punishment, in the mode of his imprisonment
was, as in this case of Dr. Halloran's inflicted on a prisoner, even
before his trial. After Dr. Halloran had been convicted, he was sent on
board the Alonzo hospital ship at Woolwich. Here on 30th
November, he was seized with violent illness, in the middle of which he
was removed, and taken in an open boat to the Baring transport at
Purfleet (10 miles), where he was left in a small cabin for nineteen
hours without any kind of sustenance, He was then served with the usual
sea allowance, which was very unfit for a man in his condition, but
could obtain no medical aid. Dr. Halloran had been promised by Lord
Sidmouth that he should have every accommodation which it would be
proper to grant him, and that he should not be compelled to associate
with common felons. In a few days, however, after he had been taken on
board the Baring, twenty double-ironed felons were lodged with
him in the same cabin. He had seen this cabin; it was twelve feet
square. Twenty one human beings were crammed into it, in cribs six feet
and a half broad by five feet and half long, into each of which six
human beings were stowed. In that situation they were unable to turn
round, and Dr. Halloran declared he was witness to one of the
abominable scenes the increasing prevalence of which was so degrading to
the character of the country.
There was a privy (used by a hundred and fifty convicts, in the fore
part of the ship) in one corner of it;
Dr. Halloran sent a statement of this transaction to Lord
Sidmouth and a most respectable officer Mr. Capper was sent to
investigate. Mr. Bennet repeated that he himself had visited the vessel.
It contained between two and three hundred human beings all stowed in
about fifty cribs. It was in the middle of the day, about three o'clock,
when he went on board; and yet it was necessary to use candles. Never
should he forget the loathsome scene which the vessel exhibited! It
appeared that the ship had a short time before got on a bank in a gale
of wind, and had been nearly lost. The agitation of the storm had
occasioned violent sickness among the unhappy men on board and those who
were at bottom, were almost suffocated by the results of that sickness.
The case was heard in parliament 25th January 1819 and it was agreed
that if the ship had not sailed already that she should be stopped and
an investigation as to the conditions take place. Although she
apparently didn't sail until 27th January, it was stated in parliament
that she had already departed....
Dr. Halloran was granted a ticket of leave on arrival; he opened a
private school known as the Sydney Grammar School, in January 1820 and
in November 1825 was appointed headmaster of the new Sydney Free Public
David Reid recommended that when convicts were
first embarked and while detained before sailing that they be given
plenty of vegetables and fresh meat instead of salt rations so that
their constitution might be enabled to resist the effects of disease in
the case of a lengthy voyage. He also recommended that unless the
passage from England to the Southern tropic was quick, it was advisable
to stop at Rio Janeiro which was preferable to the Cape of Good Hope as
vegetables were plenty and cheap and the passage from that place could
be made to Port Jackson in as little time as from England to Rio.
in Parliament - Gentleman's Magazine
Notes and Links:
Tasmania Times......Kris Jacobsen, of Canberra, has documented
the lives of Jacob and Benjamin Isaacs in a book entitled A Land
of Promise: An Account of Jacob Isaacs, Jewish Convict, and Benjamin
Isaacs, Christian Printer and Publisher. From the
State Library of Victoria....Contents/Summary: From East London
lanes--To colonial roads--And colonial towns--Benjamin's imprint. At the
end of the 19th century Jacob Isaacs, and his son Benjamin lived in
poverty in London. Benjamin avoided the criminal orientation of his
father when a charity provided an education and apprentice- ship. This
account investigates their lives from the adverse circum- stances of
Whitechapel to the opportunities presented in a new land.
TheBarossawas the next
convict ship to leave England for New South Wales after the
departure of the female transport Mary Anne in July 1839.
Passengers on the
Rev. M. Woodward, Mrs.
Woodward, Miss Woodward, Miss Emily Woodward, Lieutenant James Chambre
96th regiment, Ensign Hough, 50th regiment and 29 rank and file of the
28th, 50th and 96th regiments with their wives and children.
From the Military Intelligence
of the Woolwich Advertiser of July 20th 1839...50th regiment
- Ensign Hodge (?Hough) with 12 men, is ordered to be in
readiness to embark on board the Barossa, convict ship at Deptford.
The service companies at New South Wales will relieve the 16th at
Bengal next year.(1)
The prisoners of the Barossa
were mainly young men although there were a few who were older. They
had came from districts throughout England and Scotland - Warwick,
Birmingham, Buckinghamshire, Gloucester, Nottingham, Edinburgh,
Wiltshire, Lancashire and Middlesex. Crimes ranged from picking
pockets and insubordination to highway robbery and manslaughter. A
number of the prisoners had been tried at the Old Bailey on 17th
September 1838. They were received on to the Fortitude hulk at
Chatham from Newgate prison on 2nd October 1838 and transferred to the
Barossa on 26th July 1839. Jacob Campbell was convicted on 6th
November at Edinburgh for an assault upon his wife and was received on
to the Justitia hulk on 26th November where he remained until
he was transferred to the Barossa on 22nd July 1839. Sixteen
year old James Cotterell had been convicted of stealing from the
person on 16th October 1838 in Staffordshire. He was received on to
the Ganymede hulk on 14th December where he was described as
having bad habits and connexions, a sullen disposition and had been
convicted four times before. He was transferred to the Barossa
on 22 July 1839. He was one of five prisoners under the age of 16 the
others being David Agg (15), William Bradshaw (16), John Keefe (15)
and John Moore (15).
The Barossa sailed from Sheerness
on 3rd August 1839 having embarked
a total of 336 male
convicts there and at Woolwich.
Robert Wylie was a
well experienced surgeon superintendent having previously been
employed on the
and Emma Eugenia in
1838. He kept a Medical Journal
from 7 July to 16 December 1839 on this voyage of the Barossa.
All the convicts were healthy
on embarking, however before starting
measles broke out affecting three children and three convicts. It had
been brought on board by some of the children of the guard. As the
cases began to appear, Robert Wylie was at first apprehensive of
having to put back to port or stop over en route, and was relieved to
find that there were in total six cases only.
Later he reported that Herpes had also broken out having
been brought on board by convicts from the Ganymede hulk. It
spread to about 50 of the men as the ship passed through the tropics
and despite treatment with stimulants and sedatives did not abate
until the ship approached colder weather. While sailing easterly they
passed through very cold weather and icebergs were seen. Several
people suffered illness, and two died at this time.
first patient was Lawrence Doyle on 29th July who was suffering from
pneumonia and who wasn't discharged from the sick list until 19th
November. On 29th July two year old Elizabeth Fitz, a child of one of
the Guard was treated for rubeola. The attack appeared mild to the
surgeon, however the child developed bronchitis and died on 15th August.
James Holme age 53 became ill on 7th October with diarrhoea, his health
declined until 24th October when he died. Robert Holdsworth, a slight
lad of fair complexion and aged 19 began to suffer with diarrhoea on 5th
November. Despite all the surgeon's attention he slowly declined
until his death on 19th November. Puzzled by his death the surgeon
performed a post mortem and found the lungs to have been considerably
congested and colon swollen although the patient had never complained of
any symptoms in those regions.
The Chief Mate on the Barossa was Mr.
Alfred Newman who was 21 years of age. He was treated by the surgeon for
rheumatism in his hips and back on 9th October, his condition made worse
by the cold weather they were experiencing.
The Barossa spoke the
Orient on 30 October in latitude 40S longitude 49E.
Barossa arrived in Port Jackson on
8 December 1839. The convicts were landed
at the dockyard and marched to
Hyde Park Barracks
on Friday 13th December. Two or three who were sick were conveyed in
hand barrows. They were inspected by His Excellency,
George Gipps at
the Barracks where his
Excellency delivered to them the usual address upon the occasion.
Two weeks later, the Australasian Chronicle
reported that the convicts who arrived by the Barossa were
removed on Monday 16th December to the Cook's River station, and Mr.
Jones, late Assistant Chief constable of Sydney was appointed
superintendent of the works which were in progress there.
The Australasian Chronicle
of 31st December 1839 mentioned Rev. Woodward - The Rev. Mr.
Woodward. This Rev. gentleman arrived per Barossa from the traits of
character he has already displayed, we feel no hesitation in
congratulating the colony on such a valuable acquisition to the cause
of liberality among us. On Sunday, the Rev. Gentleman performed divine
service at the quarantine ground. He addressed in impressive language
the unfortunate people, and called on them in the name of their
Creator to join with him in returning thanks for their fortunate
escape from typhus fever whilst so many of their fellow creatures had
been laid low under similar circumstances. At the conclusion of his
address, he advised them in strong language, no matter what their
religion might be, to attend divine service on next Sunday, when a
Catholic clergyman will officiate. It gives us great pleasure to
record such an expression of liberality on the part of a Protestant
clergyman, and we would fondly hope that the arrival of Mr. Wood- ward
may form an era in our history in this respect.
The Barwell had been built and launched on the River Thames
in 1782 and used by the
East India Company .
She arrived in
Portsmouth on 15 October 1797 and departed there on
6 November 1797.(1)
Taking the passage via the Cape, the
Barwell with 287 convicts on board arrived in Port Jackson on
Nine convicts had died on the voyage out.
Passengers included Hunter Valley settlers
Richard Dore, deputy Judge-Advocate;
and Ensign Nicholas Bayley of the NSW Corps commander of the Guard.
Michael Massey Robinson
- Extract of a letter from a gentleman who went passenger in the Barwell
to New South Wales. September 5, 1798.....Mr. Robinson, the attorney, whose
memorable attack upon Mr. Oldham produced so memorable a prosecution against
him, came also in the Barwell; and from the superiority of his manners and
behaviour, ingratiated himself so happily with the captain and officers as
to be allowed a situation entirely remote and detached from the convicts,
where, in a mess composed of some passengers, the boatswain, gunner, and
steward, he was indulged every day with a bottle of wine and a cover from
the captain's table. (HR NSW Vol., III p. 728)
Cadman who became Superintendent of Government boats in Sydney also arrived
on the Barwell
Convict artist John William Lancashire arrived on the Barwell. In
about 1803 he produced
this painting of
Sydney Cove. The bridge over the Tank Stream can be seen on the far right.
Soon after leaving the Cape,
there were whispers of a mutiny and but for information given
by one of the men, it may have taken place. Ensign George Bond
of the New South Wales Corps was named as one of the
ringleaders. He and several other soldiers were thrown into
irons. Later, in the colony various charges were made against
Bond, however they came to naught at trial. There is an
account in Charles Bateson's The Convict Ships
an account of Bond's trial can be read in the Historical
Records of New South Wales Vol., III., p.453., however before
this attempted mutiny, there was a another plan to take the
In 1810 the following people who had
arrived on the Barwell received their Certificates of
Freedom being restored to all the Rights of Free Subjects
in consequence of their terms of transportation being expired...Thomas
Evestaff, Abraham West, Thomas Sealy, James Wild, William
The Batavia was the next
convict ship to leave England for New South Wales after the departure of
Ocean in August 1817. The Batavia departed from Plymouth
1 November 1817
arrivedinPort Jackson on
5 April 1818.
In 1818, Lachlan Macquarie was Governor of the
Lieutenant James Morisset
was Commandant at Newcastle. Governor Macquarie wrote in his
journal for the 4 April 1818 - This Day at 1. P.M. anchored in the
Harbour the Batavia Transport Ship Commanded by Capt. W. B. Lamb,
with 218 Male Convicts from England whence She finally Sailed on the
1st. of November last, touching only at Madeira. Mr. James Billing is
Surgeon Supdt. of the Batavia, and Lieut. Elgee of the 34th. Regt.
commands the Guard of Soldiers on board, consisting of the 34th. 46th. &
Seventy nine of the men
were forwarded by water to Parramatta and then by land to Windsor. Another
twelve were sent in charge of William Cox to Bathurst.
While in Port, Captain Lamb married Charlotte Sarah Willoe, the eldest
daughter of William Gore, Esq., Provost Marshal. The marriage took place
on the 1st June at St. Phillips Church and Captain Lamb left for Bombay
on the 3rd June.
The Sydney Gazette reported in July that the
Batavia had returned after an absence of five weeks, not being able
to make the western passage for India.
The total population in New
South Wales in 1818 was 17,165. Of those were 4,100 male convicts
and 2340 female convicts.
William Wheatley who arrived on the
Batavia was sent to Newcastle penal settlement for a colonial crime.
He was one of eleven pirates who seized the cutter Eclipse from
the harbour in 1825. Find out more about their audacious escape at
On 22 April 1819 Dr Edward Trevor,
superintendent and medical inspector of convicts, wrote to
William Gregory, Under Secretary, Dublin Castle, concerning
varied state of clothing and health of the 310 convicts
recently embarked on convict ships Bencoolen and
Mary. He commented on the condition of convicts sent from
Newgate jail, Dublin; Kilmainham jail, Dublin; and Cork city
jail and criticised in particular the 'filthy' state of
prisoners from Cork city jail, and their drunken behaviour.
Chief Secretary's Office Registered Papers,
The Bencoolen was the
next convict ship to leave Ireland for New South Wales after
the departure of the
Tyne in 1818. The Bencoolen sailed from the
Cove of Cork on 24 April
1819 with 150 male
prisoners. Of these there were 4 Protestants and 146
This was William Evans' second voyage as surgeon
superintendent on a convict ship. He
from 13 April to 4 September 1819. He recorded in the Journal
a case of food poisoning that took place on 7 - 9 June. The
crew had caught Dolphin two days previously which was hung
from the rigging for a day without being gutted. Two of the
guard were taken ill and six of the crew. One of the prisoners
was also taken ill. The worst cases were of the sail maker and
Mrs. Clancey, the Sergeant's wife. They suffered with languor,
heaviness and faintness, pain in the bowels and a copper
colour to their faces with large wheals or lumps.
arrived in Port Jackson on
25 August 1819 in excellent health, none
having died on the passage out. The voyage took a total of 123
days and they sailed 15, 762 miles.
The surgeon remarked on the good behaviour of the prisoners.
No corporal punishment had been necessary. Regulations were
drawn up at the start of the voyage and a committee of 12
prisoners appointed to settle disputes. He knew that other
convict voyages had been characterised as scenes of gambling
and impropriety but not a single pack of cards had been found
on the Bencoolen. Instead the prisoners paid great
attention to their prayer books and religious and moral
tracts. The surgeon believed their decency and propriety of
behaviour and submissiveness to all those placed over them
indicated they meant seriously to retrieve their injured
Classification of the prisoners was by a separation of the
young from the old. The better behaved prisoners
improved the manners of the others, rather than being
corrupted by them.
On the 30th August, five days after arriving in Port Jackson, Mr Campbell came on board and mustered
the prisoners who said they were pleased with their treatment
and made no complaints. On the 4th September the convicts were
disembarked at daybreak, and the guards at 9am.
The Sydney Gazette noted that the prisoners landed
from the various vessels (the Canada, Mary and the Bencoolen),
during the previous week appeared to be in a healthy and comparatively happy
condition. They spoke of the kindness and humanity they received from the
Commanders and Officers in the most grateful terms of praise; who expressed
universal satisfaction at their orderly conduct and exemplary good behaviour
during the voyage.
In September 130 prisoners were
transhipped on the 'Admiral Cockburn' to Hobart
The Bencoolen was to depart for
Calcutta in October 1819
Eighteen of the Bencoolen
convicts have been identified in the Hunter Valley. Select
HERE to find out more about
The Bengal Merchant was built in Calcutta in 1812.
She was taken up by the
East India Company in 1813 and sold to Joseph Somes in 1834.
Some of the convicts embarking on the
had been tried and
convicted at the Old Bailey and incarcerated at Newgate.
Select here to find
out what it may have been like to be
imprisoned in Newgate in 1835. From Newgate and other county prisons
in England and Scotland the men were transferred to the
Hulks moored in the Thames to await transportation. Those in the
Fortitude hulk were taken to the vessel on
23 September 1834. From the Justitia prisoners were transferred on
the 19th September.
The Bengal Merchant
was the next convict ship to leave England after the departure of the
in September 1834. Having departed Sheerness on 1st October 1834 the
Bengal Merchant made a direct passage and arrived in Port Jackson
30 January 1835.
The Guard consisted of 2 sergeants, 27
rank and file of the 50th regiment under command of Capt. McDonald and
Passengers - Mrs. McDonald, Miss McDonald, Misses Eliza, Charlotte,
Emily, Louisa, Sarah and Elizabeth McDonald, Masters Charles and Richard
McDonald, 10 women (soldiers wives) and 13 children
James Ellis kept a
Medical Journal from 6th September 1834 to 20 February 1835. He found
that catarrh and bowel complaints appeared almost immediately on their
coming on board, and the sick list increased while at sea with many and
various complaints and among them several cases of inflammatory fever,
of which one prisoner, John Stroud died. Two more prisoners also died on
the passage out.
On the 17 December scurvy made it appearance and
rapidly increased so much so that seventy seven cases of the disease had
been under treatment, the principal features of the disease were a
debilitated state of body, sallow complexion, spongy and bleeding gums,
stiffness and swellings of the joints particularly the knees, and
sometimes yellow and greenish blotches on the trunk and extremities. The
surgeon's recourse was the vegetable acids and also the solution of
nitre in vinegar lately so strongly recommended, to one portion of
cases. Lime juice alone was administered in doses of two ounces, three,
four or five times in the day to others.
The prisoners were to be landed
in the week beginning the 8th February, however the Sydney Monitor
reported on the 14th and the 21st that the Bengal Merchant was still
lying in the stream with prisoners on board. The heat was so excessive
in Sydney at this time that it was reported that over thirty bullocks
had dropped dead from heat exhaustion and were still lying on various
streets around Sydney. The Bengal merchant finally set sail again on
26th February bound for Java.
Distribution of Convicts of the Bengal
Merchant - of the 267 landed; 20 were retained for public service; 1
was unfit for assignment; 6 were specials; 15 were in hospital; 29 were
sent to work in irons on
Goat Island; 196 were assigned to Private Service
Note - The prisoners
refused to eat cocoa. The surgeon recommended tea be
William Campbell. Surgeon Superintendent
In the last week
of July 1836, 270 male convicts were embarked at Woolwich and
Sheerness after inspection on the hulks. They were mainly
middle aged with a large proportion of lads, mostly in good
health. Some of the older men were emaciated and pallid in
consisted of 29 rank and
file of the 80 the regt., under command of Lieutenant Samuel
Tolfrey Christie (brother of William H. Christie who came on
the Captain Cook) and
Ensign Horton with four women and four children as passengers.
The Bengal Merchant
was the next vessel to leave England for New South Wales after
the departure of the Lady Kennaway in June 1836. The Bengal Merchant
departed the Downs on the 8th August
1836 and sailed via Tenerife. When they arrived in Port Jackson
December 1836 they had been on board for a total of 140
John Tarn kept a
Medical and Surgical Journal
from 13 July 1836 to 17 December 1836.
Ninety three men
were on John Tarn's sick list at various times throughout the
voyage, including the guard. There was only one death, a man
already ill and who according to Tarn should never have been
embarked. Most of the cases were of slight catarrh, diarrhoea,
dyspepsia. In the early part of the voyage there were fevers,
mostly from prisoners who embarked on the Justitia hulk
at Woolwich where the disease was prevalent. On reaching
hotter climates, cholera appeared and diarrhoea when the
prisoners began to eat fruit again. Towards the end of
the voyage scurvy began to appear in about a dozen men.
Because some of the
elderly men seemed less healthy, they called at Tenerife to
pick up refreshments, obviating the need to call at the Cape.
Fresh fruit and vegetables were taken on board and the men had
the benefit of 7 or 8 days fresh diet, which much improved the
general health. The surgeon suggested that tea should be
substituted for chocolate and an increase in the allowance of
bread and sugar. Many of the convicts refused to take the
cocoa at all and at the start of the voyage most of them would
not take it. The guard never took it.
The decks were
dry holystoned daily (the
deck was scoured with small, smooth pieces of freestone after
a layer of dry sand had been sprinkled over it)
and the convicts kept on deck during the forenoon. The prisons
were well ventilated and kept dry by the airing stove.
John Tarn was employed as
surgeon on the convict ships
Note - There was
a serious outbreak of typhus on the voyage
William Campbell. Surgeon Superintendent
Two hundred and seventy male prisoners embarked on the Bengal Merchant
under the care of Isaac Noott who kept a Medical
Journal from 5 March 1838 to
28 July 1838.
The guard consisted of 29 men of the 21st and 51st Regiments under orders of
Lieutenant Gates of the 51st and Lieutenant Dear of the 21st regiment,
with 6 women and 9 children. They embarked at Deptford on 15 March 1838.
ships bringing detachments of the 51st regiment included
sailed for Sheerness the following day and on 20th March 270
convicts from Chatham were embarked. Convict John Franklyn was one of the men who had
been on board the hulk at Chatham. Already suffering severely from
rheumatism, he got very wet on the day of embarkation and despite the
care of Isaac Noott, continued to suffer throughout the rest of the
Select here to read
a Prison Hulk Report
describing a typical week in the life of convicts incarcerated in the
Hulks in 1838.
was the next vessel to leave England after the departure of the
in November 1837. She weighed anchor on 28 March, passed the Downs on 1 April and were at
Tenerife on 11 April where they spent two days getting water and fresh
There was an outbreak of typhus on 20th May. Prisoners, crew and
soldiers were affected. James Monk died on 9th June. Private William
Denny of the Guard died on 25 June and convict Thomas Morgan died on 17
first case of scurvy occurred on 8th July, that of August
Piotrowski. Isaac Noott described him as 'a Pole of indolent habit'.
Only half or three quarters of the prisoners were allowed on deck at the
same time, so that there was room for them to exercise. They were made
to walk around the deck several times a day. The prison was kept clean
and as dry as possible. Nitre and vinegar was given to convalescents and
lemon juice from the commencement of salt meat but the wine not until
after the tropics. Two children who died of atrophy were not included in
the surgeon's report.
The Bengal Merchant arrived in Port Jackson
21st July 1838,
a voyage of 115 days.
She was one of thirteen convict ships arriving in New South Wales in
arrival George Williams aged 22 was sent to the hospital suffering from
rheumatism. He was still in hospital on 18 August.
Of the 267 convicts who arrived on the Bengal
Merchant, 58 have so far been identified residing in the Hunter
find out more about these men.
Noott was employed as surgeon on the
Alfred in 1834 and the Layton in 1839 (VDL)
In 1834 the prisoners to
be transported on the Blenheim were incarcerated in the Surprize Hulk
at Cork. The prison had been established about ten years previously
and the following report was written in 1824......... This prison
has been arranged in a very complete manner, in the Surprize frigate,
and affords good accommodation for 350 convicts. The state of the hulk
with respect to accommodation, dietary, cleanliness, and interior
regulation, we found to be very satisfactory. The ship has been
extremely healthy. The officers all seem to perform their duty well;
but we should recommend very strongly that a schoolmaster should be
appointed, and a latitude given to Mr. Hollingsworth, the local
inspector, to provide books. This officer would be much inclined to
forward the instruction of the convicts, and under the superintendence
of the chaplains, much good effect might be expected. One of the
reasons which has been assigned for want of instruction on board the
hulk, is the shortness of the stay of the convicts; but it is to be
considered that almost all these prisoners have come from a county
gaol in which a school was established, many of them from scenes of
real improvement, and that they are therefore prepared at once to be
placed in the class of readers, and that a temporary suspension of ail
endeavours to instruct, might much counteract any improvement which
may have been acquired. Some of the prisoners are employed in
carpenter's work, making and repairing prison dresses, and
occasionally picking oakum.
Report of the Committee of the Society for the Improvement of Prison
here to find out more about the
Convict establishment at Cork and the names of
Officers employed in the service in the years
1832, 1833 and 1834. (2)
The Freeman's Journal reported on Saturday 19th July 1834.....Two
hundred and fifty male convicts from Limerick, Galway, Cork,
Waterford, Kerry, Clare, Tipperary and Castlebar were embarked in the
Blenheim at Cove and proceeded for Botany Bay on Monday. A detachment
of the 50th regiment is on board.
James Wilson kept a
30 May to 28 November 1834 ....
On 7th July, I went on board the Surprize convict hulk at the
Cove of Cork, and was present at the inspection of the convicts by a
Medical Officer sent from Dublin for that purpose. There was also
present the Medical Officer belonging to the Hulk.
I objected to receive some of the prisoners and offered to receive two
others. One was said by the Surgeon to be blind and in fact he was led
to the cabin door and then led away as a person unfit for embarkation on
account of total loss of vision said to be of long standing . The
Officer from Dublin seeing on the list that his crime was sheep stealing
had him called back, and he and I took the man into open light to
examine his eyes. This he resisted by keeping the palpebra so
permanently closed that no efforts of our fingers could separate them;
this power of the muscles no doubt acquired from long continued action,
he having I was afterwards informed employed it for 13 months. Being
defeated in ascertaining the state of the globe of the eye but quite
certain the globe in both eyes were entire from the prominence of the
palpebra, I got a spatula which I introduced with some force it being
contrary to his will, between the eyelids and separated them with that,
and I saw that vision was perfect in both eyes. I told him I would
receive him on board and recommended his having his eyes open when he
came or I would punish him at the gangway. The other case was said to be
chronic rheumatism of long standing. This man was stripped and examined
by the Dublin Officer and myself when we found him to be a powerful
muscular man at the advanced age he said of 76.
The appearance of the prisoners as a body was that of being very cleanly
in their persons and their strength equal to the seamen who offer
themselves as volunteers for His Majesty's Navy. On the 8th July we
embarked 200 of the above convicts, one of them Daniel Sughrue, the
blind man who was led yesterday he came out the boat and up the ships
side without assistance, on his getting on board, I advised him to look
in my face, he did so with the eyes half opened when I told him unless
he opened both that instant and looked in my face, my promise of
flogging him would be carried into execution on this he opened both his
eyes and looked me full in the face showing two eyes perfectly natural.
About the same time ten free settlers sons of convicts were embarked.
These boys were messed and slept in the small prison with the convicts,
three of these lads were nearly destitute of clothing and the head of
one swarming with vermin........ Timothy Mannix,
Roger Sheedy, Thomas Sheedy, John Sheedy, Patrick Stenton, John Stenton,
Patrick Neville, James Neville and Edward Neville.
The Blenheim was the next convict ship to leave Ireland for New South
Wales after the departure of the female transport
in May 1834.
The Blenheim departed Cork on 27 July 1834.
Two men died on the voyage out, both from diseases of long standing
according to the surgeon. One from and abscess on the brain and
the other from vertigo and palpitations of the heart
The Blenheim was one of fourteen convict ships arriving in New
South Wales in 1834. She arrived at Port Jackson on
14 November 1834.
The Guard for the Blenheim consisted of 33 rank and rile
of 50th regiment., 8 women and 9 children under orders of Capt. Fothergill
and Lieut. O'Halloran. Some of the guard mentioned in the surgeon's
Journal include: Private Patrick White aged 21; John Neely aged 23;
Sergeant John Harris; Private Hugh McCormick; Peter Connaghan, drummer;
soldier's wife Mary Cregan. Captain Fothergill later served at Norfolk
Island. He returned to Sydney in September 1836.
The Blenheim was the next convict ship to leave Ireland for
New South Wales after the departure of the Whitby in February 1839.
while moored at Kingstown, received 200 prisoners on board on
the 8th May 1839.
William McDowell kept a
Medical Journal from 23
April 1839 to 8 October 1839 and
reported all the men to have been in good health on
They departed Dublin on 19 May 1839
There was an outbreak of dysentery in July. The surgeon
considered it due to the bad water they had on board which
emitted a most offensive putrid effluvia, almost intolerable,
and caused many bowel complaints. Fresh water and provisions
were obtained at the Cape on 6th August, however it came too
late and three prisoners James Maginness, Martin Graham and
Michael Farrelly all died from dysentery. Later another
convict James Benson also died after suffering tonsillitis.
touched at Simon's Bay, Cape of Good
Hope on 6th August.
Very bad weather was encountered on 4th September, one
prisoner James Feeney becoming so frightened that he required
treatment from the surgeon.
arrived at Port Jackson on
27 September 1839.
She was one of eleven convict ships arriving in New South
Wales in 1839.
Passengers included Adjutant Macgregor of 28th regiment and
Ensign Kirby of the 51st regiment
was the next convict ship to leave Ireland bound for New South
Wales after the departure of the
in November 1827.
departed Cork 11 February 1828 with 200 male convicts and cabin
passengers H. Thomson from England, free settler, Mrs. Aubin, 8
women and 11 children belonging to the troops. Steerage passenger
Patrick Carolan, son of a convict.
The Guard consisted of
Captain Aubin and Ensign Aubin of the 57th regiment, 48
men of the 57th and two of the Royal Veterans. Philip Aubin was
appointed Ensign 14th February 1811, Lieutenant 29th April 1813, Captain
22 June 1826 and Major 12 April 1831. He served in the Peninsula from
Nov. 1811 to the end of the war, including the battles of Vittoria, the
Pyrenees, 25th, 28th, 30th and 31st July; Nivelle, Nive, 9th, 11th, and
13th December 1813, besides many other minor actions and skirmishes. He
was severely wounded through the left side in action at Couchez 18th
March 1814. Other ships bringing detachments of the 57th regiment
Sir Godfrey Webster,
Marquis of Hastings,
Other convict ships bringing detachments of the 57th
regiment included Borodino, Norfolk, Minstrel,
Thompson kept a Medical Journal from 4 December
1827 to 25 July 1828.
In consequence of damage to the iron tiller on the 21st February during
a severe gale of wind, the Borodino was obliged to put into Lisbon
causing the voyage to be quite lengthy. They departed Lisbon on 16th
March 1828; by this time the guard had been on board
232 days and the convicts 200 by the time they reached Sydney.
This resulted in extra expenditure of medicines and medical comforts and
surgeon George Thompson was required to spend more time attending to the mens' health.
George Thompson's former voyage with English convicts (the
in 1826) took 135 days and they sailed direct without touching
anywhere. In consequence there was no scurvy or any
other disease except trifling complaints. On this voyage of the
Borodino, although only one prisoner was confined with
scurvy there were a number of others who had early symptoms of
the disease and who required medical assistance.
attributed his not losing any of the convicts on his two voyages to keeping them
on deck whenever the weather would permit between sunrise and sunset; to
keeping the prisons dry and well ventilated; to prohibiting the convicts
from using the water closets during the day (which were badly fitted) to
frequent fumigations, great attention to cleanliness and
obliging them to take as much exercise as was possible.
was one of seventeen convict ships arriving in New South Wales
in 1828. She arrived in Port Jackson on
14 July 1828
The Colonial Secretary
Alexander McLeay inspected and mustered the male prisonerson
16th July preparatory to
their landing and distribution. The convict indents reveal the name,
age, education, religion, marital status, family, native place, trade,
offence, when and where tried, sentence, prior convictions, physical
description and where and to whom assigned. There is also occasional
additional information regarding colonial crimes, deaths, relatives in
the colony and pardons. Thirteen prisoners were under the age of
sixteen. The youngest were Thomas Stapleton (14); John Long (14) and
Owen Rooney (14). Owen Rooney's brother Terence was also transported on
the Borodino. He died in George St. Sydney just one month after
Forty six prisoners have been
identified residing in the Hunter Valley region in later years. Select
HERE here to find out more about these men. James Bresnahan arrived as
a convict on the Borodino. He was executed as a bushranger in
The prisoners to be embarked on the Boyne in
1826 had come from different counties throughout Ireland. Many were tried
in March and April 1826, however some had been held for much longer.
Among their number were petty thieves, murderers and rapists. There were
also men who had been convicted of administering unlawful oaths. Seven of
these came from Co. Longford - James Dooley, Christopher Finley, Michael
Jordan, Fergus McGarry, James Shanley and brothers John and Edward
here to find out more about the administering of unlawful oaths.
transferred from county gaols, some of the prisoners may have been held in the depot at Cork prior to transportation......
The Boyne sailed from London
bound for Cork on the 6th June 1826. Two hundred prisoners were embarked
at Cork. One man, Thomas or John Cunningham was sent back to shore too
ill to make the voyage. The Boyne was the next convict ship to leave
Ireland for New South Wales after the departure of the
Regalia in March 1826. The Boyne departed Cork on 29 June 1826.
On the passage she put into Rio de Janeiro to be refitted after being
de-masted at sea.
This was Harman Cochrane's third voyage as surgeon superintendent on a
The first two transports he was employed on
carried female prisoners - the
Mary in 1823 and the
in 1825. On this voyage of the Boyne h
e kept a
May 1826 to 28 November........He
attributed the low death rate and exemption from serious disease to the
strictest order of regularity, cleanliness and dryness and good
ventilation. He noted that their conduct was good and he seldom found it
necessary to confine any of them below deck. They mostly had free access
to the upper deck from morning to night and he thought this contributed
to the preservation of their health and spirits. Ten cases of illness
including both soldiers and convicts were noted in his journal,
including the following...... John Hennessy was treated on 11th
July and John Madden also on 11th July suffering from sea sickness.
McFarlane and Bryan McCormick were both treated in September.
Daniel Connor suffered with an asthmatic illness in September and Daniel
Gleeson was treated for pains in his legs which began when the weather
turned cold in September. He had been confined to his bed for most of
the two years he had been in prison in Ireland. It may have been him
Australian later referred to .........Deaf and dumb
prisoners are occasionally ordered off on a transportation voyage; but
we never knew of a cripple like one, who, it is said, has arrived per
Boyne, have his passage paid by his country, and for such a reason too;
for sheep stealing. This cripple walks on his hands and knees. (The
Australian 4 November 1826)
Boyne arrived in Port Jackson on Saturday
1826 after a voyage of 121 days. The
convicts were mustered on board by Colonial Secretary Alexander
McLeay on 2nd November 1826. The Monitor reported that the
detention of the prisoners of the Boyne was protracted because
they were awaiting arrangements to be made for the immediate assignment
of all of the prisoners*. They were not landed until early in
the morning on 10th November. They were
inspected by the Governor who was attended by his Staff and were
reported to be clean and healthy. The convict indents reveal the name, age, education, religion, marital status, family,
occupation, offence, when and where tried and physical description. Most
entries give the information as to where the men were assigned on arrival. Also included
information such as colonial sentences, deaths and relatives already in
the colony. Five of the prisoners were under the age of sixteen -
Patrick Cuffey (15); Timothy Hennesy (15); John Ledy (16); Owen McNalty
(16); and John Ryan (16). No place of assignment was recorded for these
boys in the indents and they were probably sent to the Carter's Barracks
The Boyne was advertised to be intending to leave in November 1826....For London via
China, the fine teak built ship the Boyne commanded by W.L. Pope; has
superior accommodation in a very roomy poop, for two passengers only.
National Archives -
619 tons. Principal Managing Owner: George Green. Voyages: (1) 1825/6
New South Wales and China. Cork 29 Jun 1826 - New South Wales - Whampoa
1 Mar 1827 - 29 Jun St Helena - 11 Sep Blackwall.
Harman Cochrane was also employed as surgeon on the convict ship
The Brampton was built in 1817 at King's Lynn for W.J. Bottomley.
She was taken up for the
East India Company service in 1820, and left the service in 1821 before
sailing on a whaling voyage.
She was engaged as a convict transport in 1822 and
departed London for Cork on 28th July 1822.
In correspondence dated 17 October 1822 from Dr Edward Trevor, Dublin,
to Henry Goulburn, Chief Secretary, Dublin Castle, Dr. Trevor indicated
that he had inspected the one hundred and seventy two male convicts on
ship Brampton, at the Cove of Cork, and that amongst supplies included
for the voyage were cheap Paper Books and ink provided for the
Establishment of a School.
Morgan Price was employed as Surgeon Superintendent. He kept a
from 30 September 1822 to 28 April 1823.
On the 30 September 1822, 120 male convicts were received on
board from the gaol and depot of Cork. Many of these men had been
in prison for a considerable length of time and several had
By mid October several prisoners were suffering from catarrhal
(a cold) which surgeon Price treated with bleeding and
They were still at anchor in the Cove of Cork at the end of
October when at the instigation of Mr Price, two prisoners
were punished with 2 dozen lashes for fighting. Altercations
were not confined to the prisoners on this voyage as the
Captain of the ship proved to be a violent and abusive man.
The surgeon recorded in October his first experience with the
difficult Captain Moore, who was hurling abuse at the Officer
of the Guard Thomas Coulson (Buffs). A call to arms for both
the crew and soldiers had been made and Morgan Price attempted to
cool the situation before retiring to his cabin to write a
report of the incident. An investigation of the two officers
was held early in November by Captains Robouleau and Jones who
presented their finding to Lord Colville. Morgan Price was
informed that in the event of any future misunderstanding between Thomas Coulson quartermaster of the 3rd Buffs and
Captain Samuel Moore, that they should refer the matter to him
(Price) and his opinion on all occasion was to be taken.
The Brampton got under weigh at
2pm on 8 November 1822
and within a week prisoners were again affected with
catarrhal. By early December scurvy had made its
appearance. On the 7th December they made the island of St.
Anthony. (Did not land?)
A school had been commenced on board and the surgeon reported
on the 17
December 1822 that the greatest number of prisoners were very attentive to their
schooling and several who came on board were not able to spell
or even had any knowledge of the alphabet were able to read
with some facility. There was another dispute
between Samuel Moore and the Guard in October which seems to have been
settled by Mr. Price and in February there was yet another
disruption caused by Samuel Moore. The surgeon remarked
that he was astonished that they had arrived as far as they
had with such a turbulent fellow as Master.
They came to anchor at
Table Bay where they received 12 convicts for NSW. They
departed there on 20 February. Late in March the violent
temper of the Captain was again noted and Morgan Price had
occasion to question the Captain regarding the supply of rum
for the Guard which had all been consumed, although they were
supposed to have six months supply.
The Brampton arrived in Port Jackson
22 April 1823 and on Monday 28 April the
prisoners were landed as per the orders of Sir Thomas
Brisbane. The prisoners had been on board for nearly seven months by
that time and many were in a weak debilitated state.
They were inspected by the Governor in the morning and afterwards
distributed throughout the colony.
When leaving England, Captain Moore had orders
(unless he should receive contrary directions from the owner)
to go afterwards to New Zealand and take in spars and then
proceed to South America. The Brampton was delayed in
Sydney in consequence of some of the crew being imprisoned and
did not leave Sydney until 23rd July.
On 7th September while on the return voyage
from New Zealand to Sydney the
In the National Archives of Ireland,
Ireland to Australia Transportation database there are about twenty
one men listed who arrived in Australia on the Brampton who later
applied to have their wives and families join them in Australia.
Some of the vessels of the Third Fleet were to
proceed to the Southern Whale Fisheries after unloading the
prisoners; the rest were bound for Bengal where they were to
be freighted back to England with cotton. The sailors on board
the Nootka ships were to have nine guineas for the run to
Botany Bay after which they were to share as whale fishermen
do. The other sailors were paid twenty five shillings per
month. (The Times 15 March 1791)
The Britannia left for the Southern Whale fishery on 28th
was the next convict ship leave England for New South Wales after the
departure of the
Royal Admiral on 5th July 1830. The Burrell departed
27 July 1830,
anchored at Table Bay, Cape of Good Hope by the 1st November, and arrived
at Port Jackson on
19 December 1830
William West kept a
Medical Journal from 26th
June 1829 to 3 January 1830......
The surgeon remarked that
there was scarcely one of the 192 prisoners that was not affected with
symptoms of scurvy. The Guard of 30 soldiers were on board as long as
the prisoners and were equally unaccustomed to sea life. They were
provisioned with equal quantities and quality as the prisoners as well
and yet there was no scurvy amongst them. The surgeon attributed this to
their more active lifestyle. The convicts were confined 13 hours of 24
in the prison where it was impossible to keep them clean. There was a
report of mutiny which resulted in the prisoners being kept in
confinement for even longer. The surgeon thought the report false,
however later the Cape Paper carried an account: - The Burrell,
was anchored in Table Bay, with 189 male convicts on board for NSW. It
appears that these hardened offenders during the voyage had concocted a
diabolical conspiracy to murder the captain and crew, seize the vessel,
and run her ashore on the coast of Brazil. The plot was fortunately
discovered by the confessions of one of the convicts and measures were
immediately taken by the captain for securing the ringleaders and
defeating their designs. This same newspaper reported that one of the
convicts was formerly in command of the Burrell, however this was
later refuted by an associate of Captain Metcalf who was a relation of
the owner of the Burrell. The vessel had been built for Captain
Metcalfe four years previously. Captain Metcalfe superintended her
building and had commanded her ever since.
Three prisoners died on
the passage out. The first was William Davis aged 25. He was sent on
board from the Justitia Hulk and was suffering from mental illness. He
died on 1st August. The other two men, surgeon West was at a loss to
account for the reason of their death. They had few symptoms and
appeared well enough just a couple of days before death. His post mortem
revealed little and he diagnosed cachexia for want of a better term.
As for the prisoners of
the Burrell, their first Christmas in New South Wales was spent
on Sydney Harbour. Although they had arrived on the 19th December, they
were not landed until Friday 31st December 1830.
February and 13th September 1828.......
The last prisoners from the hulk at Sheerness
embarked on the Bussorah Merchant on
17th March and the remainder of the
transportees were sent from Chatham in open
boats on the 19th March 1828. This must have
been a cold and uncomfortable journey as
several men were afterwards affected with
catarrh and pneumonia as a result of the cold
and damp, the average temperature being 54F.
One of the crew ' a man of colour' was found to
have smallpox and was sent to Chatham. Although
the berths were scrubbed, fumigated and
whitewashed, another crew member, two prisoners
and a baby belonging to one of the guard also
contracted the disease. Surgeon Superintendent
Robert Dunn attempted to vaccinate everyone on
the ship but was not successful.
May the weather had turned hot and rainy. Fever
which was thought to have been introduced by one
of the Guard, swept through the prisoners. All
recovered except one, William Payne. The surgeon
wanted to try bleeding the men but had been
warned of the dangers of attempting it on a
convict ship due to overcrowded conditions.
the ship ventured further South the weather
turned cold and damp. The prison was almost
constantly wet from leaky ports and there were
many cases of fever, pneumonia, cynanche and
catarrhal in consequence. Another young convict
died from emaciation after suffering dysentery
for some time. Francis Wright died on the 12
July after suffering pneumonia.
Bussorah Merchant arrived in Port Jackson
There were four convict deaths on the voyage
out. The first being William Whalley.
The vessel was placed in quarantine on arrival
and the prisoners and guard were landed at
Spring Cove as soon as possible. The Alligator
was sent down to be converted into a quarantine
hulk. Another report said the prisoners spent seven weeks in a camp about
eight miles out of Sydney. There were no
further outbreaks of smallpox.
From the Sydney Gazette: -We
really feel for Captain Baigrie and the other
Gentlemen who are associated with him in their
banishment to Neutral Bay; but we are assured
that they have too much regard for the welfare
of their fellow creatures to repine at the act
thought this time in quarantine was excessive as
it had been eleven weeks since any sign of the
disease, however Governor Darling was taking no
chances. His son Edward had died on 3rd August
1828 from whooping cough that had been
introduced to the colony from the ship
The Bussorah Merchant came direct and did not
touch land anywhere, necessitating a diet of
salt provisions. Although the prisoners spent
120 days on this diet, there was only one very
slight case of scurvy. The absence of scurvy,
which was so prevalent on other vessels, was
attributed to the men having behaved very well
during the passage and keeping themselves as
well as the prison and hospital very clean. In
consequence of this good behaviour, their irons
were removed and they were allowed on deck the
whole day whenever the weather permitted and
bathed in rotation in four messes.
Robert Dunn remained in the Colony for a further four months.
He was also surgeon on the convict ship
The Guard consisting of one officer, 29 men
(chiefly recruits) four women and four
children belonging to the 4th Regiment embarked on the Bussorah Merchant at Deptford on 19 July 1831.
They were under the command of
Some of the soldiers mentioned in the surgeon's
journal included Private David Newton age 19; John Wiggingdon
aged 35; John Willingale aged 20; John O'Regan aged 32;
Richard Parsons aged 18; Arthur McCaffrey aged 22; John
Donnelly aged 18; William Andrews aged 22.
There were two
births to wives of the guard - Eliza Hobbs aged 32 gave birth
to a daughter on 9th December and Elizabeth Bond, Sergeant's
wife gave birth on 13 December 1831.
Solicitor-General E. McDowell came as cabin passenger.
On the 6 August the Bussorah Merchant anchored in
Kingstown harbour and on the 8th the convicts were mustered and examined
on board the Hulk. The surgeon remarked that many of them appeared pale,
sallow and in some degree emaciated, probably in consequence of long
confinement (the majority having been from 6 to 12, and few under five
months), moreover influenza then epidemic, had prevailed to a great
degree amongst them and several were still ill.
On the 11 and 12 August 1831, 200 were transferred
from the Hulk to the Bussorah Merchant. All of the men were
apparently in good spirits and pleased to be out of the Hulk. Living
conditions on the Hulks in Ireland were dire and the surgeon had found in examining
the convicts that they anxiously longed to be removed from them and for
a change of scene. They endeavoured by every means in their power to
conceal any complaint or disease which they may have in an attempt to be
accepted onto the convict ship. However this was not James Gilchrist's
first voyage as Surgeon Superintendent and he was wise to their ploys.
Two prisoners, Michael Hughes and Hugh Simpson were returned to the Hulk
Essex on 15th August after an examination proved they were not
fit enough to make the journey. John Lamb was Keeper at
the Essex Hulk in 1831.
The Bussorah Merchant
weighed anchor for New South Wales on 16th August 1831 with 198
prisoners on board, and after
a voyage of 120 days arrived in Port Jackson on
14 December 1831
Among the prisoners arriving on the Bussorah Merchant
was the notorious
Luke Dillon who was sentenced to
transportation for life for rape.
James Gilchrist was also surgeon on the convict ship
UK Royal Navy Medical Journals, 1817-1857 [database on-line]. Provo,
UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2011. Original data: Admiralty
and predecessors: Office of the Director General of the Medical
Department of the Navy and predecessors: Medical Journals (ADM 101,
804 bundles and volumes). Records of Medical and Prisoner of War
Departments. Records of the Admiralty, Naval Forces, Royal Marines,
Coastguard, and related bodies. The National Archives. Kew, Richmond,
Bound For Botany Bay: Narrative of a voyage in
1798 Aboard the Death Ship Hillsborough - Frank Clune
A Narrative of a Voyage to New South
Wales, in the year 1816, in the ship Mariner, describing the Nature of
the Accommodations, Stores, Diet &c., together with an account of the
Medical Treatment &c." by John Haslam in John Croaker: convict
Embezzler: John Booker and Russell Craig.
New South Wales, Australia, Colonial
Secretary's Papers, 1788-1825 [database