The Calcutta was the next convict ship
to leave Ireland for New South Wales after the departure of
Heber in March 1837.
The Calcutta departed from
Kingstown, Ireland on
17th April 1837 and arrived in Port Jackson on the
5 August 1837.
The morning of the 5th August was foggy however by
midday, the fog had cleared and the rest of the day was clear
and cool with winds from the north-west.
The Calcutta brought 329
male prisoners under superintendence of surgeon Anthony Donoghoe R.N.
Passengers included Samuel Raymond, six soldier's wives and 10
Surgeon Anthony Donoghoe kept a Medical
from 25 March to 4 August 1837....... In the early part of the
voyage the prisoners suffered mostly minor ailments, however
many had been used to a diet that consisted of potato and from
the sudden change on board ship and in conjunction with sea
sickness many suffered from obstinate constipation. By mid
July, three months into the journey, sixteen of the men were
affected by scurvy.
departed Portsmouth on
10 July 1820 and arrived in Van Diemen's Land on 17 November 1820 with 150
male prisoners all in a fine healthy state.
party consisted of 33 non commissioned officers and
privates of the 48th regiment, under orders of Brevet-Major
Wheatstone of the 53rd regt, whose wife and family accompanied him.
After disembarking the convicts, the Caledonia
proceeded to Sydney, anchoring there late on the night of
16th December 1820.
This was Captain Carnes' second voyage with prisoners,
having brought 170 male prisoners two years previously.
The Caledonia arrived in Port Jackson from Madras via
King George's Sound, Portland Bay and Port Phillip on 17th
December 1838 having departed Madras 20th August.
She brought a cargo of sugar, rice, soap and grain and 18
European prisoners of the Crown.
Cabin passengers included Rev. Mr. Turnbull and Mrs. Turnbull,
from Madras: Mr. and Mrs. Smith and two children from King
George's Sound; Mr. H. Campbell from Swan River; and Dr.
Hamlyn from Port Phillip.
The Cambridge was moored in Kingston
Harbour on 14 May 1827. She was the next convict ship to leave Ireland
bound for New South Wales after the departure of the
Countess of Harcourt
in February 1827. The
Cambridge departed Dublin on 2 June 1827
and called at Tenerife about 17th June.
William Gregor kept a Medical Journal
from 10th May to 29th September 1827. He reported that in June
the weather was beautifully fine and in the latter part
very hot with sultry calms. For almost all of July the
weather was excessively hot with frequent squalls from the
westward. During August up until the middle of September the
weather was inclement and at this time there were no less than
fifty-eight cases of diarrhoea which surgeon Gregor attributed
to the change in weather. Two of the prisoners under his care
died on the voyage. The first Thomas Cullen was already ill
when he embarked. He was put on the sick list one day after
sailing and died from phthisis on 27th August. The second
death was that of Thomas Gately from Ireland. He had to speak
through an interpreter as he was unable to speak any language
but his own. He died ten days after suffering from a violent
episode of singultus (hiccoughs).
Some of the prisoners had been incarcerated for quite some
time before transportation. John Bulbridge was tried in
Limerick in 1824 and was about 14 years old at the time. He
was sent to the Richmond General Penitentiary which had been
established in 1820 in Grangegorman, Dublin as an alternative
to transportation. It was part of an experiment into a
penitentiary system to specialise in reform rather than
punishment. There were accusations of unspeakable cruelty and
proselytism and a
Commission of Enquirywas ordered in
which John Bulbridge was mentioned........At one time
a pistol was fired into the cell of a convict who was in
solitary confinement - he was John Bulbridge. Mr. John McCloy,
keeper, was present, and said, "For God's sake, don't take the
boy's life". This man was dismissed, as he was not
sufficiently active in the work of Proselytism.
arrived in Port Jackson
17 September 1827 with 198 prisoners.
One man Bryan Murphy was sent to the hospital on shore on
arrival. He died on 2nd October 1827.
The Colony was always anxious to hear news from
home. The Sydney Gazette reported that
'in order to procure the Papers we
undertook and accomplished a journey of 32 miles in less than
three hours as soon as news that the Cambridge had come to an
On Wednesday 19 September, two days after
arrival, the Colonial Secretary proceeded on board the
Cambridge to inspect and muster the prisoners preparatory
to their disembarkation. He found all of the men in good
health. The convict indents reveal the name,
age, education, religion, marital status, family, native
place, offence, date and place of trial, sentence, prior
convictions, physical description and where and to whom
assigned on arrival. There is also occasional information such
as colonial sentences and deaths. There were fifteen prisoners
under the age of 16 years of age. The youngest were Patrick
Delany, John Hore, William Moore and Patrick Palmer who were
all only 14 years of age.
Five of the men were assigned to the
Australian Agricultural Company
on arrival - John Gill, Thomas Gage, William Hart, Patrick
Fleming and Peter Fallon. They were probably sent to the Port
Stephens district or Liverpool Plains to work as shepherds.
Another, Simon Meney was assigned to Allan Cunningham
on arrival. Cunningham had returned from his exploration to
the north in July 1827.
The Cambridge was to leave for Batavia
and Singapore under Captain Pearce early in October
William Gregor was also employed as surgeon on the convict
was the next convict ship to leave England for New South
Wales after the departure of the
Exmouth in March 1831.
This was David Boyter's
second voyage as Surgeon Superintendent. He
kept a Medical Journal from 26 February to 25
July 1831. He had fewer serious diseases to contend with
on this voyage compared to his first on the Mermaid
and there were no accidents noted in his journal.
Prisoners suffered various fevers, haemoptysis, phthisis,
dysentery, dyspepsia and towards the end of the voyage,
The Guard consisted of 29 men - a detachment of the 11th
Light Dragoons. Passengers arriving on the Camden
included Captain Cooper and wife and Lieut. Bell of the 48th regiment.
According to David Boyter the Guard were
embarked in fine weather and under the most favourable circumstances. They
were mostly very young men and had every appearance of high health and
The prisoners were also mostly young men and in a fair
state of health. They came from many different parts of
England and most were held on various Hulks to await
transportation to the colonies. Dr. Boyter remarked in his Journal that 198 convicts were received
from four different hulks. Those from the
Cumberland had the appearance of being less attended to than those of
the other hulks, a great many of the
had large ulcers on their legs, three of them so large and
apparently of so long standing and character that he
felt bound to reject them.....*possibly only 195 prisoners
eventually sailed. The ulcers had been caused by injuries
received at work in the Dock yards and the surgeon set
about curing them with
simple dressings and cleanliness. His efforts were
thwarted in the first few weeks as the prisoners suffered
with sea sickness and were unable to attend to the ulcers
properly, however afterwards with proper care the sores
began to improve.
The men became ill again in
the hot weather as they neared Teneriffe. The soldiers of
the guard also suffered from headaches at this time,
caused the surgeon thought by laying about the decks in
the sun and the ardent spirits they were allowed as part
of their rations. The Camden remained in the tropics for four weeks. The
weather was fine and dry and medical complaints few. As
they approached colder latitudes the thermometer dropped
from 78° to 86° to 50° and the men began to suffer sore
throats and coughs. As they approached
Sydney and had been 17 weeks on salt provision, scurvy
also began to appear among the convicts and David Boyter
remarked that if they had spent another week at sea he
would have more serious cases of scurvy to deal with,
however the timely supply of fresh provisions restored the
men to a fair state of health.
Camdenarrived in Port Jackson on
25 July 1831.
A muster of 192 convicts was held on board on 27th July. Six
men were in the hospital in
Sydney. The convict indents for the Camden reveal information such as name, age,
education, religion, marital status, family, occupation,
native place, offence, date and place of trial, sentence,
prior convictions, physical description and where and to whom
the prisoner was assigned. There are also occasional notes
such as dates of death or colonial sentences. Many of the men
of the Camden were subject to punishment such as
William Graham endured in 1833.........
David Boyter was also employed as surgeon on the convict
in 1830, Andromeda
in 1833 and
The Camden was the next convict
ship to leave England after the departure of the female
Fanny in July 1833.
Joseph Stereff kept a Medical Journal
from 11 September 1832 to 8 March 1833. He
Camden on 11 September 1832 at Deptford. On the 15th
September the vessel moved down to Woolwich where Steret
examined 100 convicts on the various prison hulks - 60 men at
the Justitia; 20 men at the Discovery; and 20 at
the Ganymede. The prisoners were sent on board the
Camden that same day. The Camden then moved down
for Sheerness and on the 17th September received on board
another 100 prisoners from the Retribution at Sheerness;
30 from Cumberland; 40 from the Euryalus and 30
boy prisoners from the hulks at Chatham. They departed London
on 22 September but did not reach Plymouth until the 5th
October, having been in considerable danger from a severe gale
on the night of the 2nd October. They departed Plymouth on
13th October 1832.
Surgeon Steret wrote in his journal - In general those
marked down for this vessel were young healthy and in my
opinion well calculated to bear the voyage. In a few days I
found that my friends at the hulks contrived to palm off
several with ulcers notwithstanding my utmost care. The
Masters in more than one instance placed the Irons with which
the prisoners came on board immediately on the diseased leg,
which formed a good excuse for not taking the stockings off
completely. At the Justitia hulk also they managed to put on
an old man passing him off for fifty two; when he was shaved
and cleaned and he must 'pass the Doctor" he looked mighty
smart. However I found that he was over sixty. It is worthy
noting that only two men out of two hundred expressed any
reluctance to go (to NSW), one on account of his wife and
family the other that he did not wish to leave England. All
the rest were happy at the prospect of quitting the country
and four or five whom I was obliged to reject begged
vehemently to be permitted to accompany us.
In December after almost three months at sea, the change in
climate together with some wet and blowing weather caused a
great variety of disease. The effects of the confinement of
food also began to be felt by the convicts. In January they
were round the Cape of Good Hope and continued running on the
same parallel. Symptoms of sea scurvy began to manifest
themselves, and did not abate until they reached Sydney on
18th February 1833
and procured fresh supplies. Some of
the convicts were sent to the Hospital on arrival.
The guard consisted of 29
rank and file of 21st regiment., accompanied by 5 women and 10
children under orders of Major Thomas Fairweather. Major
Fairweather served as Commandant at Launceston, Tasmania from
4 January 1834 to 23 April 1835 (1)
The Canada was built in Newcastle, England in 1801 and owned by F & T.
Hurry. She carried 10 guns and a crew of 32 men.
The Canada arrived in Portsmouth 20th May 1801 and departed Spithead
in convoy with the Nile and the Minorca on 21st June
She sailed via Rio de Janeiro, and arrived in Port Jackson on
14 December 1801 with 101 male prisoners. Also arriving on the Canada - 16 soldiers and 3
children; Six male passengers including James Blackman and sons James
junior, Samuel, William and John, George Morrison,
Charles Webb, William Small and Silaus Jenkins; 12 female passengers
including Mary Pitt and 11 children.
James Blackman became Superintendent of
Agriculture at Castle Hill (early 1800's); District Constable at
Richmond; Principal Superintendent of Government Stock; Chief Constable
at Bathurst, November 1825 (CSI)
Sixteen men formed the military guard and were accompanied by three
Cargo brought by the Canada included 7 boxes of sugar, 3 cases shoes; 20
hams; cheese; cutlery, 2 cases toys, 4 pipes port wine; 2 parcels of
whips; 15 pipes of rum; paint and oil; 3 puncheons coffee; a chest of
haberdashery; 60 rolls tobacco; 2 boxes perfumery; mustard; slk; gin;
corks; 15 barrells tar and a roll of green table cloths.
James Hardy Vaux arrived in the
colony on the Minorca. He mentioned the Canada in his
In May 1801, after an almost fatal attack of the gaol
fever, his father, mother, and sisters took a final leave of
him, and he was removed to Gravesend, and put on board the
Minorca transport, which lay there with the Canada
and Nile bound to Port Jackson. We dare say it will be
new to the majority of our readers to learn how persons in
this situation are treated ; and as the subject has just been
raised in the House of Commons, it acquires greater
'Having entered the ship, we were all indiscriminately
stripped (according to indispensable custom,) and were saluted
with several buckets of salt-water, thrown over our heads by a
boatswain's-mate. After undergoing this watery ordeal, we were
compelled to put on a suit of slop-clothing. Our own apparel,
though good in kind, being thrown overboard. We were then
double-ironed, and put between -decks, where we selected such
births, for sleeping, &c. as each thought most eligible. The
next day, we received on board forty-six more prisoners from
the Hulks at Woolwich, and the Canada fifty. The
Nile also took on board one hundred women, from the
different gaols in Great Britain. The three ships then sailed
for Spithead where, on our arrival, the Minorca and
Canada had their numbers augmented, from the Hulks at
Portsmouth, to one hundred men each. Every thing being now in
readiness, we only waited for the convoy to assemble, with
which we were to proceed to a certain latitude. - Literary
Gazette - From the Memoirs of James Hardy Vaux
Governor King in correspondence to the Transport Commissioners
in February 1802 reported that the convicts of the Canada,
Nile and Minorca transports were paid great attention by the
Masters of those ships and all were landed in high health and
fit for immediate labour.
In correspondence to the Duke of Portland Governor King noted
that the indents of the convicts of the Canada and Nile were
not sent in the ships. Of the settlers he remarked that
some of them had settled and situations were being sought for
the rest however ....I fear many of them will prove of the
description of those mentioned in my despatch sent by way of
China. Every means shall be used to make them useful to
themselves, and as little as possible burthensome to the
public. (HRA, Series 1 Vol. III p. 404)
The Canada departed Port Jackson bound for China on 6th
Notes and Links:
1). Colonial Artist John Eyre was transported on the Canada.
State Library of NSW has a display of some of the art work
of John Eyre.......... John Eyre was
sentenced to seven years’ transportation for housebreaking and
arrived in Sydney in 1801. After three years in the colony, he
received a conditional pardon and began work as an artist soon
afterwards. He created naval charts for Governor Bligh and was
also employed in more mundane artistic tasks, including
painting numbers on the sides of buildings and painting
here to find other convict artists.
Voyages: (1) 1800/1 New South Wales and China. Capt William
Wilkinson. Portsmouth 21 May 1801 - 28 Aug Rio de Janeiro - 14
Dec Port Jackson - 28 Apr 1802 Whampoa - 22 May Second Bar - 4
Oct Timor - 22 Dec St Helena - 8 Mar 1803 Long Reach. (2) From
China 1811. Capt B Ward. Bocca Tigris 25 Feb 1811 - 25 Mar
Macao 2 Apr - 23 Jul St Helena - 2 Oct Long Reach.
Chief Office William Grant; Second
Officer John Philliskirk
The prisoners of the
Canada were tried in different counties of England and
Scotland. There were also seven men who had been
court-martialled in Guines, France for house breaking -
William Kelly, Robert Mantle, Alexander Pollock, Giles Seddon,
John Whalley and John Wilkinson.
After sentencing prisoners were
eventually transferred to various hulks moored in the Thames
to await transportation. Many of the prisoners held on the
Justitia hulk were embarked on the Canada on 26th
and 27th March 1819.
The Canada was the next convict ship to leave England
after the departure of the
Baring in January 1819. The Canada
departed London on
23 April 1819, called at Rio de Janeiro and arrived in Port Jackson
1 September 1819. Passengers included merchant Edward
On Friday 10th September the prisoners of the Canada
were examined by Governor Lachlan Macquarie. 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.
The convict indents
reveal such information as name, age, native place, date and
place of trial and physical description. There is no
information in the indents as to where the prisoners were
assigned on arrival.
The Colonial Secretary's
correspondence records the names of thirty two men who were
forwarded by water to Parramatta and Liverpool on the 10th
September 1819 and were to be distributed to various settlers.
Thirty one of the
prisoners who arrived on the Canada have been
identified in the Hunter Valley district in the next few
years. Some were sent to the penal settlement for colonial
crimes and others were assigned or employed by various
settlers in the Valley - James Miller and John Foley
were assigned to
John Earle in 1823; Thomas Williams was employed by
John Pike at
Pickering in 1828; and Hugh Colley was assigned to John Galt
Smith in 1828. Select
to find out more about convicts of the Canada in the
The Canada was
delayed in leaving port when it was discovered that a
carpenter by the name of William Featherstone per
Indefatigable had been secreted on board the Canada with
the knowledge of one of the ship's Officers in violation of
the Port Regulations and against all the objects of Justice.
Captain Spain was sent a demand to deliver up Featherstone who
was found on board on 19th October and three days later was
sent to the penal settlement at Newcastle under a three year
The Guard for the convicts of the
Captain Cook boarded at Deptford on 10th September and
then proceeded to Dublin where 200 male prisoners were
embarked on 27th October. The Guard consisted of 1 sergeant, 1 corporal and 8 privates of
the 4th regt., 8 privates of 17th regt, 3 women and 2 children
under the orders of Lieut. Gibbons of 49th regiment.
Passengers Mrs. Gibbons and three children.
Other convict ships bringing detachments of the 4th regiment
City of Edinburgh
was the next convict ship to leave Ireland for New South Wales
after the departure of the
Norfolk in October 1831.
The prisoners on the Captain
Cook had come from various counties in Ireland. They were
held in county prisons before being transferred to the hulk to
await transportation. The journey to the hulk would not have
been easy - under escort, chained, possibly ill and badly
clothed, most had no idea of what awaited them on the voyage
to come or the place they were going. Later, in May 1832 after
complaints were made as to the state in which prisoners were
transmitted from the county gaols to the hulks,
new orders were issued regarding the transfer of prisoners
and it was expected that they would be free of disease and fit
to embark and that they would be clean, adequately clothed
with their hair cut close. There would be no transfers on
Sundays, no spirits or tobacco would be allowed on the road
and knives and other dangerous articles were taken from them.
However when the prisoners of the Captain Cook were
transferred in 1831 the old system was still in place and they
probably arrived at the hulk poorly clothed and already ill.
Their their crimes were mostly of theft, assault, house
robbery, vagrancy, forgery and embezzlement. There were no
prisoners convicted of white boy crimes on the Captain Cook.
There were ten very young convicts on
the voyage - James White, James Murray, Hugh McGurdy, Arthur
Finn and Michael Dunn were all sixteen years of age; John
Kelly was fifteen, Adam Ballantyne and Thomas Cox were both
thirteen years of age. The youngest two were only 12 years old
- James Corcoran and Michael Clancy, both errand boys from
Dublin convicted of stealing; both in following years were
punished severely for colonial crimes.
Ebenezer Johnstone kept a Medical Journal
from 28 October 1831 to 15 April 1832.
On the 5th November they departed Dublin and shortly
afterwards experienced very bad weather and being unable to
keep to sea were obliged to put into Milford Haven on the 8th
where they remained windbound until
27th November 1831.
The surgeon remarked that the general health of the convicts
was extremely good, having a better diet than they usually
were accustomed to because they were in port. Quite a few
suffered from catarrh which the surgeon attributed to the
defective clothing they were supplied with in Dublin.
As they entered the Tropics the
prisoners suffered severely from seasickness and constipation,
several of the cases from seasickness being old men becoming
very reduced and debilitated required cordials and additional
diet. During January the men continued extremely healthy,
diseases chiefly from exposure of the head to the sun, and
vertigo, which was relieved by the use of lancet, free
evacuation and cold applications, several of the elderly
prisoners began to show scorbutic symptoms and complained much
In February and March they had hazy drizzly weather and
several days of heavy rain.
Two prisoners died on the passage out - Francis McCormick and
Joseph Murphy. The surgeon attributed the death of one of them
to an addiction to gambling his provisions - the prisoner's
health had at first improved under the surgeon's care, however
the man managed to obtain an opportunity of either losing
his allowance or obtaining a double or triple quantity which
invariably aggravated his complaints.
The Captain Cook arrived
in Port Jackson on
2 April 1832 and the
prisoners were mustered by the Colonial Secretary on 6th April
1832. The indents include information such as name, age,
religion, education, marital status, family, native place,
trade, offence, date and place of trial, sentence, prior
convictions and physical description. There is no information
in the indents as to where and to whom the prisoners were
assigned on arrival. There is occasional information about
colonial crimes, deaths, pardons, etc.
The prisoners were landed on Monday 16th
April 1832 and inspected by the Governor before being assigned
to various settlers and government employment.
The Captain Cook departed Sydney for Launceston 15th
May 1832 and departed there on 8th August and St. Helena 1st
September. She arrived back in England late January 1833.
Ebenezer Johnstone was also employed as surgeon on the convict
in 1828 (VDL) and
Manlius in 1830 (VDL)
Notes and Links:
Seventy-seven prisoners who arrived on the Captain Cook
in 1832 have been identified as residing in the Hunter region
in the following two decades.
to find out more about these men.
Captain William Thompson. Surgeon Superintendent
John Morgan kept a Medical Journal
from 4 April 1833 to 10th September 1833........
Two hundred and thirty convicts to be transported on the
were received from the York and Leviathan Hulks at Portsmouth
on 29th April 1833. John Morgan wrote in his journal:
- The weather at the time of embarkation was
remarkably cold, and thus prevailed a general catarrh all over
the country as well as towns, commonly called influenza and it
seemed to prevail to a considerable extent at Portsmouth and
its vicinity and from report among families on shore there was
hardly a house, but had some confined, consequently it was
natural that we should share its effects.
The Captain Cookwas the
next convict ship to leave England for New South Wales after
the departure of the
Waterloo in March 1833.
The Captain Cook departed Portsmouth
on Monday 5 May 1833, and had fine weather down the Channel
and soon reached a more agreeable climate when the colds and
coughs improved. The surgeon attended them and gave every
comfort it was in his power to give. 'Indeed I have every
reason to speak of their good conduct as auxiliary to our
means of having so soon got rid of this troublesome complaint
among so many crowded together between decks; it was our daily
plan to admit as many on deck as they like even the whole in
After passing the equator and getting into the latitude of
the Cape of Good Hope, we experienced very severe gales and
much wet weather and in consequence we had many added to the
sick list particularly the ships crew, fourteen at one time
laid up with bad colds and other complaints incidental to
ships at sea.
From St. Pauls until Bass Strait they had the most dreadful
weather imaginable - continually under water, decks
below constantly wet, though all the care and use of stoves
they could take could not keep the place dry, and bed and
bedding remained wet in spite of all they could try. The
Surgeon believed that had we not reached Bass Strait as we
did we must have lost most part of the convicts for it was
impossible for them to get on deck.
The scurvy made its appearance after few months
being at sea among those most inactive and it soon spread
among others but not to any one who had any work to do for
several of them wished to assist either in working the ship or
their respective trades. On the whole they behaved well. I had
only to punish two all the way, one for threatening to stab
and the other for making below against the rules of the ship;
the bad weather after leaving St. Pauls was such that it was
impossible to do justice below constant heavy sea over the
ship that it was the constant work of several to bail and keep
the place dry it was no wonder of their increasing in the
scurvy and other maladies of more serious nature. The cold
also was severe and glad we were to get into a better climate.
sailed through Bass Strait on the 24th August
and arrived in Port Jackson on Monday
26 August 1833, a
journey of 113 days. They
were mustered by the Colonial Secretary on 30th August 1833.
The convict indents do not reveal where the men were assigned
on arrival in the colony. The six youngest were James
Clements, Timothy Lane, John Morgan, George Measor, James Nunn
and George Spleyemburg all 16 years of age.
Two hundred and twenty six convicts survived
the journey. Four had died on the passage out. One, William
Triggs died in Sydney Hospital in September 1833. Nine of the men suffering
from scurvy recovered after a few weeks and were discharged
around the 10th September.
The Guard consisted of 29 rank and file of
the 21st regt., under command of Captain Armstrong and Lieut. Selon,
five women and 7 children. The guard disembarked on 29th August 1833.
was 19 when he was tried at the Old Bailey and sentenced to
transportation for life. He was assigned to
Henry Dangar at Neotsfield
on arrival and later became involved in one of the most infamous
incidents in Australian history, the Myall Creek Massacre.
Edward Alexander Watkins Hayes aged 24 from
Westminster was also tried at the Old Bailey. He was sentenced to
transportation for life for forgery. He had been employed as an
auctioneer and appraiser prior to his arrest. He was 36 years old when
he was granted permission to marry Mary Ann Walkley (arr. free New
York Packet) in 1844. He was granted a Conditional Pardon in 1847.
There was a crew of
34 men, including the surgeon. Passengers included Dr. Reid of
80th regiment, Mrs. Reid and Mrs. Christie.
National Army Museum holds three copies of a
typescript copy of the Diary of Col W Christie, 4 Jun
1836-14 Nov 1836 when he commanded the escort for the convicts
consigned to Botany Bay; includes a detailed description of
the journey to Australia with information on the conditions,
lay-out of the ship and incidents of the voyage.
Arthur Savage kept a
Medical and Surgical Journal
from 4 June to 19
The Captain Cook departed Cork on 5 July 1836.
It was to be voyage of intrigue and high drama.
Herald later published a letter from 'an emigrant', with
an eye-witness account of an attempted mutiny that took place
on the Captain Cook: -
A few days after
leaving Cork, it was reported to the Hospital attendant,
John Pollen, formerly an Officer of the 48th Regiment, who
served with distinction in the Peninsula, that the Convicts,
incited by several who had previously been transported to this
Colony, intended to take the vessel; the circumstance was
mentioned by this person to the Doctor and the Officers of
the Guard, who instructed him to be on the alert, but as
nothing more occurred at that time, it was concluded that the
report was false. Pollen, however, observing that there were
small parties of the Convicts grouped together in earnest
conversation, which ceased the moment that any other person
approached them, felt assured that the report was not
groundless. And one night, when near the Madeiras, overheard
one of them say that they, (the mutineers) must all be sworn
in, and that they would then overpower the Guard and ship's
company, and take the vessel to America; they were
accordingly sworn in, and one Saturday, when near the
Equator, it was agreed that the boatswain ( a Convict) who had
charge of the prison doors, was to throw them open; then they
were to, make the rush. A man of the name of Dogherty
was to have the command of the party attacking the cuddy, and
they were to put all to death; (Lawrence) Higgins the
command of the party attacking the poop, and Hamilton,
an old soldier, with a man of the name of Murphy, were
to head the party attacking the Guard and sailors below, to
whom no mercy was to be shewn; in fact every body was to be
butchered, but the women and three sailors; the sailors on
coming in sight of America were to " walk the plank”. Pollen
immediately informed the Doctor and Officers of the Guard of
the murderous intentions and thirty-eight of the
ringleaders were placed in irons. On finding that their designs were frustrated,
several of them confessed the particulars as above stated, and
their depositions were taken. Notwithstanding the precaution
of ironing them they still persisted in their murderous
intentions; and on coming towards the Cape of Good Hope; they
were determined to make an attack, as they said that if the
remainder would stand firm, that their irons. were of no
consequence; these preparations for the second attack, were
again reported by Pollen. Their manoeuvring was quite visible
both to the Doctor and Officers on board, so to prevent
bloodshed, they were handcuffed two by two, and remained so
till they arrived in Sydney. There is no doubt they would have
succeeded but for the vigilance of Pollen, and the activity
and courage of the Officers and Guard, who displayed great
coolness and determination on the occasion.
They arrived in Sydney on
November 1836 with 228 male prisoners. It was
reported that 32 prisoners had been involved in the mutiny.
Sixteen of them were sent to Goat Island on arrival.
Arthur Savage was
also employed as surgeon on the convict ships
John 1833 (VDL) and Norfolk 1835 (VDL)
Eight prisoners were transported on the brig
Caroline from the East Indies to Hobart Town. In Hobart they were
transferred to the Barque Calista which had arrived from London
on 12th March, in readiness for transfer to Sydney. The Caroline
was to be fitted out for the whale fishery.
As well as the eight prisoners, the Calista
brought to Sydney 100 Saxon and 950 Derwent sheep and other merchandise.
Passengers included Captain Bunster and Messrs J. Andrews, J. J. Daker,
D. Bunn, C. Sladden, F. Watkins,
Mrs. Ridge, two children and servant and also four steerage passengers.
They arrived in Sydney on 14 April 1828..........
Cristopher Cochrane age 24. Clerk from Madras.
Offence: Desertion and forgery.
Peter Dalton age 28. Farm servant and soldier
from Yorkshire. Offence murder.
William Hurst age 34. Frame work knitter and
soldier from Leicestershire. Offence Murder.
James Jones age 27. Clerk from Manchester.
Daniel Murphy age 26. Farm servant and soldier
from Cork. Offence: rape and murder
W. Stewart Moncrieff age 33. Commissioned
Officer, 9 years. From Edinburgh. Offence Forgery. Sent to
Wellington Valley on arrival.
Andrew Robinson age 33. Solder from Co. Derry.
William or John Goodwin - Escaped from Port
Jackson in the Speke 3, returned to the hulk.
In January 1831 the Sydney Gazette reported: 'We are
happy to inform our readers that the Caroline, a fine
vessel of 350 tons has been purchased at Calcutta by Mr Bells,
for the express purpose of coming with a full cargo of goods
and passengers to Hobart Town, and to be enrolled as a vessel
belonging to the port, in order to be devoted exclusively to
the sperm whale fishery. '
She brought general merchandise and 21 Oriental
convicts) under charge of Captain Bells and 10 Sepoy soldiers.
included Captain and Mrs. Betts, 3 children and 1 servant; Mr and Mrs Alfred
Bells, 2 children and servants, Colonel Parker, two Misses Parker, Capt.
Weston and Mrs Weston and children, Dr and Mrs. Kenny, Mr. Still, Mr
Grey, Captain Swanson, Capt. Maxwell, Lieut. Onslow, Mr and Mrs. Flood,
Sergeant Major Dobson wife and 4 children.
The Sydney Gazette reported that the military gentlemen who arrived
on the Caroline came for the benefit of their health. 'We trust
they will be so charmed with our salubrious climate and cheering prospects,
as not only to cast in their own lot with us, but to recommend their Indian
brethren to choose Australia as their future asylum.'
Collins who arrived on the Caroline was convicted of bushranging in
1835 at Invermein
The Castle Forbes was the next
convict ship to leave Ireland bound for New South Wales after
the departure of theLord Wellington
James Scott kept a Medical Journal on the voyage out. His Journal begins in London on 6th July 1819 while the
ship is still being fitted out at Deptford. On 14th July, the
Guard of a Lieutenant, Sergeant, three Corporals and twenty
two privates with five women and four children embarked at
Deptford. Two of the wives of soldiers were pregnant.
The Castle Forbes weighed anchor at the Downs on 20th
July at 1pm under a light wind, however during the night the
wind freshened causing a great deal of motion in the the ship
and sea sickness amongst the guard. They arrived at the Cove
of Cork on 31st July where the prisoners were embarked.
On 21st September 1819 Dr Edward Trevor superintendent and
medical inspector of convicts, wrote to William Gregory,
Under Secretary, Dublin Castle, reporting that Mr Scott,
surgeon of the convict ship 'Castle Forbes' was suffering
from fever and that he had sent him on shore, and ordered his
cabin to be thoroughly cleaned. Dr. Trevor requested that
another surgeon be appointed to allow the ship to sail on
time, however James Scott made his recovery in time to sail
with the Castle Forbes which departed Cork on
3 October 1819.Chief Secretary's Office Registered Papers,
James Scott's journal kept during the voyage, reveals that he
kept tight control over the prisoners. They were required to
following his code of instructions which was posted on the
prison wall. Any deviations of his orders were punished by
confinement in handcuffs or by flogging of the most
incorrigible convicts, however he reported with only a very
few exceptions confinement in handcuffs prevented any more
A school was established on board with the assistance of one
of the prisoners. Twenty men and boys spent three hours a day
at lessons and by the end of the voyage could read and
rehearse the Christian Catechism.
Sundays were religiously observed by mustering the prisoners
in a clean change of clothes; and when the duties of the ship
and the weather permitted Divine Worship was always
Mondays and Fridays were alone allotted for the washing of
clothes; Tuesdays and Saturdays for the airing of bedding;
Wednesdays and Saturdays for shaving; Thursdays were reserved
for muster the same as the Sundays.
The prisoners were on deck in rotation every two hours, in
general from sun rise to sun set; and no-one was allowed to
remain below, other than those confined from sickness, who
were treated with medicines and medical comforts in the
The bedding was lashed up every morning at 6am and none of
the prisoners were permitted to lie in bed in the prison
during the day under any pretence.
None of the prisoners were allowed to have their irons off
unless they were ill or if they contributed by their
exertions to the benefit and convenience of the whole.
The prison deck was always cleaned with swabs and brooms
first thing in the morning, after meals and before going to
bed. To assist free ventilation, windsails were constantly
used as well as swing stoves indamp weather.
The Castle Forbes arrived in Sydney on
27 January 1820. On arrival
136 men were sent to Hobart
and 4 remained in Sydney.
On 15 February 1820 the Castle Forbes sailed for Hobart Town
with a total of 180 male prisoners. Passengers included
Edward Bromley, Naval Officer at Hobart Town; Dr.
Priest, Assistant Surgeon; and Mr. Roberts a free settler.
The Castle Forbes was the next
convict ship to leave Ireland after the departure of the
Medina earlier in September.
The Castle Forbes departed Cork 28th September 1823.
The Guard comprised a detachment of the 40th under orders of Lieut.
John Richardson which including the women and children amounted to 56
persons. Lieutenant-Colonel William Balfour of the 40th regiment also
arrived on the Castle Forbes.
William Balfour died in 1838.
Read his obituary
here. Other ships bringing
detachments of the 40th regiment included the Asia,
Countess of Harcourt,
Ann & Amelia.
Matthew Anderson kept a Medical Journal from 29
July 1823 to 19 January 1824. The chief cause of complaint amongst the
convicts was diarrhoea and dysentery. There were a few cases of scurvy
which the surgeon treated with Lemon Juice and sugar.
The Castle Forbes arrived in Port Jackson on
19th January 1824, a voyage of
109 days. One hundred and thirty nine male prisoners
having lost one on the passage, Martin Cavenagh who had been severely
beaten while in the Depot at Cork which the surgeon considered
contributed to his death.
Matthew Anderson was also surgeon on the convict ships
Notes and Links:
Convict Michael Halpin was on a
Colonial Office list of thirteen people who applied for their
families sent to New South Wales.........
The Champion was the next convict ship
to leave England after the departure of the
Manlius in April 1827. The Champion departed London on
3rd June 1827
with 128 male prisoners and clothing for the 57th and 39th
from 10th May to 30th October 1827. His first case was
that of 17 years old Henry Royal on 16th May. The Champion had
yet to set sail, but already Henry Royal was suffering from sea
Francis Logan rejected another convict, Richard Howells
as being too ill to survive the journey. He was returned to the
called at Simon's
Bay on 6th September where one of the soldiers was admitted to
hospital. Fresh fruit and vegetables were procured as scurvy had
broken out among the prisoners. James Holt remained ill from scurvy
for most of the voyage. He and three other convicts also suffered from
other symptoms which Francis Logan seemed to attribute to the cure for
scurvy rather than the illness itself.
They arrived in Port Jackson
17 October 1827.
Two prisoners died on the passage out.
One of the deceased, John Clarkson, aged 24, died within sight of
had been ill for nearly ten days and it was
noted that he was nearly delirious and had an excessive fear of death.
The surgeon reported -
His conduct since coming on board has been 'bad in every respect and
horribly blasphemous, and it is now pitiful to hear him raging and
furious at the state which he thinks is now awaiting.
There were several other cases of dysentery at about the time John
Clarkson became ill, as the weather had been cold and wet and the
pipes of the water closets became so leaky, the decks could not be
The Guard, a
detachment of the 39th regiment, landed
from the Champion on 18th October and were marched through George
Street, Sydney to their quarters in the barracks, preceded by a dozen
exquisitely playing buglers of the same corps.
was the next convict ship to leave Ireland after the departure of the
Surry in July 1816. The Chapman departed Cove of Cork
on 25 March 1817
in company with the
arrived in Port Jackson
26th July 1817.
Two hundred prisoners embarked in Cork and seven were killed and others
wounded during a daring mutiny on the voyage out.
Captain John Drake and James Clements, mariner,
were later put on trial for the wilful murder of convict John
McArdle on 28 April 1817 while off St. Jago, and found not
guilty. John Drake, Alexander Dewar and Lieutenant Christopher
Bustead were indicted for the wilful murder of Daniel
McCormick and found not guilty. During the trials it was
revealed that a plot to overthrow the Captain and crew of the
Chapman and the Pilot was hatched by prisoners
in Dublin gaol before sailing, however the voyage of the
Pilot was uneventful and the prisoners on arriving thanked
the Doctor for his kind attention on the passage out.
Those mentioned in the trials of Captain Drake
and Surgeon Dewar included:
Terence Kiernan - convict. Flogged for having a
piece of tin in his berth to break his irons and flogged again
for speaking Latin to the doctor who told him "You are a good
scholar, but a damned rascal"
Michael Collins - Convict
Francis (Frank) Murphy - Convict (ringleader)
Duncan McLean - Convict, wounded
Thomas Kelly - Convict, wounded
Bryan Kelly - Convict, brother of Thomas Kelly, mortally
Michael Wood - Convict
John Ryan - Convict
Patrick Smith - Convict. Employed as surgeon's mate and slept
in the sick bay
John Fagan - Convict. Assisted the doctor in
John Jackson - Convict (one of the ringleaders)
Peter Allen - Convict. Man of colour
Baxter - 3rd mate. Officer of the ship
William Lea - convict - put on deck on his knees with other
prisoners before being tied to a rope and thrown astern and
towed after the ship for some time, ducked nine or ten times.
Frequently punished afterwards as well and kept chained to the
poop for 14 weeks until they reached NSW
George Cook - marine
Campion - 4th mate
Corporal John Brown - Guard
Thomas Turner - Guard
Richard Vickary - Guard
Petition of Captain John Drake presented and read before the
House of Commons........
In the Colonial Secretary's
Correspondence is a letter to the Commandant at Newcastle
dated 3rd December 1817 requesting that prisoner John Sullivan
who had recently been sent to Newcastle be returned to Sydney
as he was required to be sent to England in respect of the
cruelties exercised against the unfortunate convicts of the
Correspondence dated 8 December 1817 is
held in the
Chief Secretary's Office Registered Papers,
National Archives, Ireland written by Thomas Ryan a prisoner
who arrived on the
Pilot to Dr. Trevor in Ireland.
Thomas Ryan gives an outline of the outbreak of violence on
the Chapman..... ‘in consequence of two villainous
Prisoners giving private (false) information to the Captain
and Doctor’ of an impending mutiny and massacre of the crew,
an attack was made on the convicts on board the Chapman by the
crew who ‘fired on them from all quarters and destroyed the
poor unfortunate wretches as they lay in their Births [sic]
and on the deck’; as a result ‘twelve unfortunate prisoners
fell victim to the Cold Blooded assassins to whose care they
were committed, and about thirty severely wounded, two of
which died since’...Original Reference: CSORP1818/C83
The Charles Kerr was
built in Sunderland in 1826 and was the next
vessel to leave England for New South Wales after the departure of the
Lloyds in March 1837.
John Edwards was a well experienced surgeon
having previously been employed as surgeon superintendent on
in 1836. He kept
a Medical Journal on the voyage of the
Charles Kerr from
13th May to 18 October 1837.
The prisoners of the Charles Kerr
had been tried in different parts of England, mostly for
various forms of stealing and there were also three of
soldiers who were court-martialled for desertion and
William Spencer, Thomas Brett, and John Brown.
Most of the prisoners were embarked on the Charles
Kerr at Portsmouth from the convict hulks, some from the York
and others from the Leviathan on 1st June 1837. They were
examined by the surgeon and all were considered to be
in good health. According to the surgeon at the time of
embarkation there prevailed on board the convict hulks a strong
scorbutic diathesis and on inspection prior to embarkation he rejected
a number of prisoners who were suffering some of the symptoms.
The Charles Kerr
sailed from Spithead on 8th June however owing to boisterous weather
and rain they anchored at Falmouth on the 10th where they remained
wind bound until 14th June. Here Thomas Boyles a feeble old man aged 68 transported for
seven years for a trifling offence, died after suffering diarrhoea.
On the 17th June another death occurred, a soldier of the guard,
Adam Bailey died from the result of internal injuries received by a
fall into the hold; and on the 28th June yet another death -
Richard Edwards aged 21, had been tried at the Old
Bailey on 7th April and sent to the Leviathan hulk from Newgate
prison on the 21st April. When he was embarked on the Charles Kerr
from the Leviathan on 1st June he had less than a month to
live. Described by the surgeon as an educated, mild and
harmless individual who was the master of a Falmouth schooner, Richard
Edwards came from a respectable background and had been sentenced for
life with Mate of the vessel John Woodcock after they were found
guilty of manslaughter by cruelly torturing a sailor boy to death. The
horrific details of the case were reported in the Morning Post
the day following the trial. According to the surgeon Edwards
had, from the time of his imprisonment four months before, been
labouring under much suffering which had debilitated him and rendered
him incapable of struggling through his disease. His last thoughts
were of his mother and little brother left behind.
For the next few weeks there were no more fatalities although the
surgeon was kept busy in the Hospital. His journal reveals some of the
diseases experienced by the convicts -
During the voyage prisoners presented with illnesses such as
Pleurodynia, Tonsillitis, Syphilis,
Catarrhs, Dyspepsia, Headaches, Diarrhoea, Colica,
John Edwards' medical journal is interesting in that it
reveals some of the convicts' thoughts and fears - Richard Edwards
mentioned above, weighed down with guilt; and those of James Dent who
died on the 18th August. The indents don't reveal whether James Dent
could read or write, many on the ship could not, but when he
became delusional with fever he revealed to the surgeon his greatest
fears.....he dreamed he had been removed from the ship by magic and
taken by the bushrangers of New South Wales where he witnessed
horrific transactions. The surgeon could do little to convince him
otherwise. Perhaps James Dent had read of the exploits of the
bushrangers of New South Wales himself or maybehe listened to
dark tales of murder and plunder in a candlelit corner somewhere. A
hundred and seventy-five years later it is a reminder that these
sometimes unworldly men were heading into (for them) unknown territory
that would be every bit as arduous and terrifying as the most feted
explorations and sea voyages.
James Dent died at the most unfavourable portion of the passage when a
succession of heavy gales hit the ship. The storms lasted for 12 days
was almost constant rain and the frequent shipment of heavy
seas kept the vessel above and below continuously under water
preventing anything approaching dryness or ventilation in the prison
and hospital. Besides this the upper seams near the side let in the
water so abundantly that at one time there was not a dry bed in the
hospital - many of the berths in prison equally sharing in the
discomfort. Another man Leonard Turner became ill and died on the
After this the weather improved and they completed the remainder of
the voyage without any more serous sickness. The
Charles Kerr arrived in Port Jackson on Monday
9th October 1837
with the remaining two hundred and forty-six
prisoners. The printed indents reveal such
information as name, age, education, religion, marital status, family,
native place, trade, offence, date and place of trial, sentence, prior
convictions and physical descriptions. There is no information as to
where and to whom the prisoners were assigned on arrival. They were
probably at first taken to the Hyde Park Barracks when they
disembarked from the ship.
Seventy-six of the prisoners of the Charles Kerr have been
identified residing in the Hunter Valley region in the following
John Woodcock mentioned above was assigned, with two other men
from the Charles Kerr, to
John Busby. Woodcock later received a conditional pardon and
in 1850 headed off to the California gold rush. Select
to find out more about other convicts of the Charles Kerr.
The Guard consisted
of Lieutenant Hilton and Ensign Boyle, 4th regts., and 28 rank and
file of the 28th regt., Passengers Dr. Robert Turnbull of the 80th reg., Mrs.
Turnbull and four children. Two of the soldiers mentioned in the
surgeon's sick list were
Private William Felder and Private William Edwards both of the 80th
regiment. The Guard were landed on 10th October and part of them were
drafted to Parramatta and the remainder to the Barracks at Head
Notes and Links:
One of the seamen on the Charles Kerr was William Pendigrass
who was later imprisoned for absconding from the vessel.
Select here to read about the controversy surrounding three of the
prisoners Joseph Botts, Daniel Taylor and Charles Clover who were
sentenced to 25 lashes by Police Magistrate Frederick Campbell
Montgomery in April 1839.
Edinburghwas one of six convict ships
departing Ireland in 1832. In all 1012
prisoners were transported from Ireland to New
South Wales in 1832 - 276 women and 736 men.
The City of Edinburgh was the next convict ship after the
Southworth to bring convicts from Ireland
to New South Wales.
The City of Edinburgh arrived in Dublin from London on 15th
February and in Cork on 26th February.
The convict establishment consisted of a
convict depot at Cork and a hulk at Cove.
Under arrangements made by Dr. Edward Trevor,
female prisoners were held in the depot and
male prisoners were sent directly to the hulk
moored in the harbour.(1)
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)
Six men had been
re-landed while still in Cork including Owen
Donohue, John Fitzsimons, Michael Lynch, James
Lyne and Joseph Sullivan. Cholera was rife in
Cork as well as other parts of Ireland and
England in 1832 and the surgeon would have
been careful not to embark any prisoners
showing suspicious symptoms.
As the City of
Edinburgh sailed out of Cork Harbour for
New South Wales on 18th March 1832 she took
with her 139 male prisoners, most of whom
would never see Ireland again. Having been
already embarked on the vessel many days
previously, the prisoners may have been
unaware of the celebrations taking place a few
miles away in the city of Cork.
Sunday 18th March 1832 was the very day that
the liberator Daniel O'Connell made a public
entry into the city of Cork. A splendid chair
had even been manufactured at great expense
especially for the occasion.
In the Life and Times
of Daniel O'Connell, Will Fagan wrote of
the event.......On the occasion of this
visit to Cork, it was determined by the
popular party, to give him a public entry, and
grand entertainment. The public entry took
place on a Sunday; it being the only day on
which the Trades could attend. There never
before was such a demonstration. You may think
of the triumphs of the Roman Consuls, or the
brilliancy of a Royal Procession—but for
enthusiasm, and the exhibition of devotion to
country, and to the individual, nothing ever
before 1832, equalled the triumphal entry of
O'Connell into Cork. It was not a very
favourable day, and the Trades—all decorated
with their respective emblems, and carrying
banners, bearing various devices and
inscriptions, had to wait for some hours,
exposed to a bleak searching wind, for the
Liberator's arrival at the appointed
rendezvous, about three miles from Cork. At
last he arrived in an open travelling
carriage, amidst the most deafening shouts
from the vast assemblage. On his arrival, the
head of the procession moved on, passing him
in military array. It had nearly reached Cork,
before the last Trade filed off before him.
The carriages of the principal citizens then
followed. On his approach to the City, he was
surrounded by at least half a million of
people on horseback and foot—men, women, and
children; and yet not an injury was
suffered—not an accident occurred. It was a
glorious day for Ireland (1)
For those prisoners
on the City of Edinburgh sailing out of
the harbour forever on 18th March, it was
probably a day of sadness, remorse and, as debilitating
sea sickness took
hold, anxiety and fear.
of a convict
ship. He kept
2 February to
there were a
As well as
age and the
cases of the
caused him to
the time they
Others travelling as cabin passengers
included Mrs. Baylis, four boys and three
girls. In the steerage Mary Crawley a free
servant came passenger. The wife of a soldier
of the 4th regiment and one woman and two
children belonging to a soldier of the 40th
regiment also came steerage.
22, of the
was put on
the sick list
a day before
said to be
was sent to
many of the
as ploughmen, spadesmen,
Amongst them were
who had been
for mutiny or
Many of the
into lives of
of carrying fire
and the world
did little to
was John Carty who was
Many of the
the City of
50 or 100
four year old
price for his
days at the
hands of an
guilty of the
Anthony Donoghoe was also surgeon on the
The Claudine was built at Calcutta in 1811
and was the next convict ship to leave England for New South Wales after
the departure of the
Morley on the 11th August 1829. The prisoners being prepared to
sail on the Claudine came from different counties throughout
England. After being transferred from county prisons or Newgate they
were sent to various Hulks moored in the Thames to await transportation.
Among them were butchers, shoemakers, miners, bricklayers, frame
workers, porters, waiters and stableboys. Several gave their occupation
as coachmaker. Most had been sent for various forms of stealing or
The military guard of 26 rank and
file under orders of Captain Paterson of the 63rd regiment + five women
and children, received orders in July 1829 to prepare for embarkation on the Claudine. Mrs. Paterson
and child and Mr. Edwards of the Survey Department joined the vessel as passengers.
William H. Trotman kept a medical journal from 30th July to 16th
On the 10th August 1829 received sixty convicts from the Justitia
Hulk at Woolwich and left it the same day for Plymouth; on our way
thither the men were severely sea sick but a little warm tea and and
open air in general restored them in a short time, one only continued
The Morning Chronicle reported on Saturday 22nd August
that the Claudine had arrived in Plymouth from Woolwich on the
previous Saturday (15th August) and in the evening of that day 120 convicts were
embarked from the Captivity Hulk for conveyance to New South
departed England 24th August 1829 with 280 convicts. The voyage across
the channel was very rough causing more seasickness. On
30th September the surgeon reported that they were in the tropics where
they were becalmed for some days. The the excessive heat of the prison
produced fevers in many of the men. They had almost all the same
appearance - the skin soft and covered in sweat, the eyes dull and
heavy, the features shrunk, the face pale and the tongue grey; a
general listlessness and languor pervaded the prison. The prisoners were
treated by the surgeon and some recovered perfectly in four or five
days; others took longer. Surgeon Trotman arranged for them to have tea
morning and night which he reported brought them about in a short time.
The Surgeon's entry for October reported that the sick list had not so
many cases on it as September but those that were had been more severe.
The sudden change in temperature from the heat of the line and tropics
to the cold latitudes had produced many colds and coughs and some
attended with severe catarrhal fevers. One lad, Charles Broom age 17
died at this time. The surgeon described him as of slight build with
light hair; of a quiet nature and cutaneous sensibility - the
surgeon had never seen his treatment of blisters give anyone so much
In November the weather was cold, wet and damp and the prison deck was
never completely dry. The convicts did not have sufficient warm clothing
and suffered greatly with catarrhal affections with noses or lips
affected with sores. Scurvy was reported, one case being severe was
treated with lime juice and warm baths. Headaches were treated with
blisters or bloodletting and laxatives. Another lad James Sillince age
17 became severely ill and passed away in November. The death surprised
the surgeon who thought the patient was recovering under his treatment
and he determined to conduct an autopsy. He found the body so much
diseased that no treatment could have saved him. He described the boy as of the most obstinate and vicious disposition he had ever known!
The Claudine arrived in Sydney on Sunday
6th December 1829 and the
prisoners were mustered on the quarter-deck on 9th December, prior
to disembarking. Wednesday 9th December was a clear summer day in
Sydney with winds from the north-east and temperature ranging from 74°
at 9am to 80° at noon. The indents include the name, age, religion,
education, marital status, family, native place, offence, when and where
tried, prior convictions, physical description and where and to whom
assigned. There are also various colonial details included such as
deaths, pardons and sentences for colonial crimes.
This was the seventh voyage George
Fairfowl made as surgeon superintendent on a convict ship. No
surgeon's journal has survived however he probably examined the
prisoners on board the Hulks as he did on previous voyages. Many of
the convicts were embarked on the Clyde from the Hulks on 21st
April 1832. Fifteen year old prisoners James Alexander and William
Parsons held on the Euralysis hulk were embarked on this day.
Both boys had been tried at Middlesex on 6th January 1831. Prisoners
from the Cumberland and Retribution Hulks were also
embarked on the 21st April.
The Clydewas the next
vessel to leave England after the departure of the
Lady Harewood in March 1832. The Clyde departed
Portsmouth on 9 May 1832
. They were in the vicinity of Madeira on 23 May when Captain Munro
board the Portuguese brig of war, Conde de Villa Ker which was
One prisoner died on the passage out and a muster of the remaining
199 male prisoners was held
on 29th August 1832 by the Colonial Secretary. There were seventeen
prisoners under fifteen years of age. The youngest were James Jones
(13), Thomas Farnell (13), Henry McCourt (12), and George Beare(12).
The Guard consisted of 2 sergeants, 1 corporal and 30 privates of the
4th regiment, 7 soldiers wives and 10 children. Passengers included
Lieutenant Colonel McKenzie, Mrs. McKenzie, Miss McKenzie, four
Masters McKenzie, four Misses McKenzie, Quartermaster Flanna and Mrs.
Other convict ships bringing detachments of the 4th regiment
was the next convict ship to leave Ireland for New South Wales
after the departure of the
Westmoreland in April 1838. The Clyde departed Dublin 11 May 1838
with 216 prisoners and arrived in Port
10 September 1838, a voyage of 112 days.
John Smith kept a
from 24th April to 15 September 1838.........The convicts were mostly young and healthy. Health during the voyage
was good and there were no cases of any great importance.
Changes of temperature produced diarrhoea and catarrh but they
were mild and of short duration.
There was one birth,
retention of the placenta required manual assistance and
there had been convulsions and delirium but recovery was
speedy and perfect.
Scurvy began to appear in the less healthy
as they approached the Cape of Good Hope and they called at Simon's Town on the 21 July and took on an
additional 20 convicts, all military men in good health; and
fresh provisions, including live sheep. They stayed 7 days at
the Cape and the health and spirits of the people were greatly
improved. They were given a considerable quantity of potatoes
and the surgeon is convinced that 'this liberality of the
Government contributed greatly to our good health'. No cocoa
was issued but the allowance of oatmeal was sufficient.
was very bad and by their arrival in Sydney 'the people were
all in tatters'. The men were well behaved and were encouraged
to dance and march around to the music of the flute. The decks
were seldom wetted and afterwards were always dried by stove
and windsails. Chloride of lime was freely used and every
means taken to keep the decks clean and dry.
Smith, surgeon, R.N., received his surgeon's diploma from the
Royal College of Surgeons in 1809, and served on naval ships
and on the convict ships
Marquis of Huntley
The Competitor departed England on
18 March 1823 and arrived in Van Diemen's Land on 3 August 1823, a voyage of 138 days.
For the last three weeks of the voyage the
prisoners and passengers alike had to manage without the benefit of
surgeon George Clayton as he died at sea on the 8th July. The
Competitor arrived at Hobart on 3rd August 1823 and the prisoners
were landed on the 8th August. Three of the men had died on the passage
out and another three died at the hospital after landing.
One hundred and fifty seven convicts were
eventually landed in Hobart. Their appearance was reported to be
George Clayton was also surgeon on the convict ships
personal effects were later auctioned in Sydney - they
included a Bayley's Dictionary, folio; and upwards of 100 volumes of
Latin, French, and English Works, principally medical; a case of
surgical instruments; wearing apparel, bed, bedding etc.
William Ascough had previously captained
Coromandelarrived at Portsmouth on 12 January 1802 and departed
from Spithead in company with the Perseus on 12 February 1802.
She brought 138 male prisoners, came direct, and arrived in Port Jackson
13 June 1802
Captain Stirling was commended by
Governor King on arrival......for the judicial measure you
adopted and persevered in, added to the liberal comforts
supplied by Government, gave you the heartfelt satisfaction,
when you arrive at that part of your voyage when you were to
determine whether to go into the Brazils or not, of seeing the
unhappy people under your care in a state of health and
strength equal to undertake the remainder of their voyage,
which humanity and a faithful adherence to your charter party
inducted you to accomplish rather than go into Rio Janeiro
which enabled you to perform your voyage in four months
bringing every prisoner into this port in a state of high
health, cleanliness and fit for immediate labour. (HR NSW,
vol 4, p. 796)
The healthy state in which the
Coromandel and Perseus arrived requires my particularly
pointing out the masters of those ships to your notice. It appears by
the log books, surgeon's diaries and the unanimous voice of every person
on board those ships that the utmost kindness to the convicts. This,
with the proper application of the comforts Government had so liberally
provided for them and the good state of health all the people were in,
induced the master of the Coromandel to proceed without stopping
at any port. He arrived here in four months and one day, bringing every
person in a state of high health, and fit for immediate labour; and
although it appears that the Perseus necessarily stopped at Rio
and the Cape, yet the convicts were in as good condition as those on
board the Coromandel; nor can I omit the great pleasure felt by
myself and the other visiting officers at the grateful thanks expressed
by the prisoners and passengers for the kind attention and care they had
received from the masters and surgeons, who returned, an unusual
quantity of the articles laid in by Government for the convicts during
the voyage. ... Governor King to the Transport Commissioners 9th August
pipes of port wine were received in the colony by the Coromandel. They
were distributed to the the commissioned officers, civil and military in
Sydney and Norfolk Island.
Free passengers on the Coromandel: (From HRA vol.III)
1. Zachariah Clarke, his daughter Ann. Ann Selby and Isabella Suddis
2. Andrew Johnson and his wife Mary and children, Thomas aged 10 years,
William aged 8 years, John aged 5 years, Alexander aged 3 years and Abraham
3. George Hall and his wife Mary and children, Elizabeth aged 9 years,
George aged 7 years, William aged 5 years, John aged 6 months
4. John Johnston
and his wife Frances and child Mary aged 3 years
6.James Davidson and his wife Jane and children John 3 and a half years,
7. John Mein and his wife Susannah
8. Andrew Mein
9. William Stubbs and his wife Sarah and children William aged 5 years,
Sarah aged 3 years, Elizabeth aged 1 year.
10..John Turnbull and his wife Ann and children, Ralph aged 10 years
Mary aged 5 years, James aged 4 years and Jessica aged 19 months
Coromandel departed Port Jackson bound for China on 22 July 1802.
Notes and Links:
Pioneers of Portland Head
Builders of Ebenezer Church and School Early Settlers of the Hawkesbury and
Hunter Rivers and Squatters of the North-West New South Wales and Southern
Queensland including Family Genealogies by R. M. ARNDELL, Cattai, January
1973. Chapter 1 The Coromandel Settlers to read excerpts of the diary kept
by George Hall of the voyage of the Coromandel (from Hall,
George: Diary, MS M.L., A2585)
The Coromandel was the next vessel
to leave England after the departure of the
Glatton in September 1802. The Coromandel
departed England 4th
December 1803 and
arrived in Port Jackson on
1804. Her commander Captain Robinson died on the
passage while off St. Salvador.
Ensign Cressy with 30 non-commissioned
Officers and Privates of NSW Corps and 200 prisoners.
According to the Sydney Gazette, the
detachment of soldiers and the prisoners were all landed in a state of
good health - as has ever been the case in the ships belonging to the
Hurrys, and to Reeves and Green. 160 prisoners were
immediately sent to Parramatta and the rest distributed to public
employment according to respective callings.
Two complete salt pans for the use of Government
arrived on the Coromandel. They were landed at the Hospital Wharf and
later sent by the Integrity to Newcastle where some very fine
salt was being produced by February 1805 (SG)
In 1810 the following people who had
arrived on the Coromandel received their Certificates of
Freedom being restored to all the Rights of Free Subjects in
consequence of their terms of transportation being
expired...Robert Cooper, Benjamin Woody, Alexander Mason,
Christopher Airy, Francis Pendergrass, Edward Flaherty, John
Hillman, James Pass, John Davis, William Williams, Thomas
Brown, Charles Lee and Thomas Bemas.
John Grant arrived as a convict on the Coromandel.
State Library of Victoria Catalogue contains the following
information about him: Biographical/Historical note: Convict.
Grant protested against the convict system and its officials
in his "Bond of Union" of October 1805 although he had himself
been granted a ticket-of-leave. This criticism led him to be
sentenced to five years hard labour on Norfolk and Philip
Islands. Eventually he was granted a full pardon by Governor
Macquarie and returned to England in 1811. He was
well-educated and while in Australia wrote a number of poems.
Contents/Summary: 1) Documents 1769-1803, including financial
statements and indenture of apprenticeship to his uncle,
Edward Grant, and petitions after his conviction in 1803. 2)
Letters 1803-10, to his mother and sister Matilda, describing
the voyage on the Coromandel, his acquaintences Major George
Johnston, Judge Richard Atkins, Charles Bishop and Sir Henry
Hayes, and later involvement with Governors King, Bligh and
Macquarie. There is also correspondence with Robert Campbell
while John Grant was on Norfolk Island and a copy of his "Bond
of Union". 3) Five poems written by John Grant between 1804
and 1805 while he was at Parramatta and Norfolk Island. 5)
Notebook kept Jan. 31-May 1809 on his return to Sydney from
was built in Calcutta in 1798 as the East Indiaman Cuvera.
She was purchased by the Royal Navy in 1804 and renamed the
She was re-named the Coromandel and was then used as a
convict ship on this voyage. The Coromandel was
the next convict ship to leave England for New South Wales
after the departure of the Dromedary in September 1819 In November 1819 having on board
upwards of 300 convicts, the Coromandel sailed out of the Harbour to Spithead. She was expected to sail
for Australia a few days afterwards.
The Coromandel arrived in Port Jackson on
5th April, 1820 having
previously disembarked one hundred and fifty of the prisoners at the Derwent,
all in good health
The Coromandel then
sailed to New Zealand to take in spars. Captain Downie
assisted the Rev. Marsden to cause reconciliation between
hostile tribes in 1822.
Read more at the Missionary Register
She was later employed as a
stationary convict vessel at Bermuda.
James Obrey who arrived on the
Coromandel was sent to Newcastle penal settlement in 1821.
He was one of eleven pirates who seized the cutter Eclipse
from the harbour in 1825. Find out more about their audacious
The Countess of Harcourt embarked 172 male prisoners
and departed Portsmouth bound for Van Diemen's Land in April
Some of the prisoners had been tried at the Old
Bailey. In February 1821 while on their way from Newgate prison to the
hulk at Sheerness to await transportation, the caravan that was
conveying them was attacked by rescuers......
On Monday the 5th, at about nine o'clock in the
evening, a number of convicts from Newgate were put into a caravan for
the purpose of being conveyed to Sheerness. Amongst the number, were the
three robbers belonging to the rescue gang. The convicts at starting
were perfectly decorous in their behaviour, and the caravan proceeded
over Blackfriars bridge, guarded by the turnkeys, and followed by Mr.
Browne, the keeper of Newgate, in a post chaise. As the caravan was
going over the bridge, it was observed that there were several men
following them with torches in their hands.
On descending the Surrey side of the bridge, one
of the wheels of the caravan was chained; and on its arrival at the
bottom of the bridge the party were met by a gang, consisting of from
one to two hundred thieves, the comrades of the convicts, who surrounded
the caravan, as if to take leave of them. The caravan was obliged to be
stopped for a moment or two, whilst the wheel was unchained. At this
moment, a corporal's guard of lancers fortunately came up to guard the
caravan; but the robbers, who surrounded it, were by no means daunted at
their appearance, and let fly a volley of stones at the persons who had
the charge of the convicts; one large stone dashed to pieces the window
of Mr. Browne's chaise, and just missed his head; the other windows were
also shattered to pieces. A ruffian hurled a large stone at the lancers,
which hit one of them a tremendous blow on the breast, and had nearly
unhorsed him; the lancer recovering himself couched his lance at the
fellow, and spurred his horse; but at the moment some stones hit the
animal, which started aside, and the lance missed its aim, or the robber
would have paid his life for his temerity.
Mr. Browne now, very prudently ordered the party
to drive on, which they did at a brisk rate. All this took place in a
few minutes; and had not the guard of lancers come up so very
opportunely, no doubt the consequences would have been dreadful. The
convicts behaved themselves well, and did not countenance the attack;
but those who belonged to the rescue gang acknowledged, that it had been
mad by their old associates, and expressed their regret at its
occurrence. Many of the fellows attempted to keep up with the caravan,
which , however drove too fast for them. Several women amongst the
attacking party fainted, when they saw all hope of effecting a rescue
was lost; the rest set up a dismal scream, and the men poured forth
imprecations on the prosecutors of their comrades. After some time the
whole dispersed, without attempting any further mischief....The
Prisoners who were transferred from Newgate prison
and admitted to the Bellopheron hulk moored at Sheerness on the 6th
February 1821 included the following men:
Samuel Jones; John Head; William Lawrence; Robert
Parker; Matthew Cooper; James Hunt; Edmund Burke; John Male; Samuel
Chandler; George Allen; Thomas Munday; William Fulham; Joseph Colvin and
James Farquahar. (Ancestry. Home Office: Convict Prison Hulks: Registers
and Letter Books; Class: HO9; Piece: 7.)
First Officer Mr.
Cunningham; Second Officer Mr. Cousins; Third Officer Mr.
of Harcourt was built in India in 1811. She was the next convict ship after the
Mangles to depart Ireland bound for New South
Wales. The Countess of Harcourt departed Cork on
3rd September 1821. This was the
first of four voyages of the Countess of Harcourt
bringing convicts to New South Wales Wales.
Other passengers on the Countess
of Harcourt included the
Rev. William Bedford, Mrs. Bedford and three
A Court case recorded in the Morning
Post (1) and instituted by a seaman named
Sullivan for wages owed while on a voyage of the
Countess of Harcourt relates the movement of the
vessel in 1822: -
Several seamen were hired in London and
signed articles to proceed from London via Cork and
elsewhere, to Van Diemen's Land and back to London; the
Countess of Harcourt was hired by Government to convey
convicts, and sailed from London in October, 1822,
proceeded to Cork and thence to Sydney Cove (instead of
Van Diemen's Land), where she landed her convicts, took in
a cargo of tar for Batavia, at which port she afterwards
took in another cargo, and then proceeded homewards;
having arrived in the Downs, the captain landed and came
to London, where he received orders to go to Holland with
the vessel; five of the crew however refused to go to
Holland, alleging that the articles did not stipulate for
their going there. The Captain refused to pay their wages
because they refused to work on the passage. Lord Stowell
delivered judgement that the men were entitled to their
vessel was visited by surgeon
Thomas Reid while at Cork and he later wrote of
his impressions......24th. - My friend, having a yacht,
invited me to have a sail through the harbour at Cove, and
along a part of the coast. We visited the Surprise, a
frigate fitted up for a convict depot, and afterwards a
convict ship, called the Countess of Harcourt, about the
proceed to New South Wales with male convicts. Her
complement of prisoners had nearly arrived, and the
judicious arrangements of the surgeon superintendent Dr.
Armstrong, had already produced regularity; they were all
as tractable as sheep; many of them were even quite
cheerful. They might well be contented; - it was a happy
change for them*. The condition of a convict in New South
Wales is ten thousand times more comfortable than that of
a peasant in Ireland, - in fact, there can be no
comparison between them.
Commissioner Bigge, in his report laid before parliament
in 1822, remarks: "The convicts embarked in Ireland
generally arrive in New South Wales in a very healthy
state; and are found to be more obedient, and more
sensible of kind treatment, during the passage, than any
other class. (20)
On the 1st September Dr. Edward Trevor
informed Henry Goulburn, Chief Secretary at Dublin Castle
that an examination had been made of 172 convicts bound
for New South Wales on the Countess of Harcourt.
Captain George Bunn acknowledged receipt of the prisoners
as well as various articles for use on the voyage such as
pencils, slates and writing books. Robert Armstrong also
acknowledged receipt of the medical supplies for the
voyage.....Chief Secretary's Office Registered Papers,
National Archives, Ireland.
Countess of Harcourtarrived in Port Jackson on Saturday
She brought 171
male prisoners having lost one on the voyage. At least two
wives of soldiers gave birth to healthy babies on the
A muster of
convicts was held on arrival and included information such
as name, where and when convicted, sentence, native place,
trade, age, physical description and occasional
information such as tickets of leave. There is no
information in the indents as to where and to whom the
prisoners were assigned on arrival however ninety-six of
the men were forwarded to Parramatta for distribution.
From there they were sent to government service or to
various settlers throughout the colony including Joseph
Morley, William Lawson, John Herbert, William Hayes, John
Blaxland, John McArthur, Charles Throsby, James
Atkinson, John Dwyer, John Campbell, George Bowman, Henry
Robert Armstrong was also surgeon on the convict ships
in 1818 and the
The Countess of Harcourt
departed Sydney on 29th January 1823 bound for Mauritius
In February it was reported that a
detachment of the 40th regiment of foot had received
orders to hold itself in readiness to march from Chatham
to Deptford, to embark as guards on board the Chapman
convict ship. A detachment of the same Corps received
similar orders to embark on the
Countess of Harcourt which vessel it was anticipated
would be finished re-fitting by the end of March. One
serjeant, two corporals and 33 privates under the command of
Captain Robert Morrow came on the Countess of
Harcourt. Other convict ships bringing
detachments of the 40th regiment included the Asia, Guildford,
Ann & Amelia.
The Countess of Harcourt was the
next convict ship leave England for New South Wales after the
departure of the
Brothers in December 1823.
This was James Dickson's first voyage as
surgeon superintendent of a convict ship. He kept a detailed
medical journal of the daily occurrences together with his
general observations. The prisoners were embarked between the
3rd and 8th March..... 3rd March 1824 -Received this day at
one, draught from the Justitia prison ship at Woolwich, sixty
one male adult convicts, victualled on board the Justitia day
of discharge. Supplied them with bedding and formed them into
messes and berthed them. The next day another
draught of prisoners were embarked and on the 5th sixteen boys
were received into the ship from the Bellepheron hulk.
They were immediately sent to the prison set up for them on
board and placed under the instructions of two trustworthy
convicts. With exception of two all the boys were under
sentence of transportation for life.. The youngest were John
Brickfield, William Donald and William Hall who were all 14
During this time the notorious
Joseph Hunt, who was sensationally
convicted of being an accessory to murder in Hertfordshire in
1823, awaited his time on the Justitia hulk moored at
Woolwich. He was embarked alone on the 8th March. There were
strong gales of wind and very heavy rain in the days of
embarkation which prevented the prisoners from being on deck.
The surgeon insisted that they march around the prison, two
abreast to gain some exercise. This they were very reluctant
to do preferring to lounge in their berths. The surgeon
intended to attempt to befriend the above-mentioned Joseph
Hunt with a view to garnering information regarding
accomplices in his notorious crime.
A few days after they were all
embarked it began to snow and there were falls of hail as well
which lay upon the deck. The surgeon deemed it necessary to
issue a pair of numbered drawers to each of the men. The men
were also receiving small indulgences from family and friends
which the surgeon was happy to allow. All the adult men were
ironed at this stage although the irons had proved useless for
the boys who could easily slip out of them. A week later the
weather moderated and they were once more allowed on deck.
Some prisoners were employed as cooks, others as boatswain's
mates. Generally all the prisoners were well behaved and in
good spirits. They were given orders to weigh anchor and
proceed to Gravesend. By the 20th the surgeon mentions
trouble amongst the boy prisoners. He was forced to separate
some of the worst behaved, some of whom had been disrupting
the prisons by their disorderly conduct. They had been
throwing swabs and dragged out and ill used one of the
prisoners, a Welsh man who could neither speak nor understand
the English language. William Summer who was sentenced
tor life for highway robbery and twice capitally convicted was
a bad character who broke prison and assaulted his fellow
prisoner by beating him about the face with a tin pot without
From the disposition among the
boys the surgeon was induced to order that William Sumner
should received 12 lashes on the breach which was inflicted by
the boatswain; and Richard Clarke, an adult having been fully
convicted of theft was punished with 12 lashes on the back.
They anchored in Margate roads on 21st March and the weather
was squally with heavy rain necessitating the men to be
confined in their prisons again. On the night of the 22nd they
weighed anchor and proceeded to the Downs. Here Captain Bunn
procured fresh beef and vegetables for the Guard and convicts
many of whom were affected by the motion of the ship, the
weather still being boisterous. The surgeon noted that some of
the prisoners seemed depressed, owing he thought to the state
of the weather and the motion of the ship. The next day the
weather improved and the surgeon ordered all the dirty clothes
to be washed. This was done with difficulty because of the
indolence and slothfulness of the prisoners. The men
continued to receive small parcels and money from friends and
relatives still. The surgeon was astonished at the avidity
with which they extorted the least farthing by exciting
sympathy and moving appeals to their relatives' humanity by
describing themselves as having a short supply of rations and
that they were crammed together in the most uncomfortable
manner. Such pitiable details have the desired affect on their
friends who use their utmost exertions to send a few shillings
and other comforts which were allowed to be brought
alongside the vessel.
The Countess of Harcourt
proceeded down the Channel on the 24th March. Punishments
ordered by the surgeon included withholding wine for a few
days when prisoners hung their wet clothes in the prison
instead of on deck, however generally the men were orderly.
The surgeon found that the prisoners who had been sentenced
for desertion from the army were inclined to be respectful and
helpful and much disposed to make themselves useful as
boatswains mates. These included Thomas Jackson, George
Morrow, Francis Needham, John Sanderson, Henry Tennant,
Charles Tothill and James Turner
They anchored at 6pm on
12 July 1824
at Port Jackson and the following morning four men were sent
to hospital in Sydney. On the 14th Governor Brisbane came on
board to inspect the convicts. He made the usual inquiries
relative to their treatment during the voyage after which
Colonial Secretary Major Goulburn mustered the men. On the
16th the surgeon received official confirmation from shore to
have the men ready early the next day for disembarkation. They
were to take their rations with them. Each man was issued with
a woollen cap, 1 jacket, 1 waistcoat, 1 pair of trousers, 1
pair of stockings and 1 pair of shoes. They were disembarked
at 6am and the surgeon left the ship at 10am having previously
of the British Colonies...Robert Montgomery Martin
There is no indication in the convict
indents as to where the convicts were assigned after arrival. In
the Colonial Secretary's correspondence there is a list of 86
men who were forwarded to Parramatta by water on 17th July for distribution
amongst settlers. Some were then sent overland to Liverpool,
Airds, Appin, Minto, Windsor, Evan and Bathurst. Francis Nuttall (cotton and silk weaver); Thomas Barlow (cotton
weaver); John Holden (linen weaver); John Jones (weaver);
Edward Barry (cloth dresser); and Michael Harney (cotton
weaver) were all assigned to the Factory at Parramatta. The
boys were probably sent to the Carter's Barracks. Thirty two
of the prisoners of the Countess of Harcourt have been
identified in the Hunter Valley region in following years.
to find out more about these men.
James Dickson was also
surgeon on the convict ships
Woodford in 1826 (VDL),
in 1828, and
The Countess of Harcourt departed Sydney on 24th
August, with Stores and provisions and in company with the
Tamar with the intention of forming a new
settlement at Port Essington.
the Countess of
Harcourt was in company with the Lady Nelson
at Port Essington when one of the boats belonging to the
vessel was upset on returning to the ship. Twelve persons
were thrown into the water and by the great exertions of
Lieutenant Golding of the Tamar, eight of them were
saved. Two soldiers of the 3rd regiment, the Captain's
steward of the Harcourt and a fine lad, the son of
a clergyman, an apprentice, were drowned.
Countess of Harcourt was reported to be in Margate Roads on
the morning of 11th January. On January 13th she was reported
to be in Portsmouth with the loss of an anchor and cable chain
after contrary winds. She departed Portsmouth for Ireland on
17th January. After embarking 194 prisoners at Kingstown
Harbour, Dublin the Countess of Harcourt departed on 14
The Countess of Harcourt was the next convict
ship to leave Ireland bound for New South Wales after the
departure of the
Michael Goodsir kept
a Medical Journal from 21st December 1826 to 11 July 1827.
Those mentioned in his journal included soldiers of the 39th
regiment - Private David Guerin; Private Thomas Carron;
Private John Hodgkinson; Private Denis Kelliher; Private Peter
Mitchell and Private Bryan Freeman and Convicts John Hanlan
and Thomas Larkin.
Some of the prisoners had been incarcerated
for quite some time before transportation. Patrick Carey was
tried in Cork in 1822. He was sent to the Richmond General
Penitentiary which had been established in 1820 in Grangegorman, Dublin as an alternative to transportation. It
was part of an experiment into a penitentiary system to
specialise in reform rather than punishment. There were
accusations of unspeakable cruelty and proselytism and a
Commission of Enquiry was ordered in which Patrick Carey was
mentioned....He had suffered most severe hardships,
persecutions, and punishments, in order to induce him to
renounce the Catholic Religion, and become a hypocritical
professor of the Protestant Religion, Having expressed a
desire to go to the Chapel, he was put into the stocks, and
was confined for upwards of two months in a solitary cell, and
being within two years of the time appointed by the
administrators of justice for his complete liberation from the
Penitentiary for his desire to go to Mass, and to see the
Catholic Chaplain he was conveyed to the hulk at Dunleary, in
order to be transported. On the day before he was sent from
the Penitentiary he entreated the Catholic Chaplain to see him
before his departure, but was hastily sent away without being
allowed to have any communication with him. Click on the text
below to read Patrick Carey's evidence outlining his
The two Convicts who died on the voyage out were
William Bell who became ill on 14th February at Kingstown and died
26th March worn to a complete skeleton according to the surgeon; and
James Ennis who died on 27th June when the ship was already in sight
Michael Goodsir remarked at the end of his journal:
Considering the state the men were in when they embarked, many of them
having just left Hospital having had attacks of dysentery and
continued fever the ship on her passage was very healthy. The two men
that died on the voyage were both very much diseased when they
embarked. William Bell with phthisis I objected taking the day before
we sailed but Dr. Trevor the Inspector was of opinion the voyage would
do him good and said his destination could not now be altered. The
other complains I attribute to the severity of the weather at the time
and change of quarters. The principal expenditure has been in
purgative medicine having many cases of irregularity of the bowels
during the hot weather, the men generally were in better health when
landed at Sydney than when they embarked at Dunleary.
The Countess of
Harcourt arrived in Port Jackson on
28 June 1827 with 192 male
prisoners. The prisoners were mustered on board by the Colonial
Secretary Alexander McLeay on 2nd July 1827. One prisoner who had been
removed to Sydney Hospital later died. The convict indents include
such information as name, age, education, religion, marital status,
family, native place, trade, offence, when and where tried, sentence,
previous convicts, physical description and where and to whom
assigned. There is also occasional information regarding colonial
crimes, deaths and colonial pardons included.
The Australian reported
that the Countess of Harcourt brought with her 'useful directions'
from the Secretary of State regarding the distribution of prisoners
among new settlers. All settlers were to be furnished with the
services of prisoners as soon as possible and they were to be
preferred to all others in their claims upon the colonial government
for these services, whenever a prison ship came into harbour. The
settling of this matter apparently delayed the landing of the
prisoners and they were not landed until about 13th July.
three-quarters of them were under twenty-five years of age and a great
number were between twelve and sixteen years of age. The Australian
reported that the paraphernalia of another newspaper had arrived on
the Countess of Harcourt. The order for the types and presses had been
forwarded to England twenty months previously by John Macarthur & Co.,
............The Guard, consisting of part of the grenadier company and
battalion of the 39th regiment under orders of Lieut. Steaman and
Ensign Spencer were disembarked in the afternoon and marched to their
quarters in the military barracks, through George Street, preceded by
bugles, drums, and fifes, playing the regimental welcome. The military
detachment was marched from their barracks during the afternoon of
Monday, towards Woolloomooloo Bay at the head of which a general halt
was made. For better than an hour afterwards, the soldiers kept up an
almost incessant fire upon two targets, which were set up at no great
distance from the water's edge. When they had riddled and knocked
about the targets, till they could no longer stand upright, the
detachment retreated to barracks.
The Countess of Harcourt sailed for
the Isle of France on 20th August 1827
Michael Goodsir was also
employed on the convict ships
Hercules in 1825,
Waterloo in 1829 and
Royal George in 1830 (VDL). Captain William Harrison was an old
visitor to Sydney. On his last trip before the Countess of Harcourt he
was in command of the
The Countess of Harcourt
was the next convict ship to leave England for New South Wales
after the departure of the
in March 1828. The Countess of
departed London on 3rd May 1828 and St. Jago 5th June.
John Drummond kept a Medical
Journal from 29th March to 22 September 1828.
Shortly after embarkation of the
prisoners many of them became affected with slight bowel
complains and catarrh. The surgeon attributed these complaints
to the change in diet and clothing. Illness was increased by
the extremely cold and damp weather that took place during the
first two weeks after leaving Port. As they advanced further
southwards cases of fevers and dysentery began to arise.
During the latter part of the voyage the weather remained cold
and damp with frequent gales. The men suffered much from the
continual wet state of the prisons and sleeping berths. Owing
to the faulty state of the ships decks, the prisons were often
completely flooded. John Drummond had the satisfaction of
landing all the convicts at Port Jackson, none having died on
the voyage. He had made every attempt at cleanliness, scraping
the decks every day and encouraging the men to keep themselves
and their clothing clean. Every indulgence possible was
granted to them which the safety and duty of the ship could
allow. Schools were established and attended with much good
The Countess of Harcourt
arrived in Port Jackson on Monday evening,
8th September 1828,
a voyage of 128 days. On making the harbour she collided in
Neutral Bay with the Bussorah Merchant carrying away
the latter's jib boom. A muster was held on board by the
Colonial Secretary Alexander McLeay on 12th September. 183 men
were mustered, one man having been re-landed in England and
one sent to the hospital at Sydney on arrival. The indents
reveal such information as name, age, education, religion,
marital status, family, native place, trade, offence, date and
place of trial, former convictions, physical descriptions and
where and to whom the prisoners were assigned on arrival.
There are also occasional notes re tickets of leave, colonial
sentences and dates of death. One of the prisoners James
McGrath is noted in the indents as being 10 years of age,
however this is probably incorrect as he was 5ft 3in and could
read and write. He was tried at the Old Bailey and his age is
given then as 18. Sixteen is the age of the youngest convicts
and there are quite a few 17 years of age as well. The men
mostly came from different parts of England and Scotland and
many of them had been transported for crimes such as pick
pocketing, stealing, embezzlement, house breaking and highway
The prisoners were landed on Monday 22nd
September. The Australian reported that the
prisoners of the Bussorah Merchant and the Countess
of Harcourt were distributed amongst persons in town and
up country who had found it convenient to make requisition for
the men's services. Several of the men were assigned to the
Bound For Botany Bay:
Narrative of a voyage in 1798 Aboard the Death Ship Hillsborough -
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
Ancestry.com. New South Wales, Australia,
Colonial Secretary's Papers, 1788-1825