Free Settler or Felon
Convict and Colonial History

Convict Ship Atlas (II) - 1802

Embarked: 208 men
Voyage: 153 days
Surgeon's Journal: no
Previous vessel: Perseus arrived 14 August 1802
Next vessel: Glatton arrived 11 March 1803
Captain Thomas Musgrave.
Surgeon Thomas Davie
Follow the Irish Convict Ship Trail
Prisoners and passengers of the Atlas identified in the Hunter Valley

The Atlas (II) was built in 1801 at Quebec and owned by W. Beatson and Co.. She was taken up for service by the East India Company in 1801. The Atlas(II) was the next convict ship to leave Ireland after the departure of the Atlas (1) and the Hercules in November 1801.

Departure from Cork

Fifteen prisoners were re-landed in Cork before departure.[1] The Atlas departed Cork on 30 May 1802 and sailed via Rio de Janeiro.

Port Jackson

They arrived in Port Jackson on 30 October 1802. Governor King recorded the arrival of the Atlas in correspondence to the Transport Commissioners..... The Atlas (Musgrave) arrived here the 30th ultimo, after a five months' voyage from Waterford. He lost no convicts on the passage and the whole were in perfect good health and fit for immediate labour, and expressed the greatest thanks to the master and surgeon for their attention and kindness to them. This is a proof that the masters of the Atlas (Brooks) and Hercules might have brought their cargoes equally as well and expeditious.[2]

Struck by Lightning

David Dickenson Mann referred to the Atlas in The Present Picture of New South Wales...... The storms of thunder and lightning are sometimes particularly terrific, but have seldom been productive of much damage. In some few instances, indeed, individuals had been killed by the electric fires, but these accidents have generally resulted from the too common and dangerous mode of seeking shelter under trees, which attracted and directed the lightning to its object, instead of affording that security which was sought for. A very singular circumstance happened at the close of the spring of 1802, when the Atlas, a ship commanded by Mr. Thomas Musgrove, was stricken by a flash on the 5th of November, and, although the bottom of the ship was immediately perforated by the stroke, not a man on board received any material injury: such a singular instance is almost without its parallel. At other periods, the tempestuous gales which have been experienced surpass the conception of those who have never witnessed the boisterous and tumultuous agitation of nature. Hailstones, exceeding six inches in circumference, have frequently fallen with such violence as to destroy the windows of those habitations which had neglected the adoption of measures of security, to kill the poultry, and lay level with the earth the shrubs and the corn. In fact, storms of this description never fail to occasion the most extensive devastation, and to commit injuries to the settlers, which the labour of months is scarcely sufficient to overcome. [3]

Departure from Port Jackson

The Atlas (II) departed Port Jackson bound for China on 3 January 1803. Concealed on board were two stowaways Anthony Rawson and William Tucker. They were later re-captured in England and re-transported to New South Wales on the convict ship Experiment in 1804.

Prisoners of the Atlas (II) identified in the Hunter Region :

Condon, Thomas
Tried at Wicklow. Sentenced to transportation for life. Sent to Newcastle in January 1820 and from Newcastle to Port Macquarie in February 1823

Desmund, Thomas
or Desmond. Tried at Temply Toohy. Sentenced to transportation for life. First sent to Newcastle in 1804, he became a notorious runaway. He absconded from the lime burners gang near Newcastle with several others in 1814 - Francis Parcello and Walter Preston, both of whom arrived on the Guildford; John Bricks per Archduke Charles; Isaac Walker by the Admiral Gambier; John Lee by the Admiral Gambier 1811. Thomas Desmond disappeared from the records around 1816.

Ducey, Patrick
Tried at Tipperary. Sentenced to transportation for life. He was sent to Newcastle in February 1811 under sentence of hard labour in the coal mines. In May 1811 he was punished with 25 lashes for refusing to do public labour with the cedar party. He returned to Sydney in June 1812 having served his sentence and received a ticket of leave in November 1813. He was executed in October 1817 after being found guilty of stealing and killing a cow belonging to Patrick Devoy

Dwyer, Anthony
Born at Killaloe. Tried at Cashell, Co. Tipperary. Sentenced to transportation for life. Anthony Dwyer was overseer of lime burners for many years. He received a conditional pardon in 1815. In 1823 he petitioned again for a pardon...Your Petitioner arrived in this Colony per ship Atlas, 1802, under an unlimited sentence and has been in Government employ from that year to the present time. Seven years of the period as superintendent of the limeburners at Sydney and another ten years at Newcastle.
That your Petitioner received the indulgence of emancipation from your Excellency about six years since and now in consideration of his length of servitude humbly solicits your Excellency to grant him a Free Pardon and Petitioner humbly trusts that your Excellency will on account of his unceasing exertions to render himself useful in the service of Government and of his general conduct in the above long space of time be induced to extend to him your Petitioner the indulgence he now solicits and which should he be so fortunate as to succeed in obtaining he will ever retain the most grateful sense of. Petitioner at the same time offers a continuation of his services in the situation he now holds the full time
. A note attached written by Lachlan Macquarie states that as Dwyer already held a pardon, a 'free pardon' would be issued in two years time so long as he remained in his current position and conducted himself properly. An Absolute Pardon was granted in November 1821. Anthony Dwyer married Margaret Cuddy (ship Catherine) in 1822. He was granted 60 acres in Co. Durham on 14 July 1824. He successfully worked land at Paterson River along with other small settlers Richard Binder, Robert Whitmore, Thomas Addison, John Powell and John Reeves. His farm was named Macquarie Farm. He was also granted an allotment (13) in the town of Newcastle. He died of natural causes at Paterson in June 1840.

Dwyer, Connor
Alias Cornelius. Tried at Clonmel. Sentenced to transportation for life. Castle Hill rebel, sentenced to 500 lashes for his part in the rebellion. Received 150 lashes and transported to Coal River. Received a grant of land at Windsor in 1818

Farrell, Roger
Alias Agar. Tried at Dublin. Sentenced to transportation for life. Roger Farrell was one of several Governor Bligh supporters who were rounded up and sent to the Coal River in the aftermath of Bligh's arrest on 26th January 1808. Select here to read correspondence from Roger Farrell to Governor Bligh telling of the injustices he had suffered

Maloney, Patrick
Tried at Limerick. Sentenced to transportation for life. Sent to Newcastle penal settlement in April 1813. He became one of several early settlers occupying farms on the Hunter River and Wallis Creek, the others being Richard Martyn, George Mitchell, Patrick Riley, John Allen, John Smith, Thomas Boardman, John Cahill, William Jones and Mary Hunt. Patrick Maloney's original land grant of 26 acres was increased to 50.3 acres in a later survey. The Rose Inn may have been on part of his grant at West Maitland.

McCormick, Bryan
Tried at Naas in 1801. Sentenced to transportation for life. Involved in the Battle of Castle Hill in 1804. He was on the Return of the men condemned by a General Court Martial at Parramatta, however his sentence was respited on 10th March 1804.

orris, John
Alias Smith. Tried at Wexford. Sentenced to transportation for life. Sentenced to 3 years transportation to Newcastle in June 1818, to work in double irons

Nesbitt, Patrick
Tried in Kilkenny. Sentenced to transportation for life. Sentenced to one year at Newcastle penal settlement in June 1819

Nowlan, Darby
Tried at Naas. Sentenced to transportation for life. Employed as a sawyer in Sydney; sent to Newcastle in 1814 to cut cedar. He petitioned for an indulgence in 1819 - The Humble Petition of Derby Nowlan, Sheweth, That he was tried at Naas, February 1800 and came to this Colony in the ship Atlas in October 1802 under sentenced of Exile for Life. Your Excellency's humble Petitioner further sheweth that he has been in the employ of Government ever since his arrival in the colony and that he has behaved himself with the utmost propriety ever since his arrival. Your Excellency's humble Petitioner further sheweth that he volunteered to go to Newcastle six years ago this January to cut three thousand feet of cedar plank for the Henrietta brig and your Excellency was pleased to promise me three years ago at the General Muster Sydney that your Excellency would do something for him and humbly begs that your Excellency will be pleased to grant him an Emancipation. Darby Nowlan was granted a Ticket of Leave for the district of Newcastle in September 1823

Ryan, Michael
x 4 convicts by the name of Michael Ryan on this voyage. One of them is listed in the 1828 Census as a prisoner for life and Conditional Pardon holder age 55, farmer, residing at the Hunter River with his wife Mary age 35 (ship Elizabeth) and children Mary age 12, Margaret 11, Julia age 9 and Michael age 6 months.

Sloane, Patrick
Tried at Wexford in 1801. Sentenced to transportation for life. In 1804 Patrick Sloane was employed as an overseer by Captain Edward Abbott. In the days leading up to the Rebellion at Castle Hill, he informed Captain Abbott of the activities of some of the rebels as told to him by a fellow Countryman named Keo. In February 1816 Patrick Sloane was employed as a sawyer and carpenter by Andrew Doyle at Portland Head. In January 1818 he was convicted with James Fitzpatrick and John Hopkins of burglary and robbery in the house of John Browne at the lower Branch of the Hawkesbury River. He was sentenced to death however his sentence was commuted to transportation to Newcastle for life. He was sent on the Lady Nelson on 15 March 1818. In January 1822 he was punished with 75 lashes for absenting himself from Government work and attempting to escape from the settlement. In 1823 while at Port Macquarie he accused Robert Coram Dillon of fraudulent practices in obtaining cedar at Newcastle, stating that he had been sent to Port Macquarie not for any crime but because he had endeavoured to make known to Government of the dishonest proceedings at Newcastle.

Smyth, Neal (Niel)
Alias Smith Tried in Dublin. Involved in the Battle of Castle Hill in 1804. HRA records that he was sentenced to receive 500 lashes for his part in the rebellion. [4] He was sent to Newcastle settlement probably in March 1804. Three months after Newcastle settlement was established, he was found to be the ringleader of six men who planned to murder the Commandant (Lieut. Charles Menzies) and soldiers. Niel Smyth and Francis Neeson were sent to Sydney where they were sentenced to work in the ironed gang with solitary confinement at night. He was later employed as a constable at Newcastle In 1822 he was a constable at Lower Minto. He was charged with wilful and corrupt perjury before the magistrates at Liverpool, having charged Dennis Lynch with committing highway robbery, he was found guilty and sentenced to stand from eleven to twelve o'clock on Saturday 18th and 25th January in the court yard at Liverpool with a label of wood on the breast of his person with the words painted large Convicted of wilful and corrupt perjury in falsely charging a prisoners of the Crown with Highway Robbery. Afterwards to be transported to such place as his Excellency the Governor shall direct for four years. He was sent to Port Macquarie and later employed as a constable at Port Macquarie

Tiernan, Andrew
Tried at Naas, Kildare. Sentenced to transportation for life. Correspondence from Governor King to Lieut. Menzies dated 7 June 1804...{Extract} Respecting the Six Ringleaders, you will be pleased to send two of the worst here in separate Vessels, double Ironed, and hand-cuffed, the others you will punish with two hundred Lashes each, and if you think they will be more secure, they may be put on Coal Island, Tierney for his diabolical proposal of Murdering the Officers and Soldiers should receive five hundred Lashes, or as many as he can take without endangering his Life. I hope these Examples will prevent any more of those desperate plans, and that I shall find by the next report they are again quiet. I have taken the necessary Steps respecting the two who made their Escape, in case they should be seen about the Neighbourhood of Hawkesbury. Andrew Tiernan escaped with Bryan Reilly before this punishment. The Sydney Gazette reported that Reilly was captured in the bush near the settlement in a wretched and most deplorable condition. He gave an account of the death of Tiernan - that he fell a victim to cold, fatigue and famine, after wandering for some time through the trackless woods and feebly partaking in spontaneous herbage, which might have been impregnated with rank and deadly poison. (SG 5 august 1804)

Notes and Links

1). In 1810 Roger (Ager) Farrel who had arrived on the Atlas received his Certificate of Freedom being restored to all the Rights of a Free Subject in consequence of his terms of transportation being expired

2). A description of Thomas Musgrave's Journal which is held at the British Library, can be located at The National Archives - ATLAS (3) [no ref.] No date Contents: Voyages: (1) 1802/1 New South Wales and China. Capt Thomas Musgrave. Downs 20 Feb 1802 - 6 Mar Cork - 30 Jul Rio de Janeiro - 30 Oct Sydney Cove - 14 Mar 1803 Whampoa - 11 Apr Macao - 1 Aug St Helena - 30 Nov Cork - 16 Dec Deptford. Atlas: Journal IOR/L/MAR/B/27F 15 Dec 1801-12 Jan 1804.

3) Five convict ships arrived in New South Wales in 1802 - Coromandel, Hercules, Atlas, Perseus and Atlas II.


[1] Bateson, Charles, The Convict Ships, p.381

[2] HR NSW, vol. IV, p. 888

[3] Mann, David Dickenson, The Present Picture of New South Wales in 1811

[4] HRA Series 1, vol. IV.,p. 577