Free Settler or Felon
Convict and Colonial History

Convict Ship Canada - 1810

Embarked: 122 women
Voyage: 169 days
Deaths -1
Tons: 403
Surgeon's Journal: no
Previous vessel: Anne arrived 27 February 1810
Next vessel: Indian arrived 16 December 1810
Master John B. Ward
Follow the Female Convict Ship Trail
Prisoners and passengers of the Canada identified in the Hunter Valley

The Canada was built in North Shields and owned by Rieve and Green. Convicts were transported to Australia on the Canada in 1801, 1810, 1815, 1817 and 1819. On this voyage in 1810 she carried 12 guns and a crew of twenty six men.

The Convicts

The prisoners came from counties in England and Wales including Northumberland, Wiltshire, York, Lancaster, London, Salop, Middlesex, Devon, Surrey, Gloucester, Huntingdon, Chester, Kent, Suffolk, Nottingham, Somerset, Essex, Cumberland, Salop, Hertford, Stafford, Berks, Worcester and Glamorgan.

The Hull Packet reported that on the morning of 18th February the following female convicts left York Castle in order to be delivered on board the Canada transport lying at Woolwich, under orders for Botany Bay -

Eleanor Walsh, Nancy Taylor, Elizabeth Richmond, Sarah Williamson, Anne Hubie and Mary Ogle (alias Acton), Elizabeth Hall, Elizabeth Smith, Elizabeth Bailey and Mary Kershaw who were under sentence of seven years transportation. Harriet Tyler and Mary Ann Drake were conveyed from the County gaol in Ipswich to Woolwich also under sentence of 7 years transportation. [3]

Free Passengers

Free passengers included George Phillips; William Walsh (later appointed Constable in Sydney) and William Walsh junior; Missionary Henry Bicknell who had recently been married to Miss Mary Adams of Adber. He had recently been at Otaheite where he resided for thirteen years, and was returning there with his new bride via Sydney. His nephew George Bicknell also came on the Canada. Ann Wells came free, she was the wife of William Wells who arrived on the Fame.


Cargo brought out included 5 cases of hats, 10 trunks of prints and 5 crates of earthenware. [2]

Departure from England

The Canada departed England on 23 March 1810 and sailed via Rio de Janeiro.

Arrival at Port Jackson

They were off the Heads at Sydney on 7th September however could not get into the harbour until at least late on the evening of the 8 September 1810. The date the Canada entered Sydney harbour is officially given as 10th September 1810 (HRA).

Arrival of the Canada in 1810
Sydney Gazette 8 September 1810


Extract from a Dispatch from Governor Macquarie, to the Earl of Liverpool; dated Sydney, New South Wales, 27th October 1810. .....

The Canada transport brought hither one hundred and twenty-one female convicts, all of whom arrived in good health, and had been well treated by the Commander and Surgeon of that ship during the voyage, one only having died on the passage, who, according to the Surgeon's Report, was in ill health when she was embarked.

The greater part of these Convicts soon after their Arrival were assigned over as Indented Servants for the Space of three years to the different Settlers, who were on the occasion required to execute the Bonds for retaining them for that Period in their respective Services and for their humane and proper Treatment of them. Out of the entire Number of one hundred and twenty-one, there are now only thirty-two remaining undisposed of, and they are Usefully employed in the Government Cloth Manufactory, some time since established at Parramatta. By the Canada I have received the Assignments of Sixty- two female Convicts, transported hither some time ago in the Indispensable, and also of One Hundred and Ninety-Nine Male Convicts, transported in the Ship Anne. The assignment for the females last arrived has not yet reached me.

Provisions and Slops Shipped on board the Canada for the use of the convicts during the voyage and for nine months after their arrival were deposited in the King's Stores. [1]

A Public Notice from the Sydney Gazette in September reveals that the system of assignment didn't always work as it was supposed to: - Several persons having obtained female convicts on Saturday the 15th September from on board the Canada, for whom they were to have entered into Security at this Office for the proper treatment of them, and for the retaining them for three years in their service, and having since neglected to enter into this Security, this is to give Notice that all persons who thus obtained servants are required on or before Saturday next to enter into the usual obligations.

The women who weren't privately assigned were sent to the Cloth Manufactory. On 17th September orders were issued to Lieutenant Durie that accommodation in the Old Store (or Old Granary) be made ready in the best manner for their reception. The Old Granary adjoined the old kiln and was situated in George Street opposite the Government Lumber Yard. It was broken up in 1816.


Crew on the Canada included John Newton, John Thompson, John Gordon, John Ryan, Maurice Connor, John Irwin and William McCall. A reward was offered for their apprehension after they deserted the ship in Sydney in November.

Departure from Port Jackson

The Canada departed Port Jackson bound for China on 12th November 1810 and returned to Australia with convicts in 1815.

Prisoners of the Canada identified in the Hunter Valley region:

Bennett, Elizabeth
Born c 1785 in Devonshire, Elizabeth was tried at Devon Assizes 20 March 1809. She was sentenced to 7 years transportation. In 1825 she was the wife of John Ross (ship Duke of Portland) and resided at Richmond. Residing with them were sons William, John and George Bennett and daughters Mary and Jane Bennett

Conner, Catherine
Tried at the Old Bail 20 September 1809 for feloniously stealing on 18th August various articles of clothing and linen. Sentenced to 7 years transportation, age 20. Accomplice Mary Sullivan age 31 found guilty and sentenced to 14 years transportation. Note - wife of Michael Conner. She was sent to Newcastle penal settlement in January 1814 for a term of 10 years. In November 1817 she was sentenced to 2 years at Newcastle for stealing sundry articles belonging to George Carter. In an 1821 convict list Catherine Connor was described as a widow residing at Windsor

Evans, Jane
Age 20. Tried at Maidstone, Kent Assizes 27 March 1809. Sentenced to transportation for life for having stolen from the ship of E. and J. Watts, a pair of Spanish leather shoes. Sent to Newcastle penal settlement in October 1812 having been sentenced to four months transportation. She returned to Sydney in March 1813 her sentence having expired. She was at the Female Factory in 1816 and 1817. On 2 February 1818 she was granted permission to marry Thomas Bower or Boar (ship Fortune 1813). In January 1823 Jane Boar petitioned for an Absolute Pardon....That Petitioner was tried at Maidstone, Kent, in the year 1810 in the name of Jane Evans under sentence of Exile for life. Came to this Colony by the ship Canada, has been married to one Thomas Board, overseer of the Bricklayers at Parramatta for five years, resides with him, supporting an honest and industrious character. That in December 1820, her husband detected one William Whiteman attempting to break into the Quarters of Lieut. Macquarie at Parramatta in the act of securing him, he received three wounds in the body with a knife. For which act and other depredations he suffered the sentence of the Law. That Petitioners Husband having only a short time to serve out of his original sentence of transportation and it being his determination to return to his Native Country and Friends, and being anxious to take Petitioner with him, should your Excellency be pleased to extend an Absolute Pardon towards her, which will be the means of making two individuals happy and for such act of Mercy, Petitioner as in Duty Bound will Pray....
In the 1825 muster Jane Evans was recorded as the wife of Thomas Boar of Parramatta. Jane Evans Boar died at Parramatta age 38 in 1826. The Australian 2 May 1827

Ogle, Mary
Alias Sarah Acton. Wife of Joseph Ogle alias Thomas Acton (ship Indian 1810). Tried at Beverley, York (East Riding) Quarter Sessions 3 October 1809. Sentenced to 7 years transportation. She was sent to Newcastle penal settlement in May 1812 and returned to Sydney in August 1812. In 1824 she was sentenced to transportation for life for breaking and entering the Rev. George Augustus Middleton's house at or near Newcastle. She was incarcerated in Sydney gaol in 1824 when she petitioned government to be allowed to reside at Port Macquarie where her husband had been sent -
17 March 1824
Permission for Sarah Acton to join her husband at Port Macquarie,
I beg your polite attention to the perusal of this letter and fondly crave your assistance by the observance of it. I have been long in imprisonment and have no means of support excepting the allowances given. I have likewise a child to support that it is with the greatest difficulty, I can in any way provided for him.
A Vessel I understand is about proceeding to Port Macquarie but I have received no information relative to myself proceeding thither. My husband has been at Port Macquarie some time. I have been married to him thirty-two years and it is my ardent wish to join him, this opportunity if you would, Sir, be good enough to order me for embarkation by this draft I must confess your humanity on this occasion, in so doing it, will be ever observed

Both Sarah and Thomas Acton were in government service at Port Macquarie in 1825

Porter, Hannah
Hannah Porter age 19 and Hannah Stanley age 18, for stealing in the parish of St. Paul, Deptford, a goose feather bed, two pair of sheets, two blankets, three counterpanes, two gowns, four petticoats, seven pair of cotton stockings, and six pocket handkerchiefs, the property of William and Elizabeth Dawson received sentence of Death at Kent Assizes on 27 March 1809. Hannah Porter's sentence was commuted to transportation for life. She was on a list of prisoners sent to Newcastle penal settlement in September 1811 under sentence of 4 months transportation. She returned to Sydney on the Lady Nelson on 29 January 1812. Thomas Brady, clerk to Commandant Skottowe, returned on the same vessel. She married Charles Griffin, Ship carpenter on the Porpoise and Master Boat Builder, in 1812. The Sydney Gazette recorded that Charles Griffin and Hannah Griffin were to depart on the Campbell Macquarie in October 1813. (This was a new vessel built at Hobart, the old Campbell Macquarie was wrecked in 1812). Hannah Porter died in 1815. Charles Griffin may have departed the colony for the last time on the Frederick in July 1816

Smith, Ann
Tried Middlesex Gaol Delivery 1 November 1809. Sentenced to 7 years transportation. Ann Smith was on a list of prisoners to be sent to Newcastle in April 1816. She was sentenced to 1 month in the Female Factory in February 1820 and sent to Sydney gaol for 1 month on 22 May 1820. She was sent to the Female Factory for 6 months on 15 June 1822 however was discharged to the General Hospital on 28 June. In September 1823 she was sent to the Factory for 6 months as a rogue and a vagabond. In August 1824 she was deemed a drunkard and prostitute and sentenced to the Female Factory for 28 days. She was resident at the Factory when the 1825 convict muster was taken.

Notes and Links

1). Mary Ann Lyons was found guilty of the murder of her husband in March 1822 and pardoned in 1823 (HRA)

2). Hunter Valley convicts/passengers arriving on the Canada in 1810

3). One of the Canada women, Louisa Smith, was assigned to Sir Henry Browne Hayes at Parramatta. Louisa Smith had been tried at the Old Bailey and sentenced to 7 years transportation for stealing a handkerchief from the premises of Lord Lucan.

4). More about passenger Henry Bicknell at Otaheite


[1] HRA., Series 1, vol. VII, p.341-2

[2] HRA., Series 1 vol. VII, p. 428

[3] Hull Packett, Tuesday 20 February 1810