Free Settler or Felon
Convict and Colonial History

Convict Ship Captain Cook - 1836

Embarked 236 men
Voyage 131 days
Deaths 6
Surgeon's Journal - Yes
Crew: 34 men
Previous vessel: Lady Kennaway arrived 12 October 1836
Next vessel: Bengal Merchant arrived 9 December 1836
Master George W. Brown
Surgeon Arthur Savage
Follow the Irish Convict Ship Trail
Convicts and passengers of the Captain Cook identified in the Hunter Valley region

The Captain Cook was built at Whitby in 1826. She transported convicts to New South Wales in 1832, 1833 and 1836.


The Captain Cook departed Deptford on 7 June 1836 and embarked convicts at Dublin and at Cork, 229 convicts in all.


The Captain Cook departed Cork on 5 July 1836.

Military Guard

The Guard consisted Captain William Harvie Christie, Lieutenant Hawkins, 40 rank and file of the 80th regiment and 5 of the 50th regiment, 6 women and 4 children. Passengers included Dr. Reid of 80th regiment, Mrs. Reid and Mrs. Christie.

The 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; included is a detailed description of the journey to Australia with information on the conditions, lay-out of the ship and incidents of the voyage.

Surgeon Arthur Savage

Arthur Savage kept a Medical Journal from 4 June to 19 November 1836. He remarked that the provisions were excellent and the water exceedingly fine, although they had much rain and foul weather in September and October 1836.

Some of those mentioned in the surgeon's journal include:

Edward Forster aged 2. Died at sea 22nd August 1836

Michael Ryan, convict aged 32. Treated for Fever 11th July 1836

John Doohig, convict aged 50. Treated for retention of urine 14th July 1836

John Rowley, Private of the 80th regiment. Treated for Rheumatism 18th July 1836

Michael Mitchell Private 80th regiment aged 34. Treated for fever 27 July 1836

Francis Collins, convict. Treated for obstipatio 2 August 1836

Joseph Maggeson, Private of 80th regiment aged 30. Treated for a lacerated wound to his right wrist which was damaged by the bursting of a small brass cannon on 24 August 1836

Robert Taylor, convict aged 20. Treated for ophthalmia 20 September 1836

John Aikin convict aged 24. Treated for icterus 18th September. Sent to Hospital 15th November 1836.

William Waters. Private of 80th regiment aged 28. Treated for pneumonia 20 September 1836

Edward Patterson. Convict aged 31. - A man of color of herculean strength. Complains of pain in the left thigh and general febrile symptoms. Says he has had cold chills for several days back. There is increased heat of the part which is the external and middle. Whilst in Gaol he made a desperate effort to escape by leaping from a high wall and received a compound fracture of the affected thigh. The limb thereby became shortened by about 3 1/2 inches. He is of most violent temper and sets all rules at defiance. Discharged to hospital 14th November 1836

Timothy Buckley, convicted aged 23. Died at sea from scurvy on 25th October 1836.

Joseph Rawlins, Private 28th regiment aged 48. Treated for scurvy. Discharged to the military hospital 14th November 1836 [2]

Attempted Mutiny

It was to be voyage of intrigue and high drama. The Sydney 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 everybody 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.

Port Jackson

The Captain Cook arrived in Sydney on 13 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.

Notes and Links

1). Arthur Savage was also employed as surgeon on the convict ships John 1833 (VDL) and Norfolk 1835 (VDL)

2). Nathanial Wils (Willis) and Francis Emerson, privates of the 14th found guilty at the Cork Assizes, of stealing a watch, clothes, and money from Lieut. Lloyd of that Regiment, are sentenced to transportation for seven years. - Connaught Telegraph 30 March 1836

3). Convicts and passengers of the Captain Cook identified in the Hunter Valley region

4). Obituary of William Harvie Christie......An old colonist who for many years occupied a leading position in our community and numbered a large circle of friends, has just passed away. William Harvie Christie (more familiarly known to us all as ' Major Christie'), after a long and painful illness, lasting for about eighteen months, died suddenly of heart disease, at his residence, Craigstone, Pyrmont, on Wednesday evening, the 19th March 1873. Read the full obituary in the Sydney Mail 29 March 1873.

5). Detachments of the 50th regiment arrived on the Surry, Forth, Bengal Merchant Hooghley, Susan, Blenheim, Royal Admiral, Lady Nugent, Parmelia, James Laing, Hive, Hooghley, Captain Cook, Hero, Roslin Castle, Henry Porcher, Henry Tanner, Lady Kennaway and the Arab.

6). Detachments of the 80th regiment arrived the Lady Kennaway, Lloyds, Norfolk, Bengal Merchant, Asia, Captain Cook, Earl Grey, St. Vincent, John, Prince George, Mangles, Heber, Theresa, Calcutta, Eden, Emma Eugenia and Blundell.


[1] Bateson, Charles Library of Australian History (1983). The convict ships, 1787-1868 (Australian ed). Library of Australian History, Sydney : pp.354-355, 390

[2] Medical Journal of Arthur Savage, UK, Royal Navy Medical Journals, 1817-1857 The National Archives. Kew, Richmond, Surrey.

[3] Sydney Herald 22 December 1836