Free Settler or Felon
Convict and Colonial History

Convict Ship Castle Forbes (2) - 1824

Embarked: 140 men
Voyage: 109 days
Deaths: 1
Surgeon's Journal: yes
Previous vessel: Medina arrived 29 December 1823
Next vessel: Guildford arrived 5 March 1824
Master John. W. Ord.
Surgeon Matthew Anderson
Follow the Irish Convict Ship Trail
Convicts and Passengers of the Castle Forbes identified in the Hunter Valley region

The convict ship Castle Forbes was built at Aberdeen in 1818. [2] This was the second of two voyages bringing convicts to Australia, the first being in 1820.


Prisoners embarked on this ship in 1823 came from counties in Ireland - Cork, Limerick, Antrim, Galway, Tipperary, Kerry, Waterford, Londonderry, Meath, Clonmel, Dublin, Carlow, Down, Cavan, Lough, Westmeath, Belfast, Leitrim, Sligo, Donegal, Longford, Kildare, King's Co., Mayo, Roscommon and Kilkenny. Two men were born in England in London and Cumberland.

They were mostly ploughman and reapers. Others gave their occupations as blacksmith, clerk, groom, bargeman, butcher, porter, glass cutter, fisherman, shoemaker, stone setter, tailor, weaver, gardener, footman, carter, cotton spinner, stocking hoser, sailor, soldier and an artillery man.

Their crimes were not recorded in the convict indents, however some had been convicted of offences under the Insurrection Act.....

Limerick 5th July 1823...The following were convicted on the clearest of evidence....James Keefe, from the county Cork and could not account why he was found at Cappa, where several outrages have been committed. Edmond Burke and Edmond James Burke, for tendering an unlawful oath to Edmond McNamara, of Clonoul, near Cappa, whose house was since consumed by the insurgents. Patrick Nash, Thomas Nash, John Kilroy, Michael Hartney, John Fitzgerald, and Thomas Carmody, for being absent from their dwellings.

It appeared in evidence, that they were concerned in attacking John King's house at Ballyalline, on the 17th May and cruelly flogging the inmates and destroying their furniture. The foregoing were sentenced to seven years transportation and were instantly dispatched on their route to Cork, attended by the bitter lamentations of their friends
. [1]


The Castle Forbes departed Cork 28th September 1823.

Military Guard

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. The 40th regiment had been serving in Ireland.

Following is an excerpt from Historical Records of the 40th (2nd Somersetshire) Regiment By Raymond Henry Raymond Smythies listing the ships that brought detachments of the 40th regiment to New South Wales in 1823 and 1824..........

Early in March 1823, the commanding officer, Lieutenant-Colonel Thornton received an intimation that it was intended to send the regiment to New South Wales. In the meantime it was ordered to proceed to Dublin, thence by sea to Liverpool, and after that by road to Chatham, in order to form guards for convict ships when required.;

The head quarters reached Dublin on 15th March and occupied the Royal Barracks. On the 30th the whole regiment embarked at Pigeon House, in eight small vessels, and reached Liverpool the following day.

A twenty eight days' march, including three Sundays, brought the regiment to Chatham. The Regiment marched in three divisions; the first arrived at Chatham on 21st April; the second, consisting of two companies, halted, and remained at Deptford; and the 3rd reached Chatham on 23rd April.

During the next year the 40th was sent out, in small detachments, as guards on board convict ships to Australia. This was after several years' rough service in Ireland, and but a short period of rest in England

Embarked 25th April 1823 on ship Albion. Lieutenant Lowe
Embarked 5th July 1823 on ship Asia Captain Bishop
Embarked 10th July 1823 on ship Isabella. Lieutenant Millar
Embarked 18th July 1823 on ship Sir Godfrey Wilestoe. Captain Hibbert
Embarked 29 July 1823 on ship Guildford. Captain Thornhill
Embarked 31st July 1823 on ship Medina. Lieutenant Ganning
Embarked 5 August 1823 on ship Castle Forbes Lt.- Col. Balfour
Embarked 29 December 1823 on ship Prince Regent. Captain Stewart
Embarked 5th February 1824 on ship Chapman. Captain Jebb
Embarked 25 February 1824 on ship Countess of Harcourt. Captain Morow
Embarked 14 June 1824 on ship Mangles. Lt.- Col Thornton
Embarked 14 June 1824 on ship Princess Charlotte. Lieut Neilley

Other ships bringing detachments of the 40th regiment included the Minerva and Ann and Amelia.

Surgeon Matthew Anderson

Matthew Anderson kept a Medical Journal from 29 July 1823 to 19 January 1824. The chief cause of illness amongst the convicts was diarrhoea and dysentery. There were a few cases of scurvy which the surgeon treated with lemon Juice and sugar. [3]

Soldiers and prisoners mentioned in the surgeon's journal included:

James Kinsella - soldier of 40th regt.,
Joseph Smith - convict age 38
John Mackin - convict aged 16
John Quinn - convict aged 53
Howell Evans - soldier of 40th regt., aged 37
William Moore - soldier of 40th regt., aged 21
Patrick Corcoran - convict aged 17
Edward Bourke - convict aged 37
Andrew Murphy - convict aged 60
Patrick Harrington - convict aged 58
John Mulligan - convict aged 30
Martin Cavenagh - convict aged 21
Michael Kearney - convict aged 28
Richard Ambrose - convict aged 48
Thady Coffee - convict aged 26
John Finucane - soldier of the 40th regt., aged 21
Robert Johnson - convict aged 43
John Menane - convict aged 29
John Cokeley - convict boy
Daniel McCartey - convict aged 23
James Lamb - convict aged 52
Daniel Donovan - convict aged 32
Patrick Riley - convict aged 25
James Monaghan - convict aged 24[3]

Matthew Anderson was also surgeon on the Surry in 1819, Mangles in 1820 and the Mangles in 1822

Port Jackson

They arrived in Port Jackson on 15th January 1824. A Muster was held on board on 17th January 1824 by Colonial Secretary Frederick Goulburn. The indents record the name of convict, occupation, when and where tried, sentence, age, native place, physical description, remarks as to behaviour on the voyage out and where and to whom assigned on arrival. One man Andrew Murphy was sent to hospital on shore on the ship's arrival in Port Jackson.

One hundred and thirty-nine male prisoners were landed, one prisoner having died on the passage - Martin Cavenagh had been severely beaten while in the Depot at Cork which the surgeon considered contributed to his death.

There are notes in the indents regarding some of those who died in the years soon after arrival. -

Samuel Bell - died in Parramatta Hospital in 1835
Martin Brian died at Moreton Bay 11 March 1830
Michael Dunn died at Moreton Bay 4 May 1830
James Hacket died in Sydney Hospital 9 November 1825.

The conduct of prisoners during the voyage was mostly very good, however there were some who were referred to as idle -
John Carey,
John Dempsey
Patrick Ferguson
James Monaghan
Robert Simpson
Dennis Sheehan

Others such as Patrick Fields, Walter Hall, John Mackin, Patrick Molloy were referred as behaving badly or very badly.

Thomas Shanahan was described as riotous and Patrick Lenaghan as quarrelsome.

John McCaw a former solder of the 80th regiment was considered a very useful man.

On arrival many prisoners were assigned to private service straight from the ship. Others were sent to Hyde Park Barracks or to Liverpool, Windsor and Bathurst districts for re-distribution. The younger prisoners were transferred to Carter's Barracks.

Convicts of the Castle Forbes identified in the Hunter Valley region

Breen, Martin

Burns, Jeremiah

Coffee, Thady

Cokely, John

Curren, John

Cuthane, Thomas

Darmody, James

Davidson, William

Dempsey, John

Fields, Patrick

Fitzgerald, John

Fitzgibbon, Edmond

Hassett, Denis

Heafy, John

Jones, John

Keating, Daniel

Kelso, Gilbert

Kirkwood, John

Linaghan, Patrick

Magee, Henry

Mara, Michael

McCaw, John

McCloskey, Patrick

Neill, William

Poor, John

Reilley, Patrick

Roche, Michael

Ryan, Michael

Scully, John

Sullivan, John

Sullivan, Michael

Sweeny, Eugene

Notes and Links

1). Convict Michael Halpin was on a Colonial Office list of thirteen people who applied for their families sent to New South Wales

2). Find about bushranger Patrick Riley, convict on the Castle Forbes

3). William Ahern was convicted at Cork on 18 August 1823 and sentenced to 7 years transportation. He Married Judith McCarthy and died at Upper Picton October 1874.

4). Political Prisoners and Protesters

5). Return of Convicts of the Castle Forbes assigned between 1st January 1832 and 31st March 1832 (Sydney Gazette 5 July 1832)..... Edward Reardon. Indoor servant assigned to Henry Drinkwater at Sydney

6). Obituary of Lieut- Col. Balfour - Gentleman's Magazine


[1] Freeman's Journal 10 July 1823

[2] Bateson, Charles, The Convict Ships, 1787-1868 (Australian ed). Library of Australian History, Sydney, 1983 : pp.344-345, 384

[3] UK, Royal Navy Medical Journals, 1817-1857. Medical Journal of Matthew Anderson on the voyage of the Castle Forbes in 1824. The National Archives. Kew, Richmond, Surrey.

[4] Convict Indents. State Archives NSW; Series: NRS 12188; Item: [4/4009A]; Microfiche: 653