The Catherine was the next convict
ship leaving Ireland for New South Wales with female
prisoners after the departure of the
Archduke Charles in May 1812.
were gathered from counties throughout Ireland - Antrim,
Kilkenny, Galway, Tyrone, Mayo, Longford and Cork.
Over fifty women had been tried in Dublin city.
Before the convict depot was opened in Cork in 1817,
there were several scandals relating to those brought
from Dublin in sloops or brigs to await embarkation.
Because of delays, transportees sometimes had to wait on
board these vessels for extended periods in
In 1815, Governor Macquarie of New South
Wales complained of the high mortality rate on the
Bees and the Catherine. The Inspector
General of Prisons, Foster Archer, attributed the high
mortality to the fact that the convicts had to remain in
dock at Dublin for six weeks awaiting suitable winds.
They received neither clothing nor bedding, which were
considered an unnecessary expense due to the shortness
of the journey to Cork. (1)
The Three Bees
and the Catherine were to sail from Cork for
Falmouth on the first fair wind, there to join the
convoy for South America, however the voyage was delayed
somewhat when a tremendous gale from the south-east
accompanied with heavy rain blew up on the night of the
19th October 1813. The Morning Post reported
that the rain and wind continued the entire night and
into the following day. The Cornwall Gazette
reported that they had finally anchored at Falmouth by
30th October, however they did not sail from Falmouth
until 8th December 1813.
It was the height of
the Napoleonic wars when the Three Bees and
Catherine departed Falmouth and they were to sail
in convoy and under the protection of the armed frigates
Niger and Tagus. They parted company
from the Niger and the Tagus about a
month later when those vessel entered into a battle with
the French frigate Ceres. Captain Rainier of
the Niger later wrote of the encounter -
The Niger, in company with the Tagus frigate,
Captain Pipon, on 6th January near Cape de Verde, had
fallen in with the Ceres French frigate, of 44 guns and
324 men, commanded by Baron de Bougainville. The Ceres
was one month from Brest on her first cruise. She was
manoeuvred in a masterly style during a chase of 238
miles, when the Tagus, being to windward, opened fire,
which was briskly returned; but the Enemy's main
top-mast being shot away, rendered her escape
The Tagus, Niger, and
their prize the Ceres, sailed on to Rio Janeiro
arriving there on the 2nd February. The Three Bees
and the Catherine, both also armed, continued
on their journey to New South Wales.
Ninety-seven women arrived in Port Jackson on the 4th
May 1814. Praise was given to Capt. Simmonds for his
indulgent treatment of the prisoners of the
Catherine throughout the voyage. The women were
said to be grateful of the kindness they experienced.
Governor Macquarie to Earl Bathurst, 24 May
The Settlement in Van
Diemen's Land being much in want of women, I have
embarked sixty of those arrived by the Catherine for
thence on board His Majesty's Colonial Brig Kangaroo
with the intention of dispatching her in a few days for
the Derwent. (2)
The Catherine was one of
three convict ships bringing female prisoners to New
South Wales in 1814, the others being the
and the Broxbourneberry. A total of 322 female
prisoners arrived in the colony in 1814.