Free Settler or Felon
Convict and Colonial History

Convict Ship Coromandel - 1820

Embarked 300 men
Voyage 154 days
Deaths 0
Surgeon's Journal - No
Previous vessel: Dromedary arrived 28 January 1820
Next vessel: Janus arrived 3 May 1820
Master James Downie
Surgeon Archibald Hume
Convicts and passengers of the Coromandel identified in the Hunter Valley region

This vessel was built in Calcutta in 1798 as the East Indiaman Cuvera and was purchased by the Royal Navy in 1804 and re-named the Malabar.

Malabar was re-named Coromandel and used as a convict ship on this voyage.

The Convicts

The convicts came from district throughout England. There were also several who had been court-martialled:

Henry Norman Geaves a mariner from Devon who was court-martialled at Newfoundland on 18 May 1819 and sentenced to transportation for life.

William Weir who was tried on 10 and 11th May 1819 at Hallifax, Novia Scotia and sentenced to transportation for Life

George Taylor who was court-martialled at Portsmouth 3 May 1819 and sentenced to 7 years transportation

Neil McLean from Glasgow who was Court-martialled at Barbados on 18 March 1819 and sentenced to life.


In November 1819 the Coromandel sailed out of the Harbour to Spithead. She was expected to sail for Australia a few days afterwards.

Military Guard

Guard consisted of a Detachment of the 46th and 84th Regiments under the Command of Captain Bernard of the 84th and Lieutenant Raines in Command of the 46th.

The Headquarters of the 46th regiment commanded by Lieut-Col George James Molle arrived on the Windham. Other detachments arrived on ships Coromandel, Marquis of Wellington, Lord Eldon, Fame, Recovery, Elizabeth, Larkins, Three Bees, General Hewitt, Guildford, Surry, Surry, Shipley, Sir William Bensley, Morley and Bencoolen.

Detachments of the 84th arrived on Surry in 1819, General Stewart in 1818, Tyne in 1819 and Lord Sidmouth in 1819 and the Coromandel.

Derwent River

The Coromandel touched at Rio de Janeiro on the passage and arrived at the Derwent where she disembarked one hundred and fifty prisoners before departing there on 25th March for Port Jackson.

Port Jackson

They arrived in Port Jackson on 5th April, 1820.

Convict Assignment

In Sydney prisoners were disembarked on 10th April 1820 and 57 were sent by water to Parramatta for distribution. These men were assigned as follows:

At Parramatta: George Homan, William Whitcomb and Henry N. Greaves were assigned to H. McArthur Esq William Cox was assigned to Mr Oakes at the Female Factory and John Fielding was assigned to work as a weaver at the Female Factory. James Owens and James Francis for assignment as stockmen for the Rooty Hill station. William Churchurst was assigned to Lieutenant William Lawson

At Liverpool: Henry Upton and John Keene were assigned to John Thomas Campbell for Shankomore (Mr. Campbell's farm at Bringelly) Thomas Bradly and Charles Welsh were assigned to Thomas Moore Esq., at Liverpool Thomas Alabaster to William Broughton Esq., at Appin James Rawlings, John Clarke, John Ridgell and James Woofenden were assigned to James Meehan

At Windsor: Thomas Owens, clerk, was assigned to James Mileham and the remaining prisoners were for general distribution in the Windsor district.

Departure from the Colony

The Coromandel on leaving New South Wales then sailed to New Zealand to take in spars. Her departure was recorded by Governor Macquarie in his journal.....

Wednesday 17. May 1820 ! This morning H.M. Storeship Coromandel Commanded by Capt. Donnie, Sailed from Port Jackson for New Zealand, for the purpose of procuring Spars and other Timber for His Majesty's Navy. On the same day sailed for Port Dalrymple and the Derwent The Govt. Brig Princess Charlotte with Female Convicts for these two Settlements.

They arrived back in Sydney in June 1821 with a cargo of valuable spars for His Majesty's dock yards which had been procured in the River Thames, NZ.

Captain Downie assisted the Rev. Marsden to cause reconciliation between hostile tribes in 1821/1822. Read more at the Missionary Register

Notes and Guard

1). The Coromandel was later employed as a stationary convict vessel at Bermuda. ...Missionary Register

2). James Obrey who arrived on the Coromandel was sent to Newcastle penal settlement in 1821. He was one of eleven pirates who seized the cutter Eclipse from the harbour in 1825. Find out more about their daring escape at Pirates.

3). Convict James Rawlings was later assigned to John Laurio Platt; James Wright was assigned to William Evans; Henry Phillips to the Australian Agricultural Company and John Burgess to Henry Dumaresq.

4). Almost twenty years after arrival in the colony Samuel Shepherd was arrested as a bushranger after being at large for several years at the Big River. He was sentenced to 12 months in an iron gang.

5). William Douglas was still in trouble more than twenty years after arrival. He was one of the convicts concerned in Seizing the Wellington near Norfolk Island in 1827

6). Convict Patrick McKone was sentenced to 100 lashes and 12 months in the gaol gang the day after landing in Hobart having been found guilty of stealing wearing apparel belonging to Joseph Johnson a Private of the 46th Regiment, one of the Guard in the same vessel.

7). Convict Henry Usher was sentenced to transportation to Newcastle penal settlement in 1822. He remained in Newcastle for the rest of his life, and established a successful store in Bolton Street Newcastle. He died in 1863 -' We have to record the death of Mr. Henry Usher, an old inhabitant of this city. The deceased died possessed of considerable property, and some of our citizens whom he remembered among his friends have reason to feel thankful for the generosity evinced towards them. The Newcastle Hospital was not forgotten, £800 having been left towards erecting a new building; £600 has likewise been left, invested in the hands of trustees, towards improving and enlarging Christ Church.' (Newcastle Chronicle). Henry Usher was buried in the Christ Church Burial Grounds.

8). Convict John Brooks may have been troublesome on the voyage out. On disembarking on 10th April, he was sentenced by Governor Macquarie to one year transportation to the Newcastle Penal Settlement. He was embarked on to the Elizabeth Henrietta on 26th April 1820 and on arrival was sent to the notorious limeburners camp to work. In August 1820 he was punished with 75 lashes for refusing to work and encouraging others to do the same; and in October of the same year he received 25 lashes for absconding from work and making away with slop clothing

9). Convicts and passengers of the Coromandel identified in the Hunter Valley region

10). More about Commander James Downie.

11). James Downie's appointment as Commander of the Coromandel - Naval Chronicle 1818

12). The Coromandel arrived in Portsmouth from New Zealand.


1) Bateson, Charles, Library of Australian History (1983). The convict ships, 1787-1868 (Australian ed). Library of Australian History, Sydney : pp.342-343, 356-357, 383