Free Settler or Felon
Convict and Colonial History

Convict Ship Dick - 1821

Embarked 140 men
Voyage 128 days
Deaths - 0
Surgeons Journal: yes
Previous vessel: Lord Sidmouth arrived 19 February 1821
Next vessel: Speke arrived 18 May 1821
Master William Harrison
Surgeon Robert Armstrong
Prisoners and passengers of the Dick identified in the Hunter Valley region

The Dick was built on the Thames in 1788.

The Convicts

The convicts of the Dick came from counties in England, Scotland and Wales - Derby, Hertford, Middlesex, Kent, Stafford, Leicester, Worcester, Surrey, Essex, Lincoln, Nottingham, Berks, Lancaster, London, Surrey, Bucks, Somerset, Gloucester, Chester, York, Lincoln, Cumberland, Northumberland, Salop, Flint, Monmouth, Glasgow, Ayr and Edinburgh.

Surgeon Robert Armstrong

Robert Armstrong kept a Medical Journal from 1st September 1820 to 15 March 1821. [2]

Military Guard

The Guard consisted of a detachment of 24th regiment., under orders of Lieut. Isaacson of 47th regiment. Soldiers treated by the surgeon included Private Edward Newell and Corporal Potter.

Free Passengers

Passengers included Mrs Huff and Joseph Priestly.

Convicts Embarked

Many of the adult prisoners who had been held on the Justitia Hulk were embarked on 20th September 1820. Robert Armstrong was treating them for excoriation where their irons had rubbed and minor ailments such as headache and loss of appetite soon after they arrived on the vessel. There were about fifteen prisoners under the age of sixteen, some of whom were held on the Retribution hulk and embarked on the Dick on the 6th October.

Departure from England

The Dick departed England on 4th November 1820.

The Voyage

The surgeon treated the older convicts kindly......Several of the prisoners were considerably advanced in years and whose health seemed impaired by their confinement to salt provisions have at different times been victualled in the Hospital twice a day and given substitutes for the salted food. By a general diet and a glass of wine occasionally their complaints generally disappeared in a few days when they returned to their own messes. [2]

Samuel Jackson (60) William Keeley (50), Jonathon Little (64), Robert Wenman (50) were the oldest prisoners on board.

Illnesses treated by the surgeon during the voyage included Catarrhs, Tinea Capitis, Tonsillitis, Debility, Enteritis, Erysipelas, Nephritis, Cystitis, Mania, rheumatism, fevers and scurvy. There were also six accidents.

Convicts treated during the voyage included John Denne, Samuel Jackson, Daniel Woodhall, Joseph Thompson, John Griffiths, Thomas Tonks, Benjamin Wellington, John Foran, Charles Franter, William Bond, Edward Bailey, John Hammond, Michael Robins, Adam Hulme, Thomas Bexon, Joseph Finch, William Bradley, John Scothern, James Hutchings, Michael Sullivan, William Green, Daniel Smeeton, Joseph Goddard, Thomas Parrott, John Williams and John Ford. [3]

Port Jackson

The Dick arrived in Port Jackson on 12 March 1821 with 140 male prisoners in good health, none having died on the passage out.

Inspection of Convicts

Governor Macquarie often inspected the prisoners on arrival. On examining the convicts of the Dick, he found that 'their appearance was a sufficient testimony, independent of their grateful acknowledgements of the kindness and humanity with which they had been treated on the voyage' and was pleased to direct their distribution in the usual manner. [4]

Governor Macquarie

The prisoners of the Dick were the last to be inspected by Governor Macquarie. Until Governor Macquarie's departure from the colony on the Surry in 1822, Lieut-Colonel Erskine undertook these duties.

The Dick in Sydney Harbour

There were a couple of incidences mentioned in the newspapers while the Dick lay in harbour - the first a serious accident....Some guns were being discharged on board, one of which hung fire; an unfortunate man was directed to sponge it, in consequence; when, lamentable to relate, the gun went off, taking with it the poor man's left arm, and part of his right side. He was immediately conveyed to the General Hospital.

In May the Dick was lying in the stream and was hailed by two men alongside who declared themselves to be almost drowning. A boat was sent to their assistance and they were found to be two prisoners who had swam from Dawes' Point with the intention of secreting themselves on board to escape from the Colony. They were soon lodged in custody and returned to shore.

Departure of the Dick from Sydney

When the Dick departed the colony bound for England Robert Armstrong returned on her. Also on the return voyage were William Hunibell, First Officer; Andrew Thompson, Second Officer; Henry Rogers, Third Officer.

Notes and Links

1). Find out more about Bushranger John Atkins who arrived on the Dick

2). Application for family to be forwarded to New South Wales - Charles Smith ..Convict Discipline and Transportation

3). John Adams was born at Roleworth Derbyshire, son of George Adams. He was convicted at Derbyshire 22 July 1820 and sentenced to transportation for life. He married Sarah Bankin at Narellan in 1830. John Adams died at North Richmond in August 1859

4). Return of Convicts of the Dick assigned between 1st January 1832 and 31st March 1832 (Sydney Gazette 14 June 1832; 28 June 1832).....

John Griffiths - Plasterer assigned to James Mudie at Castle Forbes James Neighbour - Labourer assigned to William Bowman at Richmond

5). Robert Armstrong on the Dick was on hand in May 1821 to assist Andrew Montgomery, when Septimus Roe on the King Expedition was injured on the Bathurst near Cairncross Island.....The Inspector, Literary Magazine

6). Robert Armstrong was also employed as surgeon on the convict ships Tottenham in 1818 and the Countess of Harcourt in 1822.

7). Prisoners and passengers of the Dick identified in the Hunter Valley region

Atkins, John

Carhill, Hugh

Collins, James

Dowling, John

Griffiths, John

Hulme, Adam

Hutchins, John

Johnson, George

Ling, Richard

McCallum, Duncan

Murphy, John

Neighbour, James

Robertson, John

Scothern, John

Stringer, William

Sullivan, Michael

Thomas, John

Townsend, Michael

Walton, Samuel

Williams, William


[1] Bateson, Charles Library of Australian History (1983). The convict ships, 1787-1868 (Australian ed). Library of Australian History, Sydney : pp.344-345, 383

[2] UK, Royal Navy Medical Journals, 1817-1857. Medical Journal of Robert Armstrong on the voyage of the Dick in 1821. The National Archives. Kew, Richmond, Surrey.

[3] National Archives: Reference: ADM 101/19/7 Description: Medical and surgical journal of the Dick convict ship from 1 September 1820 to 15 March 1821 by Robert Armstrong, surgeon and superintendent, during which time the said ship was employed on a voyage to New South Wales.

[4] Sydney Gazette 15 March 1821