Free Settler or Felon
Convict and Colonial History

Convict Ship Dunvegan Castle - 1832

Embarked 200 men
Voyage 107 days
Deaths - 0
Surgeon's Journal: yes
Tons 446 Crew: 34 men
Previous vessel: Hercules 16 October 1832
Next vessel: Parmelia 16 November 1832
Captain John Duff.
Surgeon Patrick McTernan
Follow the Irish Convict Ship Trail
Prisoners and Passengers of the Dunvegan Castle identified in the Hunter Valley

The Dunvegan Castle was built at Chittagong in 1819.[3] Convicts were transported to New South Wales in 1830 and this voyage in 1832.


The men to be embarked were transferred from various county and city gaols to the Essex hulk at Dublin to await transportation.

Essex Hulk

The journey was horrific for the prisoners and hazardous for their gaolers as the correspondence below shows:

Mr. Archibald Wilson to Sir William Gosset.
Dublin 12 April 1832
In obedience to his Excellency's order to the high sheriff of the Queen's County, of the 5th instant, 'to transmit six convicts from the Queen's County gaol to the hulk Essex at Kingstown,' I used my best endeavours to procure conveyances for the prisoners, but found it impossible until the evening of Sunday last, when, by using a stratagem, the agent of our caravan and one of the proprietors of another agreed to take the convicts; but in using the stratagem, namely, to appear to use force in order to deceive the people, that they might not (as they feared they would) break the caravans, I found that the drivers of both caravans refused to drive, and left the caravans.

The next difficulty was, that the stable men refused to give a change of horses at the first stage; I was obliged to order the same horses to proceed to Monasterevan. Here I found a messenger had passed us on the road, and, as I and the others who were with me suspected, that orders had been sent to the different stables to desire them to refuse to give any horses to take the prisoners forward. At the stables at Monasterevan the doors were shut, and none of the helpers or persons who had authority to give us horses appeared, and no charge of horses could be got.

I then applied to the magistrate to give me an order to press the horses. He informed me that ' he thought he had not power'. At this time the mob was increasing, and they presented an alarming appearance. I, after some management, got the prisoners and guard in the packet boat, the people following us, and, in my own hearing, endeavoured to prevent the boatman going with me, until I threatened one person to put her in the boat as a prisoner if she did not desist. I got the prisoners safely put on board the hulk.

In consequence of such a feeling through Queen's County, and in the part of county Kildare that I passed through, I think that every obstruction that a great majority of the lower order of the people can throw in the way of conveying prisoners will be given. I would be leave to suggest the propriety of having some method of conveying convicts from the Queen's county gaol to whatever place the Government may please to order, that would not leave it in the power of the populace to prevent the orders of his Excellency being put in force.
I beg leave further to state, that in consequence of the officers of the gaol having to conduct the prisoners to their several destinations, it is now very dangerous to travel with them unarmed. I would beg you would give me an order on the proper officer in Dublin for one dozen pistols, for which I will pay
I have Etc Archibald Wilson, Governor of Maryboro Gaol.

Three men - Patrick Butler, Patrick Byrne and William Bennett were all convicted of fire arms and assault charges on 27th March 1832 in Queens County and may have been among the prisoners mentioned in the above correspondence. There were also several more who were Whiteboys convicted of firearms offences.

In May 1832 after complaints were made to the Inspectors-General of prisons as to the state in which prisoners were transmitted from the county gaols to the hulks, new orders were issued regarding their transfer. It was expected that they would be free of disease and fit to embark and that they would be clean, adequately clothed with their hair cut close. There would be no transfers on Sundays, no spirits or tobacco would be allowed on the road and knives and other dangerous articles were taken from them. They were to be strictly watched as to their behaviour at the various gaols and stopovers on the journey.


The Dunvegan Castle departed London for Dublin on 24 May 1832. In Dublin on 30th June two hundred male prisoners from throughout Ireland were embarked from the Essex hulk. Their crimes ranged from various forms of stealing and robbery to assault and murder.

There were some very young boys on this voyage; James Murphy and Thomas Norton were only 11 years of age. Another two were 12 years old; seven were 13 years old; seven were 14 years old; eight were 15 years old; nine were 16 years old; and six were 17 years of age. Also on board was twelve year old Thomas Pike a soldier's boy who was treated by the surgeon in July.

They departed Dublin on 1st July 1832.

Surgeon Patrick McTernan

Patrick McTernan kept a Medical Journal from 22 May 1832 to 24 June 1833. He began treating prisoners while the vessel still lay in Kingstown Harbour. In the following months he treated them for ailments such as catarrh, constipation, nausea and diarrhoea. There was an outbreak of mouth ulcers and also in July an outbreak of impetigo. [2]

Patrick McTernan was also employed as surgeon on the convict ships Mariner in 1827, Manlius to Van Diemen's Land in 1828 and the Katherine Stewart Forbes in 1830.

Military Guard

The Guard consisted of 31 rank and file of the 4th regiment, accompanied by 5 women and 7 children under orders of Lieutenant Thomas Faunce of the 4th Regiment. Lieutenant Thomas Faunce was a brother of Alured Tasker Faunce.

Members of the guard included Sergeant Pike and his family, Sergeant Scott and family and Private William Aulchin. Sergeant Scott's wife miscarried during the voyage and was cared for by the surgeon for several days. Private Thomas Cutts was treated by the surgeon in July.

Cabin Passengers

Cabin passengers included Paymaster Kensapp of the 4th regiment with his family - Mrs. Kensapp, Miss Kensapp, Miss Julia Kensapp and Mr. Edward Kensapp.

Port Jackson

The Dunvegan Castle arrived in Port Jackson on 16 October 1832 a voyage of 107 days.

Convict Muster

A Muster was held on board by the Colonial Secretary Alexander McLeay on 28th October 1832. The convict indents include name, age, education, religion, marital status, family, native place, trade, offence, where and when tried, sentence, former convictions, physical description and occasional information such as colonial crimes, deaths and pardons.

About fifty-three men who arrived on the Dunvegan Castle have so far been identified residing in the Hunter Valley region in the following years. Some of them were assigned to work for the Australian Agricultural Company and may have been sent to Newcastle to work in the newly acquired Coal Mines or perhaps to one of the company sheep stations in the wild untamed northern regions of the colony.

Notes and Links

1). Two of the prisoners were John Lynch age 40 and his son John aged 19. The son became a notorious character and was hanged in Berrima in 1842. Read more of the crimes of John Lynch in Reminiscences of thirty years residence in New South Wales by Judge Sir Roger Therry.

2). Henry Smith who had been a merchant's clerk in Dublin and was employed as a clerk by the Superintendent of Convicts in Sydney became a bushranger after absconding from the Phoenix Hulk in 1834. He was shot and killed by constables and his accomplices were hanged.

3). Queens County - Maryborough Special Commission....The following sentences were pronounced: William Doody, William Fennell, Michael Banon and Thomas Humphreys, taking arms - transportation for seven years. Andrew McDonnell and Andrew McEvoy, taking arms - transportation for life Thomas Delany, Bartholomew Malone and James Delghan, assaulting a dwelling house - transportation for seven years.. James Dowling - assaulting the dwelling house of William Jacob - death recorded William Brennan and Hugh Slattery, same offence - transportation for life John Dunne, William Dunne and Patrick Keenan burglary - death, day not recorded James Dowling - death recorded - (Connaught Telegraph 13 June 1832)

4). Convict Ships bringing Political Prisoners

5). Convict Ships bringing detachments of the 4th (King's Own) Regiment..........

Jane departed Cork 29 April 1831. Commander of the Guard Captain George Mason
Surry departed Portsmouth 17 July 1831. Commander of the Guard Captain Charles Waldron 38th regt.
Asia departed Cork 6 August 1831. Commander of the Guard Captain Richard Chetwode
Norfolk departed 15 October 1831. Commander of the Guard Lieut. David William Lardy 4th regt.
Captain Cook departed Dublin 5 November 1831. Commander of the Guard Lieut. Gibbons 49th regt.
Portland departed Portsmouth 27 November 1831.
Isabella departed Cork 27 November 1831. Commander of the Guard Captain William Clarke 4th regt.
Bussorah Merchant departed Dublin 14 December 1831. Commander of the Guard Lieut. William Lonsdale 4th regt.
John departed the Downs 7 February 1832. Commander of the Guard Lieut. George Baldwin 31st regt.,
Lady Harewood departed Portsmouth 15 March 1832. Commander of the Guard Lieut. Lowth 38th regt.,
City of Edinburgh departed Cork 18 March 1832. Commander of the Guard Lieut. Bayliss
Clyde departed Portsmouth 9 May 1832. Commander of the Guard Lieut-Colonel Mackenzie
Eliza departed Cork 10 May 1832. Commander of the Guard Lieut. Hewson
Planter departed Portsmouth 16 June 1832 under command of Lieuts. Bullin and Irvine of 38th regt.
Hercules departed the Downs 19 June 1832. Commander of the Guard Lieut. Gibson 4th regt.
Dunvegan Castle departed Dublin 1 July 1832. Commander of the Guard Lieut. Thomas Faunce 4th regt.
Parmelia departed Sheerness 28 July 1832 under Command of Captain Young 38th regt.
Waterloo departed Sheerness 12 March 1833 under Command of Captain Mondilhan 54th regt.

6). New orders regarding the transfer of prisoners from Irish county gaols to the hulks.....

Circular Notice from the Inspectors General of Prisons to the Medical Officers of the Gaols in Ireland, with reference to Medical Certificates for Convicts. Dublin, 25th May 1832.

Complaints being made by the Superintendent of the Convict Service of the State in which Prisoners are transmitted from many of the County Gaols to the Hulks and Depot, his Excellency the Lord Lieutenant has been pleased to direct that the following Regulations be circulated to the Gaols of the several Counties, and strictly obeyed :

I. Convicts, prior to their Transmission to the Hulks or Depot, are to be inspected by the Medical Officers of the County Gaols from which they are respectively removed, and certified by them to be free from Itch or other Disease; and any Prisoner who is unfit for the Journey and Voyage is to be detained until further Orders. Every such Case is to be reported by the Local Inspector of the County Gaol to Government, supported by the Affidavit of the Medical Officer, who is to transmit, by the Person in charge of the Convicts, a general Certificate of the Health and Freedom from Itch.

II. On the Arrival of the Convicts at the Hulk or Depot, and Examination being made by the Medical Officer there appointed to inspect them, if it shall appear that any Prisoner is labouring under Disease, and unfit to embark, or affected by Itch, a Report of the Case is to be made to Government by the Superintendent of the Convict Service, specifying the Name, the Disease, the County, and the Name of the Medical Officer by whom the Certificate was signed.

III. In the Event of any Prisoner being so reported an Investigation will be immediately ordered, and a serious Responsibility will attach to Medical Officers if it shall appear that a careless Inspection has taken place, or that Itch or other curable Disease shall appear to have been neglected in the County Gaol. Attention to the cleansing and Use of the Bath for all Prisoners, on their Committal to a County Gaol, would afford much Security on this Head.

IV. All Convicts are to be clothed, on leaving the Counties, in strict Conformity with the Orders of Government, according to the Schedules which accompany the Warrants for their Removal; they are to be in a cleanly State, and their Hair cut close.

V. No Children, except those on the Breast, are to be permitted to accompany the Convicts.

VI. No Prisoners to be removed on Sundays. No Spirits or Tobacco to be allowed on the Road. Knives and other dangerous Articles to be taken from the Convicts. All Money to be taken in charge by the Governor of the County Gaol, and transmitted by the Person in charge of the Convicts to the Superintendent of the Hulk or Depot.

VII. All the Governors of Gaols and Keepers of Bridewells, at which the Escorts may stop, are called upon to observe closely the Conduct of the Convicts, and of those in charge of them upon their Route, and to report any Irregularity to the Inspectors General of Prisons. If any Omission of such Report shall be discovered, the Governor or Keeper will be held responsible.

VIII. A printed Copy of these Regulations is to be posted up at all Times, in a conspicuous Place, in every Gaol and Bridewell in Ireland. THE SESSIONAL PAPERS PRINTED BY ORDER OF THE HOUSE OF LORDS


[1]. Selection of Reports and Papers of the House of Commons

[2]. Journal of Patrick McTernan. UK, Royal Navy Medical Journals, 1817-1857. Original data: The National Archives. Kew, Richmond, Surrey.

[3]. Bateson, Charles Library of Australian History (1983). The Convict Ships, 1787-1868 (Australian ed). Library of Australian History, Sydney : pp.350-51.