Free Settler or Felon
Convict and Colonial History

Convict Ship Earl of Liverpool - 1831

Voyage: 123 days
Deaths 1
Surgeon's Journal: yes
Previous vessel: Kains arrived 11 March 1831
Next vessel: Waterloo arrived 30 April 1831
Master F. Manning.
Surgeon David Thompson
Follow the Female Convict Ship Trail
Prisoners and passengers of the Earl of Liverpool identified in the Hunter Valley

The Earl of Liverpool was the next convict ship to leave England for New South Wales with female prisoners after the departure of the Kains in July 1830.

The Earl of Liverpool proceeded to Woolwich at the beginning of November 1830 and soon afterwards 46 female prisoners were received on board from Newgate. From other parts of England and Scotland more women were received making the total number embarked 89 - 90. Sixteen of the prisoners' children were embarked with them.

Surgeon David Thompson

David Thompson kept a Medical Journal from 2 November 1830 to 10 April 1831.

The Voyage

The weather was cold and damp and previous to proceeding to sea on the 3rd December 1830, several women had become affected with complaints mostly slight, evidently from change of situation, diet etc to be expected amongst women crowded together on board ship. One woman who had suffered from Catarrh at the time of coming on board had a severe attack of spasmodic asthma and was more or less subject to that disease during the whole voyage. Several children suffered from complaints of the bowels. Many women suffered severely from sea sickness followed by dyspepsia and debility. To a very great number of women it became necessary to administer purgative medicines obstinate constipation being very common from the nature of the diet and the little exercise women in general can be induced to take on board ship.

The lower deck for the prison was always kept in the cleanest possible state and dry except in bad weather and hanging stoves were employed to remove damp. The women were encouraged to keep their persons and clothes clean, two or three days in the week being appointed washing days. Nothing but what might be anticipated in so long a voyage occurred, the behaviour of the women was with very few exceptions quiet and orderly and in every respect the voyage terminated as satisfactorily as could be expected. Three of the women gave birth, with one of the infants later dying. One woman Maria Tinne died on the 6th March 1831 and another was sent to hospital in Sydney on arrival.[2]

Port Jackson

The vessel arrived in Port Jackson on Tuesday 5 April 1831 with 88 female prisoners and had the distinction of being the first brig to ever bring prisoners to the colony.

Eighty-seven women were mustered by the Colonial Secretary Alexander Macleay on 7th April 1831. The indents include the name, age, religion, education, marital status, family, native place, occupation, offence, when and where tried, sentence, prior convictions, physical description and to whom assigned on arrival. There is also occasional information such as pardons, relatives already in the colony, deaths and colonial punishments.


They were landed on Friday 15th April, ten days after arriving and immediately sent to their situations assigned to them by the Colonial Government.


Mary Roberts was admitted to Sydney gaol the following day. She was to be sent to the Female Factory at Parramatta for 1 month in the 1st Class. On 17th April Sarah Pepperall, Catherine McGilvray, Mary Kelly and Frances Matthews were all also admitted to Sydney gaol, however probably not for misbehaviour as they were en route to Newcastle for private assignment. [1]

On the 19th April the Sydney Gazette reported that: - Elizabeth Smith, an importation by the Earl of Liverpool, who made her first appearance ashore on Friday last was charged with insolence to her mistress. It appeared that the prisoner was assigned direct from the ship, to the service of a gentleman in Sydney, to whose house she was sent on the day she landed. In the afternoon she obtained permission of her mistress to go out on some business of her own, for a limited time, which she exceeded, and on being reprimanded on her return home, told her mistress she was ' a-good-for nothing hussy,' and that she (Elizabeth) ' knew by the cut of her jib' that the service would not answer her. The bench sentenced her to the third class in the Factory for three months. Elizabeth Smith had been assigned to William Foster in Sydney on arrival.

Assignment of Female Convicts of the Earl of Liverpool in 1831...Sydney Herald 2 May 1831

The following women have been identified in the Hunter Region:

Mary Ann Allen

Sarah Berry

Matilda Britton

Mary Canty

Elizabeth Collins

Mary Collins

Helen Dott

Jean Gray

Jane Humphries

Mary Jones

Mary Kelly

Mary Latham

Frances Matthews

Catherine McGilvray

Janet Morrison

Sarah Pepperall

Ellen Stewart

Mary Taylor

Sarah Taylor

Sarah Wilson

Margaret Young

Notes from the Indents

The indents provide details of those women who had relatives on board or already in the colony. Some may have been fortunate enough to be assigned to their relative or perhaps nearby

Elizabeth Smith wife of Edward Smith - Elizabeth's cousin William Chippendale lived at Airds
Ann Kearny's husband John Kearney had also been convicted and was expected in colony
Eliza Watson - uncle William Paxton in the colony; cousin William Moore per Lady Harewood in VDL
Ann Matthews and Frances Matthews', both on board, sister Jane Birt arrived two years previously
Louisa Lowe alias Everson Gambier - two brothers named Lowe coming out
Jane Humphries' husband William Humphries arrived on the Dunvegan Castle
Elizabeth Green's brother Edward Barrett arrived five years previously
Ann Beckley's sister Sarah Beckley sent to VDL 6 years previously
Catherine McGilvray's brother Alexander McGilvray sent 7 years previously
Janet Gunn alias Bain's nephew Daniel Gunn sent three years previously
Mary Taylor alias Leslie - mother in the colony Jane Marshall or Bonnor
Catherine McFarlane's brother Duncan McFarlane arrived 12 years previously
Ann Knox - half brother Andrew White convicted and expected in the colony.

Scottish Prisoners

Thirty of the prisoners had been convicted in Scotland.......

Jane Young alias Forbes tried in Aberdeen
Hannah Garden tried in Aberdeen
Margaret Young tried in Aberdeen
Jane Gordon alias Gellen tried in Aberdeen
Helen Stewart alias Murphy tried at Ayr
Ann Craigie alias Dixon tried at Edinburgh
Helen Dot tried at Edinburgh
Isabella Brodie or Summers tried at Edinburgh
Catherine McGilvray tried at Edinburgh
Margaret Halliday tried at Edinburgh
Jean alias Jane McDonald alias Fletcher tried at Edinburgh
Mary McGraw tried at Edinburgh
Margaret McAndrew alias Morrison tried at Edinburgh
Jane Gunn alias Bain tried at Edinburgh
Mary Taylor alias Leslie tried at Edinburgh
Euphemia Tweedale alias Wilson tried at Edinburgh
Mary Jones tried at Glasgow
Catherine McFarlane
Betty Ann Blair Kelly alias Lindsay alias Young tried at Glasgow
Margaret Kean alias Taylor tried at Glasgow
Martha Kean alias Riggen tried at Glasgow
Mary McCallum alias McKinnon tried at Glasgow
Ann Knox tried at Glasgow
Martha Smith alias Palmer alias Kean tried at Glasgow
Janet Morrison alias Harvey tried at Glasgow
Jane Grey alias Johnston tried at Perth
Jane Cornal tried at Perth
Mary Kelly alias Shaw tried at Perth
Bell alias Isabella Souter tried at Perth
Margaret Paterson alias McFarlane tried at Stirling

Notes and Links

1). Report of the Committee of the Society for the Improvement of Prison Discipline and for the Reformation of Juvenile Offenders (London, England) 1832

Aberdeen County and Burgh Gaol

Edinburgh Gaol Carlton Hill

Glasgow County Gaol

2). Sophia Sauces a married forty year old distiller and native of Amsterdam was convicted of forgery at the Demerara-Essequibo court of criminal justice and sentenced to 7 years transportation

3). The Earl of Liverpool was one of four convict ships bringing female prisoners to New South Wales in 1831, the others being the Kains, Palambam and the Hooghley. A total of 504 female convicts arrived in the colony in 1831. The Earl of Liverpool was the only convict ship bringing female prisoners in 1831 who had been convicted in Scotland


[1] Gaol Description and Entrance Books

[2] UK, Royal Navy Medical Journals, 1817-1857. Medical Journal of David Thompson on the voyage of the Earl of Liverpool in 1831. 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.350-351, 387

[4] New South Wales, Australia, Convict Indents, 1788 - 1842. Original data: Bound manuscript indents, 1788 - 1842. NRS 12188, microfiche 614 - 619, 626 - 657, 660 - 695. State Records Authority of New South Wales, Kingswood, New South Wales, Australia.