Free Settler or Felon
Convict and Colonial History

Convict Ship Elphinstone (3) - 1838

Embarked 232 men
Voyage 112 days
Deaths 0
Surgeon's Journal: yes
Previous vessel: Portsea arrived 18 December 1838
Next vessel: Margaret arrived 5 January 1839
Captain Thomas Fremlin
Surgeon Alick Osborne
Follow the Irish Convict Ship Trail
Prisoners and passengers of the Elphinstone identified in the Hunter Valley

Convicts were transported to Australia on the Elphinstone in 1836 (VDL), 1837 (VDL), 1838 (NSW), 1842 (VDL).

The Convicts

In August 1838 the Freemans Journal reported in its garrison news that a troop of the 17th Lancers were to escort 100 male prisoners from Kilmainham to Kingstown for embarkation on a convict ship. These men would have some of those destined to be transported on the Elphinstone. [1]

Convicts Embarked

Two hundred and fifty-five prisoners were originally embarked on the Elphinstone, however 23 were re-landed before sailing.

The prisoners came from counties throughout Ireland and had been transported for crimes such as arson, house robbery, stealing, rape, highway robbery, manslaughter, receiving, picking pockets

Cabin Passengers

Cabin Passengers included Captain Parker; Quarter Master William Kerr, Mrs. Kerr and two daughters and in Steerage were the rank and file of the 18th, 50th and 51st regiments.

Surgeon Alick Osborne

Alick Osborne kept a Medical Journal from 22 July 1838 to 5 January 1839. He noted in his journal that the convicts were received in good health at Dublin and that the vessel sailed at a favourable period of the year.


The Elphinstone departed Dublin on 8th September 1838.

The Voyage

The surgeon remarked that the scorbutic (scurvy) cases were noticed promptly and quickly yielded to his treatment of nitre and vinegar. He administered this remedy to all patients with boils, ulcers, or eruptions with good effect.

On the 18th November the Elphinstone was in latitude 48℃ south, longitude 30℃ east and on the 22nd November in latitude 25℃ south, longitude 36℃ east.

Port Jackson

They arrived in Port Jackson on 29 December 1838.

Convicts Landed

The prisoners were landed on Saturday 5th January 1839. Although they arrived at the hottest time of the year, there was little sympathy for newly arrived convicts and they were put to work as soon as possible. John Gannon, aged 55, did not survive long after arrival. Just ten days after landing, on 15th January, the hottest day of the year, he was working in the streets when he was taken ill. He was removed to the prisoner barracks and then to the hospital but died soon afterwards A coroner's inquest found that he had died to exposure to the sun and exhaustion.

Notes and Links

1). Alick Osborne was employed as Surgeon Superintendent on eight convicts ship voyages to New South Wales between the years 1825 - 1838:

Lonach in 1825

Speke in 1826

Sophia in 1829

Sarah in 1829

Planter in 1832

Fairlie in 1834

Marquis of Huntley in 1835

Elphinstone in 1838.

2). Prisoners and passengers of the Elphinstone identified in the Hunter Valley

3). A Return of Convicts employed in the City of Sydney, shewing where, and by whom employed and the nature of such employment; also specifying the date of the arrival of each of such prisoners and the period for which they were severally transported - William Manyon (Mangan) from King's County was transported for life for rape..... Votes and Proceedings, Volume 2 By New South Wales. Parliament. Legislative Council


[1] Freemans Journal 27 August 1838 page 2