Free Settler or Felon
Convict and Colonial History

Convict Ship Governor Ready - 1829

Embarked: 200 men
Voyage: 117 days
Deaths: 0
Crew 48
Previous vessel: Royal George arrived 24 December 1828
Next vessel: Vittoria arrived 17 January 1829
Captain John Young
Surgeon Thomas Braidwood Wilson
Follow the Irish Convict Ship Trail
Prisoners and passengers of the Governor Ready identified in the Hunter Valley

The Governor Ready previously brought convicts to Van Diemen's Land under Captain Young and surgeon Thomas Wilson in 1827. On that occasion they arrived in Hobart on 31st July 1827 and departed for Port Jackson on 23rd August 1827. The vessel was then chartered to proceed to the Isle of France to load sugar. After departing from the Isle of France bound for England and deeply laden with sugar, the ship encountered a tremendous gale of wind off the Island of Madagascar, and from the immense quantity of water shipped, much of the cargo was damaged. According to Thomas Wilson great prejudice existed in London against vessels built at Prince Edwards Island, and having spoiled the cargo on that occasion she was singled out as an unsafe and unseaworthy vessel. Nevertheless she was engaged to convey convicts to New South Wales.

Surprise Hulk at Cork

Prior to embarking on the Governor Ready, the prisoners were held on the Surprise hulk at the Cove of Cork. Mr. Beattie was the overseer at this time.

Military Guard

The Guard consisted of a detachment of 50 privates the 63rd regiment under the command of Lieutenant Gibbons Lane. Select here to find convict ships bringing detachments of the 63rd regiment.


The Governor Ready was the next convict ship to leave Ireland bound for New South Wales after the departure of the Sophia on 15th September 1828.

Surgeon Thomas Braidwood Wilson

Thomas Braidwood Wilson

Thomas Braidwood Wilson described their departure in his account of the voyage :

The ship Governor Ready was, shortly after her arrival from Van Diemen's Land in 1828, chartered by the Commissioners of the Navy, to convey 200 male prisoners from Ireland to New South Wales; and being again appointed surgeon superintendent, I joined her on the 22nd July in that year.

A Detachment of the 63rd Regiment of Infantry embarked at Gravesend on Tuesday 12th August 1828. On the 17th August, being ready for sea we sailed from Deptford, and on the 27th arrived at the Cove of Cork.

On the 18th September 200 prisoners were received on board, on the 21stSeptember 1828, we took our departure

Although Cork wasn't home to all of the convicts, as many had come from various other counties in Ireland including Tipperary, Waterford, Kilkenny and Limerick, it was the last view of their homeland that the men would ever have, as most would never return to Ireland.

In October 1828 just after the Governor Ready departed, a visitor to the Cove of Cork described the scenery.........

The country was now very fertile, full of rich meadows, with here and there a stately mansion. Cork lies most picturesquely in a deep valley on the sea-shore. It has an air of antiquity, which is rendered more peculiar by the roofs of scale-like slates with which many of the houses are covered. The two new prisons are magnificent buildings; they are erected, the one by the city, the other by the county: the former is in an antique taste, the latter in the perfectly Gothic style, and has the appearance of a great fortress. After I had breakfasted, I hired what they call here a whale-boat, narrow and pointed at each end, and thence safer and swifter, and sailed with a fair wind along the bay, which is called the river of Cork, to Cove, where I intended to dine. Cove of CorkA part of this bay, which is about three quarters of a mile broad, forms one of the most beautiful harbours in the world. Both shores consist of high hills, covered with palaces, villas, country-seats, parks, and gardens. On either side, rising in unequal height, they form the richest and most varied boundary. By degrees the city advances into the middle of the picture, and terminates on the brow of the highest hill, with the imposing mass of the barracks. This is the view from the sea. Touring England, Ireland, and France: in the years 1826, 1827, 1828 By Hermann Puckler - Muskau (Furst von)

..Cove of Cork Bartlett, William Henry (1809-54) (after). English. Medium: engraving. Date: 19th Century

Cabin Passengers

Cabin passengers included Thomas McQuoid, High Sheriff of the colony, wife and 1 child; William Miller; and D.A.C.G. Augustus Birch, wife and 5 children.

Free passengers included Mrs. Brooks, William Wright and wife, servants to Mr. McQuoid; William Paine servant to Mr. Miller; and a servant to Mr. Birch. (State Records NSW shipping lists). Five women and five children belonging to the guard also arrived on the Governor Ready.

Port Jackson

According to Thomas Braidwood Wilson they arrived at Sydney on 17 January 1829 after a very pleasant passage during which the utmost harmony and quietness uninterruptedly prevailed.

The Governor Ready was the first of twenty-one convict ships that arrived in New South Wales in 1829. Seven vessels that year departed from Ireland.

Convict Muster

The convicts were mustered on board the vessel by Colonial Secretary Alexander McLeay on 20th January 1829. The convict indents include name, age, education, religion, marital status, family, native place, trade, offence, date and place of trial, sentence, former convictions, physical description as well as where and to whom the men were assigned on arrival. There are also occasional remarks regarding colonial crimes, pardons and deaths.

Most of the prisoners were transported for various forms of theft. There were also seven who were sent for vagrancy, three for rape, five for manslaughter, at least seven for murder, and five soldiers convicted of desertion.

Convicts Disembarked

The convicts were landed on the forty-first anniversary of the colony - 26th January 1829. ........ Private dinners were held in the hotels in Sydney, however the lack of interest by government was criticised in the newspapers.......This auspicious day (that should have been at least) arrived and passed away on Monday last, with dullness surpassing all previous public holidays. Such is the gloom induced by the seasons; heightened by the measures of Government. This Government celebrated it in its fashion, by the discharge at Dawes Battery of a certain number of twenty four pounders, at one o'clock in the afternoon. His Excellency however gave no other public demonstration of any special delight on his part, in the natal day of the Country over which the King has been pleased to constitute him his Representative. - The Monitor 2 February 1829.

On arrival surgeons usually submitted their journals of the voyage and particulars of the convicts under their charge. Thomas Wilsons correspondence to the Governor explains why this did not happen on the arrival of the Governor Ready......

Surgeon Wilson to Colonial Secretary Macleay.
Governor Ready Ct. Ship,
Sydney Cove.
20th January. 1829.

I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of your Letter of inability to the 17th inst. requesting me to transmit to you a List containing obtain detailed information, respecting the Characters and Connexions of the Prisoners brought out under my Charge.
In reply, I beg to state that, when the Prisoners embarked in this Ship, I requested Mr. Beatty. the Overseer of the Hulk Surprise, to give me a List of the Names. Characters, and other particulars of the Prisoners committed to my charge, that it might be delivered, according to my Instructions, to the proper Authority in New South Wales. The Overseer informed me that Dr. Trevor would not permit any such List to be given, all the particulars being enclosed to His Excellency the Governor.

In consequence, I have no List to transmit to you : this circumstance. I stated in my Journal on the 18th September, 1828. Strict attention shall be paid to your directions relative to the disposal of Money belonging to the Prisoners.
I have, etc. T. B. Wilson. M.D

Departure from Sydney

After having spent a few weeks in New South Wales, the greater part of which time I passed in excursions over the southern and western settled districts of the colony, I prepared to return to England. There were several vessels in the harbour about to depart for London direct, laden with colonial produce; but, preferring the Governor Ready, a ship in which I had spent many happy days, I obtained permission from the Colonial Government to return home in her, although she was to pursue rather a circuitous route. .......

In the afternoon of the 18th March, Captain Young and myself bade adieu to our friends at Sydney and after a protracted pull down the harbour, joined the ship, which, having been under weigh since daylight, was lying to for us inside the heads of Port Jackson. We had a favourable and pleasant passage to Hobart Town
.....Narrative of a voyage round the world: comprehending an account of the wreck ... By Thomas Braidwood Wilson.

The Governor Ready departed in March 1829 bound for Hobart. She was not engaged to load sugar this time because of the disaster of the previous voyage and Captain Young decided to sail for Batavia.

Although Thomas Braidwood Wilson was reluctant to sail via Batavia, he nevertheless remained with the ship - This was not altogether agreeable to me, having on a former occasion suffered much both from shipwreck and disease near and at the Island of Java; but I made up my mind not to leave the ship, and it required some effort on my part to persevere in this resolution as I was solicited to embark in the Mermaid (commanded by an old friend and messmate of mine Captain Henniker) which was on the point of sailing for England direct via Cape Horn. At daylight on the 2nd April we got under weigh and gliding down the river under the influence of a stiff breeze, Hobart Town and its singularly romantic environs soon receded from our view.


The Governor Ready was wrecked on 18th May 1829.....

The Australian reported in October 1829... The ship Governor Ready which sailed from this port some months ago, struck on a coral ridge 25 miles to the Westward of Murrays Island, in Torres Straits, in about 10d 30m S lat. and 146 d. 27m E long. Dr. Wilson R.N., who was returning to England by her with the master, mates, and crew, took to the boats and succeeded in reaching Copang, after a perilous passage of from 44 to 45 days.[2]

Click on the text below to read more of the wreck on the 18th May 1829 of the Governor Ready, and the dangerous voyage ahead......

Shipwreck of the Governor Ready in May 1829

Find out about other shipwrecks in 1829

Convicts of the Governor Ready identified in the Hunter Valley :

Bluett, Thomas

Cahill, Michael

Carthy, Timothy

Dainty, Thomas

Daly, William

Daniel, James

Dillon, John

Dwyer, John

Flinn, Michael

Flinn, William

Fogarty, Patrick

Foly, Patrick

Geeron, James

Gleeson, Daniel

Gleeson, Thomas

Hanlon, Daniel

Harnett, James

Hayes, Thomas

Higgins, Dennis

Higgins, Michael

Higgins, Patrick (1)

Higgins, Patrick (2)

Hourigan, John

Hurley, Denis

Keane, Matthew

Keily, Michael

Keily, Denis

Kellaher, Patrick

Kelly, Martin

Keoghe, Thomas

Kirby, Daniel

Kisden, James

Leary, Daniel

Long, Denis

Lynch, Jeremiah

Maher, James

Maher Jeremiah

Malone, John

Mara, Michael

Martin, Michael

McAnaly, James

McCarthy, John

McCarthy, Michael

McCarthy, Timothy

Moore, Michael

Morrissy, Jeffery

Murphy, Jeremiah

Murray, John

Price, Edmond

Regan, John

Ryan, Patrick

Scully, James

Shanahan, Michael

Siminster, Richard

Smith, John

Sullivan, Dennis

Sullivan, Joseph

Sweeney, Matthew

Tarrent, Wlliam

Ward, John

Notes and Links

1). Reprieve - Clonmel, Friday April 11 - An express has arrived in town to stay the execution of William Grace, Thomas Maher, Michael Tracy, Michael Looby, James Daniel and Thomas Keogh, jun., - They were sent off for transportation for life under an escort - Freemans Journal 14 April 1828.

2). About fifty of the men who arrived on the Governor Ready have been identified residing in the Hunter Valley in the following years. Some were assigned to settlers on arrival - Edmond Price was assigned to John Bingle in the Upper Hunter; Thomas Bluett was assigned to John Pike; Thomas Dainty to William Dun at Patterson Plains and John Dillon to John Tucker at Patterson Plains.

3). Return of Convicts of the Governor Ready assigned between 1st January 1832 and 31st March 1832 (Sydney Gazette 14 June 1832; 21 June 1832; 28 June 1832; 5 July 1832).....

John Cullough - Ploughs etc., Assigned to Edward Fuller at Duval

William Farrant - Stone cutter assigned to William Dumaresq at Hunter River

Thomas Hayes - Factory and cow boy assigned to William Innes at Hunters River

Martin Kelly - Ploughman assigned to Major Rhode at Waterloo Mill

Michael Loobey - Ploughs and reaps. Assigned to William Lithgow at Sydney

Andrew McMahon - Tailor assigned to John Kelly at Black Wattle Swamp

Michael McCarthy - Errand boy assigned to James McDonald at Pitt Town

Michael Martin - Wheelwright assigned to Crawford Logan Brown at Jerrys Plains

Daniel McMurtery - Ploughman assigned to George Blackett at Bathurst

Martin Murphy - Farm labourer assigned to Mary Ann Sparke at Hunters River

James Noonan - Blacksmith assigned to A.K. Mackenzie at Bathurst

Patrick Pendergrass - Weavers boy assigned to Samuel Lyons in Sydney

Daniel Regan - Errand boy assigned to Robert Day at Sydney

4). Convict ships bringing detachments of the 63rd regiment -

Albion departed Sheerness 1 June 1828 - Lieutenant M. Vickery

Eliza departed London 29 June 1828 - Major Sholto Douglas

Marquis of Hastings departed 30 June 1828 - Ensign Stulbmer

Royal George departed Spithead 26 August 1828 - Captain J. Briggs

Vittoria departed Devonport1 September 1828 - Lieutenant Aubyn

Governor Ready departed Cork 21 September 1828 - Lieutenant J. Gibbons Lane

Ferguson departed Dublin 16 November 1828 - Captain D'Arcy Wentworth

Mellish departed Falmouth 2 January 1829 - Captain Baylee

Lord Melville departed London 5 January 1829 -Lieut-Col. Burke

Waterloo departed London 14 March 1829 -Lieutenant T. Grove

America departed Woolwich 8 April 1829 - Adjutant T. Montgomery

Norfolk departed Spithead 22 May 1829 - Ensign W.J. Darling

Guildford departed Dublin 12 July 1829 - Lieut McLean 89th

Larkins departed Cork 16 August 1829 - Captain Mahon

Claudine departed London 24 August 1829 - Captain Paterson

Sarah departed London 29 August 1829 - Lieutenant Croly

Dunvegan Castle departed 30 September 1829 - Lieutenant John Gray

Katherine Stewart Forbes departed Spithead14 October 1829 - Major Fairtclough


[1] HRA, Series 1, Vol. XIV, p. 697

[2] The Australian 30 October 1829