Free Settler or Felon
Convict and Colonial History

Convict Ship Henry Porcher - 1835

Embarked: 260 men
Voyage: 119 days
Deaths: 9
Surgeon's Journal: Yes
Previous vessel: George Hibbert arrived 1 December 1834
Next vessel: Royal Admiral arrived 22 January 1835
Captain John Hart
Surgeon Thomas Galloway

The barque Henry Porcher was launched in Bristol in 1817. [1] Prisoners were transported to Australia on the Henry Porcher in 1825 (NSW), 1835 (NSW) and 1836 (VDL).

The Convicts

Convicts embarked on the Henry Porcher had been convicted in counties in England and Scotland - Stafford, Middlesex, Herts, Lancaster, Kent, Worcester, Norfolk, Surrey, Newcastle, Somerset, York, London, Warwick, Chester, Sussex, Hereford, Essex, Nottingham, Leicester, York, Derby, Wiltshire, Isle of Man, Edinburgh, Aberdeen and Glasgow. Several had been court-martialled at Chatham.

Surgeon Thomas Galloway

Thomas Galloway kept a Medical Journal from 8 August 1834 to 21 January 1835. He joined the 'Henry Porcher' at Deptford on 8th August. He found that two of the crew and several apprentices were ill and two of these he returned to shore.

Convicts Embarked

On the 25th August the convicts were embarked and inspected by the surgeon.

Some of the men had been tried and convicted at the Old Bailey and imprisoned at Newgate before being sent to the hulks. Fifteen year old Evan Cape who was employed as an apothecary's boy was one of those tried at the Old Bailey. On the 29th November 1832 he was sentenced to 7 years transportation for what seems to have been little more than a boyish prank in taking the cap of another lad and running off with it. Select here to find out what it may have been like to be imprisoned in Newgate in 1834.

Illness on Board

On inspection the surgeon found two prisoners were ill. The person who superintended their embarkation refused to take them back, and as the weather was stormy the probability that the long passage in return in an open boat would much increase the illness, Galloway did not press the matter at that time. He did however ensure the next day that one of the convicts was returned to shore and replaced with one who was well.

Because of the prevalence of cholera at Woolwich which caused a change in the original scheme of embarkation Thomas Galloway enquired whether there had been any appearance of the disease on board the Fortitude Hulk and was assured of the contrary, however he discovered that an assistant surgeon of the hospital ship had been ill with the disease. During the following few days cases of diarrhoea grew and Galloway became increasingly uneasy. He had experienced how quickly cholera spread when employed as surgeon on the Asia two years previously. [1]


The Henry Porcher departed Sheerness on 1st September and the Downs 4 September 1834.

The Voyage

Thomas Galloway remarked in his journal.....

'From observation of the changes affected by the weather and local circumstances when the disease prevailed in the Asia in January 1833, I was led to the conclusion that a speedy removal to a dryer and more genial atmosphere than that of the bleak and sickly situation of Sheerness might cut short the progress of the epidemic, acting under this impression in the present instance, I without hesitation proceeded immediately to sea ; with a contrary wind, and blowing strong - and feel happy in stating that by the time we had got as far to the westward as Portsmouth both diarrhoea and cholera had nearly ceased.

Of those patients who survived, several remained in a weakly state for a long time, under every advantage of diet and medicine Those who expired of phthisis possessed the most indolent habits were evidently highly scrofulous and atrophia commenced nearly with the voyage. The soldier who died of scorbutic dysentery was of a similar disposition, a nuisance to his party from the moment of embarkation and I feel justified he fell a victim to his sloth and indolence, and his constantly remaining below, except when driven on deck to duty. From the experience of this and former voyages, I am ensured that scurvy which makes its appearance towards the end of the voyage is rendered much more frequent by the reduced allowances recommended and adopted as a mode of punishment'. [1]

Thomas Galloway established a routine of scraping the decks daily and employed windsails to ventilate the prison. The prison was fumigated and sprinkled every morning with chloride of lime and aired from the stoves. The men were encouraged to be active:

'Within the tropics the boys and as many of the men as circumstances would permit were daily compelled to wash and bathe their persons or have buckets of water thrown over them between the hours of five and eight in the morning. During the cold weather as we advanced to the southward, the prisoners were frequently exercised by marching or running around the deck; dancing was also encouraged and every means used to keep their circulation in activity whilst on deck for air. This latter measure I think was highly advantageous as the scorbutic seizures except in a few of the most indolently disposed more readily yielded to the treatment adopted than in my former voyages when the weather during the latter part of the passage but seldom admitted of such means being put in practice'. [1]

In all, two men died of Phthisis, two of dysentery, one of diarrhoea, three of cholera and one of scrofula, a total of nine deaths on the voyage. (one of these was from the guard).

Military Guard

The guard consisted of a detachment of 29 rank and file of 50th regiment under orders of Captain Usher and Lieutenant George Pulteney Malcolm. Eight women and 7 children belonging to the 50th regiment came as passengers.

Detachments of the 50th Regiment arrived on the Susan, Surry, Forth, Bengal Merchant Hooghley, Hive, Blenheim, Royal Admiral, Lady Nugent, Parmelia, James Laing, Captain Cook, Hero, Roslin Castle, Henry Porcher, Henry Tanner and Lady Kennaway.

Port Jackson

The 'Henry Porcher' arrived in Port Jackson on 1 January 1835.

Arrival of the Henry Porcher in 1835

Lieutenant George Pulteney Malcolm

Lieutenant George Pulteney Malcolm was the son of Admiral Sir Pulteney Malcolm and Clementina Elphinstone, eldest daughter of the Honourable William Fullerton Elphinstone and niece of Admiral Lord Keith. He kept a journal during this voyage and afterwards, a copy of which is held by the State Library of New South Wales. The Journal begins on the 17th August 1834, the day he left Chatham to board the Henry Porcher. He witnessed the convicts embarking at Sheerness and recorded details of daily life on board the vessel. Entries describe rations, floggings, deaths and illnesses, relations between military and crew and the writer's efforts to remain in good health. He keeps occupied in his private cabin studying French and mathematics, teaching the drummer boy and caring for his dogs. Malcolm spent over a year in New South Wales travelling extensively.

Lieutenant Malcolm spent six weeks in the Hunter region in October/November 1835 where he visited James Bowman at Ravensworth, Robert and Helenus Scott at Glendon and brothers Henry Dumaresq and William Dumaresq. In September 1836 he obtained leave from his Regiment to return home and continued his travels through India, Persia and Turkey. He died in Constantinople in 1837.

Departure from the Colony

The 'Henry Porcher' was advertised to sail for London direct late February 1835 - 'The fine, fast sailing barque Henry Porcher, coppered and copper fastened, burthen 480 tons, will meet with quick despatch. Her accommodations for passengers are very superior, having a lofty poop, with very spacious 'tween decks, and carries an experienced surgeon'.

Notes and Links

1). Select here to find out about bushranger Thomas (Long Tom) Forrester who arrivedas a convict on the 'Henry Porcher'

2). Convicts and passengers of the Henry Porcher identified in the Hunter Valley

3). Thomas Hicken - twenty-one year-old farm hand from Cheshire was convicted to life transportation to NSW for the crime of sheep stealing in 1834. Thomas is described in the Convict Indents as 5ft10in with brown eyes and brown hair and the following tattoos: a man, 'when this you see, remember me and bear me in your mind' on torso; a man and woman, flowerpot, two birds, 'true love' on lower right arm, man standing on an anchor, fish, on upper left arm; bird on a branch, 1831, woman and basket, on lower left arm; anchor back of left hand, blue ring on fourth finger of same, scar outside left leg. He died at Newcastle Hospital in 1841. Select here to find out more about Thomas Hicken

4). Convict Ships to NSW in 1835

5). Thomas Galloway was also surgeon on the Isabella in 1832,Asia in 1833 and the Susan in 1836.


[1] Lloyds Register Foundation

[1] UK, Royal Navy Medical Journals, 1817