Free Settler or Felon
Convict and Colonial History

Convict Ship Indefatigable - 1812

Embarked: 200 men
Voyage: 137 days
Surgeon's Journal: no
Captain John Cross
Convicts and passengers of the Indefatigable identifed in the Hunter Valley

The Indefatigable was built at Whitby. She was square-rigged three masted ship of 549 tons and had three decks; a length of 127 ft. and a beam of 31ft. 8ins.

The Convicts

The prisoners came from districts throughout England and Scotland. The Freeman's Journal reported on 11 July 1811, of two of the prisoners from Scotland -

On Thursday Peter Ogilvie, who was sentenced at the late Glasgow Autumn Circuit, to be executed for the murder of his wife, and Thomas Stewart, alias Robert Stewart, alias Michael Macfalden, who also was sentenced at the last Circuit of Inveraray, to be executed for horse stealing, but reprieved, were sent off, under an escort for Botany Bay.

Some of the Nottingham rioters were transported on the Indefatigable - The Freeman's Journal dated 27 March 1812 gave some of the details of two of them-

On Tuesday came on at Nottingham, the trials of some of the frame breakers. William Carnel aged 22, and Joseph Maples aged 16, were found guilty of an outrage committed on the 3rd January - Sentenced to transportation for fourteen years, to any quarter the Privy Council might deem fit. Benjamin Handcock was also found guilty and sentenced to fourteen years transportation.

Before embarking on the vessel many prisoners had been held on the hulks moored at Woolwich. They were transferred to Indefatigable on the 21st - 25th April 1812.

Military Guard

The Guard consisted of Lieutenants Pook and Lascelles of the 73rd Regiment with a Detachment for Hobart.

Detachments of the 73rd arrived on the Dromedary, Indefatigable, Guildford, Hindostan, Indian, Archduke Charles, Ann, Fortune 1813, Providence 1811 and Admiral Gambier 1811.

Free Passenger

Mr. J. Gordon Esq., came on the 'Indefatigable' as a free passenger.


The Indefatigable sailed from England on 4th June 1812 in company with the Minstrel.

Rio de Janeiro

They arrived at Rio de Janeiro on 29th July and found there the Archduke Charles from Ireland with 150 male and 40 female prisoners bound for Port Jackson. On board  Archduke Charles  were Lieutenants Buckbridge and Connor, and a detachment of the 73rd regiment. The three vessels sailed in company from Rio on 11th August 1811 however the 'Archduke Charles' separated the following day.

The Minstrel and Indefatigable kept company until the 17 August and then separated in a gale of wind.


The Indefatigable sailed direct to Hobart arriving there on 19 October 1812. One prisoner died on the voyage out from the accidental explosion of a musket

The convict indents include only the name, date and place of trial and sentence.


Having disembarked her prisoners in Hobart, the ship arrived in Port Jackson on 6 December 1812, departing there bound for England in January 1813. Passengers for England included Mr. John Simpson, Mrs. Simpson, Mr. Michael Michaels, George Mason and Lawrence Drennan, Mrs. Atkins, John Higgins, James Gardener, wife and child.

The Indefatigable returned to Australia with convicts in 1815.

Notes and Links

1). Convicts and passengers of the Indefatigable identified in the Hunter Valley

2). Absconders - Governor Macquarie to Earl Bathurst 31st. August 1831.......'In April 1813, the Unity schooner was moored in Hobart when seven convicts boarded the ship and seized control of the crew and the ship's owner, William Hobart Mansel. They sailed the ship down the River Derwent and off Cape Frederick they released their captives - Mansel, the captain and three seamen, and set them adrift in the ship's boat. Mansel and the crew navigated their way back to Hobart however the Unity was never heard from again. The convicts included five men of the Indefatigable - Thomas Watson, Patrick Russell, Richard Payne, Thomas Bird and Thomas Curtis. and two who arrived on the Guildford in 1812 - William Button alias Symer alias Tyler and Frederick Callaghan. (HRA)

Governor Macquarie to Earl Bathurst 31st. August 1831 - 'A Person named John Francis, who was tried at Middlesex Gaol Delivery on 10th July 1811 and sentenced to transportation for life and who arrived by the ship Indefatigable at the Derwent in the month of October last being strongly recommended to me from Home, I was anxious to render his situation as little irksome to him as the nature of it would admit, and in consequence I had him brought to head Quarters from the Derwent that I might have a personal opportunity of observing his conduct and extending him such relief as he should appear to merit.

Being bred a surgeon I had him employed in the General Hospital here as an assistant, which is in itself an easy and relatively very comfortable situation. Scarcely had this man been thus relieved from the difficulties to which he was subjected by his former crime, when he effected his escape from hence on board a ship called The Hope, which sailed from hence on the 1st July last, bound for the Cape of Good Hope. If this man should have the temerity to proceed to England, I would hope Your Lordship would cause him to be apprehended and returned hither, to undergo the full measure of that sentence for the relaxation of which he has already made so ill a return by his flight. (HRA)

3). Statement of number of soldiers sentenced to general service etc......

John Ablet, 96th regt., Court-martial in West Indies - convicted of murdering another private. Sentenced to death by the court but commuted to transportation for life.

Alexander Waddle of 106th regt., Court-martial in Canada - Convicted of desertion and advising another to do the same. Sentenced to transportation as a felon for life. Estimates, Accounts, Army Returns.

4). Bushrangers in Van Diemen's Land -

Michael Howe, The Last and Worst of the Bushrangers of Van Diemen's Land. Narrative of the chief atrocities committed by this great murderer and his associates, during a period of six years in Van Diemens Land. Michael Howe was born at Pontefract in Yorkshire in 1787 and was bound apprentice to a merchant vessel at Hull; but serviced only two years when he ran away and entered on board a man of war. In 1811 he was apprehended for robbing a miller on the highway and tried at the York assizes following; but, from an informality in the indictment the capital part of the charge was abandoned and he received sentence of seven years transportation. He arrived in Hobart on the Indefatigable in October 1812 - continue

5). Political Prisoners

6). Convict Surgeons and Medicos

7). Under a Tropical Sun has the following information about Lieut. Pook....

POOK, George Anthony [also POOKE] Commissioned: Ensign (West Kent Militia) [no date given]; Lieutenant 26 August 1809 from Militia; Ensign, (73rd) 9 May 1811; Lieutenant (73rd) 25 Nov 1813; half-pay (Rifle Brigade) 28 Aug 1823; full-pay (39th Foot) 8 May 1828; half-pay (61st Foot) 7 June 1833. Served in NSW/ VDL: 1812-1814. Served in Ceylon: 1814-1821? Arrived: Colombo, on the transport Earl Spencer 25 March 1814. - Under a Tropical Sun

8). Thomas Allen Lascelles -

Thomas Allen Lascelles (1783-1859), public servant and settler, was born on 29 September 1783 at Salisbury Street, Strand, London, the son of Michael Lascelles and Martha, daughter of Thomas Allen. According to his own account, he came of farming stock and was brought up on the land. He joined the 73rd Regiment as an ensign in 1811, became a lieutenant in 1813, finally reaching the rank of brevet captain. He went first to New South Wales in 1811, then in 1813 to Van Diemen's Land where in April he was appointed private secretary to Lieutenant-Governor Thomas Davey - Australian Dictionary of Biography