Free Settler or Felon
Convict and Colonial History

Convict Ship Kitty - 1792

Embarked: 30 females; 10 men
Voyage: 231 days
Deaths 3
Surgeon's Journal: no
Previous vessel: Royal Admiral arrived 7 October 1792
Next vessel: Bellona arrived 16 January 1793
Captain George Ramsay.
Naval agent Lieut. Daniel Woodriff.
Surgeon J.P. Niebuhr
Follow the Female Convict Ship Trail

The Kitty was built at Sunderland in 1787. This was the only voyage of the Kitty bringing convicts to New South Wales.

The Convicts

Below is a list of English/Welsh prisoners. There were also reportedly fourteen Irish female prisoners embarked.

Allen, William - Middlesex Gaol Delivery
Blandford, Elisha - Surry Assizes
Clough, Elizabeth - Middlesex Gaol Delivery
Chambers, Elizabeth - London Gaol Delivery
Davies, Rachel - Carmarthen Great Sessions
Davies, Elizabeth - Carmarthen Great Sessions
Flinn, Mary - Middlesex Gaol Delivery
Gulliver, Elizabeth - Middlesex Gaol Delivery
Gardner, Sarah - Middlesex Gaol Delivery
Hayter, John - Middlesex Gaol Delivery
Hanstead, Bridget - Middlesex Gaol Delivery
Hughes, Mary - Middlesex Gaol Delivery
Jones, Mary - Middlesex Gaol Delivery
Lock, John - Middlesex Gaol Delivery
Marsh, Edward - Stafford Assizes
Matthews, Ann - Middlesex Gaol Delivery
Matthews, Elizabeth - London Gaol Delivery
Nairn, Susannah alias Talbot al Riley - London Gaol Delivery
Pearson, Ann - London Gaol Delivery
Rossiter, Thomas - Middlesex Gaol Delivery
Simpson George - Norfolk Sessions
Slack, John - London Gaol Delivery
Sharp, Jane - London Gaol Delivery
Wildey, Thomas - Middlesex Gaol Delivery
Wheeler, John - Middlesex Gaol Delivery
Walden, Sarah - Middlesex Gaol Delivery


The Kitty departed England on 31 March 1792, returned to Spithead for repairs and departed again 6 April 1792

From David Collins' Account of the English Colony in New South Wales..... She had on board when she first sailed thirty female and ten male convicts; but being obliged to put back to Spithead, eight of her ten male convicts found means to make their escape. Her cargo was found to have suffered considerably by the bad weather which she had experienced; the flour in particular, an article which could at no time bear any diminution in that country, was much damaged.

The convicts had for a long time been nearly as much distressed for utensils to dress their provisions, as they had been for the provisions to dress; and they had now the mortification to find, that of the small supply of iron pots which had been put on board, a great part were either broken or cracked, having been literally stowed among the provision casks in the hold.

There had arrived in this ship three thousand eight hundred and seventy ounces of silver, in dollars. This remittance was sent out for the purpose of paying such sums as were due to the different artificers who had been employed in that -country, as well as the superintendents, who had experienced much inconvenience from not receiving their salaries on the spot; and indeed the want of public money had been greatly felt by every one in the colony.

In this vessel a naval agent had been sent out, to prevent delays on the passage, and to see that the convicts were not defrauded or oppressed ; and likewise a medical gentleman for the express purpose of attending to such convicts as might be ill during the voyage; so extremely solicitous were the members of administration to guard against the evils which had befallen these unfortunate people in former passages [1]

Port Jackson

The Kitty anchored in Sydney Cove on 18th November 1792 after a passage of thirty-three weeks via Rio de Janeiro and the Cape of Good Hope.

Excerpt from A Sequel to Barrington's Voyage describing the mutiny of sailors as the Kitty lay in Sydney Harbour......

A dangerous mutiny broke out among the sailors of the Kitty Transport, - the master had frequently complained of the disorderly conduct of his people, several of whom had been punished in consequence; one in particular, Benjamin Williams, had received one hundred lashes. - This man had procured a gallon of rum from one of the convicts, whose term of transportation had expired, and had obtained permission to take his passage home in the Kitty. With, this liquor they were carousing, and being noisy in their cups, disturbed the master, who instantly rose and went to the forecastle, where he found them with a candle burning, stuck on the head of an oil cask, and the men in a state nearly bordering upon intoxication: he ordered them to put out the light and go to their hammocks, which they refused; Williams declaring that if he (the master) put it out it should be lit again - the master stepping forward to extinguish it himself, they immediately seized hold of him, and dragging him upon deck actually threw him overboard, before the mate, or any of the rest of the ship's company could come to his assistance. Fortunately he could swim very well, and the mate throwing him a rope over the quarter, he swam to it and got safely on board.

Notwithstanding this daring outrage the captain was disposed to pass it over, and would have inconsiderately put to sea next morning; but when he ordered them to hoist the top-sails, and prepare to get the ship under way, Williams, stood forward, and declared that he should not be moved until their complement of hands was on board. The anchor, however, was got up with the assistance of the passengers, and colonists, who had a boat along-side, and she gradually dropped, down the harbour. In the interim the governor being informed of these transactions, ordered a signal to be made for the Kitty to bring to, and immediately went on board, being determined by a striking example, not only to crush the present disorder, but to deter others from committing similar outrages. He ordered Williams and two others of the most refractory to be taken on shore, and replaced them with two convicts of exemplary character, and a seaman, who had been discharged from the Daedalus: tranquillity and order being restored, the ship braced about, and stood out to sea with a fair wind. The mutineers on their landing were conducted to the parade, where they received, the reward which they richly deserved ; Williams two hundred and fifty, and his companions, being less culpable, one hundred and fifty lashes each; after which they were delivered over to the care of an overseer, with strict injunctions that they should be made to earn the provisions which they consumed.[2]

Departure from Port Jackson

David Collins recorded the people who had been given permission to leave the colony on the Kitty in 1793......

On board the Kitty were embarked Mr. Dennis Considen, one of the assistant-surgeons of the settlement, who had received permission to return to England on account of his health, which had been formerly impaired in the East Indies; Lieutenant Stephen Donovan, who had been employed in superintending the landing of provisions and stores at Norfolk Island, and was now returning to England, having been appointed a lieutenant in the navy; Mr. Richard Clarke, who came out in the Bellona as a medical superintendent; Mr. Alexander Purvis Cranston, late surgeon of his Majesty's sloop Discovery, who was returning to England, being from ill health no longer capable of attending to the duties of his profession; Mr. Henry Phillips, late carpenter of the same Vessel, who was sent hither to be forwarded to England as a prisoner; two seamen and one marine, invalids from the Vessels under the command of Captain Vancouver; five men and one woman (This was Dorothy Handland who had arrived on the
Lady Penrhyn and who at the time of her departure on the Kitty was upwards of eighty years of age, but who nevertheless had not a doubt of weathering Cape Horn), who, their terms of transportation being expired, were permitted to return to their friends; the seaman who was left behind from the Atrevida; also five men, who were permitted to enter on board the Kitty for the purpose of navigating her.

For the officers and invalids who were on board, provisions for six months were sent from the colony; but the others provided for themselves. The services of the Kitty were to be summed up in very few words. Of ten artificers with which she sailed from England, she lost eight; and of the cargo of stores and provisions which she brought out, a part was damaged. In seventeen months that she had been in the service of government, she had made a long and circuitous voyage from England, and had taken one freight of provisions, stores, and troops to Norfolk Island from this place. For these services her owners were to receive the sum of £3,500; and, allowing her to be seven months on her passage to England, the total amount of her hire will be found to be very little short of £5000 [3]

Daniel Woodriff later reported to Under Secretary Stephens of the return voyage to Ireland -

I sail'd from Port Jackson on the 4th of last June, doubled Cape Horn the 24th of August, arrived at St. Catherine's on the 19th September, sail'd again on the 22nd and arrived at Rio de Janeiro on the 3rd October and sail'd again on the 23rd, crossed the Line on the 22nd December and arrived at this place (Cove of Cork) on the 5th February 1794 during which time we have not seen a vessel of any kind since the 13th November last. [4]

Notes and Links

1). J.P. Nieburh was paid £175 10 shillings for his services as Superintendent Surgeon -Google Books

2). Below is an extract from The Retrospect of a Retired Mariner in Nine Cantos - written by Henry Hutchinson, brother-in-law of William Wordsworth, telling of his adventures as a midshipman on the Kitty on the voyage to Australia and his journey to Parramatta in 1792......

The Retrospect of a Retired Mariner

When dock'd, without remorse or pity
I left her there, and join'd the Kitty,
At Deptford-red-House, where she lay,
To take in stores for Bot'ny Bay,
And convicts too, (forty in number).
Or what the sailors call live lumber;
Thirty were women, - ten were men,
An agent had the charge of them,
A naval officer was he,
A better never sail'd the sea,
No kinder man without an if
Did ever breathe than Dan Woodriff!
George Ramsay was the master's name,
And from Northumberland he came,
A seaman good I must allow,
For I would give Old Nick his due
The very Rodmond Falconer drew!
And thus I leave him, for indeed '
Tis high time that I should proceed
On this our voyage to Bot'ny Bay,
For I have very much to say,
Not that this retrospect will be,
By any means a history.
We sail'd, but ere we had been a week
At sea, the ship had sprung a leak,
And so to save our lives and all,
We bore away for Block-house-hole
In Portsmouth harbour, ran aground,
And found the ship both tight and sound;
For so the shipwright did report,
The leak was solely in the port.
But now a strange event took place,
Which I'm almost asham'd to tell,
Without a legal act of grace,
Without a parting kind farewell!
The convicts-male all went ashore
Nor did we ever see them more!
But it was not for want of care,
For we had done our duty quite,
Which only was, to see them there,
Before we lock'd them up at night,
Which had been done! but locks with ease,
Are open'd by such men as these,
As quickly almost, as with keys!
A blacksmith did the means afford,
Who had a chest of tools on board:
A dext'rous picklock known to be,
B y which he gain'd his liberty,
And all his palls * as well as he.
The leak now stopp'd, we once again
Our anchor weigh'd and dar'd the main,
The wind quite fair, the weather clear,
So down the channel we did steer,
Until the Lizard did appear;
Then hasten'd on without demur,
In hopes to fetch Cape Finisterre
But the wind was ever various,
And the weather as precarious
Through our long beat yet I'll be brief
And bring the ship to Tenerife,
To get supply'd with wine and beef.
[An anecdote I must relate,
Though it comes six days after date,
(Good tidings cannot come too late !)
A Police-man came with the news,

* Flash word for companions.
To a poor convict Mary Hughs,
He came on board the very day,
We did intend to sail away;
Her innocence had come to light,
And he left London late at night,
With orders from the head police,
To hasten down with her release:
Was just in time, she went on shore,
We sail'd and of her saw no more.
At Teneriffe all that we wanted
Was liberally and freely granted;
So having got a fair proportion,
We stretch'd across the Western-ocean,
For Ri' Janeiro there to barter
For bread, for fresh beef and for water;
But after sailing a whole week,
We still beheld the lofty peak,
'Tis true we had not made much way,
Yet I in confidence can say,
We averaged twenty miles a day,
By which we did the distance fix,
To be in sea-league forty six.
At Rio' nothing was deny';d,
So that we soon were well supply'd,
And sail'd away quite satisfied;
Arrived safe at Table Bay,
Where we were forc'd a while to lay,
To calk the Ship, and stop a leek,
Which we accomplished in a week;
Then weigh'd and sail'd before the wind,
And soon we left the Cape behind.
An accident I will record,
Of a young man thrown overboard,

' Twas in a very heavy gale
When we were reefing the foresail;
But as the ship had little way
He was preserv'd, but lack-a-day!
In such a trim, we scarce could trace,
A single feature of his face;
The rope we threw him being short,
At every roll it did retort,
And dragg'd his body 'gainst the side,
The next roll sous'd him in the tide,
But still the rope he grappl';d fast,
Till we another round him pass'd;
But when rescu'd from the ocean,
He had neither sense nor motion,
And for long we thought 'twas over,
Yet he did at length recover;
The Kitty's afterwards in fun
Upon his name did make this pun
'We would John Buttall you advise,
'To save your face, your nose, and eyes,
'When next you gambol in the tide,
'Dont butt at all against the side';
(But to be drowned was his lot,
Which happen'd in the Argonaut,
When standing by the anchor-stock,
The jib-sheet broke, so that the block
Swang with great force against his head,
That overboard he fell as dead ;
Which was the case no doubt, because,
He to the surface never rose.)
In one continu'd heavy gale,
The westerly wind did so prevail,
That we durst rarely carry sail,
And yet the ship as by attraction,
Arrived safely at Port Jackson,
With sails all shatter'd, boats all stove,
We ran her into Sidney-Cove;
When fast, we sent the men below,
To rest their weary limbs,
And so I here shall end my first Canto.


Assist me all ye tuneful tribe,
In numbers, fitly to describe
A tender parting! such as may
Improve my else unpolish'd lay.
I mentioned in my first canto,
That we had thirty dames to stow,
With scarcely any room below,
And so to save both space and trouble,
We made the hammocks carry double;
But what did all the seamen do?
Why each man spread a double clew!
And ere we'd been a week at sea,
Each sailor had his chere amie,
And all was love and harmony.
But now an order came to hand.
That we the ladies all must land,
A mandate this, alack, alack!
Enough to make ones' heart-string crack;
Ah me! what screeching and what crying,
Some grasp'd a shroud, and some a mast,
But go they must, there's no denying,
And all were forc'd on shore at last.
Five weeks in Sydney Cove we lay,
Not idle I may safely say,
Discharg'd our cargo, and to clean her
Dirty bottom, we did creen her;
Then took in stores for Norfolk isle,
But here I left her for awhile,
And much it was against my will,
For I was taken very ill;
So that I might my health restore,
The surgeon order'd me on shore,
For truly I was very bad.
And here no doctor to be had,
Unless I ev'ry day would call
Upon him at the hospital;
But this indeed was pretty talk,
To one like me that scarce could walk:
Well then he said, you may go thither
And so reside there altogether;
I told him I would not submit,
With felons in one room to sit:
So here our conference did end,
For I had got a female friend
Who at my cottage did attend,
And brought me water from the sea,
The juice of melons and sweet tea*,
Of which I drank most copiously;
And wholesome victuals
I had too The choice parts of the Kangaroo,
But they all said the best of prog,
Was the wild Australian dog!
But all its praise on me was wasted,

* A sweet herb so called, and used as such.
For I could not, would not taste it.
Such was my med'cine, such my food,
That cleans'd, and this enrich'd my blood:
Thus, by good nursing I at length,
Was fast recovering my strength,
And In a month it might be more, I was as healthy as before;

'Twas in this month, the month of May,
That Gove'nor Phillips sail'd away,
And many here were pleas'd to say,
He left the government per force,
That it might fall on Major Grose!
By this time I was fully bent,
So visit each new settlement;

' Twas very dangerous they said,
For travellers oft times were waylaid
By a desperate savage crew,
Who plunder'd and ill used them too:
Yet off I set, the road unknown,
And I must also go alone!
But as I did my way pursue,
I found the wood was quite cut through,
In one straight-forward avenue;
Nor was I ever at a loss,
Although I rivers had to cross,
For over these, I pass'd with ease,
By bridges form'd of fallen trees;
At length I got up to Rose-hill,
Or Parramatta which you will,
For still it does both names retain
The English and Australian;
The cottages were very neat,
On either side and form'd a street,
And before the cottage doors,
Neat little gardens stock'd with flowers
And as I slowly passed on,
I met the far famed Barrington,
Who kindly took me to his cot,
That I might rest, for it was hot
He then invited me to dine,
Which I of course did not decline,
His fare was kangaroo and sallad,
Both very grateful to my palate;
With him I did remain all night,
But started soon as it was light
For Toongabbee, the road was good,
And as before straight through the wood;
Where I beheld to my surprise,
A bird of an enormous size,
Across the road I saw it pass,
It was as big as any ass !
Of small birds as I bent my way,
I numbers saw with plumage gay,
But not a bird of all the throng
E'er deign'd to greet me with a song.
Soon as I to the village got,
I went into a little cot,
Belonging to an overseer, ( For not a public-house was here,)
Who set before me his best cheer,
And beg';d that I with him would stay,
And so I did until next day,
When back again I bent my way,
To Rose-hill, and my passage wrought,
To Sydney in the passage boat:
Where patiently I did remain,
Until the Kitty came again;
But morn and eve I took my stand,
Upon the highest point of land,
And with my glass, ('twas Dolland';s best),
I gazed every where but west;
At length I something did descry
In the south-east, small as a pip,
From which I never took my eye,
Until I knew it was my ship,
To me it was a pleasant sight,
So off I set in great delight
And told the Governor the news,
For which I got a pair of shoes :

* * So I next morning went on board
And was as happy as a lord!
In health and to my ship restor'd!
On June the fourth, (the king's birth day,)
We from Port Jackson sailed away,
Upon a passage most forlorn,
At such a season round Cape Horn; ...........

**It is the custom at St. Helena, and I believe at most of our distant settlements, to give a pair of shoes to the first man that brings intelligence of the approach of a ship.


[1] An Account of the English Colony in New South Wales By David Collins

[2] A Sequel to Barrington's Voyage

[3] An Account of the English Colony in New South Wales by David Collins

[4] HR NSW Vol2, p. 122