Free Settler or Felon
Convict and Colonial History

Convict Ship Lucy Davidson - 1829

Embarked: 101 women
Voyage: 132 days
Deaths 2
Surgeon's Journal - no
Tons: 363
Previous vessel: Layton 8 November 1829
Next vessel: Morley 3 December 1829
Captain William Wiseman
Surgeon John Osborne
Follow the Female Convict Ship Trail
Prisoners and passengers of the Lucy Davidson identified in the Hunter Valley

Dr. John Osborne - Sydney Mail 20 March 1935

The Lucy Davidson was built at Southampton in 1818 [2]. This was her only voyage bringing convicts to New South Wales. Lucy Davidson was the next convict ship to leave England after the departure of the Layton in June 1829 and the next female convict ship after the Sovereign which departed in April 1829.

The female prisoners came from cities and counties in England and Wales - Middlesex, York, Salop, Dorset, Warwick, Surrey, Gloucester, Nottingham, Bristol, Durham, Sussex, Wiltshire and Carmarthen.

There were no prisoners on the Lucy Davidson who had been convicted in Scotland and although all the women were tried England and Wales, twenty of them had been born in various counties in Ireland.

Departure from England

The Lucy Davidson arrived at Deal from London on 16th July 1829. It was reported in the Morning Post that she put back into port on 19th July and departed on 20th July. On the voyage she was in contact with the vessel Eliza Jane in latitude 30 degrees South, longitude 18 degrees West, and reported that near the equator they had been accompanied by an unknown ship for over three hours before the Lucy Davidson lost sight of them.

Port Jackson

Lucy Davidson touched at Hobart before arriving at Port Jackson on 29 November 1829.

There were two deaths of prisoners on the voyage - Elizabeth Brickland died on 11 November from debility and Sophie Sanders on 23rd October from a burst blood vessel.


There was an outbreak of whooping cough which lasted for six weeks and caused several fatalities on the voyage. Although the last of the disease was seen on 16th September, in light of the fatal outbreak after the arrival of the Morley in 1828 the authorities were taking no chances and took the precaution of sending the Lucy Davidson into quarantine on arrival.

Convict Muster

A muster of the remaining 99 women and twenty children was held on board by Colonial Secretary Alexander McLeay on 3rd December 1829. The Indents reveal age, education, religion, marital status, family, native place, trade, offence, when and where tried, prior convictions, sentence, physical description and where and to whom the women were assigned on arrival. There is also occasional information regarding deaths, colonial sentences and relatives already in the colony.

The youngest women on board were Susannah Harris and Susan James who were both 16 years old. Those who brought some of their children with them included Jane Carman (Cadman?) (2 children); Ann Greg (1); Ann Flinn (1); Jane Chappel (1); Hannah James (1); Mary Marshall (2); Mary Poulter (2); Anne Norris (1); Ann Martin (2); Maria Toomey (1); Tamar Section (2); and Elizabeth Waring (2).

Notes from the Indents:

Sarah Ash - Acquaintance of a Bath hair dresser in Pitt Street
Maria Brown - Died in Sydney Hospital 19 December 1832
Sarah Cross - Husband Thomas Cross convicted and expected per Mellish
Mary Egan - Husband convicted and expected as John Rustcliffe.
Elizabeth Fitzgerald - Died 18 May 1847
Julia Harding - died in the Factory Hospital 18 July 1835
Mary Hayter - Husband convicted and expected as John Crew or Rawlings per Surry
Elizabeth Higginbotham's brother William Wall was to arrive on the Lord Melville in 1830
Hannah James - Sentenced to 4 months 3rd class factory for assaulting her master (Windsor bench)
Ann Jones - Ran from her husband Patrick Sheehan Gunderoo 13 February 1845
Ellen Leonard - Mother in colony as Ellen Davies per Princess Charlotte
Mary Anne Marshall - Co habited with John Fletcher on the Surry
Ann Norris - Husband in the colony
Alice Porter - Husband in colony as Robert Jones per Layton
Ann Peck - Died in General Hospital 10 October 1836
Jane Ritchie. Died in Sydney Hospital 5 February 1835.Husband in colony as William Ritchie per John
Sophie Sanders - Did on 22 October 1828 at sea
Margaret Sullivan - Died in Goulburn
Sarah Williams alias Emma Armstrong - Illegally at large since 1848


Six free women and 17 children also arrived as passengers on the Lucy Davidson. John Perrett aged 11 years came as a steerage passenger. He was the son of Elizabeth Perrett who died on the voyage. (1) On the 19th December it was reported that the free women who arrived on the Lucy Davidson were embarked on the Guildford to be taken to their husbands at Hobart.


Colonists were advised in December that those families in need of female servants could be supplied from the English Prisoners who arrived in the Lucy Davidson. The women were finally landed on Wednesday 9th December 1829 and many were immediately assigned to awaiting applicants.


The Lucy Davidson sailed from Sydney for Hobart with a cargo of merchandise, arriving there on 14th January.

Among her passengers Mrs. McClymont, Mrs, Nowlan, Gavin Ralston, Esq., Mr. George Hamilton, Masters John Nowlan, John McClymont, William McClymont, Miss Sarah McClymont and several male servants.

Life in New South Wales

By early January the ladies of the Lucy Davidson had made their presence felt in Sydney.

From the Monitor -

The women who were landed from the Lucy Davidson, are so very troublesome, being continually brought before the Police Office that the Magistrates are of opinion they are the most evil-disposed crew that have been landed in the Colony for many a day!!

And from the Sydney Gazette -

The female prisoners by the Lucy Davidson have turned out but a profitless shipment. Most of the Magdalenes were assigned to service in Sydney and by far the greater portion of those, we are told have been returned by their masters to government as incorrigibly bad characters.

In February - It is an astonishing fact, that out of the entire number of female prisoners who came out in the Lucy Davidson and who were assigned to service immediately on landing not more than about a score keep their places, whilst the rest have been returned to Government and sent to the Factory.

At least four of the women of the Lucy Davidson were involved in a riot at the Parramatta Female Factory in 1831 - Ann Chapman, Eliza Davis, Ann Thew and Sarah Williams were all sentenced to transportation to a penal colony for three years for their part in the riot. They were sent to Newcastle Female Factory with twenty-four other rioters to serve their time, however most were re-assigned to settlers within the next few months.

Notes and Links

1). William Wiseman was also Master on the convict ship Isabella in 1832

2). Julia Harding died in the Factory hospital 18 July 1835

3). Prisoners and passengers of the Lucy Davidson identified in the Hunter Valley

4). The Lucy Davidson was one of twenty-one convict ships arriving in New South Wales in 1829. Four of these carried female prisoners the Lucy Davidson, Edward, Princess Royal and the Sovereign. A total of 492 women arrived as convicts in 1829.

5). Elizabeth Hughes was tried at Warwick Lent Assizes in 1829. The following Petition has been transcribed by researcher Keith Searson in UK in conjunction with Colette McAlpine of the Female Convict Research Centre in Tasmania.....

Source - Home Office Criminal Petitions - Series 1 Series HO 17 Piece Number 128 Item Number ZN 29

Elizabeth Hughes lived with me better than two months during that period I had not the least reason to suspect her of being otherwise than absolutely honest, sober and in every respect to be depended upon Maria Gill. H H Gill 23 APRIL 1829 -
This is to certify that Elizabeth Hughes, now in Warwick Gaol, against whom sentence of Death has been recorded, lived sometime with me in the capacity of a servant of all work, and that, to the best of my knowledge and belief, her conduct was strictly honest and upright. John Howells Minister of the Parish of Tipton in the county of Stafford Tipton 21 April 1829 -
Elizabeth Hughes lived with me as housemaid about two years ago, during her residence she conducted herself with honesty and sobriety. James Barlow Mary Ann Barlow Fisher Street 22 April 1829 -
Elizabeth Hughes lived with me some time, and during that time I found her to be strictly honest, sober and industrious and could trust her to any account. James [Gomm] John Looksey Bitston 23 April 1829 -
This is to certify that Elizabeth Hughes now in Warwick Gaol lived with me two years, as a servant of all work and during that time to the best of my knowledge she conducted herself as a honest, sober and a faithfull servant. Joseph Statham Sarah Statham Gravelly Mill Erdinton 23 April 1829 -
To the Right Honourable Robert Peel Secretary of State for the Home Department. The humble petition of Samuel Banks, Thomas Hughes, John Hughes, Edward Hughes and others. Sheweth, That your petitioner - Samuel Banks of Birmingham in the county of Warwick, Spirit merchant, did, at the last assizes held in and for the county of Warwick prosecute Elizabeth Hughes, his servant, for an attempt some time since made by her, to rob him of certain moneys and securities for money, to the amount of one hundred and fifty pounds or thereabouts, then being in his dwelling house, and that the said Elizabeth Hughes was found Guilty, that sentence of Death was recorded against her, and that she is now a prisoner in Warwick Gaol; that the said Elizabeth Hughes did not succeed in taking the said moneys and securities from the dwelling house of your said petitioner, but remove the same to another part thereof, where your said petitioner afterwards found, and recovered the same, that your said petitioner Samuel Banks, believed, that the said Elizabeth Hughes would not incur any greater punishment that a few months imprisonment, by reason that her said attempt to rob him had not succeeded; that your said petitioner Samuel Banks informed the relations of the said Elizabeth Hughes of such his belief, that no counsel was employed on the behalf of the said Elizabeth Hughes, at her trial, and no witnesses were called to her character. That your petitioners believe that the said Elizabeth Hughes might have received a milder sentence had counsel been employed and such witnesses called on her behalf, and, that your petitioner Thomas Hughes, John Hughes and Edward Hughes would have retained counsel on behalf of the said Elizabeth Hughes and called witnesses to her character, had they not been deterred by their poverty, by the representations made to then by the said Samuel Hughes, and their belief that the said Elizabeth Hughes would incur a slight punishment.

Your petitioners, therefore, humbly intreat that your honour may be pleased to take the above facts into consideration, and to direct such mitigation of the sentence of the said Elizabeth Hughes, as in your judgment shall seem meet. And your petitioners as in duty bound will ever pray. Samuel Banks - Prosecutor JOHN HUGHES - Brother of the said Elizabeth Hughes, Thomas Hughes - Uncle of the said Elizabeth Hughes, Edward Hughes - Cousin of the said Elizabeth Hughes -
Names of parties with whom the prisoner has lived as servant; Joseph Statham - Endington H.H. Gill, Marion Gill, James Barlow, M. Barlow, John Lockley, Thomas Shorthouse - Accountant - Tipton


[1] NSW State Records Online Microfilm of shipping lists

[2] Bateson, Charles, Library of Australian History (1983). The convict ships, 1787-1868 (Australian ed). Library of Australian History, Sydney : pp.348-349, 386