Free Settler or Felon
Convict and Colonial History

Convict Ship Manlius - 1827

Embarked: 176 men
Voyage: 116 days
Deaths: 2
Surgeon's Journal: yes
Previous vessel: Princess Charlotte arrived 6 August 1827
Next vessel: Cambridge arrived 17 September 1827
Captain William Johnson
Surgeon Superintendent David Conway
Convicts and passengers of the Manlius identified in the Hunter Valley

The Manlius was built at Quebec in 1825. [2]

Prisoners were transported from England to New South Wales on the Manlius in 1827 and to Van Diemen's Land in 1828 and 1830.

Departure from the Downs

The Manlius departed the Downs on 17 April 1827, the same day the Marquis of Hastings sailed from Portsmouth.

It was later reported that Mr. Cruikshanks, the Chief Officer of the Manlius, a young man much respected by the Commander and Ship's Company, met a premature death by accidental drowning on 15th May.

Surgeon David Conway

David Conway was appointed Surgeon-Superintendent to the Manlius on 22 February 1827. He kept a Medical Journal from 23 February to 24 August 1827. John McFarlane was the first patient entered in the journal. He was treated by the surgeon while the ship still lay at Woolwich on 20th March 1827.

The surgeon remarked that diarrhoea and fever were the most prevalent diseases on the voyage out. The ship experienced very bad weather in the Latitude of the Cape and from there to Sydney there were gales and heavy seas which from it breaking so frequently on board kept the ship very wet. The Prisoners, when the weather was fine, were all on deck and the greatest attention to ventilation and moving the stoves with fires about the prisons was paid and the decks were scraped dry. A great many prisoners were diseased having suffered much in the hulks. Two convicts died on the passage out - Richard Mansfold and William Wheeler. [1]

Arrival in Port Jackson

The Manlius arrived in Port Jackson on Saturday 11 August 1827 with 174 prisoners.

Muster Held on Board

A Muster was held on board on 15th August 1827 by Colonial Secretary Alexander McLeay. The indents include their Name, Age, Religion, Family, Marital Status, Native Place, Education, Trade, Offence, When and Where Convicted, Physical Description and to Whom Assigned on arrival. There is also information regarding deaths, colonial punishment and Pardons, so that it is revealed that James Anderson, a native of Belfast died at Moreton Bay in December 1830 and William Bedlington, a prisoner for life, died from exhaustion at the Blackheath Stockade on 12th December 1844.

The youngest convicts were Robinson Clough (15); James Cook (15); Joseph Heys (14); David Hutchinson (15); George Neale (15); George Nicoll (15); and James Willson (14). Some of these boys were sent to the Carter's Barracks.

Prisoners Disembarked

Prisoners were landed on Friday 24th August in a healthy and creditable condition.


A number were reported to have been assigned for Country service the same day. Henry Botting, Edward Beckseal, Thomas Bretherton, James Beckett, James Bunt, Charles Currey, Thomas Cust, Thomas Emmett, Charles Flint, John Fairlie, Richard Mills, Alexander McKay, John Watts and James Tonge were all assigned to the Australian Agricultural Company where they were probably employed as shepherds and hut keepers. James Tonge was murdered by natives on 9th July 1830 while employed as a watchman on the company's land at Karuah.

Richard Birtles, George Gideon and William Jones alias Griffiths were assigned to John Galt Smith at Woodville;

Benjamin Cozier and William Dick assigned to Henry Dangar at Hunter River;

Robinson Clough to John Tucker junior at Hunter River;

William Draper and John Stewart to Alexander McLeod at Luskintyre;

Matthew Frazer and George Thomson to Lockhart Millar;

William Harrison, Patrick McVey, James Pitt to John Rodd at Wollombi;

George Morgan and John McFarlane to John Eales at Hunter River;

Thomas Phillips to James Phillips at Patterson's Plains;

William Smith to George Townshend at Trevallyn;

John Walton to William Dangar at Neotsfield.

Find out more about Hunter Valley convicts and passengers arriving on the Manlius in 1827

While the majority of prisoners were literate, most were engaged in manual labour and gave their employment as labourer, butcher, errand boy, cotton spinner, seaman, boat boy, farmer's man, miner, weaver etc. There were also about a dozen who had been employed as clerks. The Monitor referred to them in an editorial dated 27 August 1827 : -

It is customary now upon the arrival of a male Convict Ship, to select from among the prisoners those who are Scribes, and land them separately, from the great bulk of the Ship's Company, for the especial inspection of the Governor; the general result of which is, a transmission soon afterwards to Wellington Valley!!!! We suppose that Prisoners of this class, are deemed by the present Government, dangerous subjects for employment in the towns or settlements contiguous to the metropolis. Nine men of this description were landed from the Manlius. News of this, newly-invented punishment-a punishment, for being guilty of being able to write, ought to be transmitted 'to the poor people of England, that they may have the option at least of withdrawing their children from school.!!!

The following prisoners may have been those referred to in the above article.......
William Aldis - Compositor - Retained by government. Sent to Mr. Howe, government printer.
Matthew Frazer - Bookbinder
William Hickin - Vestry Clerk
Joseph Irving - Merchant's Clerk
George Joll - Merchant's Clerk
Robert Jelf - Merchant's Clerk
G.W. Kerridge - Attorney's Clerk
Frederick Justice Latham - Clerk - More about F.J. Latham in the Annual Register.
William Lockwood - Clerk
Richard Mills - Clerk
Edward Robinson - Copper Plate Printer

Quarter-master Benjamin Lloyd and 30 men of the 39th regiment provided the Guard on the vessel. They were landed on the Saturday afternoon of their arrival.

The Manlius was advertised to depart for Batavia on 12 September 1827.

Convicts of the Manlius identified in the Hunter Valley -

Andrews, William

Arthur, William

Attenborough, James

Beckseal, Edward

Bent, James

Birtles, Richard

Botting, Henry

Bretherton, Thomas

Broomfield, Alexander

Burn, Michael

Clark, James

Clough, Robinson

Cozier, Benjamin

Curry, Charles

Cust, Thomas

Dick, William

Draper, William

Eaton, John

Elder, William

Emmett, Thomas

Flint, Charles

Forge, Andrew

Fraser, Matthew

Frost, Joseph

Garner, William

Godber, James

Harrison, William

Hepworth, George

Hill, Thomas

Hosey, Hugh

Jelf, Robert

Lyons, David

McFarlane, John

McKay, Alexander

McVeay, Peter

Merrett, Samuel

Mills, Richard

Moore, Jabez

Morgan, George

Murphy, Phillip

Newman, Edward

Nicholl, George

Nimmo, James

Percival, Samuel

Phillips, Thomas

Pitt, James

Powell, Thomas

Russell, James

Smith, John

Smith, John (Slack)

Smith, William (1)

Smith, William (3)

Thompson, George

Tongue, James

Valentine, Henry

Walton, John

Watts, John

Wilson, William

Wright, James

Yarwood, George

Notes and Links

1) Seventeen convict ships arrived in New South Wales in 1827 - Grenada, Brothers, (F) Albion, Midas, Mariner, Countess of Harcourt, Guildford, Marquis of Hastings, Princess Charlotte, Manlius, Cambridge, Harmony, Prince Regent, Champion, Eliza, John and the Louisa

2). Report of the Select Committee on Transportation.....
Henry Valentine, Manlius, absconding, 50 lashes.
William Crane, Hercules, neglect of duty, 36 lashes. Back much cut, and appeared to suffer greatly.
John McFarlane, Manlius, absenting, 25 lashes. Back exhibited a dark appearance after 10th lash.

3). Wellington Valley - The Swells district - Sydney Monitor 29 June 1829

4). The following twenty-seven men were all tried in Scotland......
John Anderson
Alexander McKay
Alexander Broomfield
Daniel McLaren
James Clark
John McLeod
William Davidson
John Munro
John Douglas
Philip Murphy
John Fairlie
George Nicoll
Matthew Frazer
Hugh David Sinclair
Hugh Hosey
John Steward
John Howie
John Taylor
David Hutchinson
George Thomson
William Kerr
John Thomson
Michael Logan
James Willson
John McFarlane
James Wright
James Nimmoo

5). William Andrews was born in Shoreditch London. He was convicted at the Old Bailey on 18 September 1826 and sentenced to transportation for life for highway robbery.. He married Sarah Wellard at St. Matthews Windsor and died at Millbourne Street East Maitland on 5 June 1860.

6) William Elder arrived as a convict on the Manlius. He was a native of Perthshire, married and a soldier by occupation. He was convicted of house robbery at Maidstone and sentenced to transportation for life. He was sent to the Retribution Hulk before being transferred to the Manlius. On arrival in New South Wales he was assigned to W. Panton at Stonequarry. In July 1831 he was punished for stealing a silver watch and sentenced to 150 lashes to be dealt out on three separate occasions - 50 lashes on the day of sentencing; 50 lashes on the following Saturday and 50 on the next Wednesday before being returned to his iron gang. He escaped from the iron gang and turned bushranger. He was captured by Constable John Field and natives near Stroud in January 1832. He was sent to Sydney where he was punished with a further 75 lashes. He died at Norfolk Island in August 1835.

7). Return of Convicts of the Manlius assigned between 1st January 1832 and 31st March 1832 (Sydney Gazette 14 June 1832; 21 June 1832; 28 June 1832).....

Edward Beckinsale - Seaman assigned to George Suttor at Baulkham Hills

William Draper - Tailor assigned to William Price at Richmond

Thomas Harris - Biscuit maker assigned to George McLeay at Brownlow Hill

George Hayes - Carter assigned to George Cox at Winbourne

Enoch Hobson - Potter assigned to J.E. Manning at Sydney

Joseph Hayes - Factory boy assigned to Gidden Coleyar at Sutton Forest

William Irvine - Quarryman assigned to Henry Donnison in Sydney

James Nimmo - Farm labourer assigned to James King of Sydney (for his farm)

8). Convict ships bringing detachments of the 39th regiment included the following -

Regalia departed Dublin 16 March 1826. Lieutenant William Sacheverell Coke

England departed the Downs 6 May 1826. Major George Pitt D'Arcy

Marquis of Huntley departed Sheerness 16 May 1826 - Major Donald MacPherson

Boyne departed Cork 29 June 1826 - Captain Thomas Edward Wright

Speke departed Sheerness 8 August 1826 - Lieutenant Henry Clarence Scarman

Phoenix departed Dublin 27 August 1826 - Lieutenant Charles Cox

Albion departed Plymouth 4 October 1826 - Captain Francis Crotty

Midas departed Plymouth 16 October 1826 - Lieutenant George Meares Bowen

Mariner departed Cork 14 January 1827 - Captain Charles Sturt

Countess of Harcourt departed Dublin 14 February 1827 - Lieutenant George Sleeman; Ensign Spencer

Guildford departed Plymouth 31 March 1827 - Captain John Douglas Forbes

Manlius departed Downs 17 April 1827 - Quarter-master Benjamin Lloyd

Cambridge departed Dublin 2 June 1827 - Colonel Patrick Lindesay

Champion departed London 3 June 1827 - Ensign Reid

Bussorah Merchant departed London 27 March 1828 - Ensign W. Kennedy Child

Sophia departed Dublin 15 September 1828 departed Dublin 15 September 1828 - Major Thomas Poole

9). National Archives - Reference: ADM 101/48/1 Description: Medical and surgical journal of His Majesty's convict ship Manlius for 23 February to 24 August 1827 by D B Conway, Surgeon, during which time the said ship was employed in the service for the conveyance of convicts to New South Wales


[1] UK, Royal Navy Medical Journals, 1817-1857. Medical Journal of David Conway on the voyage of the Manlius in 1827The National Archives. Kew, Richmond, Surrey.

[2] Bateson, Charles Library of Australian History (1983). The convict ships, 1787-1868 (Australian ed). Library of Australian History, Sydney : pp.346-347, 385