Free Settler or Felon

Search the Free Settler or Felon Database

Convict Ship Margaret 1837


Share the story of your ancestor's life

Send an email to contribute your ancestor's story to this page

(Convicts and passengers from this ship only)

Home Surgeons Convict Ship Conditions
Ship Index \ By Year Captains Index Resources

Select from the Links below to find information about Convict Ships arriving in New South Wales, Norfolk Island and Van Diemen's Land between the years 1788 and 1850.

J -K L M N - O P - Q R S T - V W - Y

Embarked 153 women
Voyage: 126 days
Deaths: 2 women; 5 children
Surgeon's Journal: yes
Previous voyage: Prince George arrived 8 May 1837
Next voyage: Mangles arrived 10 July 1837
Captain Edward Canney  
Surgeon Superintendent Henry Kelsall

Follow the Female Convict Ship Trail
Follow the Irish Convict Ship Trail
The Margaret was built in Chepstow in 1829. Female prisoners were transported to New South Wales on the Margaret in 1837, 1839 and 1840. (1)

On this voyage in 1837 the Margaret departed Cork on 24th January 1837 bringing 153 female prisoners, 28 children and 35 free women and children, the families of convicts in the Colony of New South Wales.

Henry Kelsall kept a Medical Journal from 10 November 1836 to 10 June 1837. His previous voyage as surgeon on the Andromeda in 1834 which also brought female prisoners from Ireland, was a very different experience to this voyage of the Margaret. The women of the Andromeda were embarked in a clean condition and were healthy and in good spirits for most of the voyage. In contrast the prisoners of the Margaret disgusted him by their offensive habits and reluctance to keep clean.

His antipathy towards the women was evident from the time they were first embarked. He remarked in his journal that the women were all sent on board in a very filthy state from the Cork Penitentiary - with a small supply of spare clothing (linen). A great number were infected with psora as well as with influenza which was prevalent at the time in England and Ireland. A number of the crew were also affected.

Bilious fever became a problem when the ship reached the warmer climate. The surgeon also mentioned that most of the convicts if permitted passed the whole of the day in bed and collected all kinds of rubbish about them. He was appalled with another filthy habit of the convicts which he found difficult to stop - that of washing their linen in putrid urine which they would hang up to dry in the prison. Two convicts and five of their children died on the voyage out.

He was no less scathing of the Irish free women and children of which he thought there were too many in the ship. He found them incorrigible and incredibly filthy. Most of these people were embarked in rags without a change of clothes of any description; and loaded with vermin - some of them mendicants by profession.

The Margaret arrived in Port Jackson on 30 May 1837 and the women were landed at the Dockyard on 10th June 1837.
Female Convicts to NSW in 1837

Passengers included Mr. Benson, Paymaster of the 28th Regiment, Mrs. Benson and Thomas Benson; also twenty-five emigrants in the steerage. Mary Tobin aged 24, a free girl, was employed as servant to Mrs. Benson.

Notes & Links:

1). Hunter Valley convicts and passengers arriving on the Margaret in 1837

2). From A Gaelic Dictionary (Click on the text).....

3). The Margaret was one of four convict ships bringing female prisoners to New South Wales in 1837, the others being the Sarah and Elizabeth, Henry Wellesley and Sir Charles Forbes. A total of 533 female convicts arrived in the colony in 1837

4). Henry Kelsall was also employed as surgeon on the convict ships Andromeda in 1834, Cape Packet in 1842 (VDL) Waterloo in 1842 and the John Calvin in 1846 (Norfolk Island)


 (1). Bateson, Charles. The Convict Ships 1788 -  1868. Sydney, Reed 1974


web counter