Free Settler or Felon
Convict and Colonial History

Convict Ship Mariner - 1816

Embarked: 145 men
Voyage: 4½ months
Deaths: 0
Surgeon's Journal: no
Previous vessel: Elizabeth arrived 5 October 1816
Next vessel: Surry arrived 20 December 1816
Captain John Herbert.
Surgeon  John Haslam
Prisoners and passengers of the Mariner identified in the Hunter Valley

Convicts transported on the Mariner came from districts throughout England and Scotland - Surry, Middlesex, Warwick, Ely, Gloucester, Kent, Lancaster, Northumberland, Salop, London, Berwick upon Tweed, Oxford, Herts, Durham, Chester Hertford, Leicester, Kingston upon Hull, Nottingham, Derby, Bedford, Worcester, Somerset, Bucks, Perth, Glasgow and Ayr[1]

They were probably held in county prisons or Newgate before being sent to one of the hulks moored in the Thames. Some who had been tried in London were held on the Justitia hulk prior to transportation. They were transferred to the Mariner on 6th May 1816. [5]

The Mariner was still at Deal on 24th May awaiting dispatches which were to be carried to New South Wales.


The Mariner departed England at the beginning of June and touched at the Cape of Good Hope on the voyage.

Military Guard

A detachment of the 46th regiment commanded by Lieut. Higgins came on the Mariner.

Free Passengers

The Belfast Newsletter reported that when the Mariner sailed from the Thames she had on board several passengers who were going out as settlers, some from Chatham, Brompton and Upchurch. Among whom was an old lady, from the King of Prussia public house, Gravesend, aged seventy six years, who goes voluntarily there to reside! (Belfast Newsletter 7 June 1816)

The Sydney newspapers noted the following cabin passengers arrived on the Mariner - Lieut. Robert Johnston, R.N., Mrs. Broughton, Mr. and Mrs. Tress and family; and Mr. and Mrs. Ikin and family.

Captain Robert Johnston b. 1790...Lieut Johnston in later years. He was about 26 years of age on this voyage.

Lieutenant Robert Johnston R.N. was the son of Colonel George Johnston. He was born on 9 March 1790 at the first military barracks built by Governor Phillip on the west side of the old creek which ran within the boundaries of Hunter, George, Pitt and Bridge streets, Sydney. He was taken with his brother George to Surrey, England to be educated when he was very young. On completing his education he joined the Royal Navy. After a distinguished career he decided in 1816 to return to Australia. He joined exploratory expeditions to Twofold Bay and accompanied Gov. Macquarie on a voyage to the northern settlements of Newcastle and Port Macquarie in 1821 where he made valuable surveys. Read his biography here.

Surgeon John Haslam

John Haslam was employed as Surgeon Superintendent. He later wrote 'A Narrative of a Voyage to New South Wales, in the year 1816, in the ship Mariner, describing the Nature of the Accommodations, Stores, Diet etc., together with an account of the Medical Treatment etc.' John Croaker was one of the convicts transported on the Mariner and John Haslam's Narrative has been re-produced in 'John Croaker: convict Embezzler' by John Booker and Russell Craig:

Violent Weather

John Haslam described some of the events in September:

On the 3rd September when we were off the Cape of Good Hope, a heavy squall came on during the time I was officiating in the prison. There was a general apprehension that the vessel could not long withstand its fury. This appeared to me to be the favourable opportunity to impress the minds of the convicts with a due sense of their awful situation; and, as well as I was able from my own apprehensions. I endeavoured to exhort them to a consideration of the necessity of employing the short time that probably remained in prayer and repentance - but in vain; the violence of the tempest had inspired them with additional excitement, and my admonitions were drowned in a roar of blasphemy. They recollected that it was the time of Bartholomew fair, and began a song commemorating the scenes of its licentiousness; and compared the rolling and pitching of the vessel to the swings which are employed during that festival. [3]

Attempt to Seize the Ship

Notwithstanding the utmost vigilance was exerted to prevent their confederation for the purpose of seizing the ship, yet they made the attempt at a time when it was least expected. On the 8th September they contrived to open the prison door communicating with the forhold; this was speedily detected, but not until several articles had been stolen On the 28th of the same month, during a tremendous storm at night, which excited the greatest alarm amongst those who navigated the ship; they found means during the general distress to cut a hole in the deck of the prison communicating with the hold, by which in a short time they might have rendered themselves masters of the arm chest, had they not been discovered. When I went into the prison accompanied by the master and a sufficient guard, they pretended the most perfect ignorance of the transaction, said they had been asleep and wondered how it could have been effected. [4]

Port Jackson

The Mariner arrived at Port Jackson on Friday 11 October 1816, six days after the Elizabeth.

Find out more about the Muster of prisoners on arrival in the colony

The convict indents include the name, age, occupation, native place, date and time of trial, sentence and physical description. There is no information in the indents as to whom the convicts were assigned on arrival in the colony.


One hundred and forty five male prisoners were landed in Port Jackson, all in a healthy state, having lost none on the voyage. They were landed on Friday morning 18th October and inspected by Governor Macquarie in the forenoon, after which they were distributed to their various employments.


The Colonial Secretary's Letters reveal that twenty five men were sent to Parramatta to be distributed to various works or settlers; 40 were sent to Windsor; and 25 to the Liverpool district.

Thirty-one of the prisoners have been identified residing in the Hunter Valley region in the following years. Select HERE to find out more about these men.

Life in the Colony

Lancelot Iredale Lancelot Iredale a blacksmith from Newcastle-upon-Tyne arrived on the Mariner. He later started his own business in Sydney and became known throughout the colony.

William Brash a shoemaker and James Edgar a carpenter both from Glasgow drew attention of a different kind when they joined with nine other men to piratically steal a boat in 1818. Brash and Edgar had first met three years previously when they were admitted to the Justitia Hulk to await transportation. They were captured and sentenced to Newcastle penal settlement to work in irons at the lime kilns. Brash to work for two years and Edgar to work for three years. Commandant at Newcastle James Wallis was informed - The men are generally of the most depraved and desperate characters and who have made repeated attempts to escape from the colony. Those in Particular who piratically carried off the two boats whilst His Excellency the Governor was at Newcastle are as follows Giddings, Edgar, Scott, Nivans, Brash, Hanna, Sutherland, Pocock, Jones, Tullock and Thompson. James Edgar and William Brash parted company after their time serving at the limeburners. James Edgar was assigned to
James Mudie at Castle Forbes. He was held in high regard by Mudie who vouched for him in 1825. William Brash was sent the penal settlement at Moreton Bay in 1825 after attempting to abscond once again.

Departure from the Colony

The Mariner departed Port Jackson bound for Batavia in November 1816.

Notes and Links

1). The State Library of Victoria has digitized an edition of John Haslam's A narrative of a voyage to New South Wales in the year 1816, in the ship Mariner, describing the nature of the accommodations, stores, diet etc., together with an account of the medical treatment and religious superintendence of these unfortunate persons. Select here to read the Journal

2) In the Indents of the ship Cawdry in 1826 William Beath is noted as having arrived on the Mariner. He escaped on the Greenock and was captured and re-transported on the Cawdry. However, no prisoner by the name of William Beath is listed in the indents of the Mariner.[6]

3). Nine convict ships arrived in New South Wales in 1816 - Mariner, Fanny, Mary Anne, Ocean, Alexander, Guildford, Atlas, Elizabeth and Surry. Approximately 1,415 prisoners arrived in NSW in 1816.

4). List of Ships departing Port Jackson in 1816

Arrival of ships 1816


[1]. Convict Indents. State Archives NSW; Series: NRS 12188; Item: [4/4005]; Microfiche: 636

[2] Bateson, Charles, Library of Australian History (1983). The convict ships, 1787-1868 (Australian ed). Library of Australian History, Sydney. pp340 - 41

[3] Haslam, John, A narrative of a voyage to New South Wales in the year 1816, in the ship Mariner, describing the nature of the accommodations, stores, diet etc., together with an account of the medical treatment and religious superintendence of these unfortunate persons. p.20

[4] ibid., p23

[5]. UK Prison Hulk Books. Home Office: Convict Prison Hulks: Registers and Letter Books; Class: HO9; Piece: 4

[6]. Convict Indents of the Cawdry. State Archives NSW; Series: NRS 12188; Item: [4/4011]; Microfiche: 660