Free Settler or Felon
Convict and Colonial History

Convict Ship Medina - 1823

Embarked: 177 men
Voyage: 115 days
Deaths: 1
Surgeon's Journal: yes
Previous voyage: Isabella arrived 16 December 1823
Next voyage: Castle Forbes arrived 15 January 1824
Captain Robert Brown
Surgeon John Rodmell
Follow the Irish Convict Ship Trail
Prisoners and passengers of the Medina identified in the Hunter Valley

The Medina was built at Topsham in 1811 [1]. She departed Cork on 5 September 1823 with 180 male prisoners and arrived in Port Jackson on 29 December 1823. One convict died on the voyage out.


On 19th July 1823 when surgeon John Rodmell joined the ship at Deptford carpenters from the dockyard were still employed fitting up prisons for the reception of the convicts.

Surgeon John Rodmell

John Rodmell kept a Medical Journal from 19th July 1823 to 16 January 1824.

Military Guard

A detachment of the 40th regiment were embarked consisting of Lieutenant Frederick Charles Ganning; one ensign; assistant surgeon Coleman; one sergeant, two corporals; 31 privates; 4 women and 5 children. The 40th had been serving in Ireland.

Following is an excerpt from Historical Records of the 40th (2nd Somersetshire) Regiment By Raymond Henry Raymond Smythies listing the ships that brought detachments of the 40th regiment to New South Wales in 1823 and 1824 -

Early in March 1823, the commanding officer, Lieutenant-Colonel Thornton received an intimation that it was intended to send the regiment to New South Wales. In the meantime it was ordered to proceed to Dublin, thence by sea to Liverpool, and after that by road to Chatham, in order to form guards for convict ships when required.
The head quarters reached Dublin on 15th March and occupied the Royal Barracks. On the 30th the whole regiment embarked at Pigeon House, in eight small vessels, and reached Liverpool the following day.

A twenty eight days' march, including three Sundays, brought the regiment to Chatham. The Regiment marched in three divisions; the first arrived at Chatham on 21st April; the second, consisting of two companies, halted, and remained at Deptford; and the 3rd reached Chatham on 23rd April.

During the next year the 40th was sent out, in small detachments, as guards on board convict ships to Australia. This was after several years' rough service in Ireland, and but a short period of rest in England -

Embarked 25th April 1823 on ship Albion. Lieutenant Lowe
Embarked 5th July 1823 on ship Asia Captain Bishop
Embarked 10th July 1823 on ship Isabella. Lieutenant Millar
Embarked 18th July 1823 on ship Sir Godfrey Wilestoe. Captain Hibbert
Embarked 29 July 1823 on ship Guildford. Captain Thornhill
Embarked 31st July 1823 on ship Medina. Lieutenant Ganning
Embarked 5 August 1823 on ship Castle Forbes. Lt.- Col. Balfour
Embarked 29 December 1823 on ship Prince Regent. Captain Stewart
Embarked 5th February 1824 on ship Chapman. Captain Jebb
Embarked 25 February 1824 on ship Countess of Harcourt. Captain Morow
Embarked 14 June 1824 on ship Mangles. Lt.- Col Thornton
Embarked 14 June 1824 on ship Princess Charlotte. Lieut Neilley

Other ships bringing detachments of the 40th regiment included the Minerva and Ann and Amelia.

Departing England

On the 30 July the ship was reported ready to sail.[2] On the 6 August they cast off from the Hulk and made sail down the river. At 3.30 pm they came to anchor at Gravesend and on the 8th August at 10 am, they departed from there. On the 9th August, at 11am they weighed anchor and made all sail for the Downs. They had received on board 3 boats with rigging for the use of the Preventative Service in Ireland. [2]

Arrival at Cork

They departed the Downs and made their way to Cork, arriving there 26 August.

Convicts Embarked

The following day the Medina received on board 180 male prisoners. The men came from districts throughout Ireland - Cavan, Dublin, Tipperary, Limerick, Cork, Wicklow, Westmeath, Roscommon, May, Waterford, Louth, Kildare, Wexford, Armagh, Carlow, Sligo, Clare, Down, Antrim, Longford, Derry, Donegal, Monaghan, Leitrim, Galway and Kings Co.,

They were probably held in one of the hulks in Cork Harbour while the Medina was being fitted out at Deptford. Some of the men had been tried under the Insurrection Acts. Two days before their departure from Cork three of the convicts were taken off the vessel. It was intended to replace them, however the Medina's stay in Cork was short and so the final number that embarked was 177 men.[2]

Departure from Cork

The Medina was the next vessel to leave Ireland bound for New South Wales after the departure of the Isabella in August 1823.

On the 5 September they got under weigh from the Cove of Cork and made all sail for Port Jackson.

The following men were mentioned in the surgeon's journal
James McNamara, convict
John Mahony, convict
John Martin, convict
John McDonald punished with 12 lashes for having fire in the prisons contrary to repeated orders which had been given
John O'Connor with 18 lashes for beating John Ryan in consequence of his giving such information as led to the detection of Macdonald.
John Roebuck, convict
Michael Munaghan, guard
William Robinson, guard
Charles Stock, convict
Thomas Clarke, guard
John Mahony, convict
Alexander Wilkinson, guard
Thomas Miles, convict
John D'arcy, convict
James Callaghan
John Barry, guard
Michael McHenry, guard
William White, convict
Daniel Hagan, convict
David Rickard, convict
George Hare, guard [3]

Port Jackson

They arrived in Port Jackson on 29 December 1823 .

One hundred and seventy-six men were mustered on board on Friday 2nd January by Colonial Secretary Frederick Goulburn, one man John Connor having died off St. Paul's Island on the voyage out.

The bound indents include name, age, when and where convicted (occasional), native place, trade, physical description conduct on the voyage out and where assigned on arrival. There is also occasional information about tickets of leave and colonial sentences and family members :

Phillip Bourke's brother Alexander Bourke arrived 2 years previously.

John Donovan, sawyer from Cork tried at Dundalk. Assigned to George Panton on arrival. Executed 23 August 1824. - Execution - On Monday last John Donovan who was ordered to suffer death for the murder of Thomas Brown, was executed pursuant to his sentence. The unhappy man, who was of the Catholic persuasion, seemed to meet his awful fate with becoming resignation - Sydney Gazette 26 August 1824.

Felix Pritchett, ploughman from Mullingar, died at Port Macquarie

Henry Smiley, age 20 - Uncle arrived on the Medina as a member of the Guard

Convicts Landed

The prisoners were landed on Tuesday morning 6th January and underwent the usual inspection by the Governor Sir Thomas Brisbane who had arrived in Sydney the previous evening from Parramatta. They expressed their gratitude for the kind treatment met with during the voyage.


Correspondence in the Colonial Secretary's Papers reveal that 122 of the men were forwarded to Parramatta. Twenty seven of those men were to be assigned to the Parramatta area and the remaining 95 were to be forwarded to the interior district. Another forty men were to be sent to the Liverpool district. Others were sent to Bringelly, Airds, Windsor, Penrith, Emu Plains and Bathurst.

The youngest prisoners on board were Anthony Torpy who was only 13 years of and Jeremiah Buckley aged 14. The young prisoners all seem to have been sent to Carter's Barracks on arrival.

The oldest prisoner on board was Danial Hagan who 61 years of age.

Twenty-four prisoners of the Medina have been identified residing in the Hunter Valley region in the following years. Select here to find out more about these men. Some were assigned to Edward G. Cory, Vicars Jacob and Lieutenant William Hicks near Paterson, others high up the Hunter Valley to Merton the estate of William Ogilvie.

Convicts of the Medina identified in the Hunter Valley

Adams, William

Beaghan, Thomas

Byrne, Daniel

Connors, Thomas

Douety, Clement

Fitzgerald, William

Gildea, Owen

Goodwin, Thomas

Heffernan, William

Jones, Charles

Kelly, David

Kelso, John

McCann, William

McKenna, Michael

McKenzie, John

McNamara, Francis

Moore, William

Murphy, James

Neville, Patrick

O'Brien, Michael

Rockett, Edward

Ryan, William

Ryley, Robert

Scannell, Patrick

Slevin, Patrick

Sullivan, Daniel

Veal, Patrick

Wilson alias McGuiggan, William

Notes and Links

1). John Rodmell was appointed Surgeon Superintendent on three convict ship voyages:

Mary to NSW in 1822
Medina to NSW in 1823.
Woodman to VDL in 1826.

2). Convict Ships bringing Political Prisoners and Protesters

3). Historical Records of Australia Vol. XI reveal the fate of some of the prisoners of the Medina -

The Pardon of William Fitzgerald - In correspondence dated 24 December 1823,
Earl Bathurst to Sir Thomas Brisbane
In consequence of some favourable circumstances which have been represented to the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland with respect to William Fitzgerald, a convict who was tried under the Insurrection Act in the County of Clare and sentenced to be transported, His Excellency has been pleased to grant him a free pardon; and the said William Fitzgerald having been embarked on board the Medina, which sailed from Cork on the 5th September last for New South Wales, I am to desire that you will give the necessary directions in order that William Fitzgerald may be sent back to this country by the first opportunity
. (HRA Series 1, vol. XI, p. 187)

Case of mistaken identity of John Grady - Correspondence of John Grady to Mrs. John Grady.
Sydney Cove, New South Wales,
My dear Wife, 5th Jany., 1824.
I embrace this favourable opportunity of writing these few lines to you, hoping to find you and the Child in good health as this leaves me in at present, thanks be to God. My dear, I sailed from the Cove of Cork on Septr. 5th, 1823, and arrived here on Monday Evening, Decr. 29th, attended with the happiest voyage that could be mentioned, there had been but one Died during the passage.

My dear, I have a very grievous circumstance to mention in this letter to you, which occurred against me after my Arrival in this Country, which is the following : at my Inspection here by the Secretary, he asked me what was my Sentence; I told him 7 years; he told me I was for Life, which his sentence, thunder struck me; I answered him that I was tried under the Insurrection Act, and that no Individual could be sentenced to more than 7 years ; he thought I was scheming on him and asked the Doctor of the Ship my character, which he could not give better to his Brother, had he been in my place.

My dear, I told the Secretary that there was one John Grady from Burne Leigh which is But Twelve Miles from Nenagh; that the said John Grady had been tried at the Clonmell Assizes for House burning and received Sentence of Death, but had been respited to Transportation for Life, My dear Wife, when I was sent to the Depot of the City of Cork in a few days after I been at the Depot, this John Grady from Burne's Leigh near Nenagh came from Clonmell Gaol to the Depot, and whether it had been a mistake of Mr. Murphy's or at the Castle of Dublin, this John Grady was sent off in the Brampton Convict Ship under my Sentence, and I remained under his.

Now, my dear wife, you must do all in your power to get the Sentence Altered and my former Sentence renewed. Go to Mr. O'Hara, the Magistrate, and show him this Letter, and let him let all the other Magistrates know, that were at my trial, this unfortunate circumstance, and to make no delay but to write to Judge Blacker, and also let him know it, as no other man can decide the Business but him, and to forward the Account as soon as possible to the ovr. of New South Wales as I will suffer Death by the Laws of this Country If I am for Life.

So, my Dear, I am still in hopes, as I am innocent of this laid Against me. My dear, I have sent a letter before this to Councillor Dillon concerning this affair. But the Letter to you had some delay on Account of this Ship; she was to go to the Indies for her Cargo, Before she would return to London; it is by one of the Sailors, I have sent it; he was from Cove where we Sailed from ; this was the Ship I came in, called the Medina. You know my dear, this is a serious circumstance to be left undone and would have rendered me of ever seeing yen again. My dear keep up your spirits, and if this Business can he decided, I will see you again, with the assistance of God, I will he able to return home after my time being expired. I cannot give you any Particular Account this time concerning the country; but will write to you by the next opportunity ; only that I see young Tom Dwyer, the sawyer, and let his Mother know that he is very well, and likewise let Tomas Kenny's mother know that he is very well, and John Joice's brother know that he is well; those are all in Sidney town. But I do not know where I am to stop as yet.

My dear, there is a great difference between this John Grady and me, as he is not a Nailor and I am, which can be settled in the Castle, as my trade has been sent to the Castle along with my crime. No more at present from your Dear. Husband Until Death, John Grady. Sidney Cove, New South Wales, 5th Jany., 1824. I was nearly forgetting my dear Mother and Sisters; let them know that I am well and that I send my kind Love to them and to all enquiring friends.
(HRA, Series 1, Vol. XI, p. 643)

Punishment of Christopher Lawler.....
17th July 1824 Christopher Lawler, convict per Medina. Attached to Rooty Hill. Charged with having a quart tin in his possession stolen from the huts on Mr. Campbell's farm. Sentenced to receive 25 lashes every 2nd morning until he produces the remainder of the property stolen. Received 100 lashes and was returned to his gang. (HRA, Series 1, Vol. XI, p. 805)

4). Return of Convicts of the Medina assigned between 1st January 1832 and 31st March 1832 (Sydney Gazette 5 July 1832) -
Felix Pritchard - Ploughs. Assigned to John D. Campbell at Liverpool


[1] Bateson, Charles, Library of Australian History (1983). The convict ships, 1787-1868 (Australian ed). Library of Australian History, Sydney : pp.344-345, 384

[2] UK, Royal Navy Medical Journals, 1817-1857 Medical Journal of John Rodmell on the voyage of the Medina in 1823. The National Archives. Kew, Richmond, Surrey.

[3] National Archives - Medical Journal of surgeon John Rodmell on the voyage of the Medina to New South Wales from19th July 1823 to 16 January 1824