Free Settler or Felon
Convict and Colonial History

Convict Ship Mellish - 1829

Embarked: 169 men
Voyage: 106 days
Deaths: 0
Surgeons Journal: yes
Previous vessel: Ferguson arrived 26 March 1829
Next vessel: Edward arrived 26 April 1829
Captain Arthur Vincent
Surgeon  Joseph Cook

The Mellish was the next convict ship to leave England for New South Wales after the departure of the Vittoria in September 1828.

The prisoners were convicted in counties throughout England, Scotland and Wales: Lancaster, York, Kent, Warwick, Northumberland, Lincoln, Somerset, Stafford, Durham, Nottingham, Derby, Berks, Gloucester, Hereford, Surrey, Westmoreland, Stafford, Cambridge, Leicester, Worcester, London, Isle of Man, Dumfries, Inveraray, Inverness, Glasgow, Edinburgh, Aberdeen, Perth, Jedburgh, Glamorgan, Brecon, Radnor and Denbigh.

Military Guard

At the end of October and the first week of November 1828, thirty soldiers of the 63rd regiment under Captain Pery Baylee, three women, four children were embarked on the Mellish which was moored on the River Thames.

Pery Baylee was born in Limerick Ireland, son of Sexton Baylee and Anne Tavernor. He died in Limerick in 1845. More about Captain Pery Baylee at the Australian Dictionary of Biography

Select here to find other convict ships bringing detachments of the 63rd regiment

Cabin Passengers

Passengers included T. F. Gilbert of the Commissariat Department.

Convict Escape

The Morning Chronicle reported on an escapee from the Mellish in December 1828.....

A convict named James Hawkins succeeded in escaping from the Mellish on the 8th December. In 1821 Hawkins had been transported for life, and arrived at Sydney in December of that year; he escaped in 1824 and arrived in England in the following year. In 1826, he was apprehended, tried and again sent to New South Wales and again escaped. In October 1827, he was again apprehended in London, tried, and convicted and a third time sentenced to transportation, but contrived to escape from the caravan which was conveying him from Newgate to the Hulks. He was re-taken in August last, and again sentenced to transportation, and sent on board the Retribution hulk. On the 21st of November, he was embarked in the Mellish upon the voyage to Sydney. The Mellish sailed and about dusk on the evening of the 8th, as the vessel was sailing through the Needles, he slipped his irons, and lowering himself from a port hole, cut away the hawser of a small boat, and rowed ashore to the Isle of Wight. The boat and himself were soon missed and an immediate search was made through the Isle of Wight but he was not found. He ascribed his repeated and daring escapes to a doting fondness for his wife. (1)......

Later in the month it was reported that Hawkins had drowned - The master of the vessel forfeits a thousand pounds for not having taken proper precautions to prevent the flight of the prisoner. (2) James Hawkins was previously transported on the Prince of Orange and the Marquis of Huntley.

Surgeon Joseph Cook

Surgeon Superintendent Joseph Cook kept a Medical Journal between 7 October 1828 and 28 April 1829. In consequence of westerly winds during November and December the ship was detained at different Ports in the English Channel and having frequent gales, with rain and generally damp weather, the health of the convicts was at first considerably affected by it. The prevailing complaints were dysentery, diarrhea and fever.

Joseph Cook outlined his methods for keeping the prisoners healthy - In the treatment of the convicts to preserve health, they were daily examined by mustering and were made to wash clothes, twice a week. The 'tween decks were kept as dry as possible by dry holystoning and scraping the deck and airing with the stoves in wet weather. When within the tropics their woollen clothing was taken from them and returned as the ship advanced to the southward and an additional pair of flannel drawers>


One hundred and seventy prisoners were originally embarked on the Mellish. One boy Ralph Richardson age 13 was returned to the hospital onshore suffering from dysentery and James Hawkins had escaped before departure.

When the Mellish proceed on the voyage from Falmouth on 2nd January 1829, 168 prisoners were on board.

On the 10th the Mellish anchored at Teneriffe. As the ship came into warmer weather the health of the convicts improved. They crossed the Equator on 31st January 1829.

The following men were treated by the surgeon before and during the voyage:

Ralph Richardson, aged 13, convict; case number 1; disease or hurt, dysentery. Put on sick list, 6 November 1828 at Sheerness. Discharged 11 November 1828 to the hospital convict hulk at Sheerness.

William Bowen, aged 30, convict; case number 2; disease or hurt, intermittent fever. Put on sick list, 10 November 1823 at Sheerness. Discharged 30 November 1828 cured.

W Langton, aged 30, corporal of 63rd Regiment; case number 3; disease or hurt, dysentery. Put on sick list, 10 November 1828 at Sheerness. Discharged 1 December 1828 to duty.

William Phibbs, aged 24, convict; case number 4; disease or hurt, fever. Put on sick list, 22 November 1828 at Mother Bank. Discharged 20 December 1828 cured.

George Dent, aged 28, seaman; case number 5; disease or hurt, pneumonia. Put on sick list, 28 November 1828 at Mother Bank. Discharged 6 December 1828 to duty.

John McLennon, aged 18, convict; case number 6; disease or hurt, concussion cerebri as a result of falling down the main-hatchway. Put on sick list, 5 December 1828 at sea. Discharged 20 December 1828 cured

James Powel, aged 19, convict; case number 7; disease or hurt, cynanche tonsil. Put on sick list, 6 January 1829 at sea. Discharged 20 January 1829 cured.

George Watkins, aged 18, convict; case number 8; disease or hurt, fever. Put on sick list, 18 February 1829 at sea. Discharged 7 March 1829 cured.

James Whiteside, aged 18, convict; case number 9; disease or hurt, catarrh. Put on sick list, 28 February 1829 at sea. Discharged 14 March 1829 cured.

Michael McKew, aged 31, convict; case number 10; disease or hurt, scorbutus. Put on sick list, 4 April 1829 at sea. Discharged 25 April 1829 cured.

William Jones, aged 24, convict; case number 11; disease or hurt, hepatitis. Put on sick list, 5 April 1829 at sea. Discharged 25 April 1829 cured. (5)

Port Jackson

The Mellish arrived in Port Jackson on 18 April.

The East India ship Mellish entering the harbour of Sydney (1830?) painted by W.J. Huggins ; engraved by E. Duncan - National Library of AustraliaThe East India ship Mellish entering the harbour of Sydney (1830?)/ painted by W.J. Huggins ; engraved by E. Duncan

Convicts Mustered

There had been no deaths on the voyage out and the convicts were mustered on board by Colonial Secretary Alexander Macleay on 21 April 1829

The indents include name, age, religion, education, marital status, family, native place, trade, offence, when and where tried, sentence, prior conviction, physical description and where they were assigned on arrival. There are also occasional notes, so that it is revealed that William Bowen was blind in the left eye and Andrew Brown was lame in the fingers and Richard Sale had served 7 years in a hulk for a prior crime. William Vandy was considered 'idiotical'.


The convicts were disembarked in a healthy state on 28th April 1829


The youngest prisoners such as Thomas Connelly, Henry Williams, Thomas Wayling and Thomas Sadler age 16 were sent to the Carter's Barracks.

In the Hunter Valley they were assigned to the Australian Agricultural Company and to settlers Alexander McLeod, Thomas Potter Macqueen, William Evans, Helenus and Robert Scott, George Wyndham, Thomas Melville White Winder, Rev. Lancelot Threlkeld, John Herring Boughton, John Tucker and John Eales

Departure from Sydney

The Mellish departed Sydney bound for Singapore in May 1829.

Convicts of the Mellish identified in the Hunter Valley:

Ackland, Thomas

Andrews, Davis

Aspinall, Thomas

Broadhurst, William

Brook, Joseph

Brown, Andrew

Brown (Walters), Thomas

Buckley, John

Bythell, Joseph

Cairns, Peter

Capewell, Samuel

Charlton, James

Clarke, George

Covell, William

Devlin, James

Dickenson, George

Dornen, Barney

Draper, Thomas

Duffin, George

Evans, Samuel

Flood, Thomas

Ford, Peter

Foster, George

Frost, James

Godden, Charles

Graham (Henderson), William

Herring, Diognes

Hindley, Thomas

Hornby, William

Howe, Charles

Jefferies, Joseph

John, Elias

Johnston, William

Jones, Elias

Kelley, Joseph

Lear, William

Lewis, Simon

Lonsdale, Joseph

Lyons, John Baillee

MacWade, Patrick

Makin, John

Mather, Henry

McIntosh, Alexander

McMillan, Duncan

McPhee, Donald

Mepstead, John

Miller, John

Miller, Thomas

Munton, Alfred

Oldham, William

Peters, William

Powell, James

Riley, James

Scott, George

Shannon, John

Simons, John

Stansfield, George

Stothart, James

Strood, George

Thompson, George

Turner, William

Vandy, William

Wade, John

Watkins (Phillips), George

Worthington, William

Notes and Links

1). Joseph Cook was employed as Surgeon Superintendent on the convict ships Phoenix in 1826, Southworth in 1822, Sir Charles Forbes in 1825 (VDL), Louisa in 1827, Mellish in 1829, Forth (11) in 1830 and the Portland in 1832. In all those voyages only four prisoners died under his care.

2). Convict George Bagley was executed at Newcastle in September 1835. His execution probably took place nearby Newcastle Gaol

3). William Worthington accompanied Sir Thomas Livingstone Mitchell on his expedition in 1831

4). The Mellish arrived in VDL with convicts on 22nd September 1830

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

Edward Clark - Dyer and cotton carder assigned to John McLaren in Sydney
Thomas Connelly - Errand boy assigned to Bernard Moran at Airds
William Hornby - Waggoner and ploughs. Assigned to William Aird at Parramatta
Elias Jones - Quarryman assigned to John Wood at Maitland

6). Ships bringing detachments of the 63rd regiment -

Albion departed Sheerness 1 June 1828 - Lieutenant M. Vickery

Eliza departed London 29 June 1828 - Major Sholto Douglas

Marquis of Hastings departed 30 June 1828 - Ensign Stulbmer

Royal George departed Spithead 26 August 1828 - Captain J. Briggs

Vittoria departed Devonport1 September 1828 - Lieutenant Aubyn

Governor Ready departed Cork 21 September 1828- Lieutenant J. Gibbons Lane

Ferguson departed Dublin 16 November 1828 - Captain DArcy Wentworth

Mellish departed Falmouth 2 January 1829 - Captain Pery Baylee

Lord Melville departed London 5 January 1829 - Lieut-Col. Burke

Waterloo departed London 14 March 1829 - Lieutenant T. Grove

America departed Woolwich 8 April 1829 - Adjutant T. Montgomery

Norfolk departed Spithead 22 May 1829 - Ensign W.J. Darling

Guildford departed Dublin 12 July 1829 - Lieut McLean 89th

Larkins departed Cork 16 August 1829 - Captain Mahon

Claudine departed London 24 August 1829 - Captain Paterson

Sarah departed London 29 August 1829- Lieutenant Croly

Dunvegan Castle departed 30 September 1829 - Lieutenant John Gray

Katherine Stewart Forbes departed Spithead 14 October 1829 - Major Fairtclough


1. Morning Chronicle 13 December 1828

2. Derby Mercury 31st December 1828

3. UK, Royal Navy Medical Journals, 1817-1857. The National Archives. Kew, Richmond, Surrey.

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

5. National Archives - Reference: ADM 101/53/1 Description: Medical and surgical; - Reference: ADM 101/53/1 Description: Medical and surgical journal of the Mellish convict ship for 7 October 1828 to 28 April 1829 by Joseph Cook, surgeon and superintendent, during which time the said ship was employed in a voyage to New South Wales.