Free Settler or Felon
Convict and Colonial History

Convict Ship Norfolk - 1837

Embarked: 280 men
Voyage: 105 days
Deaths: 2
Surgeon's Journal: yes
Previous vessel: John arrived 7 February 1837
Next vessel: Sarah and Elizabeth arrived 23 April 1837
Captain John Gatenby
Surgeon John Inches
Convicts and Passengers of the Norfolk identified in the Hunter Valley

The Norfolk was built at Littlehampton in 1804.[2] Convicts were transported to New South Wales on the Norfolk in 1825, 1829, 1832 and this voyage in 1837.

The prisoners were convicted in counties in England, Scotland and Wales - Norfolk, Cambridge, Oxford, Southampton, Lincoln, Somerset,; Sussex, York, Berks, Northampton, London, Durham, Derby, Suffolk, Essex, Chester, Dorset, Wiltshire, Leicester, Bedford, Worcester, Hereford, Gloucester, Cumberland, Bucks, Bristol, Devon, Cornwall, Lancaster, Rutland, Edinburgh, Aberdeen, Inverness, Stirling, Merioneth and Glamorgan. There were also prisoners who had been court-martialled in Montreal, Canada (CM), Quebec, Canada (CM)Kingston, Canada (CM), Gibraltar (CM), New Brunswick (CM) and Woolwich (CM). [1]

Military Guard

The Military Guard consisted of 29 rank and file of 28th regiment., and 80th regiment under command of Captain Bowler and Lieutenant Reitt of the 80th.

Surgeon John Inches

John Inches kept a Medical Journal from 30th October 1836 and 12 February 1837.


The Norfolk sailed from Spithead on 30th October 1836. They had an excellent run out of the Channel and fine weather. All the prisoners were healthy except Harry Bell who had been despondent since embarking at Spithead.

Illness On Board

Harry Bell had come on board from a hulk moored at Portsmouth where he had been sent after being convicted of stealing billiard balls. He claimed to have purchased them from a Frenchman. In his plea before the Judge at the Old Bailey he claimed that he had moved in as high a circle as any man in England - I have served my King and country for many years. Harry Bell was 40 years old when he died on the 21st November 1836.

Towards the end of November there were a few cases of scurvy which were treated with lime and wine. Another convict William Smith died on the 14th January 1837 after experiencing difficulty breathing.

Those treated by the surgeon during the voyage included:
Harry Bell, aged 27, convict; . Died, 21 November 1836.
William Fares, aged 24, convict;
William Smith, aged 26, convict; Died, 14 January 1837. Folios 7-9:
John Richards, aged 24, convict;
Jonathan Hill, age and capacity not recorded;
John Pearce, aged 24, convict;
John Dawson, aged 22, convict; [4]

According to the surgeon, the prisoners were very orderly and clean on the voyage out.

Free Passengers

Passengers arriving on the Norfolk included Mrs. Reitt, Mrs. Bowler and family, Mrs. Inches and family and explorer/botanist Allan Cunningham who was returning to Australia after several years absence.

Portrait of Explorer Allan Cunningham
.....Allan Cunningham

Port Jackson

Two hundred and seventy-eight convicts arrived in Port Jackson on 11 -12 February 1837. On arrival Captain Gatenby was presented with a silver snuff box and a note of thanks by Capt. Bowler, Lieut. Reitt and Allan Cunningham.

The prisoners were landed on the morning of 21st February 1837 and marched to Hyde Park Barracks were they were assigned to various settlers and work places.

William Fayers died in the General Hospital, Sydney on 27 February 1837. He was a brother of Samuel Fayers who also arrived on the Norfolk [1]

Convict Indents

The convict indents reveal the name, age, education, religion, marital status, family, native place, occupation, crime, date and place of trial, previous convictions and physical description. There are also occasional notes about relatives already in the colony or soon to arrive..........

Henry and John Andrews were brothers

Edward Baker's sister Alice Stark came free about 4 years previously

Griffin Beale's brother Frederick Beale arrived on the Asia ten years previously

Edward Bown had a brother in the colony who arrived ten years previously

James and Michael from Galway were brothers both convicted of highway robbery at Rutland Assizes

Samuel Kerry and John Kerry were brothers. Their mother Elizabeth Kerry came a prisoner per Elizabeth with their brother and sister arriving the previous June.

George Snook's brother John Snook arrived two years previously [1]

Departure from Sydney

The Norfolk was immediately re-fitted and sailed for Calcutta to obtain freight.

Notes and Links

1). John Inches was employed as surgeon-superintendent on the Lady Harewood in 1832, Lloyds in 1833 and the Mary in 1835.

2). Convict Charles Clipp arrived on the Norfolk. He was executed for murder on 29 November 1839.

3). Convicts and Passengers of the Norfolk identified in the Hunter Valley

4). Detachments of the 80th regiment arrived the Lady Kennaway, Lloyds, Norfolk, Bengal Merchant, Asia, Captain Cook, Earl Grey, St. Vincent, John, Prince George, Mangles, Heber, Theresa, Calcutta, Eden, Emma Eugenia and Blundell.

5). Detachments of the 28th regiment arrived on the Recovery, Lady McNaughten, Charles Kerr, Westmoreland, Marquis of Huntley, Norfolk, Backwell, England, John Barry, Susan, Waterloo, Moffatt, Strathfieldsaye and Portsea.


[1] Convict Indents. State Archives NSW; Series: NRS 12189; Item: [X640]; Microfiche: 726

[2] Bateson, Charles Library of Australian History (1983). The convict ships, 1787-1868 (Australian ed). Library of Australian History, Sydney : pp.354-355, 390

[3] Medical Journal of John Inches, UK, Royal Navy Medical Journals, 1817-1857 The National Archives. Kew, Richmond, Surrey.

[4] UK National Archives. Medical Journal of John Inches on the Norfolk 1837. ADM 101/57/5