Free Settler or Felon
Convict and Colonial History

Convict Ship Phoenix - 1822

Embarked: 184 men
Voyage: 151 days
Deaths: 2
Surgeon's Journal: yes
Captain Thomas Weatherhead
Surgeon Evan Evans
First Officer: Mr. Wilson 2nd Officer: Mr. Cobelt 3rd Officer: Mr. Blackett

The Phoenix was built at Topsham in 1810. Convicts were transported to Australia on the Phoenix in 1822 and 1828. [3]

Military Guard

The Military Guard comprised a detachment of the 3rd Regiment (Old Buffs), under the orders of Brevet Lieut.-Colonel Cameron, and Ensign Pigot, of the same regiment. Ten women and ten children belonging to the guard were also on board

Surgeon Evan Evans

Surgeon Evan Evan kept a Medical Journal from 19 October 1821 - 25 May 1822. He joined the ship over two months before departure -

19 October 1821: Joined the ship at Deptford and reported to Captain Young, agent for transports.

27 October 1821: A detachment of the 3rd Regiment embarked on board as Guard over convicts.

4 November 1821: The ship dropped down from Deptford and arrived at Portsmouth on the 8th.

10 November 1821 at Portsmouth: Embarked 120 convicts from the Leviathan Hulk, and 64 from the York.

11 November 1821 at Spithead: Issued the bibles, testaments, prayer books etc to them [convicts] before the divine service.

30 November 1821 at Spithead: In consequence of the severity of the gale last night, the ship drove some distance, and this day the crew were employed in getting the anchors up and in working the ship to an anchorage at the Motherbank which took up most of the day, consequently very few convicts permitted on deck

20 December 1821 at Motherbank: 9am the ship getting under weigh. The convicts with colds are nearly well today. The vaccination not having the least effect. 2pm working out of St Helens.

21 December 1821 in the Channel: 9am blowing very hard and has blown a hard gale all night, mostly from the SW. The prison very wet, leaking in every direction over the prison and most of the convicts very sea sick, bearing up for Dungeness. At 10am had the convicts with their wet things on deck, fire in the airing stove in prison, and had the prison well dried.


The Phoenix departed Portsmouth on the 5th January in company with the Richmond - the day previously to the departure of the Mary Ann and Denmark Hill; all four vessels bound for Van Diemen's Land. [1]

The Voyage

They sailed by the Eastern passage, keeping very near the African shore, and in consequence had very long and constant calms near the line, and very warm weather. The death of one of the convicts at this time caused Evan Evans great worry that fever would spread throughout the vessel and he ensured that the decks were frequently fumigated with nitrous acid.

The boys and men who could not read attended school daily. Evan Evans commented that the utmost harmony prevailed between himself and Brevet-Lieutenant Colonel Cameron and Captain Weatherhead.

The convicts were all very well behaved and all of them were taken out of irons a few days after departing Portsmouth and kept out of irons the whole of the voyage, with the exception of four days that the ship was at Rio De Janeiro. [2]

Rio de Janeiro

They put into Rio de Janeiro where they stayed for six days.

Van Diemens Land

The Phoenix arrived in Van Diemen's Land on 20th May 1822 with 182 male convicts, two having died on the voyage. [1]

Convicts Disembarked

The convicts were landed on the morning of Saturday 25th May 1822 and after being inspected by the Lieutenant Governor, were assigned to their employments - nearly all being appropriated to the service of the settlers. They were said to have arrived in a very healthy and orderly state.

Hobart to Sydney

The Phoenix departed Hobart for Sydney 2nd June having on board Brevet Lieutenant-Colonel Cameron and Ensign Pigot of the 3rd Regiment with a detachment of the same regiment and Surgeon Evan Evans.

One prisoner of the Crown to be tried at the Criminal Court was conveyed to Sydney on the Phoenix as well as several witnesses in the case.

Notes and Links

1). Other ships bringing detachments of the 3rd regiment included the Guildford, Shipley, Asia, Surry, Mangles, Asia, Countess of Harcourt, Henry, Princess Royal, Eliza and Brampton and Phoenix (VDL)

2). Michael Downing, one of the men convicted of High Treason in Yorkshire in 1820 in a movement known as the Yorkshire Rebellion was transported to VDL on the Phoenix. The other eleven men convicted with him were sent on the Lady Ridley

3). Political Prisoners

4). Trial of the Yorkshire Rebels - Annual Register

5). Convicts and passengers of the Phoenix identified in the Hunter Valley -

Edward Brunton

Robert Peate


[1]. Hobart Town Gazette and Van Diemen's Land Advertiser (Tas. : 1821 - 1825) Sat 25 May 1822

[2] UK, Royal Navy Medical Journals, 1817-1857. Medical Journal of Evan Evans on the voyage of the Phoenix in 1822. The National Archives. Kew, Richmond, Surrey.

[3] Bateson, Charles Library of Australian History (1983). The convict ships, 1787-1868 (Australian ed). Library of Australian History, Sydney : pp.358-359, 384