Free Settler or Felon
Convict and Colonial History

Convict Ship Regalia - 1826

Embarked: 130 men
Voyage: 142 days
Deaths: 1
Surgeon's Journal: no
Tons: 360
Previous vessel: Lady Rowena arrived 17 May 1826
Next vessel: Marquis of Huntley arrived 13 September 1826
Captain Robert Burt
Surgeon  James Rutherford
Follow the Irish Convict Ship Trail
Prisoners and passengers of the Regalia identified in the Hunter Valley

The Regalia was built at Sunderland in 1811 and in 1826 was owned by William Grey.[1] Convicts to be transported on the Regalia were held on the Essex hulk at Dublin.

Essex Hulk, Dublin

In 1829 John Speer M.D. Surgeon R.N and Medical Superintendent on the Essex published 'A brief Account of the Diseases that appeared on board the Essex Prison Hulk, during the Years 1825, 26, and 27'.......

The Irish government having determined to station a hulk at Kingstown, considering it would be beneficial to the public, by saving the heavy expense of demurrage, as well as other expenses attendant on the shipment of prisoners for New South Wales, they accordingly stationed the Essex there, and commenced receiving prisoners in the year 1825. ....... In August 1825 we received 240 prisoners, and in a few weeks dysentery appeared: the insidious manner in which it attacked the patients induced me to consider it nothing more than a slight bowel complaint, and in many instances the individuals, for one, two, or three days, had not the slightest appearance of disease.....Read more

Military Guard

The guard for the convicts consisted of twenty-two year old Lieutenant William Sacheverell Coke of the 39th regiment in command of a detachment of soldiers of the 39th. Accounts of the voyage of the Regalia by Lieutenant W. Sacheverell Coke (1805-1896) are described in his diary in a series of letters to his father. Historian Cynthia Hunter published 'The 1827 Newcastle Notebook and Letters of Lieutenant William S Coke HM 39th Regiment' in 1997 which gives an account of the voyage of the Regalia.

Departure of the Regalia from Dublin

The following description of the departure from Dublin Bay is described in the above publication......

Regalia experienced appalling weather in the Irish Sea and had to put back. The conversion of Dublin Bay into a safe harbour had only just begun and it was still a dangerous place. In stormy conditions, the wreck of ships was a frequent occurrence in the vicinity of the Bay.

The captain was eager to get under way again and dropped anchor outside the tideway, ready to take advantage of any change in wind. During continuing storms, one night the vessel parted from her anchors loosing ninety-two fathoms of cable chain. The ship drifted perilously close to the rocky coast at Howth Head.

With most soldiers sleeping below and all the convicts locked up, one of the guard overheard the captain give orders to prepare the quarter boat, silently, for himself and the sailors. This information was quickly conveyed to Lieut. Sacherville Coke who promptly responded, ordering his men to shoot or bayonet the first man who attempted to leave the vessel. Arrested in their would-be escape, the captain and crew could only set to work to recover more cable from the depths of the laden hold and take other measures to check the vessel's drifting. When daylight came, Regalia was so close in to the rocky cliffs that she could not be seen from Dublin Bay and was reported as lost. The next day she returned to the port, proving the observation incorrect.

Two further attempts to leave were necessary before the ship began the voyage in mid March, somewhat depleted of stores and provisions. [2] Read the full version of this book.

According to Charles Bateson in The Convict Ships, the Regalia sailed from Dublin 14th March 1826.

They sailed past Madeira on 25 March and reached the Cape Verde Island on 5 April and apparently touched at Rio de Janeiro on the voyage.

Surgeon James Rutherford

James Rutherford was about 48 years of age at this time (b. 1779 d. 1862, Ireland). He was described in The 1827 Newcastle Notebook and Letters of Lieutenant William S Coke HM 39th Regiment as a 'gaunt and worn-out doctor of the Navy' who could hardly have been in a convict ship from other than necessity. (p14) His journal for this voyage seems not to have survived although he was also employed as surgeon on the convict ships Pyramus in 1832, Mangles in 1833 and the Hooghley in 1834 and the journals for those voyages are available; his treatment of and his attitude towards convicts can be derived from those later voyages.

Arrival in Port Jackson

The Regalia arrived in Port Jackson on Saturday 5th August 1826. She brought the news that the wife of Sir Thomas Makdougall Brisbane had been safely delivered of a child on the 7th March 1826.

Muster of Convicts

Alexander McLeayAlexander McLeay

On Tuesday 8th August, the Colonial Secretary Alexander McLeay, accompanied by the Principal Superintendent of convicts boarded the Regalia to muster the prisoners prior to their landing.

In the convict indents there are remarks against each of the prisoners as to their conduct on the voyage out. Other information in the indents includes age, education, religion, marital status, family, native place, trade, offence, where and when tried, sentence, previous convictions, physical description.

There are also details as to the place of assignment on arrival and occasional notes regarding colonial crimes, deaths and conditional pardons. Most of the prisoners had been convicted of various forms of stealing and forgery.

Convicts Disembarked

The men were landed during the forenoon of Wednesday 9th August and inspected by Governor Darling who expressed himself very favourably on the mens' healthful and otherwise creditable appearance. Find out more about disembarking convicts.

When the Regalia departed New South Wales in December 1826 one of the government dispatches she carried was from Governor Darling to Under Secretary Hay regarding George Weller who was returning to England having been disappointed in not receiving an expected land grant.

Convicts of the Regalia identified in the Hunter Valley -

Bourke, William

Brennan, Stephen

Broderick, Thomas

Buckley, James

Byrne, Thomas

Cafferey, Thomas

Carroll, Moses

Corrigan, Edward

Courtney, Owen

Dempsey, Michael

Doyle, Charles

Duignan, Patrick

Dunn, John

Flinn, John

Fox, John

Frayne, Lawrence

Gorman, Richard

Harkin, Daniel

Hill, Miles

Kenniff, Martin

Lennon, Richard

Mahon, Edward

McAllister, Andrew

McAllister, John

McBride, Felix

McCeon, Bryan

McDermott, James

McDermott, Michael

McDermott, Patrick

McEllivain, John

Murphy, James alias Peter Flannaghan

Murphy, John

Murphy, Richard

Nowlan, John

Patterson, David

Reid, Charles

Sheenan, Sylvester

Sloan, Peter

Sweeney, Thomas

Walsh, John

Notes and Links

1). James Rutherford was a brother of George Shaw Rutherford.

2). Hunter Valley convicts and passengers arriving on the Regalia in 1826

3). The following information is from the State Library of Victoria Catalogue.....Contents/Summary: 1. Papers of Sir R.J. Wilmot Horton, Under Secretary of State for War and the Colonies, 1821-1828. The collection includes correspondence, 1821-1837; a paper by the National Colonization Society re emigration and land allocation for S. Aust.; printed papers relating to emigration. 2. 27 letters, 1835-50 mainly to Alfred Miller Mundy, 21st North British Fusiliers in Van Diemen's Land and Port Phillip and when he was Colonial Secretary of South Australia, 1843-1849. 3. Journals and correspondence of William Sacheverell Coke. Diary Feb.-Sept. 1827, describing his life in N.S.W. and journal of voyage from Van Diemen's Land to England. The correspondence 1825-32 consists mainly of letters to Coke's father describing conditions on board the convict ship Regalia from Ireland, at the barracks in Sydney and while living at Newcastle in 1827.

4). Local Treasures - Lt William Coke and Desmond - ABC

5). Convict Patrick Naigle was 17 years of age when he was transported. He was executed in Sydney on 23 March 1833 having been found guilty of bushranging. (Sydney Monitor)

6). The following convicts, tried at Carrickfergus Assizes, passed through the town on last Saturday morning, on their way for transportation. Those marked with an asterisk had received sentence of death: - Charles Reid*, Felix McBride alias McCan*, William Hill *, Peter Sloane*, John Fox, John McCallester*, John Wilson, John Russel, Philip McCrorry, Alexander McCoy, and Joseph Tierney. - Belfast Newsletter 25 August 1825

7). Charles Reid was assigned to William Cox junior at Richmond on arrival. In 1838 he held a ticket of leave for the Invermein district and was on a nearby station when the infamous massacre of aboriginal people took place at Myall Creek. He was a witness at the trial of the perpetrators in Sydney in November 1838. Find out more about the Myall Creek Massacre in The Australian 17 November 1838

8). Eleven convict ships brought prisoners to New South Wales in 1826 - Marquis of Hastings, Sir Godfrey Webster, Mangles, Sesostris, Lady Rowena, Regalia, Marquis of Huntley, England, Boyne, Speke and Phoenix

9). The following men were all transported on the Regalia:

Alex. McCoy, for having forged notes in his possession knowing them to be such at Carrickfergus, Guilty; to be transported 14 years.

Joseph Tierney, for issuing a forged note of the Commercial Bank of Belfast - Guilty; to be transported for life.

William Hill and Peter Sloan, for counterfeiting a Scotch bank note with intent to defraud certain of his Majesty's subjects - Prisoner pleaded guilty; transportation for life.

John Fox, for having in his possession forged notes of the Bank of Ireland, knowing them to be such - Guilty; transported for 14 years...... Belfast Newsletter 29 June 1825

James Buckley - Recorder's Court - James Buckley was indicted for stealing half a dozen of silver spoons and a suit of moreen curtains, the property of Doctor Graves of Harcourt Street. The prosecution was conducted by Mr. Bethel, who examined the Doctor, whose evidence established the guilt of the prisoners who had lived in the Doctor's service for six months, and purloined the articles contained in the indictment. The Police officers belonging to the Head office took the prisoner in to custody, and found the duplicates of what he had pawned upon him. Some letters of the prisoner were read, expressive of his contrition in having robbed so good a master. The Jury found the prisoner guilty and he was sentence to 7 years transportation. Freeman's Journal 25 August 1825

William Gheraghty, a young man, convicted of street robbery, was addressed in very impressive terms by Judge Burton upon the enormity of his crime; but in consequence of mitigatory circumstances disclosed in the course of the evidence for the prosecution the humane Judge informed the prisoner that sentence of death and execution should be recorded against him, and his case reported to the proper quarter, from whence mercy would probably be extended and his sentence commuted to transportation for life.

Pat. Duigan convicted of uttering base coin, to be transported for seven years. Freeman's Journal 25 November 1825

Recorder's Court - Tuesday - Patt Walsh was indicted for stealing forty yards of carpeting, found guilty and sentenced to transportation for seven years. - Freeman's Journal 22 December 1825

10). Lawrence Frayne arrived as a convict on the Regalia. He left as a legacy, one of the few accounts of life at the penal colony at Norfolk Island. Select here to find out more about his life.

11). Return of Convicts of the Regalia assigned between 1st January 1832 and 31st March 1832 (Sydney Gazette 14 June 1832; 28 June 1832).....

Owen Courtney - Carter assigned to James McDougall at Darlington

Thomas Gogarty - Weaver assigned to Robert Cooper at Sydney

Henry McGee - Errand boy assigned to John Izzard at Windsor

12). Convict ships bringing detachments of the 39th regiment included the following -

Regalia departed Dublin 16 March 1826. Lieutenant William Sacheverell Coke

England departed the Downs 6 May 1826. Major George Pitt D'Arcy

Marquis of Huntley departed Sheerness 16 May 1826 - Major Donald MacPherson

Boyne departed Cork 29 June 1826 - Captain Thomas Edward Wright

Speke departed Sheerness 8 August 1826 - Lieutenant Henry Clarence Scarman

Phoenix departed Dublin 27 August 1826 - Lieutenant Charles Cox

Albion departed Plymouth 4 October 1826 - Captain Francis Crotty

Midas departed Plymouth 16 October 1826 - Lieutenant George Meares Bowen

Mariner departed Cork 14 January 1827 - Captain Charles Sturt

Countess of Harcourt departed Dublin 14 February 1827 - Lieutenant George Sleeman; Ensign Spencer

Guildford departed Plymouth 31 March 1827 - Captain John Douglas Forbes

Manlius departed Downs 17 April 1827 - Quarter-master Benjamin Lloyd

Cambridge departed Dublin 2 June 1827 - Colonel Patrick Lindesay

Champion departed London 3 June 1827 - Ensign Reid

Bussorah Merchant departed London 27 March 1828 - Ensign W. Kennedy Child

Sophia departed Dublin 15 September 1828 departed Dublin 15 September 1828 - Major Thomas Poole

Portland departed Portsmouth on 27 November 1831.

13). Captain Robert Burt became bankrupt in 1827 (London Gazette)

14 Coke of Trusley


[1] Bateson, Charles, Library of Australian History (1983). The convict ships, 1787-1868 (Australian ed). Library of Australian History, Sydney : pp.346-347

[2] Hunter Cynthia, The 1827 Newcastle Notebook and Letters of Lieutenant William S. Coke, H.M. 39th Regiment. Officer in charge of the military garrison stationed at Newcastle during 1827 First Edition, 1997