Free Settler or Felon
Convict and Colonial History

Convict Ship Royal Admiral - 1833

Embarked: 220 men
Voyage: 144 days
Deaths: 6
Surgeon's Journal: yes
Previous vessel: Lord Lyndoch arrived 18 October 1833
Next vessel: Aurora arrived 3 November 1833
Master David Fotheringham
Surgeon Andrew Henderson
Follow the Irish Convict Ship Trail
Convicts and passengers of the Royal Admiral identified in the Hunter Valley region

The Royal Admiral was built at Lynn in 1828. Convicts were transported to New South Wales on the Royal Admiral in 1830, 1833, 1835 and to Van Diemen's Land in 1842. [3]

The Royal Admiral commenced fitting as a convict transport at Deptford on 29th March 1833.

Surgeon Andrew Henderson

Andrew Henderson kept a Medical Journal from 3 April to 11 November 1833.[2]

Military Guard

The Military Guard consisting of Lieut. Ainslie, 21st regiment, and 21 rank and file of the 21st regiment; and passengers Quarter-Master Archibald Fairgrieve 21st regiment, six women and 6 children embarked on 13th April 1833.


They departed Deptford bound for Dublin in May, anchoring in Kingston Harbour on the 9th May 1833.

Catarrhal fever (influenza) had prevailed among the prisoners on board the Essex hulk at Kingston harbour and it was considered inadvisable to embark prisoners before the 16th May. Due to the length of their confinement and indigestible and spare diet, a great many of the men were in a debilitated state. However the vessel was delayed in the harbour until 4th June so the prisoners were kept on a full allowance of fresh meat and vegetables and meat and took on a more healthy aspect.[2]

Andrew Henderson was critical of the condition of the convicts when taken from the Hulks and stated to the agent for transports who was present at the muster on the Essex that he could not carry out 220 prisoners in such a debilitated state of health to Sydney without losing at least fifteen of them, in which the agent acknowledged he had never seen prisoners at any former muster look so bad. The surgeon stated his opinion that many of them were not fit when they embarked on board the Royal Admiral, however his view was over ruled by Dr. Trevor Inspector of Prisons and Hulks in Ireland.


The Royal Admiral departed Dublin on 4th June 1833.

The Voyage

The prisoners continued well enough until 18th September when scurvy began to appear. The ship was at this time situated at Lat. 37° South and Long 69° 1/2 East.

The surgeon stated that 'the prisoners had a sallow cast of countenance, and their faces seemed fatter than natural' and he 'could perceive considerable rise of temperature in the affected part, stiffness of the joints or limbs, general weakness and want of appetite' in a few days the disease became developed in a manner which could not be mistaken for any other disease, in which at first diffuse ecchymoma, then purple and ultimately of a jet black aspect sometimes attended with swelling and hardness. The surgeon pointed out the case of James Reily, that 'the posterior part of the lower extremities was as black as tar his countenance became bloated, swollen and sallow the eyes suffused and as yellow as in icterus or yellow fever'. On the treatment of the disease the surgeon tried the nitrate of potass. dissolved in lemon juice and vinegar in a treatment of scurvy and a small doses of sulphate of magnesia given in a bitter infusion was preferred to any other purgative.[2]

Port Jackson

The Royal Admiral arrived at Port Jackson on 26 October 1833. The detachment of the 21st regiment landed at the Dockyard on Monday 21st October and marched through the town to the barracks with the Highland Piper at their head, playing a national air.

Notes and Links

1). Convicts and passengers of the Royal Admiral identified in the Hunter Valley region

2). The 21st Regiment had its headquarters in Hobart between 1833 and 1839 and dispatched companies to the settlement at Swan River in Western Australia.(1)

3). Lieutenant Colonel Frederick George Ainslie was killed at the Battle of Inkermann in the Crimean war in 1854. (See Military Document appointing him to the position of Lieutenant in January 1833. See Memorial erected by his family)

4). Prevention and Treatment of Sea scurvy by Andrew Hamilton.

5). Convict ships bringing detachments of the 21st regiment (Royal Scotch Fusiliers) and Officer in command of the Guard....

Mary departed London 4 September 1832 - Captain Daniels 21st regt.,

Roslin Castle departed Cork 8 October 1832 - Lieuts. Bayley and Pieter L. Campbell. 21st

Andromeda departed Portsmouth 17 November 1832- Lieuts. Lonsdale and Armstrong 21st regt.,

Mangles departed London 14 December 1832 London

Asia departed the Downs 21 February 1833 - Lieuts. Kelly and Wilson of 6th regt.,

Lord Lyndoch departed Sheerness June 1833 - Lieut-Col. Leahy. Headquarters of 21st

Royal Admiral departed Dublin 4 June 1833 - Lieut. Ainslie 21st regt.,

Aurora departed Portsmouth 4 July 1833 Major Delisle 4th regt.,

Java departed Cork 24 July 1833 - Lieut. Wrixon, 21st regt.,

Neva departed Plymouth 29 July 1833 - Lieut. McEdwin 1st or Queens Own regt.,

Lloyds departed the Downs 25 August 1833 - Lieut. McKnight 21st regt.,

Fairlie departed England 27 October 1833

Bengal Merchant departed 28 March 1838 - Lieut. Dear of 21st regt.,


[1] Grey, Jeffrey, A Military History of Australia, Cambridge University Press, 1999, p. 15

[2] UK, Royal Navy Medical Journals, 1817-1857. Medical Journal of Andrew Henderson on the voyage of the Royal Admiral in 1833. 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.352-353, 388