Embarked: 99 women
Voyage: 182 days
Surgeon's Journal: no
Duke of Portland
arrived 27 July 1807
arrived 20 December 1808
Master John Hingston.
Follow the Female Convict Ship Trail
The Speke was built in Calcutta
In an article in the
Asiatic Journal in 1819 entitled
Comparative Strength of Ships built at different parts
of India, she was described as still both a good
and safe ship although the frame had been built of
sissoo, a wood inferior in durability to the saul, of
which the frames of ships were built in 1819. It was
anticipated by experts who had examined her that she
still had another 15 years left in her. The Speke
transported convicts to New South Wales in 1808,
Two of the women who were transported on the Speke
were Eleanor Hall and
Elizabeth Wade. They were found guilty of grand
larceny (the theft of goods of the value of 1
shilling or more, without any aggravating
circumstances such as assault, breaking and
entering etc.) at the Ely Quarter Sessions,
They were sentenced to 7 years
transportation. An original order dated 4th February
1807 to remove the women from the gaol at Ely and
forward them to the Speke at Deptford is
held in the Cambridge County Council records. Before
being sent to the Speke the women were to be
provided with one jacket or gown; one petticoat; two
spare shifts; two spare handkerchiefs; two spare pair of
stockings; one spare pair of shoes. They were to bring
with them a Surgeon's certificate stating they were free
Hannah Alderson was tried at the
Yorkshire Quarter Sessions. She was found guilty of
wilful and corrupt perjury and sentenced to 7 years
Ann Beaumont was convicted of
stripping children of their clothes. (4) She was tried
Old Bailey on 16th September 1807 and sentenced to 7
years transportation. Ann Beaumont would have been held
at Newgate prison to await transportation. Many
other women of the Speke would also have been held in Newgate
prison prior to embarking.
Below is a
description of the conditions at Newgate in 1808....
THE EDINBURGH REVIEW, OR CRITICAL JOURNAL: FOR OCTOBER
The Speke departed Falmouth
with 99 female prisoners on 18th May 1808; she was in
company with a large convoy from the Brazills, in which
was Lord Strangford, the British Ambassador and suite.
She arrived at Rio, with the fleet on the 24th July and
on the 11th August sailed for the Cape under convoy of
the Lightning, Captain Doyle; arriving at the
Cape the 10th of September with Government stores.
She sailed again for Port Jackson on the 30th
September, and having an uninterrupted succession of
favourable weather, reached there on 15th November 1808.
She was the next convict ship to arrive in the colony
Sydney Cove in June 1807.
Ninety-seven female prisoners arrived on the Speke,
two having died on the passage out. The women were all
reported to be healthy on arrival - The healthy and
cleanly state in which the prisoners from the Speke were
landed is a strong proof of the care and humanity with
which they were treated during the voyage.
at Parramatta where female convicts had previously
been employed on weaving looms, had been partly damaged
by fire the previous year and the Supervising weaver
George Mealmaker died a few months before the Speke
arrived, so the women who arrived on the Speke
were probably mostly distributed around Sydney and
Parramatta to settlers, soldiers and others.
dated 5th May 1808, Downing Street, from Under Secretary
Cooke to Governor Bligh mentions details of two of the
women who were sent on board the Speke:
I have received Lord Castlereagh's directions to
transmit to you herewith the Copy of a Letter I have
received from Mr. Beckett, Under Secretary of State for
the Home Department dated 29th ultimo, together with the
assignment of the Convicts who have been embarked on
board the Speke for the Settlement under your
Government. You will observe that the term "life"
against Jane Rafty alias Holden and Elizabeth Lloyd has
been written upon an erasure. (*Copies of the enclosures
are not available) (2)
included Captain Porteous, surveyor John Oxley, Surgeon
John MacMillan of his Majesty's ship Porpoise and Mr.
Harris a private gentleman.
here to see the list of goods imported on the
Speke probably as investment by John Oxley.
The Speke departed Port Jackson
bound for the fisheries in January 1809 arriving back in
Sydney in October 1809 with 150 tons black oil and sperm
The Speke departed for England in
October 1809. After leaving port it was found that four
people had concealed themselves on board. Captain
Hingston kept them in close confinement until he reached
Norfolk Island where they were delivered up. Two of the
men's names were reported to be James Mackey and Robert
Notes and Links:
Jacob Salkeld. may have been employed as carpenter
on the Speke. He claimed to have been impressed
in 1808 and was taken on the Speke when she
reached the Cape of Good Hope in September.
2). An account of the Speke,
Captain Hingston at New Zealand after the massacre of
the people on the Boyd is included in the Sydney Gazette
on 28th April 1810.
Select here to read of the part played by Captain
Hingston and others in the aftermath of the
3). Alexander Mason who arrived
as Chief Mate on the Speke was appointed pilot
at Port Jackson in 1810. He died in August 1824 and his
children Alexander 8, Thomas (10) and Charlotte (13)
were all sent to the orphan school. (1825 Muster)
Hunter Valley convicts and passengers arriving on the
Speke in 1808
following people are listed in the 1825 muster as having
arrived as free passengers on the Speke in 1808....
William Alderson, landholder at Wilberforce in 1825
arrived free on the Speke
Andrew Davidson, employed
by Dr. Harris in 1825
Daniel Charker, of Bringelly,
came free. Died before 1825 muster.
Ann and Peter
Duff of Windsor, came free.
Thomas Kelly, district
constable at Windsor, came free
came free. Died in August 1824
came free, sexton at St. James Church, Sydney in 1825
George Sunderland. At Port Macquarie in 1825 under
Elizabeth Wade later
married Thomas Colebrook. She resided in Sydney
according to the General Muster of NSW 1823/24/25
7). Convicts of the Speke identified in the Hunter
Convicted at||Location NSW
|Harriett Bray / Tilley
|Jane Mitchell / Jones / Orton
|Elizabeth / Jane Gill
||Newcastle / Maitland
|Rose Lovett / Lovell
|Elizabeth McNeany/ Smith
(1). Sydney Gazette 10 March 1810
(2). HRA, Series 1, vol. VI, p.520
(3). The Lincoln, Rutland and Stamford Mercury (Stamford,
England), Friday, July 24, 1807; pg. 3; Issue 3983. British
Newspapers, Part IV: 1780-1950.
(4) The Morning Chronicle (London, England), Tuesday,
September 8, 1807; Issue 11953.