Free Settler or Felon
Convict and Colonial History

Convict Ship Susan - 1834

Embarked: 300 men
Voyage: 120 days
Deaths: 8
Surgeon's Journal: yes
Previous vessel: James Laing arrived 29 June 1834
Next vessel: Surry arrived 17 August 1834
Captain Stephen Addison
Surgeons John Isattand Archibald Ross
Convicts and passengers of the Susan identified in the Hunter Valley

The Susan was built at Calcutta in 1813. [3]

The Convicts

The convicts transported on the Susan were tried counties in England, Scotland and Wales - Cambridge, Berks, Bristol, Bucks, Somerset, Hereford, Northumberland, Stafford, Leicester, Surrey, Cumberland, Durham, Warwick, Norfolk, Worcester, Derby, Warwick, Gloucester, Bedford, Lincoln, York, Lancaster, Essex, Chester, Nottingham, London, Kent, Stafford, Middlesex, Radnor, Aberdeen, Edinburgh, Perth, Glasgow, Monmouth. There were also soldiers who had court-martialled at Chatham, Hull Citadel, Knightsbridge Barracks, Salford Barracks, Fort George - North Britain and Carlisle Castle.


The Susan departed London on 10th March 1834.


They put into Madeira in consequence of the death at sea a few days previously of Mr. John Issett, the Surgeon Superintendent, who had embarked at London. Surgeon Archibald Ross joined the ship at Madeira.

Convict Ship Susan 1834 arrival in Port Jackson

Surgeon Archibald Ross

Archibald Ross kept a Medical Journal and sick book from 24 March 1834 to 26th July 1834.

In his first entry on 24th March he noted the names of several boys who were all fine healthy looking lads but who had been afflicted dreadfully with the itch, some of them for months; others caught it when they joined the Susan. As part of their treatment, they were put into one large berth away from the rest of the boys.

Archibald Ross kept a lengthy detailed account of the illnesses experienced on board.

He remarked in his concluding notes that the seven scorbutic patients were all slightly afflicted with swellings of the lower extremities and stiffness of the joints; their gums were spongy and irritable, the breath offensive. In some of the cases the symptoms appeared only one or two days before reaching Port Jackson. He gave lemon juice and wine which he thought in many instances arrested the progress of the disease, while in other cases they did not appear to effect the least change in the complaint. During the whole voyage no epidemic or contagious disease prevailed at any time. Diarrhoea proved fatal in four instances. The fatal cases occurred in patients labouring under scurvy. [4]

Port Jackson

The Susan arrived in Port Jackson on 8 July 1834 with 292 male prisoners, eight having died on the passage out.

On arrival in Sydney ten convicts were immediately sent to the hospital on shore

Henry Percival
James Murray
Patrick Holden
Andrew Williamson
George Foster
George Johnston
James McGlindry
W. McKillnick
John Juniper
W. Eastwood [4]

The Sydney Gazette congratulated Captain Addison on his return to Australia, he having been several times before while in command of the ship Waterloo.

All the prisoners were disembarked on the morning of 29th July 1834, only one more being sent to hospital on this day. [4]


Distribution of 292 male convicts who arrived on the Susan....

Assigned to private service 254;
To public service as follows:
Government Demesne..2;
Mineral Surveyors Dept...5;
Barrack Masters Dept...1;
Surveyor General's Dept...4;
10 in hospital;
15 placed in an ironed gang;
1 for transportation to VDL.

Military Guard

The Guard consisted of Lieut. Henry Gunter of 50th regiment.; Lieut. Bunbury 21st regiment.; and 29 rank and file of the 50th regiment., with 5 women and 4 children.

Henry Gunter kept a Journal on the voyage from Gravesend to Sydney, Feb.-July, 1834 in which there are many references to Henry Bunbury. The volume also contains Gunter's journal kept on a voyage to New Zealand on the Alligator, Aug.-Oct. 1834. This expedition followed the wreck of the Harriet and the imprisonment and murder of its crew and passengers. The journal describes the landing at Wymattie and an attack on a village. (National Library of Australia)

Lieutenant Gunter and Captain Edward Johnstone also of the 50th had volunteered in the rescue of Betty Guard and crew of the Harriet. [1] This rescue and the ensuing massacre was the first action by British troops on New Zealand soil [2]

Detachments of the 50th Regiment arrived on the convict ships Susan, Surry, Forth, Bengal Merchant, Hooghley, Hive, Blenheim, Royal Admiral, Lady Nugent, Parmelia, James Laing, Captain Cook, Hero, Roslin Castle, Henry Porcher, Henry Tanner and Lady Kennaway.

Notes and Links

1). Joseph Fubb was one of about sixty five men who were tried at the Old Bailey in 1832-33 and later transported on the Susan in 1834

2). Convicts and passengers of the Susan identified in the Hunter Valley


[1] Physiological observations on mental susceptibility. ... By Thomas Burgeland Johnson

[2] New Zealand History - The Harriet Affair

[3] Bateson, Charles, Library of Australian History (1983). The convict ships, 1787-1868 (Australian ed). Library of Australian History, Sydney : pp.352-353, 389

[4] Medical Journal of Archibald Ross on the voyage of the Susan in 1834. UK, Royal Navy Medical Journals, 1817-1857 The National Archives. Kew, Richmond, Surrey.