Free Settler or Felon
Convict and Colonial History

Convict Ship Susan - 1836

Embarked: 300
Voyage: 114 days
Deaths: 6
Surgeon's Journal: yes
Previous vessel: John Barry arrived 17 January1836
Next vessel: Henry Wellesley arrived 7 February 1836
Master Henry Neatby.
Surgeon Thomas Galloway
Convicts and passengers of the Susan identified in the Hunter region

The Susan was built at Calcutta in 1813. She departed Portsmouth 16 October 1835 with three hundred male prisoners.

The Convicts

Although most of the prisoners came from counties in England there were also ten men who had been convicted in Scotland; eleven men in Barbados; 2 in Demerara and 3 in Tortola. Five of the prisoners of the Susan were soldiers who had been court-martialled for desertion or striking their serjeant.

Surgeon Thomas Galloway

This was Thomas Galloway's fourth and last voyage as surgeon-superintendent on a convict ship. Previously he was surgeon on the Persian which arrived in Van Diemen's Land on 7th November 1830; the Isabella to NSW in 1832 the Asia to NSW 27 June 1833 and in 1835 the Henry Porcher to NSW.

He kept a Medical Journal on this voyage from 12 September 1835 to 26 February 1836 -

The voyage took 114 days and there were 15 prisoners affected with scurvy. Six men died on the way - two from scurvy; 1 from tabes and 3 from diarrhoea. He recorded in his journal that of the three hundred convicts embarked, 200 were taken on board at Woolwich and 100 at Sheerness. There were several men who had very recently been in Hospital for various illnesses and who concealed this at the time of the surgeon's examination because of their desire to proceed to New South Wales.

Ophthalmia was prevalent and not confined to the prisoners as several of the seamen were also affected as well as Officers of the Guard.

There were several old and very infirm men who had to be kept entirely on the Hospital Provision. He wrote of one of these men in his journal - James Curtis - who later died.....

This is an infirm old man who has passed the greater part of his life as a small planter in Barbados and who is exceedingly indolent and obstinate. (I have been) obliged to have one of the prisoners placed over him as a nurse; refusing to do anything whatever for himself. [5]

Port Jackson

The Susan arrived in Port Jackson on 7 February 1836 with 294 male prisoners. Entry into the harbour was not without drama...the Australian reported that the Clyde and Susan ran foul of one another while working up the harbour; the former lost her jib-boom and figure head, the Susan her quarter gallery and boat, besides other damages.

Military Guard

A detachment of the 28th Regiment arrived by the Susan. They were Landed at the dock yard in Sydney on Friday afternoon 12th February and marched to the barracks. The band did not meet them as was usual on such occasions. Some of the 28th who arrived on the Susan included Captain George Symons, Private James Flanagan, Private John Mooney, Private Henry Gunter, Private William Gollett, Private Walter Williams.

Convict ships bringing detachments of the 28th regiment included Recovery, Marquis of Huntley, Charles Kerr, Westmoreland, Norfolk, Backwell, England, John Barry, Susan, Waterloo, Moffatt, Strathfieldsaye, Portsea, Lady McNaughten and Royal Sovereign


Later in February Captain Neatby charged Mr. Hughes, the Steward of the Susan with making away with provisions....About three months since, it was discovered that Hughes, the steward, had made free with some of the corned beef belonging to the cuddy, and had given it to some of the prisoners on board; it was subsequently discovered that he had also taken from the cuddy a quantity of soft sugar, Value five shillings, two pounds of which he lent to one of the lads who was to repay him the same weight of sugar in Sydney; on being called upon by the Captain to explain, he insolently replied, ' D-me, Sir, it belongs to the King, you took it from the hold, and I gave it away; he was generally insolent, and for the last two months had done no duty. The Bench considered that no felony had been substantiated, and dismissed him on that charge [1]

Departure from Sydney

The Susan was to depart Sydney for Batavia in March. In the mean time workers were busy re-fitting and repairing the ship under the watchful eye of Henry Neatby......

On Wednesday last, Captain Neatby of the barque Susan, appeared at the Police Office to answer a charge of assault preferred by a seaman named William Jones. It appeared that the man was employed painting on the quarter deck, solacing himself at the same time with a pipe, when the captain desired him either to quit his pipe or his work; he dropped his tools and exclaimed, ' drop the tools and d-the work.' The captain had him placed in handcuffs, and kept him so until sunset. The bench very properly observed, on dismissing the case, that he had disobeyed orders in smoking, when he ought to have been working; the case might be brought in England as well as here-it would lose nothing by the delay. Captain Neatby appears to be cursed with a very disorderly crew ; he has been frequently before the bench, but on every occasion has succeeded in defeating his accusers. [2]

Captain Henry Neatby

This seems to have been Henry Neatby's only voyage as captain of a convict ship, however he later made voyages between England and Australia as Captain of other vessels - The Agincourt from Sydney to London in 1848 with Justice Roger Therry and family on board; the Waterloo from London to Sydney via Port Phillip in 1849 with Justice Roger Therry and family on board; and the Duncan Dunbar in 1858.

Roger Therry gave his views on the voyage to Australia in his publication Reminiscences of Thirty Years' Residence in New South Wales and Victoria -

It is a monotonous, wearisome waste of time. Though I have made the trip (if it may be so called) four times, the uppermost feeling with me at sea has always been an anxiety to get to the end of the voyage. Novelty may impart some interest to a first voyage; but afterwards it becomes a most unpalatable ' crambe repetita.' An ordinary passenger from Folkestone to Boulogne may appreciate its attractions by imagining the trip to last, instead of two hours, four months. It was my good fortune at each time to have a good ship : three of these voyages were conducted by a very careful captain (Neatby); but like the starling in the cage, my affection for a ship never went beyond a desire to get out of it. The usual incidents of a voyage have been so frequently depicted that unless one has some striking circumstance to record - which I have not - it may be passed over as an indispensable ' condition precedent,' with which one must comply before he can reach the distant land of his destiny

Notes and Links

1). Convicts and passengers of the Susan identified in the Hunter region


[1] Sydney Gazette 16 February 1836

[2] Sydney Gazette 12 March 1836

[3] Therry, Roger, Reminiscences of Thirty Years' Residence in New South Wales and Victoria, 1863

[4] The Australian 12 February 1836

[5] Medical Journal of Thomas Galloway. UK, Royal Navy Medical Journals, 1817-1857. The National Archives, Kew.