Free Settler or Felon
Convict and Colonial History

Convict Ship Waterloo - 1838

Embarked: 224 men
Voyage: 127 days
Deaths: 0
Surgeon's Journal: yes
Previous vessel: Neptune arrived 2 January 1838
Next vessel: Emma Eugenia arrived 9 February 1838
Captain John Cow
Surgeon James Ellis R.N.
Convicts and passengers of the Waterloo identified in the Hunter Valley region

Prisoners were transported to New South Wales on the Waterloo in 1829, 1831, 1833, 1836 and 1838 and to Van Diemen's Land in 1835.

The Convicts

Two hundred and twenty-four male prisoners from districts throughout England, Ireland and Scotland as well as some from Canada were embarked on the Waterloo.

Military Guard

The Guard consisted of twenty-nine rank and file of the 51st regt., seven wives and fourteen children. The two officers of the guard were Lieut. Hare, 51st regt., Mr. Hill 50th regt. The convicts and guard were embarked on the Waterloo at Woolwich and Sheerness, late in September 1837


The Waterloo departed London on 4th October 1837.

Illness on the Voyage

James Ellis, R.N., kept a Medical Journal from 10 September 1837 to 21 February 1838.

On the 7th October there was an outbreak of measles with two children of the Guard affected. Soon afterwards three more cases occurred. The surgeon reported that the cases were mild and easily treated. Two (other) children died on the passage out. The prisoners were reported to be generally healthy, although according to the surgeon they looked as if they had been scantily fed for some time before embarkation.

A total of 127 days, not counting the time spent on board prior to embarkation, were spent at sea. According to James Ellis, the long voyage resulted in the prisoners and guard being afflicted with dysentery, inflammatory fever and scurvy.[1]

Cape of Good Hope

The voyage was long and tedious, being ten weeks at sea before they reached the Cape of Good Hope.

They departed from the Cape on the 23th December, and so Christmas was celebrated at sea.

Port Jackson

The Waterloo arrived in Port Jackson on 8th February 1838.

Notes and Links

1). Convict ships bringing detachments of the 51st regiment included the Neptune, Waterloo, William Jardine, Bengal Merchant, Lord Lyndoch, Westmoreland, Clyde, Earl Grey, Portsea, Elphinstone, John Barry, Blenheim, Waverley and the Middlesex

2). About fifty five convicts have been identified residing in the Hunter Valley region in the following years. Some such as Joseph Young and Ambrose Provost were assigned to the Australian Agricultural company. William Allen was assigned far up the Hunter Valley to the estate of Henry Dumaresq. He later absconded and became a notorious bushranger. Convicts and passengers of the Waterloo identified in the Hunter Valley region

3). James Ellis was also surgeon on the convict ships Diana in 1833 and the Bengal Merchant in 1835

4). Henry Agar was also Master of the Asia in 1831 and the Fairlie in 1834.

5). Return of Convicts who died - 1870....
Edward Ellis per Waterloo. Native place Dublin. Tried 3 August 1837 at Chester. died 7 May 1870

6). The Waterloo under Captain Henry Agar and surgeon Henry Kelsall was wrecked at Table Bay while on the voyage from Sheerness to Tasmania in 1842


[1] Journal of James Ellis on the voyage of the Waterloo in 1838. UK, Royal Navy Medical Journals, 1817-1857. Original data: The National Archives. Kew, Richmond, Surrey.