The Earl Grey was
the next convict ship to leave Ireland after
the departure of the female convict transport Pyramus the 27th August 1836.
kept a Medical Journal from 15 July 1836 to 5
January 1837 on the voyage
from Deptford, Kingstown and Cove of Cork to
William Evans joined the
on 15 July 1836 at Deptford and on the 25th
July, the soldiers of the Guard joined the vessel.
consisted of Lieut. Ronald McDonald
80th regt., Lieut. R. B. Hill, 41st regt.,
Quarter Master Potter 4th regt., Assistant
Surgeon Graydon 50th regt., Assistant Surgeon Allman 4th
regt., one Sergeant and 29 rank and file , 5 women and 7
children also 5 free boys.
Other convict ships bringing detachments of the
80th regiment included the Lloyds,
Bengal Merchant, Asia,
Captain Cook, St. Vincent,
Calcutta and Eden.
Macdonald, Mrs. Allman and Mrs. Potter. There
were also 45 sailors.
They sailed from Deptford on the 27th July and
reached Kingstown on the 14th August. On 16th
August, 91 convicts were received from the
Essex Hulk and the following day they sailed
for Cork arriving there on 21st August. On the
23 August, 192 convicts and 5 free boys, the
sons of convicts in the colony were received.
In total there were 384 people on board. They
departed Cork on
27 August 1836.
Between Cork and the latitude of Madeira there
were a few slight cases of fever arising from
the damp, crowded dormitory. After passing the
Cape Verde Islands the heat became oppressive
and on entering the rainy regions thirteen men
were suffering from scurvy. William Evans
thought scurvy and scorbutic dysentery seemed
to arise partly from the impurity of the
water' but 'also from foul stagnant air
between decks, combined with depression,
anxiety of incarceration and sea diet'. The
water had been taken on at Deptford with very
little care and sometimes 'at improper times
of the tide, though Government regulations
were imperative on this head'.
On the evening
of 1 October they crossed the equator with a
fine breeze from south southeast and passed
rapidly through the south east trades,
reaching the Tropic of Capricorn in 11 days
from the line. There were now 30 men suffering
from scurvy and on 19th October William Evans
recommended the master to call at the Cape for
refreshment, experience having taught him that
'lime juice and nitrate of potash are mere
prophylactics' and that fresh meat and
vegetables were the only sure means of
ensuring health for the rest of the voyage.
At 5pm on
4 November the Earl Grey anchored in
Simon's Bay, where they remained for eight
days. They received fresh beef, mutton and
vegetables and took on board 5 live bullocks
and 60 sheep. In less than a fortnight, 30 who
had been bed ridden were convalescent and
continued to improve in spite of the weather.
On 20 December,
Cape Otway was sighted and soon after the
north end of King's Island. The following day
they passed through Bass Straits with a fine
breeze from the westwards. On
1836 they reached Sydney after a voyage of
18 weeks from Cove of Cork. The weather was
fine and by the time they reached Sydney there
was not one of the 288 convicts who were
landed who could not walk to the convict
barracks to be inspected.
Many of the prisoners of the Earl Grey had been
held in prison hulks prior to embarkation.
Select here to read a Prison Hulk Report
describing a typical week in the life of convicts
incarcerated in the Hulks in 1838.
The Earl Grey was the next vessel to leave England after the
departure of the
John Renwick in May. The Earl Grey
departed Deptford for Woolwich on 18th July 1838. At
Woolwich 180 male convicts were embarked and at Sheerness
another 110. They were delayed a day in the Downs
before proceeding down the channel and remained at Spithead for four days because of wet, windy weather. They departed
Portsmouth on the
August 1838 and
arrived in Port Jackson on
21 November 1838,
a passage of 105 days.
kept a Medical Journal from 5 July 1838 to 28
November 1838. He
was well experienced on convict ships having already
served on the vessels
Minerva in 1824,
in 1827, Hooghley in 1828 and
Asia in 1830
considered the Earl Grey,
to be a large roomy ship well suited
to the service, but with 290 prisoners she was rather
overcrowded. He set about organising sleeping arrangements
for the men. There
were 'standing berths' for 234, leaving 56 to be
accommodated in hammocks in the centre of the prison. In
the hot weather those sleeping on hammocks slept on the
prison deck to ensure that air could circulate in all
directions. There were regular inspections and only those
who kept themselves clean were relieved of their irons.
The prison deck was cleaned every day with sand or dry
stones, never wet, and airing stoves were kept burning,
even during the hot weather. Windsails were kept down each
hatchway and the chloride of lime used every day. Nothing
but the most indispensable utensils were kept in the
prison. Half the convicts were on deck at a time,
performing light duties for the ship or taking air and
exercise, whenever the weather permitted. Those below were
formed into classes for reading, writing and arithmetic,
supervised by an officer. At sunset all prisoners were
allowed on deck, and the surgeon had provided musical
instruments for singing and dancing and there were
theatricals as well. Alexander Nisbet never had occasion to limit
or regret this indulgence and found it provided excitement
that all the men looked forward to. No corporal punishment was
inflicted during the voyage, milder punishments proving
The convicts were
generally healthy. Catarrh, diarrhoea and a few ulcers
were present in the early part of the voyage. After
crossing the equator and getting into the South easterly
trade winds there were a few cases of mild fever and while
running down the Easting between the Cape of Good Hope and
New Holland the fevers became more numerous but remained
mild. The winds became unfavourable as they reached the
longitude of New Holland and the sick list rose to over
thirty and scurvy began to affect the men. Sickness abated
after about a week when the weather improved. In all there
were only four days on which the convicts were entirely
confined below deck because of bad weather
Two hundred and
eighty-eight prisoners arrived, two men having died on the
passage out - John Brow aged 54 died on 2nd November. He
was lame from a club foot. Had been on the sick list for
several weeks to enable him the hospital diet. The surgeon
considered his death unexpected as he had been improving
in health; and George Morris died on 19th November aged
death was to have been
expected, he had a cutaneous eruption and repeated attacks
of diarrhoea with a voracious appetite, eating anything
edible he could get. The immediate cause of his death was
thought to be a relapse brought on by eating a large
quantity of imperfectly boiled peas.
The Earl Grey
arrived in Port Jackson on 21st November and the prisoners were landed on
Tuesday 27th November 1838.
included Mr. Laurie of the Ordnance Department, Captain
Ainsworth, Ensigns Dowton and Skerry, 2 sergeants, 1
corporal and 29 rank and file of the 51st regiment, 10
women and 6 children. Members of the band of the 51st also
arrived on the Earl Grey. Members of the 51st
regiment who received medical treatment from Alexander
Nisbett - George Segar, John Kelly. William Robertson,
William Yandall, John Young, William Rivett, William
Greenwood, William Powell, John Mullins, John Pitt, George
Webb and Arthur Skinner,
In December it
was reported that the Earl Grey was expected to
leave for China as soon as she discharged the iron water
pipes she had brought out and loaded some ballast. She
would have been delayed in getting under way however after
a collision with the whaling vessel Pocklington in the
The Earl Spencer was the next
vessel to leave England for New South Wales after the
departure of the
Fortune in December 1812. The Earl Spencer departed Portsmouth
on 2 June 1813,
sailed via Madeira and arrived
in Port Jackson on
9 October 1813
reported in June 1813 that among the convicts transported on
Davidson, Mr. Lindsay Crawford, several bankers' clerks, the
men called Luddites and the smugglers of Christchurch who were
convicted of aiding French prisoners to escape to France.
(Caledonia Mercury 10 June 1813)
The Smugglers of Christchurch included
John Childs alias John Giles, Francis Long and Jacob Martin.
On arrival Jacob Martin was sent with thirty-four other men of
the Earl Spencer up the river to Parramatta to work in the
service of Rev. Marsden. In June 1824 he was sentenced to six
months in the gaol gang on half rations for absconding from
employment at the Barracks being sent up from Sydney. He died
James Torkington Richard Lowndes and John Henshall, Samuel
Lees, Thomas Etchell, James Tomlinson, William Thompson,
Edward Redfern and James Radcliffe were some of the Luddites
who were transported on the Earl Spencer. They were all
sentenced at a special assizes to seven years transportation.
In 1812 John Lindsay Crawford was sentenced to 14 years
transportation for committing forgery in an attempt to make
claim to an Estate. He arrived in Port Jackson on the Earl
Spencer and later returned to England. After his death
Crawford's heirs continued to make claims to the estate
Convict artist Richard Read also
arrived on the Earl Spencer as did surgeon Henry Ravenscroft, school master
and Jeremiah Butler who accompanied
John Howe's expedition in 1820
Governor Lachlan Macquarie
wrote in his
journal on Saturday 9th
October - This forenoon The Earl Spencer Convict
Transport Ship commanded by Capt. Wm. Mitchell anchored in the
Harbour from England, from whence she sailed on the 2d. of
June last, touching only at Madeira which she left 2d. of
July. — She brings 196 male Convicts – wt. a Guard of one Subn.
(Ensign Bicknell) & 38 men of the 73d., together wt. several
Free Settlers, and one asst. Surgeon (Mr. Young) for the
Colony. I have received Public Dispatches by the Earl Spencer,
and also a great many Private Letters from my Friends at home,
all of which contain good news. By this conveyance I am
informed, tho' not officially, of the certainty of my being
appointed a Major General in a large Brevet made by the Prince
Regent on the 4th. of June last.
The free settlers mentioned in Governor Macquarie's journal
included Mr. and Mrs. Young, Mr. John Dixon,
Mr. John L. Nicholas, Mr. D. Miller, and four servants; Mr
and Mrs. Pear and family; Mr and Mrs Kendall and family; Mr
and Mrs Belvin and son and Mr and Mrs Hovel and family .
Thomas Barker also arrived free on the Earl Spencer (CSI)
Those who died on the passage were John Robson, a youth,
belonging to the ship; and John Hogg, William McLeod, Edward Whitford and Jarvis Copely, prisoners.
The prisoners were landed on Thursday 14th October and
mustered in the presence of Governor Macquarie prior to their
distribution to various employments. They were reported to be
a healthy set of men; and appeared thoroughly sensible of
the kind treatment they experienced from Captain Mitchell and
his Officers during the passage. (Sydney Gazette)
Earl Spencer arrived in Sydney the colony was in the grip of a
devastating drought. Crops had failed and livestock was
depleted. Governor Macquarie issued a
for an increase in the price of wheat for
the season in consideration of the middling and lower class
of settler who must be considerable sufferers by the great
deficiency in their crops and he holds out this inducement to
their going on with unremitting industry in cultivation and
improvement of their farms and to alleviate their present
distress. Under pressure to mount an expedition to
discover a way across the Blue Mountains to what was believed
would be fertile land beyond, Governor Macquarie commissioned
Blaxland, Wentworth and Lawson to attempt to find a passage.
This they achieved in May and by November surveyor Evans had already been
dispatched to follow in their tracks.
The Earl Spencer was preparing to depart
the colony for Ceylon in November 1813. Three hundred and
thirty four soldiers as well as
seven Officers of the 73 regiment were to depart on her
accompanied by 36 women and 70 children . The Officers were
Major Gordon, Captain Smith, Captain Pike, Lieutenant Atkins,
Lieutenant Murphy, Lieutenant Wentworth, and Ensign Pooke.
Separate accommodation was provided for married couples and
single men slept in hammocks. Early in November
Government Carpenters were employed in constructing the
necessary berths, partitions and hammocks, and the decks
intended for the troops were properly cleared and cleaned
before the Government white washers proceeded on board to
white wash the decks. Assistant Surgeon Martin was also
intending to depart on the Earl Spencer(1)
(1)New South Wales Government. Main
series of letters received, 1788-1825. Series 897, Reels
6041-6064, 6071-6072. Item 4/3491, p. 618. State Records
Authority of New South Wales. Kingswood, New South Wales,
The Earl St.
Vincentwas built at Topsham and carried a crew of
approximately 32 men. She was the next convict ship to
leave Ireland bound for New South Wales after the departure of
the female convict ship Elizabeth in July 1818.
John Johnston kept a Medical Journal
from 22 July 1818 to 15 January 1819.
On 22nd July 1818, 160 convicts were embarked on the Earl
St. Vincent at Cork. Their clothing was stripped from them
and they were all given new items. There were many cases of
ulcerated legs and other diseases and the surgeon John Johnston
made an application to Dr. Trevor for lint and calico and itch
ointment. The prisoners were allowed to stay on deck until the
setting of the watch.
On 6th August, the day before they set sail, one of the
convicts, William Keating made a desperate bid for freedom
when he jumped overboard. The alarm was given and exertions
made to recover him but there seemed to be no trace of him.
They apparently made an attempt to make it out of the harbour
early on the morning of the 7th August when they stood to sea,
however returned to port because of unfavourable conditions. On the
evening of the 9th August they got underway and it was
reported that all prisoners were present at muster. The
prisoners soon became sea sick and the surgeon continued to
attend to their many ailments.
They passed by Madeira on 24th August and there was fine
weather and a fresh breeze when they passed by the Isle of St.
Paul on 12 November.
On the 12th December the surgeon ordered the removal of irons
from the prisoners as they were nearing Sydney.
They had fresh breezes and fine weather up the east coast and anchored in Sydney Cove on Wednesday
16 December 1818. All the convicts were below deck except for the useful hands
on this day. In the evening Captain Piper came on board.
Fresh provisions were issued and the convicts washed
themselves and their clothes ready for the inspection by
Colonial Secretary Mr. Campbell on the 18th December. They
were allowed on deck every day until sunset while anchored in
They were issued with new clothing on the 20th December and
were disembarked on the 21st December. Three convicts had died
on the passage out. The remaining 157 were landed in good
health. The youngest convicts on board were Thomas Lennon,
James Minchan and James McManus all sixteen years of age.
The indents give the name of the convict, date and place of
trial, sentence, native place, calling, age and physical
description. There is no information in the indents as to
where the men were assigned on arrival.
The Colonial Secretary's Correspondence reveals that after the
landing the prisoners were forwarded to Parramatta by water
and then by road to Windsor and Liverpool where they were
distributed amongst various settlers. On 21st December orders
were issued for twenty-nine men to be sent to the Parramatta
area, twenty-seven men to Liverpool, and sixty-one to Windsor.
A few were assigned to specific applicants - e.g., six of the
men sent to Liverpool were put in the service of surveyor John
Oxley - Thomas Maher, Patrick Shanahan, Michael Gilfoyle,
John Moroney, Edward Kelly, and John Callaghan.
Twenty seven men have been identified in the Hunter Valley
region in following years. Select
HERE to find out
more about these men.
Daniel Delahunty who arrived on the
Earl St. Vincent was sent to Newcastle penal settlement
for a colonial crime. He was one of eleven pirates who seized
the cutter Eclipse from the harbour in 1825. Find out
more about their audacious escape at
The Earl St. Vincent was next convict ship to leave England for
New South Wales after the departure of the
Manglesin April 1820.
Patrick Hill kept a Medical Journal from 20 February to 23 August
1820......He joined the ship on 25th February 1820. The
Guard consisting of 31 men of the 48th regiment commanded by Captain
Snow of the 67th regiment including five women and five children were
embarked on the 9 March. Mr. J. Richardson, a free settler with his wife
and two children were embarked on 15th March.
On the 21st March they sailed from Deptford to
Gravesend and then to the Nore. On 23 March they sailed from the Nore to
the Downs, and on the 26th arrived at the Motherbank. Surgeon Hill then
reported to Lt. Cheeseman, agent for the transport, and went with him on
board the Leviathan Hulk. He inspected 100 convicts from the
Leviathan on 27th March. The ship then went into Spithead and 60
convicts were inspected on the Laurel at 1pm. The 160 convicts
were then received on board the Earl St. Vincent.
Twenty of them were boys under 18 years of age, who were accommodated in
a separated prison in messes of six.
Their clothing consisted of one worsted frock, one shirt, one pair of
trousers, one pair of stocking, one handkerchief, one hat and one pair
On 29th March the stoves were lit
and the convicts had free access on deck. They were formed into four
division, each one to clean the prison in rotation. Soap was issued to
convicts and the irons were examined on each man. John Jones, a
carpenter was punished by having additional irons after it was
discovered he had false rivets in his irons and intended to escape.
Antonio Lewis was stripped and tied up to be flogged for insolence to
the sentry, however the surgeon forgave him and he was let down without
On the 9th April Lt. Cheeseman brought dispatches
Governor Macquarie and
J.T. Bigge and
the Captain received sailing orders. They got under weigh at 4pm
on 12 April and anchored off south Yarmouth Isle of Wight and on
got under weigh and went through the Needles.
By the end of April they were in warmer weather.
This usually brought its own set of health problems and the surgeon
decided that the convicts should bathe each day. This began at 5am on 25
April. The had to strip and bathe and a bucket of water was thrown over
them. This was to be done every morning while the warm weather
continued. A barber was employed cutting hair and it was an order that
every man should have short hair by the Sunday. Under a light wind and
about 15 miles off, they passed by the Island of Palma on 27th April.
By early July, the weather was getting cold and
wet and the prison became wet from water coming down the hatchways and
from the privy, the pipe of the cistern being broken because of misuse
by the convicts. By mid July, the weather began to improve, however the
prison and hospital were still wet and dirty from the water having
overflowed from the privies.
At 1am on 17th July, they made the Island of St.
Paul's and on the 7th August they saw the Australian coast line for the
first time. They came through Bass Straits at 8am on 8th August and saw
Wilson's Promontory and at 9am Curtis Island. By the
16th August 1820
they were close to the entrance of Port Jackson and finally anchored in
Sydney Cove at 8am.
Captain Piper, naval officer came on board to collect the dispatches
for Governor Macquarie.
Fresh provisions were brought on board and on 23rd the convicts were
mustered by Colonial Secretary
The convicts were landed at daylight on 29th and
inspected by Governor Macquarie who asked them if they had any
complaints to make of their treatment on board, all were satisfied. That
same day they were ordered to be sent to Parramatta by water. Fifty five
were to be distributed amongst settlers at Parramatta. These settlers
included Nicholas Bayley, Gregory Blaxland, John McArthur, Lieutenant
William Lawson; others were to be sent overland from there to Windsor
and Liverpool for assignment.
Patrick Hill was also employed as surgeon on the
The Earl St. Vincentwas the next convict ship to leave Ireland after the departure of
Recovery on 5th April 1823. The Earl St. Vincent departed
Cork on 29 April 1823.
Surgeon Robert Tainsh wrote in his Medical journal - The Guard was
received on Board the ship 25th January at Cove, consisting of one
Ensign (Bute), one corporal and twenty nine privates with eight women
and seven children of the 1st Royals. On their arrival on board one half
complained, some the first hour, and a number the next morning. (They
were) labouring under severe colds, caught on their march from
Waterford, to join the St. Vincent. The weather was wet with snow and
intense cold easterly winds. Private John McKerry and Private John
Mullen, were apparently in the second stage of phthisis - coughs very
troublesome, pain of the breast and oppressed breathing, cold chills and
considerable prostration of strength with loss of appetite. The pulse
fuller than from their wretched appearance I could possibly have
expected. I was satisfied these two men should not have been sent as a
guard over convicts, however I determined to attempt their care first
and then make my representation afterwards.
On the arrival of the convicts at Cove from Dublin in a small brig,
to the number of two hundred and thirty five, the weather was wet, cold
and stormy, with snow. On the 5th March, we received on board the St.
Vincent eighty men of various ages; above one half were complaining from
exposure to the above causes. Some with pneumonia but in its early
stage. The others with severe catarrhal symptom. In the first place
after bathing particular cases with soap and warm water I filled every
bed in the hospital, gave them clean shirts and well aired sheets and
for the rest having plenty of room in the main prison, I appropriated a
sufficient space as an additional hospital and as others became ill, I
invariably separated them from those in health. I had also a number of
cases of dysentery but by the above arrangements and devoted attention
to their every comfort, I am happy to say that in a few weeks I had not
a sick man in the list. I also cured about thirty ulcers.
I am satisfied that the depressing passions had a very considerable
influence in producing debility in both accelerating the disease and
retarding its cure. Many had parted with their relatives, fathers,
mothers, sisters and brothers, and a great proportion perfectly
persuaded from the energies of their friends that they would be
discharged, being mostly whiteboys; but that unfortunate and outrageous
attack in the Playhouse against the Laws seemed to determine their fate
- at least I am of that opinion. However the mode of treatment in all
By the 15th May scurvy had appeared. Robert Tainsh at first treated the
men with lemon juice and preserved meat, however by 20th June many were
afflicted and he directed the captain to sail via Rio de Janeiro to
procure fresh beef, vegetables and fruit for both convicts and Guard.
The Earl St. Vincent arrived at Port
9 September 1823 with 156 male prisoners.
On 15th September His Excellency Sir Thomas
Brisbane came to Town early and in the forenoon, the male convicts that
were landed that morning from the ship Earl St. Vincent, were inspected by His Excellency and afterwards
sent to their various assignments.
kept a Medical Journal from 3
August 1836 to 18 January 1837.
The Eden departed Deptford on 14 August
1836 and anchored off Woolwich shortly afterwards. The following day 180
convicts were received from shore and they sailed again the next morning
for Portsmouth. It took five or six days to reach Portsmouth because of
On 22 August a further 100 convicts were
received from the hulks in Portsmouth Harbour, 'middle aged and athletic
men, many of them soldiers', completing the number of 280. They
attempted to sail on 30 August but could not do so until the following
day because of adverse winds. These continued to be a problem until as
far as the Isles of Scilly when part of the stem of the ship was carried
away and they were forced to bear up for Plymouth Harbour.
The convicts suffered from sea sickness
on the voyage causing scurvy to appear shortly after crossing the
The surgeon treated the men by diet,
keeping them on deck as much as possible and promoting cheerfulness with
singing and dancing, however scurvy became so prevalent as to make it absolutely necessary to
call at Table Bay, Cape of Good Hope, for fresh provisions. They arrived
there on 16th November. The stay at
the Cape was short but of great benefit to the convicts and they
improved so much that Gilbert King agreed to take an extra 22 convicts
from the Cape.
They arrived at Hobart Town on 21
December 1836 and landed at that port and at Sydney, 299 prisoners.
The Guard for the Eden was embarked at Deptford on 27
June 1840 and the Eden proceeded to Woolwich on the
30th June to receive 150 convicts from the two hulks lying
there. The Eden arrived at Sheerness on 1st July
and on the 3rd the embarkation of convicts was completed by a
draught of 120 men from the hulks at Chatham, making a total of
The Morning Advertiser reported on the 12th July -
On last Tuesday evening, nineteen of the convicts, including the
Gould, under sentence of transportation, now in the
convict ship Eden, at Sheerness, were found to have loosened
their fetters previous to making a desperate attempt to
escape. A plank of the bulk head, separating the convicts
from the military guard, was also found to have been started,
so that it could be removed with very little difficulty, and
the aim of the convicts was doubtless to get possession of
the arms belonging to the soldiers. Gould is now confined in
a separate place of security; he is said to have declared
that, let them try what they like, they shall not take him
out of the country. Nine of the crew of the Eden
having refused to obey orders according to their articles
have been sent to Maidstone.
The Eden was the next vessel to leave
England for New South Wales after the departure of the
Maitland in March 1840. The Eden departed
10th July 1840.
On the 3rd of August the ship left Santa Cruz after a stay of
three days during which time the water was completed and
fresh provisions procured. The N.E. Trade winds continued until
near the Cape Verde Islands after which rain set in for the
rest of the month. They crossed the Equator on the 31st
August, and during September the ship crossed a large tract
of ocean and a corresponding variety of weather was
experienced by those on board.
Surgeon Superintendent George Ellery Forman kept a Medical Journal
from 17 June to 30 November 1840. He wrote in his Journal -
The system of management of the convicts differed little in
that I had adopted on former occasions.... ventilation and
cleanliness forming the chief features while the formation of
cheerfulness and the affording of all possible occupation to
the convicts was practised as much as circumstances would
allow; the results were on the whole satisfactory, though I
think that more cases requiring medical treatment occurred
than I had previously met with; this remark more particularly
applied to the month of October during which period the
change of climate was sudden and the weather particularly
unfavourable to cleanliness, exercise and comfort in general.
It was under the last mentioned circumstances that symptoms
of scurvy manifested themselves in a light grade and but with
a single exception the disease gradually wore away as the
arrived in Port Jackson on
18 November 1840
with269 prisoners, one having died on the passage out.
(Thomas Marshall on 27 August 1840).
convicts were sent to the Hospital on arrival and there
remained 266 of the original 270 to disembark on 26th
November. All were reported to be in an a sound state of
The Sydney Monitor reported her arrival - The Eden arrived
from London and Sheerness on 11th July with 270 male
prisoners. Passengers - Captain Shadforth of H.M. 57th
regiment, Lady and child. Ensign Pearce, 28 rank and file, 4
women and 8 children of H.M. 96th regiment. The Eden was
the last ship with convicts coming to this Colony.
(The Monitor 19 November 1840).
Other convict ships bringing
detachments of the 96th regiment to New South Wales included
George Ellery Forman was also employed as surgeon on the
Bell kept a Medical Journal
from 23 August 1830 to 14 March 1831.......The diseases
on board the Edward on the passage from Cove
of Cork to New South Wales were principally dysentery,
fever and two cases of cholera. For the first month they
were all free from disease until they put into Porto Praya
in St. Jago for a fresh supply of water. None of the
convicts would have been allowed on shore, however the
seamen and perhaps the surgeon and captain may have
ventured out. Two years later in September 1832, Lieutenant Breton on his
voyage to the colonies went on shore at Porto Praya - he
described the scenery in his 1833 publication:
The surgeon reported that - Immediately after leaving
almost all were attacked with disease of the bowels. On
the slightest motion of the vessel all became immediately
sea sick. And notwithstanding that the greatest
cleanliness and ventilation was used during the voyage
together with as much exercise as was possible to allow
them, yet it was of no avail. The principal reason I can
assign for the convicts being so easily affected is in
consequence of their minds have been kept in since July
last when some of the most evil disposed attempted to burn
the Essex Hulk in consequence of which those who remained
(after the full number of prisoners were sent on board the
Hercules for New South Wales) were sent to the Surprise
Hulk from which 121 cases on board the Edward. Although
the burning did not succeed in Dublin, they again ventured
three times to commit the same horrid act in Cove.
Relative to the agitation of the minds of the prisoners
and of which I have a spoken, I must remark that the
greater number of them being born in a country place the
scenes they passed through since they became prisoners not
at all contributed to their peace of mind.
The Standard reported the incident on 17 June - The
Essex Hulk stationed in Kingstown harbour is on fire and
nearly consumed! A number of convicts are on board. The
sloop of war Trincolo, and the revenue brig Shamrock, with
some transports, have sent all their boats to the
assistance of the unfortunate prisoners; and a strong
force of horse and foot police from the city has been
ordered off to Kingstown. The Essex was an American
Frigate of 36 guns, and was taken during the late war at
Valparaiso, by his Majesty's frigate Phoebe, of 36 guns
commanded by Captain Hillier.
A muster was held on board on
26th February by the Colonial Secretary. One hundred and
forty-eight prisoners were mustered, five were in hospital
in Sydney and five men died on the voyage out. The indents
include such information as name, age, religion,
education, marital status, family, trade, offence, where
and when convicted, sentence, previous convictions,
physical descriptions, where and to whom assigned. There
are also occasional notes concerning colonial sentences,
deaths and Tickets of leave.
Peter Kilroy, James Moore
and Patrick Carroll died at sea. William Armstrong and
Richard Mooney died at the General Hospital Sydney soon
There were possibly two different surgeon superintendents
by the name of
Thomas Bell. The signature on the medical journal of the
Portsea in 1838 are all
similar. The signature on the medical journal of the Thames in 1829 (VDL) and the
Edward in 1831 seem to have
been signed by a different Thomas Bell.
Thirty-six of the prisoners who arrived on the Edward
in 1831 have so far been identified residing in the Hunter
region in the following decades.
to find out more about them.
Notes and Links:
State Library of Victoria.....Contents/Summary:
A) Journal kept on board convict ship Thames,
17 Jun-23 Nov. 1829, on a voyage from Deptford
to Hobart -- B) 'Convict ship Edward. From
Cove of Cork to New South Wales. Copy of Hulk
and Sail List'. Signed by Thomas Bell, Surgeon
Superintendent. Lists names of 158 convicts,
with county of origin, age, physical
appearance, date of trial, crime, sentence and
character during the passage, with a second
list giving names and character -- C) Journal
kept on board the convict ship Edward 24 Aug
1830-16 Feb 1831. Although the first page is
inscribed 'Cove of Cork to N.S.W., journal
commences at Deptford and concludes while the
ship is still at sea. Edward arrived in
Sydney, 22 Feb 1831.......... Notes: Original
held by Mitchell Library, State Library of New
South Wales at ZML MSS 34.
Surgeon John Stephenson joined the
Eleanorat Deptford on
the 8th January 1831. On the 20th the military guard Commanded by
Lieutenant Stuart of the 46th regiment, four non-commissioned officers and 24 privates with four women
and six children were embarked.
The prisoners to be embarked on the Eleanor
were from the counties of Berkshire, Dorset, Hampshire, and Wiltshire
part in the agricultural protests that became known as the
Captain Swing Riots in 1830 - 1831. After trial they were transferred from various county prisons to the Hulks
moored in the Thames. Some of those tried at Reading on 27th December
were admitted to the Hardy hulk late in January and transferred
to the Eleanor after only one day on the hulk. By
the 10th February 140 prisoners had been embarked. This number was too
great for the prisons and seven were returned to the York hulk.
The number of women was increased to six and
the children to ten. Total number on the ship amounted to 205 persons. The
Rev. John Christian Simon Handt having been appointed Missionary to
the Aborigines, embarked on the 10th of February 1831.
All of the prisoners embarked on the Eleanor
in England had been convicted of machine breaking. Most of them were in their 20s and 30s
with a few who were older.
Thomas Whattey was the youngest at seventeen years of age. Many were
married. They left behind friends and families devastated by their
absence and communities decimated and wary after the swift turn of
The Eleanor was the next vessel to leave England
for New South Wales after the departure of the female transport
Earl of Liverpool
in December 1830.
departed England on
19th February 1831,
called at the Cape of Good Hope; remained for six days and
received three prisoners from that colony. .......1) Thomas Davis a
soldier convicted of breaking into a warehouse. 2)George Smits (Smets) who was a
merchant from Holland. He was convicted of receiving stolen iron. Smits
was sent to Port Macquarie on arrival and died there on 7 July 1834. 3)Pierre (or Pierce) Tuite
(Taite) born in Co.
Kerry was a clerk and soldier convicted of embezzlement.
John Stephenson kept a Medical Journal from 8
January to 14 July 1831. He wrote in his General Remarks at the
end of the journal .......
(Extract) No set of men perhaps under similar
circumstances ever suffered less from disease, the names of eleven
convicts only appear in the general list of sick and of these several
might with great propriety have been omitted. Among the Soldiers, women
and children a great number of trifling complaints occurred such as
catarrh, cynanche tonsillaris but only one case only of rheumatisms was
worthy of notice. (The captain of the ship Robert Cock also caused
the surgeon some concern. He had suffered for many years with urethral
stricture......the urethra was so contracted in two or three places that
none but the very smallest bougies could be introduced. He was subject
to frequent and alarming attacks of retention of urine and in one
instance the surgeon almost despaired of relieving him without
puncturing the bladder.)
The weather from England to the Cape of Good
Hope was in general very favourable, the heat at no time excessive, the
thermometer never rising above 84. After leaving the Cape we were not
quite so fortunate, as we got to the Southward the weather varied
greatly, gales of wind, succeeded by light airs with dense fogs and rain
frequently took place, but in general we had strong breezes with clear
cold weather; this last was a fortunate circumstance as the vessel was
very laboursome and shipped such quantities of water that it was
frequently necessary even in a fresh breeze to have the hatches battened
down for two or three days together, leaving only sufficient space for
one person to pass up or down.
The means adopted for the preservation of
health were the strictest attention to cleanliness, dryness and
ventilation and as far as could be done the constant occupation of the
prisoners, but what appears to me to have been more efficacious than all
this was the delay of a week at the Cape during which the people had a
liberal allowance of fresh beef and vegetables, and every mess was
enabled to take to it a small stock of soft bread, potatoes, onions
etc., to this together with a greater proportion of fine weather, I think we are mainly indebted for the excellent
condition in which the prisoners were disembarked.
The Eleanor arrived in Sydney Cove on
26th June 1831.
A muster was held on board by the
Colonial Secretary on 1st July 1831. The convict indents include the
name, age, education, religion, marital status, family, native place,
trade, offence, when and where tried, sentenced, prior convictions,
physical description, and where and to whom assigned.
Sydney Gazette reported in July that -
The male prisoners by the Eleanor who form part of those
convicted for the late riots in England, were landed on Monday morning.
'As fine a body of men as ever set foot on Australian shores from a
convict ship and were nearly all assigned to individuals up the country.
In August convicts to be transported to
the penal settlement at Moreton Bay were embarked on the
Eleanor. There was a disturbance on board as the ship lay in
harbour and two prisoners were shot and killed in the
resulting chaos. The Eleanor departed Sydney bound for
Moreton Bay and Batavia later that month. She conveyed 165
prisoners to Moreton Bay.
John Stephenson was also employed as surgeon on the convict
The Eliza was built in Calcutta in 1806 and carried a crew of about 40
men. This was her first voyage bringing convicts to New South
Wales. She was the next vessel to leave England for New South
Wales after the departure of the
Recovery in July 1819.
The prisoners to be embarked on the Eliza came from different counties in
England, Scotland and Wales. They were held in county prisons before
being transferred to London where they were incarcerated in the hulks
moored in the Thames to await transportation. The men from Glasgow were
sent to the Justitia hulk on 27th April 1819 and transferred to the
Eliza on 9th September 1819. Other prisoners from the Justitia were also
embarked on this day.
By the end of September 1819 there were a total of
242 people on the Eliza
- 160 prisoners who had embarked at Woolwich; 36 guard, 39 ships crew
and 5 passengers by order of the Navy Board.
On the 9th October the ship took on water and
provisions and on the 10th October sailed from Spithead and anchored at
the Isle of Wight on 11th October, leaving there on the
12th October 1819
James Marr Bryden kept a
Medical Journal from 15
September 1819 to 31 January 1820.
They reached the Equator on the 15 November. The
Surgeon noted that the prisoners were locked down for three hours while
the ship's company and guard 'amuse themselves in the usual
ridiculous custom' on crossing the equator.
After a voyage of 98 days the Eliza came to
anchor in Sydney Cove at 9am on
20 January 1820. Six days later
Mr. Campbell, the Governor's Secretary and Mr. Hutchinson,
Superintendent of Convicts came on board and inspected the prisoners,
made note of their descriptions and enquired if there were any
complaints about the passage out. On
this occasion several men made complaints of short rations of pork in
the early part of the voyage.
The men were disembarked at 6am on 31st January
and inspected by Governor Macquarie. One prisoner had died on the voyage out
(William Ashley), and two
remained convalescent (John Allen and John McIntosh).
On the same day the men were disembarked,
orders were given for their distribution to various settlers and public
works. Their lives as assigned servants had begun. There were several
younger prisoners, however they may not have been treated differently to
the older men as they were assigned alongside them. The Carter's
Barracks that later housed younger prisoners was not yet established in
The youngest prisoners were Duncan Campbell (16); John Charter 16);
Jacob James (16); John Jones (16); Samuel Maggs (16); John Parker (16);
James Smith (16); Francis Stewart (16); John Watts (14). Twenty four
Eliza convicts were sent by water to the
Parramatta district. Eighteen were sent to work on the Western Road
party; another four were assigned to William Lawson; Henry Dart was
assigned to Lieut. King and William Brown to Mr. Rouse, his father being
a teacher. Twelve men were assigned in the Liverpool district and six in
the Windsor district. Fifteen were assigned to the agricultural
establishment at Emu Plains.
For the most part they were in for a
harrowing few years particularly if they strayed outside the law again.
The year following the arrival of the Eliza new regulations
regarding tickets of leave were introduced. If prisoners stayed out of
trouble (and if they survived) they could expect to become eligible for
a ticket of leave in a few years time. A ticket of leave entitled
a convict to reside where he chose within a Police District. He could
work for wages but was obliged to report to the authorities regularly at
the ticket of leave musters. Those prisoners with a seven year sentence
could have a ticket after four years servitude; for a fourteen year
sentence they would serve six years and eight years for a life sentence.
had potential to make it through the next eight years and therefore
receive his ticket of leave, but this was not to be. He was a miner by
trade and soon after arrival volunteered to work at the coal mines at
Newcastle where the work was arduous, food scarce and punishment for
transgressions harsh. Although he had volunteered he fell foul of the
law when he absconded from the settlement and was declared a bushranger.
He was apprehended in January 1822 and sent to Port Macquarie penal
horrific death was reported two years later in 1824 in the
Sydney Gazette.....Foley, an aboriginal black native, was
indicted for the wilful murder of one Charles Tinker, a crown servant at
Port Macquarie, on the 28th March last. By the evidence it appeared,
that the prisoner occasionally lived in the house with the deceased and
two or three other white men, and that he was in the custom of going out
with the deceased, to shoot ducks and other game; such being an
indulgence extended by the Commandant to the deceased, on account of his
good conduct. At the instigation of the prisoners, the deceased
proceeded upon a fowling excursion, accompanied by the prisoners, two
other blacks and the father of the prisoners. No tidings being obtained
after 3 or 4 days absence a military party was sent out in search, who
was found in a wounded state, a spear having entered the lungs, and
still remaining in the body. The poor man was immersed in water, with
his head reclining on a stump. At first he seemed insensible; but
immediate attention being had to his pitiable condition he recovered
sufficiently to give an account of what had happened to him. He was
taken to the hospital at Port Macquarie and cared for there by
Dr. Moran but died
In September 1820 Captain Hunt, Mr. Hall, Chief
Officer, Mr. Wallan, Second Officer , Mr. Manners, Third Officer and
Thomas Grant, Boatswain all advertised their intention to depart on the
Eliza within a few days.
The Eliza was built in Calcutta in 1806.
This was her second voyage bringing convicts to New South Wales. The
Eliza was the next vessel to leave England for New South Wales after
the departure of the
Asia in April 1822.
On 30th June
the ship sailed for Sheerness where 50 convicts were received from the
Ganymede Hulk on 2nd July. The following morning another 55
convicts came on board from the Belleropon and the same number
from the Retribution hulk at Sheerness. Sixteen boys were
allotted a separate prison.
On 11 July, the surgeon recorded that all the
men were allowed on deck during the day when they were frequently
visited by their friends and relations. As most of them only embarked
with the clothes they stood in, they were supplied with a shirt and
pair of trousers each. 160 shirts and trousers were issued. On the 16th July a packet and a bag of
despatches for the Governor of New South Wales and a despatch to the
master of the ship ordering the Eliza to proceed on her voyage
to New South Wales were received on board. Three days later the
convicts were all on deck taking a last farewell of their friends and
relations. A few seemed to feel the situation deeply but the majority
according to the surgeon appear to be callous and behave with that
stoicism and indifference which can only be found amongst men
inured to villainy and hardened with vice.
The following morning,
20th July 1822, they weighed
anchor and sailed for the Downs which they came to anchor at dusk.
Most of the convicts and passengers were sea sick. Bibles, testaments
and prayer books were distributed amongst the convicts and also a few
books and writing implements from the surgeon's own store were given to
the boys who soon made considerable improvement in their learning. The
youngest prisoners were Thomas Ball (16); Murdock Chisholm (16);
Benjamin Johnson (16); William McCoy (16); William McNicholl (16);
William Redgate (15); James Statham (16); Matthew Sullivan(15); George
Williams (14); and Joseph Windle (16).
A week after departing the Eliza struck bad weather.
There were strong gales with rain from the SW with the ship pitching
frighteningly and they were obliged to anchor in Dungeness.
They reached the equator on 10 September.
The Convicts were all on deck during the
morning, but afterwards ordered below until the sailors and soldiers
had performed the usual ceremony at crossing the equator. The
prisoners, however were all very merry amongst themselves and during
their temporary confinement did not let the said ceremony pass
unobserved. They constituted barbers and with a little suet and shoe
blacking and a bullocks rib for a razor shaved every individual in the
prison. All submitting to the operation with much good humour
On the evening of the 19 October 1822 several of
the prisoners, (amateurs) in testimony of the gratitude which they
felt for the liberty they had hitherto enjoyed and the various
indulgences which had been granted to them since their embarkation,
entertained the officers with the performance of the play Rob Roy.
They sailed close by the island of St. Pauls on
25 October and on
22 November 1822 reached Port Jackson. 160
male prisoners were landed in good health on 26th November 1822. They
had been on board for 147 days and the voyage had taken 125 days.
After landing, the
convicts were assigned to various settlers and public works at
Windsor, Upper Minto, Airds, Penrith, Emu Plains and Bathurst.
Twenty one men of the Eliza have been identified residing in
the Hunter Valley region in later years. Select
William Rae's first voyage as surgeon superintendent on a convict
ship. He was given an allowance of £50 for the return voyage to
England and was later employed as surgeon on the convict ships
The Eliza was built in India in 1806. This was her first
voyage bringing convict to New South Wales. She was
the next convict ship to leave Ireland bound for New South
Wales after the departure of the
Cambridge in June 1827. The Eliza departed
Cork on 19 July 1827.
One hundred and
ninety-two male prisoners were embarked under the care of George Shaw Rutherford who kept a Medical Journal
from 15 May 1827 to 26th November 1827.
He was well experienced this being his fourth voyage as
surgeon superintendent on a convict ship. All of the prisoners survived the journey.
Master of the vessel Lieutenant Leary R.N., spent three weeks
on the sick list. He fell ill with rheumatism on 30th August
suffering pain in his thigh and knee and wasn't discharged
until the third week in September.
September there was a major outbreak of diarrhoea amongst the
convicts. All survived. Soldier George Moron wasn't so lucky
he died in October after succumbing to dysentery.
Huston was disch
to the hospital on arrival. He was suffering with a serious
case of scurvy.
Bryan Roveen was
one of the passengers on the Eliza. In January 1835 his
wife and child were recommended for a free passage to New
South Wales and embarked on the convict ship Neva. They
perished when the
was wrecked the following May.(2)
Rutherford was also employed as surgeon on the convict ships
Captain William Douty (Doutty). Surgeon
The Eliza was
made of teak and
built in Java in 1815. This was her first
voyage bringing convicts to New South Wales.
She was the next vessel to leave England for
New South Wales after the departure of the
Albion on 1st June 1828.
James Patton R.N. commenced
Journal on 10 June 1828.
On 16th June 1828 fifty
eight prisoners were received from the
Justitia Hulk at Woolwich.
The first patient on the surgeon's sick list
was Private John Campbell of the 63rd regiment
who was treated on 11 June for an injury he
received to his leg on the march from Chatham
to Woolwich. Private George Eggleton was taken
ill on 20th June.
was one of seventeen ships bringing convicts
to New South Wales in
She departed England on
Private James Duguin of the 63rd was treated
by the surgeon when the vessel was in the
Channel on 3rd July 1828. The first death was
that of John Palmer who died on 20th July
Between the 12 October and 8th November
there were over 40 cases of dysentery (all
convicts). The illness was so violent that it
caused the death of several men in the short
space of four days. Deaths mentioned in the
indents include........John Oakes died 24
October; John Story died on 24th
October; James Coulter died 31st
October; John Egan and George Ainsley
died on 16th November ; George Whittaker died
on 19th November. James Patton
attributed the high number of dysenteric cases
to several causes, the unusual length of the
voyage, 143 days on salt provisions and the
ship sailing very indifferently; and from the
cold, damp and rain.
The Eliza arrived
in Port Jackson on 18th November 1828 with 150
male prisoners. The convicts were mustered by
the Colonial Secretary Alexander McLeay on
20th November 1828. A total of eight
prisoners had died on the voyage out and
another four were sent to the Hospital on
arrival in Sydney. (William Baker, Samuel
Clay, William Johns and James Scholes). Edward
Burke one of the soldiers on board was sent to
the Military hospital in Sydney. The
indents include the name, age, religion,
education, marital status, family, native
place, offence, occupation, place and date of
trial, sentence, prior convictions, physical
description and where and to whom assigned on
arrival. There is also occasional information
regarding relatives in the colony, deaths and
colonial crimes. The indents reveal the names
of the juvenile offenders. The youngest was
Charles Pennycard who was only 10 years old.
Robert Edwards and William Telford were both
14 and John Roach and Thomas Storer were both
fifteen. All these boys were sent to the
Carter's Barracks on arrival. Select
here to read John Thoms Bigge's
description of the Carter's Barracks written
c. 1820. There were also two other fifteen
year olds who were assigned to settlers -
James Wilson and Ellis Walsh.
The Guard consisted of 30 men of
the 63rd regiment, accompanied by 3 women and 6 children
under the orders of
Sholto Douglas and
Lieutenant William Thomas Napier
Champ also arrived on
the Eliza. On Wednesday 19th November they were
landed and marched up the town to their quarters to the
beat of the drum and fife.
James Patton was also employed as
surgeon on the convict ship Persian to VDL in 1827
Twenty-six of the convicts
arriving on the Eliza have been identified
residing in the Hunter region in the following decades.
to find out more about these men.
The Eliza sailed for London
direct in December 1828
The Eliza was built in India in 1806. This was
her second voyage as a convict ship.
The guard of the Eliza, a detachment of
the 40th regiment of Infantry under orders of
Lieut. Sweeney, marched on Friday 16th January
from Chatham Barracks to Deptford and embarked
on board the Eliza on Saturday 17th
Elizawas the next
vessel to leave Ireland bound for New South
Wales after the departure of the
Edward in January 1829. One
prisoner, Thomas Kickery was disembarked prior
to leaving Ireland and the Eliza
departed from Cork
2nd March 1829
with 170 male prisoners
Journal from 30 December 1828 to 7
July 1829. He had hoped that by the appearance of
the prisoners who embarked in Cork that he
would not have any mortalities on the
voyage............. however the continual
damp through the prison which is so well
calculated to call forth disease where
predisposition exists I consider myself
fortunate that under the circumstance of
such damp on the lower deck, scurvy did not in
any degree manifest itself. This I attribute
to the aggregate of many causes - a good
system of victualling, cleanliness,
ventilation and exercise. The conduct of the
prisoners was so quiet and tractable that they
were permitted to be on deck almost without
limit as to number and when the weather
permitted were ever ready for any amusement or
exercise pointed out to them; also above all
the free and frequent use of the hydro
chloramine of lime.
He reported three deaths
in his journal - including
Dennis McGrath, aged 21, died on 11 May 1829
from cynanche trachealis (croup) and Anthony Riddington, aged 27 died on 10 June 1829 after
suffering atrophia (wasting, loss of strength,
defect of nutrition etc). John
Limery died of consumption on 5th May 1829.
Passengers on the Eliza included Mr. Edward Wall and 12 free boys to
join their parents.
The Eliza arrived in Port Jackson on
20 June 1829. A Muster was held on board by
Colonial Secretary Alexander McLeay on 24th
was also employed as surgeon on the convict
The Eliza was built in India in 1806. This
was her fourth voyage bringing convicts to Australia.
She was the next convict ship carrying
male prisoners to
depart Cork for New South Wales after the
City of Edinburgh in March. As with the prisoners of the
City of Edinburgh, the Eliza prisoners would have been held
on the hulk moored at Cove prior to being embarked on the convict ship.
to find out more about the Convict establishment at Cork and the names
of Officers employed in the service in the years 1832, 1833 and 1834. (2)
Lawrence Burns was embarked on the Eliza but re-landed while
still in Cork.
Many of the prisoners of the Eliza were petty criminals convicted of pick pocketing
and other forms of stealing, however there were also twenty six men from
Galway who had been convicted of White Boy crimes as well as two Terry
Alts; there were five men who had committed murder and sixteen who had
guard consisted of 29 rank and file of the 4th 17th and 63rd regiments
under command of Lieut. Hewson and Ensign Nicholson of the 4th regiment.
Lieutenant Ball of the 17th regiment and family came as passengers.
Other convict ships bringing detachments of the 17th
regiment included the
Thomas Bell kept a Medical Journal from 19th
March to 18th September 1832...."We sailed from Cork", he wrote,
10th May 1832with a light and favourable breeze. The weather
continuing fine for ten days, all hands soon became accustomed to their
new residence without suffering much from sea sickness which might have
been expected as most of the party had never seen the sea before. "
The surgeon took every possible care to keep the prisoners on deck as
much as the weather would permit. The prisons and hospital were kept
clean and well ventilated and the bedding was frequently aired and
shaken before being returned to the berths. The prisoners were shaved
three times a week and their hair kept close cut. The bathing tub was
made use of every morning; one half the prisoners bathed every other
morning, two men were appointed to wash with pipe clay and a brush, the
person in the bath which they stood much in need of and which I
invariably superintended, and by which means I detected eleven cases of
psora and cases of
pediculus pubis, more than sufficient to stock all new holland!
Meals were properly cooked and served at regular hours and Thomas Bell
kept a check that each man received his allotted portion.......When
wine and limejuice were served each man in numerical order, one at a
time passed through the barricade on one side of the deck and passed out
of the other by which means I had an opportunity of observing every man
distinctly. Examining his clothes, shoes etc and which put a total stop
to anything like traffic for lime juice or wine which is often the case
in convict ships.
There were two deaths
(Anthony Barry and Malachy Foley) on the voyage out, one from
consumption and the other ascites, both were probably ill when they
embarked. There were a few outbreaks of scurvy which were cured before
landing and the cases of constipation and leg ulcers were treated
successfully by the surgeon.
Illness amongst the guard and
prisoners towards the end of the voyage was attributed by the surgeon to
the bad weather at that time..... for three weeks before making Kings
Island we had a continuation of boisterous weather when coughs colds and
rheumatism were the prevailing complaints. Five cases of dysentery
occurred among the Guard, no doubt caused by exposure to wet and heavy
dews during their sentry all of which recovered before landing.
One hundred and ninety six male prisoners arrived in Port Jackson on
6th September 1832.
Overall the surgeon was pleased with the voyage......In
conclusion I am happy to remark that the greatest unanimity prevailed
amongst all the officers throughout the voyage, most of the prisoners
behaved remarkably well, and I have much pleasure in stating that the
Secretary, The Honourable Mr. McLeay complimented me on the good order
in which all the prisoners appeared before him.
The Sydney Gazette reported that the
prisoners were expected ashore on Saturday 15th September "All Patlanders to a
man; if they could handle the flail as well as the shillelagh, would prove an
acquisition to farmers"
The convict indents reveal such information as name, age,
religion, education, marital status, family, native place, crime, date and
place of trial, sentence, prior conviction and physical description. There is
also occasional information about colonial crimes and deaths however there is no
indication in the indents as to where the men were assigned on arrival.
Seventy two of the convicts who arrived on the Eliza have been identified
residing in the Hunter Valley in the following years. Select
Two of the convicts arriving on the Eliza
Francis McNamara(Frank the Poet)
composed several well known poems and became known throughout the colony for his
words of poignancy and protest. He is attributed to penning the words to what
was to become one of Australia's best known folk songs - Moreton Bay.
from Cork was only 16 when he was sentenced to 7 years transportation. He was 17
years old when he was hung after having the misfortune to become involved in one
of the colony's most infamous episodes - the convict uprising at Castle Forbes.
George Cott from Cork was also only 16 years of age. The
youngest convict on the Eliza was Daniel Torpy from Tipperary who
was 15 years of age.
The Eliza sailed from Port Jackson on 24th
September. On 25th October 1832 the Sydney Herald reported that the Eliza
bound for Singapore had returned to port through stress of weather, having
encountered severe gales of wind, and nearly wrecked off King's Island.
There were possibly two different surgeon superintendents by the name of
Thomas Bell. The signature on the medical journal of the Eliza,
The convicts of
the Elizabeth had been tried in various
counties and cities in England - Chichester,
Chiswick, Essex, Wiltshire, Leicester,
Nottingham and London etc., Several had been
tried at the Old Bailey on 13th September 1815
and were transferred to the hulk Laurel by the
following January. They remained there until
being embarked on the Elizabeth on 14th May
1816. The Elizabeth departed England on
hundred and fifty five male prisoners were
embarked on the Elizabeth, two were re-landed
and two died on the voyage out. John Powell
died 4th September 1816 and James McCarley
died 26th September 1816. (House of Commons
arrived in Port Jackson on
5th October 1816,
five days before the Mariner.
John Wylde arrived on the Elizabeth
with his family including his brother-in-law
and clerk Joshua John Moore and his father
Thomas Wylde whom he recommended as Clerk of
the Peace. The Sydney Gazette reported that
Judge Wylde was
to land on the 9th October at twelve noon. The
Governor's barge was taken alongside the
Elizabeth to receive him and convey him to
the Landing place on the Governor's Wharf. He
was accompanied by Mr. Secretary Campbell,
Captain Ostler, Surgeon Caryer Vickery,
military personnel as well as private friends.
A Salute of thirteen Guns was fired from
Dawe's Battery immediately on the Judge
Advocate's leaving the Elizabeth in
Honor of his safe arrival at Sydney and a like
salute was fired from the Elizabeth. On
landing at the Governor's Stairs, the Judge
Advocate was received by the Magistrates, the
Provost Marshal and other Officers of the
Colony and taken to one of the Magistrates
houses for refreshments. In the afternoon when
the Judge Advocate was again returning from on
board with his Lady, the prisoners who arrived
in the vessel took the opportunity of joining
the ship's company in manning the yards, and
cheering as his boat left the ship.
Secretary Mr. Campbell mustered the convicts
on board. He found that .......
'with the exception
of convalescents from scurvy they were in good
health and generally fresh looking, active
men. The cases of lameness or permanent bodily
disabilities were much fewer than usual,
whilst at the same time the serviceable
description of mechanics such as carpenters,
masons, bricklayers and those whose trades
conduce to the forwarding of buildings are
still fewer being more deficient than in any
other case within my recollection. Without
exception every prisoners expressed
gratefulness to the kind and humane attention
of the Captain and Surgeon during the passage'
of the Elizabeth were landed on Friday
11 October in a healthy state and mustered in
the presence of His Excellency the Governor
who was afterwards pleased to give
instructions for their distribution to the
various situations assigned them. Select
HERE to read the procedure recorded by
John Thomas Bigge of the disembarkation of
men who arrived on the
were under the age of 21 years. The youngest
were John Burton (14); Michael Haggerty (14);
George Edwards (13); John Stokes (13); John
Dent (12); and William Cadell (10).
Esther Ames wife of convict Robert
Ames arrived free on the Elizabeth
arrived on the Elizabeth. He was
executed in 1822.
The Elizabeth was engaged to convey
troops to India on her departure from New South Wales
The Elizabeth brought prisoners
from counties in England, Scotland and Wales. She departed the Downs
18 August 1820
and arrived in Port Jackson on
31 December 1820.
was Andrew Montgomery's only voyage as surgeon superintendent on a
convict ship. He kept a Medical Journal from 1st
August 1820 to 11th January 1821 and also a daily diary in which he
recorded the weather and other events. It begins while still in the
River at Woolwich......
Tuesday 1st August 1820 -
At noon the pilot came on board. Cast off from the Narcissus hulk
and dropped down the river at 5pm. Anchored below the Justitia
hulk below Woolwich.
2nd August at Woolwich. At
3pm received the guard on board from the Isle of Wight, consisting of
the sergeant of the 46th and privates of the 48th regiments commanded by
Lieutenant Charles Campbell of the 48th, as well as eight women and six
children belonging to the company with their baggage etc.
3rd August at Woolwich.
Answered the signal of being ready to receive prisoners on board at
1.30pm. Male prisoners from the Justitia Hulk were each given as
follows: 1 woollen cap, one Guernsey frock, one checked shirt, one pair
of raven duck trousers, one pair of shoes and stockings and a
neckerchief, all new. Inspected them and checked their irons, and having
served out each man a bed , pillow and blanket (all by numbers) sent
them down to the prisons. Opened a puncheon of rum for the
At the end of the voyage
Andrew Montgomery wrote his general report......
He divided the men into
six divisions soon after departing Woolwich and appointed a well
conducted man in charge of the divisions. These men were responsible for
the behaviour, cleanliness of the prisoners and accountable for
the clothing and bedding.
The boys were separated
from the men and a well conducted man placed over them as schoolmaster.
They paid such attention to the schoolmaster that many of the boys who
did not know the alphabet when they came on board could read and write
when they disembarked. Schools were also set up for the men and several
men paid great attention to their studies of reading writing and
arithmetic. Divine service was performed on the Quarter Deck every
Sunday when the weather would permit and at such times, the Guard were
always under arms on the Poop deck.
He had found that the
woollen frocks and stockings were a nuisance at first because of the hot
weather and he stowed them away until the weather turned cold. He gave
the men a daily allowance of lemonade, however scurvy appeared after
five or six weeks and he requested Captain Ostler to call at Rio rather
than the Cape as a matter of urgency. The convicts and soldier's health
improved with the food they procured and they stayed only a week,
sailing from there on 21st October.
They had a tedious voyage
as far as the island of St. Paul and then scurvy broke out again among
the guard and prisoners. He gave them lime juice and soup made of
Andrew Montgomery was
greatly satisfied that the conduct of the prisoners throughout the
voyage was orderly and extremely quiet. He commented that he had never
witnessed more humane treatment to unfortunate men than that of the
Master William Ostler and the chief mate Francis Allen. (2nd mate was
Mr. Birkby; 3rd mate William Phillips)
Although they had a long
and tedious voyage with much sickness Montgomery was very pleased to
report that there was not a single death amongst the prisoners, guard or
passengers during the entire voyage.
The convict ship
Hebe arrived on the same day as the
Sydney Gazette reported that the prisoners of the Elizabeth and
Hebe were landed
on Thursday 11th January and inspected by Governor Macquarie before
being allotted to their various employments.
It was sometimes the case that prisoners'
belongings were damaged or stolen on the voyage out. The
Report of Commissioner John Thomas Bigge touched on the subject.
A box belonging to convict George Martin was broken open and the
contents stolen early in the voyage. His later testimony gives insight
into the items that prisoners thought might be valuable to them in the
difficult days and months to come.....George Martin was removed
from Gloucester Gaol to the convict hulk Justitia at Woolwich commanded
by Captain Smith, who took charge of his luggage. On the 4th August the
Elizabeth arrived at Woolwich to receive a draft of prisoners to
take to New South Wales. With several others George Martin was embarked
and all the boxes and keys were taken from him for the purpose of being
placed in the hold or store appointed for their safety. Among which he
had a small box which Captain Smith of the Justitia took from him
and gave to the first mate of the Elizabeth who placed it on the
Quarter Deck and observed he could not have it with with him until
things could be arranged, which would be on the morrow. This box with
others was removed from the Quarter Deck and placed in the hold in
charge of the third mate William Phillips. Although George Martin
frequently requested his box, the third mate always answered with a
promise for the morrow. When Martin applied to the captain and surgeon,
William Phillips berth was searched and George Martin's belongings were
found in Phillips' possession who was from that time kept as a prisoner
for the remainder of the voyage. George Martin's later correspondence
included a list of the articles that he had brought in his box from
One prayer book; 1 new Moroccan notebook 1 silver
pencil case; Ass skin memorandum book, ink stand and case; bottle of
ink, quire of paper; dressing case containing two razors strop; shaving
box, comb and tooth brush; two knives, scissors, thread, needles, shirt
buttons, tobacco and £400 of bank notes.
William Tunnicliffe and George Cain who
arrived on the Elizabeth were sent to Newcastle penal settlement
for colonial crimes. They were two of eleven pirates who seized the
cutter Eclipse from the harbour in 1825 and made their escape
from the colony. Find out more about their audacious escape at Pirates
Captain Thomas Fremlin. Surgeon Superintendent Alick Osborne
The Elphinstone was the next convict ship
to leave Ireland for New South Wales after the departure of the Margaret on 1st September 1838. Two hundred and fifty five prisoners were originally embarked on the Elphinstone, however 23 were re-landed before
Medical Journal from 22
July 1838 to 5 January 1839. He noted in his journal that the convicts
in good health at Dublin and that the vessel sailed at a favourable
period of the year. The scorbutic (scurvy) cases were noticed promptly
and quickly yielded to his treatment of nitre and vinegar. He
administered this remedy to all patients with boils, ulcers, or
eruptions with good effect.
On the 18th November the Elphinstone was in
latitude 48° south, longitude 30° east and on the 22nd November in
latitude 25° south, longitude 36° east. She
arrived in Port Jackson on
29 December 1838,
a voyage of 112 days.
prisoners were landed on Saturday 5th January 1839.
Cabin Passengers included Captain Parker; Quarter Master William Kerr,
Mrs. Kerr and two daughters and in
Steerage were the rank and file of the
18th 50th 51st regiments
The Elphinstone arrived at the hottest time
of the year, but there was little sympathy for newly arrived convicts
and they were put to work as soon as possible. John Gannon, aged 55, did
not survive long after arrival. Just ten days after landing, on 15th
January, the hottest day of the year, he was working in the streets when
he was taken ill. He was removed to the prisoner barracks and then to
the hospital but died soon afterwards A coroner's inquest found that he
had died to exposure to the sun and exhaustion.
Alick Osborne was also employed as
surgeon on the convict ships
Chief officer of the Emma Eugenia was Mr. Pritchard.
Two of the seamen were John Hamilton and George Field
prisoners were embarked on the
Emma Eugeniafrom the
Hulks at Portsmouth in October 1837. Most were
Englishmen from various parts of the country
and had been convicted of many different
crimes including stealing, receiving, robbery,
forgery and bigamy. James Edwards, originally
from Derby was sentenced to 14 years
transportation in Malta for attempting to
shoot his sergeant-major. Robert McMurray from
Cork was sentenced to transportation for life
for striking his drum-major. Carleton William
Roche, solicitor and clerk was sentenced to 7
years transportation for embezzlement.
Robert Wylie R.N. kept a Medical Journal
from 7 October 1837 to 24 February 1838.
The Emma Eugenia
was the next convict ship to leave England
after the departure of the Waterloo in
The Emma Eugenia departed London on
6th November 1837
and arrived in Port Jackson on
February 1838, a voyage of 95 days. The
surgeon reported that the passage through the
tropics was favourable. Scurvy appeared by
January, however according to the surgeon the disease was checked with
lemon juice and sugar. Nitre in vinegar was
tried also but found not as effective as lemon
Forty seven years old Thomas Whipps died on 8th February,
leaving one hundred and ninety nine male convicts. Two more
died shortly after arrival - James Day and
George Burls both died on 20th February 1838
in Sydney hospital.
consisted of Ensign Love, 28th regiment., Lieut.
Rice, 52nd regiment., Serjeant Bernard Turley,
Corporal Dickinson, 29 rank and file of the
28th, 50th, 52nd and 80 regiment., and their wives
Robert Wylie was also employed
as surgeon on the convict ships
Some of the convicts arriving on the
had been tried and
convicted at the Old Bailey and imprisoned at Newgate before
being sent to the hulks.
Select here to find
out what it may have been like to be
imprisoned in Newgate in 1835.
TheEngland was the
next convict ship to leave England after the departure of
the Mary in April 1835. The England departed
8th June 1835 with 230 male
prisoners under the care of
Obadiah Pineo R.N.
A Medical Journal was kept from
12th May 1835 to 20 October 1835.
Two hundred and eighty nine male prisoners arrived on the
one man Richard Beard having died at sea on
the 28th May from Pythisis.
The Guard consisted of 3 sergeants, 46 rank and
file with their wives and families of the 87th
Royal Irish Fusiliers under command of Captain
Moore and Lieutenants Irwin and Middlemore
William Conborough Watt
kept a Medical Journal from 11
January to 18 August 1831. He began treating convicts while
still at Sheerness in February. Two young men
James Burnes and Thomas Knowles, both aged 15
suffered from catarrh and ophthalmia,
occasioned they thought by being put to watch
the swinging stoves while on the
suffered from many complaints on the voyage,
ranging from rashes and eruptions to
tonsillitis, headache and melancholia. On 25th
April sixteen year old Peter Pollen suffered
serious burns to his back and shoulder when a
bucket of hot liquid was spilt over him as he
lay in his bunk. He was kept in the hospital
for a month. In all eighteen men suffered from
scurvy and according to the surgeon all but
three were cured with a solution of nitre and
Conborough Watt was also employed as Surgeon
on the convict ships
departed Sydney for Calcutta in September,
however returned to port in consequence of
adverse winds experienced while attempting to pass through
Torres Strait. They left Sydney again in
Sixteen convict ships
arrived in New South Wales in
1831. Many of the prisoners arriving
on these vessels would have witnessed the
bonfires in Sydney on 2nd December 1831, set
celebrate the arrival of the new Governor Sir
and narrowly escaped being hanged when he
became part of what is known as the
Myall Creek Massacre. Bushranger
Herbert Owen may have been
another who escaped the penalty of the law.
Although his named was printed in the wanted
lists for years, there is no record of his
Bound For Botany Bay: Narrative of a voyage in
1798 Aboard the Death Ship Hillsborough - Frank Clune
A Narrative of a Voyage to New South
Wales, in the year 1816, in the ship Mariner, describing the Nature of
the Accommodations, Stores, Diet &c., together with an account of the
Medical Treatment &c." by John Haslam in John Croaker: convict
Embezzler: John Booker and Russell Craig.
New South Wales, Australia, Colonial
Secretary's Papers, 1788-1825 [database