The Mary Ann was the next convict ship to leave
England for New South Wales after the departure of the
England in June.
Some of the convicts arriving on the Mary
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.
kept a Medical Journal from 25 June 1835 to 12
The Mary Anne was fitted out at Deptford in
the summer of 1835 for the conveyance of 306 convicts to
The guard was embarked on 23 June 1835 and consisted of two commissioned officers of the 4th
Regiment, one sergeant, two corporals, and 28 privates of the
4th, and 28th Regiments, accompanied with eight women, and six
On 26 June the Mary Ann dropped down the River,
from Deptford, to Woolwich, where 150 male convicts were
embarked, from the Justitia, and Ganymede hulks.
proceeded to Sheerness, where on the 30th June, 126 male
convicts were embarked from the Fortitude and 30 convict boys
from the Eurylus hulks at Chatham completing the total of
On the 9th July
the sailing orders were received and the ship proceeded to the Downs.
Westerly winds with rain and squally weather were experienced at this
time. They had fine moderate weather in August when they were off the
coast of Madeira. About the 20th August they got into the South
East Trade wind with the weather was moderate and fine. On 6th September
strong winds, squalls and rain was experienced and by October there was
a constant swell of the sea from the South West, which kept the decks
and berths continually wet and damp.
Surgeon Campbell France reported that generally the people on board were healthy.
There were a few exceptions and there had been an outbreak of
measles early in the voyage. One debilitated convict died while still at
the Downs and two children of soldiers also passed away on the
voyage. There was one birth.
The prisoners were landed at
Sydney on 11th November 1835.
Campbell France was also
employed on the convict ships Asia in 1828 (VDL)
A total of 205
male convicts arrived in Port Jackson on the
Matilda. Twenty five prisoners died on the passage out. An
ensign with twenty privates
formed the Guard.
Jonas Bradley Sergeant of the 102ng regiment arrived free on the Matilda.
arriving on the Matilda, Daniel Phillips accompanied
John Howe on
his expedition of discovery in 1819.
Gilbert Grant arrived as a convict on the Matilda. He died in November 1813
aged 60 and was buried in the
Old Sydney Burial Ground.
Some of the vessels of the Third Fleet were to proceed to the
Southern Whale Fisheries after unloading the prisoners; the rest were bound
for Bengal where they were to be freighted back to England with cotton. The
sailors on board the Nootka ships were to have nine guineas for the run to
Botany Bay after which they were to share as whale fishermen do. The other
sailors were paid twenty five shillings per month. (The Times 15 March 1791)
The Matilda departed Port Jackson in November 1791 bound for Tahiti
which she reached on February 14, 1792, anchoring in Vaitepiha Bay but
remaining only a short time.
On the night of February 24, 1792, the Matilda foundered on Mururoa
atoll, 640 miles south-east of Tahiti. The crew were saved and returned
Tahiti on 5th March 1792.
George Vancouver recorded more of the story of the Matilda.
Lieut. Hanson of the
was instructed to call at Otaheite on his voyage to Port Jackson not
only to procure refreshments but to receive onboard twenty-one English
seamen who had been cast away in the ship Matilda, of London, on the 25th of
February, 1792, on a ledge of rocks, not within sight of any land. After
this unfortunate accident the crew returned in their boats to Otaheite; from
whence, six days before, they had departed in the ship. From Otaheite, the
second mate and two of the sailors had, in one of their open whale boats,
proceeded towards New South Wales. The rest of the crew remained on the
island, excepting Mr. Matthew Weatherhead the commander of the vessel, who,
with two men and two boys, had taken their passage from Otaheite on board
the Jenny of Bristol; and on their arrival at Nootka, Senr* Quadra not only
provided Mr. Weatherhead with a passage towards England through New Spain,
but benevolently furnished him with a sum of money to defray his expenses
through a country where the inhabitants would necessarily be strangers to
himself and all his connections. The misfortune of this shipwreck appeared
to have been attended with very unpleasant consequences to our friends at
Otaheite. The few valuable articles which these unfortunate people had been
able to save from the wreck, instead of having been secured and properly
taken care of, had been indiscriminately dispersed, or left to the disposal
of the natives. This had produced a jealousy between the chiefs of Matavai
and those of Oparre; and on their disagreement concerning the division of
the spoil, some of the Englishmen had sided with the chiefs of the one
party, whilst others had taken up the cause of the other. A war was the
necessary consequence between the two districts, which had terminated very
disastrously for Matavai. Nearly the whole of that beautiful district had
been laid waste, their houses burnt down, and their fruit-trees torn up by
the roots, and otherways destroyed. This was the sum of what I was able to
learn; but the very confused and incoherent detail that was given me of all
these transactions, prevented my acquiring any satisfactory information on
this melancholy event.
The Medina was the next vessel to
leave Ireland bound for New South Wales after the departure of
Isabella in August 1823. On 19th July 1823 when surgeon John Rodmell joined
Medina at Deptford carpenters from the dockyard were
still employed fitting up the prisoners for the reception of
John Rodmell kept a Medical Journal
from 19th July 1823 to 16 January 1824.
the 30 July the ship was reported ready to sail and a detachment
of the 40th regiment were embarked consisting of Lieutenant
Frederick Charles Ganning; one ensign; assistant surgeon Coleman; one sergeant,
two corporals; 31 privates; 4 women and 5 children.
Passengers included Lieut. Futter, R.N., and Mrs. Futter.
Other ships bringing detachments of the
40th regiment included the
Countess of Harcourt,
Ann & Amelia.
On the 6 August they cast
off from the Hulk and made sail down the river. At 3.30 pm
they came to anchor at Gravesend and on the 8th August
at 10 am, they departed from there. On the 9th
August, at 11am they weighed anchor and made all sail for the
Downs. They had received on board 3 boats with rigging for the
use of the Preventative Service in Ireland.
They departed the Downs
and made their way to Cork, arriving there 26 August. The
following day they received on board 180 male prisoners. The
men came from different parts of Ireland - Sligo,
Clare, Leitrim, Tipperary, Waterford, Westmeath, Galway etc and were probably held in one of the hulks in Cork Harbour while
the Medina was being fitted up at Deptford.
Two days before their
departure from Cork three of the convicts were taken off the vessel. It
was intended to replace them, however the Medina's stay in
Cork was short and
so the final number that embarked was 177 men.
they got under way from the Cove of Cork and made all sail for
Port Jackson where they arrived on
29 December 1823
. The men were mustered on board before being landed. The indents include such information
as name, age, when and where convicted, sentence, native place, trade,
physical description. There is also occasional information about tickets
of leave and colonial sentences.
were landed on Tuesday morning 6th January and underwent the usual
inspection by the Governor Sir Thomas Brisbane who had arrived in Sydney
the previous evening from Parramatta. The prisoners expressed
their gratitude for the kind treatment met with during the voyage.
Correspondence in the Colonial Secretary's Papers reveal that 122 of the
men were forwarded to Parramatta. Twenty seven of those men were to be
assigned to the Parramatta area and the remaining 95 were to be
forwarded to the interior district. Another forty men were to be sent to
the Liverpool district. Others were sent to Bringelly, Airds, Windsor,
Penrith, Emu Plains and Bathurst.
Twenty four prisoners of the Medina have been identified
residing in the Hunter Valley region in the following years.
to find out more about these men.
John Rodmell was also surgeon on the convict ship
The Medway arrived in Van Diemen's Land on 13 March 1821.
Joseph Collins who arrived on
the Medway was sent to Newcastle penal settlement in
1821. He was one of eleven pirates who seized the cutter
Eclipse from the harbour in 1825. Find out more about
their audacious escape at
Mellish was the next convict ship to leave England for New South
Wales after the departure of the
Vittoria in September 1828.
At the end of October and the first week of November 1828, the Guard and
170 convicts were embarked on the convict ship Mellish on the River Thames.
included Captain Baylee of the 63rd regiment and T. F. Gilbert of the
The Morning Chronicle reported in December 1828.....A convict named James Hawkins succeeded in escaping from the Mellish on the 8th December. In 1821 Hawkins
had been transported for
life, and arrived at Sydney in December of that year; he escaped in 1824
and arrived in England in the following year. In 1826, he was
apprehended, tried and again sent to New South Wales and again escaped.
In October 1827, he was again apprehended in London, tried, and
convicted and a third time sentenced to transportation, but contrived to
escape from the caravan which was conveying him from Newgate to the
Hulks. He was re-taken in August last, and again sentenced to
transportation, and sent on board the Retribution hulk. On
the 21st of November, he was embarked in the Mellish upon the
voyage to Sydney. The Mellish sailed and about dusk on the
evening of the 8th, as the vessel was sailing through the Needles, he
slipped his irons, and lowering himself from a port hole, cut away the
hawser of a small boat, and rowed ashore to the Isle of Wright. The boat
and himself were soon missed and an immediate search was made through
the Isle of Wright but he was not found. He ascribed his repeated and
daring escapes to a doting fondness for his wife. - Morning Chronicle
13 December 1828......
It is thought that the unfortunate Hawkins, who
jumped overboard from the Mellish convict ship, in her passage through
the Needles, has been drowned. The master of the vessel forfeits a
thousand pounds for not having taken proper precautions to prevent the
flight of the prisoner. - Derby Mercury 31st December 1828
2nd January 1829,
the Mellish proceeded on the voyage from Falmouth and
on the 10th anchored at Teneriffe.
Surgeon Superintendent Joseph Cook kept a Medical Journal
between 7 October 1828 and 28 April 1829
........In the treatment of the convicts to preserve health, they
were daily examined by mustering and were made to wash clothes, twice a
week. The 'tween decks were kept as dry as possible by dry holystoning
and scraping the deck and airing with the stoves in wet weather. When
within the tropics their woollen clothing was taken from them and
returned as the ship advanced to the southward and an additional pair of
flannel drawers issued.
Mrs. Henniker came as a Cabin passenger on the Mermaid.
This was David Boyter's first voyage as Surgeon
Superintendent on a convict ship. As with his later
voyages he kept a detailed Medical Journal which is easy
to read and includes weather conditions and illnesses
experienced by the guard and convicts before leaving
England and on the voyage to Australia........
In relating the observations I have made during a
voyage to New South Wales on the health and management of
the convicts under my charge, I shall commence at the
period when the guard came on board. The guard consisted
of two Officers, and 29 men, rank and file. They were
marched to Gravesend from Chatham on a very cold rainy
afternoon. From Gravesend they embarked in a small
lighter, proceeded to Deptford and arrived on board the
Mermaid at 12 o'clock at night on the 12th November.
During the whole time they were exposed in an open boat to
the inclemency of a cold rainy November night, and when
they came on board the Mermaid being then in great
confusion fitting out in a hurry, was equally dirty and
uncomfortable. The consequences that followed this
exposure were long felt by most of them. I had several
ophthalmia, one proving very tedious, only giving
way to a course of Mercury, frequent scarification and
stimulating applications to the eye. A number of them were
laid up with colds.
On 6th December while lying at the Nore, the surgeon
discovered small pox on board. He treated the affected
patient and inoculated fifteen other men who had never
been exposed to the disease. On 8th December they sailed
through the Downs and on the 10th were off Plymouth where
they met with a gale of wind from the West which continued
for several days. The Hospital and Prison were
completely inundated with water and the prisoners were
nearly all sea sick and unable to help themselves. There
was no dry place in the hospital to place patients and
shutting the hatchway above only added to the misery of
the day by excluding pure air. The surgeon attributed the
death of Moses Stephenson to sea sickness suffered at this
time. Stephenson became so low and despondent that he
never recovered his health and died on 19th January. The
surgeon recorded the cause of death as
Synochus. On the 2nd January J
Jennott aged 19 and J. West aged 13 both ships' crew
became ill with eruptions that turned out to be small pox.
They were isolated until the surgeon considered them well.
When they entered the tropics they were becalmed for three
weeks and the men became ill with headaches, skin rashes
and debility. From 18th January to 1st February thirty
five men were treated by the surgeon. They called at Bahia
where they remained 10 days and took in supplies of fresh
beef and vegetables. They sailed from there on 13th
February. Towards the end of February, one of the
convicts.....Rose passed away. He had been ill for most of
the voyage but successfully treated by the surgeon. His
death followed a fall on the deck from which he never
During March and April the weather continued fine and
clear and on 29th April they sighted the coast of
Australia. On passing through Bass Straits Captain
Henniker passed very close by to dangerous sunken rocks
which he believed no person had ever before noticed and on
arrival in Sydney he published a notice in the Sydney
Gazette: - At 1 hour 40 minutes p.m. saw appearance of
sunken rocks close to the ship; in all stud-sails, and
steered between what appeared to be 5 or 6 sunken rocks,
apparently in a group of not more than 3/4 of a mile
There were several accidents to members of the guard on
this voyage and David Boyter included them in his journal
because they qualified for pensions -
Private Henry McInally aged 27, 31st regiment received a
severe contusion across the loins on 3rd December 1829 by
getting entangled between the capstan bars and bulkhead
while the crew were heading up the anchor
Private Henry Cooper aged 20, 63rd regiment lost his
little finger and partial loss of the one adjoining of the
left hand from a fall on glass on 27 January 1830
Thomas Copperinger aged 25, 17th regiment received a
fracture of the right patella on 28th March from a fall
during a gale of wind.
he Mermaid arrived in Port
May 1830 with 198 male prisoners. The arrival
caused consternation throughout the town when it was heard
that small pox had been on board and
the vessel was quarantined pending a Medical Board
enquiry. The vessel was released in the evening when it
was found that all the patients had been long recovered.
The convicts were mustered on board by the Colonial
Secretary Alexander McLeay on 10th May and they were
landed on Tuesday morning 18th May 1830. The Monitor
reported that four of the gentlemen prisoners are under
orders for the valley of Swells. ( Wellington Valley). Quite a few were also assigned
Australian Agricultural Company. Others
were assigned to country estates in the Hunter Valley
region where they were often employed as shepherds and
Select here to find out more about convicts
of the Mermaid who were sent to the
Hunter Valley region.
The Mermaid arrived just a month before the
announcement of the new '
Act'. This Act did little to deter convict
James Gibbons who was assigned to
Dangar on arrival and later became a notorious
bushranger. He was captured after robbing the Murrurundi
Mail in 1839. Find out more about him
David Boyter returned to England in August and was next
appointed surgeon superintendent on the convict ship
It was recorded in the London Morning Post on 20th
September that the Guard for the Midas, a
detachment of the 39th regiment were ordered to embark at
Portsmouth. The Guard comprised 30 rank and file of the
39th under orders of Lieutenant George Meares Bowen (1).
Other convict ships
bringing detachments of the 39th regiment included the
Rev. James Norman with Mrs. Norman and 2 children, and Mr.
and Mrs. Lisk embarked on the Midas at Deptford on 18th
September, a passage having been granted by H.M.
Government. James and Charles McArthur and Ensigns Bulkly
and Lewis of the 40th regiment also embarked passengers on
the Midas. The Midas was the next convict ship to leave
England for New South Wales after the departure of the
Albion on 4th October 1826. The Midas departed Plymouth 16
October 1826 and arrived in Port Jackson on 15 February
One hundred and forty five male prisoners arrived on
the Midas. Three prisoners and two soldiers died on the
Dr. James Morice kept a
Medical Journal from 23 August
1826 to 1 March 1827
recorded the circumstances of the deaths on board: -
Michael McBride, aged 22 a private in the 39th Regiment complained of
headache, pain all over his body, a cough and difficulty in breathing. He
died while the ship was still at Spithead on 20 October 1826.
John Watts, aged 21, a private of the 39th Regiment presented with severe
pain across the thorax, difficulty of breathing, incessant cough and pain in
the head, back and extremities. His skin was hot and dry. Surgeon Morice
thought Watts to be a plethoric habit of body He had fallen asleep on deck
and remained there for several hours exposed to a heavy dew and smart frost.
Watts was put on the sick list on 10 October 1826 at Spithead but died on 29
first convict to die was John Colville aged 33. He was suffering from
contracted muscles and his legs were swollen. He died at sea on 14 January
after six weeks illness. Thomas Hayes aged 25 died on 30 January after
becoming ill with jaundice. William King aged 31 died on 3rd February after
displaying symptoms of scurvy for six weeks
were two serious accidents that required Mr. Morice's skill. George Challen,
a prisoner aged 36 was badly scalded by hot boiling water on his face, body
and extremities due to a sudden lurch of the ship. He was put on the sick
list on 25 November and discharged on 16 January with no disfigurement or
stiffness of joints. The other was John Outram, a private of the 39th
regiment. He was severely wounded on the cheek and mouth by the accidental
firing of a musket on 9th January. He recovered sufficiently to march with
his detachment to the barracks in Sydney on 12 February 1827.
kept a Medical Journal from 1st June 1839 to 1st February 1840. Two hundred
prisoners + 1 man from Mauritius came under his care.
The Guard consisted of 29 rank and file of 50th
There were about five convicts who fell victim to
dysentery. The only instance of scurvy was in that of a
man who was suffering from mental illness and refused to
eat fresh provisions when they were available, imagining
that any change from the general diet of the convicts was
from some design against his life.
James Hunter kept a Medical Journal from 5 September 1817
to 8 May 1818..... The convicts were yet to embark on 3rd
October when a serious accident occurred. The Minerva lay
close to shore in Cork Harbour when a boat fell from the
booms and crushed Private William Cullen who was sent to
the military hospital in Cork. He died the following day.
Private William Longshaw of the 48th regiment was also
sent to the military hospital. Several others were injured
including a woman, Sarah Mulligan.
James Hunter examined the prisoners when they came on
board and found that many of them suffered with ulcers,
constipation and an eruptive itch which had commenced in
the prison they had been held in. He treated convict John
Cartwright in a kindly manner. Cartwright was weighed down
by anxiety and lowness of spirits having left a wife and
many children behind in Dublin. His strength had been
reduced as well after the fatigue and privation during a
tedious passage from Dublin. He was fed on arrowroot and
wine and the surgeon intended to keep him in the hospital
for the entire voyage if possible as the crowded
conditions in the prison would be detrimental to his
They weighed anchor on 1st January 1818. Some of the
convicts were assisting in sailing the ship and one,
William McCormick was seriously injured by one of the
anchors. He was treated by the surgeon and had recovered
by the next week. Another convict John Cavenagh age 14
(according to the surgeon's journal) was
injured two days later while employed hauling rope.
James Hunter was called to the prison on 5th January by the
messmates of William Barnwell age 24 who had attempted
suicide by cutting his throat. He had laid in a pool of
blood since the previous evening but was treated by the
surgeon and later recovered.
arrived on the Minerva as Assistant Surgeon of the
48th Regiment. Other members of the 48th regt., included
Private Matthew Caroline, Private William Longshaw and
Private John Boardman.
Other convict ships bringing
detachments of the 48th regiment included the Larkins,
The Minerva arrived on 8th May and John Thomas Campbell, came on
board to examine the prisoners. He found them to be in
good health except John McGar who had a slight fever.
Robert Marang had been sent to the hospital on shore. The
surgeon reported that no deaths had occurred on the
The convict indents reveal the name of the convict, when
and where tried, sentence, native place, calling, age and
James Hunter was also surgeon on the convict ships
The convicts were
embarked on the Minerva at Cork on 18th August 1819.
consisted of a detachment of the 1st Foot (Royal) under
orders of Ensign Harrison, 45th regt., Passengers Mr and
Correspondence dated 24th August
from Dr. Trevor, superintendent and medical inspector of
convicts, to William Gregory, Under Secretary, Dublin
Castle, concerning his superintendence of embarkation of
convicts at Cork reveals that there was an attempted
mutiny on board prior to the ship sailing.
There is also a List of names and details of each of the
convicts on board the 'Minerva'. Included is the full name of each convict, age, date
of assizes trial, crimes, and length of transportation sentence. Names
are arranged by county. Crimes include picking pockets, sheep and cow steeling,
vagrancy, perjury, highway robbery, assault, and possession of forged bank
notes. Also included is the statement of John Bell, ship's commander,
certifying receipt of all convicts
listed, and also receipt of various items of clothing for each convict. Also
receipt of 'one hundred spelling books with religious extracts annexed
thereto, and likewise Fifty Testaments'.
The Minerva was the
next convict ship to leave Ireland for New South Wales
after the departure of the
Daphne in May 1819. The Minerva departed
Cove of Cork on
26th August 1819.
They endured some boisterous weather while off the Cape of
Good Hope but came direct without landing anywhere.
was customary to enquire of prisoners on arrival in the
colony as to whether they were satisfied with the
treatment they had received on the voyage out. On the
arrival of the Minerva, three convicts - Thomas
Quinn, James Connelly and John Hogan informed
the authorities that they had not received their full
rations of provisions, although they did not lay blame on
either the Captain or the Surgeon. Governor Macquarie
instigated an enquiry which took place on 3rd January and
was headed by D'arcy Wentworth.....
Convict Thomas Dwyer was the first to give a
deposition. He told the enquiry that from 26th August
until 13 December the flour, suet, bread and raisins were
deficient in quantity because of incorrect balancing of
the scales. They were deterred from making
complaints to either the surgeon or captain by the threats
of convict John Harris who had been appointed to
superintend issue of the rations.
James Connelly was the next prisoner examined. He was
appointed by the prisoners to inspect the scales. Convict
Nicholas Roach was next interviewed. He had been
appointed as cook for the prisoners. He stated that there
was a deficiency in the beef from 23 October until 13th
James Berwise, 2nd officer was next examined. He was
entrusted with the issue of the provisions to the
soldiers, ships company and convicts from 26th August to
10th December when he became ill and the duty fell to
John Stonehouse, the Captain's Apprentice. He swore
under oath that the rations issued were correct. Seaman
William Sheppard also examined the scales and found
them to be correct. Jeremiah Collier Angave one of
the ship's company gave evidence stating that the scales
were frequently checked and were correct and that the
convicts had received their correct rations.
Patrick Gahigan, Sergeant in His Majesty's First or
Royal Scots regiment superintended
the weighing and issuing of the rations that were given to
the Guard until 10th December and deposed that the scales
were repeatedly balanced and were true and correct. .
Alexander Forsyth, Sergeant of 1st Royal Scots deposed
that he supervised the issue of the Guard's rations from
10th December until the ship's arrival in Port Jackson and
the scales were correct on all occasions but one when Mr.
Stonehouse was using them, however they were immediately corrected
on that occasion.
board of enquiry found that there was no blame attached to
Captain Bell, surgeon Charles Queade and other officers of
the ship and that the high health in which the prisoners
arrived belied their claims.
The convict indents include
information such as name, where and when convicted,
sentence, native place, trade and physical description.
There is no indication in the indents as to where the
prisoners were assigned on arrival. One prisoner, Patrick
Dane had died on the voyage out.
was Charles Queade's second voyage as surgeon
superintendent on a convict ship. Although his surgeon's
journal seems not to have survived for this voyage, the
rules that he recommended after his first voyage in the
Pilot in 1817 were probably followed on this
second voyage. His attitude to punishment for thieving and
riotous conduct on the voyage can be gleaned from the
journal of the
Minerva in 1821. He was also surgeon
superintendent on the voyage of the Phoenix to Van
Diemen's Land in 1824.
Minerva was to depart the colony in February. Those giving
notice their intention to leave on her included: Captain
Bell, Dr. Queade, Chief Officer, Mr. Wilkinson; Second
Officer Mr. Barwise; Third Officer Mr. Goodman; and
Mr. Moore, Fourth Officer.
The Guard on the Minerva
consisted of detachments of the 30th, 46th, 48th, 83rd,
and 89th regt., under orders of Lieut. Hingston of the
Other convict ships bringing soldiers of the
89th regiment included the
This was Charles Queade's third voyage as surgeon
superintendent on a convict ship. He kept a Medical Journal
from 21st July to 16 December 1821:
He reported that on
Saturday 21 July at Little Nore, the Minerva
received on board 142 male convicts in irons. They were
inspected and supplied with beds and blankets and then
divided into messes with six in each. On the 23 July
thirty more convicts were received from Chatham bringing
the number of prisoners to 172. Although the surgeon
had applied to the Victualling Officer at Chatham for
fresh food supplies, none had been forthcoming and so the
men were on sea rations. (salt meat?). They were supplied
with razors and strap and deck trousers. On the following
weekend the carpenters and plumbers repaired prison
The Minerva was the next convict ship to leave England for
New South Wales after the departure of the
Hindostan in July 1821.
On Monday 30th July,
with the assistance of some of the prisoners, the ship
weighed anchor for the Downs. Other prisoners, less used
to a sea faring life soon began to suffer sea sickness.
Minerva departed Sheerness on the
1st August 1821,
continued to assist working her and on Saturday evening
4th August they passed by the Isle of Wight. The boy
convicts at this time had their leg
irons removed and the
men were supplied with 11 manuals of devotion, 11 bibles,
22 testaments, 44 prayer books.
On Tuesday 7 August,
as they came into the Bay of Biscay, most of the convicts
were experiencing sea sickness. There seems to be no
mention in the journal of singing and dancing or other
light hearted occupations as on some convict ships,
however the prisoners were divided into groups to take
turn about on deck; and were given jobs to do such as
picking oakum. Throughout the voyage prisoners were
punished with a few dozen lashes for thieving or riotous
behaviour as it occurred.
On Friday 17 August,
they passed the Island of Madeira at a distance of 30
miles and 25 men and 14 boys were allowed out of their
irons. A bottle of lemon juice was received in to the
hospital for the treatment of men who were ill. Three days
later there were rumours that the convicts had formed a
plan to take the ship. They were closely examined by the
officers of the ship and sergeant of the guard to find out
if they had weapons and what the plan might have been,
however it was found that the report was unfounded and
originated by the fears of a young Irish recruit while on
On 11th September the
hospital bulkhead was cut through by five of the convicts
including Patrick Connell, Thomas Badey and Emanuel
and the cupboard robbed of tea and sugar. Two of the men
involved received six dozen lashes and the other three
four dozen each.
On Wednesday 19
September Charles Queade recorded that the weather was
extremely fine and numbers of flying fish and dolphins
were to be seen. The convicts complained to Queade
that they were not receiving their full rations, but he
could find no evidence of this and o
n the 7 October
he reported that he thought the change in weather
had led to an increase of rheumatic affections and
pneumonia. Many cases of sea scurvy had also occurred.
By Monday 10 December
they had reached Bass Strait and passed by King Island at
½ past 3 pm., about NNE by compass. On
December 1821 they arrived in Sydney Harbour
Three men died of scurvy before the end of
the voyage and on arrival another 25 required hospital
treatment. James Bowman, Colonial Surgeon later laid the
blame for the outbreak on surgeon Charles Queade as lemon
juice and wine had been liberally furnished but not with
any regularity......(Charles Bateson, The Convict Ships)
The Prisoners were
inspected by His Excellency, Governor Macquarie on the morning of
Friday 21 December 1821
later referred to as 'the father of commerce in Newcastle
arrived as a passenger on the Minvera as did
settler John Brown
Charles Queade was also
surgeon on the convict ships
1819 and the
in 1824 (VDL)
The convicts of the
Minerva came from different districts of England and
were held on Hulks for months while awaiting transportation. In January
1825 John Henry Capper, Superintendent of ships made the
following report regarding the employment of convicts on the
hulks in the previous months.........
was the next convict ship to leave England after the departure
sailed from London on
with one hundred and seventy two convicts, one having been
re-landed before sailing.
guard consisted of Major Tobias Kirkwood,
and 43 men of the 40th regiment. Passengers Mrs. Hales
and three children and Mrs. Bell.
In July 1825 Major Tobias Kirkwood
commanded a detachment of the 40th ordered to relieve the 3rd
(Buffs) in Hobart. He was promoted to Lieut-Colonel in 1828.
On this voyage of the Minerva he kept a Private Journal from
his Embarkation at Deptford, on the 22nd of June, 1824. The
journal breaks off at Capetown on 23 September 1824. There are
also 23 letters from Major Kirkwood to his wife written from
Sydney dated 1-23 January 1825. (1).
Other ships bringing
detachments of the 40th regiment included the
This was Alexander Nisbet's
first appointment to a convict ship. He kept a
from 21 June to 20 November 1824.........
The earlier part of our passage in the channel was rough
and stormy and there was plenty of sea sickness, the usual
attendant on all commencing voyages, but without any immediate
bad effect on the health of our freight. Psora, however
appeared to a considerable extent and gave a good deal of
trouble before it could be finally subdued. We at last
succeeded by carefully separating the infected and preventing
the use of their clothes and blankets until after washing and
They experienced bad weather ma
king it impossible to keep the
prison adequately ventilated and scurvy began to affect the
men. They were compelled to stop at the Cape of Good Hope to
replenish supplies and remained there about three weeks while
the doctor obtained everything he could to restore the
prisoners' health. When they departed from the Cape on 1st
October 1824 they took with them one extra convict. William
Find out more
William Edwards (alias Alexander Lookaye)
who was first sent to Australia as a convict on the
A great number of prisoners had been unwell on this voyage and
at the end of the voyage the surgeon contemplated what may
have caused this - I suspect that it lay in the ship
herself, she having taken out her convicts unhealthy for the
two previous voyages, sending each time a great number of men
to hospital, this suspicion is confirmed in some measure by
the decision of a board of Survey held on her at Sydney who
judged it to be improper from evidence laid before them to
send troops in her to India.
I tried to remove whatever might be the cause of
diseases by the most unremitting attention and supporting
their spirits by every indulgence
in my power. By attention to cleanliness and
encouraging amusements, having provided myself with musical
instruments there were occasional dances of an evening in
which all took great pleasure.
The ship had a narrow escape from disaster on 14th
Hobart Town Gazette reported the incident.....Important
to Navigators.-Captain Bell, Commander of the Minerva, has
favoured us with an account of an important discovery of a
rock he fell in with on his passage hither we give the account
in Captain Bell's own words : " I send you the particulars of
a dangerous rock, immediately in the fairway for pas- sing
through Bass's Straits, to the southward of King's Island, and
which is not placed in Flinders' charts, or the French charts
of Captain Freycinet.-The Minerva on her last passage narrowly
escaped getting upon it, on the 14th November, at one p.m.
running at the rate of nine miles per hour ; Reid's Rocks just
seen from the deck ; bearing north six miles. The Black
Pyramid E.S.E. A heavy breaker was seen to rise not more
than one half mile distant from us, and which we passed
between ; and Reid's Rocks at not more than three cable
lengths; although there was a considerable swell at the time,
it did not break oftener than three or four minutes space. Our
latitude at the time,40°26" south, by an indifferent
observation. Should you have room for insertion of the
position of this danger, in your Paper, it will be useful for
those passing that way."
arrived in Port Jackson on Friday
19 November 1824.
Two prisoners had died on the passage out -
William Jessen and another. A Muster was held by the Colonial
Secretary Frederick Goulburn on the 22nd November 1824.
The prisoners appeared in good health and declared themselves
well treated and spoke favourably of the Surgeon
Superintendent and Commander. The indents reveal the name,
age, calling, when and where tried, sentence, native place,
physical description, conduct on the voyage and where assigned
on arrival. There is also some information about colonial
crimes and deaths included. Sixteen men sent to the hospital in Sydney on arrival.
prisoners were assigned to
Carter's Barracks - James
Buckley 17, George Campbell 15, John Carter 15, Charles
Chamberlain 16, Henry Davis 15, Robert Davidson 18, Thomas
Harry 17, Edward Johnson 17, William Moore 16, George Sharpley
16 and David Simpson 17. David Simpson had received a good
conduct report from his time on the ship however at the
Carter's Barracks he misbehaved and as punishment was put to
work on the treadmill. His gruesome demise was reported in The
Australian on 13th January...On Friday last a lad
aged 18, named Simpson, a prisoner in the Carters barracks,
met his death in the following dreadful manner: -- While
undergoing the punishment of the tread mill in the forenoon,
he dropped some halfpence into the interior of the wheel on
returning from his dinner, to resume his work, he made an
attempt to re cover his money by thrusting his arm underneath
; at this moment the men on the opposite side commenced
working the wheel, and his head was drawn in, and crushed to a
mummy. Life was extinct before he could be extricated. The
unfortunate boy had only just arrived in the Colony in the Minerva.
Simpson wasn't the only Minerva convict to make news.
Only a few months after arrival three of the men - John Lomas,
Abraham Thompson and William Leddington took to the bush. They
robbed a cart on the Richmond Road and were soon pursued by
settlers. After a furious battle two were captured, John Lomas
and Abraham Thompson. William Leddington escaped but was later
captured. In 1827 Leddington was one of the pirates who seized
the brig Wellington on the voyage to Norfolk Island. He
executed with five others in March 1827.
Select here to find out more about Henry Drummond
another of the pirates of the Wellington.
The name of
the Chief Mate and some of the seamen was revealed in the
Sydney Gazette after a court case took place in January
1825. Two of the sailors J. Wilson and G. Chapman were tried
and found guilty of assaulting the Chief Mate Mr. Long on the
Minerva after a violent altercation about shore leave and
grog. Their dispute had resulted in the whole of the crew
seizing the jolly boat and accompanying their messmates Wilson
and Chapman to gaol in Sydney. Wilson and Chapman were later
sentenced to 1 and 2 months imprisonment.
February Captain John Bell, was indicted for a misdemeanour,
in making use of highly improper and unbecoming language to
John Nicholson, Esq. Harbour master of Port Jackson, while in
the execution of his duty on the 28th of January, such
language having a tendency to excite Mr. Nicholson to a breach
the peace. A survey of the ship Minerva had been ordered by
the Governor which survey not meeting the approbation of
Capt. Bell, he went to M . Nicholson's office, and, in the
presence of several witnesses, used the offensive epithets,
stated in the information. Upon the second count, Capt. Bell
was found Guilty. The learned Attorney General, then informed
the Court, on the part of the prosecutor (Mr. Nicholson), that
be should not press for judgment, and here the transaction
Minerva sailed for Madras in later in February 1824.
Nisbet was also employed as surgeon on the convict
The Minorca arrived in Portsmouth on 27th May 1801 and departed from Spithead
on 21st June in convoy with the Canada and the Nile.(1)
She sailed via Rio de Janeiro and arrived in Port Jackson on
with 99 male
convicts, five having died on the voyage.
Free settlers arriving
on the Minorca included Matthew Gibbons, John Driver, Michael Keney,
William Keney, Thomas Bolton (Boulton) and son, Thomas Harley, Chevalier D'Clambe and James
Vincent. They were accompanied by 11 women and 26 children.
Guard on the Minorca consisted of sixteen men, 1 women and 3 children.
One of Australia's most famous
Hardy Vaux was first transported on the Minorca. He later
Memoirs while serving a sentence at Newcastle Penal settlement:
Extract from the Memoirs of James Hardy Vaux: -
In May 1801, after an almost fatal attack of the gaol
fever, his father, mother, and sisters took a final leave of
him, and he was removed to Gravesend, and put on board the
Minorca transport, which lay there with the Canada
and Nile bound to Port Jackson. We dare say it will be
new to the majority of our readers to learn how persons in
this situation are treated ; and as the subject has just been
raised in the House of Commons, it acquires greater
'Having entered the ship, we were all indiscriminately
stripped (according to indispensable custom,) and were saluted
with several buckets of salt-water, thrown over our heads by a
boatswain's-mate. After undergoing this watery ordeal, we were
compelled to put on a suit of slop-clothing. Our own apparel,
though good in kind, being thrown overboard. We were then
double-ironed, and put between -decks, where we selected such
births, for sleeping, &c. as each thought most eligible. The
next day, we received on board forty-six more prisoners from
the Hulks at Woolwich, and the Canada fifty. The
Nile also took on board one hundred women, from the
different gaols in Great Britain. The three ships then sailed
for Spithead where, on our arrival, the Minorca and
Canada had their numbers augmented, from the Hulks at
Portsmouth, to one hundred men each. Every thing being now in
readiness, we only waited for the convoy to assemble, with
which we were to proceed to a certain latitude. - From the Memoirs of James Hardy Vaux.
In correspondence back to England in February 1802, Governor
King wrote of the arrival of the Minorca -
I have the honor to acquaint you of the arrival of the
Canada, Minorca and Nile, with the persons and provisions
stated in the enclosed account. The passengers were all in
good health, and the convicts the healthiest and best
conditioned that ever arrived here, being all fit for
immediate labour..... (HRA., Series 1, Vol., 3, p. 379)
William Redfern arrived as a convict on the Minorca.
The Minorca departed Port Jackson bound for China in
National Archives - Voyages: (1) 1800/1 New South Wales
and China. Capt John Leith. Portsmouth 21 Jun 1801 - 29 Aug
Rio de Janeiro - 15 Dec Sydney Cove - 28 Apr 1802 Whampoa - 26
May Macao - 5 Aug Amboina - 2 Nov Cape - 1 Dec St Helena - 10
Feb 1803 Downs.
The convicts of the Minstrel came
from various parts of England and Scotland. Most were held in
county gaols and then prison hulks for various lengths of time
before being transported.
Charles Horrocks, Thomas
Brookes, Jacob Barber and James Yates who were all convicted
of highway robbery at the Chester Assizes on 6th September
1824, were probably held in the
before being sent to the
hulk on 9th November 1824. They had been sentenced to
transportation for life and were transferred from the hulk to
the Minstrel with many others on 28th March 1825.
left London on 10th April and
sailed from Portsmouth on
17 April 1825
in company with the
Norfolk. The Guard consisted of the 57th
regiment under orders of Lieutenant Shadforth.
One hundred and twenty one male
prisoners arrived in good health although there had been an
outbreak of scurvy in about twenty of the men early in July.
Hugh Walker kept a Medical Journal
from 19th March to 26 August 1825. The journal
contains medical treatment of those put on the sick list
however there are no meteorological reports in the journal nor
a summary of events as is often included in other journals.
Those treated by the surgeon during the voyage included Henry
Herrings, Henry Fussell, Ann White (age 11 months), Thomas
Chester (soldier), Henry Fairmanner, Catherine Connor (twin
aged 4, died 5th June), Charles Wilson, William Brown, John
Boswell, John Sheen, William Frowen,
On 25th August the order was
given that boats were to be alongside the Minstrel on
the following morning to disembark the prisoners. The
Sydney Gazette reported that the prisoners were landed,
and underwent the
usual inspection in the prison-yard by His Honor
Lieutenant Governor Stewart,
who was pleased to address the men in the usual encouraging
way. They appeared in the best health, and were afterwards
distributed throughout the country.
(Governor Brisbane who often
inspected the convicts, was on a tour of the interior at this
time and was soon to depart the colony).
Twenty two of the prisoners of the
Minstrel have so far been identified in the Hunter Valley
region in the following years. Some, such as James Dales and
Thomas Atkinson were sent to the
Australian Agricultural Company.
Others were assigned to settlers throughout the colony.
Charles Horrocks was assigned to
James Mudie and John Larnach
at Castle Forbes and may even have been there when the
infamous convict uprising and subsequent executions took
Edward Colthurst achieved infamy having
been found guilty of the murder of an aboriginal boy in 1826
and sentenced to Norfolk Island. He was one of several
convicts who were executed as pirates for seizing the brig
Wellington on the voyage to Norfolk Island in 1827. Select
to find out more about other Minstrel convicts sent to
the Hunter Valley
Hugh Walker was also employed
as surgeon superintendent on the
Charles Arkoll was also Captain of the
Mary which arrived in 1822.
Captain Thomas Bolton. Surgeon
was built in India. She was made of teak and fastened with iron
and although old, leaked little water, except through the ports in bad
weather. She sailed with a crew of fifty seven.
23 April, one hundred convicts were received from the hulks at Woolwich and on
the 29th and 30th, 300 more from the hulks at Portsmouth. The men had
been inspected on the Hulks and found to be healthy, however became
chilled when they had to wash before leaving the hulks in inadequate
clothing. They were probably conveyed to the Moffatt in open
boats. This later gave rise to catarrh, rheumatism and pneumonia. Some
men had been years on the hulks and some only a matter of weeks. Among
the prisoners were eighteen 'blacks from West India islands', two of whom died
on the passage out. One of the prisoners received from the hulk at
Portsmouth was found to be insane and was returned to the hospital,
leaving 399 to embark on the voyage. Three more died on the journey
leaving 396 prisoners to arrive in Port Jackson on
30th August 1836.
The total number on board on arrival was an astonishing 498 people,
almost 200 of whom had been ill at some time in the voyage.
Moffatt was the next convict ship to leave England after the departure
Strathfieldsaye in February. The Moffatt departed Plymouth on
This was John Smith's third voyage as surgeon superintendent
on a convict ship. He kept a Medical Journal from 30 April
1836 to 5 September 1836
Ten cases of scurvy appeared on the sick list, but there
were also more mild ones not listed. The cases of three of the crew,
Paterson, Lewis and Thott were the worst the surgeon had ever seen. They
suffered great debility, delirium and involuntary discharge of urine and
faeces. Their gums were rotten and teeth loose and falling out. He
thought they might have died if the ship had not arrived in harbour when
it did. Surgeon Smith thought 'the crew was for the most part composed
of the merest riff-raff, and the scorbutics in particular were half
starved naked creatures when they were shipped by a [Jew] 'crimp'. They
had no allowance of tea, coffee or sugar or small stores and the
surgeon believed their salt provisions were of poor quality. He thought
that Government hired ships should be provisioned in the same way as
Kings ships in all ways except the provision of spirits.
There were many cases mentioned on the surgeon's sick list, however most
were common and slight and there were no serious accidents. There were
however several cases of scalding, all from upsetting cocoa in the bad
weather. The surgeon considered the cocoa a poor substitute for oats.
Every possible means was used to prevent disease, the people were kept
on deck and kept moving as much as possible, and prisoners were allowed
to dance and play. Between decks was kept as clean and dry as possible.
Several large po
rts were kept open, stoves were used in damp, cold
The surgeon's final remarks suggest a disagreement between himself and
Captain Bolton. The
had come direct (did not put into the Cape for fresh provisions). With
three crew so very ill with scurvy and other of the prisoners also
suffering, surgeon John Smith would have preferred to procure fresh
provisions to ease their suffering. This request Captain Bolton
obviously refused, electing to reach his destination in the shortest
time possible. John Smith wrote in his Journal that he thought surgeons
should be able to compel the master of a vessel into port to secure
fresh food if necessary.
As the Moffatt approached the Sydney
Heads at 2pm on 30th August, it was blowing a gale from the south. The
vessel reefed the topsails and hauled up ready to receive a pilot on
board at Middle Head. No pilot could be seen however and so they
attempted to tack and in doing so split the main topsail to ribbons.
They attempted to stand out to sea but could not clear the Heads. Now
fearing for their lives, they cut the anchors and left the prisoners and
such men as could be spared to take in the sail and veered away
expecting at any moment that the ship would be on the rocks. After an
hour they were approached by a vessel bringing Mr. Watson, the pilot and
a number of able seamen to assist. Boats from H.M.S. Rattlesnake also
came to assist and eventually the vessel and all on board were saved,
although the anchors were lost and new sails would have to be procured.
In October the Moffatt was
commissioned by Government to convey the remainder of the 17th regiment
The Moffatt was fitted out
at Deptford in October 1837. She could carry 400 prisoners.
three hundred men were embarked at Woolwich and another
one hundred at Sheerness
before the end of October.
They set sail from Sheerness on
9 November 1837 bound for
Van Diemen's Land, however were forced into Spithead to
replace rigging, probably delaying their journey
considerably. The voyage to the equator was tedious but
the weather held fine.
By the twelfth week scurvy had begun to affect the
prisoners. The surgeon thought this was not anything to do
with the ship which was large and commodious or the diet,
but rather to the delay in beginning the voyage and to the
generally poor condition of the prisoners, who were unable
to face the cold and were confined below decks in a
The vessel was cleaned by scraping and dry holystoning the
deck and with chloride of lime. Beds were taken on deck
every day and the men had clean shirts every Sunday. The
prisoners on this ship were more fortunate than some as
e allowed to indulge
in ' innocent recreation', and singing and dancing every
Three hundred and ninety seven male convicts arrived in
Hobart on the 1st April. As well as the prisoners
there were cabin passengers - Mr. and Mrs. Kemp and
children, Rev Messrs. Orton and Wilkinson, Major Smyth,
39th regiment and Mrs. Montgomery.
The Moffatt departed Hobart and arrived in Sydney
4th April 1838,
where she disembarked seventeen adults, twenty one
children, nine soldiers of the 50th regiment and thirty
prisoners of the Crown.
Gilbert King kept a
from 25 October 1837 to 1 April 1838. He was also Surgeon
Marquis of Hastings
in 1827, Lord Lyndoch in 1831 (VDL)
Eden in 1837
The Morley was the next convict ship to leave
England for New South Wales after the departure of the Sir William Bensley and the Fame
in October 1816.
Some of the prisoners who were under
sentence of transportation were held in Newgate prison in
October 1816. Six of the men masterminded a daring
outbreak in that month. They cut through the roof of their
cells at the top of the gaol and tying their blankets
together formed a rope to let themselves down in the space
between the walls of Newgate and the Physicians College.
Five of them got clear away despite a desperate pursuit.
The sixth was Maurice Healy who had been imprisoned for
burglary. He was detained by an old woman who locked him
into a small yard from which there was no possibility of
escape. (1)He was captured and sent off to the
Bellerophon hulk on 28th October with several other
prisoners - Francis Ross, William Lewis, John Copsey,
Richard Mincing, Bernard Levy and Isaac Greenslade to
await transportation. They were transferred to the
Morley on 18th November 1817. Some of the prisoners
had already been embarked - those who were on
the Retribution hulk were transferred to the ship on the
21st October 1816.
The Morley departed England on
18th December 1816, reached
the Cape on 18th February and sailed from there for Port
Jackson on the 25th April 1817.
The Morley arrived at Port
10 April 1817 with 175 male prisoners. No lives were lost on the
passage out. Sixty five of the prisoners were under the
age of 21. The indents reveal the name, age, when and
where convicted, term, native place, calling and physical
This was Robert Espie's first voyage as surgeon
superintendent on a convict ship. The medical journal for
this voyage does not seem to have survived however in the
journals of the
voyages of the male convict ships from England, the Shipley
in 1818 and the Roslin Castlein 1834, Robert Espie's treatment of male convicts is revealed. He
believed in having them released from their irons and giving them access
to the deck whenever possible as well as every indulgence available.
He was less tolerant of the female prisoners especially by the time of
his last appointment to the
He was also surgeon on the convict ships
in 1826 and Mary in 1830(VDL).
Only eight convicts died under his care in all eight voyages.
He returned to England via Batavia on the Morley in
Select here to read Commissioner J.T. Bigge's
report on the duties of surgeons.
were landed on 18th April 1817 and assigned to government
service or settlers at Parramatta, Windsor, Liverpool in
Bringelly soon afterwards.
Select here to find out more about the procedure
of mustering and disembarking the prisoners.
John Matthews, soldier of the 102nd
and 73rd regiment came a free passenger on the Morley
The Morley was the next
convict ship to leave England for New South Wales after
the departure of the female convict ship Maria in May 1818.
Prisoners were embarked on the Morley from the
hulks in June 1818. One prisoner John Bluera 21 year old coal
miner from Chester was held on the Retribution Hulk at
Woolwich. He had been tried on 17th April 1817 and
sentenced to 7 years transportation. He was transferred to
the hulk on 24th October 1817 and to the Morley
on 29th July 1818. By the time the Morley set sail John Bluer
had already been incarcerated for almost thirteen months
and by the time he arrived in Australia, seventeen months
The Morley departed the
came direct and arrived in Port Jackson on
7 November 1818, a voyage of three
months and 21 days.
John Whitemarsh. R.N., was employed as Surgeon
Superintendent. This was his only voyage in that capacity
and his medical journal does not seem to have survived. There were 164 male convicts under his
care and the men all arrived in good health. The Sydney
Gazette reported that
only one man was lost on the voyage out - a black man
named John Jenkins.
The military guard consisted of a detachment of the
84th regiment (York and Lancashire) under
the orders of Lieut. Beamish. Members of the 84th regiment
also arrived on the
General Stewart in December 1818. There was a
great deal of anger amongst the guard on the General
Stewart regarding their victualling by Captain
Grainger of the General Stewart, and Lieutenant
Beamish and Captain Grainger later exchanged heated words
on the decks of the General Stewart. Grainger
sought redress from Governor Macquarie who declined to
interfere in the matter advising them to settle in a civil
court. Lieutenant Beamish returned to England on the
Shipley in April 1819 as did surgeon John
The Morley was advertised to depart the colony
in December 1818. The former Chief Officer of the
Morley George Sutherland did not depart on her. He
advertised his intention to leave on the Guide in
that same month.
The Morley was the next convict ship to leave Ireland
bound for New South Wales after the departure of the
Marquis of Huntley in September 1827.
The Guard comprised a detachment of 57th regiment under orders
of Captain Robert Hunt and Ensign Alexander together with 6 women
and 6 children belonging to the troops. They embarked on
on the 27th September 1827.
Five sons of prisoners were also
embarked on the
England in 1825.
kept a Medical Journal from 12 September 1827 to 19 March
1828. He was kept busy on this voyage and there is not the information of ship
board routine as in the journals of the Grenada 1821 and the Recovery
1823, however all the many illnesses and their treatments are included in the
His first patient was Rosina Smith the 18
months old daughter of a soldier, who was treated on 15th October 1827 off the
Isle of Wight on the passage to Dublin. In the following days several
of the soldiers were also treated for various complaints. The vessel was in the English Channel until
the 22nd October. Mary Butler, wife of a soldier and mother of a 15 month
old was treated for a sore throat at this time. There were several hard gales off
the English coast however by
26th October they had arrived in Dublin harbour and the convicts had been
The first convict patient was treated on
the 26th October - William Wheeler, aged 36
described by Cunningham as an old soldier who had undergone many hardships. He
was suffering from a violent cough however Cunningham had been told by those on
the hulk that Wheeler was a great schemer and so he was disinclined to believe
all that the man said. He was treated by wearing a flannel shirt,
sponged in hot water, digitalis, laudanum and blisters were applied.
Morley departed Dublin on
3 November 1827and experienced favourable
weather for most of the passage. On 13th November
the surgeon's journal reported them to be at sea in latitude N41 3
Longitude W 15 28.
They touched at
Teneriffe to take in water on 24th November, leaving there
on 27th of the same month. During her short stay at
Teneriffe, the Primrose, 18 guns, Captain
Griffinhoffe, and the Alert, 16 guns, Captain
Burgess were also anchored there. Several of the guard were suffering from
ophthalmia while at Teneriffe
The entry for the 15th November is interesting as it relates
to the convict W. Crigan who the surgeon described as of a pale sickly
appearance, flabby, scrofulous habit with scars of former sores of that disease
below each jaw. He was always ailing in the hulk and on 15th November presented with dysentery. The
surgeon treated him successfully and when he was about to discharge him from the
hospital a few weeks later, seventeen year old Crigan developed a severe cough which turned out to be
(whooping cough, or as the surgeon referred to it, chin
cough continued for a fortnight and he at first bore up well under the disease
so that the surgeon held hopes of his recovery, however his health deteriorated
until the 9th February when he passed away. Crigan had never given up hope of
recovery until the last. This death occurred three months after they had
departed Ireland and Port Jackson was about four weeks
On December 8th the next case of whooping cough appeared in the child of a soldier,
H. Patterson aged 15 months. These were the only two cases of
whooping cough recorded in the surgeon's journal. This last case of H.
Patterson was discharged from the sick list cured on 12th January, two
months before the ship reached Port Jackson.
By January at least thirteen of the convicts were affected by nyctalopia
although none of the guard were affected. There was also an outbreak of cholera
and of boils.
Bilious illness existed
to a greater extent than on any of Cunningham's previous voyages and catarrh to a less
extent. He attributed this to the ship leaving England before the setting in of
Winter and entering the southern latitudes at the commencement of summer.
Three prisoners died on the passage out and a soldier was drowned.
Cunningham remarked in his journal
that the two prisoners who died of phthisis had become ill as a direct result of their
treatment on the hulk by fellow prisoners.
One of these was John Reid whose condition came to the attention of the surgeon
late in the voyage. He was described as a tall bony thin man with dark sallow complexion
and always in good health until he received a beating from his fellow prisoners
on the hulk when he received a kick to his right side. Being a 'backward, modest
man' he never complained to the surgeon of his troubles. He died on 23rd
. Peter Cunningham had written of the antipathy
that existed between the Dublin boys, Cork boys and the North boys in Two
years in New South Wales: A series of Letters comprising Sketches of the Actual
State of Society in that Colony (1827)......The Irish divide themselves
into three classes, namely, the Cork boys, the Dublin boys, and the North boys;
and these are so zealous in upholding their respective tribes, that when two
individuals of different classes quarrel, there is no possibility of arriving at
the truth, since a dozen of each class will rush forward, and bawl out at once,
in favour of their respective comrades, evidence of the most conflicting,
contradictory nature. The North boys are commonly called Scotchmen by the
others, and indeed many spoke the Scotch dialect so broadly as almost to puzzle
me to unravel it.
The third man who died was said to be a debauched individual
who suffered with liver disease. Cunningham remarked that these three were the
only prisoners who died out of almost 1000 prisoners, soldiers and passengers
who came to New South Wales under his care in five voyages.
The Morley arrived at Port Jackson on 3rd March 1828.
A muster was held on board by the Colonial Secretary
Alexander McLeay on 6th March 1828. The convict indents
include the name, age, education, religion, marital
status, family, native place, trade, offence, date and
place of trial, sentence, prior conviction, physical
description and where assigned to on arrival. There is
also occasional information regarding relatives in the
colony and colonial crimes.
Thomas Gaffey William Keegan and William Taylor were discharged to the Hospital in Sydney on 10th
1828 and the remaining prisoners were landed on 14th March 1828.
The convict indents reveal where they were assigned.
Two men John Curtis a widower aged 50 and James
Jennings a soldier age 24 were both assigned to Peter
Cunningham and were probably taken to Dalswinton
his estate at the Hunter Valley.
Four were sent
to the Engineers Department and thirteen to Hyde Park
Barracks. Thirty five men were sent directly to the Hunter
Valley region and the rest were distributed to other
settlers throughout the colony.
The Morley is said to have brought whooping cough to the colony.
Three weeks after arrival Governor
Darling issued a Proclamation
regarding quarantine in an attempt to
contain the outbreak however it came
too late and many children later died
including Edward, the infant son of
Governor Darling. The
Sydney Gazette published the
Proclamation on 24th March 1828
Excellency Lieutenant General Ralph
Darling, Commanding His Majesty's
Forces, Captain General, and Governor
in Chief of the Territory of New South
Wales and its Dependencies, and Vice
Admiral of the same&e.
&e. &e. Whereas it is judged
expedient, that the Schooner Alligator
should be temporarily stationed or
moored as a Lazaret, or Quarantine Vessel, in the Bay or Cove known by the
Name of Neutral Bay, on the North Side
of Port Jackson ; and that certain
Children, who have recently arrived
in the Ship Morley, and who are
infected with the Hooping Cough,
should be kept on board the said
Quarantine Vessel, until the Medical
Officers shall have declared it to be
their Opinion that there will be no
Risk of communicating the said Disease, which has been hitherto unknown
in this Colony; Now Therefore, I, the
Governor, do, by Virtue of the
Authority vested in Me, hereby declare
the said Schooner or Vessel, called
the Alligator, to be a Lazaret, or
Quarantine Vessel, during the Time
that she shall be so stationed or
moored as aforesaid ; and I do hereby
strictly prohibit all Persons
whatever, from having any Communication with the said Vessel, while so
stationed, without special Authority
from Me, under Pain of being
prosecuted with the utmost Rigour of
the Law. Given under my Hand, at
Government-house, Sydney, this Twenty
second Day of March, in the Year of
Our Lord One thousand eight hundred
and twenty-eight, "Ralph Darling" By
His Excellency's Command
London Medical Gazette.
The Morley seems
to be the only convict ship departing with male convicts from
Dublin at the end of the year 1827......... read
A Romantic Tale
The Morley departed Port Jackson bound for Batavia early in
The Morley was the
next convict ship to leave England after the departure of the
Lucy Davidson in July 1829.
The military guard on the
Morley consisted of 29
rank and file of different corps under the command of Captain
Storey of 20th regiment as well as five women and five children. They embarked at Deptford on Saturday
18th July 1829.
Passengers included Mrs. Storey and Lieut Tranton
of 57th regiment.
Passenger Felton Matthew embarked on the 3rd August at
Sheerness. He wrote in his
diary.....The weather throughout the day stormy and
tempestuous with heavy rain at intervals wind W.S.W. my
first day on board ship has certainly been a most unpropitious
one. The variety of noises by which I was kept awake at night
and disturbed early in the morning the disagreeable smells
the clanking chains of the convicts with other sights and
sounds far from agreeable tend to impress me with an idea of
the inconveniences to which they who travel by sea must be
This was Richard Lewis' first voyage as surgeon superintendent
on a convict ship. He kept
from 8 August to 14
There were no deaths on
the voyage. There were several cases of sea sickness
early in the voyage and some long-lasting cases gave rise to
the end of the voyage diseases of debility became more
prevalent and there were several cases of scurvy, only
cured by arrival in port and a healthier diet.
There were two births, both natural and of short duration. One
was to Mary Donovan, wife of Serjeant Donovan on 13 October
and the other to Bridget Hands, wife of Private Hands on 3rd
Two patients sustained fractures, the second being so close to the head of
the bond of the arm that splints could not be used and a wedge shaped pad
was improvised and placed in the axilla.
A muster was held on board by
the Colonial Secretary Alexander McLeay on 5th December 1829.
The convict indents include the name, age, education, religion, marital status,
family, native place, trade, offence, date and place of trial, sentence, prior
conviction, physical description and where assigned to on arrival. The Sydney
Gazette reported that the prisoners were landed on Monday 14th December and
marched to Hyde Park Barracks. A number of them had the appearance of
The convict ship
Mount Stuart Elphinstone
left Deptford for Woolwich on 21 May 1849. The Guard under the
command of Lieutentant Reney of the 96th regiment embarked on
22nd. May. They were accompanied by 5 women and 8 children.
They all seemed to be in a healthy condition.
On the 25-26 May 163 convicts were received on board; 69 from
Pentonville prison; 39 from Milbank; 24 from Wakefield and 21
from the hulks off Woolwich. The men from the hulks appeared
healthier than those from the different prisons. 32 convicts
embarked from the hulks at Portsmouth on 30 May. Two or three
of these convicts were rejected on the ground of being unfit
for the voyage, but two of the thirty two who embarked were in
the bad state of health, and they died of phthisis during the
The ship arrived at Cove of Cork on the 7th June. Messrs John
Martin and Kevin O'Doherty, two state prisoners were embarked
from HM Steamer
on the 17th June. They had been in the Richmond Penitentiary.
The details of their journey from the prison was reported in
Bell's Life:-" A body of mounted police arrived, accompanied
by the black cart, or prison van, which, with its escort,
entered the prison gates and drew up in the inner yard. The
query was then put if the prisoners were ready. The reply was,
that they were asleep, and that they would then be roused. So
secret were all the arrangements kept, that none of the public
had the least intelligence of the intended removal of the two
prisoners. At about half-past six o'clock Mr. Martin issued
from his cell, and stood in the prison-hall prepared for
departure. He bade a kindly farewell to the Governor and
officials, and warmly shook hands with one or two gentlemen
who were present. Mr. O'Doherty then came out dressed as if
for travelling. Mr. Martin expressed himself as in good
health, but there appeared a painful shortness in his
breathing, and his cheeks seemed flushed. Mr. O'Doherty looked
in rather delicate health ; but both maintained a sad but firm
bearing. As they stood in the hall a side-door opened, and Mr.
Smith O'Brien stood in the door-way, having come from his cell
to bid farewell to his fellow-prisoners, perhaps for ever.
This scene was soon over, and turning away from the door,
which closed again on their friend, the two prisoners
announced themselves ready. Mr. McManus came down also, and
wished to remain and see them take their departure; but this
privilege was not allowed him. He took his brief and painful
adieu, and returned to the solitude of his prison. After some
delay in getting fixed the few articles of baggage belonging
to the prisoners, the van, with its escort, issued from the
prison-gates, where it was met by nearly a regiment of
dragoons-the advanced guard with loaded carbines, and the rest
with swords drawn. Mr. O'Farrall, Inspector of Police, was
present. The cortege set off at a gallop along the
Circular-road, skirting the city, and struck in on the
Kingstown highway at Haggot-street Bridge, and thus at a rapid
pace proceeded to Kingstown, where the
war-steamer was awaiting the arrival of the prisoners, with
orders to proceed, after having received them on board, to
Cork Harbour, where she will land the prisoners at Spike
George Moxey was also surgeon on
Bound For Botany Bay:
Narrative of a voyage in 1798 Aboard the Death Ship Hillsborough -
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
Ancestry.com. New South Wales, Australia,
Colonial Secretary's Papers, 1788-1825