departed England with 300 prisoners bound for Port Phillip and Sydney.
The Guard (including families of the soldiers) amounted
to 66 persons belonging to the 11th and 58th Regiment.
The prisoners were embarked on 12th, 14th, 17th, 18th and 26 April,
and disembarked at Sydney on 23-25, 27 August 1849. In consequence of
the death of Surgeon Superintendent Harry Goldney, the Randolph
put into Simon's Bay on the 4th July for medical assistance and Walter
Lawrance was appointed to her on the 5th July 1849. Harry Goldney had
been suffering from
erysipelas. Walter Lawrence later recorded in his journal that there
were five case before reaching the Cape and eight cases of the same
disease after the vessel departed from the Cape. Of the eight cases he
treated three were cured, three were sent to hospital and two died on
board. Another prisoner died of pulmonary disease and another of
dysentery and another of
arrived at Port Phillip on 8 August 1849 with 295 male prisoners,
however they were refused permission to land. The Courier (Hobart)
reported the incident - The Randolph, W. Dale, from Woolwich 28th April with exiles and a detachment of the 58th and 11th regiments,
arrived at Port Phillip on the 8th instant, and notwithstanding an order
had been given by Mr. Latrobe, that no convict vessel should pass the
Heads, the Randolph was anchored at William's Town. Intelligence has
arrived via Launceston that public demonstrations had been made against
their landing, and it was reported that £500 had been subscribed to
defray the cost of conveying the exiles elsewhere, and that the ship was
to proceed to Sydney. During the passage of the Randolph
from England to the Cape, the Surgeon Superintendent in a fit of
insanity threw himself overboard and was drowned.
After arriving in Sydney the Exiles of the Randolph were sent to
was the next convict ship to leave England for New South Wales after the
departure of the
in June 1819. The
departed Portsmouth on 31st July 1819 came direct, and
arrived in Port Jackson on
18 December 1819.
This was Peter Cunningham's
first voyage as surgeon superintendent of a convict ship. He kept a Medical Journal
from 7 July to 30 December 1819 (43 pages)......On the
convicts joining this ship at Woolwich a very considerable proportion of
them laboured under Dysenteric symptoms with ulceration of the mouth and
tongue from thick encrustation of tartar upon the teeth - many of these
men had their complaints of several weeks standing but all of them had
great disinclination to complain from their anxiety to leave the country
and their fear of being returned to the hulk if found to be unhealthy.
Disease was aggravated considerably in those who laboured under it and
appeared chiefly I believe in those who were free from it by the great
heat and closeness of the weather at the time of joining, want of
sufficient ventilation below in comparison to what they had been
accustomed in the Hulk and their being obliged to eat the fresh beef for
two days without salt, none having been supplied for that purpose.
in the Southern latitudes the weather became cold and continued more or
less so until the arrival of the ship at Port Jackson, no windsail
having been used from about the above period and it being often
necessary to cover up the hatches with tarpaulins to keep up a proper
temperature below. At this time pneumonia and catarrhal affections
became prevalent and continued as to the end of the voyage.
The hours for
breakfast, dinner and supper were 8am, 12 noon and 4pm and every evening
for an hour and half the galley fire was kept lighted for boiling their
tea and coffee pots or cooking whatever little articles of comfort they
had supplied themselves with for the voyage. Corporal punishment was
never resorted to during the voyage, but the culprit punished by ironing
or confinement in the stocks, separated from all intercourse with his
fellow prisoners and kept on bread and water if the nature of the crime
required severer punishment. Four of the most trustworthy and best
behaved convicts were appointed captains of the deck, to have charge of
keeping the decks clean and that the convicts conducted themselves with
Peter Cunningham wrote of this first voyage of the Recovery in his
publication Two years in New South Wales:
conclusion of my first voyage, I desired one of the scribes on board to
make out an alphabetical list of the names, trades, and various
particulars of the other convicts; when he came to me in a doubtful
mood, scratching his head, and observing, "When I ask what their trades
are, all the answer I can get from three fourths of them is, "A thief, a
thief'; shall I put these down as labourers, sir?"
It is pleasing,
however to observe how anxious some of them are to conceal the name of
their family, to prevent its disgrace, from the shame that has fallen
upon a member of it; - or the ingenious excuses they sometimes make to
their friends, to account for their sudden departure from the country,
in order to prevent the giving pain, - never failing to point out,
however, how bright their future prospects are. My hospital man, for
instance, writes thus to his mother: "you will be rejoiced to hear that
I am in a good situation at last, after all the pain my misconduct has
given you, which shall never be the case again. I have been appointed to
the lucrative situation of doctor's mate of the Recovery East Indiaman,
now bound on a voyage to that country;
and as it is my intention to settle in one of the distant colonies, you
need not expect me in England for many years to come.
There were no deaths on this voyage. Illnesses included Phthisis,
Cynanche, Ophthalmia and
The Guard consisted of a detachment of 46th regiment.,
commanded by Lieut. Marsh of the 45th Regiment.
The Headquarters of the 46th
regiment commanded by Lieut-Col George James Molle arrived on
the Windham and other detachments arrived on the
Charles North who arrived on the
Recovery 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
Master William Fotherley. Surgeon Superintendent
The Recovery was the next convict
ship to leave Ireland after the departure of the Woodman in January 1823.
It was Surgeon
Peter Cunningham's third voyage in
charge of convicts.
He kept a Medical Journal from 19
November 1822 to 4 August 1823 (44 pages).
Peter Cunningham joined the Recovery at Deptford on 19 November, and
a few days later dockyard labourers and their families for passage to
Cork, and two young men bound for New South Wales joined the vessel.
They left Deptford for the Downs on 7 December and anchored in the
Downs on 13th December where they took on five boats to be taken to
Cork. They arrived in Cove of Cork on 20 December 1822. Five days later
a detachment of the 1st Royal Regiment consisting of 1 Sergeant and 30
Privates, under the command of Captain Gall with Mrs. Gall and 6 other women and
children, joined the ship.
Some of the prisoners of the Recovery had been held in
the county jails at Cork and Antrim which were visited by
Thomas Reid in 1822.....Cork - The county gaol is
not quite so bad as the city Gaol; and as a considerable
addition has been made, on an excellent plan, which will soon
be ready for the reception of prisoners, it is hoped the evils
of the former can now be avoided. I had an opportunity of
conversing with Robert Costello and the celebrated Captain
Rock, Walter Fitzmaurice; both under sentence for the
abduction of a young lady, to which, it appears, they were
instigated by a monster named Brown who has yet escaped the
hands of justice. A school was established in the County gaol
several months previously; many had learned to spell and read
who previously understood nothing but Irish.
- Complete classification and inspection
are indispensable in a good gaol; in this
prison they are both wanting. Two new wings
were added to it in 1820, the cell windows of
which are by far too small to admit air and
light in sufficient quantity, and the whole is
still too small for the number it is necessary
to crowd into it. In a day room, twenty feet
by thirteen, there were thirty six felons. In
a corner of each day room, a boiler is set for
cooking: each cell is provided with two beds,
and two prisoners sleep in each. There are
four cells to which the name "solitary" is
given, but without any apparent good reason,
for persons there confined can converse freely
wit those on the opposite side. Inconvenience
must arise from the passages to the
dormitories being injudiciously situated,
directly facilitating communication among
prisoners of different classes and sexes. In
addition to the above defects, the keeper, Mr.
Erskine, assured me that the prison is
insecure; and, that, if the prisoners would
but keep their own secretes, it would be
impossible for him and his assistants to
prevent their escape.
A schoolmaster is provided who receives a
salary of thirty pounds; and his services, I
consider, are invaluable. Many of the
prisoners have been taught to read and write,
although when they came in they were ignorant
of the alphabet. I saw the handwriting of
several; one man, upwards of sixty years of
age, learned to write beautifully in six
months. There were convicts of both sexes
under sentence of transportation, detained
upwards of eighteen months after trial; these
were constantly remarkable for refractory
spirit, and disregard of all regulations. In
the infirmary two old men were dangerously
ill; one of them was detained for his prison
fees. Each prisoner is allowed nine pounds of
oatmeal a week; six pounds of potatoes, and
one pint of new milk a day; one pint of salt a
week and four ounces of soap a fortnight.
On the 1 March 1823, the brig Integrity arrived from Dublin
with 240 prisoners for the Recovery and St Vincent. On the 4 March 1823,
the Recovery received 26 convicts from Cork jail and 78 from
the Integrity. The prison door was opened during the day and the prisoners
given permission to come on deck. All were mustered and locked up at sunset. On
the 5th March, 76 more convicts were received on board from the Integrity
making up the full complement of 180 men.
Peter Cunningham devised a strict routine for the convicts
while still at anchor in Cork Harbour. The men were issued
with shirts, duck trousers and a towel which were all
numbered. They were expected to keep them clean and entire
mornings were devoted to the convicts washing their clothes by
hand on deck before hanging them to dry. Occasionally items
were blown overboard and a number of times the prisoners threw
their trousers overboard (mostly prisoners disliked the duck
trousers that were provided, preferring warmer woollen ones).
Losing their trousers or caps either by design or accident
resulted in punishment such as extra cleaning duties or 24
hours on bread and water. Other punishments imposed for
various offences such as fighting and stealing included
shaving half their head or being lashed up in the rigging for
the afternoon. In April two convicts were handcuffed for
throwing stones in the dark and another for talking after 8pm.
Many prisoners were in poor health on embarking and the surgeon found
there was much illness at the beginning of the voyage. (mostly
rheumatism, diarrhoea and pneumonia) He attributed
this not only to their poor health but to their previous dissipated
living and depression from confinement and also to the great change of
diet as the Irish had not 'been accustomed to such nutritious living as
that given on board. Their improvement in health towards the end of the
voyage was attributed to the approaching end of the voyage, speculation
about their future prospects and their hopes of bettering themselves.
In Cork Harbour, the Recovery weighed anchor at 3pm
on 5 April 1823 and stood out to sea. The following day it was reported
that many of the guard and convicts were very sea sick. The ship was
pitching a great deal and Cunningham began to release men from their
irons. The bad weather continued and it was not possible to take
the beds up on deck in any great number as the ship continued to roll
heavily. They passed by Madeira at 4pm on 13 April 1823
On Sunday, 20 April 1823, as they passed St. Anthony
Cape Verde Islands the weather was fine and warm and all the convicts
were ordered to lay aside their jackets, shoes and stockings and to eat
their meals on deck. On 16 May 1823, the island of Trinidad was sighted
in the evening and the following day they were lying-to off Trinidad.
Boats were sent out to catch fish but without much luck.
All the convicts survived the voyage and Peter
Cunningham attributed this success to attention to cleanliness and
ventilation, to removing their irons early and keeping the convicts on
deck as much as possible, and to making rounds of the prison twice
daily, consulting Captains of messes and questioning anyone seen lying
down. Every fine morning the convicts were kept on deck at least
two hours until the lower deck was cleaned and inspected and at least an
hour in the evening, while the lower decks were cooled and ventilated.
The lower deck was cleaned every day and none were permitted to go below
until it was dry. The convicts were mustered frequently with feet bare
and trousers rolled above the knees to see that they were clean, beds
and blankets were aired. Schools were set up in April.
They were given school books, writing paper,
pens and ink, slates and pencils. The men were arranged into five
classes according to their ability and they attended for 2 - 3
hours per day. Prisoners were
also allowed to dance for two hours before mustering down. (Those found
dancing or singing on a Sunday were punished)
Peter Cunningham wrote of Irish prisoners under his
charge in his publication Two years in New South Wales: A series of
Letters comprising Sketches of the Actual State of Society in that
The Irish convicts are more happy and contented with
their situation on board than the English, although more loth to leave
their country, even improved as the situation of the great body of them
is by being thus removed, - numbers telling me they had never been half
so well off in their lives before. It was most amusing to read the
letters they sent to their friends on being fairly settled on board,
(all such going through the surgeon's hands), none ever failing to give
a most circumstantial account of what the breakfast, dinner, and supper,
consisted of; a minute list of the clothes supplied, and generally
laying particular emphasis on the important fact of having a blanket and
bed to "my own self entirely" which seemed to be somewhat of a novelty
by their many circumlocutions about it. One observed, in speaking of the
ship, that "Mr Reedy's parlour was never half so clane" while the burden
of another was "Many a Mac in your town, if he only knew what the
situation of a convict was would not be long in following my example! I
never was better off in my life!"
The Irish convicts possess an anxiety to oblige, and
have a light hearted civility about them, of which the English are
totally destitute. If you desire an English convict to do any particular
thing, unless you either order him by name, or touch him, so as to point
out the identical person you mean, seldom a man will stir; while in an
Irish convict ship, on the contrary, if you merely chance to look round
as if you wanted something half a dozen will start up to anticipate your
The only real signs of religion I ever saw among
convicts were amongst a portion of the Catholics on board; for as soon
as they had mustered down, both hatchways were crowded round with them
counting their beads and fervently crossing themselves and repeating
their prayers from the book. There was no ostentation in this, because I
often saw them do so when they could have no idea I was near; but indeed
a great portion of them were poor simple peasantry, transported for very
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. Having
observed in the greater portion of the letters received by the Irish
convicts, 'Give my respects to Mr. Hughes, I hope Mr. Hughes is well, I
hear you have Mr Hughes on board', and similar expressions, I naturally
began to wonder who this said Mr. Hughes could be, whose name was so
popular throughout Ireland; and found by reference to the convicts that
he was the celebrated captain of all the Ribbon Lodges in that division
of the empire, the greater part of which had been of his formation, he
having travelled over nearly the whole of Ireland on that turbulent
mission. This was the individual whose name was brought before
parliament on account of his proposal to put all the lodges down again
provided a pardon was granted him; and I should have had some difficulty
in crediting that a man in his humble line of life, and withal so
illiterate, could have possessed such influence with his country men,
had not an intelligent individual among his associates stated to me that
a person in his station possessed much more power over the Irish
peasantry than one of more elevated rank; because, belonging to their
own body, and consequently actuated by similar feelings to their, the
greater confidence was placed in the propriety of whatever he proposed.
While passing round the decks one morning to regulate
the messes, on inquiring at the second mess whom they preferred to act
as captain during the voyage, one of them exclaimed in a laughing good
humoured Irish way "Och, your honour, we have got a captain already -
that is Captain Rock, as he sits there, and a very good captain he is!"
and in fact it was no other than the said celebrated captain whose name
had made so much noise throughout Ireland, how deservedly I know not,
as he declared himself entirely innocent of all the pranks laid to his
charge except that of assisting in the abduction of Miss Goold - the
name of Captain Rock having been conferred upon him, as he said in a
joke by some of his associates in jail. I gave credit to his story; for
a quieter better behaved man could not exist than Walter Fitzmaurice,
(for such was the captain's proper designation). (The appellation of
Captain Rock has been given to various individuals in Ireland both high
and low. It is in itself an idea - a principle.
The first sight of Australia was on 29 July 1823,
when they passed by Mount Dromedary, New South Wales, 50 miles to the
West and on
31 July 1823 they anchored in Sydney Cove at 3pm.
The following day, 1 August 1823, at 11am the
Colonial Secretary came aboard and mustered all the convicts, who made
no complaints regarding the voyage. On the 4 August 1823, at 5am all the
convicts were dressed in their new clothes and breakfasted. At daylight
dockyard boats came alongside and 180 convicts were disembarked, being
the original number put on board at Cork. At 11am all the convicts were
examined at the gaol yard by His Excellency the Governor who expressed
himself much pleased at their healthy appearance.
Notes and Links:
Thomas Bryon arrived as a free passenger on the
On the 19th October at
Spithead 160 male convicts from the Leviathan and
120 from the York Hulks were received on board. The
surgeon Alexander Neill noted in his journal that some
convicts had been returned to the hulks in consequence of
their being a great nuisance on board due to incontinence.
The Recovery was the next
convict ship to leave England for New South Wales after
the departure of the
Susan. The Recovery weighed anchor on
30 October 1835
with 280 male prisoners
This was the first of four voyages
Alexander Neill undertook as surgeon on a convicts ship.
He kept a
from 5 October 1835 to 16 March 1836.
He reported that the prisoners
suffered from sea sickness in the early part of November.
This was exacerbated by the cocoa they were fed and of
which they had the greatest possible dislike and disgust.
He recommended that cocoa was not a fit ration to give to
convicts and that oatmeal which the convicts looked on as
a luxury would be a better choice.
The weather remained fine throughout
November and December and there was little illness on
board although one of the soldiers who had been despondent
lost all recollection at this time. He remained in a
cataleptic state and died on 4th February.
The Sydney Herald reported that the
Recovery came into port on
February 1836 in a very creditable manner, both to her
commander Captain Johnson and Dr. Neill. The prisoners
were all in a healthy condition, not one death having
occurred during the voyage, the whole of the berths in the
ship present almost the extreme of cleanliness, and the
general appearance of the convicts of the same character.
Alexander Neill recorded in his
journal that nine prisoners were affected with symptoms of
scurvy on arrival - spongy gums, macular on the
extremities and in one case contraction of the muscles of
The prisoners were held on the
vessel for twenty days before being disembarked. They
landed on 16th March 1836.
Alexander Neill was also employed as Surgeon on the
the Eden in 1842 (to VDL)
The Recovery a fine fast sailing
teak ship with a surgeon on board was advertising to
sail for Bombay on 1st April.
journal seems to have survived however in the convict indents there are
remarks against each of the prisoners as to their conduct on the voyage
out. Other information in the indents includes age, education, religion,
marital status, family, native place, trade, offence, where and when
tried, sentence, previous convictions, physical description. There are
also details as to whom some of the prisoners were assigned on arrival
and occasional notes regarding colonial crimes, deaths and conditional
arrived in Port Jackson on Saturday
She brought the news that the wife of Sir Thomas Makdougall Brisbane had
been safely delivered of a child on the 7th March 1826.
On Tuesday 8th August, the Colonial Secretary
accompanied by the Principal Superintendent of convicts boarded the
Regalia to muster the prisoners prior to their landing and
undergoing the customary inspection of the Governor. The men
were landed during the forenoon of Wednesday 9th August and inspected by
Governor Darling who expressed himself very favourably on the mens' healthful and
otherwise creditable appearance.
The following information is from the
State Library of Victoria Catalogue.....Contents/Summary: 1.
Papers of Sir R.J. Wilmot Horton, Under Secretary of State for War and
the Colonies, 1821-1828. The collection includes correspondence,
1821-1837; a paper by the National Colonization Society re emigration
and land allocation for S. Aust.; printed papers relating to
emigration. 2. 27 letters, 1835-50 mainly to Alfred Miller Mundy, 21st
North British Fusiliers in Van Diemen's Land and Port Phillip and when
he was Colonial Secretary of South Australia, 1843-1849. 3.
Journals and correspondence of William Sacheverell Coke. Diary
Feb.-Sept. 1827, describing his life in N.S.W. and journal of
voyage from Van Diemen's Land to England. The correspondence 1825-32
consists mainly of letters to Coke's father describing conditions on
board the convict ship Regalia from Ireland, at the barracks in Sydney
and while living at Newcastle in 1827.
The Research arrived on Wednesday
14th December 1831 having departed Calcutta on 2nd July and the
Mauritius 5th November. She brought a cargo of sugar, tobacco, wine and
Passengers from India, Mrs. Davidson and servant, Major
Gen. Stewart, of His Majesty's service, Captain Davidson, 13 the Native
Infantry and 3 native servants. A. Reid Esq., E.C.S. and 1 native
servant. E. Witmore Esq., and 1 native servant. Mr. David Jacobs Ensign
C. Clark, H.M.S., Ensign J. Poett, E.C.S. Ensign W. Kennedy, E.C.S. Mrs.
Smith Mrs. Seavale, Mr. Piper Mr. Wilson Mr. Coffy in charge of the
horses and also 6 prisoners and 2 children.
The Research was the same
vessel which was in Sydney in 1827 and in which Captain Dillon made his
discoveries at Tucopeia, respecting the fate of the unfortunate
George Imlay kept a Medical
Journal on the voyage to Australia. It began on the 10th August when the
guard, consisting of soldiers of the 21st regiment boarded the vessel
at Deptford. The Roslin Castle left Deptford for Ireland two days
later, however were obliged to put into Plymouth because of stormy
weather, and did not arrived at Kingstown harbour until 7th September
Cholera was still raging in Dublin and it was reported that two
men had died on the Essex hulk. The following table from House of
Common Papers in 1837 shows the men employed on the Essex and
the number of years of service. John Lamb, age 50 was the keeper
and had been employed there for 17 years at a salary of £184 12s 4d.
On 11th September one hundred and
fifty two prisoners and eight free settlers were embarked on the Roslin Castle
and the vessel weighed anchor and put out to sea
immediately to prevent communication between prisoners and their friends
with the hope of lessening the chance of infection.
After a stormy passage of five
days when many of prisoners became ill with sea sickness and some showed
signs of cholera, the vessel arrived at Cork Harbour. Seven men who were
still ill were removed to the Surprise Hulk at Cork.
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)
The Roslin Castle was the next convict ship to
depart Ireland for New South Wales after the
Dunvegan Castle in July 1832.
The Roslin Castle sailed from Cork harbour on
8th October 1832
195 prisoners and five free settlers - Patrick Whalan, James Macgrogan,
Patrick Neale, Terence Neale and James Slattery.
The Guard consisted of 30 rank and file of the
21st regiment accompanied by four women and four children under the
command of Lieutenant Bayley. Other passengers included Mrs. Bayley and child,
Pieter Laurenz Campbell of the 21st
In the early days of the voyage
George Imlay had to deal with dysentery,
ophthalmia, and catarrh. Scurvy
made an appearance amongst the men after only a month at sea.
Nearly one third of the men were affected. Seventeen
year old Lawrence Madden was the first case and seemed to be the most
serious. He was put on the sick list on 11 November 1832 and discharged
to hospital on 10 February 1833, five days after arrival in the colony.
There was one death on the voyage, just one day of making land at
As on the Dunvegan Castle
Eliza, a number of prisoners on the
had been found guilty of Whiteboy crimes..........The Whiteboys
(Irish: Buachaillí Bána) were a secret Irish agrarian organization in
18th-century Ireland which used violent tactics to defend tenant farmer
land rights for subsistence farming. Their name derives from the white
smocks the members wore in their nightly raids, but the Whiteboys were usually referred to at the time as Levellers by the authorities.
The Roslin Castle arrived
in Port Jackson on
5 February 1833.
A Muster was held on board by the Colonial Secretary on 8th February
1833. The indents reveal such information as name, age, education,
religion, marital status, family, native place, occupation, crime, date
and place of trial and physical description. Where and to whom the
convicts were assigned on arrival in New South Wales is not revealed in
the indents however many can be found in
assignment lists in the
There were a number of very young
convicts on this voyage. Six were 16 years old; one was 15; one
14; and four were only 13 years of age.
About sixty of the Roslin Castle prisoners have been identified
residing in the Hunter Valley region in following years. Select
to find out more about these men.
The male prisoners who arrived on the Roslin Castle were
landed immediately after the female prisoners of the
It was reported that the
men appeared in a good state of health; as many of
them were good farm labourers, it was thought they would be an
acquisition to the settlers.
Notes and Links:
who came from Queens County was hanged in 1838 after being found guilty of
the murder of natives at Myall Creek (Myall Creek Massacre)
who came from Co. Kildare and was sentenced to transportation for life
for highway robbery, accompanied Sir Thomas Livingstone Mitchell's
Expedition in 1848.
The Roslin Castle was laid on for Madras in March and was to convey the
remainder of the 39th regiment.
The prisoners of the Roslin
Castle came from different counties in England. After trial some were
held in the Fortitude Hulk at Chatham before being transferred to
the Roslin Castle on 17th May 1834.
The Roslin Castle
was the next convict ship to leave England after the departure of the
Surry in April 1834. The Roslin Castle departed London on
27th May 1834.
Robert Espie was employed as the Surgeon Superintendent. This was his
seventh voyage in this capacity. He kept a Medical Journal from 17 May
1834 to 25 September 1834.
There were only seven cases which he
considered serious. Three of these men died on the voyage out. - 1)
James Bond age 19 who had concealed his illness on embarkation because
he was eager to go. In the confusion of getting all the convicts on
board, it was a day and a half before Robert Espie knew anything of his
illness. 2) Edward Gale age 29 died of a ruptured blood vessel. He had
been a printer and was already ill when embarked 3) George Turner aged
69 who caught a chill after leaving the Cape of Good Hope and despite
treatment and nourishment, never recovered. The surgeon considered him a
very healthy old man and thought he would have recovered had the ship
not been so cold and wet for so long. He did not believe that a
Surgeon Superintendent should have the power to refuse a man solely on
account of his age but he thought it would be prudent to send all the
younger ones first.
Robert Espie was one of the most experienced Surgeon Superintendents. He
thought that novice surgeons in charge of convicts almost always fell
into the trap of keeping the convicts in irons, and not allowing them
free access to the deck, for 'apprehension lest the convicts rise and
cut his throat'. He thought this had a dispiriting effect and, combined
with the lack of fresh air and exercise, gave rise to many ailments
which did not occ
ur when the convicts were free of their irons and
allowed on deck. In his seven previous voyages in charge of
convicts, Robert Espie had never before encountered sea scurvy. On this
voyage there were at least 20 cases during the very damp and blowy
weather after passing the Cape of good Hope.
Passengers included Lieut. J.B. Dalway, 2nd of Queen's Own
Andrew Du Moulin, Esq., surgeon, 50th regiment; Mrs. Du Moulin
and 11 children; 29 rank and file of 50th regt., 7 women and 14
children. Lieutenant Dalway departed the colony for
Madras in January 1835.
The Roslin Castle arrived in Port Jackson on
with 227 male prisoners, three having died on the passage out. Two
hundred and eighteen prisoners were mustered on board on 19th September
1834. (Five were sick on shore; four sick on board; three died on the
passage out). The convict indents give information including
name, age, education, marital status, family, religion, native place,
offence, date and place of trial, trade or calling, sentence, former
convictions, physical description and occasional information regarding
place and dates of deaths, colonial crimes. There is no information as
to where and to whom the prisoners were assigned on arrival.
The Royal Admiral carried 24 guns and a
crew of 70 men. She was built in London in 1777 and owned by Gabriel
Gillet and William Wilson.
Shewas the next convict ship
to leave England for New South Wales after the departure of the
Speedy in November 1799.
Finn's Leinster Journal of 24th July 1799 reported
that on the previous Saturday morning all the convicts in Edinburgh
gaol under sentence of transportation were sent off to embark at Leith
for Botany Bay. Among the number were George Mealmaker, who was found
guilty respecting the society of United Scotsmen and Kirby who was
convicted of swindling.
The Royal Admiral arrived in Portsmouth on
20 April 1800 . The London Times reported that 90 prisoners were
put on a lighter at Blackfriars Bridge to be taken to the vessel. (1)
The Guard consisted of soldiers of the New South
Wales Corps. Lieutenant William Lawson of the NSW Corps arrived on the
The Royal Admiral departed on
28 May 1800.
(1). Gaol fever had raged
and 43 of the prisoners died on the voyage as well as the surgeon Samuel
Turner, four seamen, a convict's wife and a convict's child.
The vessel reached Rio de Janeiro on 12
August and arrived in Port Jackson on
James Wilshire of the Commissary department came as a passenger. He kept
a Journal on the voyage part of which has survived and can be
found online at the
State Library of New South Wales.
The journal begins with the
embarkation on 5th May and ends on 16th July when the ship was near the
Twelve missionaries came on
the Royal Admiral including John Davies, James Hayward,
Samuel Tessier, Charles Wilson, John Youl and James Elder....
Rev. John Youl and Rev. James Elder wrote letters
letters to the Missionary Society giving details of the voyage.......
The Royal Admiral also brought stores including
1600 blankets, 800 hammocks, 800 coverlids, 200 round towels, 100 irons
pots, 100 frying pans and 30 bellows as well as other good.
Governor King wrote of the Royal Admiral in a
despatch to the Transport Commissioners....The deficiency of convicts
Mr. Wilson accounts for by their having died of a fever, I cannot but in
Justice to Mr. Wilson, observe that the appearance of the rest (altho'
still in a very weak and crippled state) sufficiently testifies the
great attention he must have paid to prevent any further mortality among
them Hs conduct here has been extremely proper and conformable to the
tenor of his Charger party. The cargo was all delivered before the
allowed time expired. (HRA., Series 1, Vol.
III, p 82)
Convicts arriving on the Royal Admiral included George Mealmaker who later supervised weaving at the
Female Factory at Parramatta
; Printer George Howe ; and notorious fence
also a convict of the Royal Admiral was drowned in the
Hunter River in 1808 while attempting to rescue the vessel
a gale. John Cheeseman
was reported to have arrived on the Royal Admiral when he was
executed for cattle theft in 1808. (3)
He was unable to walk to the gallows as he was a cripple having been
injured many years before in an escape attempt from Canterbury prison.
The Royal Admiral departed Port Jackson bound for China in March
National Archives - Voyages: (1) 1799/1800 New South Wales and
China. Capt William Wilson. Portsmouth 23 May 1800 - 12 Aug Rio de
Janeiro - 21 Nov Sydney 30 Mar 1801 - 21 Apr Barrier Islands 17 Jun -
10 Jul Tahiti 2 Aug - 23 Oct Whampoa - 22 Dec Second Bar - 30 Mar 1802
Cape - 30 Apr St Helena - 2 Jul Downs.
(1)"Yesterday morning ninety
Convicts were put on board a lighter at Blackfriar's Bridge, on their
way." Times [London, England] 2 Apr. 1800: 3. The Times Digital
Archive. Web. 10 Mar. 2013.
(4). "News in Brief." Times [London, England] 7
Oct. 1809: 3. The Times Digital Archive. Web. 10 Mar. 2013.
One hundred and ninety-three male convicts were
transferred from Hulks Hardy and Leviathan to the
Royal Admiral at Portsmouth on 25 & 26th June 1830. All were
reported by surgeon George Rutherford to be in good health for
the passage to New South Wales. Among the prisoners who
had come from different parts of England were
forty Bermuda convicts re-transported from that island as
incorrigibles. The Royal Admiral departed Portsmouth on
5th July 1830.
George Rutherford kept a Medical Journal from 28
June to 22 November 1830.............. The ordinary system
of order, cleanliness, ventilation and exercise being strictly
enforced and the weather generally favourable, no symptoms of
scurvy manifested themselves before the latter part of the
voyage, all of which readily yielded to the use of lime juice.
The Royal Admiral arrived in Port Jackson on
9 November 1830 after
a voyage of 126 days. Dr. Rutherford had now been on
seven voyages to New South Wales - no other surgeon had been
more than six. He had lost only five prisoners under his
charge during that time. He was congratulated on the
clean and healthy appearance of the majority of the prisoners
who arrived on the Royal Admiral.
A muster was held on board on 15th November by the Colonial
Secretary. The convict indents include such information as
name, age, education, religion, marital status, family, native
place, trade, offence, when and where tried, sentence, prior
convictions, physical description and where and to whom
assigned on arrival. There is also occasional information
about colonial sentences, deaths and pardons.
Notes and Links:
About seventy five prisoners have been identified residing in
the Hunter Valley region in the following years.
to find out more about them.
The Royal Admiral commenced fitting as a convict transport
at Deptford on 29th March 1833. Andrew Henderson joined
the ship on the 3rd April and the Guard embarked on the
The Royal Admiral anchored in Kingston Harbour
having arrived from Deptford on
the 9th May 1833. Catarrhal fever (influenza) had
prevailed to a considerable extent among the prisoners on
board the Essex hulk at Kingston harbour and it was
considered inadvisable to embark prisoners before the 16th
May. Due to the length of their confinement and
indigestible and spare diet a great many of the men were
in a debilitated state. However the vessel was delayed in
the harbour until 4th June so the prisoners were kept on a
full allowance of fresh meat and vegetables and meat and
took on a more healthy aspect..
The Royal Admiral was the next convict ship to depart
Ireland for New South Wales after the
departure of the
in April 1833. The Royal Admiral departed Dublin on
4th June 1833.
Military Guard consisted of Lieut. Ainslie, 21st regiment, and
21 rank and file of the 21st regiment. Passengers included
Quarter-Master Archibald Fairgrieve 21st regiment, six women and 6
children. The 21st Regiment had its headquarters in Hobart
between 1833 and 1839 and dispatched companies to the
settlement at Swan River in Western Australia. (1)
Lieutenant Colonel Frederick George Ainslie was killed at
the Battle of Inkermann in the Crimean war in 1854. (See
Military Document appointing him to the position of
Lieutenant in January 1833. See
Memorial erected by his family)
Andrew Henderson kept a Medical Journal from 3 April to 11 November 1833.
The prisoners continued well enough until 18th
September when scurvy began to appear. The ship was at this
time situated at
Lat. 37° South and Long 69° ½ East.
The surgeon stated that “the prisoners had a sallow cast of
countenance, and their faces seemed fatter than natural” and
he “could perceive considerable rise of temperature in the
affected part…, stiffness of the joints or limbs, general
weakness and want of appetite” in a few days the disease
became developed in a manner which could not be mistaken
for any other disease, in which at first diffuse
ecchymoma, then purple and ultimately of a jet black
aspect sometimes attended with swelling and hardness. The
surgeon pointed out the case of James Reily, that “the
posterior part of the lower extremities was as black as
tar... his countenance became bloated, swollen and sallow
the eyes suffused and as yellow as in icterus or yellow
fever”. On the treatment of the disease
the surgeon tried the nitrate of potass dissolved in lemon
juice and vinegar in a treatment of scurvy and a small
doses of sulphate of magnesia given in a bitter infusion
is preferred to any other purgative.
Andrew Henderson was critical of the condition of the
convicts when taken from the Hulks and stated to the agent
for transports who was present at the muster on the Essex
that he could not carry out 220 prisoners in such a
debilitated state of health to Sydney without losing at
least fifteen of them, in which the agent acknowledged he
had never seen prisoners at any former muster look so bad.
The surgeon stated his opinion that many of them were not
fit when they embarked on board the Royal Admiral, however
his view was over ruled by Dr Trevor Inspector of Prisons
and Hulks in Ireland.
The Belfast News
Letter reported on 26 September 1834 that -
About 200 convicts
were shipped on Saturday from the
Essex Hulk in Kingstown Harbour, on board the Royal Admiral,
transport ship, preparatory to their sailing for New South Wales.
Zachariah Shaw, Robert Clayton and Thomas Clayton who had been convicted
of forging stamps, were also brought on board the same vessel from the
prison of Newgate (Ireland).
The Royal Admiral was the next
convict ship to leave Ireland for New South Wales after the departure of
Blenheim in July 1834.
The Guard consisted of 2 serjeants
and 28 rank and file of the
50th regiment, seven women and 1 child,
under orders of Lieutenant William Langley Tudor of the
50th regiment. Passengers Quartermaster Thomas Freer, Mrs. Freer, two sons
Thomas and Robert Freer and daughters Miss Amelia Freer and Miss Charlotte
Freer; Mrs. Tudor and three children.
Lieutenant Tudor and his family
resided in a residence on the banks of the Hawkesbury River at Windsor
William Langley Tudor was appointed Ensign in the 50th regiment on 9th
April 1825, Lieutenant on 26th November 1829 and Adjutant on 29 November
1829. He married Mary Ann, the daughter of R.R. Kitson in January 1830
and on 12th February 1831 Mary Ann gave birth to twin daughters.
Lieutenant Tudor was promoted to Captain on 1st April 1841. He served as
Aide-de-camp to General Grey in the action of Punniar in December 1843
and was awarded a
medal He was promoted to Major 30th April 1844. In 1850 Major
Tudor exchanged to the 86th regiment. He was appointed
Lieutenant-Colonial 20th June 1854 and Colonel on 10th August 1855.
George Fairfowl kept a Medical Journal from 22 October 1824 to 6th May
1825 (18 pages). He joined the Royal Charlotte on 22nd October at
Deptford. On 14th November the ship was reported ready to take on board
convicts and they dropped down to Woolwich. On 15th November they
received 136 male convicts from the Justitia hulk. They appeared
to the surgeon to be a very indifferent draught of men. A large
proportion of them had been transported for life and they looked sallow
It was reported on 18th
December 1824 at Portsmouth of the detention of many outward
bound vessels by contrary winds. Some of the ships had been
two months out of the Downs during which they had made
repeated ineffectual struggles to clear the Channel but could
not get to the westward of Plymouth. The convict ships
Hercules, Royal Charlotte and the Asia were among these
vessels detained at Portsmouth.
Royal Charlotte was the next convict ship to leave England for
New South Wales after the departure of the
Henry in October 1824. The Royal Charlotte departed
5 January 1825,
Teneriffe 26th January and arrived in Port Jackson on
April 1825 with 135 male prisoners.
Major Edmund Lockyer and 34 men of the 57th regiment, Mrs. Lockyer
and family of ten children. According to John Dunmore Lang, Edmund
Lockyer had a gentle and humane disposition. (2)
His daughter Ann was married to Captain James Brown who arrived on the
Norfolk in 1825. Edmund Lockyer died at Woolloomooloo in 1860.
Free passengers included William Barry and Mr. Bates of the Excise department and Mrs.
Bates and family. Mr. Bates later sued Captain Corbyn
for having provided insufficient provisions and for ill treatment on the
voyage from England.
Captain Corbyn reported that the
prisoners made an attempt to take the ship and a number of the
ringleaders had been placed in irons. Charles Bateson in The Convict
Ships wrote of surgeon Fairfowl's solution to the plot in which 43
of the prisoners planned to murder the officers and seize the ship -
George Fairfowl, an experienced surgeon who was on his fourth voyage,
separated the ringleaders. Ten of them were secured in triple irons and
fed on bread and water and were placed under the forecastle, 18 were
confined in double irons in the boys room and another 10 were double
ironed in the main prison. He imposed no other punishments and there was
no further trouble on the Royal Charlotte.
prisoners of the Royal Charlotte and Asia were landed on
Friday morning 6th May. They were mustered in the prison yard, and were
reported to be a fine set of healthy and active men. Out of about 330
only two were reported in the hospital. His Honor Lieutenant Governor
Stewart in the absence of the Governor in Chief, inspected the prisoners
and after the usual routine of rehearsing names etc. His Honor was
pleased to invite any one that had well grounded complaints to prefer,
regarding their treatment during the voyage, to advance, and institute
the same accordingly. No complaints were made of ill treatment or of
withholding their allowance of provisions although eleven men had been
kept upon bread and water and in triple irons from the 9 March, a space
of 58 days, and 34 others were deprived of their allowance of wine
during the same period. They were sensible that they deserved a much
more severe punishment than they received His Honor was further pleased to
observe, that the mutineers, would remain in custody until a proper
tribunal to answer for their crime was called. The Commanders and
Surgeon were publicly congratulated by His Honor upon the general
appearance of the men; who were afterwards marched to the prisoners'
barracks, and from thence distributed throughout the Country.
Meanwhile the mutineers were confined in gaol. On the 6th June a
Special Bench was convened to enquire into the circumstances of the
conspiracy on the Royal Charlotte. The investigation occupied
several hours and the evidence which went to the facts charged were
taken in the presence of the prisoners viz. James Fairley, William
Abraham Meharg, Thomas Richardson, John
James Skelton, William Gomm, William Gorman and Thomas
Blockley. James Fairley, the principal ringleader and promoter of the
conspiracy was sentenced to transportation to Norfolk Island, William Crossley and Abraham Meharg for aiding and assisting were ordered to
transportation for three years and the rest of the prisoners were
discharged. James Smith and Henry Phinn two witnesses were found to be
guilty of gross prevarication and were committed to gaol under
recommendation to be sent to a penal settlement for three years.
The dramas were not over for Captain Corbyn and the Royal Charlotte.
After the ship underwent the necessary overhaul, it was commissioned by
the colonial government to carry detachments of His Majesty's 20th, 41st
and 46th regts to India, in order to join their respective corps. These
troops, commanded by Lieut. Henry Clinton of the 20th embarked on the
7th June. The Royal Charlotte left Sydney harbour under difficult circumstances. The seamen all
refused to comply with Captain Corbyn's orders to get the ship under
weigh and he was forced to call on the assistance of troops. She finally
set sail under assistance of the soldiers however encountered violent
storms not long after clearing the Heads. She finally reached Cato reef
on the 19th June but struck a reef of rocks and was
Leaving the survivors on shore, the chief officer and Dr. Nesbitt
with twelve others, got into the long boat and after 21 days made
Moreton Bay. The Amity was immediately dispatched to assist
those who had remained on board.
The Sydney Gazette reported the perilous circumstances of
those who remained - The troops, with several of the gentlemen, were
landed on a beach, the only part of the reef above water; and on the
morning following the afternoon they were rescued, the beach
disappeared! The master of the Amity Thomas Brown also gave the
Sir, I beg to inform you, that on Wednesday the 13th of July, while
lying at anchor off the mouth of the River Brisbane, Moreton Bay, a sail
hove in sight which, upon investigation proved to be the long boat
belonging to the ship Royal Charlotte, of London, Captain Corbyn, with
Dr. Nesbitt, R.N. Mr. Sparks, 1st Officer, 8 seamen and 4
soldiers on board, which vessel was unfortunately wrecked on the 20th
June on Frederick's Reef, in Lat. 20° 53' 30" S. and Long. 154° 14' E.
On waiting on Lieut. Miller, Commandant, with these Gentlemen, he
gave me permission to proceed immediately in quest of the unfortunate
vessel; and after procuring ballast and water, we sailed on Monday the
18th and I have the pleasure to inform you that on Wednesday the 27th we
fell in with the wreck, and to our great satisfaction succeeded in
rescuing from a watery grave all the sufferers except one soldier
(Corporal John Hughes, 41st) who was drowned, and one infant who died
with cold at the imminent risk of this vessel, and the lives of every
soul on board.......
The following is a list of persons who survived the wreck and were on
the reef when the rescue by the Amity took place - Captain Dick,
lady and child; Lieutenant Henry Clinton (20th regt), lady and
child, Commander of the troops; Miss Tyghe, passenger (sister of
Mrs. Clinton); Dr. Nisbett R.N.; 71 non commissioned
officers and privates, 8 women and 14 children; Captain Corbyn,
Commander of the Royal Charlotte; Mr. Parks 1st Officer ditto;
Mr. Scott 2nd officer ditto; Mr. Evans 3rd officer ditto; men
and boys, crew, ditto. Private Thomas Neal (41st); Private
Hugh Murnane (20th regt); James Murphy (41st regt);
Corporal Baker (46th regt); Sergeant Lance McDonnel (20th)
and wife (Mrs. McDonnel had given birth to a son three days
before the shipwreck and the child perished of cold on the reef); Seaman
William Banks survived the wreck however died in Sydney from
injuries he received when a cask of water injured his leg.
The Royal George was a two-decker of
486 tons, built at Hull in 1820, copper-sheathed in 1831,
and owned by Samuel Moates of 49 Lower Shadwell.
The Royal George was the next
vessel to leave England for New South Wales after the
departure of the
Eliza in June 1828. The Royal George departed Spithead,
England on Tuesday 26 August 1828 with 160 prisoners and
arrived in Port Jackson on Christmas Eve,
24 December 1828
. A medical journal was kept from 15 July
1828 to January 1829
William Gregor was employed
as surgeon superintendent, his third voyage in that
capacity. Two men died on the voyage out John Howard and
Edward Deas Thomson, Clerk to the
Councils, Mr. Hensord of the Commissariat, Mr. and Mrs.
Bohen and Mr. Embleton and a Gentleman for the medical
services, all arrived as a passengers on the Royal George. Shortly after Mr. Thomson went ashore, he
was received at the Colonial Secretary's Office by Mr.
McLeay and the two gentlemen later dined together.
The first page of the Surgeon's Journal
has the note: As this surgeon
is in a state of derangement or imbecility of mind, let
this Journal be passed.
William Gregor was employed as Surgeon Superintendent on the
convict ship Medina in 1825 (to VDL) and the
On 29th July
1832 surgeon Peter Leonard R.N., arrived back in England after
a voyage of twenty months along the west coast
Africa on the ship
Dryad. On this
voyage there were 300 men under his care and he kept a Journal
which was published in 1833 and entitled Records of a
Voyage to the Western Coast of Africa, in his Majesty's
ship Dryad; and of the Service on that Station for the
Suppression of the Slave trade, in the Years 1830, 1831, and
Peter Leonard was vehemently opposed to the slave trade and
altogether spent seven years journeying along the coast of
Africa. During this time he saw many of his fellow officers
fall victim to what he considered a most unhealthy region.
after his return to England, he embarked on a slightly
different kind of voyage when he joined the convict ship Royal Sovereign.
Peter Leonard kept a Medical
Journal from 16 June 1833 to 4 February 1834
Sovereign was the next vessel to leave Ireland bound for
New South Wales with prisoners after the departure of the
Java in July 1833. The Royal Sovereign departed Dublin on 6th September 1833
with one hundred and seventy male prisoners. The
Guard consisted of 26 rank and file of the 2nd, 4th, 17th,
49th and 63rd regiments accompanied by a woman and child. The
guard was under the command of Lieutenant Campbell and Ensign Stowell of the 38th regiment.
Sovereign arrived in Port Jackson on
19 January 1834with 168 male prisoners of the Crown,
two having died on the passage out.
One hundred and
forty-four prisoners were sent into private service; eleven
were assigned to public service (8 to the commissariat, 3 to
the mounted police) and the thirteen remaining were
(2 were too old for assignment; 2 were sent to Port Macquarie
as Specials; 5 were sent to the hospital; 3 to the invalid
department; and 1 to Carter's barracks.
Sovereign departed in March 1834 in company with the
Lady Hayes and the Brothers all bound for India
Notes and Links:
Robert Little who arrived on the Royal Sovereign was
convicted of bushranging in 1835 at Invermein
The Guard consisted of
32 soldiers of 17th and 28th Regiments including
Captain Wheeler, Ensign Hilliard, Sergeant Joyce, Corporal John Kelly,
Private John Corrigan (died), Private Thomas Macgrath, Private John Lehy.
The Ruby arrived in New South Wales from Bengal on 28th
September 1811 with three male prisoners....
William Samuel Windsor
Harris Baker. Born 6 June 1790 at Westminster, London, son of John
and Sarah Baker. He was an officer of the East India Company and was
tried 13th April 1811 in Bombay and sentenced to transportation for life
for sodomy. (2)He received an absolute pardon in November 1817.(3) It
may have been him who was on a list of bankrupts published in the Edinburgh
Gazette in 1825. He resided at No. 1 Kennington Lane, Newington, Surry and was a
silk hat manufacturer. His will was dated 1852 (National
William Highland. Tried at Fort William Bengal on 21st December
1810 and sentenced to 7 years transportation for grand larceny.
Certificate of Freedom issued 5th June 1818.
John Cullan Tried at Fort William, Bengal on 21st December 110
and sentenced to 7 years transportation for grand larceny. Certificate
of Freedom issued 5th June 1818
Colonial Secretary's Papers. Copies of letters sent: local and
overseas, 1809-1813 Item: 4/3491 Page: 205
(2)Musters and other papers relating to convict ships. Series CGS
1155, Reels 2417-2428. State Records Authority of New South Wales.
Kingswood, New South Wales, Australia
(3)Ancestry.com. New South Wales, Australia, Convict Registers of
Conditional and Absolute Pardons, 1788-1870
Surgeon's Journals at National Archives
UK Royal Navy Medical Journals, 1817-1857 [database on-line]. Provo,
UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2011. Original data: Admiralty
and predecessors: Office of the Director General of the Medical
Department of the Navy and predecessors: Medical Journals (ADM 101,
804 bundles and volumes). Records of Medical and Prisoner of War
Departments. Records of the Admiralty, Naval Forces, Royal Marines,
Coastguard, and related bodies. The National Archives. Kew, Richmond,
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