Free Settler or Felon
Convict and Colonial History

John Washington Price

Convict Ship Surgeon

John Washington Price was apprenticed in the town of Clonmel, County Tipperary, Ireland to a Surgeon and Apothecary in 1790 until June 1796.

He departed Clonmel bound for Dublin where he entered as a pupil at the Royal College of Surgeons under Messrs Hartigan, Deace, Lawless and Creighton, Professors of Anatomy, Physiology, Surgery and Midwifery. He continued at the College until May 1798 when he obtained a certificate as Surgeon from the Royal College of Surgeons.

He married Honoria Fitzgerald at St. Mary's Church, Cork City in July 1798 and soon afterwards was appointed by the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, surgeon to the convict ship Minerva. The Minerva sailed from Cork for Botany Bay in 1799 carrying 165 male and 26 female prisoners. Many of them were United Irishmen transported for their role in the 1798 rebellion.

John Washington Price's Journal of the voyage of the Minerva is held in the Wellesley Collection at the British Library in London. The Journal was transcribed and edited with an introduction by Pamela Jeanne Fulton in 2000 :

The Minerva Journal - John W. Price was only twenty one years old and a recent graduated from Dublin's College of Surgeons when he commenced the journey. He was well educated, with a keen awareness of the world around him. His journal is lively, copious and detailed. It covers the entire voyage both to and from Sydney. Price was an acute observer of people and his journal is full of minutiae about convicts, sailors and soldiers, and the flora and fauna encountered along the way. In Sydney, Price was a frequent visitor to Government House. He met such leading figures as Bennelong, Dr Balmain, D'Arcy Wentworth, George Barrington, Dr. Jamison and the Reverend Samuel Marsden, and his observations of town life contain a great deal of previously unrecorded information.

The Minerva departed Sydney in April 1800. John Washington Price departed the ship in Calcutta and did not return to England for some time. He was appointed assistant-surgeon to the 12th Regiment of Foot which was stationed at Seringapatam in 1801. The London Gazette records that he was appointed assistant-surgeon (vice Baccot, deceased), in May 1801

He was appointed Surgeon to the 12th, (East Suffolk) Regt. of Foot on 13 February 1812. While on duty with the regiment in Ireland in 1817 he married Jane Ellen Bellew of Galway. Their son Richard was born while he was garrisoned at Limerick in 1819. When Richard was baptised at Southwark 9 June 1826 Jane resided in Great Charlotte Street, Southwark. [1]

In later records Jane Price was noted as residing at 78 Grafton Street Dublin (1828)

Army records reveal that John Washington Price died at Gibraltar on 6th March 1824 aged 46 years of age [2]

Notes and Links

1). Find out more about Irish rebel Thomas Brady, convict on the Minerva

2). John Washington Price was appointed Surgeon to the 12th, (East Suffolk) Regt. of Foot on 13 February 1812 A List of the Officers of the Army and of the Corps of Royal Marines


[1] London Metropolitan Archives; London, England; London Church of England Parish Registers; Reference Number: P92/CTC/021 (Ancestry)

[2] UK Navy and Army Death Records (Ancestry)