Convict Ship Asia
Embarked 190 males
Voyage 116 days
Surgeon's Journal - No
Previous vessel: Almorah arrived 22 December 1820
Next vessel: Elizabeth arrived 31 December 1820
Master James Morice
Surgeon Superintendent William Bell Carlyle
Prisoners and passengers of the Asia identified in Hunter Valley region
The Asia was built at Aberdeen in 1819. Convicts were transported to New South Wales on the Asia in 1820, 1822, 1825, 1828, 1830, 1832 and 1833. 
The ConvictsThe convicts on this voyage came from counties and cities throughout England and Scotland - Middlesex, Chester, Worcester, Stafford, London, Cambridge, Lincoln, Hertford, Derby, Surrey, Huntingdon, Lancaster, Kent, Southampton, Gloucester, Warwick, Nottingham, Leicester, Oxford, Stafford, Cumberland, York, Bristol city, Salop, Denbigh, Brecon, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Dumfries, Stirling and Aberdeen. There were also men from Barbados and Gibraltar and another who had been court-martialled at Chatham.
Most were probably held in county prisons or Newgate before being transferred to one of the hulks to await transportation. Some of the men who had been tried at the Old Bailey in April and May 1820 were sent to Newgate. They were taken from Newgate on 21st July and sent to the Bellerophon hulk and on 23 August 1821 were transferred to the Asia.
Most of the men were in their 20s and 30s however two were only fourteen years old - Thomas Reed and Walter Preddy and there were several who were 15 and 16 years old. John Hill was the oldest at 56 years of age.
The large Vessel in the centre is the Captivity, this was formerly the Bellerophon man-of-war, of 74 guns, to which ship, when commanded by Captain Maitland, and cruising in Basque Roads, off Rochefort, the Emperor Bonaparte surrendered himself, about six o'clock A.M. on the 15th of July, 1815.* Near the margin, on the left, is the Sheer-hulk, used for fixing the masts and rigging of the vessels in the harbour.
The Bellerophon was paid off and converted to a prison ship in 1815. She was renamed Captivity in 1824 to free the name for another ship. Moved to Plymouth in 1826, she continued in service until 1834, when the last convicts left. The Admiralty ordered her to be sold in 1836, and she was broken up.
Surgeon William Bell CarlyleThis was William Bell Carlyle's first voyage as surgeon superintendent on a convict ship. His medical journal does not seem to have survived however he made a total of six voyages on convict ships over the next ten years and the journals from those voyages are available.......Henry in 1825, Morley in 1823 (VDL) Andromeda in 1827 (VDL), Phoenix in 1828 and Marquis of Huntley. Hundreds of convicts arrived in the colony under his care in those ten years, and in all that time he lost a total of only seven prisoners.
Departure from SheernessThe Asia departed Sheerness on 3rd September 1820.
Military GuardThe Guard consisted of 1 non-commissioned officer and 30 privates belonging to the 30th, 34th and 69th regiment under the command of Captain Mann of the 30th regiment.
Other convict ships bringing detachments of the 34th regiment included
Batavia in 1818,
Globe in 1819,
Grenada in 1821,
Speke in 1821,
Prince of Orange in 1821 and
Adamant in 1821.
Arrival in Port JacksonThe Asia arrived in Port Jackson on Tuesday 26th December 1820 with 189 male prisoners all in good health. One prisoner had died on the passage out.
Convicts DisembarkedThe prisoners were landed at sunrise on the morning of 5th January 1821 together with the men from the Almorah. They were inspected by Governor Macquarie who was accompanied by Commissioner Bigge, in the Jail Yard at 10 o'clock. The Sydney Gazette reported that........
They were inspected by His Excellency the Governor who expressed to the Commanders and Surgeons of each vessel the highest satisfaction at the appearance of the men, who one and all testified to His Excellency their gratitude to the Gentlemen to whose care and tenderness they had been confided by a benign and merciful Government, in the most lively terms of heartfelt praise, acknowledging they had experienced universal kindness and general attention; indeed, their particularly healthy appearance fully confirmed the expressions of their grateful feelings, which spoke more than language was capable of giving utterance to. 
AssignmentFour prisoners were ordered to be assigned to private service at Parramatta - Thomas Guard, Edward Dyde, Charles Reece and Richard James were assigned to John Blaxland. Joseph Ponting was sent to the Government Factory at Parramatta, James May was sent to the Prisoner's Barracks. Others were assigned to Government to labour on the Public Works at Parramatta. The men were forwarded to Parramatta by water.
Departure of the Asia from the ColonyThe Asia departed Sydney for Batavia in February 1821. Chief Officer was Thomas Tooke and Second Officer C. Howard.
Notes and Links1). Gilbert MacLeod was a Glasgow printer and became involved in the 1820 radical uprising in Scotland. He published a newsletter called 'The Spirit of the Union' and with several other men was arrested and convicted of sedition in Edinburgh in March 1820. He was kept in close confinement before his trial.
In correspondence to The Examiner dated 11 March 1821, a friend of MacLeod's described the ordeal after trial....In the meantime my unhappy friend was dragged from his prison manacled and with every circumstance of indignity, linked to felons and wretches of the most abandoned description and shipped for Sheerness. He too a man of the acutest sensibility and delicate constitution. Only imagine, Mr. Examiner, for a moment what must have been his feelings on the occasion! He ultimately was sent to Botany Bay, whither he sailed six months since. By this severe measure a wife and family have been thrown destitute, thus 'visiting the sins of the father upon the children' It now turns out that his sentence was illegal as well as unjust; for by the laws of Scotland banishment is the hardest punishment inflicted for libel but the Judges have in this case, as well as some others, within the last thirty years strained a point, and banishment has become transportation. Would that this abuse had been discovered sooner! Then an individual beloved for his virtues and respected for his talents by all who had the pleasure of his acquaintance would not have been cruelly torn from society and all that he loved. - CASE OF OPPRESSION . The Examiner (London, England), Sunday, March 11, 1821; Issue 688. British Library Newspapers, Part I: 1800-1900
Gilbert MacLeod was sentenced to the unusual term of five years transportation. He was received on the Retribution hulk from Edinburg on 26 July 1820 with sixteen other prisoners from Scotland most of whom were thieves and petty criminals. He was sent to the Asia for transportation on 22 August 1820. In New South Wales, he was assigned to Mr. Wylde and then recommended to be re-assigned to Postmaster George Panton in 1822. Gilbert's wife Catherine and daughter Helen and son George arrived free on the Mary Ann in 1822. In the 1823 muster of convicts they reside together and Gilbert is employed as a schoolmaster.
Gilbert MacLeod was pardoned 2 June 1823 and permitted to return to his country. (HRA), however he applied for a grant of land in 1824 as he had decided to settle with his family in the colony. (CSI). He was granted 320 acres in the Parish of Stockrington (Mulbring) In 1827 he was employed as a Clerk by the Branch Eagle British and Colonial Life Assurance Company.
On 3 May 1828 The Monitor announced the death of Deputy Sheriff of the Colony Gilbert McLeod at his house in Sydney after an illness of only a few days, leaving a widow, son and daughter to lament his loss. ';We fear the widow is not a rich legatee. We trust the benevolence of his friends will be found in exercise on so distressing an occasion'. Gilbert MacLeod was buried on 3 May 1828 age 37. In the 1828 census (November 1828) Catherine is aged 40 and lives in a house at Prince St. Sydney. Catherine MacLeod died at her residence Prince Street Sydney in April 1829. - The funeral of Mrs McLeod, relict of the late Mr. Gilbert McLeod, some time Under Sheriff of the Colony, a gentleman of respectable literary acquirements, and whose premature decease was lamented by all to whom he was known, took place yesterday morning and was attended by a few select and respectable friends. Mrs. McLeod never was in a good state of health since the death of her husband, whose loss she survived scarcely one year. (SG 4 April 1829) Gilbert MacLeod’s land grant was held in trust by Charles Cowper and John Betts for his daughter Helen MacLeod. Helen married engineer William Anstruther Maingy in March 1830 and William and Helen then migrated to Canada in 1831. .
See The Radical Rising: The Scottish Insurrection of 1820 By Peter Berresford Ellis, Seumas Mac a' Ghobhainn.
Principals of the Criminal Law of Scotland
2). Political Prisoners
3). Convicts and passengers of the Asia identified in Hunter Valley region
4). Return of convicts who died in 1870. - Parliamentary Papers
Prisoners of the Asia in the Hunter ValleyArmstrong, John
Tried Glasgow court of Justiciary 27 April 1820. Sentenced to transportation for life. In 1828 age 48, assigned to George Townshend at Trevallyn, Paterson where he was employed as a blacksmith. Died in December 1831 while still in service to Townshend
Tried Chester Quarter Sessions 11 April 1820. Sentenced to 7 years transportation. In 1825 a convict servant of James Greig in the Hunter Valley. Samuel Astley and assigned servant George Bull were both to be victualled from the stores for six months in December 1825. They probably accompanied James Greig to his farm Craytonshaw in the Upper Hunter. Towards the end of 1825 blacks murdered James Greig's cousin Robert Greig and an unknown shepherd during his absence in Sydney
Tried Surrey Quarter Sessions 29 May 1820. Sentenced to 7 years transportation. Sent to Newcastle penal settlement in February 1822
Kent Goal Delivery 2 August 1819. Sentenced to transportation for life. Granted a ticket of leave for the district of Maitland in 1830. Ticket of leave cancelled for gross prevarication in giving evidence and receiving a bribe not to prosecute. Sent to Newcastle gaol from Maitland in February 1835. Sent to the watch house and then to a road gang. Granted another ticket of leave for Maitland in 1839
Tried Southampton Assizes 28 February 1820. Sentenced to 7 years transportation. Sent to Newcastle penal settlement in June 1821. Punished with 50 lashes in August 1821 for taking to the bush
Tried Stirling Court of Justiciary 22 April 1820. Sentenced to transportation for life. In September 1839 he was employed fencing a paddock for the use of the Mounted Police at Muswellbrook. Because of bad conduct at Muswellbrook his ticket of leave was cancelled for 18 months. Magistrate Edward Denny Day considered this an inadequate punishment considering the numerous felonious offences that he and his accomplices had been implicated in while at Muswellbrook
Tried Glasgow Court of Justiciary 28 April 1820. Sentenced to 7 years transportation. In December 1824 he was listed as a runaway from Port Macquarie and was forwarded to Newcastle
Tried Dumfries court of Justiciary 17 April 1820. Sentenced to 7 years transportation. In June 1823 he was a convict servant assigned to Robert Scott. He was granted permission to proceed to Newcastle on the Eclipse. From Newcastle he probably continued to Scott's grant at Patrick Plains, Glendon. In 1828 he was 28 years of age and free. He was employed as a sawyer by Archibald Bell
Shoemaker from Dalkeith. Tried Edinburgh Court of Justiciary 16 March 1818. Sentenced to 14 years transportation. Dark eyes, black hair, dark ruddy complexion. Sent to Newcastle penal settlement in January 1822. Absconded from No. 8 iron gang in March 1828. In 1831 he was assigned to government service at Newcastle and worked as a sawyer. A request was made by Sir Edward Parry that he be re-assigned to the A. A. Company
Tried Worcester Quarter Sessions 11 July 1820. Sentenced to 7 years transportation. Employed as a sawyer in Hunter River district in 1831. Charged with highway robbery and the murder of William Clements, overseer to John Bingle. Forwarded from Newcastle to Sydney Gaol
Plasterer from London. Middlesex Gaol Delivery 17 May 1820. Sentenced to 7 years transportation. In 1841 sent to Newcastle gaol from Maitland on a charge of drunkenness and exposing his person. Sentenced to be confined for 1 month or be fined 5 pounds. In 1848 sentenced to 3 months in irons. Sent to Newcastle gaol
Two prisoners by this name by this ship. In May 1825 sentenced to 50 lashes and to be sent to Port Macquarie for two years for robbing the watch house at Newcastle. In August 1826 sent to Sydney gaol having returned from Newcastle penal settlement. Sentenced to 2 years in an iron gang
Lang, John Robertson
Alias William Robertson. Tried Glasgow Court of Justiciary 2 October 1819. Sentenced to 14 years transportation. In January 1824 he was convicted of pig stealing and sentenced to 7 years transportation. He was forwarded to Port Macquarie in February. In January 1825 he was included in a list of runaways from Port Macquarie and forwarded to Newcastle. In June 1825 at Newcastle penal settlement he was charged with refusing to work. The Principal Superintendent stated that he was a very troublesome character for the previous few weeks and had said he would not work any more. Sentenced to work in the gaol gang. In October 1825 he absconded from Newcastle with three other prisoners. They were all apprehended and sentenced to Port Macquarie for the remainder of their sentences
Tried Lancaster Quarter Sessions 13 April 1820. Sentenced to 7 years transportation. In 1824 - 1825 he was a government service in the employ of Sir John Jamison at Regent Ville. In 1828 age 64, he was employed as a dairyman at Dagworth, the estate of Thomas Valentine Bloomfield
Tried Glasgow Court of Justiciary 4 October 1819. Sentenced to 7 years transportation. In July 1825 assigned to Leslie Duguid. In October 1826 reprimanded and discharged after being found guilty of drunkenness and fighting in the street.
Two convicts by this name by this ship. In October 1821 sentenced to 2 years in Newcastle penal settlement. In 1823 with five other prisoners, he was sentenced to 25 lashes for absenting himself from the cedar party to which he belonged and a suspicion of robbery. He became the leader of a notorious gang of bushrangers that roamed the Namoi River district. He was shot and killed by stockmen of Sir J. Jamieson in November 1834
Native place Essex. Tried Middlesex Gaol Delivery 17 May 1820 Sentenced to 7 years transportation. Assigned to T.W.M. Winder in Sydney in January 1823. Granted a Certificate of Freedom in November 1827. In 1828 he was employed as a labourer by George Holliwell. In 1831 he was sent to Newcastle gaol en route for Sydney and for trial in the Superior Court for receiving stolen goods. He was sentenced to be transported for 14 years. His accomplices were bushrangers David Pegg, Thomas Thompson, and Richard Anscomb
Tried Glasgow court of Justiciary 27 April 1820. Sentenced to 14 years transportation. Granted a ticket of leave for the district of Newcastle in 1831
Weaver from Glasgow. Tried Glasgow court of Jusiticiary 2 October 1819. Sentenced to 7 years transportation. In 1828 assigned to William Harper at Oswald and employed as a labourer. Married Mary Hannon (ship Lady Rowena) of Oswald in February 1829. Sent to Newcastle gaol from Maitland in December 1843 on a charge of neglecting to report his change of residence, he being a Norfolk Island expiree. Sentenced to 6 weeks hard labour. He was sent to Newcastle gaol from Glen Inness in 1860 before being admitted to Maitland gaol. He was to be forwarded for trial at the criminal court. His description being 5ft 5in, slight build, sallow complexion, grey hair, blue eyes. Tattoos included woman, bottle, glass, E.W. on lower right arm, MK ME FS KT EW and fifteen stars on lower left arm
Bookbinder from Glasgow. Gibraltar Court Martial 2 August 1819. Sentenced to 14 years transportation. He was received onto the Bellerophon hulk from Chatham on 21 October 1819. In August 1824 he was sent from Emu Plains to Western Mountain road party. In May 1825 he was transported to Port Macquarie. Residing in Sydney in 1828. He was granted a Certificate of Freedom in 1833. In July 1835 he was sent to Newcastle gaol from Maitland under sentence of 1 month hard labour. His conduct in gaol was disorderly. When he died age 43 in Newcastle hospital in May 1839 he was recorded as a free pauper
Middlesex Gaol Delivery 28 June 1820. Sentenced to 7 years transportation. Transported to Newcastle penal settlement in 1822. Transferred to Port Macquarie in February 1823. Granted a Certificate of Freedom in 1827
Born 1800. Tried Gloucester Assizes 29 March 1820. Sentenced to 7 years transportation. He was assigned to Nicholas Bayley at Cabramatta who died in 1823. He was recommended for a ticket of leave in 1825. He had not been convicted of any crimes or misdemeanours in the colony and had remained sobre and industrious having served faithfully the late Nicholas Bayly and family at Cabramatta from arrival in the colony. He was granted a Certificate of Freedom in 1827 In 1828 he was assigned to David Campbell at Cessnock and employed as a labourer.
Tried Gloucester Assizes 29 March 1820. Sentenced to transportation for life. Forwarded to Parramatta on arrival in the colony and assigned to the Female Factory. In February 1821 gave evidence in court proceedings at Parramatta in defence of superintendent Francis Oakes who was in conflict with Hannibal McArthur. Assigned to William Ogilvie in 1836. Granted a ticket of leave for the district of Merton in 1837 Died in 1837 while still in service to William Ogilvie
Carpenter. Born in Gloucestershire. Tried Gloucester Assizes 29 March 1820. Sentenced to 7 years transportation. Recommended for a ticket of leave in 1825 - he had not been convicted of any crime or misdemeanour in the colony and was considered honest, sober and industrious. He had served faithfully the late Nicholas Bayley and family at Cabramatta from 6 January 1821 to 4 April 1825. In March 1826 he was convicted with several others as an accessary after the fact in harbouring, comforting and assisting men who robbed the farm of Mr. Hayes at South Creek. He was sentenced to 7 years transportation. He was ordered to witness the execution of his accomplices and be immediately removed to the Phoenix Hulk under a military escort; and then to be forwarded from there to Norfolk Island to serve out his sentence. Granted a Certificate of Freedom in 1832. His years at Norfolk Island must have weighed heavy judging by an article in the Sydney Herald in 1832 describing him - a quizzical looking old codger, who, from appearances, carried his name visibly marked on his countenance, was charged with banging a poker and frying pan together through the streets the previous night at the same time harmoniously chanting Hark the bonny Christ Church Bells. Spouse Grace Thomson. Issue Ellen b 1836, Joseph b. 1839, Rosanna b. 1841, Thomas b 1834, William b. 1845, James b 1847, Mary A. b. 1848, John b. 1852.
Middlesex Gaol Delivery 28 June 1820. Sentenced to 7 years transportation. In March 1822 assigned to Rose's road party and on a list of men selected for clearing Mr. Marsden's estate. Assigned to Archibald Bell jun., in 1822. Permitted to proceed with sheep over the Blue Mountains to Bathurst. Granted a Certificate of Freedom in July 1827. In 1828 age 25 and resided at Lower Portland Head where he was employed as a butcher
Reece, Charles, the younger
Tried Worcester Assizes 15 July 1820. Sentenced to 7 years transportation. In December 1821 requested to be removed from service of John Blaxland in order to carry on trade of sheepskin dressing. Assigned to George Johnson in Sydney in July 1823. In 1825 he was assigned or a patient at Newcastle hospital. In 1826 he was in government service at Newcastle when he was charged with neglect of work by the overseer - On Wednesday last I gave the prisoners a reasonable task to perform and having occasion to visit another part of my gang about two miles distance, I left them telling them before I went I expected they would finish the task before they left off. I did not stay away very long. On my return about 1/2 four, they had gone off to the hut and had not touched the work I had pointed out; these are the idlest of my gang and Reece is the inciter of all of them to idleness and opposition to me. The prisoners state that the overseer does not allow regular hours for meals, that he sets them to work after breakfast and does not permit them to go to dinner until near sunset. George Thomas and William Burton express sorrow for having disobeyed the overseer's orders; Burton says he was unwell when he left off work. Sentences: Charles Reece sentenced to 12 lashes on the breech. Burton and Thomas admonished by the Bench.
Tried Brecon Great Sessions 3 April 1820. Sentenced to 7 years transportation. Died at Newcastle in September 1835
Native place Workington. Tried Cumberland Quarter Sessions 11 July 1820. Sentenced to 7 years transportation. In 1825 assigned to William Bell Carlyle. To be victualled from the Stores for 6 months. In April 1826 reported having absconded from service of Mr. Little at Hunter River. Grey eyes, red hair, fair ruddy complexion. Granted a Certificate of Freedom in 1827
Alias Castle. Tried at Woolwich; subsequently re-transported per Mangles in 1824 as John Castle. On the list of prisoners transported to Newcastle per Elizabeth Henrietta in 1821 under sentence of to 12 months at Newcastle. In March 1821 punished with 50 lashes for taking to the bush
References The Sydney Gazette 6 January 1820
 Bateson, Charles Library of Australian History (1983). The convict ships, 1787-1868 (Australian ed). Library of Australian History, Sydney : pp.342-343, 383