Free Settler or Felon
Convict and Colonial History

Convict Ship Backwell - 1835

Embarked 152 men
Voyage 109 days
Deaths 2
Surgeon's Journal - No
Previous vessel: England arrived 28 September 1835
Next vessel: Mary Anne arrived 26 October 1835
Captain Dalrymple Dowson
Surgeon John Love
Follow the Irish Convict Ship Trail
Prisoners and passengers of the Backwell identified in the Hunter Valley region

Convicts transported on the Backwell were tried in counties in Ireland - Tipperary, Limerick, Clare, Galay, Cork, Kilkenny, Kerry, Westmeath, Leitrim, Mayo, Sligo and Waterford. Their crimes included various forms of stealing and robbery, vagrancy, assault, manslaughter, false pretences, forgery, firearms and whiteboy offences.[1]

Military Guard

The Guard was commanded by Captain Irvine of the 28th regiment and included Ensign Stanwell and 28 rank and file of 28th regiment, 1 of the 17th regiment, 7 women and 10 children, two having been born on the voyage.

Convict ships bringing detachments of the 28th regiment included Recovery, Marquis of Huntley, Charles Kerr, Westmoreland, Norfolk, Backwell, England, John Barry, Susan, Waterloo, Moffatt, Strathfieldsaye, Portsea and Lady McNaughten.

Marquis of Huntley 1835 Recovery 1836 Charles Kerr 1837 Westmoreland Norfolk Backwell England John Barry Susan Waterloo Moffatt Strathfieldsaye Portsea Lady McNaughten Convict Ships 1835 28th regiment guard

Departure from Ireland

Backwell departed Cork on 12th June 1835.

Surgeon John Love

This was John Love's last appointment as surgeon superintendent on a convict ship. He was well experienced having been first appointed as assistant surgeon twenty two years previously.

His appointments to convict ships included to the John in 1829, Mellish in 1830 (to VDL), and the Atlas in 1833 (to VDL). There is no Medical Journal available for this voyage.

Two prisoners died on the voyage out.

Arrival in Port Jackson

One hundred and fifty male prisoners arrived in Port Jackson on 29 September 1835. It was a clear day at 6am in Sydney on the 29th September, with winds from the SW, however by midday the skies had clouded over. Rain began the following day.

Convict Muster

The prisoners were probably mustered on board. The convict indents include name, age, education, religion, marital status, family, native place, trade, offence, date and place of trial, sentence, former convictions, physical description, and remarks. There is no indication where they may have been assigned however there are occasional notes re colonial convictions, pardons and relatives already in the colony.....

Patrick Leary, grocer from Cork was blind in the left eye. His brother Cornelius Leary had arrived 4 years previously

Jeremiah Lyons, 18, errand boy from Cork. His sister Ellen Lyons arrived 8 years previously

Patrick Doyle from Cork - His sister Margaret Doyle came six months previously.

Michael Walsh, sawyer from Galway - his brother George Walsh came four years previously

John and Thadie Cronin, brothers convicted of stealing poultry, both on board.

Timothy Houlahan - speaks Irish only.

James and Pierce Cantwell, brothers, both on board
Patrick Lacy age 20. Father Thomas Lacy transported twenty-one years previously

William Cunnane senior and William Cunnane junior from King's Co., were cousins.

Patrick and Dennis Lawyer were cousins

Michael Frost, had speech impediment. Brother John Frost came three years previously

John Donohue - wife Abigail Donohue convicted at the same time

John Power. Uncle Thomas Power arrived eighteen years previously

Patrick Bryan - Wife Martha Ryan convicted at the same time.

There were seven young prisoners on board -

Denis Connors and James Hogan were both 15;
John Drummy and Thadie Cronin were 14;
Patrick Mullins was 13; and
Patrick Carney an errand boy from Cork was only twelve years old.
James Corcoran - brother William Corcoran came four years previously [1]

Convicts Disembarked

Prisoners from the ships England and Backwell were landed together on Friday 16th October 1835. The Australian reported that they were mostly tradesmen and artificers with relatively few labourers. [2]

News from England

The Backwell brought with her the news of the death of the widow of the great navigator Captain James Cook. Elizabeth Cook survived her husband by 56 years and lived to be 94 years of age.

Departure from the Colony

Backwell was appointed to do survey work following disembarkation of the prisoners and departed for Mauritius in November.

She is on a list of Wrecks of British Shipping from Lloyds' Lists 1835 - Backwell, Boat picked up 30 January at Bourbon with 'Backwell, London, Dowson, 'on it'.[3]

Notes and Links

1). Select here to find other convict ships arriving in New South Wales in 1835.

2). Convicts and passengers of the Backwell identified in the Hunter Valley region


[1] Convict Indents. State Archives NSW; Series: NRS 12189; Item: [X637]; Microfiche: 714

[2] The Australian (Sydney, NSW : 1824 - 1848) Tue 20 Oct 1835 Page 2

[3] Nautical Magazine