Free Settler or Felon
Convict and Colonial History

Convict Ship Canada - 1817

Embarked: 89 women
Voyage: 138 days
Deaths 0
Surgeon's Journal: no
Previous vessel: Pilot arrived 29 July 1817
Next vessel: Almorah arrived 29 August 1817
Master John Grigg
Surgeon James Allan
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Convicts and passengers of the Canada identified in the Hunter Valley

The Canada was built in North Shields and owned by Rieve and Green. Convicts were transported to Australia on the Canada in 1801, 1810, 1815, 1817 and 1819.

On this voyage 89 female convicts from Ireland were embarked on the Canada at Cork in February/ March 1817.

Cork Convict Department

Letter to Lord Sidmouth by Henry Gray Bennet -

In a report which I moved for in the House of Commons in 1817, which was made by the commissioners who investigated certain alleged abuses in the convict department at Cork, a scene is opened of neglect, oppression, and pillage, disgraceful to all the parties concerned.

I shall content myself with one extract taken from a report made by the Captain and Surgeon of His Majesty's Ship Tonnant, who were instructed by Admiral Holloway to examine the state of the Sloop Dumfries, laden with convict women.........

We found on board 63 females. The accommodation for them is a space within the hold, 22 feet long and 16 broad, levelled with ballast and covered with straw; the straw has not been changed since the vessel left Dublin, and of course much broken and filthy. Amongst these convicts is one case of continual fever of a contagious character, and requiring to be immediately removed to obviate a general febrile affection.

There are six other cases which require immediate medical attendance, and whose situation is such , as to render their removal from the Sloop absolutely necessary. The Dumfries with these convicts sailed from Dublin on the 30th January. This vessel arrived (in Cork) on the 2nd February and though the convict ship was ready to receive them they were kept in this state eight days. (Feb., 9 1817 (Signed Captain John Tailour, surgeon John Gibbs. [1]

Children of Convicts

There was concern about the fate of the eleven children whose mothers were due to sail on the Canada. The National Archives records that the governor of the foundling hospital Robert Harding attempted to have the youngest two admitted however the older children could not be accepted and so he asked the Chief Secretary for permission to send them with their mothers. There was apparently abundant room on board, as the ship had been chartered for l00 and provided with all kinds of necessities for that number.[2]


The Canada departed from Cork on 21st March and called at Rio de Janeiro on 6th May 1817, leaving there on 27th May 1817.

Port Jackson

The Canada arrived in Port Jackson on 5th August 1817. There were no deaths on the voyage and 89 female prisoners together with the eleven children all arrived in good health as testified by the surgeon.

Free Passengers

The surgeon also testified to the health of the five Passengers Mr. and Mrs. Johnson (Johnstone), Mr. Michael Henderson and Mr. Francis Abel, wife and three children.

Francis Abel was a former Sergeant, 102nd Regiment and 8th Royal Veterans Battalion; he first arrival as soldier on the Marquis Cornwallis in 1796, returning as a free settler on the Canada. (Colonial Secretary's Correspondence)

Female Convicts to NSW in 1817

The Canada was the next convict ship after the Lord Melville to arrive in New South Wales with female prisoners. The Lord Melville and the Canada brought a total of 188 female prisoners to New South Wales in 1817

Copy of a Letter from Governor Macquarie to Earl Bathurst-

Government-House, Sydney, New South Wales, 4th of December 1817...... In consequence of your Lordship's desire, I have made particular inquiry relative to the conduct of the female convicts who arrived in the two last ships, namely, the Lord Melville and Canada, and have now the honour to transmit your Lordship the replies made to my queries on this subject by Mr. Justice Field, who came a passenger in the Lord Melville, and Surgeon Superintendent Allan, who came in charge of the female convicts on board the Canada. The former will show how extremely difficult it is to prevent the female convicts from having intercourse with the officers and sailors during such a voyage.

James Allan later informed Governor Macquarie that he had taken every precaution on the voyage to prevent prostitution. To the best of his knowledge no female had lived with an officer or seaman on the voyage either.


On 11th August 1817 fifty women who had arrived on the Canada together with twenty-nine men of the Pilot were embarked on the Elizabeth Henrietta bound for Hobart. Of those who remained in Sydney some would have been sent to the Parramatta Female Factory. Francis Oakes was Superintendent factory in 1817. Select here to read the evidence he gave to Commissioner John Thomas Bigge in 1819 regarding the distribution of female convicts and their transfer to Parramatta.

Departure from Port Jackson

The Canada departed Port Jackson bound for Batavia on 24th October 1817. Those advertising their intention to depart on the Canada included the surgeon James Allan, James Byrne and his wife, John Spooner, Richard Baron and John Crowley.

Notes and Links

1). Convicts and passengers of the Canada identified in the Hunter Valley

2) Prisoners of the Canada who remained in New South Wales and are mentioned in Colonial Secretary's Correspondence included:

Ann (or Mary) Barns (Ann Hayes) - On the list of prisoners to be sent to Newcastle in 1817. Requesting permission to marry Patrick Hayes at Parramatta in 1820. Sent to Port Macquarie in 1825. Married Michael Murphy per Southworth in 1826

Mary Connor - Tried in Clonmell in August 1816 and sentenced to 14 years transportation. Petition for mitigation of sentence in 1818. In 1818 at the Factory and requesting permission to marry at Parramatta - . In 1819 seeking permission to marry Lawrence Donohoe.

Mary Furlong - Requesting permission to marry at Sydney in 1818. Married James Parsons per General Stewart in Sydney in 1826.

Ellen Hallogan (Helen Holigan) - Arrived with one child. Re permission to marry at Parramatta in 1820

Clarissa Harney - Re permission to marry at Sydney in 1818.

Bridget Keating (Caton) - On list of convicts employed by William Lawson

Margaret Keaton - Re permission to marry at Parramatta in 1819

Ann Kelly - On lists of convict maintained by William Cox 1818 - 23

Catherine Kelly - Re permission to marry at Parramatta in 1818. On list of prisoners to be sent to Newcastle in August 1818

Christiana Kelly - re permission to marry at Sydney 1818

Juliana Kenna - On list of prisoners transported to Newcastle in 1821

Ann Kennonton - Re permission to marry at Castlereagh in 1817

Margaret Keogh - Re permission to marry at Liverpool in 1820

Ann McKenna - Re permission to marry at Parramatta in 1818

Bridget Murray - At the Factory in 1818. Re permission to marry at Parramatta

Margaret Murray - On list of prisoners to be sent to Newcastle in 1817

Margaret O'Neil - Re permission to marry Daniel Johnson at Liverpool in 1821. Servant of Hamilton Hume of Appin in 1825

Mary Ryan - On list of prisoners transported to Newcastle in 1820

Ann Sullivan - On list of prisoners to be sent to Newcastle in 1819

Mary Waters - Re permission to marry at Sydney

3). Convicts and passengers of the Canada 1817 from the 1828 Census:

Ann Blake per Canada age 37 and James Blake per Fortune 1813 age 50, Superintendent for Captain Brooks at Lake George, Goulburn Plains.

Thomas Bowman per Medina 1827 age 31, farmer at Holsworthy. John Bowman age 7, Thomas Bowman age 5, Elizabeth Bowman 2.
Margaret Bowman per Canada, age 32, Died July 1829

Eleanor Buckley age 40 free by servitude, settler at Prospect;
Patrick Buckley age 12, came free.

James Connell age 35, per Duke of Portland, baker at Castlereagh. Ann Connell age 25, per Canada 1817. Ticket of leave holder

Mary Dwyer age 50 per Canada 1817, ticket of leave holder, Wife of Peter Butler of Pitt Town.

James Dwyer, age 24 per Canada 1817, Came free.

Mary Furlong (Parsons) age 38, per Canada 1817. Age 38, Sydney.

Catherine Hart age 40. per Canada 1817. Free by servitude. Housekeeper for James Macledon Kent Street Sydney

Mary Johnson, age 37, per Canada 1817. Servant to Robert Harbutt, Druitt Street. William Johnstone, age 51 and Isabella Johnstone age 32, came free per Canada, Landholders at Bathurst.

Mary Kellaher age 35, per Canada 1817, housekeeper for Vardy Sheehan, at Cornwallis.

Ann Kelly age 35 per Canada 1817, free by servitude, Householder at Richmond;

Mary Kelly, age 13, came free.

Mary Ann Kelly, age 26, per Canada 1817, Housekeeper for Joseph Boylan, Phillip Street.

Ann Kelly, age 35, per Canada 1817, Householder at Richmond; Mary age 13, came free.

Catherine Kennedy, per Canada 1817, ticket of leave holder, Wife of Richard Sullivan, Kings Street;

Patrick Kennedy age 12, came free; Mary Kennedy age 7 came free. Mary Kennedy age 45, Free by servitude; John Kennedy age 38 per Three Bees. Sussex Street Sydney

Eleanor Murphy age 40, per Canada 1817. Free. Resides at Lachlan Valley with her children William age 10 and John age 3.

Margaret O'Neill, age 38, per Canada 1817, Householder at Sydney.

Margaret Stenson, age 28 per Canada 1817; James Stenson per Archduke Charles age 38, Farmer at North Richmond. Five children all born in the colony.

Ann Sweeney, per Canada 1817, free by servitude. With Thomas Denton.

Catherine Trebe, per Canada 1817, age 31; George Trebe, age 42, per Marquis of Wellington; Settler at Bringelly.

4). Selection of Reports and Papers of the House of Commons: Prisons, Volume 51.


[1] Letter to Viscount Sidmouth, Secretary of State for the Home Department, on Transportation Laws and state of the hulks, and of the Colonies ... By Henry Grey Bennet

[2] National Archives of Ireland

Descendant Contribution :


Dublin - Sessions Court, Tuesday November 7 1815 - Ann Cody (known as Ellen/Elinor Cody) for stealing on the 22nd October a variety of articles the property of Michael Sweetman. Alderman Archer - This Gentleman saw a cart laden with bones, near his house, Gardiner's Place under suspicious circumstances, he accordingly inquired after the owner; found she was leaving the service of Mr. Sweetman with a good character, he however was of opinion that all was not right, and on searching the bones at his office, found a quantity of valuable property which he was convinced belonged to Mr. Sweetman. Mr. Sweetman identified a number of silver spoons and other articles his property taken by prisoner without his knowledge or concurrence- he said until this discovery he always considered prisoner an honest and diligent servant. Verdict. guilty. Sentenced to 7 years transportation - Freemans Journal 9 November 1815...........

Ellen Cody later married Edmund Buckley. Ellen's son Patrick Cody/Buckley became a pioneer of Gippsland and died a very wealthy man in 1872.

Select here to find out more about the life of Ellen Cody and her son Patrick written by researcher Sue Kennedy.