Free Settler or Felon
Convict and Colonial History

Convict Ship Fortune - 1806

Embarked: 260 male convicts
Voyage: 165 days
Deaths: 3
Surgeon's Journal: no
Previous vessel: William Pitt arrived 11 April 1806
Next vessel: Alexander arrived 20 August 1806
Captain Henry Moore
Convicts and passengers of the Fortune identified in the Hunter Valley region

The Fortune was built in Spain.

Prisoners transported on the Fortune were convicted in counties in England, Scotland and Wales - Gloucester, Middlesex, Warwick, York, Oxford, Kent, Lancaster, Somerset, Chester, Bucks, Surrey, Northampton, Sussex, Chester, Essex, Bristol, Wiltshire, Cambridge, Leicester, Lincoln, Southampton, Hereford, Berks, Nottingham,' Huntingdon, Suffolk, Norfolk, Worcester, Cumberland, Devon, Denbigh, Carnarvon, Edinburgh, Glasgow and Aberdeen There were also several soldiers who had been court martialed.

Prison Hulks

Some of the prisoners were held on the Retribution hulk before being embarked on the Fortune. One of the men, Joseph Bather was tried in Lancaster in March 1804. He was sent to the Retribution on 13th December 1804 and spent a year there before being transferred to the Fortune with other prisoners on 14th December 1805.

Retribution hulk....Retribution hulk

Prisoners from other hulks were transferred to the ship in January 1806 -

The Newcastle Courant reported a case concerning two young boys on 26th January 1805 -

At the Admiralty sessions, held at the Old Bailey, Jan 16, Benjamin Waterhouse, and Thomas Canterbury, the former sixteen and the latter thirteen years of age, were found guilty of boring holes in the bottom of a sloop, the property of Benjamin Kerrage, then lying about half a mile from Weymouth harbour, in five and a half fathoms water, laden with stone. These boys had been left on board by the master and mate; and by their own confession it appeared that when they were alone in the vessel, one of them said, he wished there was a hole in her bottom; and that they both went down, and, having taken away the lining, they bored two holes in the outside plank, with a large gimlet, the handle of which coming off, it dropped through the hole into the water. They got on shore and ran away into the country. Sir W. Scott, after an appropriate admonition, sentenced them to fourteen years transportation.

The boys were tried on the 16th January 1805 and afterwards taken to Newgate prison. From there on 19th March 1805 they were admitted to the Captivity Hulk with several other prisoners who were also later transported on the Fortune. Thomas Canterbury drowned on 5th July 1805 while on the hulk. Benjamin Waterhouse was sent on board the Fortune on 9th January 1806.

Other prisoners who had been tried in London admitted to the Captivity and subsequently transported on the Fortune at this time included James Martin, Thomas Jones, Charles Pollard and Thomas Simms. [2] Select Duke of Portland convict ship to find out more about life on the Captivity Hulk.

Military Guard

The military guard on the Fortune consisted of 27 rank and file commanded by Ensign Mullin of the 8th Royal Veterans Battalion.


The Fortune departed 28th January 1806 in company with the Alexander and store ship Lady Madeline Sinclair. The three vessels were under convoy of the Porpoise under the command of Lieutenant Joseph Short. Captain William Bligh and Provost-Marshal William Gore were on board the Madeline Sinclair.

William Bligh's correspondence to Viscount Castlereagh on 15th March 1806 while at sea (lat.11 13 N; long. 24 00 W) gives an indication of the animosity that existed between Captain Short and himself: -

I have the honor to inform your Lordship I am thus far on my voyage to fulfil the mission His Majesty has entrusted to my care; but I regret to say that Captain Short, holding the command of the Porpoise while I am in this ship, has pursued such an irritating and vexatious conduct to me as governor and his superior officer in naval rank, that I shall, so soon as I can draw up the documents, send them to your Lordship, and beseech you to remove him from under my command. [1]

The Fortune parted company with the Porpoise and Sinclair when the Sinclair proceeded to the Cape.

Rio de Janeiro

The Fortune arrived at Rio on 11th April and departed there 30th April leaving the Alexander and Elizabeth whalers at that port.

Port Jackson

The Fortune arrived in Port Jackson on 12th July 1806. Three convicts and a soldier of the guard died on the passage out. The Fortune brought with her the news of the death of the Right Honorable William Pitt.


The Alexander shipped 3,696 pounds of beef and 7,314 pounds of pork and the Fortune 14,448 pounds of beef and 28,768 pounds pork to be used for the subsistence of 260 the prisoners during the nine months after arrival. As well as the beef and pork, merchant Simeon Lord also imported many items on the Fortune including gentlemen's hats, boots and shoes, and ladies shoes and straw hats, woollen clothes and trimmings, cutlery, brass furniture for cabinet work, jewellery, tin in sheets with solder, tin ware, earthen and glass ware, window glass, plated tea pots, bridles, saddles and gig harness, Rio sugar, butter and cheese and various items of slop clothing.

Convict Muster

The convicts were probably mustered on board although only brief information was recorded. The convict indents included only the prisoner's name, date and place of conviction and sentence. There is occasional information about tickets of leave or pardons.

On the 20th July the Sydney Gazette reported that twenty convicts who arrived on the Fortune were proceeding to Port Dalrymple on the store ship Venus. Perhaps some of those who remained in Sydney witnessed the pomp and ceremony surrounding Governor King when he departed on the Buffalo in August 1806. The Fortune was still in Sydney Harbour and joined in the salute to the departing Governor.

Departure from the Colony

The Fortune departed for Bengal on 19th August. Those who were to take their passage to Bengal included George Garret, Edward Smith, Edward Dram, Edward Dry, Richard Clarke, Henry Moody, John Guernsey, Thomas Horrox, Timothy Merrick, Anthony Clarke, George Loder, William Smith, James Kirk, Thomas Daily and George Coulson.

The Fortune returned to New South Wales with convicts in 1813

Convicts of the Fortune identified in the Hunter Valley region:

Baither, Joseph
Age 31. Convicted of burglary at the Lancaster 29 March 1804 and condemned with recommendation for mercy. Sentenced to 14 years transportation. Sent to the Retribution Hulk 13 December 1804. Transferred to the Fortune on 14 December 1805. On list of prisoners sent to Newcastle on 14 March 1812. Absconded on Christmas Day 1812. After wandering lost for three weeks he was stripped and maltreated by the natives and taken to Broken Bay. He was returned to Newcastle settlement on 11 February 1813

Bridge, Joseph
Tried at Lancaster Assizes 11 August 1804 age 27. Sentenced to transportation for life. Admitted on the Retribution hulk 13 December 1804. Sent to the Fortune for transportation on 14 December 1805. Spouse Elizabeth Buffett (ship Alexander 1806). Joseph Bridge died at Moreton Bay 15 February 1829. Some of Joseph and Elizabeth's seven sons later resided in the Hunter Valley region.

Brown, John
Alias Catch Me If You Can. Age 31. John Brown was tried at the Old Bailey on 12 September 1804 for feloniously stealing a bank note. He was found guilty and sentenced to 7 years transportation. He was sent to Newcastle penal settlement in April 1818. In July 1820 he was punished for refusing work, insolence to his overseer and taking to the bush. In July 1821 he was sentenced to death for a colonial crime however on account of some favourable circumstances he was granted a pardon for his crime on condition that he remain a convict in NSW and work at hard labour for the remainder of his life. He was transferred to Port Macquarie in October 1821. He escaped from Port Macquarie with several other prisoners in March 1823 and when captured was transferred to Macquarie Harbour VDL to serve out his original sentence.

Brown, William
Alias Chalkley. Age 48. William Brown was tried 18 February 1801 in London. He was found guilty of stealing two cows the property of William Chalkley and sentenced to transportation for life. On 15 March 1820 in Sydney he was sentenced to transportation for life for a colonial crime. He was sent to Newcastle penal settlement in April 1820. In 1822 ran from Newcastle and became a bushranger. He gave himself up under the proclamation of Sir Thomas Brisbane and was sent to Port Macquarie when captured. William Brown died in June 1823.

Bunn, John
Tried at Worcester Assizes 14 July 1804. Sentenced to 7 years transportation. He was at Newcastle penal settlement in July 1811 and was returned to Sydney in August 1811

Clarke, William
Born c. 1770 in Lincolnshire. Tried at the Old Bailey 24 April 1805. Sentenced to 7 years transportation for receiving stolen goods. Sentenced to 14 years transportation. In Windsor in September 1810 he married Ann Maria Singleton daughter of William John Singleton and sister of Benjamin Singleton. William Clarke died in June 1848 at the Sydney Benevolent Hospital. Ann Clarke died in December 1862 at Wollombi.

Foss, Henry
Age 44. Tried at the Old Bailey in London 11 April 1804. Sentenced to 14 years transportation for having in his possession a forged Banknote. Sent to the Retribution Hulk June 1804. Removed to the Fortune for transportation to NSW on 14 December 1805. Sent to Newcastle penal settlement for a colonial crime in October 1816

Francis, James
Tried at Gloucester Assizes 18 March 1804. Sentenced to transportation for life. In Sydney on 15 May 1820 sentenced to transportation for life for a colonial crime and transferred to Newcastle

Gaines, John
Tried in Southampton in 1805. Sentenced to 14 years transportation. Occupation Butcher. Sent to Newcastle for a colonial crime in June 1818

Hargraves, James
Tried at Lancaster Assizes 29 March 1804. Sentenced to 7 years transportation for stealing 15 pieces of calico from a waggon. Accomplice Samuel Hogg

Haley, Patrick
Tried at Huntingdon Assizes 31 July 1802. Sentenced to 14 years transportation. Sent to Newcastle for a colonial crime in March 1816

Haley, Maurice
Alias Morris Healy. Tried Middlesex 27 October 1802. Sentenced to transportation for life. Sent to Newcastle penal settlement in November 1818. Punished at Newcastle for smuggling rum on shore in July 1819

Heath, James
Tried in London 15 February 1804. Sentenced to 7 years transportation. In Sydney in November 1809 a sentence of death for a colonial crime was commuted to serving for life as a convict at the settlement at Newcastle

Hogg, Samuel
Tried at Liverpool Assizes 24 August 1805. Sentenced to transportation for life for stealing 15 pieces of calico from a waggon. Sent to Newcastle for a colonial crime in 1810. Absconded in July 1810.....At a Bench of Magistrates an investigation took place relative to the escape of three prisoners who lately went from on board the Lady Nelson in which they were to have been removed to Kings Town. When upon the examination of the master and seamen it did not appear that the fugitives were assisted by any person belonging to the vessel in their said escape; but that they had taken advantage of the deck being cleared of the people while at dinner, to make away the boat. Two out of the three namely Hogg and Tobin have since surrendered themselves but Ratty is still out of custody. Samuel Hogg returned to Newcastle in irons and punished. He drowned in the Hunter River in January 1814

Jackson Henry
Tried at Essex 13 March 1805. Sentenced to 7 years transportation. In Sydney in June 1818 sentenced to transportation for life to Newcastle for stealing 2 cows. By 1821 he was providing government stores with fresh pork at Newcastle and in 1823 was employed as overseer of the gaol gang. In 1824 he was assigned to Joseph Pennington near Newcastle. In 1835 he was sent to Newcastle gaol from Maitland having been committed for trial. In 1837 he was assigned to the iron gang at Newcastle. He was 50 years of age and assigned to Thomas Buxton at Newcastle when he died. He was buried in Christ Church Cathedral burial ground

Martin, James
Tried 24 October 1804, London Gaol Delivery. Sentenced to 7 years transportation. Sent to Newcastle as a prisoner in Aril 1812

McGuire, James
Alias McNally. Tried at Lancaster Quarter Sessions 18 April 1804. Sentenced to 7 years transportation. Employed by Mr. McDonald at Parramatta in 1806. In October 1810 he was recommended for the position of pilot at Newcastle.....Correspondence from Commandant John Purcell to Governor Macquarie recommending James McGuire for the position of pilot. James McGuire was an old seaman and Purcell thought no man better for the situation. McGuire had six months until his time expired and Purcell recommended his emancipation as he considered him the most honest man in the whole list of prisoners; a sober and always well conducted person

Millward, John
Born at Birmingham c. 1785. Sentenced to 14 years transportation. At Warwick assizes on 28 July 1804, Joseph Jarvis was tried on an indictment for having in his possession a counterfeit and forged Bank of England note for 1pound. To this indictment he pleaded guilty; as did John Millwood, for a similar offence. There were indictments against them for forging and uttering the same, which indictments the Bank of England did not prosecute. Sir O. Rooke observed, that on account of their youth (both being lads) the Bank had shewn them mercy, conceiving they were the tools of others. They were sentenced to be transported for 14 years. ( Jarvis was sent to the Hulks however received a free pardon on 4 August 1805). In 1819 John Millward accompanied John Howe on his expedition northwest of Windsor. In 1825 John Millward was appointed district constable at Upper Branch and Lower Portland Head where he launched a boat to carry his own and neighbour s grain to market

Overhand, Bryan
Tried at Liverpool 15 January 1805. Sentenced to 7 years transportation. Admitted to the Captivity Hulk on 22 March 1805 and transferred to the Fortune on 9th January 1806. In 1807, named as one of three people who engaged in a plot to assist convicts to escape from the colony in the vessel Argument. He was Master of the Lady Nelson in July 1810 when prisoners Ratty, Hogg and Tobin escaped while on their voyage to Newcastle penal settlement Although he was held accountable by Commandant John Purcell, it was found in an investigation that he did not assist them. He was Master of the schooner Estramina in 1814. Married Catherine McNalty in Sydney in 1810.

Richardson, James
Tried at Liverpool Assizes 26 March 1805. Sentenced to transportation for life. He petitioned for a pardon in 1820....That Petitioner arrived in this colony per ship Fortune 1806 a convict for life, and was employed at both settlements of Castle Hills and Toongabbie under all the hardships privations and sufferings of the distressed colony by the inundations of that year. Early in the year 1808 your humble petitioner was called upon to act as principal of painters in Government Employment and there solely remained for the space of 7 years and better which he trusts with credit and without the smallest stain of character and the most part under the immediate eye of His Excellency The Governor; at which time petitioner received a ticket of leave being removed from his situation through sickness occasioned by his trade. Your Petitioner is a married man and ever anxious to render every comfort that he may obtain by honest and industrious habits to the partner of his life who is a free woman. After a service of 6 years and 3 months in the Navy of England by which I am married in my arms and 14 years 9 months 8 days prisoner to the Crown being more than the half of my present life,, your humble petitioner may with confidence look up for mercy and pardon to your Your Excellency s humane consideration, conscious of never having a criminal charge laid to my account before any Court during my residence in the colony save my once deserting the colony, and such would not have happened, but for the truly afflicting and lamentable circumstances. In 1828 he held a Conditional Pardon and was employed as a servant by Molly Morgan at Wallis Plains

Schooler, Henry
Tried 24 April 1805 in London. Sentenced to 14 years transportation. Sent to Newcastle penal settlement in 1818. Died at Brisbane Water in 1847

Sims, Thomas
Tried in London 21 February 1805. Sentenced to 7 years transportation. He resided at Newcastle in May 1811 where he worked as a carpenter. Sent to Newcastle as a prisoner in November 1817. In 1818 at Newcastle he received 12 lashes for running from the settlement - he was taken down from punishment for revealing the abode of bushrangers. He absconded from Newcastle again in April 1819. Sent to Newcastle in November 1821. He was 50 years of age by the time of the 1828 Census and resided in King St. Sydney where he was employed as a builder.

Waterhouse, Benjamin
Tried at Admiralty Sessions 16 January 1805 and sentenced to 14 years transportation. He was admitted to the Captivity Hulk from Portland, Langston Harbour on 26 January 1805 and sent to the Fortune 9 June 1806. It may have been on the Captivity Hulk in England that Benjamin Waterhouse first met Bryan Overhand, Master of the famous vessel Lady Nelson. Waterhouse was employed as a mate of the Lady Nelson in 1817. The death of convict Benjamin Waterhouse was reported in the Sydney Gazette in September 1817....Mr. Wiseman lost his vessel, the Hope of 15 tons, about two months ago at Port Stephens; on which occasion two men were killed by the natives; one of whom was Benjamin Waterhouse, formerly mate of the Lady Nelson and the other James Cowen. These unhappy victims to native ferocity had, as appears from Mr. Wiseman's report, proceeded in a boat up a creek, with intent to look after cedar, but never more returned.

Notes and Links

vernor Hunter to the colony. Also on board the Reliance were surgeon George Bass and midshipman Matthew Flinders. Henry Moore was also captain of the Wanstead in 1814.

2. Cambridge - March 18 - At our Assizes which ended on Friday last, George Jubb, William Smith and Thomas Jubb for uttering forged Bank of England notes, were convicted, and sentenced to 14 years transportation - William Dockerell for stealing beans, and John Mashey for stealing stockings were each sentenced to 7 years transportation - The Bury and Norwich Post 20 March 1805.

3). Convicts and passengers of the Fortune identified in the Hunter Valley region:

4). The Fortune was one of four convict ships arriving in 1806. The others being the Tellicherry, William Pitt and the Alexander. Approximately 575 prisoners arrived in the colony in 1806.... 193 females and 382 males.

5). Resources used to create Convict Ship pages


[1] HR NSW, Vol. VI, p.46

[2] Home Office: Convict Prison Hulks: Registers and Letter Books; Class: HO9; Piece: 8 (Ancestry)