Free Settler or Felon
Convict and Colonial History

Convict Ship Lord Wellington - 1820

Embarked: 121 women
Deaths 0
Surgeon's Journal - yes
Previous vessel: Minerva arrived 17 December 1819
Next vessel: Eliza arrived 21 January 1820
Captain Lew Hill
Surgeon Edward Foord Bromley
Chief Officer Richard Bastard
Boatswain Joseph Price
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Convicts and passengers of the Lord Wellington identified in the Hunter Valley region

The Lord Wellington was built at Chatham in 1810. Both Irish and English female prisoners were transported to the colony on this voyage.

There were calls in parliament for the Lord Wellington's departure to be delayed following an Address by Mr. Bennet on 7 April 1819 on the conditions of female convicts before transportation and after arrival in the colony:

Mr. Bennet moved an Address to the Prince Regent, to stay the departure of the Lord Wellington, destined to convey female convicts to New South Wales. Notwithstanding all the precautions which had been devised, it had hitherto been found impossible to prevent prostitution with the seamen. A second objection against this mode of punishment was its inequality as applied to different persons. By some it was considered not as a punishment to be feared, but as an advantage to be courted. A great defect also was, that the punishment was not seen. From the year 1781 to the year 1818, 2987 women being in the proportion of 1 - 7th of the men had been sent out of the country.

These women were sent for very different periods and yet few of them had ever returned. Their only means of returning were prostitution.

He must also complain of the manner in which women were brought from country gaols to one spot, for the purpose of being put on board the vessels. One unfortunate girl had been brought from Cambridge, so bound in chains that it was necessary to saw them asunder. Another had been brought in a state of torture all the way from Carlisle.

Unhappy females doomed to a voyage to New South Wales, who happily might till then have escaped the degradation of prostitution, were sure to be corrupted on their way, and those who were already fallen, were sure to be made worse. In the passage to NSW no description of character was respected. The infamous and the innocent, the young and the old - the mere child, who, by a casual error might have forfeited her liberty for a time, and the hardened prostitute, were associated together.

The voyage throughout was but one scene of prostitution, shameless, odious and undisguised. The ship that carried this mass of corruption was but a floating brothel, in which nothing pure or innocent was preserved. He held in his hand a letter written by Mr. Marsden, Chaplain in NSW in which he says 'The hospital of Parramatta is divided into two wards, one for the reception of men and the other for the reception of women; but as there are no locks on the doors. the men and women have easy access to each other, in consequence of which the grossest debaucheries take place. What can be worse than for a clergyman coming to visit the sick, and finding men and women lying promiscuously in the same beds?
' - [1]

Military Guard

The military guard consisted of a detachment of the 24th Regiment under command of Captain Frazer of the 83rd regiment. [5]

Departure from England

Chief Officer Richard Bastard of the Lord Wellington kept a log during the voyage. The log begins as a journal recording the fitting out of the ship, receipt of stores, the embarkation of convict women, the departure from Deptford on 28 May 1819. [2]

Departure from Ireland

The log includes the embarkation of further convicts at Plymouth and Cork, punishment of convicts and the departure from Ireland on 6 July 1819. [2]

Clothing for Irish Female Convicts

There is a file of papers dated 20 February 1819 in the National Archives, Ireland relating to arrangements to secure a ship to carry female convicts from Kilmainham jail, Dublin, to Cork convict depot, and for the supply of new clothing for each. Included is a letter from Dr Edward Trevor, Dublin, superintendent and medical inspector of convicts, to William Gregory, Under Secretary, Dublin Castle, enclosing list of names of each female convict committed to Kilmainham jail, from various county prisons, and the clothing issued to each. Included in the list of names were Ann Horan, Eliza Foran, Alice Kelley, Anne Purley, Mary Taylor, Sarah Gibson, Susan Henderson, Eliza Henderson, Mary Burke, Mary Ford who were all later transported on the Lord Wellington. The clothing included shifts, petticoats, shoes and stockings.

Convicts Embarked

On 5th July Dr. Trevor wrote to Under Secretary William Gregory stating that the female convicts had boarded the ship. He commended the orderliness of the convicts, and noted that those who could knit were being allowed to keep all the items they make during the journey. Chief Secretary's Office Registered Papers, National Archives, Ireland.

Rio De Janeiro

The Lord Wellington called at Rio de Janeiro for fresh supplies and remained there for some time. Later the surgeon came under scrutiny for his purchases while at Rio.....

The temptations to the masters, and to the surgeons-superintendent to touch at Rio de Janeiro, and to purchase sugar and tobacco there, have at all times been great. The profits upon the sale of these adventures in New South Wales and Van Diemens Land, will always tempt them to create pretexts for the circuitous passages, as long as it is understood that they will be allowed to land their goods on their arrival. The circumstances under which that permission has been given and continued, will more properly be discussed when the subject of the trade of New South Wales is considered. I will at present only remark, that a great temptation to a violation of the rules prescribed to them by the Navy Board, has been held out to such of the surgeons-superintendent as were proceeding to New South Wales on appointments from England, by a practice that has long prevailed in the colony of allowing such persons the liberty of importing both spirits and tobacco free of duty. The last instance in which it occurred, was that of Dr. Bromley, surgeon of the female convict ship Wellington ; who, it appears, was allowed to land 150 gallons of spirits, one hogshead and six dozen bottles of wine, and 10 baskets of tobacco at Port Jackson. Dr. Bromley likewise availed himself of the very unusual and protracted stay of the ship Wellington at Rio de Janeiro, to put on board several articles that he conceived would be useful to him in the colony, limiting their extent only to the tonnage that had been allowed to him in England. [4]

Surgeon Superintendent Edward Foord Bromley

Edward Foord Bromley kept a Medical Journal on the voyage out. He remarked that

'the very healthy state the prisoners in general during the period of nine months since their first embarkation, none having died on board; and none landed sick in the Colony, may be attributed to various causes - in the first place the most excellent care taken of them by Government in providing so amply for all their little wants in so long a passage, have no doubt most materially contributed to the high state of health they arrived in. Second, the Governess of their provision and the liberal supply of various comforts placed at the disposal of the surgeon and superintendent has in a very great degree prevented many little illness they would but for those comforts have been liable to; and lastly the constant state of cleanliness of warmth and of every general attention to their victualling to their water, and to all their minor wants and to the keeping them to their religious duties, has it is trusted assisted other things in the happy termination of so long a voyage".

Port Jackson

The Lord Wellington arrived in Port Jackson on Wednesday 19th January 1820.

Governor Macquarie noted the event in his journal:

Thursday 20. Jany. ! This forenoon anchored in Sydney Cove the Ship Lord Wellington Transport, Commanded by Capt. Lewis Hill, and of which Doctr. Edward Ford Bromley R. N. is Surgeon Supdt., having on board 121 Female Convicts with 35 Children, and Six Free Women with Ten Children, from England and Ireland - which last Country she sailed from on the 7th. of July last - being Six months and a half in making the Passage. - The Female Convicts have all arrived in good Health. [3]

Convict Indents and Assignment

The convict indents of the Lord Wellington reveal the name of the prisoner and when and where convicted. There is no physical description given and no details of where and to whom the women were assigned on arrival, however there is a list of women in the Colonial Secretary's correspondence with details of assignment of forty who arrived on the Lord Wellington.

Twenty four women who had young children with them on the voyage were sent immediately to the Factory at Parramatta. They would have entered the old Factory above the gaol as the new Factory designed by Francis Greenway was not opened until January 1821.

At least ten of the female prisoners were later assigned to the Hunter River district.

Letitia Waddle was one of these women. She was born in Co. Down, Ireland in 1794 and with her husband James had been tried at Lancaster Assizes on 13 August 1818 and sentenced to 14 years transportation for uttering forged notes. James Waddle was transported on the Baring in 1819.

Letitia was assigned to Nicholas Bayley at Parramatta on arrival, however by 1822 she was employed as a nurse in the hospital at Parramatta. On 11th January 1822 she was sent to the Factory at Parramatta for having left her employment and assaulted a free woman. On arrival at the Factory it was ordered that she was to have her head shaved and to wear a log until further notice. After this she was assigned to James Mudie in the Hunter Valley. Her husband James applied to the Governor to have her and their child join him at Newcastle Penal settlement where he was employed there as a constable and scourger however Letitia declined to join him because of the peculiarities of his employment. Later that year James was transferred to the new penal settlement at Port Macquarie.

Letitia was still assigned to James Mudie in September 1823 when James Mudie and his daughters Emily and Maria and Miss Scargill made their journey to Newcastle on the cutter Mermaid. Later more than 70 convicts were assigned to James Mudie, however on this day servants who accompanied the family included Letitia, Mary Stuart and Margaret Larkins who arrived on the Woodman; Thomas Head, William Crisp, William Mills, Thomas Hayes and William Adams who arrived on the Ocean and John Yeates who arrived on the Eliza. Included as well was one pony if it could be accommodated on deck and 7 or 8 tons of luggage.

On 6th September 1827 Letitia was received into Sydney Gaol having been given up by her master at Newcastle, she was to be sent to the 1st Class of the female factory. In the 1828 Census she is assigned to Joseph Wylde at Cabramatta. In 20th July 1830 she was again received into Sydney gaol on her way to Newcastle and service with Rev. Threlkeld. She was granted a Certificate of Freedom on 17 March 1835. Her description was given on the Certificate of Freedom and reveals she was a little taller than many female convicts at 5ft 5 1/2 in, she had a ruddy complexion, hazel eyes and although she was forty one years old by then, still retained her dark brown hair. She had a scar on the right cheek bone.

The Lord Wellington under Master Lew Hill departed for Madras on 15 April 1820. Emanuel Lazzaretto was employed as surgeon superintendent on this voyage. Edward Foord Bromley was appointed Naval Officer at Hobart.

Notes and Links

1). Elizabeth Wilson arrived as a free passenger on the Lord Wellington. She was later a victualler of 'the Hole in the Wall' in Sydney

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

3). PRICE, Joseph. - Colonial Secretary's Index.....Came free per 'Lord Wellington', 1820; former boatswain 1822 Petition to marry Hannah Gilbert of the Female Factory (Fiche 3224; 4/1867 p.21) 1822 Nov 14, Dec 3 Deserted ship and wishing to marry Hannah Gilbert (Reel 6055; 4/1762 pp.71-72a) 1822 Nov 19 Permitted to remain in New South Wales (Reel 6009; 4/3506 p.453) 1822 Dec 10,19 Re permission to marry at Parramatta (Reel 6010; 4/3507 pp.56, 98) 1822 Dec 14 Re application for marriage; appears as Thomas (Reel 6056; 4/1763 p.61)

4). National Archives. Reference: ADM 101/45/1 Description: Diary for the Lord Wellington female convict ship sailing from England to New South Wales, covering 27 April 1819 to 27 January 1820, by Edward Foord Bromley, MD, Surgeon, Royal Navy and Superintendent of Convicts.

5). The Lord Wellington was one of three convict ships bringing female prisoners to New South Wales in 1820, the others being the Janus and Morley.. A total of 306 female prisoners arrived in the colony in 1820.

6). The Sydney Gazette noted that Dr. Bromley had been repeatedly in the Colony before in charge of convicts, who had publicly thanked him for his noble and generous conduct towards them. He also served on the convict ships Calcutta in 1803, Ocean in 1816, Almorah in 1817,Surry in 1833 and the Numa in 1834.


[1] Parliamentary Debates

[2] Richard Bastard. Logbook of the transport Lord Wellington on a voyage from Deptford to Rio de Janeiro en route to New South Wales, 13 March-25 September 1819. The log begins as a journal recording the fitting out of the ship, receipt of stores, the embarkation of convict women, the departure from Deptford (28 May 1819), the embarkation of further convicts at Plymouth and Cork, punishment of convicts and the departure from Ireland (6 July 1819). It then becomes a log, with hourly entries recording the ships position, winds, and course, with brief references to the employment of the crew, the serving of lime juice to the convicts, disturbances among the convicts and punishments. - Bedfordshire Records Office - National Library Australia

[3] Lachlan and Elizabeth Macquarie Archive

[4] House of Lords Sessional Papers

[5] Sydney Gazette 22 January 1820