Free Settler or Felon
Convict and Colonial History

Convict Ship Marquis of Hastings - 1827

Embarked: 168 men
Voyage: 102 days
Deaths: 0
Surgeon's Journal: yes
Previous vessel: Guildford arrived 25 July 1827
Next vessel: Princess Charlotte arrived 6 August 1827
Captain John Jeffrey Drake.
Surgeon Gilbert King

Gilbert King was born in Scotland c. 1791. He was employed as Surgeon Superintendent on five convict ship voyages to Australia. Later he was appointed Deputy Inspector of Hospitals and Fleets

This was the second of five voyages of the Marquis of Hastings bringing convicts to Australia.

The convicts of the Marquis of Hastings came from districts throughout England - Essex, Oxford, Surrey, Winchester, Warwick, Stafford, Bodmin, Manchester, York and London etc. Most had been held on the hulks and were transferred to the ship between 27th March and 9th April 1827.

Departure from Portsmouth

The Marquis of Hastings departed Portsmouth on 18th April 1827.[2]

Gilbert King's Medical Journal

Surgeon-Superintendent Gilbert King was approximately thirty-six years of age in 1827. This was his second voyage as surgeon superintendent on a convict ship, the first being on the Medway to VDL in 1825.

He kept a Medical Journal from 28 March to 16 August 1827. He was aware of the importance of guarding against scurvy. Several men suffered with this disease however there were no deaths except that of the ten month old son of a soldier. King had rejected a number of convicts before the ship sailed as he considered them too ill or infirm to survive the journey. The ship was kept clean, dry and well ventilated. Stoves were used against cold, one by the 'back yard' in the prison and another in the hospital. Although the voyage took only 102 days, a great part of this time was spent between 40 and 42 degrees south and during the winter months.

Despite this Gilbert King considered the general health of the convicts was good and, apart from two cases of rubeola, scarcely a man was confined to bed. [1]

The following cases were mentioned in his journal:

John James aged 24. Fever, cough

John Thompson aged 25. Hoarseness and difficulty swallowing, fever

David Jenkins age 18. Headache, pain in extremities

Thomas Kirby aged 27, soldier, tenesmus.

David Charlesworth aged 22, severe rigors

Michael Hayward aged 22. Scorbutic diathesis, dark bloated appearances flabby muscles, purple spots, swollen gums, indolent disposition

John Davidson aged 27. severe rigors with pain in the joints

John Siccar aged 47, weak, sad and despondent. Poor emaciated sickly looking old man, haggard, sallow, few remaining teeth

Michael Berns aged 21. Soldier. Languor and lassitude pains in the loins and weakness in joints as a result of being exposed to very heavy rain during watch.

Ralph Wood aged 21. Convict [3]

Perhaps the surgeon was called on to treat Mr. Fuller, steward of the ship, after he had been cruelly treated by Captain Drake. The Monitor later reported a court case Fuller v. Drake in which Fuller was awarded damages of 15 pounds........ Supreme Civil Court - Tuesday.- Fuller, v. Drake. The plaintiff was steward of a prison-ship, the Marquis of Hastings, of which defendant was master. The witnesses differed as to whether defendant was drunk on a certain day during the voyage to this Colony, but they agreed that he had by the orders of Captain Drake received thirty blows on the back with the end of a two-inch rope, which made him black and blue, and incapable of duty for three days. Defendant was not insolent to the Captain, but rather defied the boatswain who bastinadoed him. If the defendant was not drunk at the exact time he was beaten, it appeared he had been so just previously. He had received however a good character for civility from the passengers, and was now a tide-waiter in the harbour. The Chief Justice said, a Ship at sea was a little government, and the master stood in point of authority as a parent, a guardian, and a master of a large family. His authority was essential to the comfort and well-being of those in the ship, and the law supported him in the just exercise of his authority. But the undefined nature of his power, and the arbitrary use which might be made of it, required also the check of the law. Drunkenness was a dangerous offence, especially on board a prison-ship; but then a starting as it was called, was not a very legal punishment, and if the Jury thought it too severe, they would act accordingly. Verdict for Plaintiff. Damages: 15 pounds. The Monitor 17 December 1827


Passengers included the Attorney-General Alexander Macduff Baxter

Alexander Macduff Baxter and wife, with one male and one female servant and Mr. Foster.

Military Guard

The guard comprised a detachment (30 men) of the Royal Veteran Co., under orders of Lieut. Lane. Fourteen women and 13 children accompanied the troops. Thomas Budd was included in the military guard. He was accompanied on the ship by his wife Sophia and later became a Constable at Patterson's Plains.

Arrival in Port Jackson

The Marquis of Hastings arrived at Port Jackson on 31 July 1827 with 168 male prisoners, none having died on the voyage, and 11,000 pounds in specie for the Treasury.

Alexander McLeay
Alexander McLeay
The prisoners were mustered on board by the Colonial Secretary Alexander McLeay on 4th August 1827. Particulars in the convict indents include Name, Age, Education, Religion, Marital status, Family, Native place, Occupation, Offence, When and Where tried, Previous convictions, Physical description and to whom assigned on arrival.

There is also occasional information regarding relatives already in the colony, tickets of leave, pardons, colonial crimes and punishment and deaths.

Robert Judd a native of Co. Tyrone was sent to the hospital on arrival.

Departure from Port Jackson

The Marquis of Hastings departed Port Jackson on Saturday 1st September 1827 bound for Canton.

Convicts of the Marquis of Hastings identified in the Hunter Valley -

Atkins, William

Barry, William

Bartlett, Thomas

Bear, George

Billings, John

Brooks, Thomas

Brown, George

Budd, Thomas

Cushion, William

Cato, James

Davis, Obadiah

Dixon, George

Fairman, Henry

Field, George

Foster, Thomas

Frond, James

Grover, David

Handley, John

Hassell, William

Hodges, George

Horricks, Thomas

Hoy, James

James, John

Jenkins, David

Jones, John alias William Bryan or Herbert

Kaye, George

Kelsey, Richard

Lemon, Samuel

Lewis, John

Lightwing, James

Limmer, Henry

Lock, James

Lowe, Joseph

Maher, Alexander

Neale, George

Punchard, James

Perry, William

Phillips, William

Randall, Robert

Serjeant, Thomas

Smith, George

Stacey, Thomas

Taafe, John

Thomas, William

Thompson, John

Thorneycroft, John

Topping, Thomas

Walker, William

Wallace, Edward

West, Phillip

Williams, John

Notes and Links

1). William Jackson who was 13 years of age was sent to Carter's Barracks on arrival. Samuel Morton who was 16 years of age was privately assigned to a settler at Bathurst

2). William Smith alias King from Suffolk was lost in the sloop Dove which was lost off Port Stephens north of Newcastle in 1828.

3). Gilbert King was also employed as surgeon on the convict ships Medway 1825 (VDL) Lord Lyndoch in 1831 (VDL) Eden in 1836 and the Moffatt in 1838 (VDL)

4). The Marquis of Hastings transported convicts to Australia in 1826 (NSW), 1827 (NSW), 1828 (NSW), 1839 (VDL) and 1842 (VDL).

5). Seventeen convict ships arrived in New South Wales in 1827 - Grenada, Brothers, (F) Albion, Midas, Mariner, Countess of Harcourt, Guildford, Marquis of Hastings, Princess Charlotte, Manlius, Cambridge, Harmony, Prince Regent, Champion, Eliza, John and the Louisa

6). Return of Convicts of the Marquis of Hastings assigned between 1st January 1832 and 31st March 1832 (Sydney Gazette 14 June 1832; 5 July 1832).....

William Atkins Pedlar. Assigned to James McDougall at Darlington

James Blake Tape weaver and labourer assigned to Michael Riley at Banks Town

William Cushion Carpenter assigned to Lieut. Colonel Dumaresq at St. Hiliers

Stephen Dark Shoemaker assigned to Joseph Sharpe at Bathurst

Benjamin Pollard Whitesmith and locksmith assigned to James Russell at Sydney


[1] UK, Royal Navy Medical Journals, 1817-1857 Office of the Director General of the Medical Department of the Navy and predecessors: Medical Journals (ADM 101, 804 bundles and volumes). Records of Medical and Prisoner of War Departments. Records of the Admiralty, Naval Forces, Royal Marines, Coastguard, and related bodies. The National Archives. Kew, Richmond, Surrey.

[2] Bateson, Charles Library of Australian History (1983). The convict ships, 1787-1868 (Australian ed). Library of Australian History, Sydney : pp.346-347, 385

[3] National Archives - Reference: AD3. National Archives - Reference: ADM 101/50/3 Description: Medical and surgical journal of His Majesty's Transport Marquis of Hastings convict ship, for 28 March to 16 August 1827 by Gilbert King, Surgeon, during which time the said ship was employed in making a passage from Portsmouth to New South Wales.