Free Settler or Felon
Convict and Colonial History

Convict Ship Minerva - 1821

Embarked: 172 men
Voyage: 137 days
Surgeon's Journal: yes
Previous vessel: Hindostan arrived 24 November 1821
Next vessel: John Bull arrived 18 December 1821
Captain John Bell
Surgeon Charles Queade
Prisoners and passengers of the Minerva identified in the Hunter Valley region

The Minerva was built at Lancaster in 1805.[1] This was the third of four voyages of the Minerva bringing convicts to New South Wales, the others being in 1818, 1819 and 1824.

The Convicts

Prisoners to be embarked on the Minerva in 1821 came from districts throughout England and Scotland. Most were held on prison hulks prior to joining the Minerva.

Surgeon Charles Queade

This was Charles Queade's third voyage as surgeon superintendent on a convict ship. He kept a Medical Journal from 21st July to 16 December 1821:

Convicts Embarked

On Saturday 21 July at Little Nore, the Minerva received on board 142 male convicts in irons. Many had been held on the Bellerephon prison hulk. They were inspected and supplied with beds and blankets and then divided into messes with six in each. On the 23 July thirty more convicts were received from Chatham bringing the number of prisoners to 172. Although the surgeon had applied to the Victualling Officer at Chatham for fresh food supplies, none had been forthcoming and so the men were on sea rations. (salt meat?). They were supplied with razors and strap and deck trousers. On the following weekend the carpenters and plumbers repaired prison cisterns.[3]

Military Guard

The Guard consisted of detachments of the 30th, 46th, 48th, 83rd, and 89th regt., under orders of Lieut. Hingston of the 83rd.

Cabin Passengers

Mariner and Settler John Bingle, later referred to as 'the father of commerce in Newcastle arrived as a 2nd Officer on the Minvera... John Brown arrived as a passenger.


On Monday 30th July, with the assistance of some of the prisoners, the ship weighed anchor for the Downs. Other prisoners, less used to a sea faring life soon began to suffer sea sickness. When the Minerva departed Sheerness on the 1st August 1821, some of the convicts continued to assist working her.

On Saturday evening 4th August they passed by the Isle of Wight.

The boy convicts at this time had their leg irons removed and the men were supplied with 11 manuals of devotion, 11 bibles, 22 testaments, 44 prayer books. On Tuesday 7 August, as they came into the Bay of Biscay, most of the convicts were experiencing sea sickness. [3]

The Voyage

There seems to be no mention in Charles Queade's journal of singing and dancing or other light-hearted occupations as on some convict ships, however the prisoners were divided into groups to take turn about on deck; and were given jobs to do such as picking oakum. Throughout the voyage prisoners were punished with a few dozen lashes for thieving or riotous behaviour as it occurred. [3]


On Friday 17 August, they passed the Island of Madeira at a distance of 30 miles and 25 men and 14 boys were allowed out of their irons. A bottle of lemon juice was received in to the hospital for the treatment of men who were ill.[3]

Thoughts of Mutiny

Three days later there were rumours that the convicts had formed a plan to take the ship. They were closely examined by the officers of the ship and sergeant of the guard to find out if they had weapons and what the plan might have been, however it was found that the report was unfounded and originated by the fears of a young Irish recruit while on sentry.


On 11th September the hospital bulkhead was cut through by five of the convicts George Smith, John Liddell, Patrick Connell, Thomas Abdey and Emanuel Williams, and the cupboard robbed of tea and sugar. Two of the men involved received six dozen lashes and others three or four dozen each.

Weather During the Voyage

On Wednesday 19 September Charles Queade recorded that the weather was extremely fine and numbers of flying fish and dolphins were to be seen. The convicts complained to Queade that they were not receiving their full rations, but he could find no evidence of this. On the 7 October he reported that he thought the change in weather had led to an increase of rheumatic affections and pneumonia. Many cases of sea scurvy had also occurred by this time. [3]

Port Jackson

By Monday 10 December they had reached Bass Strait and passed by King Island at 1/2 past 3 pm., about NNE by compass.

On Sunday 16 December 1821 they arrived in Sydney Harbour. Three men died of scurvy before the end of the voyage and on arrival another 25 required hospital treatment. James Bowman, Colonial Surgeon later laid the blame for the outbreak on surgeon Charles Queade as lemon juice and wine had been liberally furnished but not with any regularity. [2]

Prisoners Disembarked

The Prisoners were landed and inspected by His Excellency, Governor Brisbane on the morning of Friday 21 December 1821. This was the first time Governor Brisbane had examined convicts on arrival as he had succeeded Governor Macquarie on 1st December 1821.

Notes and Links

1). Seven Prisoners were convicted in Scotland - John Fleming from Jedburgh, Bernard Hyndes from Edinburgh, Duncan McCallum from Glasgow, Hugh McCallum from Stirling, John McCluckes from Glasgow, John Morrison from Stirling and Alexander Williamson from Edinburgh.

2). Return of Convicts of the Minerva assigned between 1st January 1832 and 31st March 1832 (Sydney Gazette 28 June 1832) -
James McKenzie - Linen weaver assigned to James Underwood at Sydney

3). Charles Queade was also surgeon on the convict ships Pilot in 1817, Minerva in 1819 and the Phoenix in 1824 (VDL)

4). National Archives. Reference: ADM 101/54/3 Description: Medical journal of the convict ship Minerva, for 21 July to 16 December 1821 by Charles Queade, Surgeon and Superintendent, during which period the said ship was employed in conveying convicts to New Holland.

5). Convict ships bringing soldiers of the 89th regiment included the Atlas, Speke, John and Baring.

6). Convict ships bringing detachments of the 48th regiment included the Dorothy, Larkins, Lady Castlereagh, Agamemnon, Minerva, Isabella and Pilot.

7). Convict ships bringing detachments of the 46th regiment included General Hewitt, Fame, Recovery, Elizabeth, Larkins, Three Bees, Guildford, Surry, Shipley, Ocean and Bencoolen.

8). APPOINTMENT OF NEW GOVERNOR SIR THOMAS BRISBANE IN DECEMBER - This forenoon in pursuance of the Government and General Orders of the 24th ult., the Commission of his Majesty appointing His Excellency Major General Sir Thomas Brisbane, K.C.B to be Captain General and Governor in Chief in and over the Territory of New South Wales and its Dependencies, was read and published with all due solemnity in Hyde Park. Previous to its recital by the provost Marshall, his Excellency Major-General Macquarie audibly read a farewell address to the inhabitants of the Colony. His Majesty's 48th regiment, under the command of Col. Erskine, Lieutenant Governor, and the various detachments, paraded the Park, and fired three vollies upon the conclusion of the ceremony, which was followed by a royal salute from Dawes' Battery, in honour of the occasion At one o'clock his Excellency Sir Thomas Brisbane had the usual oaths administered to him at Government House, by the Honourable the Judge Advocate, in the presence of his Excellency Major - General Macquarie, Lieutenant Governor Erskine, the Honourable the Judge of the Supreme Court, the Clergy, the Magistrates, and other Civil and Military Officers of the Colony. Upon the termination of this ceremony, a salute of 19 guns was fired from Dawes' Battery. [4]

9). Prisoners and passengers of the Minerva identified in the Hunter Valley region -

Barrett, John

Black, John

Casley, Owen

Clarke, William

Cook, William

Cooper, William

Crompton, William

Dawson, William

Fleming, John

Green, Stephen

Hinley, David

Howard, Samuel

Jennings, William

Johnson, John

Lewis, Samuel

Matthews, George

McManus, Edward

Nash, Charles Darmour

Oliver, Robert

Orton, William

Payley, Samuel

Peacock, Joseph

Pigden, James

Potter, Henry

Price, William

Roud, William

Saunders, William

Stanniforth, John

Stephens, Henry

Summerfield, Charles

Waggoner, John

Williams, Emanuel

Willis, Thomas


[1] Bateson, Charles, Library of Australian History (1983). The convict ships, 1787-1868 (Australian ed). Library of Australian History, Sydney : pp.344-345, 383

[2] ibid, p. 267

[3] UK, Royal Navy Medical Journals, 1817-1857. Journal of Charles Queade on the voyage of the Minerva in 1821. The National Archives. Kew, Richmond, Surrey.

[4] Sydney Gazette 1 December 1821