Free Settler or Felon
Convict and Colonial History

Convict Ship Nithsdale - 1830

Embarked: 184 men
Voyage: 131 days
Deaths: 1
Surgeon's Journal: yes
Tons: 414
Crew: 32 men
Previous vessel: Mermaid arrived 6 May 1830
Next vessel: Roslin Castle arrived 29 June 1830
Captain Thomas Christian
Surgeon Robert Malcolm
Convicts and passengers of the Nithsdale identified in the Hunter Valley

Prisoners transported on the Nithsdale came from counties throughout England and Scotland. After being transferred from county gaols and Newgate, they were held on prison hulks to await transportation. On the 9th December 1829, sixty male convicts were received from the Justitia and Ganymede hulks at Woolwich, and on the 18th, sixty four were received from the Retribution at Sheerness. On the 19th another sixty were received from the Dolphin at Chatham, making a total of 184 men.


At Sheerness on 1st January 1830, the Nithsdale weighed anchor and made for Deal under a N.W. wind. They reached Deal on the 3rd January and departed from there soon afterwards.

Surgeon Robert Malcolm

This was Robert Malcolm's second voyage as surgeon superintendent of a convict ship. He kept a Medical Journal from 9 November 1829 to 21 May 1830.

All the prisoners were examined by Robert Malcolm previous to their embarkation and found to be in a healthy state. During the voyage almost everyone experienced an attack of diarrhoea, in some cases very severe. Other illnesses included ophthalmia, fever and apoplexy. However mostly the prisoners remained healthy, one only dying of apoplexy. This was John Bostick.

Robert Malcolm was proud of the achievement of bringing a healthy ship into port - Some fifty years ago it would scarcely have been credited that a vessel some hundred tons burthen with two hundred and fifty persons on board would ever be able to perform a voyage of 132 days duration and to disembark the persons in a state of perfect health at its conclusion without the loss of more than one man. (1)

Military Guard

The Guard was commanded by Captain Robert Moffatt of the 17th Regiment and Ensign Tobin. The Guard consisted of a total of 29 commissioned officers and privates of the 17th regiment together with four women and three children. Members of the 17th regt.,mentioned in the surgeon's journal included Dennis Leary, John Keating, Benjamin Cooper, Dennis Kelly, Thomas Wall, Jonathon Bean, Thomas Carr, William Smith, John Pigot, Michael Whalen, Lawrence Fleming, William Pender, Thomas Horne. According to the surgeon the wife of Thomas Horne suffered a miscarriage on 28th December while still at Sheerness. She was three months advanced in pregnancy and had undergone much fatigue in nursing the Captain of the Guard's child to which she ascribed her affliction.

Select here to find convict ships bringing detachments of the 17th regiment.

Cabin Passengers

Mrs. Moffatt, wife of Captain Robert Moffatt and Miss Singer, a friend of Mrs. Moffatt came as passengers.

George Whittle, wife and child came as free passengers.

Port Jackson

The Nithsdale arrived in Port Jackson on 12 May 1830.

Convict Muster

The prisoners were mustered by Colonial Secretary Alexander McLeay on 15th May 1830 and were landed on Friday 21st May.

The indents include name, age, education, religion, marital status, family, native place, trade, offence, when and where tried, sentence, prior convictions, physical description and where assigned on arrival. There are also occasional details re pardons deaths and colonial crimes - e.g. Hugh Bagley was serving a second sentence having previously been sent on the Minerva in 1821 as Hugh Farrell; Thomas Boulton was sent to Cockatoo Island for disobedience; and Thomas Creamer died in Newcastle Hospital on 31 October 1838.


The majority of convicts were assigned to private service. Some were assigned to the Australian Agricultural Company at Port Stephens.

The youngest prisoner was Joseph Brammer age 15, who was sent to the Carter's Barracks on arrival.

Nithsdale convicts in the Hunter Valley region:

Andrews, James
Miner from Cheshire. Assigned to the A.A. Company on arrival

Babbington, Richard
Ploughs, shears, reaps. Native place Lincoln. Assigned to Henry I. Pilcher  at Maitland on arrival

Baguley, Thomas
Shepherd and ploughs. Native place Derbyshire. Assigned to Henry I. Pilcher at Maitland on arrival

Barnard, Thomas
Top sawyer from Norfolk. Ticket of Leave for Cassilis 1836

Beasden, Jeremiah
Shears, milks. Ploughman. Native place Kent. Assigned to George T. Graham on arrival

Bidmead, George
Cloth worker from Gloucester. Assigned to Rev. Lancelot Threlkeld at Lake Macquarie on arrival

Bold, Joseph
Cloth miller from Leeds. Assigned to Thomas Luscombe on arrival

Brenan, Peter
Boot maker from Dublin. Ticket of Leave Paterson 1846

Brewer, John
Ploughman. Milks and reaps. Native place Essex. Assigned to Thomas Luscombe on arrival

Burgess, George
Blacksmith from Birmingham. Sent to Newcastle Gaol 1844

Callaghan, John
Waterman from Kent. Assigned to George T. Graham on arrival

Carr, Thomas
Ploughs, shears, reaps. Shepherd. Ticket of Leave Newcastle 1836

Clarke, Thomas
Shepherd. Milks. Native place Worcestershire. Assigned to A.A. Company on arrival

Clewlow, John
Stable boy from Stafford. Assigned to Robert Lethbridge on arrival

Collins, Edward
Ploughman, reaps and milks. Native place Stafford. Assigned to the A.A. Company on arrival

Conquest, George
Bargeman from Leicestershire. Assigned to Thomas Luscombe on arrival

Creamer, Thomas
Ploughs, milks, reaps. Native place Bedford. Assigned to Rev. Lancelot Threlkeld at Lake Macquarie on arrival

Dalton, Thomas
Carter from York. Assigned to Henry I. Pilcher on arrival

Davies, Edward
Iron pan maker from Shropshire. Assigned to James Reid at Rosebrook on arrival

Daws, Abraham
Stocking weaver from Derbyshire. Assigned to Henry I. Pilcher on arrival

Devine, John
Weaver from Glasgow. Assigned to Walter Buchanan Wilkinson on arrival

Dogherty, John
Weaver and hawker from Manchester. Sent to Newcastle Gaol from Maitland in 1847

Fisher, Edwin
Tailor from Birmingham. Ticket of Leave for Maitland 1841

Fletcher, John
Miner from Yorkshire. Ticket of Leave Maitland 1848

Foster, William
Indoor servant and waiter from Halifax. Assigned to James Reid  at Rosebrook on arrival

Fuz, Robert
Boatman from London. Assigned to Henry I. Pilcher on arrival

Garbutt, William
Ploughs and reaps. Native place Yorkshire. Assigned to John Galt Smith on arrival

Geoghagan, Michal
Soldier and labourer from Roscommon. Assigned to A.A. Company on arrival

Gould, John
Linen weaver from York. Ticket of Leave Patrick Plains 1854

Graham, James
Carter from Haddington. Assigned to John Busby at Sydney on arrival. Newcastle Gaol 1835

Grant, Henry
Shoemaker from Stepney. At No. 3 Stockade at Newcastle 1845

Greenwood, Thomas
Wool sorter and soldier from Halifax. Assigned to John Burke at Maitland in 1836

Hamilton, Andrew
Indoor servant, cook and soldier from Lanarkshire. Maitland 1831. Norfolk Island 1833.

Holland, William
Cotton spinner from Cheshire. Assigned to A.A. Company on arrival

Holt, William
Weaver and labourer from York. Assigned to A.A. Company on arrival

Johnson, William
Sailor from Berwick. Assigned to Andrew McDougall at Patrick Plains in 1832

Jones, John Stephen
Ploughs, shepherd, milks, shears, reaps. Native place Somersetshire. Assigned to Richard Jones in Sydney on arrival

Jones, William
Blacksmith and farmer's man from Surry. Assigned to William Dumaresq in 1832

Judd, Charles
Cordwainer and soldier from Hampshire. Assigned to James Cornish at Maitland on arrival

Kahiel, Matthew
Farmer's boy from Lancashire. Assigned to Carters Barracks on arrival. Ticket of leave Maitland 1838

Kent, William
Soldier and Officer's servant from Brighton. Died at Harper's Hill Stockade in 1838

Lamb, Thomas
Miner from York. Sent to Newcastle Gaol 1850

Liversedge, William
Butcher, ploughs, reaps. Shepherd. Native place Yorkshire. Assigned to John Gaggin on arrival

Logan, John
Weaver from Paisley. Assigned to Andrew McDougall at Hawkesbury on arrival. Ticket of Leave Patrick Plains 1840

Mabberley, John
Carpenter from Berkshire. Assigned to Henry Donnison at Brisbane Water in 1836

Madderah, William
Waterman and weaver from York. Assigned to John Gaggin at Windsor on arrival

Matthews, James
Ploughs, shears, milks. Native place Kent. Assigned to James Webber at Penshurst on arrival

McCowan, Hugh
Blacksmith. Ploughs. Native place Argyle. Assigned to Archibald Bell in 1836

Miller, William
Blacksmith from Glasgow. Assigned to John Portus at Maitland in 1836

Minchin, Ambrose
Ploughs, reaps, milks. Native place Gloucester. Assigned to William Innes on arrival

Morgan, Thomas
Ploughs, shears, milks, reaps. Native place Gloucester. Ticket of Leave Invermein 1836

Norman, Thomas
Ploughs, shepherd. Tried at Aylesbury. Assigned to Robert Henderson at Brisbane Water on arrival

Parker, William
Stonemason from Nottinghamshire. Assigned to James Adair in 1832

Partington, Benjamin
Ploughman, reaps, shears, milks. Native place Lancashire. Assigned to John Busby Sydney on arrival. Ticket of leave Cassilis 1835

Pegg, Thomas
Carter from Derbyshire. Assigned to John H. Boughton on arrival

Phillips, William
Barber from Cheshire. Ticket of leave Maitland 1836

Polin, Francis
Weaver, reaps. Native place Glasgow. Assigned to Robert Lethbridge on arrival

Powell, Charles
Labourer from Warwick. Assigned to Walter Buchanan Wilkinson on arrival

Riles, William
Ploughs, reaps, milks. Native place Lancashire. Assigned to Walter Buchanan Wilkinson on arrival

Simpson, Ralph
Potter from Stafford. Assigned to John Hall at Pitt Town on arrival. Ticket of leave Invermein 1837

Slack, John
Chairmaker from Derby. Sent to A.A. Company at Port Stephens 1830

Smallwood, Benjamin
Shoemaker from Stafford. Assigned to Robert Lethbridge on arrival

Smith, Joseph
Groom and indoor servant from Gloucester. Sent to Newcastle Gaol 1841

Smith, Samuel
Chimney sweep from Derbyshire. Ticket of Leave Merton 1838

Smith, William
House painter from London. Assigned to G. Blaxland at Merton 1836

Sugden, Thomas
Ploughman from Yorkshire. Assigned to Thomas Coulson at Black Creek on arrival

Sutcliffe, George
Worsted spinner from Bradford. Assigned to Carters Barracks on arrival. Ticket of Leave Invermein 1834

Sutcliffe, William
Indoor servant from Manchester. Assigned to Henry I. Pilcher on arrival

Thompson, Thomas
Shoemaker from London. Assigned to William Forsyth at Hunter River on arrival

Turner, James
Cook and butcher from London. Assigned to Henry I. Pilcher at Maitland in 1836

Walker, John
Labourer from Greenock. Assigned to John McEvoy at Maitland on arrival

Watson, James
Tailor and fisherman from Kent. Ticket of Leave Maitland 1834

Watts, William
Shoemaker and indoor servant from London. Sent to Newcastle Gaol in 1840

Wheeler, John
Stableman from London. Assigned to the A.A. Company on arrival

White, William
Stable boy from Kent. Assigned to the A.A. Company on arrival

Whittle, James
Shoemaker from Greenwich. Assigned to John Laurio Platt in 1833

Wilcox, John
Stableman from Southwark. Assigned to Robert Henderson at Brisbane Water on arrival

Wilson, James
Weaver from York. Assigned to Hugh Cameron on arrival

Wisewood, John
Native place London. Assigned to James Webber at Penshurst on arrival. Died at Brisbane Water 1831

Woodfield, John
Bricklayer, solder, and Officer's servant from Wiltshire. Assigned to William C. Wentworth in 1836

Wright, John
Stone sawyer and polisher from Stafford. Assigned to James Webber at Penshurst on arrival

Wyatt, Henry
Cotton weaver from Stafford. Ticket of Leave Maitland 1839. Ticket of Leave Patrick Plains 1845

Notes and Links

1). Oh Happy Day, Those Times and These Times by Carmen Callil - In this remarkable book, Carmen Callil discovers the story of her British ancestors, beginning with her great-great-grandmother Sary Lacey, born illegitimate in 1808, an impoverished stocking frame worker in Leicestershire. Through detailed research, we follow Sary from slum to tenement and from pregnancy to pregnancy. We also meet George Conquest (per Nithsdale), a canal worker and the father of one of Sary's children. George was sentenced - for stealing a piece of hemp - to seven years' transportation to Australia, where he faced the extraordinary brutality of convict life. Meanwhile, Mary Ann Brooks and her father John, a silversmith, travel across the seas from Lincolnshire to escape the Workhouse and life as a skivvy.  To be Published: 3 November 2020

2). Select here to read about a Court case in Sydney involving Captain Thomas Christian and the ship's steward who was making a claim for unpaid wages - Sydney Gazette 12 June 1830

3). Select here to find out about bushranger Andrew Hamilton who arrived on the Nithsdale

4). Convict Robert Sutherland 's sister Isabella arrived on the Numa in 1834.

5). Punishment of Thomas Greenwood -
Return of Corporal Punishments inflicted by Sentence of the Bench of Magistrates at Maitland, from the 1st to the 30th September 1833, in the presence of P.N.Anley, Resident Magistrate Thomas Greenwood, Nithsdale, disobedience of orders and absenting, 50 lashes. Appeared much cut.

6). Return of Convicts of the Nithsdale assigned between 1st January 1832 and 31st March 1832 (Sydney Gazette 14 June 1832; 21 June 1832; 28 June 1832; 5 July 1832)

Robert Cowin - Shingler assigned to David Reid at Argyle
Thomas Greenwood - Wool sorter assigned to Robert Futter at Argyle
William Hancock - Bricklayer assigned to James Blackett at Ultimo
William Jones - Blacksmith assigned to William Dumaresq at Hunters River
William Johnson - Sailor assigned to Andrew McDougall at Patrick Plains
John Maberly - Carpenter assigned to Henry Donnison in Sydney
William Miller - Blacksmith assigned to Judge Dowling in Sydney
William Miller - Blacksmith assigned to Thomas Bartie at Williams River
Hugh McCowen - Blacksmith assigned to S. North at Windsor
William Parker - Stonemason assigned to James Adair at Patterson's Plains
Daniel Stewart - Slater and builder assigned to Sydney Stephen at Sydney

7).Convict Ships bringing detachments of the 17th regiment........

Dunvegan Castle departed Sheerness 30 September 1829 - Lieut. John Grey

Katherine Stewart Forbes departed Spithead 14 October 1829 - Major Fairtclough 63rd regt.,

Mermaid departed Sheerness 5 December 1829 - Lieutenant Isaac Blackburn

Forth 1 departed Cork 1 January 1830 - Captain James Oliphant Clunie

Nithsdale departed Sheerness 1 January 1830 - Captain Robert G. Moffatt

Lady Feversham departed Portsmouth 8 April 1830 - Lieutenant Harvey 29th regt.,

Marquis of Huntley departed Sheerness 9 April 1830 Lieutenant Watson 20th regt.,

Adrian departed Portsmouth 27 April 1830 - Ensign Reynolds

Lord Melville departed the Downs 6 June 1830 - Lieutenant Robert Graham

Hercules departed Dublin 3 July 1830 - Major J.W. Bouverie

Royal Admiral departed Portsmouth 5 July 1830 - Captain John Church

Burrell departed Plymouth 27 July 1830 - Captain John Alexander Edwards

Andromeda departed Cork 28 August 1830 - Captain Charles Forbes

York departed Sheerness 4 September 1830 - Lieut-Col. Henry Despard

Edward departed Cork 17 October 1830 - Captain Deeds

Eliza II departed Cork 10 May 1832 - Lieutenant Hewson 4th regiment

8). National Archives - Reference: ADM 101/56/8 Description: Medical journal of the Nithsdale, convict ship from 9 November 1829 to 21 May 1830 by Robert Malcolm, surgeon and superintendent, during which time the said ship was employed in conveying convicts to New South Wales

9). National Archives, Kew. HO 17/54/24 [1829 Oct] Criminal Petitions - Prisoner name: Samuel Latham. Prisoner age: 30. Prisoner occupation: Butcher. Court and date of trial: Chester Summer Assizes 1829. Crime: Cattle stealing - one calf. Initial sentence: Death, commuted to transportation for life. Gaoler's report: Character good. Annotated: Ordered to the hulks. Nil. Petitioner(s): Twelve inhabitants of [Winnington, Staffordshire] who have known the convict since birth. Grounds for clemency: Previous irreproachable character; first offence; his family is highly respected in the neighbourhood.


[1] UK, Royal Navy Medical Journals, 1817-1857 . Medical Journal of Robert Malcolm on the voyage of the Nithsdale in 1830. 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.348-349, 386

[3] New South Wales, Australia, Convict Indents, 1788-1842 Original data: Bound manuscript indents, 1788 - 1842. NRS 12188, microfiche 614 - 619,626 - 657, 660 - 695. State Records Authority of New South Wales, Kingswood, New South Wales, Australia.