Free Settler or Felon
Convict and Colonial History

Convict Ship Roslin Castle - 1834

Embarked: 230 men
Voyage:111 days
Deaths: 3
Surgeon's Journal:
Tons: 450
Previous vessel: Surry arrived 17 August 1834
Next vessel: Andromeda arrived 17 September 1834
Master William Richards.
Surgeon Superintendent Robert Espie
Convicts and passengers of the Roslin Castle identified in the Hunter Valley

The Roslin Castle was built at Bristol in 1819. Convicts were transported to Australia on the Roslin Castle in 1828 (VDL), 1830, 1833, 1834 and 1836.

Prisoners transported on the Roslin Castle on this voyage came from counties throughout England. - Essex, Nottinghamshire, London, Staffordshire, Chelsea, Worcestershire, Wiltshire, Kent.


The Roslin Castle departed London on 27th May 1834.

Surgeon Robert Espie

This was surgeon Robert Espie's seventh voyage on a convict ship. He kept a Medical Journal from 17 May 1834 to 25 September 1834 -

There were only seven cases which he considered serious. Three of these men died on the voyage out. -

1) James Bond age 19 who had concealed his illness on embarkation because he was eager to go. In the confusion of getting all the convicts on board, it was a day and a half before Robert Espie knew anything of his illness. He died while the ship was still at Sheerness

2) Edward Gale age 29 died of a ruptured blood vessel. He was already ill when embarked

3) George Turner aged 69 caught a chill after leaving the Cape of Good Hope and despite treatment and nourishment, never recovered. The surgeon considered him a very healthy old man and thought he would have recovered had the ship not been so cold and wet for so long. He did not believe that a Surgeon Superintendent should have the power to refuse a man solely on account of his age but he thought it would be prudent to send all the younger ones first.

The Voyage

Robert Espie was one of the most experienced convict ship Surgeons. He thought that novice surgeons in charge of convicts almost always fell into the trap of keeping the convicts in irons, and not allowing them free access to the deck, for 'apprehension lest the convicts rise and cut his throat'. He thought this had a dispiriting effect and, combined with the lack of fresh air and exercise, gave rise to many ailments which did not occur when the convicts were free of their irons and allowed on deck.

In his seven previous voyages in charge of convicts, Robert Espie had never before encountered sea scurvy. On this voyage there were at least 20 cases during the very damp and blowy weather after passing the Cape of good Hope. Passengers included Lieut. J.B. Dalway, 2nd of Queen's Own Regiment; Andrew Du Moulin, Esq., surgeon, 50th regiment; Mrs. Du Moulin and 11 children; 29 rank and file of 50th regt., 7 women and 14 children. Lieutenant Dalway departed the colony for Madras in January 1835.

Port Jackson

The Roslin Castle arrived in Port Jackson on 15 September 1834. Two hundred and eighteen prisoners were mustered on board on 19th September 1834. (Five were sick on shore; four sick on board; three died on the passage out). William Barrett died in the General Hospital Sydney on the day of arrival, 15th September.

The convict indents give information including name, age, education, marital status, family, religion, native place, offence, date and place of trial, trade or calling, sentence, former convictions, physical description and occasional information regarding place and dates of deaths, colonial crimes. There is no information as to where and to whom the prisoners were assigned on arrival.

Notes and Links

1). Robert Espie was employed as Surgeon-Superintendent on the convict ships Morley in 1817, Shipley in 1818, Dorothy in 1820, Lord Sidmouth in 1823,Lady Rowena in 1826, Mary in 1830(VDL) Roslin Castle in 1834 and the Elizabeth in 1836.

2). Detachments of the 50th Regiment arrived on the convict ships Susan, Surry, Forth, Bengal Merchant Hooghley, Hive, Blenheim, Royal Admiral, Lady Nugent, Parmelia,
James Laing, Captain Cook, Hero, Roslin Castle, Henry Porcher, Henry Tanner and Lady Kennaway.

3). Convicts and passengers of the Roslin Castle identified in the Hunter Valley

4). James Crady alias John Jones, 31, Native place Devonshire, shipwright. Originally he transported on the Mary in 1833. He returned to England illegally and was re-transported on this voyage of the Roslin Castle. He escaped from the colony again and was returned by the Eden in 1840.

5). Convict James Franklin was being transported for the second time, having been first sent on the Fame in 1817

6). The indents state that Edmund Campbell Brewer was a school-master, married father of 5, convicted of forgery at Worcester.....

The following reports tell a different story.....

Edmund Campbell Brewer, a confidential clerk in the employ of the Stourbridge Canal Company, was found guilty of forging a bill of exchange for some 13 pound odd. He absconded to America, and then it was found that he had embezzled 1,000 pound and more, belonging to the Company. Yet, upon the trial, many witnesses gave him the best of characters; and the prosecutors themselves said that his conduct had been most exemplary till this time. Mr. Eberhardt followed him to America, and apprehended him in Utica. He was sentenced to be transported for life. Great exertions were made to obtain a commutation of his punishment. - Worcestershire in the nineteenth century: a complete digest of facts ... By T C. Turberville

March 8. Forgery. - The King v. Edmund Campbell Brewer.

The prisoner was indicted for the forgery of a bill of exchange fer 13l. 5s. with intent to defraud the Stourbridge Canal Company. There were other counts stating different intents. Mr. Whately, Mr. Godson, and Mr. Scott conducted the prosecution, and Mr. Carrington and Mr. Loe defended him.

John Perry, examined by Mr. Godson. - I am and ironmonger at Stourbridge. The Stourbridge Canal Company owed me 111.14s. 10 1 2d. The prisoner was their agent. I applied to him at the end of last July for my account. He came to my house, and brought a bill drawn for 131.5s, to pay that account, and to pay the balance on his own private account - There was an endorsement Richard Smith - per proc. of Stourbridge Canal Company. E. C. Brewer. I paid away the bill. It came back dishonored on the 22d of October, and I sent it to the Canal Company's agent, Morris. (The bill was read. It was a bill dated the 25th of August, for two months, payable to Richard Smith or bearer, drawn by William Jones upon Messrs. Hanburs and Co., bankers, London.)

Cross-examined by Mr. Lee - I had not received bills from the company that year. Thomas Morris examined by Mr. Scott. - I have audited the account of the company. Prisoner came into their service in August, 1831. I occasionally audited his accounts. It was his duty to settle the accounts of the company. In September last I was about to audit his accounts, and prisoner sent me a note, starting that he had had permission to go out of town for a day or two, and should return on Tuesday, and would take all blame at the committee at his (witness's) not being ready. It was dated Sunday evening. He never returned into the service of the company, but absconded. I know the prisoner's hand writing. I believe the whole bill to be in his hand writing, and the endorsements also.

Cross-examined. - The endorsement is different from the face of the bill, but I believe it to be his hand writing. Henry Eberhart, clerk to Messrs. Roberts, attorneys at Stourbridge, pursued the prisoner to Liverpool, and then embarked for America. Arrived at New York, and from inquiries found him at Utica, 300 miles up the country. There he was apprehended and carried before a magistrate, whence he was brought back to England, and delivered to the constable.

After he was brought back to England, and was at Stourbridge, I asked the prisoner who was Richard Smith, the endorser. He hesitated for some time, and then said, He is a friend of mine, and gave me the money to take it up. I asked him where he lived, and told him that if he had paid the money. Smith could not be hurt. He said Yes, he may. I asked him who was Jones, and said the whole bill was in his handwriting, He said yes After a little pause, he said I knew I should be prosecuted on this bill, but having found myself involved, I uttered it, and stopped. He said he had paid it to Mr. Perry.

Cross-examined. - had no power with me to bring him back from America. He came back voluntarily with me. He was at liberty afterwards, and during the voyage. Craig, the constable, on the 27th of November last, received prisoner into his custody, and the prisoner told him the same story as to the last witness. He said it was drawn by Smith, but the names were fictitious, and asked if the crime was the same as if the names were known. The witness said he did not know. Prisoner said the last word he said when he left England was, he wished them to take up the bill. On the 29th, he wrote a note to Mr. Payne, requesting him to inquire as to that same question of Mr. Grazebrook, or some other attorney. This note was kept by Craig the constable. It was proved that no person of the name of W. Jones, near Birmingham, banked at Hambury's, and that the person of the name of Smith was not known there.

The prisoner, a respectable young man, declined saying anything. Mr. Whateley, for the prosecution, stated that the prisoner had borne an excellent character, and had filled a place of great credit for many years. Mr. Justice Parke summed up the case io the jury, who found the prisoner Guilty. Sentenced to be transported for life
. - Railways, Locomotives and Cars

Edmund Campbell Brewer was sent to Port Macquarie on arrival. His wife Anne gave birth to their son Robert Henry there in December 1835. Another three children were born at Port Macquarie. Ann was Matron at the Port Macquarie hospital in 1840. Edmund Campbell Brewer died at Balmoral Cottage, Burwood N.S.W. in 1891 aged 93