Free Settler or Felon
Convict and Colonial History

Convict Ship Adamant - 1821

Embarked 144 men
Voyage 163 days
Deaths 2
Surgeon's Journal - Yes
Previous vessel: Speke arrived 18 May 1821
Next vessel: Grenada arrived 16 September 1821
Captain William Ebsworthy
Surgeon  James Hamilton
Convicts and passengers of the Adamant identified in the Hunter Valley

The Adamant was built at Blyth near Newcastle, England in 1811. [3] She departed England with 144 male prisoners on 29 March 1821 and arrived in Port Jackson on 8 September 1821. Two prisoners died on the passage out.

Convicts Embarked

A total of 144 male prisoners were embarked on the Adamant. Some had been held on the Justitia Hulk, eighty of whom were received on board on the 19th March 1821. None were ill.

Military Guard

The Guard consisted of detachments of the 34th and 48th regiments under orders of Lieutenant Thompson of the 34th. Convict ships bringing detachments of the 34th regiment included Baring in 1815, Batavia in 1818, Globe in 1819, Asia in 1820, Grenada in 1821, Speke in 1821, Prince of Orange in 1821 and Adamant in 1821.


The Adamant departed England on 29th March 1821. Over the next five months they would travel over 12,000 miles.

Surgeon James Hamilton

This was James Hamilton's first voyage as Surgeon Superintendent to a convict ship. He kept a Medical Journal from 10 March to 12 September 1821...... He had few serious cases to contend with, however in the early part of the voyage he struggled to deal with the arguments and petty thefts amongst the prisoners. Several received punishment such as being hand cuffed or 3 - 6 lashes. He rewarded those who were willing to work. Abel Sant from Chester had his iron struck off when he assisted in shaving the men and cook's mate John Job had his struck off in the first week also. After three weeks the leg irons were struck off the men whose ankles had swollen under the restraints. The leg irons of all the boys were struck as well.
On the 23 April in consequence of the motion of the ship and good behaviour of the prisoners he struck off one iron from each of them as well. [2]
Men mentioned in surgeon James Hamilton' journal included:
William Hilton, Age 27. Convict. Taken ill on 23 March off Woolwich
William Wells, Age 27. Convict. Taken ill on 26th March off Woolwich
William Wade, Age 18. Convict. Taken ill on 28th March off Woolwich
Ralph Booth, Age 21. Convict. Taken ill on 19th March off Woolwich
William Barnes, Age 27. Convict. Take ill on 9th April at sea
Thomas Oddie, Age 19. Soldier. Taken ill on 10th April at sea
John Daniel, Age 20. Soldier. Taken ill on 11th April
John Sidley, Age 41. Convict. Taken ill on 17th April at sea
William Raynes, Age 18, Convict. Taken ill on 29th April at sea
Thomas Shinfield, Age 19. Convict . Taken ill on the evening of 5th May at sea
John Wilson, Age 24. Soldier. Taken ill on the evening of 7th May at sea
Edward Minns, Age 18. Convict. Taken ill on 15th May at sea
Richard Miles, Age 22. Convict. Taken ill on the evening of 16th May at sea
Joseph Bull, Age 22. Convict. Taken ill on the night of 20th May at sea
Friday Angle, Age 18. Convict. Taken ill on 21st May at sea
William Young, Age 34. Convict taken ill on 29th May at sea.
John Bailey, Age 19. Convict Taken ill on 31st May at sea.
William Hutchins, Age 27. Convict. Taken ill on 5th June at sea
William Hawkins, Age 16. Convict boy. Taken ill on the evening 5th. At sea.
Joseph Reddal, Age 50. Convict. Taken ill on 8th June at sea
William Dean, Age 23. Soldier. Taken ill 30th June at sea
Stephen Martell, Age 29. Convict. Taken ill 2nd July at sea
James Sloan, Age 17. Convict. Taken ill on evening of 30th August at sea
Robert Woodbridge, Age 16. Convict boy taken ill on 5th September at sea [1]

On Board Supplies

Perhaps the hospital on board was not adequately supplied in the first few weeks, as it was significant enough on 17th April to record in his journal the arrival of several articles - three knives and forks, two saucepans, one iron kettle, one bed pan, one spitting pot, one urinal, three pint pots, and three towels.
The Colonial Secretary's Papers reveal some of the other articles supplied for the use of the hospital on the voyage out - Duck frocks, flannel trousers and waistcoats, 17 pocket handkerchiefs, 17 nightcaps, 17 towels and 14 pairs of sheets. Articles used for fumigating were supplied from the Apothecaries Hall - Nitre Purif. Pulv., Acid Sulphuric, Brown Stone Pipkins, Slips of Glass and Gally Pots. 97 bottles of port wine were supplied in case of illness as well as Allspice, Black Pepper, rice, pearl barley, Tea, sugar, chocolate and ginger.

Rio De Janeiro - On 3rd June they were at Lat 19.0.S, Long 32. 0.W. and intended touching at Rio de Janeiro for water.

High Spirits Amongst the Convict Boys

There were quite a few young men amongst the prisoners. In August it was recorded in the journal that four men were put in irons after they threw water casks through the prison in order to alarm the rest of the prisoners and the following night three boys were put in irons for breaking through the bulk head into the mainhold and stealing rum, sugar and soap. The youngest prisoners on the vessel were Thomas Hipwell (16), Henry Hone (16), James Maconnel (15), Robert Moxon (16), Peter Mullholland (16), Thomas Price (16), William Smith (16), Robert Blenkinsop (15), James bunce (16), William Cook (16), Joseph Cutts (16), Mathew Donaldson (15), Charles Gough (16), William Hawkins (16), James Higgins (16), William Spowage (15), William Vollance (16), Charles Wilson (16) and Robert Woodbridge (16).

Sydney Cove

One prisoner, Edward Morris, fell overboard off the Five Islands on September 8th and was drowned and 142 men eventually arrived in Sydney Cove on 8th September 1821, a voyage of 163 days.

Convict Muster

The prisoners were mustered on board. The indent includes the name of the convict, where and when convicted, sentence, native place, calling, age, height and colour of hair and eyes.


The men were landed on 12th September at 10am and inspected by the Lieutenant Governor. They appeared to be in the very best health according to the Sydney Gazette. Select here to read the procedure likely followed after the prisoners were landed.

Convict Assignment

Eighty-five of the men were sent either to Parramatta or Windsor. Select here to find out more about convicts assigned to the Hunter Valley.

Sydney Weather

There were showers and at times heavy rain in Sydney throughout the month of September 1821.

Departure from Sydney

Captain Ebsworthy was intending to depart Sydney on the Adamant for Batavia on 25th September 1821. Chief Officer Mr. Easterby, Second Officer, William Collins and Third Officer John Mossman and Dr. Hamilton were all intending to depart on the Adamant also. Their voyage was delayed however by a court case involving Captain Ebsworthy and the steward of the Adamant George Farris who accused the Captain of embezzling and converting to his private purposes, government stores. There were counter accusations and lengthy depositions taken from Farris, Dr. Hamilton, John Mossman and Sergeant James Barclay of the 48th regiment. When the enquiry was finished the results were submitted to the Governor for consideration.
The Adamant did not depart Sydney until about 22nd October 1821. Some of the seamen departing on the Adamant for Batavia included Nicholas Estaby 1st Mate; William Collins 2nd Mate; John Mossman 3rd Mate; Nicholas Chatt, carpenter; George Farris, Steward; Niel McNeil, Boatswain; James Reynolds, sailmaker; and George Mason, cook.[4]

Notes and Links

1). Ship Conditions
2). Commissioner's Enquiry3). Convicts and passengers of the Adamant identified in the Hunter Valley -
Angell, Francis
Brown, Robert
Bull, Joseph
Davis, Samuel
Griffiths, James
Higgins, James
Hone, Henry
Lyons, Isaac
Miles, Richard
Minns, Edward
Neil, John
Saunders, John
Shinfield, Thomas
Skelton, John
Vollance, John
Warren, Joseph
Wilson, John


[1] National Archives: ADM 101/1/2 Description: Medical journal of the Adamant, convict ship from 10 March to 12 September 1821 by James Hamilton, surgeon superintendent, during which time the said ship was employed in a voyage to New South Wales.
[2] UK, Royal Navy Medical Journals, 1817-1857. Medical Journal of James Hamilton on the voyage of the Adamant in 1821. The National Archives. Kew, Richmond, Surrey.

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

[4] State Archives NSW; Ships musters; Series: 1289; Items: 4/4772; Reel: 561; Page: 120.