was built at Aberdeen in 1819. She made voyages to New South Wales
with convicts in 1820
prisoners who were transported on the Asia in 1820 came
from counties and cities throughout England and Scotland - Gloucester, Surry,
Lancaster, Bristol, Cumberland, Middlesex, Kent, London etc.,
Most were probably held in county prisons or Newgate before
being transferred to one of the hulks to await transportation.
Some of the men who had been tried at the Old Bailey in April and
May 1820 were sent to Newgate. They were taken from Newgate on 21st
July and sent to the Bellerophon hulk and on 23 August 1821
were transferred to the Asia.
Most of the men were in their
20s and 30s however two were only fourteen years old - Thomas Reed
and Walter Preddy and there were several who were 15 and 16 years
old. John Hill was the oldest at 56 years of age.
This was William Bell Carlyle's first
voyage as surgeon superintendent on a convict ship. His medical
journal does not seem to have survived however he made a total of
six voyages on convict ships over the next ten years and the
journals from those voyages are available.......Morley in 1823 (VDL)
Henry in 1825,
Andromeda in 1827 (VDL)
Phoenix in 1828 and the
Huntley in 1830. Hundred of convicts arrived in the colony
under his care in those ten years, and in all that time he lost a
total of only seven prisoners.
The large Vessel in the centre is
the Captivity, this was formerly the
Bellerophon man-of-war, of 74 guns, to which ship, when
commanded by Captain Maitland, and cruising in Basque Roads,
off Rochefort, the Emperor Bonaparte surrendered himself,
about six o'clock A.M. on the 15th of July, 1815.* Near the
margin, on the left, is the Sheer-hulk, used for fixing the
masts and rigging of the vessels in the harbour.
Bellerophon was paid off and converted to a prison ship
in 1815, and was renamed Captivity in 1824 to free
the name for another ship. Moved to Plymouth in 1826, she
continued in service until 1834, when the last convicts
left. The Admiralty ordered her to be sold in 1836, and she
was broken up.
Asia was the next convict ship to leave
England after the departure of the female convict ship
Morley in May 1820. The
Asia departed Sheerness on 3rd September 1820.
consisted of 1 non-commissioned officer and 30 privates belonging to
the 30th, 34th and 69th regiment under the command of Captain Mann
of the 30th regiment. Other convict ships bringing detachments of
the 34th regiment included the
Baring in 1815,
Globe in 1819,
Grenada in 1821,
Speke in 1821,
Orange in 1821 and
Adamant in 1821.
Asia arrived in Port
Jackson on Tuesday 26th December 1820 with 189 male prisoners all in
good health. One prisoner had died on the passage out.
The prisoners were landed at sunrise on the morning of 5th
January 1821 together with the men from the
were inspected by Governor Macquarie who was accompanied by
Commissioner Bigge, in the Jail Yard at 10 o'clock. The Sydney
Gazette reported that........
They were inspected by His
Excellency the Governor who expressed to the Commanders and Surgeons
of each vessel the highest satisfaction at the appearance of the
men, who one and all testified to His Excellency their gratitude to
the Gentlemen to whose care and tenderness they had been confided by
a benign and merciful Government, in the most lively terms of
heartfelt praise, acknowledging they had experienced universal
kindness and general attention; indeed, their particularly healthy
appearance fully confirmed the expressions of their grateful
feelings, which spoke more than language was capable of giving
utterance to. (1)
Four prisoners were ordered to be
assigned to private service at Parramatta - Thomas Guard, Edward
Dyde, Charles Reece and Richard James were assigned to John Blaxland.
Joseph Ponting was sent to the Government Factory at Parramatta,
James May was sent to the Prisoner's Barracks. Others were assigned
to Government to labour on the Public Works at Parramatta. The men
were forwarded to Parramatta by water.
departed Sydney for Batavia in February 1821. Chief Officer was
Thomas Tooke and Second Officer C. Howard.
1). Gilbert MacLeod was a Glasgow printer
and became involved in the 1820 radical uprising in Scotland. He
published a newsletter called "The Spirit of the Union" and with
several other men was arrested and convicted of sedition in
Edinburgh in March 1820. He was kept in close confinement before his
In correspondence to The Examiner dated 11
March 1821, a friend of MacLeod's described the ordeal after
trial....In the mean time my unhappy friend was dragged from his
prison manacled and with every circumstance of indignity, linked to
felons and wretches of the most abandoned description and shipped
for Sheerness. He too a man of the acutest sensibility and delicate
constitution. Only imagine, Mr. Examiner, for a moment what must
have been his feelings on the occasion! He ultimately was sent to
Botany Bay, whither he sailed six months since. By this severe
measure a wife and family have been thrown destitute, thus "visiting
the sins of the father upon the children" It now turns out that his
sentence was illegal as well as unjust; for by the laws of Scotland
banishment is the hardest punishment inflicted for libel but the
Judges have in this case, as well as some others, within the last
thirty years strained a point, and banishment has become
transportation. Would that this abuse had been discovered sooner!
Then an individual beloved for his virtues and respected for his
talents by all who had the pleasure of his acquaintance would not
have been cruelly torn from society and all that he loved. -
CASE OF OPPRESSION . The Examiner (London, England), Sunday, March
11, 1821; Issue 688. British Library Newspapers, Part I: 1800-1900
Gilbert MacLeod was sentenced to the unusual term of five
years transportation. He was received on the Retribution hulk from
Edinburg on 26 July 1820 with sixteen other prisoners from Scotland
most of whom were thieves and petty criminals. He was sent to the
Asia for transportation on 22 August 1820. In New South Wales, he
was assigned to Mr. Wylde and then recommended to be re-assigned to
Postmaster George Panton in 1822. Gilbert's wife Catherine and
daughter Helen and son George arrived free on the
Mary Ann in 1822. In the 1823 muster of
convicts they reside together & Gilbert is employed as a
Gilbert MacLeod was pardoned 2 June 1823 and
permitted to return to his country. (HRA), however he applied for a
grant of land in 1824 as he had decided to settle with his family in
the colony. (CSI). He was granted 320 acres in the Parish of Stockrington (Mulbring) In 1827 he was employed as a
Clerk by the Branch Eagle British and Colonial Life Assurance
On 3 May 1828 The Monitor announced the death of
Deputy Sheriff of the Colony Gilbert McLeod at his house in Sydney
after an illness of only a few days, leaving a widow, son and
daughter to lament his loss. "We fear the widow is not a rich
legatee. We trust the benevolence of his friends will be found in
exercise on so distressing an occasion". Gilbert MacLeod was
buried on 3 May 1828 age 37. In the 1828 census (November 1828)
Catherine is aged 40 and lives in a house at Prince St. Sydney.
Catherine MacLeod died at her residence Prince Street Sydney in
April 1829. - The funeral of Mrs McLeod, relict of the late Mr.
Gilbert McLeod, some time Under Sheriff of the Colony, a gentleman
of respectable literary acquirements, and whose premature decease
was lamented by all to whom he was known, took place yesterday
morning and was attended by a few select and respectable friends.
Mrs. McLeod never was in a good state of health since the death of
her husband, whose loss she survived scarcely one year. (SG 4
April 1829) Gilbert MacLeod’s land grant was held in trust by
Charles Cowper & John Betts for his daughter Helen MacLeod. Helen
married engineer William Anstruther Maingy in March 1830 and William
& Helen then migrated to Canada in 1831.
The Radical Rising: The Scottish Insurrection of 1820 By Peter
Berresford Ellis, Seumas Mac a' Ghobhainn
Hunter Valley convicts / passengers who
arrived on the Asia in 1820
4). Return of
convicts who died in 1870....
(1). The Sydney
Gazette 6 January 1820
(2). Bateson, Charles & Library of
Australian History (1983). The convict ships, 1787-1868 (Australian
ed). Library of Australian History, Sydney : pp.342-343, 383