|Embarked 190 men
Voyage 116 days
Surgeon's Journal - Yes
vessel: Grenada arrived 23
Next vessel: Henry
arrived 27 February 1825
Captain Thomas F. Stead
James Alexander Mercer
Follow the Irish Convict Ship Trail
|The Asia was built at Aberdeen in
1819. She made voyages to New South Wales with convicts in
Asia was the next convict ship to leave Ireland after the
departure of the Ann
and Amelia in September 1824. She departed Cove of Cork on
29th October 1824.
The guard was the first detachment of
the 57th regiment and consisted of Captain Richard Heaviside, Lieut.
Le Merchant, 2 Serjeants, 1 Corporal and 30 privates.
Select here to find convict ships
bringing detachments of the 57th regiment.
Alexander Mercer kept a Medical Journal from 28 August 1824 to 28
February 1825. He considered himself fortunate in that the first
time he went to New South Wales in charge of prisoners (on the
convict ship Asia in 1822) there was little sickness, and on this
voyage there was again little sickness and no deaths. He had only
two cases that he considered troublesome, one being
John Gorman who was cured after Mercer operated to relieve a
For the first few days of the voyage the winds
were strong with a high sea running and most of the men were sea
sick, however after a few days the ship came into fine weather and
all recovered. After they were clear of the Bay of Biscay all the
irons were struck off and when near Madeira all the woollen clothes, shoes and stockings
were collected, labelled and stowed away in bread bags. This left
the convicts with two shirts and two pairs of trousers each until
the evening dews began to get heavy and the air cooled when the
surgeon had the warmer clothing re-distributed. There was such fine
weather for most of the voyage that the convicts and guard ate the
majority of their meals on the deck.
The men were
regularly bathed early in the morning, fifty at a time passing
through the bathing tub as mustered by the surgeon. Their beds were
stowed at 7 bells and dinner was at midday. They were served their
lemonade on the quarter deck immediately after dinner each day.
The youngest prisoners on board were Thomas Bowen (16),
Charles Curneen (16), Thomas Lyndsay (15), James Murphy (16),
Francis Ramsey (17), William Rogan (17) and Robert Rogers (17). The
surgeon made them attend school every day for a certain number of
hours. They were probably schooled by Denis Lynch a 40 year old
schoolmaster from Queens County. Described in the indents as a quiet
man with hazel eyes and grey balding hair, Denis Lynch was sent to
the Carter's Barracks on arrival. After school was finished for the
day when the ship's duty permitted the boys were encouraged in
The surgeon believed the men should
be encouraged to be active. All the convicts on this voyage were
allowed dancing as a form of amusement until 8 o'clock at night when
they were mustered and secured in the prison for the night.
Carpenters, joiners, shoe makers and tailors were seldom unemployed
on board. Other men picked oakum and assisted in sailing the ship.
The surgeon recorded his thoughts on the employment of prisoners on
the voyage out.......
|I wish I could in conformity
with the 22nd act of my instructions say I had discovered
some method of employing prisoners on the passage, but I
really have not, nor in a well regulated ship do I think
constant employment by any means necessary particularly for
the preservation of health for such as are willing to make
themselves useful need seldom be entirely idle. At 5 bells
am Sunday and Thursday I always have muster when every man
must appear clean shaved and in clean shirt and trousers.
This naturally leads to as many washing days they need not
therefore be as inactive on the passage as at first view
would be supposed. Tis true all this is their own and ships
duty. Government reap no advantage from such labours, nor do
I know any way in which they could be advantageously
employed towards lessening the enormous expense of sending
them out unless it were practicable to exact on board
something after the plan of the tread mill which coupled to
and working wheels similar to those of the steam vessels
would by a few hours exercise occasionally in light winds,
and calms greatly expedite the voyage and proportionally
lessen the expense. And so far from being a punishment, by
often times saving them many days exposure to a vertical sun
it would tend to their comfort, for a very few leagues often
carry a ship from the failure of N.E. Trade to the
commencement of S.E. hence there would be no delay on the
They sighted King Island on 9th February and arrived in Port
Jackson on Tuesday 22nd February 1825. One man was sent to hospital
on shore on arrival and a Muster was held on board on Friday 25th
February by Colonial Secretary Frederick Goulburn. The
indents reveal the name, when and where tried, sentence, native
place, trade, age, physical description, remarks on their conduct
during the voyage and where assigned on arrival. There are also
occasional notes about relatives already in the colony, colonial
sentences and deaths.
Although the surgeon gave most of the
prisoners a good report for behavior there are also several
mentioned in the indents who were punished - Hugh Vaughn 12 lashes
for insubordination; Thomas McDonnell 24 lashes for quarrelling;
Patrick Caffrey 18 lashes for quarrelling; Laurence Brennan 18
lashes for insubordination; Christopher Walsh 24 lashes for
quarrelling. The indents also reveal the names of several police
constables found guilty of manslaughter at the Spring Assizes at
John Kingsmill, George Walpole, Robert Harvey, John Owen and
James Hincks were all assigned to government service on arrival.
here to read the story of John Kingsmill.
Gazette reported on 3rd March 1825...On Monday
morning last at six o'clock the prisoners of the ship Asia, were
landed at the King's Wharf, 190 in number, all healthy looking men;
they were conducted to the Jail Yard and re-mustered, A great many
applicants for servants were made, and the greater part of the
prisoners were assigned over to masters. Captain Stead and Doctor
Mercer gave most of the prisoners a tolerable character for sobriety
and good behaviour during the voyage and they were on the spot
assigned to respectable settlers and merchants.
were inspected by His Excellency Sir Thomas Brisbane who was pleased
with their clean and healthy appearance. Except for John Glass who
had lost part of his right hand and was sent to the Carter's
Barracks on arrival, most of the prisoners who gave their employment
as weaver, flax dresser or hackler were sent to the
Factory to be employed
The Asia was intending to sail for
Calcutta on 25th March 1825.
Notes & Links:
HERE to find more about convicts and passengers of the
2). The Asia was chartered by the East India
Company in 1826.....
3). Return of Convicts of the Asia assigned between
1st January 1832 and 31st March 1832 (Sydney Gazette 14 June
||Ploughman assigned to J.B.
Bettington at Sydney
||Ploughman and groom assigned to
W.T. Jamieson at Cabramatta
||Tailor assigned to
at Williams River
||Ploughman assigned to James King in
Vessels bringing detachments of the 57th