Free Settler or Felon
Convict and Colonial History

Convict Ship Baring (2) - 1819

Embarked 300 men
Voyage 150 days
Deaths 5
Surgeon's Journal - Yes
Previous vessel: Lord Sidmouth arrived 11 March 1819
Next vessel: Bencoolen arrived 25 August 1819
Captain John Lamb.
Surgeon David Reid
Prisoners and passengers of the Baring identified in the Hunter Valley

The Baring was a ship of the Honorable East India Company. She was built by Barnard and launched in 1801. She had three Decks and a length of 146ft; 820 tons. Sh was sold in 1814 and became a convict ship to Australia. The last note of her was in New South Wales in 1824. [1]

This voyage in 1819 was the second voyage of the Baring bringing convicts to New South Wales, the first being in 1815

Convicts Embarked

Prisoners were often held in various Hulks for several months prior to transportation.

Two hundred convicts were embarked in the river in November 1818 and the ship was ordered round to Sheerness to take in the remainder on 4th December.[9] Some of the Baring convicts who were tried at the Old Bailey were sent to Newgate prison and transferred to the Retribution Hulk on 3rd October 1818. These men were among the prisoners embarked on the Baring on 4th December 1818. [11]

Military Guard

The Military Guard consisted of Captain Charles Coates of the 89th regiment, in Command of the 48th regiment, and ensign Grove White of the 48th regiment.

Convict ships bringing soldiers of the 89th regiment included :

Atlas, John, Baring and Minerva

Convict ship bringing detachments of the 48th regiment included Pilot, Caledonia, Dorothy, Larkins, Lady Castlereagh, Agamemnon, Minerva, Guildford, Isabella, Prince Regent, Lord Eldon, Ocean and Baring.

Crowded Conditions on the Baring

One of the most notorious convicts on the Baring was Dr. Lawrence Halloran a bogus clergyman, schoolmaster and journalist, who was born on 29 December 1765 in County Meath, Ireland. In 1818 Dr. Halloran was indicted on a charge of counterfeiting a tenpenny frank in the name of Sir William Garrow, M.P., allegedly for the purpose of accrediting himself as a curate; when he was found guilty he was sentenced to transportation for seven years. [2]

In his petition to Parliament regarding the severity of his punishment, the crowded conditions on the Baring were revealed...........

Petition of Dr. Halloran - Mr. Bennet presented (to parliament), a Petition from Dr. Halloran, sentenced to seven years transportation, for forging a frank, complaining of the unprecedented severity of the punishment for such an offence, and of the treatment which he had experienced since his conviction.

The hon. gentleman said he had inquired into the circumstances of the case. Dr. Halloran was unquestionably a man of considerable literary talents, he was advanced in life, and had a large family. The sentence pronounced upon him certainly appeared much too severe for the offence; but it was the cruelty which Dr. Halloran complained that he had suffered since his conviction to which he was desirous to call the attention of the House. Dr. Halloran had, on his apprehension, been sent to Coldbath-fields, where he was imprisoned with felons. He was thence removed for trial to Newgate, where he was confined in the condemned cells with thirty or forty boys. From those cells, he was transferred to the hospital among the sick felons. He by no means imputed any blame to the magistrates or to the keeper, but it did so happen, owing to the crowded state of the prison, that a very severe punishment, in the mode of his imprisonment was, as in this case of Dr. Halloran's inflicted on a prisoner, even before his trial.

After Dr. Halloran had been convicted, he was sent on board the Alonzo hospital ship at Woolwich. Here on 30th November, he was seized with violent illness, in the middle of which he was removed, and taken in an open boat to the Baring transport at Purfleet (10 miles), where he was left in a small cabin for nineteen hours without any kind of sustenance, He was then served with the usual sea allowance, which was very unfit for a man in his condition, but could obtain no medical aid. Dr. Halloran had been promised by Lord Sidmouth that he should have every accommodation which it would be proper to grant him, and that he should not be compelled to associate with common felons. In a few days, however, after he had been taken on board the Baring, twenty double-ironed felons were lodged with him in the same cabin. He had seen this cabin; it was twelve feet square. Twenty-one human beings were crammed into it, in cribs six feet and a half broad by five feet and half long, into each of which six human beings were stowed. In that situation they were unable to turn round, and Dr. Halloran declared he was witness to one of the abominable scenes the increasing prevalence of which was so degrading to the character of the country.

There was a privy (used by a hundred and fifty convicts, in the fore part of the ship) in one corner of it; Dr. Halloran sent a statement of this transaction to Lord Sidmouth and a most respectable officer Mr. Capper was sent to investigate. Mr. Bennet repeated that he himself had visited the vessel. It contained between two and three hundred human beings all stowed in about fifty cribs. It was in the middle of the day, about three o'clock, when he went on board; and yet it was necessary to use candles. Never should he forget the loathsome scene which the vessel exhibited! It appeared that the ship had a short time before got on a bank in a gale of wind, and had been nearly lost. The agitation of the storm had occasioned violent sickness among the unhappy men on board and those who were at bottom, were almost suffocated by the results of that sickness.

The case was heard in parliament 25th January 1819 and it was agreed that if the ship had not sailed already that she should be stopped and an investigation as to the conditions take place. Although she apparently didn't sail until 27th January, it was stated in parliament that she had already departed.

Conditions on the ship were crowded for both convicts and soldiers alike. Evidence in the case of Dr. Halloren was later discussed in Parliament....Sir T.B. Martin contradicted the statement made by Mr. Bennet the preceding evening as to the crowded condition of the convicts on board the ship Baring. He described the master and surgeon of that vessel as men distinguished for humanity. The convicts had as great a space allowed to them as soldiers had. On the 9th of this month he had made a calculation upon the proportion of deaths in convict ships, and he found it to be 53 in 6409 - that is, one in about 112. Mr. Bennet re-asserted the accuracy of his former statements, adding, that when he represented to the master with horror, the state of the convicts, his reply was, 'For God's sake, Sir, don't go away with the impression that the convicts alone are crowded. Look into my cabin, look into the soldiers apartment; we are all equally crowded.'[3]

Free and Cabin Passengers

Passengers included Peter Roberts Esq., Deputy Assistant Commissary General; Rev. John Cross and family with the Rev. John Butler and Mrs. James Kempe (a smith), and Mr. Francis Hall (schoolmaster), Missionaries and their families; Mrs. Elizabeth Turnbull and family. They all embarked on 15th December 1818[4]. Tooi and Tetterree, New Zealanders who had travelled to England in the Kangaroo also sailed on the Baring. [5]. Charles Watson a former private in the 102nd regt came free as a Chelsea pensioner

Voyage of the Baring Delayed

According to the Surgeon, the Pilot ran the ship aground while sailing into the Downs. [9]. Rev. John Cross's account of the grounding on the Brake Sand and her return to Sheerness for repairs.........

Baring, Botany-Bay Ship. (From the Christian Guardian for Jan. 1819.)

In the Supplement to the December number we mentioned the sailing of this ship, with upwards of 300 convicts, from the river, having on board also the Rev. John Cross, an assistant Chaplain for New South Wales, with his wife and children; the Rev. Mr. Butler, a Clergyman belonging to the Church Missionary Society, and his wife and children; Mr. and Mrs. Kemp; Mr. Hall, and two New Zealanders, for New Zealand, via Sydney: we congratulated our readers on the probable accession to the cause of religion in our distant settlement, and among the Zealanders, by the services of such men as we believe them to be, and we heartily wished them a prosperous voyage, and great success in their ministry.

And now we have to communicate, with a sorrow chastised with submission, and with thankfulness unmixed with any alloy, the result of a most narrow escape of the ship and people from destruction. Shortly after their sailing from Sheerness, on the bank, near the North Foreland, the vessel grounded ! The shock occasioned by her position was so violent as to move the people off their feet; and the groans of the vessel, in her laborious conflict between the ground and the under-swell, were described to us by an eye-witness as most tremendous; and the tremulous motion of the mainmast was indescribably affecting to the women and children, and brought paleness into the countenance of one of those most accustomed to the sea.

In this jeopardy they did not continue long, for, by the good providence of God, the ship touched at the time the flowing of the tide had commenced, so that by setting sails, and moving the people forward in the ship, the tide greatly helping, she launched forth into deep water. Till this period the Rev. Gentlemen felt no confounding alarm; but a quiet and tranquil presence of mind, answerable to the promise, ' As thy day is, so shall thy strength be, ' kept them from sinking while the ship was in danger; but when she floated on the bosom of the but now threatening Ocean, they felt a sinking, perhaps in part from sensations of gratitude, and in part from the unbending of the nerves, which had been too highly stretched before with apprehension, mingled with hope and trust in God. The wind continued strong, but in their favour, till they reached the Downs, off Deal; and the moment they came into ten fathoms water, the wind of the Lord blew strongly in their teeth, and they were forced to anchor: this gave opportunity for more minute inquiry into the state of the hold, and they found that the ship was making three feet water in twenty-four hours.

This induced the Captain to land and set off post for London, to lay the state of the vessel before the proper authorities, whose decision was to return into Sheerness to refit. So then the voyage is postponed, but the precious lives are saved most probably from destruction, for, had the wind not prevented, they would have proceeded down Channel; and, as the ship is deemed not sea-worthy, they might have looked in vain for any haven but that to which the Christians among them would have come suddenly and certainly, but the unbelievers never. But now, who can tell but that many of these lives may, through grace, be reserved for salvation work here, and the enjoyment of glory hereafter! The hand of God has been made manifest in the outset, and we trust it will be always viewed and owned in the sequel by many on board. The account given of the care and attention of the Captain, the good conduct and promising manners of the convicts, which we have received from the best authority, afford us a hope that, with this warning of the suddenness with which they may sink into eternity in remembrance, and the kind and zealous instruction and prayers of the Rev. Gentlemen on board, those who go forth as convicts before a human bar, may, by a higher conviction, be brought to a throne of grace, for mercy and pardon, through our Redeemer' blood and righteousness. It is supposed that the delay occasioned by this incident will not be very long. The reasons for the incident itself are in the hands of a higher Power, where we wish to leave it, knowing that he doth all things well


The Baring arrived at Madeira on the 10th February, thirteen days from the Downs. According to the Asiatic Journal, all the convicts, passengers, troops and crew were in the highest state of health and order and she immediately continued her voyage to New South Wales.[9]

Cape of Good Hope

However many became ill after leaving the Cape.....After passing the Cape of Good Hope, symptoms of scurvy began to make their appearance attended in some cases with obstinate diarrhoea which soon reduced them to a state of great debility which must be attributed to their being so long on board on salt provisions and their suffering from the severity of the weather, the clothing from the hulks being entirely worn out from the badness of its quality. I was under the necessity of serving out the additional clothing. [9]

The Equator

Light winds delayed the ship on approaching the Equator and the heat affected many of the convicts and some of the guard with 'chronic affectations of the liver and jaundice'. Five of the prisoners died.[9]


They met with a series of light easterly winds which rendered the latter part of the voyage very tedious and prevented the passage through Bass Strait. David Reid noted that exclusive of those who died 'we had about 30 more ill with slight complaints of the same kind but we kept the disease at bay with lemon juice and fresh meat till we got to the Derwent when we had a plentiful supply of fresh meat, vegetable and potatoes and when we arrived at Port Jackson all had recovered'[9]. However the Hobart Town Gazette reported that when the Baring put into Hobart on 14th June to procure fresh provisions and water, five prisoners suffering extreme debility were landed and one of them died the following day. The following month 21 year old Private Edward Edwards died after suffering a debilitating illness on the voyage out.

The Baring was preparing to proceed from Hobart to Port Jackson on Sunday 20th June. [7]

Arrival at Port Jackson

They finally arrived at Port Jackson on 26 June 1819 with 290 prisoners. Of those prisoners an astonishing eighty-two were under the age of twenty-one years. Two were only eleven years old. [10]

David Reid's Recommendations

David Reid recommended that when convicts were first embarked and while detained before sailing that they be given plenty of vegetables and fresh meat instead of salt rations so that their constitution might be enabled to resist the effects of disease in the case of a lengthy voyage. He also recommended that unless the passage from England to the Southern tropic was quick, it was advisable to stop at Rio Janeiro which was preferable to the Cape of Good Hope as vegetables were plenty and cheap and the passage from that place could be made to Port Jackson in as little time as from England to Rio.[9]

Rev. John Cross

Governor Macquarie was pleased at the arrival of Rev. Cross........The Two Chaplains, whom Your Lordship recently sent out namely, The Revd. Richd. Hill and Revd. John Cross and who have lately arrived here in the Hibernia and Baring respectively, are very great acquisitions to the Country, and were very much wanted; they both appear to be very correct, pious, zealous and good Divines. I hired a House in Sydney immediately on their arrival here for the accommodation of themselves and Families, till their future Places of Residence could be determined on. Rev. Cross was to be stationed at Windsor [8]

Descendant Contribution

Sent by researcher Frances Roberts Reilly - William Wood, the younger, was born in 1798 in Caernarfon, North Wales. He was the youngest son of William Wood and Mary Stanley. He was convicted at Monmouth Assizes of receiving stolen goods; sentenced to 14 years and transported on the Baring in 1818. He was sent to Port Macquarie in 1822 for three years for a colonial crime. He was residing at Luskintyre in the Hunter Valley assigned to T.W.M Winder in 1828. He received his Freedom in 1832.

Notes and Links

1). Tasmania Times - Online......Kris Jacobsen, of Canberra, has documented the lives of Jacob and Benjamin Isaacs in a book entitled A Land of Promise: An Account of Jacob Isaacs, Jewish Convict, and Benjamin Isaacs, Christian Printer and Publisher. State Library of Victoria....Contents/Summary: From East London lanes--To colonial roads--And colonial towns--Benjamin's imprint. At the end of the 19th century Jacob Isaacs, and his son Benjamin lived in poverty in London. Benjamin avoided the criminal orientation of his father when a charity provided an education and apprentice- ship. This account investigates their lives from the adverse circumstances of Whitechapel to the opportunities presented in a new land.

2). David Reid was also surgeon on the Baring in 1815 and Providence in 1822

3). Prisoners and passengers of the Baring identified in the Hunter Valley

4). Captain John Lamb - Australian Dictionary of Biography Online

5). Nautical Notices from the Asiatic Journal by Lieut. John Lamb re the shoals in the track between Port Jackson and Calcutta 27 October 1819

6). Church Missionary Society - Intelligence from the Missionaries on board the Baring (Online) - 'Letters have been received from the Rev. John Butler, dated off St. Jago, Feb. 21st; and on the 7th of March, when a little North of the Line: with one from Mr. Francis Hall, of the 7th of March' - University of New Zealand

7). Missionaries Francis Hall and James Kemp - Mr. Francis Hall was mentioned in the last Report: his unwearied attention to Tooi and Teeterree, and his fixed and exemplary character, encourage the hope in your Committee, that his services among the New Zealanders will be rendered a real blessing to them. James Kemp, from Wymondham, was strongly recommended by the Clergymen of that parish, who are zealous Members of the Society: he has proceeded, in a truly Christian Spirit, as a Smith attached to the Settlement; and was furnished, by an intelligent friend, with many practical instructions in agriculture, which may prove highly beneficial to the Settlers. Missionary Register

8). Dr. Halloran was granted a ticket of leave on arrival; he opened a private school known as the Sydney Grammar School, in January 1820 and in November 1825 was appointed headmaster of the new Sydney Free Public Grammar School.

9). Select here to read the parliamentary debate which was brought about by the petition of Dr. Lawrence Halloran.

10). National Archives. Reference: ADM 101/7/4 Description: Medical Journal of the Baring convict ship sailing to New South Wales, covering the dates 31 October 1818 to July 1820, by David Reid, Surgeon. Sea victualling between 29 November 1818 and 3 July 1819. The journal's inside cover states it covers up to July 1820, its last entry is for June 1819.


[1] Honorable East India Company Ships Log Books - Online

[2] Australian Dictionary of Biography - Laurence Hynes Halloran

[3] Proceedings of Parliament - Gentleman's Magazine

[4] Proceedings of the Church Missionary Society for Africa

[5] The New Zealanders.

[6] The Christian Journal and Literary Register

[7] Hobart Town Gazette 19 June 1819

[8] Macquarie to Bathurst HRA, Series 1, Vol X

[9] UK, Royal Navy Medical Journals, 1817-1857. Medical Journal of David Reid on the voyage of the Baring in 1819. The National Archives. Kew, Richmond, Surrey.

[10] Convict Indents. State Archives NSW; Series: NRS 12188; Item: [4/4006]; Microfiche: 641