|The Blenheim sailed from London
to Kingstown, Dublin where 200 prisoners were received on board on
the 8th May 1839. The men had come counties throughout Ireland
and had been convicted of crimes such as larceny, burglary,
receiving, stealing, manslaughter, coining, murder, assault, rape,
abusing serjeant, desertion, arson, perjury, forging a Will and
bigamy. Several were also convicted of white boy crimes.
The Guard consisted of 20 rank and file of the 51st regiment
under Ensign and Adjutant McGregor and Ensign Kirby. (1)
William McDowell kept a Medical Journal from 23 April 1839 to 8
October 1839 and reported all the men to have been in good health on
embarkation. The Blenheim departed Dublin on 19 May 1839
and spoke the
Parkfield on 6th June.
There was an outbreak of
dysentery in July. The surgeon considered it due to the bad water
they had on board which emitted a most offensive putrid effluvia,
almost intolerable, and caused many bowel complaints. Fresh water
and provisions were obtained at the Cape on 6th August, however it
came too late and three prisoners died from dysentery - James
Maginness (died 2 August 1839), Martin Graham (died 26 July 1839)
and Michael Farrelly (died 7 August 1839). Later another convict
James Benson also died after suffering tonsillitis.
Very bad weather was encountered on 4th September, one prisoner
James Feeney (26 year old labourer from Westmeath convicted of
stealing potatoes) becoming so frightened that he required treatment
from the surgeon.
The Blenheim arrived at Port Jackson on 27 September
1839. William Brophy was probably sent straight to the General
Hospital on shore where he died on 2nd October 1839. The
remaining prisoners were landed by 8th October 1839.
James Cross died in the General Hospital on 3rd December 1839 and
Daniel Keene died in the General Hospital Sydney 24th December 1839.
Notes & Links:
Hunter Valley convicts / passengers of the Blenheim in 1839
ships bringing detachments of the 51st regiment included the Neptune,
John Barry, Blenheim,
Waverley and the
William McDowell was employed as surgeon superintendent on the
Harmony in 1827 and the
Diamond in 1838
Kingston Harbour Dublin (Dun Laoghaire Harbour ) Engraved by T A
Prior after a picture by Edward Duncan - Prints of Ireland.
Sydney Gazette 20 August 1839