Free Settler or Felon
Convict and Colonial History

Convict Ship Boyd - 1809

Embarked 139 men
Voyage 157 days
Deaths 5
Surgeon's Journal - No
Previous vessel: Experiment arrived 25 June 1809
Next vessel: Indispensable arrived 18 August 1809
Captain John Thompson
Follow the Irish Convict Ship Trail
Convicts and passengers of the Boyd identified in the Hunter Valley

The Boyd was built on the River Thames. This was her only voyage as a convict ship. The prisoners came from counties in Ireland - Dublin, Carlow, Tipperary, Longford, Armagh, Sligo, Kildare, Cork, Westmeath, Limerick, Wicklow, Roscommon, Mayo, Waterford and Carrickfergus.


 Boyd was the next convict ship to depart Ireland bound for New South Wales with male Irish convicts after the ship Tellicherry in August 1805. In the years between prisoners sentenced to transportation were held in county gaols or sent to Cork and Dublin to await their punishment.

In June 1807, eighteen months before the Boyd was due to depart, plans were already underway to transfer prisoners to convict ships -

Dublin - 22 June 1807 - On Monday evening, four convicts who were sentenced at the assizes of Mayo, to be transported to Botany Bay, named Daniel McAnarty, John Moloney, Martin Freele and Mr. Tobias Jennings (a man who had interests in this country to the amount it is said of £1000 per annum) were conveyed through Limerick from Castlebar, under a military escort on their transmit to Cork to be embarked at Cove on board a transport bound for Port Jackson. [1]

Dublin - 10th November 1808 - Two vessels laden with convicts under sentence of transportation, and destined for Botany Bay, now remain in the great dock of the Grand Canal Company near Ringsend (Dublin); one is a sloop cutter-rigged in which the females are deposited (the Experiment), the other a brig-rigged vessel, in which the male convicts are to be embarked; several persons have been, and are further expected to be transmitted from different parts of the country to add to this precious exportation. [2]

Waterford - 16 November 1808....On Sunday morning the convicts for Botany Bay confined for some time past in the city and county jails of Waterford, were sent for the Cove of Cork, under a military escort - one prisoner, of the name of Fleming, from Wexford, accompanied them: Maurice Hickey, Patrick Keane, James Swaine and Mary Hale, from the county jail - and John Reade from the city. Wednesday last the following convicts were transmitted from Clonmel to Cork, under an escort of Cavalry, previous to transportation to Botany Bay, viz - Daniel Long, John Bull Murphy, John White, Stephen Blake, William Hogan, Denis Criney and Mary Dooney.

They were joined by three men who had been tried in March 1808 in Sligo - Michael Tracy who was found guilty of cow stealing, Michael McDermott of petty larceny and John Supple who was found guilty of threshing

Newgate Prison, Dublin...Newgate Prison, Dublin.

Dublin 11 February 1809......It may not be unworthy of observation, nor should it be unknown to the public, that during the embarkation of those unhappy victims to the violation of the laws of their country; they bestowed the most fervent prayers, and expression of gratitude to Mr. McDowell, the deputy gaoler of Newgate, who was then inspecting their embarkation; and it is likewise most gratifying to learn, that such is the well regulated internal government of Newgate in this city under the direction of Mr. Gregg the head gaoler and Mr. McDowell the deputy gaoler, that it was not found necessary to load any one of the 80 male convicts who were for some time in that prison, under sentence of transportation, with any bolts of iron. The eight robbers under sentence of death were all taken up by Mr. McDowell.

Between 40 and 50 male convicts, and upwards of 20 female convicts were conveyed from Newgate (Dublin) in a number of jingles, jaunting cars and carts which were prepared for the occasion, to the great dock of the Grand Canal, where they were embarked in the vessels now moored there, in which they are to be transportation to Botany Bay.

The High Sheriffs of this city (Limerick) received on Monday a communication from Government, whereby His Grace the Lord Lieutenant has been pleased to stay the execution of Simon White, who was to suffer death for a rape on Saturday next, and to order transportation for life; he yesterday was transmitted for Cork to be put on board the receiving ship in that harbour for Botany Bay. [4]

Departure from Cork

The Boyd departed Cork on 10 March 1809, arrived at the Cape of Good Hope on 24th May and sailed from there on 11th June 1809.

Military Guard

Passengers included Captain Cameron, Lieutenant Pike and Lieutenant Wright of the 73rd regt., and 30 non-commissioned officers and privates.

Port Jackson

Arrival at Port Jackson of the convict ship Boyd in 1809. Sydney Gazette 20 August 1809

They arrived in Port Jackson on 14 August 1809 having lost five prisoners on the passage out. The Boyd brought news of the appointment of Governor Bligh's successor, Lachlan Macquarie and of the fall of Lieut-General Sir John Moore at Corunna.

Departure for New Zealand

After disembarking prisoners and taking on passengers for England, the Boyd set sail on 8th November 1809 for New Zealand to obtain spars. Some of those planning to join the ship on this ill-fated voyage were James Moore, John Budden, Robert Thomas, Mordica Marks, Ann Glossop, Catherine Bourke, R.W. Wrather, Ann Morley, John Petty, Thomas Martin, William Allen, John Thomas, William Mahoney, Dennis Desmond and Thomas Davis.

The vessel was set upon by natives in the Bay of Islands, New Zealand and most on board were massacred. The only survivors were Mrs. Morley and child, Betsey Broughton, (daughter of Commissary Broughton) and Thomas Davis (a boy). Read about the massacre here

Prisoners of the Boyd identified in the Hunter Valley region:

Coffey, John
Tried at Dublin in 1806. Sentenced to transportation for life. On the list of prisoners sent to Newcastle in November 1821

Condon, James
Tried at Cork in 1807. Sentenced to transportation for life. On the list of prisoners to be sent to Newcastle in February 1813

Cruise, John
Alias Crooks. Born c. 1790. Occupation harness maker. Tried at Dublin City November 1807. Sentenced to 7 years transportation. He was employed as Principal Overseer of Government Gangs stationed at Lane cove in January 1814, however he had been found supplying private individuals with timber and shingles procured by the labour of government men placed under him and was dismissed from his position. John Cruise was granted a Certificate of Freedom in November 1814, however he was found guilty of burglary in the house of James Ruse in March 1822 and sentenced to 7 years transportation; he was sent to Newcastle that same month. In March 1824 John Cruise and James Goff were charged by Chief constable Calvert in Newcastle Police Court of being out of their quarters at a time a robbery had been committed. They were both ordered to be returned to barracks. In November 1824 he was sentenced to the gaol gang at Newcastle having been absent from Muster and found lying asleep on the ground drunk. He was considered a very disorderly character. Assigned to Benjamin Singleton in 1825. He was granted a Certificate of Freedom on 11 July 1829. In 1840 he was sent to Newcastle gaol from Patrick Plains under sentence of Breach of Agreement. He was confined for 3 months.

Dempsey, Edward
Tried at Louth in 1808. Sentenced to 7 years transportation. In September 1816 gave evidence for the Crown against several men charged with burglary. In October 1817 found guilty of breaking and entering the store house of Capt. Joseph James in Elizabeth St Sydney and stealing kegs of butter and a coil of rope. He was sentenced to three years to Newcastle penal settlement in November 1817. He was on a list of absconders from the settlement in December 1817

Donovan, Dennis
Tried at Limerick in 1806. Sentenced to transportation for life. Received a sentence of death in November 1813 having admitted to burglary and robbery in the house of George Gambling. Sentence commuted to transported to Newcastle in February 1814. Absconded from Newcastle and a reward was offered for his apprehension in May 1814. He was apprehended in a house in York St. Sydney and at his trial for the murder of William Alder at the Hawkesbury Donovan said that a compass had guided him from the Coal River to the Hawkesbury. He was executed for robbery and rape in July 1814

Farrell, William
Tried in Dublin in 1807. Sentenced to 7 years transportation. Sent to Newcastle in September 1812. Timber getter employed by Simeon Lord at Port Stephens in October 1822

Greaves, George
Alias Graves. Tried in Dublin City in 1808. Sentenced to 7 years transportation. Occupation bricklayer. Sent to Newcastle in June 1811. Returned to Sydney in February 1812 to be tried for assault. In January 1813 at Newcastle he was punished with 50 lashes for unbecoming behaviour to a female child. Memorial for a grant of land in 1820

Irwin, Ormsby
Tried at Cork in 1806. Sentenced to transportation for life. In June 1814 Ormsby and Eleanor Irwin (nee Connor) were put to the bar and indicted for the wilful murder of Serjeant Robert Morrow of H.M. 73 regt, at a public house in York St. Sydney on 19th May 1814 by throwing down, kicking and beating him with so much violence that he lingered in excessive bodily pain for six days before he died. Ormsby Irwin was sentenced to hard labour at Newcastle for two years and Eleanor Irwin was sent to Parramatta gaol for two years. Their two children William and Catherine accompanied their father to Newcastle and are included in the list of the first pupils at the first school at Newcastle. Ormsby's colonial sentence having expired he was sent to VDL on H.M.S Kangaroo with his two children. He was appointed Overseer of the Public Gangs at Hobart in January 1817 with a salary of 25 pounds per annum. He was employed as gunner and signal man in Hobart in 1819. He was granted a conditional pardon in 1821. He died c. 1828

Kearney, William
Alias Carney. Tried in Dublin City in 1808. Sentenced to transportation for life. Sent to Newcastle in February 1814 and absconded in March 1814, captured and returned to the settlement in April 1814

Kelly, Terence
Born in Co. Cavan. Occupation baker. Tried in Dublin City in 1808. Sentenced to transportation for life. Escaped from Newcastle settlement in March 1816. In the 1828 Census he is 39 years of age and a Ticket of Leave holder. He worked as a farmer at Goulburn Plains. His ticket of leave was cancelled in June 1834 for being absent from his district and being a suspicious character. In February 1836 he was sent to Parramatta gaol from Penrith. To be forwarded to the Bench at Yass. In November 1836 as a settler at Stonequarry Creek, he was found not guilty of receiving four bulls, knowing the same to have been stolen

Lawless, Francis
Tried in Dublin City in 1807. Occupation bricklayer. Sentenced to transportation for life. Sentenced to death in March 1811 after being found guilty of forging and uttering, knowing to be forged and counterfeit, a promissory note of hand for 2/- purporting to be drawn by John Birch, Esq., Paymaster of the 73rd Regt., His sentence was commuted to transportation and he was sent Newcastle penal settlement in March 1811. He married Catherine Kearns at St. Phillips Church, Sydney in 1816. In a Memorial for a grant of land in 1820 he stated that he had been in employment of Government eleven years and held a Conditional Pardon. His wife and the mother of his children was born in the colony. He possessed 90 head of horned cattle. He had been employed as Overseer of Bricklayers Gang in Sydney for six years. Francis Lawless died in Gunning in December 1874

Mannix, James
Tried in Co. Kerry in 1808. Appointed constable in Sydney in December 1810. Sentenced to transportation for life. Sent to Newcastle in 1814. In 1828 he was 50 years of age and lodged with Ann Valentine in Sussex Street, Sydney

Matthews, Tully
Born 1780. Convicted of robbery at the Dundalk Assizes in April 1808. Sentenced to 7 years transportation. Occupation linen weaver. Granted a Certificate of Freedom 3 April 1815. In January 1816 he sailed on the Active for New Zealand. He arrived at Tangihoua in the Bay of Islands on 23 February and on 9 March was contracted to make 20,000 bricks for the Rangihoua Mission Station. [5] Tully Matthews and Thomas Matthews were convicted of pig stealing in Sydney in March 1822 and sentenced to 7 years transportation. They were sent to Newcastle penal settlement. Tully was granted a Certificate of Freedom 30 March 1829 for the colonial crime.

Maxwell, John
Alias Tomson. Trade barber and hair dresser. Tried in Dublin City in 1806. Sentenced to 7 years transportation. Sent to Newcastle penal settlement in 1812 from which he absconded in January 1813 He was one of four prisoners who were taken before a Bench of Magistrates assembled at Windsor in February 1813, charged with absconding from Hunter River. The men gave an account of their lamentable attempt at escape - Waters, Maxwell and Bathers left the Settlement on Christmas Day having in company two other men.. They lost their way and getting into the mountains wandered three weeks without the hope of ever reaching any of the settlements. Chance directed them to the coast where they met with a large body of natives who surrounded and attacked them with their spears. Bailey was killed on the spot and the others were stripped and suffered to proceed towards Broken Bay where they arrived two days after in a famished and exhausted state. He was granted a Certificate of Freedom in January 1814. He was sent to Newcastle again in 1816 having been found guilty of stealing out of the barrack of a military officer at Sydney, sundry articles of wearing apparel. He was sentenced to five years hard labour and to be kept during the gaol for the said term. He petitioned for an indulgence or concession in 1818 stating that he had been banished to Newcastle for five years of which he had served two and a half.

McBranty, Owen
Alias Brierty. Tried at Donegal in 1806. Sentenced to 7 years transportation. His son Robert was born in the colony in 1814. Owen McBranty was sent to Newcastle in October 1816 under sentence of 14 years hard labour and his petition for a mitigation of his sentence was unsuccessful. In December 1821 at Newcastle he was sentenced to 75 lashes for inciting the gangs at limeburners to mutiny and to quit their work before the usual hours of leaving off. He was on the list of convicts at Port Macquarie c. 1822. He petitioned for a mitigation of sentence in 1824 - Petitioner arrived in the colony by the ship Boyd 1809 and was restored to the rights of a free subject in 1815. Petitioner thereupon commenced in business by opening a shop in Sydney and continued uninterrupted in this pursuit until 1816 when a Steward of a ship lying in the harbour came and offered and sold to petitioner as his own property some shirts and trousers which caused him to be taken up, committed, tried and convicted before the then acting Judge (Garling) and the ship having left the Cove on the day of receiving the said clothes was sentenced to 14 years transportation. This was in the month of September 1816. Petitioner has served in various conditions of suffering from that time up to the present period at Newcastle and Port Macquarie. In August 1830 he was sent from Port Macquarie to the Hulk in Sydney under the supposition that the Colonial sentence of 14 years passed on him on 24 September 1816, he was to be kept on the hulk until his sentence expired. Owen McBranty received a Certificate of Freedom in 1831. He was admitted to Sydney Gaol and discharged on bail of 50 pounds on 26 January 1833. In February 1833 a Notice in the Sydney Gazette requesting claims and demands be presented may indicate that he was planning to leave the colony.

McDermott, Michael
Tried in Sligo in 1807. Sentenced to 7 years transportation. Alexander Thomsey and Michael McDermott were sentenced to three years to Newcastle penal settlement in November 1817. Sentenced to three years transportation at the Court of Criminal Jurisdiction in February 1822 for stealing in the dwelling house of Peter Quigley. Sent to Port Macquarie in March 1822. In 1828 Census he is recorded residing at Moreton Bay

McGrath, Michael
Tried in Kilkenny in 1808. Sentenced to 7 years transportation. Sentenced to transportation to Newcastle for life in 1820. In February 1822 to be sent to Port Macquarie having given himself up under the proclamation of Sir Thomas Brisbane. His son Thomas was sent to the Male Orphan School in May 1822. Husband of Elizabeth Frazier McGrath of Concord

McEnteer, Dominick
Alias McIntyre. With Owen McEnteer tried at Louth August 1808. Both sentenced to transportation for life. Involved in a conspiracy to stealing the American brig Aurora in 1810. Gov. Macquarie reported in his journal - Twenty-five Convicts, a few Sailors and 4 Soldiers to seize upon, cut out and run away with the American Brig Aurora which was just ready for Sea. - Nine of the Conspirators were taken, apprehended by a Guard on Bennelong's Point between 7 and 8 o'clock at Night; and on being examined most of them confessed the crime they intended to perpetrate - and named some of their accomplices, who of course were ordered to be taken into custody. Sent to Coal River.

Satchell, Francis
Tried at Wicklow in 1808. Carpenter. Sentenced to transportation for life. Absconded from the lumbar yard at Newcastle in September 1811

Saunders, John
On a list of prisoners sent to Newcastle in 1811. On a list of runaways from Newcastle in 1812

Notes and Links

1). Convict Ships arriving in New South Wales in 1809 - Aeolus, Experiment, Boyd and Indispensable

2). In December 1807 Martin Egan was tried in Dublin for stealing some bridles and saddles, the property of William Alexander, Esq., the Superintendent Magistrate. He was sentenced to transportation for 7 years.


[1] Freeman's Journal 22 June 1807

[2] Freeman's Journal - 10th November 1808

[3] Freeman's Journal 22 March 1808

[4] Freeman's Journal 11 February 1809

[5] From Castlebellingham to the Bay of Islands: Tully Mathews, New Zealand's First Brickmaker by Tony Carr