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Convict Ship Bussorah Merchant 1828


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(Convicts and passengers from this ship only)

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Select from the Links below to find information about Convict Ships arriving in New South Wales, Norfolk Island and Van Diemen's Land between the years 1788 and 1850.

J -K L M N - O P - Q R S T - V W - Y

Embarked 170 men
Voyage 121 days
Deaths 4
Surgeon's Journal - Yes
Previous vessel: Phoenix arrived 14 July 1828
Next vessel: Countess of Harcourt arrived 8 September 1828
Captain James Baigrie  
Surgeon Superintendent Robert Dunn
The Bussorah Merchant was built at Calcutta in 1818.

The Bussorah Merchant was the next convict ship to leave England after the departure of the Phoenix on 7th March 1828. She departed London on 27 March 1828.

The Guard consisted of one man of the 57th regiment and 30 of the 39th commanded by Captain Burton Daveney of the 57th regiment and Ensign W. Kennedy Child of the 39th. They were accompanied by 6 women and 6 children.   Select here to find other convict ships bringing detachments of the 39th regiment to New South Wales.

Robert Dunn kept a Medical Journal between 14th February and 13th September 1828.......

The last prisoners from the hulk at Sheerness embarked on the Bussorah Merchant on 17th March and the remainder of the transportees were sent from Chatham in open boats on the 19th March 1828. This must have been a cold and uncomfortable journey as several men were afterwards affected with catarrh and pneumonia as a result of the cold and damp, the average temperature being 54F. One of the crew 'a man of colour' was found to have smallpox and was sent to Chatham. Although the berths were scrubbed, fumigated and whitewashed, another crew member, two prisoners and a baby belonging to one of the guard also contracted the disease.

Surgeon Superintendent Robert Dunn attempted to vaccinate everyone on the ship but was not successful. By May the weather had turned hot and rainy. Fever which was thought to have been introduced by one of the Guard, swept through the prisoners. All recovered except one, William Payne. The surgeon wanted to try bleeding the men but had been warned of the dangers of attempting it on a convict ship due to overcrowded conditions.

As the ship ventured further South the weather turned cold and damp. The prison was almost constantly wet from leaky ports and there were many cases of fever, pneumonia, cynanche and catarrhal in consequence. Another young convict died from emaciation after suffering dysentery for some time. Francis Wright died on the 12 July after suffering pneumonia.

The Bussorah Merchant arrived in Port Jackson 26 July 1828. There were four convict deaths on the voyage out. The first being William Whalley. The vessel was placed in quarantine on arrival in Sydney and the prisoners and guard were landed at Spring Cove as soon as possible. The Alligator was sent down to be converted into a quarantine hulk. Another report said the prisoners spent seven weeks in a camp about eight miles out of Sydney. There were no further outbreaks of smallpox.

From the Sydney Gazette: -We really feel for Captain Baigrie and the other Gentlemen who are associated with him in their banishment to Neutral Bay; but we are assured that they have too much regard for the welfare of their fellow creatures to repine at the act of Providence. Robert Dunn thought this time in quarantine was excessive as it had been eleven weeks since any sign of the disease, however Governor Darling was taking no chances. His son Edward had died on 3rd August 1828 from whooping cough that had been introduced to the colony from the ship Morley in March.

The Bussorah Merchant came direct and did not touch land anywhere, necessitating a diet of salt provisions. Although the prisoners spent 120 days on this diet, there was only one very slight case of scurvy. The absence of scurvy, which was so prevalent on other vessels, was attributed to the men having behaved very well during the passage and keeping themselves as well as the prison and hospital very clean. In consequence of this good behaviour, their irons were removed and they were allowed on deck the whole day whenever the weather permitted and bathed in rotation in four messes.

A Muster was held on board by the Colonial Secretary Alexander McLeay on 15 September 1828.

Captain Davenay and Ensign Child of the Military Guard publicly expressed their gratitude for the attentions of the Captain and Surgeon during the voyage in an advertisement in the Sydney Gazette......

We have much pleasure in giving publicity to the annexed documents, which speak in such unquantified terms or the excellent conduct of the above Commander to those Gentlemen, and others, who were privileged with the opportunity to visiting this Colony on the Bussorah Merchant : -

Sydney, July 27th, 1828.
SIR, - It is with much pleasure that I hand this my certificate, expressive the satisfaction I feet at the kind and liberal manner to which I have been treated since my embarkation on board the Bussorah Merchant, and at the same time I cannot omit to thank you for the very generous and human attention you have been pleased to pay the wants of the sick soldiers, women, and children, of the guard, under my command, during their long and tedious passage from England to Sydney I am, Sir, your obedient humble Servant, BURTON DAVENEY, Capt. 57th Regt. commanding on board. -

To Mr J Baigrie, Master, Bussorah Merchant.
Sir,-In bearing testimony to your good treatment of me, during our passage from England to Sydney, on board the Bussorah Merchant, I would not be doing you justice were I not in the highest terms to thank you for your unwearied kindness and attention, and your very liberal and handsome Conduct. Your humane kindness to the guard in general, and women in particular, does you great credit, of which I have the pleasure and satisfaction to testify. I am, Sir, your obedient Servant, W. KENNEDY CHILD, Ensign, 39th Regt.

To Mr J. Baigrie, Master, Bussorah Merchant. We do hereby certify, that, during our passage from England to New South Wales, in the Bussorah Merchant, we have been treated by the Master, Mr. JAMES BAIGRIE, with the greatest liberality, kind- ness, and attention. B. DAVENEY, Capt. 57th Regt. commanding Guard. W. KENNEDY CHILD, Ensign 39th Regt. Dated Spring Cove, Sydney, Aug. 7, 1828.

Robert Dunn remained in the Colony for a further four months. He was also surgeon on the convict ship Dunvegan Castle in 1830.  

The Bussorah Merchant departed the colony bound for the Isle of France on 28th September 1828.

Notes & Links:

1).   Seventeen convict ships arrived in New South Wales in 1828 - Florentia, Elizabeth, Marquis of Huntley, Hooghly, Morley, Asia, Mangles, Borodino, Phoenix, Bussorah Merchant, Countess of Harcourt, Competitor, Marquis of Hastings, Albion, City of Edinburgh, Eliza, Royal George.   

2). Hunter Valley convicts / passengers who arrived on the Bussorah Merchant in 1828

3). The Bussorah Merchant returned with convicts in 1831

4). Convict ships bringing detachments of the 39th regiment included the following............

Departed Vessel Command
Dublin 16 March 1826 Regalia Lieutenant William Sacheverell Coke
Downs 6 May 1826 England Major George Pitt D'Arcy
Sheerness 16 May 1826 Marquis of Huntley Major Donald MacPherson
Cork 29 June 1826 Boyne Captain Thomas Edward Wright
Sheerness 8 August 1826 Speke Lieutenant Henry Clarence Scarman
Dublin 27 August 1826 Phoenix Lieutenant Charles Cox
Plymouth 4 October 1826 Albion Captain Francis Crotty
Plymouth 16 October 1826 Midas Lieutenant George Meares Bowen
Cork 14 January 1827 Mariner Captain Charles Sturt
Dublin 14 February 1827 Countess of Harcourt Ensign Spencer
Plymouth 31 March 1827 Guildford Captain John Douglas Forbes
Downs 17 April 1827 Manlius Quarter-master Benjamin Lloyd
Dublin 2 June 1827 Cambridge Colonel Patrick Lindesay
London 3 June 1827 Champion Ensign Reid
Spithead 9 March 1828 Phoenix Captain Collett Barker
London 27 March 1828 Bussorah Merchant Ensign W. Kennedy Child
Dublin 15 September 1828 Sophia Major Thomas Poole


5).  39th regiment..........

4).  Return of Convicts of the Bussorah Merchant assigned between 1st January 1832 and 31st March 1832 (Sydney Gazette  5 July 1832).........
Isaac Pye - Groom assigned to John Liscombe at Bathurst

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