Free Settler or Felon
Convict and Colonial History

Convict Ship Canada (5) - 1819

Embarked: 135 men
Voyage: 131 days
Deaths: 1 - 2
Surgeon's Journal: No
Previous vessel: Mary arrived 26 August 1819
Next vessel: Daphne arrived 21 September 1819
Master Alexander Spain
Surgeon Superintendent Daniel McNamara
Chief Officer William Grant; Second Officer John Philliskirk
Prisoners and passengers of he Canada identified in the Hunter Valley

The convict ship Canada was built in North Shields and owned by Rieve and Green. Convicts were transported to Australia on the Canada in 1801, 1810, 1815, 1817 and 1819.

The Convicts

The prisoners were convicted in counties throughout England and Scotland. There were also seven men who had been court-martialled in Guines, France for house breaking - William Kelly, Robert Mantle, Alexander Pollock, Giles Seddon, John Whalley and John Wilkinson.

Prison Hulks

After sentencing prisoners were eventually transferred to various hulks to await transportation. Many of the prisoners held on the Justitia hulk were embarked on the Canada on 26th and 27th March 1819.

Free Passengers

Passengers included merchant Edward Wollstonecraft Esq.

Military Guard

The Military Guard consisted of 26 soldiers of the 87th regt., under Command of Lieut. Ramus of the 30th Regiment. Other detachments of the 87th regt., arrived on the Bencoolen in 1819 and the Grenada in 1819

Departure from London

The Canada departed London on 23 April 1819 and sailed via Rio de Janeiro.

Arrival at Port Jackson

They arrived in Port Jackson on 1 September 1819.

Convict Muster

William Hutchinson was Superintendent of Convicts at this time. The convict's details that were taken before disembarkation reveal the name, age, native place, date and place of trial and physical description. There is no information in the indents as to where the prisoners were assigned on arrival.

Inspection by Governor Macquarie

On Friday 10th September the prisoners of the Canada were examined by Governor Lachlan Macquarie. The Sydney Gazette noted that the prisoners landed from the various vessels (the Canada, Mary and the Bencoolen), during the previous week appeared to be in a healthy and comparatively happy condition. They spoke of the kindness and humanity they received from the Commanders and Officers in the most grateful terms of praise; who expressed universal satisfaction at their orderly conduct and exemplary good behaviour during the voyage.


The Colonial Secretary's correspondence records the names of thirty two men who were forwarded by water to Parramatta and Liverpool on the 10th September 1819 and were to be distributed to various settlers. Three men John Norcliffe, James Tricknell and William Reardon were sent to the Factory at Parramatta to work as weavers under Mr. Oakes.

Thirty-one prisoners who arrived on the Canada have been identified in the Hunter Valley district in the next few years. Some were sent to the Penal Settlement at Newcastle for colonial crimes and others were assigned or employed by various settlers in the Valley - James Miller and John Foley were assigned to John Earle in 1823; Thomas Williams was employed by John Pike at Pickering in 1828; and Hugh Colley was assigned to John Galt Smith in 1828. Select here to find out more about convicts of the Canada in the Hunter Valley.

The Canada was delayed in leaving Port Jackson when it was discovered that a carpenter by the name of William Featherstone per Indefatigable had been hidden on board the Canada with the knowledge of one of the ship's Officers in violation of the Port Regulations and against all the objects of Justice. Captain Spain was sent a demand to deliver up Featherstone who was found on board on 19th October and three days later was sent to the penal settlement at Newcastle under a three year sentence.

Notes and Links

1). Dan McNamara was also surgeon on the convict ships Lord Melville in 1817 and the John Barry in 1821.

2). Edward Gibson was tried in Cambridge in 1819...... From The Bury and Norwich Post 6 January 1819 - Cambridge News....On Saturday sennight a man of respectable appearance, named Edward Gibson alias Harvey (said to be an Under graduate of Oxford University) was apprehended in this town, on a charge of uttering forged notes, a considerable number of which were found in his possession. The notes were tolerably well executed - A lad named John Clarke who acted as his servant was the same day apprehended on a similar charge. The parties arrived here by the Lynn coach. They were committed for further examination.

At Cambridge Sessions Edward Gibson was found guilty of having in his possession 13 forged Bank of England notes with intent to utter the same, well knowing them to be forged; he was sentenced to 14 years transportation. (The Bury and Norwich Post 20 January 1819. He was recommended for a Ticket of Leave or Pardon on arrival restricting him a residence in the Colony during the remainder of his sentence. (HRA, Vol. X p. 629). He was appointed Clerk in Mr. Secretary Campbells Office. On orders of Barron Field and with recommendations from Drs. MacNamara and Lazaretto he was recommended for a Ticket of leave and he petitioned for mitigation of sentence in January 1820. He was granted permission to proceed to Hobart in October 1820 and was then described as a Trade Merchant of London aged 32.

3). Return of Convicts of the Marquis of Huntley assigned between 1st January 1832 and 31st March 1832 (Sydney Gazette 14 June 1832; 28 June 1832).....
James Miller - Weaver assigned to Mary Marshall at Sydney