Free Settler or Felon
Convict and Colonial History

Convict Ship Captain Cook (2) - 1833

Embarked: 230 men
Voyage: 113 days
Deaths: 4
Surgeon's Journal: yes
Tons: 452
Previous vessel: Caroline arrived 6 August 1833
Next vessel: Heroine arrived 19 September 1833
Captain William Thompson
Surgeon John Morgan
Prisoners and passengers of the Captain Cook identified in the Hunter Valley region

The Captain Cook was built at Whitby in 1826.[1] Convicts were transported to New South Wales on the Captain Cook in 1832, 1833 and 1836.

It may be the convicts of the Waterloo, Captain Cook and Heroine that are referred to in the correspondence from Principal Ports and Station in the United Service Journal (1833) below.

I mentioned in my last that application had been made to Government for the removal of the convicts from this Dock Yard, in consequence of the principal part of the inhabitants having represented the bad effects of allowing these people to perform great part of the Dock Yard work, while labourers were in want of employ, and burthening the parish. It appears the Government have discovered that labour is required in New South Wales, and they have consequently determined to transport the greater number of prisoners, convicted, in future, to the penal settlements. Since Lord Melbourne has given the order, 480 have been shipped off from hence, and it is expected the Leviathan, alongside Portsmouth Dock Yard, will be quite cleared of them by the end of the next month. Young and old are sent, if their state of health will admit of it. Labourers will of course be entered from the town in their room, but I apprehend in a different manner than heretofore: simply as bricklayers, road-contractors, or canal-diggers might have occasion to hire and then discharge. If this plan is adopted, a considerable saving in wages will be made, for it may not be requisite for a party to be hired more than two or three days in the week, and no apprehensions may be imagined of a scarcity, as there will always be found scores out of employ. The convict ship at Gosport will most probably be retained as a receptacle for the very old, infirm, and those considered unfit for so long a voyage: as a rendezvous for those intended to be transported (that they may be clad, purified, and classed) and, also, that a working gang may be kept permanently for the ordnance department, whose work is of that nature that convict labour is cheaper and better. The removal of the prisoners will cause a considerable additional actual outlay of money for labour, as it is estimated they have earned about 18s. a-week each; the daily pay of a hired man may be about 2s., or from 10s. to 12s. a-week: but then it is paid in cash, whereas the other is calculated only; their maintenance and superintendence is very small. It is estimated the cost of sending prisoners out of the country will be 20l. a man.

Convicts Embarked

John Morgan kept a Medical Journal from 4 April 1833 to 10th September 1833 - Two hundred and thirty convicts to be transported on the Captain Cook were received from the York and Leviathan Hulks at Portsmouth on 29th April 1833. John Morgan recorded their arrival in his journal: - The weather at the time of embarkation was remarkably cold, and thus prevailed a general catarrh all over the country as well as towns, commonly called influenza and it seemed to prevail to a considerable extent at Portsmouth and its vicinity and from report among families on shore there was hardly a house, but had some confined, consequently it was natural that we should share its effects. [2]

Military Guard

The Guard consisted of 29 rank and file of the 21st regt., under command of Captain Armstrong and Lieut. Selon, five women and 7 children.


The Captain Cook departed Portsmouth on Monday 5 May 1833, and had fine weather down the Channel and soon reached a more agreeable climate when the colds and coughs improved.

The Voyage

The surgeon attended them and gave every comfort it was in his power to give -

Indeed I have every reason to speak of their good conduct as auxiliary to our means of having so soon got rid of this troublesome complaint among so many crowded together between decks; it was our daily plan to admit as many on deck as they like even the whole in fine weather. After passing the equator and getting into the latitude of the Cape of Good Hope, we experienced very severe gales and much wet weather and in consequence we had many added to the sick list particularly the ships crew, fourteen at one time laid up with bad colds and other complaints incidental to ships at sea. [2]

From St. Pauls until Bass Strait they had the most dreadful weather imaginable - continually under water, decks below constantly wet, though all the care and use of stoves they could take could not keep the place dry, and bed and bedding remained wet in spite of all they could try.

Had we not reached Bass Strait as we did we must have lost most part of the convicts for it was impossible for them to get on deck. The scurvy made its appearance after few months being at sea among those most inactive and it soon spread among others but not to any one who had any work to do for several of them wished to assist either in working the ship or their respective trades. On the whole they behaved well. I had only to punish two all the way, one for threatening to stab and the other for making below against the rules of the ship; the bad weather after leaving St. Pauls was such that it was impossible to do justice below constant heavy sea over the ship that it was the constant work of several to bail and keep the place dry it was no wonder of their increasing in the scurvy and other maladies of more serious nature. The cold also was severe and glad we were to get into a better climate.[2]

Port Jackson

They sailed through Bass Strait on the 24th August and arrived in Port Jackson on Monday 26 August 1833, a total voyage from England of 113 days.

The guard disembarked on 29th August 1833.

Two hundred and twenty six convicts survived the journey. Four had died on the passage out. One man - William Triggs died in Sydney Hospital in September 1833. Nine of the men suffering from scurvy recovered after a few weeks and were discharged around the 10th September. [2]

Convict Muster

The men were mustered by the Colonial Secretary on 30th August 1833. The convict indents do not reveal where the men were assigned on arrival in the colony. The six youngest were James Clements, Timothy Lane, John Morgan, George Measor, James Nunn and George Spleyemburg all 16 years of age.

Notes and Links

1). George Anderson was 19 when he was tried at the Old Bailey and sentenced to transportation for life. He was assigned to Henry Dangar at Neotsfield on arrival and later became involved in one of the most infamous occurrences in Australian history, the Myall Creek Massacre.

2). Edward Alexander Watkins Hayes aged 24 from Westminster was also tried at the Old Bailey. He was sentenced to transportation for life for forgery. He had been employed as an auctioneer and appraiser prior to his arrest. He was 36 years old when he was granted permission to marry Mary Ann Walkley (arr. free New York Packet) in 1844. He was granted a Conditional Pardon in 1847. Find out more about Edward Hayes

3). Prisoner James Nunn's mother Abigail Nunn arrived one year later on the Numa

4). Prisoners and passengers of the Captain Cook identified in the Hunter Valley region

5). Convict ships bringing detachments of the 21st regiment (Royal Scotch Fusiliers) and Officer in command of the Guard....

Mary departed London 4 September 1832 - Captain Daniels 21st regt.,

Roslin Castle departed Cork 8 October 1832 - Lieuts. Bayley and Pieter L. Campbell. 21st

Andromeda departed Portsmouth 17 November 1832 - Lieuts. Lonsdale and Armstrong 21st regt.,

Mangles departed London 14 December 1832 London

Asia departed the Downs 21 February 1833 - Lieuts. Kelly and Wilson of 6th regt.,

Lord Lyndoch departed Sheerness June 1833 - Lieut-Col. Leahy. Headquarters of 21st

Royal Admiral departed Dublin 4 June 1833 - Lieut. Ainslie 21st regt.,

Aurora departed Portsmouth 4 July 1833 Major Delisle 4th regt.,

Java departed Cork 24 July 1833 - Lieut. Wrixon, 21st regt.,

Neva departed Plymouth 29 July 1833 - Lieut. McEdwin 1st or Queens Own regt.,

Lloyds departed the Downs 25 August 1833 - Lieut. McKnight 21st regt.,

Fairlie departed England 27 October 1833

Bengal Merchant departed 28 March 1838 - Lieut. Dear of 21st regt.,


[1] Bateson, Charles Library of Australian History (1983). The convict ships, 1787-1868 (Australian ed). Library of Australian History, Sydney : pp.350-351, 388

[2] Journal of John Morgan on the voyage of the Captain Cook in 1833 - UK, Royal Navy Medical Journals, 1817-1857 Original data: The National Archives. Kew, Richmond, Surrey