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Convict Ship Castle Forbes 1820 


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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 140 men
Voyage: 116 days
Deaths : 4
Tons: 439
Surgeon's Journal - yes
Previous vessel: Prince Regent arrived 27 January 1820
Next vessel: Dromedary arrived 28 January 1820
Master Thomas Levington Reid  
Surgeon Superintendent James Scott

Follow the Irish Convict Ship Trail

The Castle Forbes was built at Aberdeen in 1818 by shipbuilders Robert Gibbon & Sons.

This was the first of two voyages of the Castle Forbes bringing convicts to New South Wales, the other being in 1824.   The Castle Forbes was the next convict ship to leave Ireland bound for New South Wales after the departure of the Lord Wellington.

The Guard consisted of 26 soldiers of the 34th and 89th regts., under Command of Lieut. Sutherland of the 30th Regiment. On 14th July 1819 Lieutenant Sutherland, the Sergeant, three Corporals and twenty two privates together with five women and four children all embarked at Deptford. Two of the wives of soldiers were pregnant.  

The Castle Forbes weighed anchor at the Downs on 20th July at 1pm under a light wind, however during the night the wind freshened causing a great deal of motion in the the ship and sea sickness amongst the guard.

They arrived at the Cove of Cork on 31st July where the prisoners were embarked.   On 21st September 1819 Dr. Edward Trevor Superintendent and Medical Inspector of convicts, wrote to William Gregory, Under Secretary, Dublin Castle, reporting that Mr Scott, surgeon of the convict ship Castle Forbes was suffering from fever and that he had sent him on shore, and ordered his cabin to be thoroughly cleaned. Dr. Trevor requested that another surgeon be appointed to allow the ship to sail on time, however James Scott made his recovery in time to sail with the Castle Forbes which departed Cork on 3 October 1819..... Chief Secretary's Office Registered Papers, National Archives  

James Scott kept a Medical Journal which began in London on 6th July 1819 while the ship was still being fitted out at Deptford.  The Journal reveals that he kept tight control over the prisoners. They were required to following his code of instructions which was posted on the prison wall. Any deviations of his orders were punished by confinement in handcuffs or by flogging of the most incorrigible convicts, however he reported with only a very few exceptions confinement in handcuffs prevented any more serious infractions.   A school was established on board with the assistance of one of the prisoners. Twenty men and boys spent three hours a day at lessons and by the end of the voyage could read and rehearse the Christian Catechism. Sundays were religiously observed by mustering the prisoners in a clean change of clothes; and when the duties of the ship and the weather permitted Divine Worship was always performed.

Mondays and Fridays were alone allotted for the washing of clothes; Tuesdays and Saturdays for the airing of bedding; Wednesdays and Saturdays for shaving; Thursdays were reserved for muster the same as the Sundays.  

The prisoners were on deck in rotation every two hours, in general from sunrise to sunset; and no-one was allowed to remain below, other than those confined from sickness, who were treated with medicines and medical comforts in the Hospital. The bedding was lashed up every morning at 6am and none of the prisoners were permitted to lie in bed in the prison during the day under any pretence. None of the prisoners were allowed to have their irons off unless they were ill or if they contributed by their exertions to the benefit and convenience of the whole.  

The prison deck was always cleaned with swabs and brooms first thing in the morning, after meals and before going to bed. To assist free ventilation, windsails were constantly used as well as swing stoves in damp weather.  

The Castle Forbes arrived in Sydney on 27 January 1820. On arrival 136 prisoners of the Castle Forbes were sent to Hobart and 4 remained in Sydney.  

The Castle Forbes sailed from Port Jackson for Van Diemen's Land in February arriving there on 1st March 1820. Governor Lachlan Macquarie recorded the departure in his Journal.....Wednesday 16. Feby. 1820 ! This morning the Ship "Castle Forbes" commanded by Capt. Thomas Levington Reid, sailed from Port Jackson direct for the Derwent but ultimately for Bombay. On the Castle Forbes Edward Bromley, Naval Officer, Mr. Priest Asst. Surgeon, and Mr. Roberts Free Settler, went Passengers, together with 180 Male Convicts for distribution in Van Diemen's Land, with a Guard of 14 Soldiers as their Escort; the Castle Forbes having been engaged to land them at Hobart Town at the rate of Two Pounds Sterling for each man.  

The Hobart Town Gazette reported their arrival in VDL.....The male convicts arrived per ship Castle Forbes were landed this morning. 130 were landed at Hobart Town, which were inspected by his honour the Lieutenant Governor & the Hon. the Commissioner of enquiry and a large portion assigned to he service of the settlers. The remaining 50 were landed at Kangaroo Point, destined for Port Dalrymple. The whole of them landed in a state of perfect health & order.  (1)

Notes & Links:

1). Convicts / passengers arriving on the Castle Forbes in 1820

2). Convict Edward Fitzgerald was born in Dublin city and 20 years of age. His occupation is recorded as Clerk and Theatrical Performer. He was re-transported on the Hero in 1835.

3). Patrick Hart was born in Sligo town. His occupation was recorded in the indents as teacher. The following incident resulted in his trial at Cavan and a sentence of 14 years transportation. Others tried at Cavan at the same time included Bernard O'Neil, John McNamara, James Doyle, Philip or Henry McGoldrick and John McHay Mawby...... On the night of Monday week, the family at Freame-mount, the seat of William Mayne, Esq., were alarmed by a loud barking; they armed themselves, and sallied forth, guided by a faithful dog, to a barn or out house, where to their astonishment they found concealed seven fellows, completely armed, who, trusting to their superior numbers, (the searching party being only three), instantly rushed out and attacked them, and would have overpowered them, but for a young gentleman who happened to be on a visit at the house who hearing the noise, rushed out, armed with a sword, and from his dexterity in the use of the weapon, succeeded in severely wounding two of them, which so terrified their companions, that they instantly fled, but were pursued to the house of a suspicious character, named Patrick Hart, where they were all effectually secured, and were safely lodged in Monaghan Gaol. Freemans Journal 1763-1924, Tuesday, September 12, 1820; Page: 4

4). Infamous convict Alexander Pearce arrived on the Castle Forbes. He was executed for bushranging, murder and cannibalism in July 1824. His confession was printed in the Morning Chronicle on 8th January 1825 .....I was born in the county of Fermanagh, in the North of Ireland. In the twenty sixth year of my age I was convicted of stealing six pairs of shoes, and received sentence to be transported for seven years; I arrived in Van Diemen's Land on board the ship Castle Forbes, from Sydney; was assigned as servant to John Bellenger, with whom I remained about nine months; was then, from misconduct, returned to the government Superintendent. A few months after I was assigned to a man, named Cane, a constable, and staid with him only sixteen weeks when an occasion obliged him to take me before the Magistrates, who ordered that I should receive fifty lashes, in the usual way and again be returned to Crown labour. Afterwards I was place to served a Mr. Scattergood, of New Norfolk, from whom I absconded into the woods, and joined Laughton, Saunders, Latten and Atkinson, who were then at large; staid with them three months, and surrendered myself by proclamation, issued by the Lieut-Governor, and was pardoned Shortly afterwards I forged several orders upon which I obtained property. On hearing the fraud was discovered, I was again induced to return into the woods. but, after three or four months, I was taken by a party of the 48th regiment, brought to Hobart Town, tried for the forgeries, found guilty and sent to the Penal Settlement at Macquarie Harbour for the remainder of my sentence. I was not there more than a month before I made my escape with seven others......  

Click on the text below to find out more......


5). Alexander Pearce: convict and cannibal. National Library of Australia  

6). Francis O'Meara, son of John O'Meara settler of Bringelly came free on the Castle Forbes (CSI)


1). The Hobart Town Gazette and Southern Reporter Sat 4 Mar 1820 Page 2

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