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Convict Ship Competitor 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: 99 women
Voyage: 119 days
Deaths 0
Surgeon's Journal - Yes
Previous vessel: Countess of Harcourt arrived 8 September 1828
Next vessel: Marquis of Hastings arrived 12 October 1828
Master John Stewart
Surgeon Superintendent Thomas Hunter

Follow the Female Convict Ship Trail

The Competitor was the next convict ship to leave England for New South Wales after the departure of the Countess of Harcourt in May 1828. The previous female transport to leave England was the Louisa in August 1827.  
When the Competitor departed London on 13 June 1828 she took with her 99 female prisoners and twenty children gathered from different parts of Britain - Bristol, Chester, Stafford, Lancaster, Oxford, Durham, Gloucester, London, Carmarthen, Monmouth etc.

The women were forwarded to London from county prisons or held in Newgate prior to embarking on the Competitor. Among them were 47 year old Elizabeth Fisher and her daughter Anne age 13. The case was reported in the newspapers -

Eliza Young, aged fourteen, convicted on 4 indictments of stealing different articles of linen drapery, from the shops of Mr. Hutchinson and Mr. Smith at Gloucester and was sentenced to two separate punishments of seven years transportation each; also similarly sentenced - Elizabeth Fisher, Anne Fisher age 13 and Mary Woodcock for receiving the property stolen by Eliza Young knowing it to have been so obtained. Ann Fisher was assigned to Nicholas Divine on arrival and her mother Elizabeth to James Reid.  

Twenty children are mentioned arriving on the Competitor. They included four children of Esther Bowman whose husband was expected to arrive as a seaman on the Marquis of Hastings. Catherine Ragan had three children with her; Elizabeth Mortimer two children with her; Sarah Mears one child with her; Mary Haley two children with her; Ann Jarvis had one child with her; Elizabeth Cooper two children with her; Amy Buckley had one child with her. Many left children behind in England.  
Thomas Hunter kept a Medical Journal from 31st May to 20 October 1828 He recorded that the prisoners were generally healthy - there were no attacks of dysentery, scurvy or fevers of an infectious kind. The illness of Jane Burt was the only case of importance; she suffered 'the most determined visceral inflammation' the surgeon had ever witnessed.  

From the Cape of Good Hope until the coast of New Holland hard gales constantly kept the Competitor shipping large quantities of water, making the lower deck very uncomfortable. Fires were kept burning constantly and the ventilating stove used. The surgeon found 'the long range of funnel' supplied to prison ships extremely useful and moved it from one side to another of the prison, on alternate days, to distribute the warmth.  

The women found the bad weather hard to bear. Elizabeth Cooper aged 36 suffered with sea sickness between July and October. She was reported to be dying and when Thomas Hunter examined her he found her  'countenance expressive of the utmost debility, her skin cold and moist, hardly any pulsation at the wrist... great oppression about the praecordia, difficulty of breathing and her extremities were cold'.

There were accidents as well for Thomas Hunter to deal with. Five year old Thomas Hayley, son of Mary Hayley was seriously injured when he fell ten feet down the main hatchway and hit his head on a water cask and Harriet Williams, aged 24 was lucky to survive after being struck by the end of a spar being used for hauling in salt water while she was seated on the leeside of the quarter deck.  

The Competitor arrived in Port Jackson on 10 October 1828. On Saturday 11th October the Colonial Secretary Alexander McLeay boarded the vessel to muster the women prior to landing. The indents record the name, age, education, religion, marital status, family, native place, trade or calling, when and where tried, sentence, former convictions, how disposed of (assignment) and physical description. The indents of the Competitor contain more information than most including occasional details of husbands and colonial circumstances. The descriptions of some of the women are also more informative than many indents. As well as the usual complexion and colour of eyes, hair etc there are also extra notes, and so it is revealed that.........

Augusta Downer from Portsmouth had a good countenance; Ann Griffiths from Ludlow was good looking; Margaret Beveridge had a good countenance; Elizabeth Austin from Manchester was brazen looking; Elizabeth Cheers from Chester had a good countenance; Ann Copeland from London had a face full of scars; Maria Howells had a good countenance; Elizabeth Mortimer was melancholy; Frances Moore from Kent had a deep scar across her nose and was vile looking; Ellen Pearse had a good countenance; Hannah Smith had bad teeth; Ann Thomas good countenance; Mary Woodcock had a prim countenance; Frances Wright had a red nose; Ann Walters had heavy eyebrows; Harriet Williams and Jane Walsh were pregnant.

On arrival the women were assigned to various settlers and townsfolk whose names are recorded in the indents but not their residence.  Nineteen women, probably some of those children were sent to the Female Factory at Parramatta.  

The Competitor was reported to have sailed for Manilla on 10th November 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). The Competitor was one of three convict ships bringing female prisoners to New South Wales in 1828, the others being the
Elizabeth and the City of Edinburgh. A total of 471 female convicts arrived in the colony in the year 1828.  

3). About twenty prisoners were sent to the Hunter Valley region. Select HERE to find more about convicts / passengers of the Competitor.

4). Report from the Female Factory at Parramatta 1828:

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