Free Settler or Felon
Convict and Colonial History

Convict Ship Coromandel I (1) - 1802

Embarked: 138 male convicts
Voyage 121 days
Deaths 1
Surgeon's Journal - Tons: 522
Previous vessel: Nile arrived 14 December 1801
Next vessel: Hercules arrived 26 June 1802
Master Alex Stirling
Surgeon Charles Throsby
Prisons and passengers of the Coromandel identified in the Hunter Valley

The Coromandel was built in India in 1793 and owned by Reeve and Green.


The Coromandel departed Portsmouth on 8th February 1802 and on 12 February in company with the Perseus departed Spithead.


The men forming the Guard on the Perseus and Coromandel were provided by the contractor for the voyage. They were civilians and considered to be part of the crew. The contractor provided 20 men for Coromandel and 16 for Perseus. He was paid by the Transportation Board a rate of £75 for each guard.

Port Jackson

This was the first convict ship to sail direct without touching anywhere. She arrived in Port Jackson on 13 June 1802.

Only one prisoner died on the voyage out. Captain Stirling was commended by Governor King on arrival......for the judicial measure you adopted and persevered in, added to the liberal comforts supplied by Government, gave you the heartfelt satisfaction, when you arrive at that part of your voyage when you were to determine whether to go into the Brazils or not, of seeing the unhappy people under your care in a state of health and strength equal to undertake the remainder of their voyage, which humanity and a faithful adherence to your charter party induced you to accomplish rather than go into Rio Janeiro which enabled you to perform your voyage in four months bringing every prisoner into this port in a state of high health, cleanliness and fit for immediate labour.[1]

The healthy state in which the Coromandel and Perseus arrived requires my particularly pointing out the masters of those ships to your notice. It appears by the log books, surgeon' diaries and the unanimous voice of every person on board those ships that the utmost kindness to the convicts. This, with the proper application of the comforts Government had so liberally provided for them and the good state of health all the people were in, induced the master of the Coromandel to proceed without stopping at any port. He arrived here in four months and one day, bringing every person in a state of high health, and fit for immediate labour; and although it appears that the Perseus necessarily stopped at Rio and the Cape, yet the convicts were in as good condition as those on board the Coromandel; nor can I omit the great pleasure felt by myself and the other visiting officers at the grateful thanks expressed by the prisoners and passengers for the kind attention and care they had received from the masters and surgeons, who returned, an unusual quantity of the articles laid in by Government for the convicts during the voyage. ... Governor King to the Transport Commissioners 9th August 1802 [2]

Five pipes of port wine were received in the colony by the Coromandel. They were distributed to the commissioned officers, civil and military in Sydney and Norfolk Island. The free emigrant settlers on the Coromandel were chiefly from the Scottish border. They had been induced to emigrate to New South Wales, on receiving a free passage from Government with the promise of a grant of one hundred acres of land each on their arrival in the colony and rations for a certain period afterwards from the King's stores. [4]

Free Settlers

Free passengers on the Coromandel/ Perseus[3]:

1. Zachariah Clarke, his daughter Ann. Zachariah Clarke died 5 December 1804. Ann Selby and Isabella Suddis

2. Andrew Johnston and his wife Mary Beard Johnston and children, Thomas aged 10 years, William aged 8 years, John aged 5 years, Alexander aged 3 years and Abraham aged 8months.

3. George Hall and his wife Mary and children, Elizabeth aged 9 years, George aged 7 years, William aged 5 years, John aged 6 months

4. John Johnston and wife Elizabeth Lewins Johnstone. Find out more about the John Johnston - Windsor and Richmond Gazette 2 April 1926

5. John Howe and his wife Frances and child Mary aged 3 years

6. James Davidson and his wife Jane Johnston Davison and children John 3 and a half years, James20 months. Select here to find out more about the family of James Davidson who settled at Portland Head.

7. James Mein and his wife Susannah Skein Mein

8. Andrew Mein, brother of James Mein

9. William Stubbs and his wife Sarah and children William aged 5 years, Sarah aged 3 years, Elizabeth aged 1 year.

10. John Turnbull and his wife Ann Warr Turnbull and children, Ralph aged 10 years Mary aged 5 years, James aged 4 years and Jessica aged 19 months.

An account of the free settlers on the Coromandel from the Windsor and Richmond Gazette .....

Memories of Ebenezer. Pioneers of the Hawkesbury

Mr. George Reeve, of 99 Wells street, Newtown, sends us the following interesting notes on the 'Coromandel's' first trip to Australia in 1802, and the Ebenezer pioneers of the Hawkesbury:-

Dr J. D. Lang relates how Governor Gidley Philip King mustered these estimable free settler pioneers on the quarter deck of the 'Coromandel' shortly after their arrival at Sydney, to ascertain their respective views, resources and abilities.

Observing an old grey-haired man in their number, who acknowledged he had been three years in business in London, the Governor exclaimed, 'One foot in the grave and the other out of it! What brought you here, old man?'. It is noticed as a remarkable fact that Governor King was the first of the two to have both feet in the grave, as he died in London during the year 1808, aged 49 years, and was buried in Tooting churchyard. The worthy old pioneer from Annan, Dumfriesshire, Scotland, John Turnbull, to whom the remark was made, was 52 years of age at that time, and used to go on horseback to Sydney and back again to his grant, between Ebenezer and Sackvine, for many years, until his death on June 7th, 1834, aged 86 years. A treasured relic which belonged to this 'Coromandel' pioneer is a small family bible, dated 1817, with an inscription by his own hand stating that he had 'agreed to contribute 5 pounds per year to a minister for Ebenezer chapel.' That bible is now in the possession of Mr. John Turnbull, living nearby the Methodist Church, Sackville - a grandson, himself over 81 years of age.

What patriarchal ages they live to in the good old Hawkesbury district! For comparison I give the ages of all the other pioneers when they landed: -

Ralph Turnbull (married Miss Grace Cavanough), who lies buried in St. Thomas' Anglican cemetery at Sackville, near the grave of his father-in-law, Owen Cavanough - was then only ten years of age. Andrew Johnston was 35 years of age. George Hall, 39 years. John Howe, 28 years. James Mein, 41 years. John Johnston, 24 years. The latter died unmarried so far as I can ascertain, and like all the before mentioned (with the exception of John Howe and Ralph Turnbull) their mortal remains are interred at Ebenezer, next to where they worshipped during life, in the oldest Protestant church still standing in Australia - Ebenezer Chapel.

William Stubbs, unfortunately, was drowned three years after his arrival. His widow, Sarah Stubbs, married James Paynter, a seaman and one-time associate of Owen Cavanough I on the flag-ship frigate 'Sirius.' All the numerous members of the Stubbs family in the Hawkesbury district to-day are descendants of William Stubbs II, who as a little chap of eight years was a witness of his father's drowning. The first William Stubbs was buried, along with Sarah, his wife, and James Paynter and other members of the family, in the great stone vault on the grant on the Pitt Town side of the river, opposite Howe's original grant (Bennett's). I am at present unable to give William Stubbs' age at landing in Sydney; nor that of James Davison, not least in estimation or respect, who came from Alnwick in Northumberland, England, of which county and the adjoining ones of Cumberland and Durham, mostly all the 'Coromandel's' first trip passengers were natives, with exceptions of John Turnbull and James Mein. However, in my re- searches concerning all of the families as listed, and their life's work, I located this announcement in the 'Sydney Herald'(the predecessor of the great 'Sydney Morning Herald' of our period) under date April 18th, 1831, Vol. 1, No. 1: -

DEATHS. Died at Portland Head on the 13th inst. (13th April, 1831), Mr. James Davison, an old and respectable settler. Ninety years have passed, and what changes since James Davison's death! This 'Coromandel' pioneer's grave is also to be seen in Ebenezer burial ground, ad- joining the little chapel of many memories. John Howe, the most famous of all that came by the 'Coromandel' on that occasion, through his active work for, the settlement, has entirely disappeared in the male descent, but through his daughters there exist thousands of worthy people - the Dights, the Loders, the Doyles, the Dargins, and the Whites. John Howe was notable as settler, bridge builder, store-keeper, auctioneer, coroner, chief constable, explorer (he led two expeditions over-land north from Windsor to the Upper Hunter - 1819 and 1820) pioneer of Singleton and of 'he Green Hills,' Morpeth.

Evidently there was something fascinating about 'The Green Hills' of Windsor, as a name to be remembered by re-perpetuation. In a vault tomb with table top in St. James' Church of England burial ground, Morpeth, are inscribed the following modest lines, with no indication whatever of the pioneer's labours, or the wonderful deeds done by him during his life to make Australia and its resources available to all who came after him: - Sacred To the Memory of JOHN HOWE. who departed this life the 19th Decr., 1852, Aged 78 years. That burial was the last of all the notables that arrived by the ship 'Coromandel' in 1802, and who were so brusquely, but sympathetically interviewed by the good and humane Governor King 50 years previously. - Windsor and Richmond Gazette 8 July 1921

Departure from Port Jackson

The Coromandel departed Port Jackson bound for China on 22 July 1802 and arrived back in England in June 1803. She departed again with convicts in December 1803 arriving at Port Jackson on 7 May 1804. Find out more about the second voyage of the Coromandel to Australia here.

Prisoners of the Coromandel identified in the Hunter region

Carter, John
Middlesex Gaol Delivery 15 January 1800. From the Old Bailey Online - John Carter was indicted for feloniously stealing, on the 8th of December, a linen handkerchief, value 1s. 6d. the property of Hedley Storey . Hedley Storey sworn. - I am a tailor : On the 8th of December, I was coming up East-Smithfield , and lost my pocket-handkerchief out of my pocket, it was a linen handkerchief; I felt the prisoner's hand in my pocket, I turned round, and seized him with my handkerchief in his hand; and I took him immediately in the street. Prisoner's defence. I was going home, and no doubt I might run against the gentleman; but the handkerchief I never had, nor I never saw it. Guilty (Aged 18.) Transported for seven years .

In 1828 John Carter resided at Vinegar Hill, Patterson Plains. He was employed as a labourer by James Cowan

Field, James
Middlesex Gaol Delivery 15 April 1801. James Hickman alias Fossett and James Field, were indicted for feloniously stealing, on the 27th of February, one hundred and seventy pounds weight of tea, value 40l. the property of John Johnson and Robert Thorley. Guilty. James Field sentenced to 7 years transportation (age 30).[7]

In July 1804 Lieut. Menzies reported to Gov. King regarding absconders near Newcastle...... James Field, one of three persons who ran off with Sergeant Day's boat from Sydney gave himself up he was quite naked, speared and beat in several places by the Natives, and has not eaten anything for five days; I took him just as he came in, and showed him to all the prisoners; I could wish to be allowed to retain him here, as I think from the account he gives of his misfortunes, and the truly miserable and wretched spectacle he exhibited, it will prevent others from attempting the same with any of our boats that go up the River, by his representing to them the punishment and misery that awaits their rashness and offence. The transactions with Sergeant Days boat after leaving Port Jackson with Broadbent and Johnson, each victualled for six months and most completely equipped were as follows: They made the place in three days, got the boat into a creek, and decked her with cedar slabs, which occupied a week, came down the harbour in the night and passed a schooner at anchor, shaped their course to Port Stephens, remained there three days, left that Port with an intention of reaching Timor, proceeded about 100 miles further to the Northward, when a heavy gale of wind came on, the boat drove on shore and dashed to pieces, they however got safe on shore, saved everything that was in her, and remained there a week with a view of repairing her, at the end of which all hopes vanished; they then determined to return to Sydney and give themselves up; with this intention they were packing up their provisions when the natives came suddenly on them and threw a number of spears, one of which mortally wounded Broadbent, Johnson received six in different parts and died in five days afterwards; Field also received several; they were then stripped of everything, but he found the natives more friendly as he approached the settlement, generally supplying him with a little fish and fern root, by which means he was enabled to crawl to this place [6]

Groom, James
Tried at Surrey Assizes 11 August 1800. Sentenced to transportation for life. He absconded from the Carpenter's gang in Sydney in November 1813 and in April 1814 he was sent to Newcastle for two years. Commandant Lieut. Thompson was instructed that Groom, being old and infirm not be subjected to the same degree of discipline as the other convicts sent on the Mary. James Groom returned to Sydney from Newcastle where he had been employed as a carpenter in 1815. In June 1822 he was found guilty of entering the dwelling house of Thomas Dodman at Pitt Town. Sent was sentenced to 7 years transportation however subject to a humane reference to the Government, several individuals informed the Court that the prisoner was occasionally insane. He was sent to Port Macquarie in July 1822

Nicholls, William
Tried Derby Assizes 20 March 1797. Sentenced to 7 years transportation. He was found guilty of feloniously stealing a saw in November 1820 and sentenced to 2 years at Newcastle penal settlement

Price, John
Tried at Worcestershire Gaol Delivery 6 March 1801. Sentenced to transportation for life. Sent to Newcastle on the Lady Nelson in April 1815. In 1819 he petitioned for a Ticket of Leave .....Petition - That your Excellency's Memorialist was tried and convicted at Worcester in 1801 and came to this colony on the ship Coromandel in June 1802 under sentence of transportation for life. That Memorialist lived eleven years in the family of John Macarthur Esq., the principal time, and the remaining time in Government Stock and further stating Your Excellency that he has a wife and two children. Your Memorialist...humbly solicits the indulgence of a Ticket of Leave and has further stating to Your Excellency that he is able to support his wife and family by honest industry.

Rushton, William
Tried at Stafford Assizes 11 March 1801. Sentenced to transportation for life. Richard Rushton who arrived on the Glatton in 1803 was tried at the same time and place. William Rushton was sent to Newcastle penal settlement in August 1815. He returned to Sydney his time at Newcastle expired in October 1817. He was employed as a nailor at Parramatta in 1822. In 1823 he was sentenced to two years at Port Macquarie. He petitioned to remain in Sydney until his case could be reviewed 'having a wife and five children who look up to him for support'. He was sent to Port Macquarie on 14 May 1823 and was still there in 1825. His wife and children resided at Parramatta. In 1838 he was admitted to Parramatta gaol and forwarded to the Barracks at Bungonia. His place of origin was given as Dudley and occupation miner.

Sampson, Joseph
Tried at Nottingham Assizes 31 July 1800. Transported for life. On 11 May 1819 Captain Morisset, commandant at Newcastle penal settlement was advised that Joseph Sampson, James Freeman and John Hussey having behaved with insolence to their overseer and refused to perform their duty as drivers of Government timber carriages were to be sent to the lime burners gang at Newcastle for the term of two years, by order of His Excellency the Governor. It may have been the same man who was reported in the Maitland Mercury in January 1843 - An aged man named Joseph Sampson was found in the bush at the back of Mrs. Muir's Family Hotel, East Maitland by a constable; he was perfectly helpless when discovered, and appeared to have been for some time in a state of the utmost destitution, his beard having grown to a great length and his clothes being very tattered. He was sent to the Benevolent Asylum. Joseph Sampson was found drowned in Wallis Creek three months later

Tilley, George
Tried at Surrey Assizes 11 August 1800. Sentenced to transportation for life. Although George Tilley was never at Newcastle, his wife Henrietta Bray, was. George Tilley married Henrietta Bray (ship William Pitt) in February 1811. In 1822 Henrietta worked as a laundress and instead of returning some of her clients' clothes, sold them. A good shirt was disposed of for two dumps. She was sentenced to three years to Newcastle. Her husband's petition on her behalf reveals a little of his life...Memorialist's wife Henrietta Bray was tried on 2 March 1822 and sentenced to three years banishment to Newcastle and since that period has behaved herself to the satisfaction of those whom she has served. She has been five months of that in Major Morisset's service and would still were it not for his removal, and now lives with Mr. (Isaac) Elliott the present Superintendent and has taken the utmost care of herself since her arrival there. There your Memorialist most humbly solicits your Honor most humane feelings and principles of a gentleman that you would be pleased to grant her the privilege of returning to Sydney as I most solemnly declare she was my chief support. I am infirm old man now aged seventy years which induces me chiefly to make my application to Your Honor and most earnestly hope your Honor will give me a favourable answer and for which in duty bound I shall every pray for your Honor's welfare. Note on petition - If the Prosecutrix most humbly entreats your honor will mitigate Henrietta Bray's sentence

Notes and Links

1). Ebenezer Pioneers of the Hawkesbury - George Reeve - Windsor and Richmond Gazette 29 July 1927 - Coromandel free settlers.

2) Five convict ships arrived in New South Wales in 1802 - Coromandel, Hercules, Atlas, Perseus and Atlas II

3). James Jenkins arrived as a convict on the Coromandel (Daily Telegraph)

4). Charles Throsby was Commandant at Newcastle Penal Settlement in 1805.


[1] HR NSW, vol. IV, p. 796

[2] HRA, Series 1, vol. III p. 5

[3] HRA, Series 1,vol. III, p. 383

[4] An historical and statistical account of New South Wales: both as ..., Volume 1 By John Dunmore Lang, p.89

[5] Old Bailey Proceedings Online (, version 8.0, 23 February 2021), January 1800, trial of John Carter (t18000115-76).

[6] HRA, Series 1, vol. 3, p. 112. Lieut. Menzies to Gov. King

[7] Old Bailey Proceedings Online (, version 8.0, 23 February 2021), April 1801, trial of James Hickman, alias Fossett James Field (t18010415-49).