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Convict Ship Countess of Harcourt


Embarked 172 men
Voyage 109 days
Deaths 1
Surgeon's Journal - Yes
Tons: 517
Previous vessel: Eliza arrived 22 November 1822
Next vessel: Lord Sidmouth arrived 27 February 1823
Captain George Bunn
Surgeon Superintendent Robert Armstrong
Follow the Irish Convict Ship Trail
Convicts and passengers of the Countess of Harcourt identified in the Hunter Valley

The Countess of Harcourt was built in India in 1811.[3] Convicts were transported to Australia on the Countess of Harcourt in 1821 (to VDL) and to New South Wales in 1822 1824, 1827 and 1828.

A Visitor to the Ship

The vessel was visited by surgeon Thomas Reid while at Cork and he later wrote of his impressions......

24th. - My friend, having a yacht, invited me to have a sail through the harbour at Cove, and along a part of the coast. We visited the Surprise, a frigate fitted up for a convict depot, and afterwards a convict ship, called the Countess of Harcourt, about the proceed to New South Wales with male convicts. Her complement of prisoners had nearly arrived, and the judicious arrangements of the surgeon superintendent Dr. Armstrong, had already produced regularity; they were all as tractable as sheep; many of them were even quite cheerful. They might well be contented; - it was a happy change for them*. The condition of a convict in New South Wales is ten thousand times more comfortable than that of a peasant in Ireland, - in fact, there can be no comparison between them. *Mr. Commissioner Bigge, in his report laid before parliament in 1822, remarks: The convicts embarked in Ireland generally arrive in New South Wales in a very healthy state; and are found to be more obedient, and more sensible of kind treatment, during the passage, than any other class. [2]

On the 1st September Dr. Edward Trevor informed Henry Goulburn, Chief Secretary at Dublin Castle that an examination had been made of 172 convicts bound for New South Wales on the Countess of Harcourt. Captain George Bunn acknowledged receipt of the prisoners as well as various articles for use on the voyage such as pencils, slates and writing books. Robert Armstrong also acknowledged receipt of the medical supplies for the voyage.....Chief Secretary's Office Registered Papers, National Archives, Ireland.

Military Guard

A detachment of the 3rd regiment (Buffs) under orders of Capt. John Rolland formed the Guard.

Free Passengers

Assistant Surgeon Robert Ivory of the same regiment came as a passenger. Other passengers included the Rev. William Bedford, Mrs. Bedford and three children.

Surgeon Robert Armstrong

Robert Armstrong kept a Medical Journal from 12 July 1822 to 26 December 1822.

In his Summary at the conclusion of the Journal he remarked that The cause of their disposition to derangements of the digestive organs may perhaps be attributed to change of diet. It appears that at the Depot at Cork from whence the prisoners embarked the diet consists almost entirely of potatoes and oatmeal. On their embarkation they were at once put upon a diet to which they had never before been accustomed which added to the despondency on leaving their native country and the indolence necessarily connected with their confinement on board ship, may probably be sufficient to account for the complains in question. At an early period of the voyage from the great number of cases of constipation the supply of purgative medicine was soon expired which rendered it necessary to obtain a supply from the Assistant Surgeon of the 3rd Regiment of Foot, a passenger on board and also from the ship's medicine chest on promise of returning them on the arrival of the ship in New South Wales. [5]


First Officer Mr. Cunningham;
Second Officer Mr. Cousins;
Third Officer Mr. Parker

A Court case recorded in the Morning Post and instituted by a seaman named Sullivan for wages owed while on a voyage of the Countess of Harcourt relates the movement of the vessel in 1822: -

Several seamen were hired in London and signed articles to proceed from London via Cork and elsewhere, to Van Diemen's Land and back to London; the Countess of Harcourt was hired by Government to convey convicts, and sailed from London in October, 1822, proceeded to Cork and thence to Sydney Cove (instead of Van Diemen's Land), where she landed her convicts, took in a cargo of tar for Batavia, at which port she afterwards took in another cargo, and then proceeded homewards; having arrived in the Downs, the captain landed and came to London, where he received orders to go to Holland with the vessel; five of the crew however refused to go to Holland, alleging that the articles did not stipulate for their going there. The Captain refused to pay their wages because they refused to work on the passage. Lord Stowell delivered judgement that the men were entitled to their wages. [1]

Port Jackson

The Countess of Harcourt arrived in Port Jackson on Saturday 21st December 1822. She brought 171 male prisoners having lost one on the voyage. At least two wives of soldiers gave birth to healthy babies on the voyage.

Convict Muster

A muster of convicts was held on arrival and included information such as name, where and when convicted, sentence, native place, trade, age, physical description and occasional information eg., tickets of leave. There is no information in the indents as to where and to whom the prisoners were assigned on arrival however ninety-six of the men were forwarded to Parramatta for distribution. From there they were sent to government service or to various settlers throughout the colony including Joseph Morley, William Lawson, John Herbert, William Hayes, John Blaxland, John McArthur, Charles Throsby, James Atkinson, John Dwyer, John Campbell, George Bowman, Henry Baldwin.

Departure from the Colony

The Countess of Harcourt departed Sydney on 29th January 1823 bound for Mauritius

Convicts of the Countess of Harcourt identified in the Hunter Valley -

Baker, John
Ploughman from Co. Dublin. Tried Dublin City 18 April 1822. Sentenced to 7 years transportation. Assigned to James Bowman at Patrick Plains in 1828 and employed as a sawyer

Bunker, John
Clerk age 34. Convicted of uttering forged notes in Dublin City on 18 April 1822 and sentenced to 14 years transportation. Stout build, blue eyes, brown hair, cut on outside upper lip. Overseer at Parramatta Hospital in 1823

Byrne, Andrew
Milkman and reaper from Co. Carlow. Tried in Dublin County 29 October 1821. Sentenced to 7 years transportation. Granted Ticket of Leave for Patrick Plains in June 1828

Cronin, John
Thresher and reaper aged 23 from Limerick Co., Tried in Cork. Sentenced to 7 years transportation. Assigned to Mr. Rotton in 1823-25. Granted Ticket of Leave for Patrick Plains in January 1828

Driscoll, Daniel
Reaper and thresher from Co. Cork, Ireland. Sentenced to 7 years transportation. Age 20. Assigned to the Australian Agricultural Company at Port Stephens in 1828

Duffy, Timothy
Garden labourer aged 19 from Dublin Co., Tried in Dublin 2 January 1822. Sentenced to transportation for life. In 1823 assigned to Edward Close. In 1827 charged with assault and felony. Sentence of death commuted to transportation for life to Norfolk Island. To work hard labour in chains

Dunn, Thomas
Ploughman aged 24 from Trim, Meath Co., Tried Kildare. Sentenced to transportation for life. Spouse 1. Mary Corroghen. Spouse 2. Rose McGarry. Ticket of leave granted in 1830 in connection with apprehending a bushranger Joseph Allden

Fagan, Charles
Carter aged 18 from Co. Kildare. Tried Dublin City 1822. Sentenced to 7 years transportation. Sentenced to 50 lashes in May 1824 for attempting to break out of gaol after having ran from Port Macquarie settlement on the 4th of May, being retaken at Wallis Plains and sent back

Finnigan, Hugh
Servant from Sligo Co., aged 21. Tried Dublin City 1821. Sentenced to 7 years transportation. Granted ticket of leave for Hunter River in April 1827. Died at Newcastle Hospital November 1837

Forde, Daniel
Shearer and ploughman from Cork City. Tried Cork City 1822. Sentenced to 7 years transportation. Assigned to T. W. M. Winder in 1823

Glynn, John
Bricklayer aged 21 from Carlow County. Tried Dublin City 1821. Sentenced to 7 years transportation. Ticket of leave holder at Wallis Plains in 1828

Hoskins, John
Butcher aged 19 from Cork City. Tried Cork City 1822. Sentenced to 7 years transportation. Inmate at Newcastle convict barracks in 1828

Kelly, John
Servant from Swords Dublin County. Tried Dublin County 1821. Sentenced to 7 years transportation. Died at Newcastle aged 28

Kenny, Thomas
Servant aged 28 from Fairfield. Tried Dublin County 1822. Sentenced to 7 years transportation. Assigned to W. B. Wilkinson in 1824. Sentenced to 25 lashes for indecent and contemptuous conduct towards his master. Assigned to Isaac Elliott at Newcastle in 1825. Sent to Newcastle gaol in 1837

Madden, Edward
Edward Madden, milkman from Tallaga. Tried Dublin City 1821. Sentenced to 7 years transportation. Runaway from Port Macquarie in April 1825. Sentenced to 25 lashes

Mangan, John
Thresher and reaper from Kings Co., Tried Dublin City. Sentenced to 7 years transportation. Assigned to William Thurlow at Lake Lachlan in 1828

Martin, Henry
Ploughman aged 24 from Kings Co., Tried Kings Co., 1822. Sentenced to transportation for life. Assigned to government employment at Newcastle in 1825. Assigned to Ferdinand Anley in 1828

Mohan, Thomas
Ploughman from Dublin Co., Tried Dublin City 1822. Sentenced to 7 years transportation. Assigned to James Adair in 1828

Monaghan, John
Clerk from Wicklow County. Tried Dublin County 1821. Sentenced to 7 years transportation

Murphy, John
Thresher and reaper from Cork Co., Sentenced to 7 years transportation. Assigned to Vicars Jacob near Newcastle in 1824

Naughton, Matthew
Ploughman from Co. Wicklow. Sentenced to 7 years transportation. Granted Ticket of Leave in 1827. Employed by Thomas Valentine Bloomfield in 1828.

Neal, Thomas
Thresher and reaper from Cork City. Sentenced to 7 years transportation. Assigned to Alexander Livingstone at Bowthorne, Patterson Plains in 1828

Newcombe, Arthur
Watch guilder aged 18 from Dublin. Sentenced to 7 years transportation. Assigned to Rev. Middleton in 1824. Sentenced to 50 lashes for absenting himself from the Glebe and refusing to work.

Norman, John
Ploughman aged 32. Native place Athy Kildare Co., Tried Cork Co., Sentenced to 7 years transportation. Assigned to T. W. M. Winder in 1823. Inmate Newcastle Hospital 1825

Shaughnessy, Patrick
Groom from County Galway. Tried in Cork Co., sentenced to 7 years transportation

Shea, John
Tried in Cork City Spring Assizes 1822. Sentenced to 7 years transportation. In government service in February 1827 when he was sentenced to one month in the gaol gang for losing a shovel while drunk

Spunner, Robert
Shearer and ploughman aged 25 from Kings Co., Sentenced to transportation for life. Assigned to George Sparke at Woodlands in 1828. Granted a Ticket of Leave for Maitland in 1832

Notes and Links

1). Robert Armstrong was also surgeon on the convict ships Tottenham and Dick in 1821

2). Other ships bringing detachments of the 3rd regiment included the Guildford, Shipley, Asia, Surry, Mangles, Asia, Southworth, Henry, Princess Royal, Eliza and Brampton

3). Court Case re mariners' wages - English Admiralty Reports 1822 - 32


[1] Morning Post on 12th May 1824

[2] Thomas Reid, Brief Sketches of The Moral, Physical and Political State of the Country in the year 1822

[3] Bateson, Charles Library of Australian History (1983). The convict ships, 1787-1868 (Australian ed). Library of Australian History, Sydney : pp.344-345, 384

[4] National Archives - Reference: ADM 101/18/2 Description: Medical journal of the Countess of Harcourt, convict ship, for 12 July to 26 December 1822 by Robert Armstrong, surgeon and superintendent, during which time the said ship was employed on a voyage to New South Wales.

[5] UK, Royal Navy Medical Journals, 1817-1857. The National Archives. Kew, Richmond, Surrey.

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