Free Settler or Felon
Convict and Colonial History

Convict Ship Diana - 1833

Embarked 100 women
Voyage 165 days
Deaths 1
Surgeon's Journal: yes
Previous vessel: Mangles arrived 19 April 1833
Next vessel: Portland arrived 26 June 1833
Captain George Braithwaite
Surgeon James Ellis. R.N.
Follow the Female Convict Ship Trail
Hunter Valley convicts and passengers arriving on Diana in 1833

The Diana was built at Whitby in 1824. The convicts came from counties in England - Chester, Middlesex, Gloucester, York, Lancaster, Kent, Northampton, Bristol, London, Suffolk, Surrey, Devon, Bedford, Gloucester, Lincoln, Salop, Cambridge and Northumberland.

The Western Times reported on one of the convicts, Elizabeth Hoskin who had been sent from Devon County Gaol.... On Thursday last Elizabeth Hoskin, convicted with her husband, at the Lammas Assizes of stealing Drapery Goods from a shop at Devonport and sentenced to be transported for 7 years was removed from the Devon County Gaol and under order to being placed on board the ship Diana at Woolwich. [4]

Surgeon James Ellis

James Ellis kept a Medical Journal from 27 October 1832 to 19 June 1833.
He joined the vessel at Woolwich on 14 November 1832 where 100 female convicts from various prisons and free 20 settlers (9 from England and 11 from Scotland) including children, were embarked.

Female Prisoners

James Ellis suggested that female prisoners should be employed on voyages in making their own clothes as a means of promoting good order. Since many of the prisoners were 'quite callous to any disgrace or punishment', Ellis suggested that part of the prison should be railed off, or provision made to rail off individual berths, and the worst characters locked up at night. On the Diana three berths were set up in this way and proved effective. He considered the confinement box supplied was insufficient since it held only one person and was unsuitable for any length of time in warmer climates. The only punishment the prisoners dreaded he thought, was having their hair shaved off but it only seemed to make them worse! [2]

Several prisoners brought children with them.....

Sarah Ann Isherwood (one aged 10, 1 aged 18 months)

Sarah Kerr (one aged 8, 1 aged four years of age)

Sarah Thompson ( 1 child two years of age)

Mary Ann Howarth (one child 6 months of age)

Susannah Emmerson (one child 5 years old)

Margaret Wallace alias Murphy (three children on board, the youngest 13 months old)

Mary Ann White alias Putney (1 on board 4 years of age)

Mary alias Ann Jellyman (one child 2 years of age)

Elizabeth Wheatley alias Ann Price ( one child 4 months old).

Free Passengers

Free Passengers included Elizabeth Hardman, Maria Hayward, William Hayward, Harriet Goodwin, Ellen Braddock, Sarah Braddock, Mary Taylor, Lucy Taylor, Jane McMillan, Mary McMillan, Jane King, Mary King, Isabella Ross, Donald Ross, Suelow Ross, John Ross, James Ross and Ann Ross.[5]

Departure from England

The ship departed Woolwich on 11th December 1832. They were delayed at Falmouth from 29 December until 3rd January 1833. The weather was damp, foggy and extremely boisterous and catarrh, constipation and sea sickness were prevalent. They sailed when the winds were again favourable although the weather became unpleasant before they reached the equator around 15th February. One patient Maria Jones, died around this time.

Illness during the Voyage

Constipation continued to plague the women and after 8Constipation continued to plague the women and after 80 days at sea, many were sallow and debilitated, and two women Jane Pentland and Maria Robson showed signs of scurvy; and so it was decided to put into the Cape of Good Hope to replenish medicine and obtain fresh food. [2]

Table Bay

They anchored at Table Bay on 20th March and received They anchored at Table Bay on 20th March and received fresh supplies - 18 live sheep and 500 lbs of vegetables. This change in diet improved their health so much that there was little sickness for the remainder of the voyage and no signs of scurvy. [2]

Arrival in Port Jackson

The ship arrived in Sydney on Saturday 25 May 1833, a voyage of 165 days.

Convict Muster

The women were mustered on board on 30th May 1833. The indents record name, age, education, religion, marital status, family, trad, offence, when and where tried, prior convictions and physical description. There are also occasional notes regarding deaths, pardons and colonial sentences.

The indents also have details of those women who had relatives on board or already in the colony. Some may have been fortunate enough to be assigned to their relative or perhaps nearby..........

Mary Ann Mumford alias Horrigan - brother John Mumford arrived five months previously was also convicted; husband Denis and second son Richard came out free. Mary Ann also had her three youngest children with her.

Sarah Kerr's two eldest daughters Susan Kerr and Mary Kerr were on board with her. Sarah was a schoolmistress and also brought two younger children with her.

Elizabeth Buthee's husband William Buthee coming free per Jupiter Mary alias Ann Jellyman - son James convicted at the same time arrived on the Planter in 1832

Elizabeth Walters' brother Joseph Jefferson convicted 18 years previously, arrived per General Hewitt; son John Henry Walters convicted at the same time as Elizabeth [1]

One hundred women were landed in Sydney on 10th June 1833 as an extra prisoner was embarked at the Cape of Good Hope - Mina Magerman who had been sentenced to 7 years transportation for manslaughter.

There is no indication in the indents as to where the women were assigned. Those with children were probably sent to the Parramatta Female Factory. Some of those sent to Newcastle and the Hunter Valley can be found here. Several became familiar with the inside of the Newcastle Female Factory over the next few years.

Notes and Links

1). The Diana was one of five convict ships bringing female prisoners to New South Wales in 1833, the others being the Surry, Buffalo, Caroline and Fanny. A total of 639 female convicts arrived in the colony in 1833. Only the Buffalo brought female prisoners who had been convicted in Scotland.

2). James Ellis was also surgeon on the convict ships Hooghley in 1831; Bengal Merchant in 1835; Westmoreland to VDL in 1836 and the Waterloo in 1838.

3). Hunter Valley convicts and passengers arriving on Diana in 1833


[1] Convict Indents. State Archives NSW; Series: NRS 12188; Item: [4/4017]; Microfiche: 685

[2] Journal of James Ellis. UK, Royal Navy Medical Journals, 1817-1857 Original data: The National Archives. Kew, Richmond, Surrey.

[3] Bateson, Charles Library of Australian History (1983). The Convict Ships, 1787-1868 (Australian ed). Library of Australian History, Sydney : pp.350-51.

[4] The Western Times (Exeter, England), Saturday, December 01, 1832; pg. 402; Issue 267. British Library Newspapers, Part III: 1741-1950

[5] State Archives and Records Authority of New South Wales; Kingswood, NSW, Australia; Reports of vessels arrived (or Shipping reports); Series: 1291; Roll: 1264