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Convict Ship Eleanor 1831


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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; 7 re-landed
Voyage 126 days
Deaths: 0
Surgeon's Journal: yes
Tons: 301 Crew 24 men
Previous vessel: Waterloo arrived 30 April 1831
Next vessel: Camden arrived 25 July 1831
Master Robert Cock  
Surgeon Superintendent John Stephenson
Surgeon John Stephenson joined the Eleanor at Deptford on the 8th January 1831. On the 20th the military guard Commanded by Lieutenant Stuart of the 46th regiment, four non-commissioned officers and 24 privates with four women and six children were embarked. Later the number of women was increased to six and the children to ten. Total number on the ship amounted to 205 persons.  

The Rev. John Christian Simon Handt having been appointed Missionary to the Aborigines, embarked on the 10th of February 1831.

The prisoners to be embarked on the Eleanor were from the counties of Berkshire, Dorset, Hampshire, and Wiltshire. They took part in the agricultural protests that became known as the Captain Swing Riots in 1830 - 1831. The name "Swing Riots" was derived from the name that was often appended to the threatening letters sent to farmers, magistrates, parsons, and others, the fictitious Captain Swing, who was regarded as the mythical figurehead of the movement. (1)

Some men were executed for their part in the riots and hundreds were transported to Australia. Hundreds more were incarcerated in prisons in England.

After trial prisoners for transportation were transferred from various county prisons to the Hulks moored in the Thames. Some of those tried at Reading on 27th December were admitted to the Hardy hulk late in January and transferred to the Eleanor after only one day on the hulk. By the 10th February 140 prisoners had been embarked. This number was too great for the prisons and seven were returned to the York hulk.

All of the prisoners embarked on the Eleanor in England had been convicted of machine breaking. Most of them were in their 20s and 30s with a few who were older. Thomas Whattey was the youngest at seventeen years of age. Many were married. They left behind friends and families devastated by their absence and communities decimated after the swift turn of events.

A description of a village as the military pass through was published in Eliza Cook's Journal in 1850. Although they had taken place twenty years previously the events of the  Swing Riots and devastating aftermath were fresh in the villagers' memories.......

Our march from Brighton to Birmingham occupied eight, nine, or ten days. I had seen but little of rural England before that time; and though that was but a glimpse, compared with what I have since seen, it was fresh, vivid, and impressive. I retain it to this day distinctly; and can at will, sitting by the hearth, looking dreamily into the fire, or vacantly upon a book, draw out the whole line of country before me; the villages, road-side inns, half-way houses where we halted to rest, swinging sign-boards, village greens, broad commons, cross roads, finger-posts, travellers journeying with us and telling where a gibbet once was, where some highwayman—still a hero of tradition—once ruled the road, and robbed the high sheriff, or villagers shrinking out of sight with the recollection of the swing riots of 1830 and 1831 still fresh,—with the dread still upon them of the special commission, accompanied by soldiers, which had consigned a few to the gallows, many to the hulks, end had probably missed the chiefs who fired the rick-yards or led the multitudes to break the thrashing mills—some of these chiefs now look upon us from a distance without any desire to come nearer.

The Eleanor was the next vessel to leave England for New South Wales after the departure of the female transport Earl of Liverpool in December 1830. The Eleanor departed England on 19th February 1831, called at the Cape of Good Hope; remained for six days and received three prisoners from that colony. .......

1) Thomas Davis a soldier convicted of breaking into a warehouse.
2) George Smits (Smets) who was a merchant from Holland. He was convicted of receiving stolen iron. Smits was sent to Port Macquarie on arrival and died there on 7 July 1834.
3)Pierre (or Pierce) Tuite (Taite) born in Co. Kerry was a clerk and soldier convicted of embezzlement.

John Stephenson kept a Medical Journal from 8 January to 14 July 1831. He wrote in his General Remarks at the end of the journal ....... (Extract)

No set of men perhaps under similar circumstances ever suffered less from disease, the names of eleven convicts only appear in the general list of sick and of these several might with great propriety have been omitted. Among the Soldiers, women and children a great number of trifling complaints occurred such as catarrh, cynanche tonsillaris but only one case only of rheumatisms was worthy of notice. (The captain of the ship Robert Cock  caused the surgeon some concern. He had suffered for many years with urethral stricture......the urethra was so contracted in two or three places that none but the very smallest bougies could be introduced. He was subject to frequent and alarming attacks of retention of urine and in one instance the surgeon almost despaired of relieving him without puncturing the bladder.)  

The weather from England to the Cape of Good Hope was in general very favourable, the heat at no time excessive, the thermometer never rising above 84. After leaving the Cape we were not quite so fortunate, as we got to the Southward the weather varied greatly, gales of wind, succeeded by light airs with dense fogs and rain frequently took place, but in general we had strong breezes with clear cold weather; this last was a fortunate circumstance as the vessel was very laboursome and shipped such quantities of water that it was frequently necessary even in a fresh breeze to have the hatches battened down for two or three days together, leaving only sufficient space for one person to pass up or down.   The means adopted for the preservation of health were the strictest attention to cleanliness, dryness and ventilation and as far as could be done the constant occupation of the prisoners, but what appears to me to have been more efficacious than all this was the delay of a week at the Cape during which the people had a liberal allowance of fresh beef and vegetables, and every mess was enabled to take to it a small stock of soft bread, potatoes, onions etc., to this together with a greater proportion of fine weather, I think we are mainly indebted for the excellent condition in which the prisoners were disembarked.  

The Eleanor arrived in Sydney Cove on 26th June 1831 and a muster was held on board by the Colonial Secretary on 1st July 1831. The convict indents include the name, age, education, religion, marital status, family, native place, trade, offence, when and where tried, sentenced, prior convictions, physical description, and where and to whom assigned.  

The Sydney Gazette reported in July that - The male prisoners by the Eleanor who form part of those convicted for the late riots in England, were landed on Monday morning. 'As fine a body of men as ever set foot on Australian shores from a convict ship and were nearly all assigned to individuals up the country'.  

In August convicts to be transported to the penal settlement at Moreton Bay were embarked on the Eleanor. There was a disturbance on board as the ship lay in harbour and two prisoners were shot and killed in the resulting chaos. Read more in the Sydney Gazette.

The Eleanor departed Sydney bound for Moreton Bay and Batavia later that month. She conveyed 165 prisoners to Moreton Bay.    

Notes & Links:

1). Convict ship bringing political prisoners and protesters  

2). John Stephenson was also employed as surgeon on the convict ships
Guildford in 1829,   Waterloo in 1833 and the  Neva in 1835

3). Swing Rioters to Tasmania - Geoffrey Sharman

4). Salisbury Swing Riots - BBC

5). Hunter Valley convicts and passengers arriving on the Eleanor in 1831...........

Name Native Place Marital Status
Adams, William Hants Married, 5 children
Baker, Robert Wiltshire Married, 4 children
Bennett, Cornelius Berkshire Married, 3 children
Bulpitt, Charles Hants Married
Burton, Isaac Hamstead Single
Carter, George Hants Married, 10 children
Cheater, William Wiltshire Single
Coombs, Charles Dorset Married, 3 children
Down, James Wiltshire Married
Durman, George Wiltshire Single
Edney, Joseph Berkshire Married, 3 children
Eldridge, Henry Hants Single
Goodall, Thomas Andover Single
Goodfellow, Thomas Hants Married, 1 child
Green, Charles Hants Married, 1 child
Harding, Aaron Hants Widower, 9 children
Heath, John Hants Single
Horton, Charles Berkshire Single
Lawrence, Lazarus Hants Single
Legg, John Dorset Married, 1 child
Mason, Robert Hants Single
Milsom, Charles Berkshire Married, 2 children
Nash, John Berkshire Single
Newman, William Hants Single
Nicholas, Joseph Berkshire Married, 1 child
Orchard, John Wiltshire Single
Pain, Charles Berkshire Married
Pope, Joseph Dorset Married, 12 children
Pope, Maurice Wiltshire Single
Pumphrey, James Hants Single
Primer, William Hants Married, 2 children
Shepherd, Joseph Fulham Married, 4 childen
Shergold, George Wiltshire Single
Sims, William Berkshire Single
Symes, Charles Dorset Married
Toomer, James Wiltshire Married, 8 children
Trigg, Matthew Hants Married, 5 children
Waving, William Berkshire Married, 2 children
Warwick, Thomas Hants Married, 5 children
West, James Oxfordshire Married, 3 children
Westall, William Berkshire Single
Wheeler, John Berkshire -

7).  Return of Convicts of the Eleanor assigned between 1st January 1832 and 31st March 1832 (Sydney Gazette 14 June 1832; 21 June 1832).....

Henry Elkins Groom assigned to the Attorney-General Kinchela in Sydney



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