Free Settler or Felon
Convict and Colonial History

Convict Ship Elizabeth 1 (3) - 1820

Embarked 170 men
Voyage 135 days
Deaths 0
Surgeon's Journal: yes
Previous vessel: Asia arrived 28 December 1820
Next vessel: Hebe arrived 31 December 1820
Master William Ostler
Surgeon Andrew Montgomery
Prisoners and passengers of the Elizabeth identified in the Hunter Valley region

The Elizabeth was built at Chepstow in 1809. This was the third voyage transporting convicts to New South Wales, the others being in 1816 and 1818.

Surgeon Andrew Montgomery

This was Andrew Montgomery's only voyage as surgeon superintendent on a convict ship. He kept a Medical Journal from 1st August 1820 to 11th January 1821 and also a daily diary in which he recorded the weather and other events. The diary begins while still in the River at Woolwich -

Tuesday 1st August 1820 - At noon the pilot came on board. Cast off from the Narcissus hulk and dropped down the river at 5pm. Anchored below the Justitia hulk below Woolwich.

2nd August at Woolwich. At 3pm received the guard on board from the Isle of Wight, consisting of the sergeant of the 46th and privates of the 48th regiments commanded by Lieutenant Charles Campbell of the 48th, as well as eight women and six children belonging to the company with their baggage etc.

3rd August at Woolwich. Answered the signal of being ready to receive prisoners on board at 1.30pm. Male prisoners from the Justitia Hulk were each given as follows: 1 woollen cap, one Guernsey frock, one checked shirt, one pair of raven duck trousers, one pair of shoes and stockings and a neckerchief, all new. Inspected them and checked their irons, and having served out each man a bed, pillow and blanket (all by numbers) sent them down to the prisons. Opened a puncheon of rum for the soldiers -


The Elizabeth departed the Downs 18 August 1820

The Voyage

Andrew Montgomery divided the men into six divisions soon after departing Woolwich and appointed a well-behaved man in charge of the divisions. These men were responsible for the behaviour, cleanliness of the prisoners and accountable for the clothing and bedding. The boys were separated from the men and a well conducted man placed over them as schoolmaster. They paid such attention to the schoolmaster that many of the boys who did not know the alphabet when they came on board could read and write when they disembarked. Schools were also set up for the men and several men paid great attention to their studies of reading writing and arithmetic. Divine service was performed on the Quarter Deck every Sunday when the weather would permit and at such times, the Guard were always under arms on the Poop deck.

He had found that the woollen frocks and stockings were a nuisance at first because of the hot weather and he stowed them away until the weather turned cold. He gave the men a daily allowance of lemonade, however scurvy appeared after five or six weeks and he requested Captain Ostler to call at Rio rather than the Cape as a matter of urgency. The convicts and soldiers' health improved with the food they procured and they stayed only a week, sailing from there on 21st October.

St. Paul

They had a tedious voyage as far as the island of St. Paul and then scurvy broke out again amongst the guard and prisoners. He gave them lime juice and soup made of preserved meats. Andrew Montgomery was greatly satisfied that the conduct of the prisoners throughout the voyage was orderly and extremely quiet. He commented that he had never witnessed more humane treatment to unfortunate men than that of the Master William Ostler and the chief mate Francis Allen. (2nd mate was Mr. Birkby; 3rd mate William Phillips).

Port Jackson

The Elizabeth arrived in Port Jackson on 31 December 1820.

Although they had a long and tedious voyage with much sickness Andrew Montgomery was very pleased to report that there was not a single death amongst the prisoners, guard or passengers during the entire voyage.

The convict ship Hebe arrived on the same day as the Elizabeth. The Sydney Gazette reported that the prisoners of the Elizabeth and Hebe were landed on Thursday 11th January and inspected by Governor Macquarie before being allotted to their various employments.

Prisoners' Belongings

It was sometimes the case that prisoners' belongings were damaged or stolen on the voyage out. A box belonging to convict George Martin was broken open and the contents stolen early in the voyage. His later testimony gives insight into the items that prisoners thought might be valuable to them in the difficult days and months to come.....

George Martin was removed from Gloucester Gaol to the convict hulk Justitia at Woolwich commanded by Captain Smith, who took charge of his luggage. On the 4th August the Elizabeth arrived at Woolwich to receive a draft of prisoners to take to New South Wales. With several others George Martin was embarked and all the boxes and keys were taken from him for the purpose of being placed in the hold or store appointed for their safety. Among which he had a small box which Captain Smith of the Justitia took from him and gave to the first mate of the Elizabeth who placed it on the Quarter Deck and observed he could not have it with him until things could be arranged, which would be on the morrow. This box with others was removed from the Quarter Deck and placed in the hold in charge of the third mate William Phillips. Although George Martin frequently requested his box, the third mate always answered with a promise for the morrow. When Martin applied to the captain and surgeon, William Phillips berth was searched and George Martin's belongings were found in Phillips' possession who was from that time kept as a prisoner for the remainder of the voyage. George Martin's later correspondence included a list of the articles that he had brought in his box from Gloucestershire: One prayer book; 1 new Moroccan notebook 1 silver pencil case; Ass skin memorandum book, ink stand and case; bottle of ink, quire of paper; dressing case containing two razors strop; shaving box, comb and tooth brush; two knives, scissors, thread, needles, shirt buttons, tobacco and 400 pounds of bank notes.

Notes and Links

1). William Tunnicliffe and George Cain who arrived on the Elizabeth were sent to Newcastle penal settlement for colonial crimes. They were two of eleven Pirates who seized the cutter Eclipse from the harbour in 1825 and made their escape from the colony.

2). William Ostler was also Master on the convict ships Elizabeth 1816, Elizabeth 1818 and the Marquis of Hastings in 1826

3). The Report of Commissioner John Thomas Bigge

4). Return of Convicts of the Elizabeth assigned between 1st January 1832 and 31st March 1832 (Sydney Gazette 5 July 1832).....
William Stephenson - Carpenter and seaman assigned to E.C. Close at Morpeth.

5). Prisoners and passengers of the Elizabeth identified in the Hunter Valley region -

Bradey, John

Cooke, Charles

Elwell, Samuel

Forster, William

Haynes, Thomas

Hindson, George

Hughes, George

Hughes, John

James, James

Keene, George

King, John

King, William

Leadbeater, Benjamin

May, John

Morton, Thomas

Nash, John

Richards, James

Roberts, Richard

Skinner, Richard

Smith, Bailey

Smith, Benjamin

Stephenson, William

Thompson, Alexander

Todd, John

Tunnicliffe, William

Williams, John

Wooky, James

Wright, Michael


[1] Bateson, Charles Library of Australian History (1983). The convict ships, 1787-1868 (Australian ed). Library of Australian History, Sydney : pp.344-345, 383