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Convict Ship Friendship 1788


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J -K L M N - O P - Q R S T - V W - Y

Embarked  80 male; 21 female prisoners
Tons: 274
Master Francis Walton
Surgeon Thomas Arndell
Governor Arthur Philip
Botany Bay Fleet

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The Friendship weighed 274 tons and was 75 feet in length. She was the smallest of the eleven vessels of the historic First Fleet to Australia.

The First Fleet departed England in May 1787 and consisted of two Royal Navy escort ships, HMS Sirius and HMS Supply  accompanied by six convict transports, the Alexander, Charlotte, Friendship, Lady Penrhyn, Prince of Wales and the Scarborough, and three store ships, the Borrowdale, Fishburn and Golden Grove.

Only four of the ships of the First Fleet carried female prisoners - the Charlotte, Friendship, Lady Penrhyn and Prince of Wales.

Marine Officers included Lieutenant James Meredith, Lieutenant Ralph Clarke and Lieutenant Faddy. 

Thomas Arndell came in the capacity of Assistant Surgeon. Later, during the years 1790-92 Thomas Arndell was in charge of the hospital at Parramatta. (2)

Both male and female convicts were embarked on the Friendship.

Friendship Medal Friendship Medal
Description Obverse: Engraved two-masted sailing vessel. Inscription: 'Success to the Friendship. 1787.' Reverse: Inscribed, 'F.W.' (Francis Walton master of the 'Friendship'). Date made 1787 National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, London

Prisoners for the Charlotte and Friendship were held in the hulk Chatham and then the Dunkirk at Plymouth .......

Surgeon John White wrote of his first days with the Fleet in his journal ......

March 1787. 5th. I this day left London, charged with dispatches from the Secretary of State's office, and from the Admiralty, relative to the embarkation of that part of the marines and convicts intended for Botany Bay; and on the evening of the seventh, after travelling two days of the most incessant rain I ever remember, arrived at Plymouth, where the Charlotte and Friendship transports were in readiness to receive them. General Collins, commander in chief at that port, lost no time in carrying the orders I had brought into execution: so that on the morning of the ninth the detachment of marines were on board, with all the baggage. But the next day being ushered in with a very heavy gale of wind, made it impracticable to remove the convicts from on board the Dunkirk prison ship, where they were confined. So violent was the gale, that his Majesty's ship the Druid, of thirty-two guns, was forced to cut away her main-mast to prevent her driving on shore. The weather being moderate the following day, the convicts were put on board the transports, and placed in the different apartments allotted for them; all secured in irons, except the women. In the evening, as there was but little wind, we were towed by the boats belonging to the guardships out of the Hamaoze, where the Dunkirk lay, into Plymouth Sound. When this duty was completed, the boats returned; and the wind now freshening so as to enable us to clear the land, we proceeded to Spithead, where we arrived the seventeenth, and anchored on the Mother Bank, among the rest of the transports and victuallers intended for the same expedition, under the conduct of his Majesty's ship the Sirius. (4)

 On 13th May 1787, Governor Philip having hoisted his flag on board the Sirius gave the signal to weigh anchor and they finally departed England's shores.

They were accompanied by the Hyaena frigate to carry back dispatches if necessary. The Hyaena returned on the 20th with the intelligence that the convicts in the Scarborough had formed a plan for getting possession of that ship which the officers had fortunately detected and prevented. This was the only attempt of the kind made during the voyage to Australia. (1)


Lieutenant Ralph Clark kept a journal on the voyage which can be read online at the State Library of NSW.......

The journal is intimate and makes interesting and sometimes amusing reading. He writes often of his love for his wife Alicia and their sons and also of his abhorrence of the convict women in his care. He has no qualms writing of the severe punishment of the women, while afterwards recording that he engaged one of the men to make him a net for his hair as his head was getting overheated in his nightcap!

He remarked with dismay on 19th June of the decision to release convict women from irons who had been so placed by himself ten days previously as punishment for fighting. The women, Elizabeth Dudgeon, Margaret Hall, Elizabeth Pulley and Charlotte Ware had shocked Clarke previously when they broke through the Bulk Head apparently to get to the seamen while the ship still lay at the Motherbank. Later the bulk head was again broken down by some of the seamen and the women were again found in the men's quarters. He referred to the women as d.....d troublesome whores and would have had them flogged if he had his way.

Soon enough though, in the first week of July, Elizabeth Dudgeon was punished for impertinence to Captain Meredith by flogging with a rope...."The corporal did not play with her but laid it on - which I was very glad to see, then ordered her to the pump. She has been long fishing for it and has at last got her hearts content."  

Later Lieut. Clark recorded an incident with convict Elizabeth Barbur who must have been quite a firebrand. After the water ration was reduced she began to abuse Dr. Arndell and was ordered into irons by Captain Meredith. While having the irons placed on her she began to abuse Meredith and then Lieut. Faddy. Clarke wondered how she came to forget to abuse him as she had all the others and remarked that never in the course of his days had he ever heard such expressions come from the mouth of a human being. She was ordered to have her hands tied behind her back and to be prevented from making so much noise. She wished them all to be hove overboard. "I wish to god", he wrote, "she was out of the ship. I would rather have a hundred more men than to have a single woman"

The Fleet arrived at Rio de Janeiro on 6th August 1787 On August 11th Clarke received word that six of the best behaved convict women on the Friendship - viz Susannah Garth, Hannah Green, Frances Hart, Elizabeth Hervey, Mary Worthings and Ann Baigley were to be exchanged with six of the worst from the Charlotte.......  Governor Philip's view was (a matter not easily accomplished) to separate those whose decent behaviour entitled them to some favour from those who were totally abandoned and obdurate. (4)

Clark was dismayed...I don't think it right, and I don't know what I shall do now as well ..... the only woman that can wash amongst them (is gone). The following women were received onto the Friendship from the Charlotte - Margaret Stuart, Fanny Anderson, Mary Phillips, Hannah Smith, Elizabeth Cook, Ann Coombes.

 They sailed from Rio on 5th September 1787 and by mid October they had arrived at Table Bay at the Cape of Good Hope where thanks to the persistence of Governor Philip they obtained supplies of corn, sheep and other stock and various necessaries. Unfortunately the quantity they could find room for fell very short of what was needed to have taken in as the only spare room was what had been used by the consumption of provisions since they had left Rio and the removal of twenty female convicts from the Friendship into the Charlotte, the Lady Penrhyn and the Prince of Wales (3).

Lieutenant Clark was greatly relieved to be rid of the women. He thought that the sheep would make better companions!

In correspondence written at Table Bay from an Officer on one of the vessels the following account is given of the Fleet's arrival at the Bay: On the 12th October, to our great joy, we made Table Bay, and our Commodore having ordered the signal to be thrown out for all the ships to come into his wake, the Captains received their instructions for the disposition in which the fleet was entered and moored. They immediately hoisted their colours saluting the Commodore as they passed by, sailing into the Bay. Joy now beamed in every countenance, and we congratulated each other on the pleasing prospect of plenty of fresh provisions with great abundance of herbs, roots and fruits, the production of this fine country. Judge then, after a run of 1094 leagues, our happiness at the pleasing scene before our eyes. In passing into the Bay our satisfaction was allayed by the loss of the second mate of the Friendship, a worthy character, and a good seaman, he fell overboard and perished. (3)

On 25th November surgeon John White noted in his journal.... Governor Philip removed into the Supply armed tender, and took with him Lieutenant King of the Sirius, and Mr. Dawes of the marines, whom I had before occasion to mention as having undertaken the astronomical observations during the voyage. Having likewise selected some artificers from among the convicts, he went on, taking the Alexander, Scarborough, and Friendship with him, being fast sailing vessels; leaving the heavy sailers, both transports and victuallers, under the direction of Captain Hunter of the Sirius

The Friendship arrived in Botany Bay on 19th January 1788.   Botany Bay was found unsuitable - the soil was poor and water scarce and on the 21st January Governor Phillip accompanied by officers set off in three open boats to examine the coast in the hope of finding a more suitable site for settlement. Finding in a cove of 'this noble and capacious harbour' a sufficiency of water and soil, he returned to Botany Bay after an absence of 3 days and gave directions for immediate removal to Port Jackson.

At Sydney Cove Governor Philip and Officers raised the British flag and took formal possession. Later, on the evening of the 26th January more people were landed and the whole assembled where they had first landed and a union jack had been displayed. The marines fired several vollies and toasts to the health of His Majesty and the success of the new colony were given. The women remained on the ships until the 6th February. Surgeon Arthur Bowes Smyth of the Lady Penrhyn kept a journal during the voyage. He described the day in February when all the women were landed from the various vessels:

Wednesday 6th February 1788..... This day at 5 o'clock, all things were got in order for landing the whole of the women, and 3 of the ships longboats came alongside of us to receive them; previous to their going out of the ship, a strict search was made to try if any of the many things which they had stolen on board could be found, but their artifice eluded the most strict search, and at six o'clock p.m. we had the long wished for pleasure of seeing the last of them leave the ship. They were dressed in general very clean, and some few amongst them might be said to be well dressed. The convicts got to them very soon after their landing and the scene of debauchery and riot that ensued during the night may be better conceived than expressed.  Select here to read more from the journal of Arthur Bowes Smyth at the National Library of Australia.

John White recorded in his journal the day the Friendship departed the colony..... 13th July 1788. - The Alexander, Friendship, and Prince of Wales transports, with the Borrowdale victualler, sailed for England. His Majesty's brig the Supply sailed at the same time for Norfolk Island, with provisions, etc. for the people there.

The next convict ship to arrive in New South Wales after the First Fleet was the Lady Juliana.

Only one prisoner of the Friendship has so far been identified in the Hunter Valley - Joseph Trimbey.  


Notes & Links:

1). James Thoudy arrived as a convict on the Friendship. He died in Sydney in November 1795 and was buried in the Old Sydney Burial Ground.

2). A List of Convicts sent to Botany Bay in 1787.........

3). The Friendship was scuttled at Borneo on her way to Canton from Botany Bay. The crew was rescued by the Alexander and returned to England in June 1789. .......

Memoirs of Hydrography


4). Female prisoners embarked on the Friendship included:

Elizabeth Barber (M) Age 27. Book stitcher. Tried in London. Sent on board the Prince of Wales 28 October 1787
Ann Baigley Age 21. Sent on Board the Charlotte 11 August 87
Elizabeth Clark Age 20. Sent on board the Prince of Wales 28 October
Elizabeth Dudgeon (M) Age 23. Sent on board the Charlotte 28 August 87
Rachael Earley/ Harley (M) Age 24.
Susannah Gaught Age 24.
Hannah Green Age 31.
Margaret Hall (M) Age 22. Margaret Hall died in December 1807 and was buried in the Old Sydney Burial Grounds.
Frances Hart (M) Age 36. Mantua maker. Given thread by Ralph Clarke so that she could make him another pair of trousers.
Elizabeth Hervey Age 32.
Susannah Holmes Age 22.
Sarah McCormack Age 20. One of the women who broke through the bulk head at the Motherbank. In August, very ill and thought by surgeon Arndell not to be able to last the night.
Elizabeth Mason Age 22.
Mary McCormack Age 24.
Isabella Oldfield Age 25 .
Elizabeth Parker  
Jane Parkinson/ Partington Age 24.
Elizabeth Pulley Age 26.
Elizabeth Pugh Age 22.
Elizabeth Thackery Age 22.
Charlotte Ware (M) Age 26.
Mary Watkins Age 19.

5). Lieutenant Clark kept a record of all the convicts both male and female who had been involved in the Mercury Mutiny in 1784.....

The Mercury, bound to America in 1784 with one hundred and seventy convicts on board, was seized by the prisoners. (one of whom was said to be Thomas Barrett who later arrived in Australia on the Charlotte). The captain and officers were put in irons after a fierce battle; but the convicts having brought the ship into Torbay, Devon, they launched a boat and about sixty went on shore, armed; a second attempt to land was made by the remainder next morning; but the captain and his people, having escaped from their chains, and obtained assistance from a King's ship, immediately captured them. (5) The women who had been involved in the mutiny on the Mercury are marked with an 'M' in the table above.


6). Henry Kable arrived on the Friendship. The following information has been supplied by descendant Jane van Woerkom.....

January 1788 Henry Kable and Susannah Holmes - First Fleeters arrived per “Friendship and Charlotte”

10th February 1788 Henry and Susannah marry one of the first five marriages conducted in the Colony on this day

July 1788 Henry Kable pursues first court action of the colony seeking damages for loss of property during First Fleet voyage - wins case – receives fifteen pound damages* see Supreme Court of NSW cases Decisions of the Superior Courts of New South Wales, 1788–1899. Cable v. Sinclair. Court of Civil Jurisdiction. David Collins J.A., July 1788

1798 Sydney Henry Kable runs first stage coach service in the colony/ “Australia” from Ramping Horse Inn which he owns and is situated next to the goal in the current George Street Sydney; now the site of Four Seasons Hotel

December 1788 birth of Diana Kable second white child born in the colony; first white child to reach maturity… mother of John Teale b 1820 Windsor (birth not registered ) father of, Caroline Teale b 1847 Windsor, mother of- Caroline Howard b1886 Bundarra, mother of - Florence Hall b 1907 Tamworth great niece of Ben Hall, mother of - Moyah Lane b1930 Tamworth, mother of Jane (submitter of this information).

 1809 Diana Kable marriage to William Gaudry marriage record No 1 of St Philips Church Sydney

March 1854 Diana Kable Gaudry/Teale – death of oldest white Australian

1968 - on the 180th anniversary of the arrival of the First Fleet, more than a hundred descendants of Henry and Susannah Kable met in Sydney at Crows Nest to honour them as the heads of one of Australia's founding families. It was the first reunion to acknowledge convict ancestry.

1984 - Zillah Kable Thomas and Lola Wilkinson descendants of Henry and Susannah, unveiled a plaque commemorating Henry's land grant on the site of the Regent Hotel, (now known as the Four Seasons Hotel.) At this time the restaurant Kable's was also opened. In 2010 the plaque is still there despite the change of owners and the hotel name (Four Seasons).  


7) Arthur Philip : Uncovering the History of the man who helped build the foundations of modern Australia - Scott Bevan ABC  



(1) A new and complete system of universal geography, or, An authentic history ... By Christopher Kelly

(2) HR NSW., ol VII., p19

(3) Freeman's Journal 3 June 1788

(4) Journal of a Voyage to New South Wales Author: John White (1757/8-1832 (5) History of New South Wales, Vol. 1., Governor Philip 1783 - 1789