The Ganges was built in India in
1794. She arrived at Portsmouth on 15 October 1796 to make ready
for the voyage to Australia.
Prisoners to be transported on the
Ganges came from counties throughout England - Sussex,
Warwick, York, Worcester, Stafford, Surrey etc., and many were
probably held on one of the hulks to await transportation.
The Ganges was was one of
the first convict ships inspected at Portsmouth by Sir James
Fitzpatrick, the Home Department's surgeon-general. He later
sent a report to Under Secretary King......
Fitzpatrick to Under Secretary King. Sir, Portsmouth, 23rd
.........Your manner of
receiving me when embarked on the part of a poor miserable
convict emboldens me to state to you, for his Grace the Duke of
Portland's information, the matters which have been done here,
and those which I pray may be done at Cork, for Health of the
accommodation and health of the convicts embarked on board the
Ganges. My first object was, in as much as the mode of the
original fitting of the ship would allow, to favour the
perpetual admission of as much pure air as possible. Then it
became my concern to pay that attention to the poor women, which
their conduct deserved, by placing them under the protection of
their husbands, their merit in a conjugal sense being nearly
unparrelled, sacrificing their all, and subjecting themselves to
an ignominious banishment, thereby fulfilling the great and
essential obligation of the marriage vow. I railed off a part of
the vessel where the convicts were confined and allotted it to
the married men, their partners, and innocent orphans. By this
alteration the poor women, in place of being subject (as they
were before) to the insult of the ship's crew and the military
guard, are now protected, and the space which they inhabited is
now converted into an hospital apartment, well aired. I put on
board ventilators and water-purifiers, also vitriol and nitre
for fumigation, and such medicines as were required by Mr.
The Ganges departed England on 10th December
1796 and arrived in Port Jackson on 2 June 1797 (1).
There were only two convict ships arriving in New South Wales in
1797. The convicts of the Ganges arrived in better
health than those of the Irish convicts of the Britannia,
however some were suffering greatly with scurvy. There were
several mechanics (skilled) men amongst them and it was hoped
they would prove useful for the colony. John Stoneham age 14
tried in Middlesex; William Williams tried in London age 14;
Richard Willis age 14 from Cambridge and Michael Parker tried in
Middlesex age 15 were the youngest prisoners on board.
The Guard consisted of soldiers of the New South Wales
Corps. Governor Hunter was glad of their arrival....The two
officers and sixty private soldiers coming out in the two
convicts ships Ganges and Britannia will be a considerable
relief to the duty of the troops. (2)
following correspondence from the Duke of Portland to Governor
Hunter reveals the supplies sent to the colony on the Ganges -
Whitehall August 1796.......
(Extract) The Ganges
takes out 121,289 pounds of beef and 40,522 pounds of pork for
the use of the settlement, exclusive of the necessary quantity
for the consumption of the convicts during their voyage, and for
nine months after their arrival. The above quantity of beef and
pork added to the quantity sent by the Prince of Wales and
Sylph, transports, is calculated as making together a twelve
month's supply for the settlement. I enclose you a list of the
convicts which go by this conveyance with the original contracts
entered into by Thomas Patrickson the owner of the Ganges, for
their safe delivery in New South Wales together with his
Majesty's Order in Council for the transportation to New South
Wales of such of the convicts whose sentences required such
The Ganges departed Port
Jackson bound for China in December 1797.
Notes and Links:
1). William Batman arrived on the Ganges as a
convict. His wife Mary and their children Maria and Robert
Batman came free on the Ganges. William and Mary were the
parents of John Batman b. 1801, founder of Melbourne.
2). The 1825 muster notes the following people arriving on the
Ganges - Elizabeth Graham, wife of convict John Graham; George
Cubbit with his wife Mary were reported to have come free on the
Ganges; Sarah Eggleton; Jane Hooper; Ann Miller; Ann Milson;
Sarah Pearson; Agnes Shields (died in 1823); Maria White and
3). Convict Evan Morgan is mentioned
by Govern Hunter in correspondence to Under Secretary King in
November 1798....The young man Evan Morgan whom you have
mentioned upon his arrival here, and upon my understanding he
had been bred in the medical line, was by my order placed in the
hospital department, where he was far more comfortable than he
could well have expected, and where he might have improved his
information in the original profession for which he had been
designed and where also he might have recommended himself by his
diligence and proper conduct; but I am sorry to inform his
friends after the fair prospect which he had of removing the
impression which his unhappy transportation to this country
might have made on the minds of his friends and connections, he
had made some infamous acquaintances here, which could only
serve to hasten his ruin. He had been persuaded by them to
attempt an escape from the colony in an American ship bound for
China, which had stopped here only a few days; in this attempt
he succeeded, which was not discovered until the day after his
departure, when his absence from his duty in the hospital made
it known. (HRA, Series 1, vol., 2, p. 235)
Mileham was employed as surgeon on the Ganges. In March 1804 he
accompanied the historic expedition to Newcastle where a penal
settlement was to be re-established to hold insurgents of the
Castle Hill rebellion.
Find out more here.
5). The Ganges sprang a leak and sank off the
Cape of Good Hope in 1807 (click on the text below to read an
account of the wreck.)......
Hunter Valley convicts arriving on the Ganges in 1797...........
James Harrex aged 29, convicted at
Suffook 25th March 1795. Resided at Newcastle
William Thompson age 18, convicted at Warwick 27 July 1793.
Resided Maitland and Newcastle
HR NSW, vol. IV, p. 787
(2) HR NSW Vol. 3, p. 234
(3) HR NSW Vol. 3, p. 162
HR NSW. Vol. 3, p. 96