Mercury on 26th September 1835 reported that six female
convicts had been removed from the Bristol prison and put on board
the ship Henry Wellesley then lying at Woolwich and bound
for New South Wales.
The women - Ellen Doyle, Caroline Dart,
Harriet Bidgood, Sarah Price, Martha King and Mary Ann Smith were
just six of the 118 prisoners who were embarked on the Henry
Wellesley at Woolwich that September. They came from districts
throughout England and there were also three dark skinned women from
Barbadoes, Bermuda and Dominica.
Twenty-seven women were
married and seventeen were widowed. Although eleven were over the
age of 40 most were young, single women who married soon after
Thirteen children were noted by the surgeon. Some
of them belonged to Mary Ann Swash, Ann Robinson, Matilda Wittle,
Mary Carrigan, Ann Stewart, Ann Coleman, Alice Richardson, Sarah
Davis (2 children), Ann Leech and Mary Ann Cook.
Mrs. Elizabeth Skinner and child also came on the Henry
The Henry Wellesley was off Margate
on 1st October 1835 and departed Portsmouth on 7th or 9th October
Robert Wylie kept a Medical Journal from 27th August
1835 to 20 February 1836........
|The prisoners in the Henry
Wellesley were generally healthy and the passage of four
months an average one. The weather was favourable with two
exceptions - an adverse gale in the channel and when in the
limits of the north east trade, we had variable light winds,
calms and heavy rain; at this juncture a great many of the
prisoner's complained of severe head aches which were
relieved by bleeding and purgatives. Two of the cases of
fever which died, I think may be attributed to mental
despondency and the seeds were probably latent in the system
before they came on board, the third was a woman whose
constitution was broken down by drinking ardent spirits. The
two cases of cholera had nothing of the asphyxia, collapse
or blue cholera in them, but the spasms were severe. I think
there were some symptoms of scurvy in a few instances but
they disappeared again and with the exception of the case of
diarrhoea that was sent to the hospital, they were all
landed in good health.
Some of the patients treated by the surgeon included:
Thomasine Chandler. Pneumonia while still at Woolwich.
Plant. Scalded on the neck by soup. Woolwich 17th September.
Mary Keeling age 42. Described as a miserable old woman who had
worked most of her life in a cotton factory and had scrofula since
her youth. Died 27 December.
Mary Baker age 15 Described as a
delicate little girl put on the sick list with buboes in the groin
and head swarming with lice.
Mary Ann Cook age 18. Suckling a
five months old child but milk nearly dried up. Had sea sickness for
two weeks and fever. Put on the sick list14th October at sea, died
Elizabeth Strange, age 20. Hepatitis
Fox age 26. Paralysis, enuresis.
Eliza Cook 6 months, Infant
child of Mary Ann Cook. Died at sea 21st November
aged 19. Headache and vomiting
Mary Cole age 24. Cholera
Hannah Swayne age 47. Fever. From appearance accustomed to drinking
spirits. Died 2nd December.
Ann Gordon age 24. Fever. Tall thin
woman not quite sane. Had been pining for a fortnight although did
not complain. Died on 20th December
Ann Miller age 24. Fever
Elizabeth Lane age 30. Diarrhoea. Of a quiet taciturn disposition
and had with her a seven month old child. Died on 14th January.
Martha King age 28. Rather silly. Was cheerful enough for the first
two months but during the last month has taken to her bed and would
not be persuaded to get up. Put in hospital against her will.
Treated for pediculi by cutting off her hair. Washed all over with
chloride of lime. Sent to the hospital at Sydney on 9th February.
Elizabeth Skinner. Free woman aged 35, tonsillitis
Henry Wellesley arrived in Port Jackson on 7 February 1836
the same day as the arrival of the
Susan. The voyage
had taken 123 days. According to the surgeon's summary six people
died on the voyage out.
The indents include information such
as name, age, education, religion, marital status, family, native
place, trade, offence, date and place of trial, sentence, former
convictions, physical description and remarks. There is also
occasional information about colonial sentenced, tickets of leave,
pardons and certificates of freedom as well as relatives already in
the colony or about to arrive.....
Eliza Doyle's brother Daniel
Doyle arrived on the Susan;
Mary Dundas' husband David Dundas
was at Port Macquarie;
Mary Mills' brother James Mills or Riley
arrived in the colony 9 year previously;
Sarah Martin's brother
Edward Martin had arrived in the colony seven years previously;
Mary Carrigan alias Wilson's husband William Carrigan arrived on the
Mary Ann Perkins' mother Elizabeth Perkins had
arrived 16months previously;
On 10 February a notice was placed in
the Government Gazette that families who were in want of female
servants could be supplied from the prisoners who arrived on the
Henry Wellesley. The assignees would be required to enter into
the usual engagement under a penalty of forty shillings to keep
their servants for one month unless removed by due course of law.
Notes & Links:
1). Robert Wylie was also surgeon
on the convict ships
Emma Eugenia in 1838 and
2). The Henry Wellesley was
one of five convict ships transporting female prisoners to New South
Wales in the year 1836, the others being the
Pyramus. A total of 668
female prisoners arrived in the colony in 1836. Two ships brought
female prisoners from England - the Elizabeth and the
Henry Wellesley. None of the prisoners on the Henry
Wellesley had been tried in Scotland.
convicts and passengers arriving on the Henry Wellesley in 1836