Convict Ship Hydrabad 1845
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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
Embarked: 250 men
Voyage: 121 days
Surgeon's Journal: Yes
James Ormiston McWilliam
Superintendent J.O. McWilliam kept a medical journal from 4
October 1844 to 4 March 1845........
Hydrabad having received on board two hundred and fifty male
convicts at Woolwich from Millbank prison, proceeded to the
Downs whence she sailed for Norfolk Island on the 21st
October 1844: at this time there were on board:
Guard consisting of Lieutenants 22nd & 29th regiments -2
(Lieutenants Blackall, Coventry and Westropp)
Corporals and Privates 58th & 99th regiments - 51
Soldiers wives & children 17
Overseer of Convicts, wife
Master Mate & seamen 44
Surgeon Superintendent - 1
The Hydrabad was very lofty between decks and
in point of room admirably adapted for a convict ship, the
unusually large accommodation which the Prison afforded gave
a very favourable time to the working of the new mode in
which the sleeping berths are fitted up and it seems to be a
vast improvement to the old system in a moral as well as
salutary point of view. By the present arrangement every man
has a separate sleeping berth and the whole of the moveable
part of the wood work can be speedily unshipped so as to
admit of being frequently sent on deck and scrubbed and the
deck much more effectually and easily cleaned.
strict set of Regulations in which cleanliness, quiet and
strict obedience were enjoyed. They were ordered to be ready
for muster by divisions at ten in the morning in a clean and
On the morning of the 6th
November we were off Madeira and on the 13th off the Cape de
Verde. As the ship approached the Equator we had calm and
light winds, during which there were several cases of fever
and diarrhoea and a case of disease of the stomach in an old
prisoner who had suffered form liver complaint several years
which worsened by sea sickness and proved fatal.
early part of December was fine but on the 10th the wind
changed to West causing a notable depression in the
atmospheric temperature from which resulted some cases of
catarrh among the prisoners.
As we proceeded to the Southward the convicts looked generally
pale and thin. There was no positive disease among them and they
seemed to relish their food all insomuch that they often
complained of the scantiness of the allowance. Lime juice was
daily supplied to them yet from their appearance as a whole and
considered it advisable to proceed to the Cape for fresh
provisions and vegetables, the course was accordingly shaped and
we reached Simon's Bay on the 19th where we remained till the
27th having procured what we wanted and taken on board twenty
six sheep and a proportion of ale and quantity of vegetables.
Leaving the Cape of Good Hope on the 27 December
we had fine weather up to the early part of January when there
fell a good deal of rain; as we advanced to the Southward of
Saint Paul Island southerly winds blew cold and here was found
the benefit of the additional flannel which the Government had
on my representation granted to convicts during the passage for
there was only a few catarrh and sore throats among them; a very
different case from that of my former voyage while in the high
On the 8th February we were in Bass
Straits and on the 19th reached Norfolk Island. When the
Hydrabad arrived at Norfolk Island there was a heavy sea running
over the Bar, so we were obliged to stand off for the night; the
morning was fortunately fine and we landed upwards of a hundred
of the prisoners but the rollers having set in on the following
day our operations were again for some time suspended. One man
with fever and one with ulcerated leg were sent to the hospital
and the whole of the others were mustered in the Barracks yard
in so healthy and robust a condition that I would certainly
advise all ships to call at the Cape for fresh supplies so
wonderfully did they improve the constitution of those of the
A quantity of stores and some
medicines having been landed on the island we sailed on the 24th
and anchored at Port Jackson on the evening of the 4th March
The Hydrabad was engaged by the
East India Company to take about 120 horses to Calcutta. They
were put on board at Circular Wharf with great expedition; there
were forty shipped on the first day. The fittings were
considered superior and were constructed to as to promote the
safety and comfort of the horses. In addition to the ordinary
ventilation, a machine was constructed to force the air into the
lower hold. She cleared at the Custom House on Saturday and
presents a favourable opportunity for sending letters to England
via Calcutta. She was cleared out of Sydney on 26 April.
Passengers included Mrs. Betts, three daughters and son Mr. J.C.
Lyall, Mr. A. Ford, Miss and Master Sandys, Dr. Child, Mrs.
Murphy, Messrs J. Knowles, John Stewart, James Broderick, G.P.
Lynch, James Mason, Christopher Laurel, Colin Munro David
Peacock, Edward Brown, John Stacey, W. Phillip and E. Hall.
The Hydrabad was lost in Torres Straits on 25th May 1845
after missing the beacon on Raine's Island and being thrown
leeward and obliged to run through the first opening that
offered; in doing so she struck on a rock and sank almost
instantaneously in deep water.(4)
Chronicle published details of the wreck......
On 19th May the Hydrabad reached the Raine's Islands passage
Torres' Straits, and then stood for the Cumberland passage
working against a head wind for four days when, on the 25th May
at 5pm she struck on the Barrier Reef. An anchor was let go and
at 10 the same evening the vessel worked her way over the reef
into deep water, and was then making ten inches water per hour.
Both pumps were immediately set to work, to keep the vessel
free; but one of them choked at midnight and the water rapidly
gaining upon the vessel, Captain Robertson deemed it advisable
to abandon her - there being then eight feet water in the hold -
it was found impossible to keep her afloat. The boats (three)
were ordered to be launched. Twenty eight persons placed
themselves in the long boat, twenty one in the cutter, and
eleven in the gig - in all sixty - with as much fresh water and
provisions as could be conveniently taken from the ship.
Prior to the vessel striking ten horses had died on the
passage. Determined to see the last of the Hydrabad, they made
fast to her stern by a deep sea lead line, and saw her go down
at 4am on the 26th May. At daylight they set sail for Mount
Adolphus, where they obtained a fresh supply of water and the
following morning set sail again and made for Booby Island,
expecting to find a supply of fresh provisions there - but were
disappointed, as one of the Fly's boat's crews had previously
touched there, on their way to Port Essington, having been blown
to sea while surveying the coast of New Guinea. Twenty eight
persons including Captain Robertson, Mr. Lyall, Mr. Ford, Dr.
Child, Mrs. Knowles, Mr. Mason and twenty one of the crew, left
Booby Island for Port Essington in the ship's boats where they
arrived safely in four days after. The rest of the passengers
and crew remained on the Island, where, on Monday 1st June, the
schooner Shamrock from Sydney, bound to Mauritius hove in sight
of the island and took on board Mrs. Betts and family the first
and second officers and the remainder of the Hydrabad's crew;
together with Captain Chilcott, of the Coringa Packet, Lieut.
Blackall, Ensign Bloomfield and the Coringa Packet's crew who
were on the island. (2)
Captain Robertson of the
Hydrabad proceeded to Ceylon in the Shamrock. (5)
Notes & Links:
2). Convict Ships to Norfolk Island......
3). Bolter on board the Hydrabad.......
(1) Ancestry.com. UK Royal Navy Medical Journals, 1817-1857 .
National Archives, Kew.
(2) Cornwall Chronicle 30 August
(3) Geelong Advertiser (Vic. : 1840 - 1845),
Wednesday 16 April 1845, page 3
(4) Shipping Gazette and
Sydney Trade List, 20 December 1845
(5) Shipping Gazette
and Sydney Trade List 27 September 1845