The Isabella was a brand
new ship, having been built on the Thames in 1818. She was
owned by William Wiseman, Patrick Chalmers and James
Wallace. At 579 tons she was much larger than the Quebec
that arrived in Port Jackson on the same date.
Many prisoners were embarked from the Justitia Hulk
on to the Isabella on 2nd March 1818 and from the
Retribution on 8 March; others from the Leviathan on 16th March 1818.
departed England on 3rd April, one week after the
They called at Rio where they left the Tottenham on
2nd July and arrived in Port Jackson on 14th September 1818
This was John William Hallion's second voyage as
surgeon superintendent on a convict ship. He kept a Medical
Journal from 1st March 1818 to 22 September 1818. Of the
prisoners embarked, two died of illness on the passage and
were first embarked on the 4th March, being first supplied
with an entire suit of warm slop clothing. In England the
weather at this season of the year is very cold and
inclement and was particularly so from the period of the
prisoners embarking on the Isabella until she finally sailed
on the 3rd April. From them having only one suit in constant
use from the state of the weather, and from the greater
liability of a number of men confined together wearing out
their clothing than if on shore, this suit of slops were
very much worn out at the period of sailing. To allow of
some kind of change and with a view to the cleanliness of
their skin, one shirt was issued to each man previous to
leaving Portsmouth and this together with one pair of raven
duck trousers issued on the 14th April were all the slops
served out on the voyage. On our arrival in the Southern
latitudes after a tedious passage through the tropics, when
we had to encounter the vicissitude of a second winter, the
deficiency of clothing was very evident.
Surgeon Hallion recommended that the prisoners be issued
with an extra shirt when entering the warmer climate. He
also recommended that the men be gainfully employed, perhaps
being taught the beginnings of a trade or skill by other
more knowledgeable prisoners; or perhaps by making straw
hats and baskets -
for whenever the
minds of men and particularly that description of which I am
now so remarking are left to their own operations in a state
of indolence or inaction, combined with wicked and depraved
dispositions and want of education as well as a natural
inclination to wickedness and bad and dangerous
associations, mischief and evil intentions will invariably
be the result.
There were rumours of a
conspiracy to mutiny on the voyage and tensions were high.
One of the convicts Archibald Macquarie was shot by soldier
Robert Hookes who was detained in gaol on arrival. Archibald
Macquarie lost his leg but was not killed. An investigation
into the affair was later conducted by a Bench of
The Military guard consisted of a
detachment of the 48th regiment., under orders of Lieut.
Reeve. Passengers William Minchin Esq. late Capt. in the
102nd Regt., with his Family arrived on the Isabella
as a Free Settler to reside in the Colony.
Other ships bringing soldiers of the 48th regt., included
Prince Regent and
Some of the Pentrich Rioters were transported on the Isabella. They had been tried and convicted of High
Treason on 25 September 1817 and sent from Derby to the hulk
Retribution moored at Woolwich on 5th February
1818. From there they were transferred to the Isabella
on 6th March 1818.
Their names were Edward Turner
age 31; Samuel Hunt aged 22; John Onion age 48 all sentenced
to transportation for life. Joseph Rawson aged 30 was
sentenced to transportation for 14 years. (1)
convict indents include the prisoner's Name, When and Where
Convicted, Sentence, Native Place, Calling, Age, and
Physical Description. There is occasional information about
Tickets of Leave but no indication as to where the men were
assigned on arrival.
departed Sydney for Batavia on 14 November 1818. Dr. Hallion
departed the colony on this voyage.
Notes & Links
Hunter Valley convicts / passengers arriving on the Isabella
2). The Isabella transported convicts
to Australia in 1818 (NSW),
(NSW), 1833 (VDL) and 1842 (VDL).
3). John Hallion
was also employed as surgeon on the
Samuel Perkins of the 48th regiment was convicted of
stealing wearing apparel in Sydney in 1820 and was sentenced
to 7 years transportation to Newcastle penal settlement. He
died at Newcastle in 1825.
5). Find out more about
William Minchin at the
Australian Dictionary of Biography Online
Archibald Macquarie, 23, was convicted at Edinburgh on 24th
November 1817 of housebreaking. He was received on to the
Hulk at Woolwich on 27 December 1817. Henry Laing and Robert
Donaldson were also convicted of housebreaking on the same
day in Edinburgh.
7). More Pentrich Rioters
arrived on the
Tottenham in October 1818. See the
Pentrich Rebellion for more information about the
8). From the Caledonian Mercury......
following are extracts of a letter which has been received
by the wife of (Edward) Turner, the brother of
(William)Turner, who, with Ludlam and Brandreth, were
executed at Derby, about two years since, for high treason.
Turner, it will be remembered, with several others, were
allowed to plead guilty and thus to save their lives -
Sidney, New South Wales,
June 23, 1819
have had a pretty good passage, and have been middling well
treated; much better than the general run of those that were
with us. We are all much disappointed in not having had our
freedom on our arrival, as was promised us. I am working for
Government from day light, till two o'clock in the
afternoon; after that time I work for myself, and can earn
as much as I could get for a while day in England;
therefore, was I on my own hands, I could get a very pretty
living. I am very well, considering my situation, as I live
with an old man and woman, who is constable to the Governor,
and they treat me as one of themselves. Indeed I have partly
agreed with them for a thirty acres farm.
dear wife, if you wish for us to meet again and end our days
in happiness, let me advise you to apply to the Secretary of
State, to give you an order for a passage to this country
free of all expense, and I shall be restored to you on your
arrival. If it be agreeable to my brother Joseph, to apply
likewise to come as a settler I should much urge him to it.
He would be granted a farm ,and provisions from the stores
for six months; but, however, he would not want that; and he
would be able to gain a little fortune in a few years as our
business is one of the best in the country, and farming is
as good. There is no rent nor taxes to pay. Wheat is in
general ten shillings a bushel Indian corn five shillings;
beef at sixpence a pound mutton and pork eight pence and
nine pence; the pork is very good, beef and mutton middling;
useable tea and sugar very cheap; clothing is rather cheap.
The natives are slender people, Swedish iron is
sixpence a pound, sheet one shilling and three pence. If you
can get the works of any eight day clock, it will fetch a
good price here. We are building a Methodist chapel, and I
have engaged for the cutting of the stone; religion is
strongly patronised by the governor and the heads of the
colony. The stone of the country is remarkable white, and
works kindly. The building here is very coarse, for want of
good mechanics; the workmen are chiefly Irish, that know
little about buildings. The timber is very good, both for
house building and fur furniture it chiefly consists of
cedar for furniture. New Zealand pone for building and oak
stringers instead of tiles; the oak apple tree chiefly for
firing. We have no limestone; the lime is made of burnt
shells. We have plenty of game, both fish and fowl, and no
game acts to pay.
My nephew Joseph Turner, (called
Manchester Turner) is very well, and is overseer to Captain
Minchin, who came in the ship with me. John Hill, one of the
Derby convicts from Southwingfield, is well; he is up the
country about twenty miles from Sidney, with a gentleman.
Our winter is your summer. We have plenty of fruit; peaches
in abundance; lemons and oranges, and quantities of
vegetables. Here are the handsomest birds in the world. I
wish very much my brother Joseph to come, as it would be the
making of us. The passage is nothing to what it used to be,
as they reach us in about four months; very few die on the
passage. Inquire for me a John Dow's near Government Stores,
Sidney, NSW". - Caledonian Mercury, 24 January 1820
9). Return of Convicts of the
Isabella assigned between 1st January 1832 and
31st March 1832 (Sydney Gazette 21 June 1832).........
Lewis Lazarus. Tailor assigned to John Larnach at
(1). UK Prison Hulk Registers,