Convict Ship John Barry
Embarked: 180 men
Voyage: 144 days
Surgeon's Journal: yes
vessel: Grenada arrived 16
Next vessel: Hindostan
arrived 24 November 1821
Captain Roger Dobson
Irish Convict Ship Trail
Barry was built at Whitby in 1814. This was the second of four
voyages of the John Barry transporting convicts to New
South Wales, the others being in
1839. The John
Barry was the next convict ship to leave Ireland bound for New
South Wales after the
Lord Sidmouth in November 1820.
On 16 May 1821,
the John Barry sailed from Deptford for Cork to take on
prisoners for Port Jackson.
Mr Elyard, Surgeon and Superintendent of the
his wife and five children, were passengers for Cork, also,
James Mitchell, Assistant Surgeon
of the 48th Regiment, Robert Fopp, Henry Hughes and his wife, were
passengers for N.S.W., by order of the government. The John
Barry anchored in the Cove of Cork on 22 May.
prisoners to be embarked on the John Barry were probably
held in the Convict Depot at Cork to await transportation.
The Third Report of the Committee of the Society For the Improvement
of Prison Discipline ... by T. Bensley was released in 1821 and
included the following summary of the Cork Depot .....
Passengers travelling on the John Barry to New
South Wales included Mr. Doyle and his niece.
McNamara kept a medical journal from 16 May to 10 November
On 30 May 1821, the guard, consisting of Lieut.
McConchy and 29 men of the 1st Regiment (Royal Scots), with four
women and two children, embarked on the John Barry. Ninety
male convicts were received and a bed, blanket and pillow were
issued to each, however bad weather prevented more convicts
embarking the following day. Another ninety men were embarked on 1st
The surgeon commented that the prisoners were well
behaved and that he had found them at prayers in the prison. The
prison was fitted up as a chapel for Sunday prayers and some of the
sermons of the Rev. George Burder were delivered. When the surgeon
delivered Rev. Burder's sermon on the Prodigal Son, some of the
prisoners hung their heads and wept. Bibles, testaments and prayer
books supplied by the Ladies Bible Society were distributed. Paper,
quills, school books and slates were received for the use of the
prisoners. Fires were kept going in stoves all day.
being inspected by Dr. Trevor, Inspector of Prisons at Cork, they
sailed at 5am on Saturday 16 June 1821. Most of the prisoners were
soon suffering with sea sickness. There were reports of the
prisoners seizing the ship, however Daniel McNamara dismissed it as
just talk, 'to be expected among persons of idle and vicious
habits'. However, precautions must have been taken, as several days
later, the prisoners petitioned the doctor stating they had no
thoughts of mutiny. McNamara re-assured the prisoners that though
precautionary measures had been taken, he believed the reports false
This was to be an unusual voyage in that
surgeon Daniel McNamara had great confidence that the prisoners were
mostly of good character. Despite several reports of plots of mutiny
and escape, the surgeon dismissed them all, fully confident that the
prisoners, who regularly attended his sermons, would not entertain
mutiny. Each time there was talk of a mutiny, the guard was found to
be at fault. McNamara considered them to be the dregs of the
military. Despite this confidence in the prisoners he nevertheless
took precautions, and there were 64 cases of punishment, mostly by
handcuffing but also by returning to double irons or stopping wine
allowance. There were no floggings and the prisoners were given a
good report by surgeon McNamara, however he regretted the behaviour
of the guard, one of whom was flogged for disobeying orders; others
became drunk and threatened to fire into the prisoners.
board the prisoners were put into three divisions of 60 men each and
allowed on deck. School books and paper were handed out and those
unable to read placed in messes with convicts willing to teach them.
The surgeon later remarked that the school was doing well. By the
30th June they were near Madeira. Prisoners were well behaved and
paid great attention to the routines of cleaning the decks and
prison. The Surgeon commented at this time that 'there were very few
of what are esteemed bad characters in a convict ship amongst them'.
On the 18th July the surgeon heard of another plot to seize
the ship involving some of the convicts and some of the guard. He
did not believe the convicts would be involved but did believe that
the guard would, and expressed a very low opinion of the guard, 'the
very refuse of the first battalion of their regiment (1st or Royal
Scots)'. He did not believe many of the convicts even knew of the
plot. He felt confident that his measures of changing the divisions
of convicts regularly and only allowing them on deck 60 at a time
would lessen the chance of collusion. In addition most had leg irons
on. One of the soldiers James Murphy was placed in the prison with
the convicts after injudicious language by his wife and reports that
he was connected with the planned mutiny.
journal contained the report of an incident that occurred on 18th
August - at about half past seven in the evening a musket shot was
heard on deck, quickly followed by two more and then more shots from
the soldier's quarters into the prison. The Surgeon, the Master and
the Officer of the Guard, finding no disturbance on deck called for
firing to stop but by then about a dozen shots had been fired into
the prison. On opening the door to the prison, the prisoners were
found to be in their beds and three of them wounded. Patrick Duffy
and Thomas Coyle were severely wounded. The surgeon determined that
they were lying in their beds, which were opposite the main
hatchway, when they received the wounds. The sentry who first fired
his musket was Patrick Leary, claiming that noise was made in the
prison and he ordered them to be quiet before shooting. It was
suspected that Leary was drunk and he was later arrested at the
On 20th August they arrived in Rio de
Janeiro where they took on fresh provisions and water, departing
from there on 29th August. They experienced bad weather on 9th
September and sermons were postponed during a gale when water washed
over the deck and entered the hatchways. On 1st November at
daylight, they sighted land near the Derwent river in Van Diemen's
Land and by Sunday 3rd November they were off the coast near Jervis
Bay. After Sunday sermons had been delivered the surgeon advised the
prisoners to future good behaviour and promised to pardon all of the
offences committed on board.
They anchored at Port Jackson
7 November 1821, the same day the Royal George commanded
Captain Powditch arrived in Sydney Cove with the new Governor
Sir Thomas Brisbane.
Governor Macquarie had departed on 1st November
for a tour of inspection to Newcastle and Port Macquarie and so was
not on hand to address the prisoners as he often did. Lieut-Governor
Erskine inspected the men instead.
There were no deaths on the
voyage and one hundred and eighty prisoners and guard were landed on
10 November 1821, all in good health.
Select here to find out more about the disembarkation of
The Surgeon reported to the
Lieutenant Governor the incident of 18 August, the guards' good behaviour since, his promise to the prisoners to not forward any
complaints against them and the fortunate recovery of the wounded
men. His intention of prosecuting Leary was put aside on the
prospect of gaining some indulgence for the wounded men and other
Notes & Links:
1). One of the
seamen Benjamin Adams was discharged from the vessel on arrival.
Daniel McNamara's Medical Journal - UK National Archives
3). Daniel McNamara was also surgeon on the convict ships
4). The John Barry was advertising to depart for
England in December 1821. Mr. John Slight First Officer; Mr. John
Foster, Second Officer; and Mr. Vinnis, Third Officer to leave on
Hunter Valley convicts / passengers arriving on the John Barry in
Heroes - by John Pilger
Return of Convicts of the John Barry assigned between 1st
January 1832 and 31st March 1832 (Sydney Gazette 14 June 1832).....
|William Crawford -
||Errand boy assigned to James
Woodward at Brisbane Water