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Convict Ship Larkins 1829

Embarked: 200 men
Voyage: 128 days
Deaths 3
Surgeon's Journal: Yes
Tons 647
Previous vessel: Sarah arrived 7 December 1829
Next vessel: Asia arrived 13 January 1830
Master William Campbell
Surgeon Superintendent Oliver Sproule
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The Larkins was built in Calcutta in 1808. Convicts were previously transported to New South Wales on the Larkins in 1817.

It was reported early in July 1829 that a detachment belonging to the 63rd Regiment of Foot marched on the 4th July from Chatham to Deptford, for the purpose of embarking as a guard on the Larkins. (This was a distance of approximately 25 miles/ 40 km).  The Guard consisted of 29 men of the 63rd, five women and eight children under command of Captain Mahon. Select here to find convicts ships bringing detachments of the 63rd regiment.

The Larkins departed London for Cork on 6th July 1829 where two hundred prisoners were embarked; one man, John Nowlan was re-landed while still in Cork.


The Larkins departed Cork on 16 August 1829.


Oliver Sproule described the voyage in his Journal -

We were generally speaking healthy on board the Larkins during her voyage to New South Wales consequently I have but few remarks to offer. To this healthy state of the ship I attribute the mild weather which we experienced off the Cape. The thermometer seldom ranging below 60 at noon, and also to the particular attention which was paid at all times to the comfort and cleanliness of the convicts both in their berths and in their persons besides having them all on deck when the weather permitted, by which means the air of the prison was always pure and sweet when they were sent below.

Besides the cases given in my journal there were 178 others who received medical assistance and medicine during the voyage, but whose cases were of such a trifling nature that were I to insert them they would not only be tedious but irksome to the reader. One case of scurvy however, appeared about ten days previous to our arrival at Sydney, the symptoms of which were spongy gums and enlargement of the left knee accompanied with a considerable degree of rigidity of the muscles and tendons and a livid discolouration of the skin. Suffice it to say that fresh diet, an extra allowance of lime juice and a little bark and wine administered daily kept the disease in check the five days we were in harbour, so far as to walk to Barracks the day the convicts were disembarked.

The following men were treated by Oliver Sproule:

William Fuller, aged 20, ordinary seaman, taken ill at Cove of Cork;

Edward Rohan, aged 16, obstruction and dropsy; Put on sick list 9 September 1829, died 4 October 1829

Alexander Laing, aged 22, convict;

William Condon, aged 35, convict;

Sergeant Joyce, 63rd Regiment;

John Dowde, aged 50;

James Bowcock, aged 24, convict;

Patrick McGarry, aged 22, convict; Put on sick list 14 December 1829, died 17 December 1829 at 9 pm. In this case there was inflammation of the brain or its meninges it must have been of a most insidious nature as there was not one of those symptoms present.

James McKenna, aged 32, private; thrown by a gale of wind against one of the gun carriages; Put on sick list 19 December 1829, discharged 28 December 1829 to barracks.

John Charters, aged 30, convict; severely scalded on the left leg; Put on sick list 19 December 1829, discharged 31 December 1829 to prisoner barracks.[3]


The Larkins arrived in Port Jackson on 12 December 1829. Three men had died on the passage out.


The prisoners were mustered on board by the Colonial Secretary Alexander McLeay on Thursday 24th December 1829. The indents include name, age, education, religion, family, marital status, native place, trade, offence, when and where tried, sentence, prior convictions, physical description and when and where assigned on arrival. There is also occasional information about deaths, pardons and prior sentences. There were seven prisoners under seventeen years of age. The youngest prisoner was James Young who was fourteen years old.

They were disembarked a week later on Thursday 31st December 1829. A number were assigned privately and the rest were assigned to government service.


1). Nineteen year old James (Michael) Oates, a prisoner for life from Co. Roscommon was one of the convicts of the Larkins assigned to private service on arrival. Nine years later he was assigned to Thomas Simpson Hall at the Namoi and was known as 'Jemmy' Oates or 'Hall's Jemmy'. He was involved in one of the most infamous incidents of the times - the Myall Creek Massacre. He was executed for his crimes with several other perpetrators at Darlinghurst prison on 18th December 1838.  

2). Oliver Sproule was also employed as surgeon on the convict ships Borneo in 1828 (VDL), Jane in 1831 and the Lady Nugent in 1835.  

3). National Archives UK - Principal Managing Owner: Joseph Somes. Voyages: (a) 1826/7 China and Quebec. Capt William Campbell. Portsmouth 29 Jun 1827 - 25 Oct Caipang Bay - 30 Dec Whampoa - 7 Feb 1828 Second Bar - 22 Apr St Helena - 19 Jun Quebec -. (b) 1828/9 New South Wales and China. Capt William Campbell. Cork 16 Aug 1829 - New South Wales - 20 Mar 1830 Whampoa - 16 Apr Second Bar - 28 Jul St Helena - 16 Sep Downs. (c) 1830/1 Tasmania and China. Capt William Campbell. Downs 19 Jun 1831 - Tasmania - 29 Jan 1832 Whampoa - 4 Mar Second Bar - 5 Jun St Helena - 27 Jul Downs. (d) 1832/3 Madras, Bengal and China. Capt William Campbell. Downs 21 Mar 1833 - 6 Jul Calcutta - 29 Aug Kedgeree - 8 Nov Whampoa - 10 Jan 1834 Second Bar - 18 Mar St Helena - 17 May Downs.  

4) Prisoners and passengers of the Larkins identified in the Hunter Valley.    

5). Return of Convicts of the Larkins assigned between 1st January 1832 and 31st March 1832 (Sydney Gazette 14 June 1832; 28 June 1832; 5 July 1832).....

John Barnable - Indoor servant assigned to Robert Smith at Goulburn Plains
John Clanvane - Labourer assigned to Matthew Chapman at Hunter's River
James Herbert - Bagpiper assigned to Peter Howell at Sydney
William Kelly - Indoor servant assigned to Henry Donnison at Sydney
Thomas Leary - Mason. Assigned to Terence Murray at Erskine Park
Matthew Murphy - Labourer assigned to Edward Fegan in Sydney
Daniel O'Hara - Ploughman assigned to William Dun at Patersons Plains

6). Ships bringing detachments of the 63rd regiment -

Albion departed Sheerness 1 June 1828 - Lieutenant M. Vickery

Eliza departed London 29 June 1828 - Major Sholto Douglas

Marquis of Hastings departed 30 June 1828 - Ensign Stulbmer

Royal George departed Spithead 26 August 1828 - Captain J. Briggs

Vittora departed Devonport1 September 1828 - Lieutenant Aubyn

Governor Ready departed Cork 21 September 1828 - Lieutenant J. Gibbons Lane

Ferguson departed Dublin 16 November 1828 - Captain D'Arcy Wentworth

Mellish departed Falmouth 2 January 1829 - Captain Baylee

Lord Melville departed London 5 January 1829 - Lieut-Col. Burke

Waterloo departed London 14 March 1829 - Lieutenant T. Grove

America departed Woolwich 8 April 1829 - Adjutant T. Montgomery

Norfolk departed Spithead 22 May 1829 - Ensign W.J. Darling

Guildford departed Dublin 12 July 1829 - Lieut McLean 89th

Larkins departed Cork 16 August 1829 - Captain Mahon

Claudine departed London 24 August 1829 - Captain Paterson

Sarah departed London 29 August 1829 - Lieutenant Croly

Dunvegan Castle departed 30 September 1829 - Lieutenant John Gray

Katherine Stewart Forbes departed Spithead 14 October 1829 - Major Fairtclough


1. UK, Royal Navy Medical Journals, 1817-1857. Medical Journal of Oliver Sproule on the voyage of the Larkins in 1829. The National Archives. Kew, Richmond, Surrey.

2. Bateson, Charles, Library of Australian History (1983). The convict ships, 1787-1868 (Australian ed). Library of Australian History, Sydney : pp.348-349, 386

3. National Archives - Reference: ADM 101/42/4 Description: Medical journal of the Larkins, convict ship from 19 June to 31 December 1829 by Oliver Sproule, surgeon and superintendent in which daily latitude and longitude readings are also recorded.