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Convict Ship
Mary Anne 1791

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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

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Embarked: 150 women
Voyage: 143 days
Deaths 9
Surgeon's Journal: no
Previous vessel: Scarborough arrived 28 June 1790
Next vessel: Gorgon arrived 21 September 1791
Captain Mark Munroe
Follow the Female Convict Ship Trail

The Mary Ann was the next convict ship to leave England bound for New South Wales after the departure of the Surprize, Neptune and Scarborough. The Times reported in February 1791 that on the morning of the 14th February female felons in Newgate preceded by Mr. Akerman, the gaoler, were put on board lighters to convey them to the transports at Woolwich. (2)

The Mary Ann departed England on 16 February 1791 with one hundred and fifty women. This brought the total of female prisoners embarked in England to 650 women.

The Mary Ann was considered one of the vessels of the Third Fleet.    The following list of transport vessels provided by Messrs. Camden, Calvert and King contractors for the Commissioners of the Navy for the conveyance of convicts to New South Wales (1)

Vessel's Name No. of Convicts embarked on each
  Males Females Total
Queen 175 25 200
Atlantic 220 - 220
William and Ann 188 - 188
Britannia 152 - 152
Matilda 230 - 230
Salamander 160 - 160
Albermarle 275 - 275
Mary Anne - 150 150
Admiral Barrington 300 - 300
Active 175 - 175
Gorgon 31 - 31

One of the prisoners on the Mary Ann was a young mother of three by the name of Mary Talbot. She had previously been put on board the Lady Juliana but managed to escape before the vessel sailed. She was re-captured and tried at the Old Bailey. She received a sentence of Death with recommendation for mercy. After finding that she was with child, her sentence was stayed and she remained in Newgate prison. In December 1790 the London Times reported that she was on the list of capitally convicted prisoners who had received His Majesty's pardon on condition of being transported to New South Wales for their natural lives; except for Mary Talbot, who said she had rather die, as she had three infants, and it was that which made her return from transportation. The Recorder pointed out the fatal consequences in vain; she persisted in dying, and was taken from the bar in convulsions. Despite her protestations, she was embarked on the Mary Ann for transportation to New South Wales.

Read Mary Talbot's Letter published in The Times in October 1791 which gives an account of the voyage of the Mary Anne.

The Mary Ann arrived at Sydney Cove on 9 July 1791 with 141 female convicts and six children, almost all in good health. She brought stores and nine months provisions for the women.......


The Mary Ann had been only four months and sixteen days from England; and had touched at the island of St. Jago, where she remained ten days...........  


Watkin Tench's account tells of the disappointment felt by all when it was found that the Mary Ann had brought no news from home..........

The convicts were brought out by contract at a specific sum for each person. But to demonstrate the effect of humanity and justice, of one hundred and forty-four female convicts embarked on board, only three had died; and the rest were landed in perfect health, all loud in praise of their conductor. The master's name was Munro; and his ship after fulfilling her engagement with government, was bound on the southern fishery. If however the good people of this ship delighted us with their benevolence, here gratification ended. I was of a party who had rowed in a boat six miles out to sea, beyond the harbour's mouth, to meet them; and what was our disappointment on getting aboard, to find that they had not brought a letter (a few official ones for the governor excepted) to any person in the colony! Nor had they a single newspaper or magazine in their possession ; nor could they conceive that any person's wished to hear news; being as ignorant of everything which had passed in Europe for the last two years as ourselves, at the distance of half the circle. "No war' the fleet's dismantled" was the whole that we could learn........"For heaven's sake, why did you not bring out a bundle of newspapers; you might have procured a file at any coffee house; which would have amused you and instructed us?" "Why, really, I never thought about the matter, until we were off the Cape of Good Hope when we spoke a man of war, who asked us the same question and then I wished I had". To have prosecuted inquiry farther would have only served to increase disappointment and chagrin. We therefore quitted the ship, wondering and lamenting that so large a portion of plain undisguised honesty should be so totally unconnected with a common share of intelligence and acquaintance with the feelings and habits of other men. (3)

The women were landed from the Mary Ann on 11th July 1791....

In August the Mary Anne received the Matilda's cargo with 99 male convicts, and sailed for Norfolk Island having on board 133 male convicts, one female convict and two children.

Notes and Links:

1). Read convict Mary Talbot's Letter published in The Times in October 1791 which gives an account of this voyage.

2). Governor Philip's correspondence to Lord Grenville regarding the arrival of convicts of the Third Fleet dated November 1791

3). Mary O'Brien arrived on the Mary Ann 1791


1. Historical Records of Australia, Vol.1, p225

2. "News in Brief." Times [London, England] 15 Feb. 1791:

3. The Times Digital Archive. Web. 7 Mar. 2013.

4. A Complete Account of the settlement at Port Jackson - Watkin Tench




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