The Mary Ann
was the next convict ship to leave England bound for New South
Wales after the departure of the
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.
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)
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
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
Jago, where she remained ten days...........
account tells of the disappointment felt by all when it was
found that the Mary Ann had brought no news from
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
Notes and Links:
1). Read convict
Letter published in The Times in October 1791 which gives an
account of this voyage.