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Convict Ship Mary Ann 1822

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Embarked: 108 women
Voyage: 146 days
Deaths 1
Surgeon's Journal: yes
Previous vessel: Shipley arrived 11 March 1822
Next vessel: Guildford arrived 15 July 1822
Master Henry Warington
Surgeon James Hall
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The Mary Ann was built at Batavia in 1807.

This was her second voyage bringing female convicts to New South Wales, the other being in 1816.

The Mary Ann was engaged to transport female prisoners from England to New South Wales in 1821. By this time Elizabeth Fry and her fellow workers were not only attending Newgate prison in an effort to ameliorate prisoners' hardships but had also begun to visit convict ships. The Mary Ann was visited by Mrs. Pryor a companion of Mrs. Fry in 1821 ......  

Soon after the ladies first visited these ships, the women ceased to be received on board at Deptford ; but the ships were moored for this purpose in a less frequented part of the river, below Woolwich. The mode in which they were brought on board, long continued to be highly objectionable ; they arrived from the country in small parties, at irregular intervals, having been conveyed on the outside of stage coaches, by smacks, or hoys, or any conveyance that offered, under the care of a turnkey ; often have the ladies, when engaged in their interesting occupation, seen a person of this description come alongside in a wherry with a group of unfortunate creatures under his charge wayworn, and ill, or perhaps a solitary outcast brought upon deck, lamenting her misfortunes in the broad dialect of some far distant county—a small bundle of insufficient clothing being frequently the only preparation for the long voyage before her. In some instances, their children, equally destitute as themselves, accompanied them ; in others, their sufferings were increased by sudden separation from their young infants. Often did Mrs. Pryor and her friend and companion, Lydia Irving, quit these scenes, in which they had passed nearly the whole day, not to return to their homes, but to go to Whitehall, to represent such cases, that the necessary letters should be dispatched without the loss of a post, ordering the restoration of these poor nurslings to their mothers, before the ship should sail. In addition to these evils, the women wero almost invariably more or less ironed, sometimes cruelly so. On board the Mary Ann, in 1822, Mrs. Pryor complained that " the prisoners from Lancaster Castle arrived, not merely handcuffed, but with heavy irons on their legs, which had occasioned considerable swelling, and in one instance, serious inflammation." (1)  

The women described above who arrived from Lancaster Castle may have included Elizabeth Anderson, Jane Bridge, Mary Campbell, Isabella Hammill, Esther Harrocks, Catherine Hilton, Mary Jackson, Margaret Kinchley, Mary Pimblott, Catherine Quinn, Mary Slater, Matilda Taylor, Elizabeth Whalley, Hannah Whiteley, Catherine Wilson and Elizabeth Worrell. Some of these women had been tried at Lancaster Assizes and sentenced to 14 years transportation for uttering forged notes.

On Tuesday 27 November 1821 the Mary Ann was lying at Woolwich when prisoner Elizabeth Montague from Oxford, under sentence of transportation for 14 years was embarked.

The Mary Ann was the next convict ship to leave England for New South Wales after the departure of the Shipley in November 1821 and the next convict ship to bring female convicts from England after the Providence. The Mary Ann departed Portsmouth on 25 December 1821.

James Hall kept a Medical Journal from 27 October 1821 to 25 May 1822........

I observed many complicated ailments among the women and was often perplexed in endeavouring to give them a name and more so in devising a rational principle of cure. Often times I have been alarmed by symptoms which seemed to denote sudden danger to life; and they were not simple fits of hysteria, but commotions in the nervous system originating in a reciprocal action as it seemed of the uterine system and mind, from ideal or mechanical causes. I found very few females menstruate regularly and learned that the uterine secretion generally ceases whilst the female convicts lie in Newgate, and in other jails, hence from the suppression of this periodical secretion arise many disturbances in the female system. Another cause of disturbances is obstipatio, on some occasions I have had between one and two dozen women in one day complaining of this ailment and in investigating the case I have been surprised by discovering that no evacuations had been made for the space of two weeks. In all such cases reason dictated the use of emollient enemata, but the genuine delicacy of the English female forbad their use, and only in two instances could I persuade those degraded women to submit to its employment.

The case of death that occurred was one that might have been expected so to terminate as the woman had not menstruated for several years and had long laboured under chronic visceral diseases. The immediate cause of death seemed to be a cancerous affection of the stomach.

On the whole I must observe that the women and children enjoyed a high state of health during the voyage owing to a rigid system of cleanliness and good discipline having been maintained.

The Mary Ann arrived in Port Jackson on 20 May 1822 having sailed via Rio de Janeiro and Van Diemen's Land.  Forty five women were landed at VDL and 62 were sent to Sydney.

On arrival in Hobart seven seamen of the Mary Ann were disembarked and incarcerated for mutinous conduct and neglect of duty. The seven men - John Anderson, Henry Linzer, Thomas Dale, Alexander Frazer, John McMurtry, John Price and George Boyce were all later sent to Sydney on the Richmond. Captain Warington made several attempts to have them dealt with particularly George Boyce who attempted to strike at him. They were later discharged from duty.

All prisoners were disembarked on 23 May 1822 in Sydney in good health  -


Notes & Links:

1). Hunter Valley convicts / passengers arriving on the Mary Ann in 1822

2). The Mary Ann departed Sydney bound for Batavia on 25th June 1822. Captain Warington saw the Sandbuy Shoals which were two dry sand banks on 29th July 1822 in a transit bearing NNW and SSE of each other which he made in lat 7° 45'S., long 117° 13 1/4' E by good chronometers. (The India Directory: Or, Directions for Sailing to and from the East Indies ... By James Horsburg)

3). Hunter Valley land owners Captain James Phillips and Dr. Francis Moran arrived as passengers. Sophia Wheeler, wife of convict George Wheeler also came free on the Mary Ann.

4). Select here to read of the more of a dispute between surgeon James Hall and Henry Grattan Douglass over convict girl Ann Rumsby (HRA)  

5). Catherine MacLeod, her daughter Helen and son George arrived as free passengers on the Mary Ann. Catherine was the wife of Gilbert MacLeod who had been transported on the Asia in 1820 for the crime of sedition after becoming involved in the Scottish uprising in 1820.


1). Memoir of the life of Elizabeth Fry: Volume 1 By Elizabeth Gurney Fry, Katharine Fry, Rachel Elizabeth Cresswell  

2). Bateson, Charles & Library of Australian History (1983). The convict ships, 1787-1868 (Australian ed). Library of Australian History, Sydney : pp.344-345, 384

3). National Archives - Reference: ADM 101/52/1 Description: Medical and surgical journal of the female convict ship Mary Ann for 27 October 1821 to 25 May 1822 by James Hall, Surgeon and Superintendent, during which time the said ship was employed in a voyage to New South Wales

4). UK, Royal Navy Medical Journals, 1817-1857 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations, Inc., 2011. Original data: Admiralty and predecessors: Office of the Director General of the Medical Department of the Navy and predecessors: Medical Journals (ADM 101, 804 bundles and volumes). Records of Medical and Prisoner of War Departments. Records of the Admiralty, Naval Forces, Royal Marines, Coastguard, and related bodies. The National Archives. Kew, Richmond, Surrey.




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