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Convict Ship Mellish 1829 


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(Convicts and passengers from this ship only)

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Embarked: 170 men
Voyage: 106 days
Deaths: 0
Surgeon's Journal: yes
Previous vessel: Ferguson arrived 26 March 1829
Next vessel: Edward arrived 26 April 1829 
Captain Arthur Vincent
Surgeon Superintendent Joseph Cook
The Mellish was the next convict ship to leave England for New South Wales after the departure of the Vittoria in September 1828.

At the end of October and the first week of November 1828, thirty soldiers of the 63rd regiment, three women, four children and 170 convicts were embarked on the Mellish on the River Thames.  Passengers included Captain Baylee of the 63rd regiment and T. F. Gilbert of the Commissariat Department.

Select here to find convict ships bringing detachments of the 63rd regiment.

Surgeon Superintendent Joseph Cook kept a Medical Journal between 7 October 1828 and 28 April 1829.  In consequence of westerly winds during November and December the ship was detained at different Ports in the English Channel and having frequent gales, with rain and generally damp weather, the health of the convicts was at first considerably affected by it. The prevailing complaints were dysentery, diarrhea and fever.

The Morning Chronicle reported on an escapee from the Mellish in December 1828.....

A convict named James Hawkins succeeded in escaping from the Mellish on the 8th December. In 1821 Hawkins had been transported for life, and arrived at Sydney in December of that year; he escaped in 1824 and arrived in England in the following year. In 1826, he was apprehended, tried and again sent to New South Wales and again escaped. In October 1827, he was again apprehended in London, tried, and convicted and a third time sentenced to transportation, but contrived to escape from the caravan which was conveying him from Newgate to the Hulks. He was re-taken in August last, and again sentenced to transportation, and sent on board the Retribution hulk. On the 21st of November, he was embarked in the Mellish upon the voyage to Sydney. The Mellish sailed and about dusk on the evening of the 8th, as the vessel was sailing through the Needles, he slipped his irons, and lowering himself from a port hole, cut away the hawser of a small boat, and rowed ashore to the Isle of Wright. The boat and himself were soon missed and an immediate search was made through the Isle of Wright but he was not found. He ascribed his repeated and daring escapes to a doting fondness for his wife. (1)......

Later in the month it was reported that Hawkins had drowned...... The master of the vessel forfeits a thousand pounds for not having taken proper precautions to prevent the flight of the prisoner. (2)

On the 2nd January 1829, the Mellish proceeded on the voyage from Falmouth and on the 10th anchored at Teneriffe.

As the ship came into warmer weather the convicts' health improved. They crossed the Equator on 31st January 1829.

Surgeon Joseph Cook outlined his methods for keeping the prisoners healthy ....In the treatment of the convicts to preserve health, they were daily examined by mustering and were made to wash clothes, twice a week. The 'tween decks were kept as dry as possible by dry holystoning and scraping the deck and airing with the stoves in wet weather. When within the tropics their woollen clothing was taken from them and returned as the ship advanced to the southward and an additional pair of flannel drawers issued.  He recorded in his journal that no deaths of convicts had occurred on the voyage out.

The Mellish arrived in Port Jackson on 18 April and the convicts were disembarked in a healthy state on 28th April 1829

Notes & Links:

1). Joseph Cook was employed as Surgeon Superintendent on the convict ships Phoenix in 1826, Southworth in 1822, Sir Charles Forbes in 1825 (VDL), Louisa  in 1827, Mellish  in 1829, Forth (11) in 1830 and the Portland in 1832.  In all those voyages only four prisoners died under his care.

2). Image of the Mellish in Sydney Harbour 1830 - William John Huggins - State Library of NSW

3). Convict George Bagley was executed at Newcastle in September 1835.

4). Hunter Valley convicts / passengers arriving on the Mellish in 1829

5). William Worthington accompanied Sir Thomas Livingstone Mitchell on his expedition in 1831

6). The Mellish arrived in VDL with convicts on 22nd September 1830

7).  Medical Journal of Joseph Cook on the Mellish - UK National Archives

8).  Return of Convicts of the Mellish assigned between 1st January 1832 and 31st March 1832 (Sydney Gazette 14 June 1832; 21 June 1832).....
Edward Clark Dyer and cotton carder assigned to John McLaren in Sydney
Thomas Connelly Errand boy assigned to Bernard Moran at Airds
William Hornby Waggoner and ploughs. Assigned to William Aird at Parramatta
Elias Jones Quarryman assigned to John Wood at Maitland

9). Convict ships bringing detachments of the 63rd regiment ........

Date/ Place of Departure Vessel Officer of the Guard
3 May 1828 London Countess of Harcourt Lieutenant Christopher Dexter
1 June 1828 Sheerness Albion Lieutenant M. Vickery
29 June 1828 London Eliza Major Sholto Douglas
30 June 1828 London Marquis of Hastings Ensign Stulbmer
26 August 1828 Spithead Royal George Captain J. Briggs
1 September 1828 Devonport Vittoria Lieutenant Aubyn
21 September 1828 Cork Governor Ready Lieutenant J. Gibbons Lane
16 November 1828 Dublin Ferguson Captain D'Arcy Wentworth
2 January 1829 Falmouth Mellish Captain Baylee
5 January 1829 London Lord Melville Lieut-Col. Burke
14 March 1829 London Waterloo Lieutenant T. Grove
8 April 1829 Woolwich America Adjutant T. Montgomery
22 May 1829 Spithead Norfolk Ensign W.J. Darling
12 July 1829 Dublin Guildford Lieut McLean 89th
16 August 1829 Cork Larkins Captain Mahon
24 August 1829 London Claudine Captain Paterson
29 August 1829 London Sarah Lieutenant Croly
30 September 1829 Dunvegan Castle Lieutenant John Gray
14 October 1829 Spithead Katherine Stewart Forbes Major Fairtclough


(1). Morning Chronicle 13 December 1828

(2).  Derby Mercury 31st December 1828.


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