|Embarked: 173 men
(one man re-landed)
Voyage: 128 days
Previous vessel: Mangles arrived 27 October 1824
Ann and Amelia arrived 2 January 1825
was built at Lancaster in 1804.
This was the last of four
voyages bringing convicts to New South Wales, the others being in
The prisoners of the Minerva had been
convicted in England and Scotland. Many were held on Hulks for
months while awaiting transportation. In January 1825 John Henry
Capper, Superintendent of ships made the following report regarding
the employment of convicts on the hulks in the previous
The Minerva was the next convict ship to leave
England after the departure of the
Minerva sailed from
London on 14 July 1824 with one hundred and seventy two convicts,
one having been re-landed before sailing.
The guard consisted of
Major Tobias Kirkwood, Quarter Master Francis Hales and 43 men of
the 40th regiment. Passengers Mrs. Hales and three children and Mrs.
Bell. In July 1825 Major Tobias Kirkwood commanded a detachment of
the 40th ordered to relieve the 3rd (Buffs) in Hobart. He was
promoted to Lieut-Colonel in 1828. On this voyage of the Minerva he
kept a Private Journal from his Embarkation at Deptford, on the 22nd
of June, 1824. The journal breaks off at Capetown on 23 September
1824. There are also 23 letters from Major Kirkwood to his wife
written from Sydney dated 1-23 January 1825. (2)
bringing detachments of the 40th regiment included the
Regent, Isabella Asia,
of Harcourt, Mangles,
Ann & Amelia and
This was Alexander Nisbet's
first appointment to a convict ship. He kept a Medical Journal from
21 June to 20 November 1824.........
|The earlier part of our passage
in the channel was rough and stormy and there was plenty of sea
sickness, the usual attendant on all commencing voyages, but without
any immediate bad effect on the health of our freight. Psora,
however appeared to a considerable extent and gave a good deal of
trouble before it could be finally subdued. We at last succeeded by
carefully separating the infected and preventing the use of their
clothes and blankets until after washing and fumigating them.
experienced bad weather making it impossible to keep the prison
adequately ventilated and scurvy began to affect the men. They were
compelled to stop at the Cape of Good Hope to replenish supplies and
remained there about three weeks while the doctor obtained
everything he could to restore the prisoners' health.
Extract of a
letter from the Cape of Good Hope, dated the 1st October: "Poor
Edwards, who has been condemned to seven years' transportation for a
supposed libel, without proof by witnesses of any sort, was sent to
Robin Island, a place where convicts are usually sent to. The
Minerva convict ship touched lately at Simon's Bay, on her way to
New South Wales, on which Edwards was brought to Simon's Bay to be
put on board. Shortly after his arrival, he, in despair, cut his
throat, but being interrupted in the act he did not accomplish his
When they departed from the Cape on 1st October 1824
William Edwards sailed with them.
Select here to find out more about William
Edwards (alias Alexander Lookaye) who was first sent to Australia as
a convict on the Atlas in 1819.
A great number of prisoners had been
unwell on this voyage and at the end of the voyage the surgeon
contemplated what may have caused this
|- I suspect that it lay in
the ship herself, she having taken out her convicts unhealthy for
the two previous voyages, sending each time a great number of men to
hospital, this suspicion is confirmed in some measure by the
decision of a board of Survey held on her at Sydney who judged it to
be improper from evidence laid before them to send troops in her to
India. I tried to remove whatever might be the cause of diseases by
the most unremitting attention and supporting their spirits by every
indulgence in my power. By attention to cleanliness and encouraging
amusements, having provided myself with musical instruments there
were occasional dances of an evening in which all took great
The ship had a narrow escape from disaster on 14th
Hobart Town Gazette reported the
incident.....Important to Navigators.-Captain Bell, Commander of the
Minerva, has favoured us with an account of an important discovery
of a rock he fell in with on his passage hither we give the account
in Captain Bell's own words : " I send you the particulars of a
dangerous rock, immediately in the fairway for pas- sing through
Bass's Straits, to the southward of King's Island, and which is not
placed in Flinders' charts, or the French charts of Captain
Freycinet.-The Minerva on her last passage narrowly escaped getting
upon it, on the 14th November, at one p.m. running at the rate of
nine miles per hour ; Reid's Rocks just seen from the deck ; bearing
north six miles. The Black Pyramid E.S.E. A heavy breaker was seen
to rise not more than one half mile distant from us, and which we
passed between ; and Reid's Rocks at not more than three cable
lengths; although there was a considerable swell at the time, it did
not break oftener than three or four minutes space. Our latitude at
the time,40°26" south, by an indifferent observation. Should you
have room for insertion of the position of this danger, in your
Paper, it will be useful for those passing that way."
was held by the Colonial Secretary Frederick Goulburn on the 22nd
November 1824. The prisoners appeared in good health and declared
themselves well treated and spoke favourably of the Surgeon
Superintendent and Commander.
The indents reveal the name, age,
calling, when and where tried, sentence, native place, physical
description, conduct on the voyage and where assigned on arrival.
There is also some information about colonial crimes and deaths
included. Two prisoners died on the voyage -
William Jessen and
another and sixteen men sent to the hospital in Sydney on arrival.
younger prisoners were assigned to
- James Buckley
17, George Campbell 15, John Carter 15, Charles Chamberlain 16,
Henry Davis 15, Robert Davidson 18, Thomas Harry 17, Edward Johnson
17, William Moore 16, George Sharpley 16 and David Simpson 17. David
Simpson had received a good conduct report from his time on the ship
however at the Carter's Barracks he misbehaved and as punishment was
put to work on the treadmill. His gruesome demise was reported in
The Australian on 13th January... On Friday last a lad aged 18,
named Simpson, a prisoner in the Carters barracks, met his death in
the following dreadful manner: -- While undergoing the punishment of
the tread mill in the forenoon, he dropped some halfpence into the
interior of the wheel — on returning from his dinner, to resume his
work, he made an attempt to re cover his money by thrusting his arm
underneath ; at this moment the men on the opposite side commenced
working the wheel, and his head was drawn in, and crushed to a
mummy. Life was extinct before he could be extricated. The
unfortunate boy had only just arrived in the Colony in the Minerva.
David Simpson wasn't the only Minerva convict to make news. Only a
few months after arrival three of the men - John Lomas, Abraham
Thompson and William Leddington took to the bush. They robbed a cart
on the Richmond Road and were soon pursued by settlers. After a
furious battle two were captured, John Lomas and Abraham Thompson.
William Leddington escaped but was later captured. In 1827
Leddington was one of the pirates who
Seized the brig Wellington on
the voyage to Norfolk Island. He was
executed with five others in
March 1827. Another of the pirates of the Wellington, Henry Drummond
arrived on the Ocean in 1823.
The name of the Chief Mate and some of
the seamen was revealed in the Sydney Gazette, after a court case
took place in January 1825. Two of the sailors J. Wilson and G.
Chapman were tried and found guilty of assaulting the Chief Mate Mr.
Long on the Minerva after a violent altercation about shore leave
and grog. Their dispute had resulted in the whole of the crew
seizing the jolly boat and accompanying their messmates Wilson and
Chapman to gaol in Sydney. Wilson and Chapman were later sentenced
to 1 and 2 months imprisonment.
Early in February Captain John Bell,
was indicted for a misdemeanor, in making use of highly improper and
unbecoming language to John Nicholson, Esq. Harbour master of Port
Jackson, while in the execution of his duty on the 28th of January,
such language having a tendency to excite Mr. Nicholson to a breach
the peace. A survey of the ship Minerva had been ordered by the
Governor which survey not meeting the approbation of Capt. Bell, he
went to M . Nicholson's office, and, in the presence of several
witnesses, used the offensive epithets, stated in the information.
Upon the second count, Capt. Bell was found Guilty. The learned
Attorney General, then informed the Court, on the part of the
prosecutor (Mr. Nicholson), that be should not press for judgment,
and here the transaction ended.
The Minerva sailed for Madras
later in February 1824.
Notes & Links:
Alexander Nisbet was also employed as surgeon on the convict ships
Grenada in 1827,
Hooghley in 1828,
Asia in 1830, Earl Grey in 1838
and the and Mangles in 1840. He was employed as Assistant
Commissioner to the
Australian Agricultural Company in 1830 and was
a survivor on the Royal Charlotte when she was wrecked in 1825.
2). Find about bushranger Thomas Moss who arrived on the Minerva
Hunter Valley convicts/
passengers arriving on the Minerva in 1824
4). Combination - Throwing Vitriol. A. Mackay, P. McConnochie, J. Robertson, W. Walker, and A. Nicholson, tenters,
were tried at the Circuit Court of Justiciary, Glasgow, on 28th
September for assaulting and beating William Kyle, and also for
pouring vitriol on his person, the prisoners being engaged in an
illegal combination for the purpose of preventing Kyle from entering
the service of Mr. Tod at his steam loom factory. The prisoners were
found guilty and sentenced to 14 years transportation. Belfast
Newsletter 3 October 1823 (Alexander Mackay, Peter Mackonnichie,
William Walker & Archibald Nicholson)
5). Return of Convicts of the Minerva assigned
between 1st January 1832 and 31st March 1832 (Sydney Gazette 14 June
1832; 21 June 1832; 28 June 1832).....
||Stonecutter assigned to Robert
Crawford at Prospect
||Boot closer assigned to John Borrus
at Lower Branch
||Carter assigned to
Henry Kiernan at
||Gardener assigned to Charles
Thompson at Clydesdale
||Soldier. Assigned to George Barber
40th Regiment 1821......
(1) Freeman's Journal 7 December 1824
(2). Lambeth Palace Library. Church of England Records
Sydney Gazette 20th January 1825