Free Settler or Felon
Convict and Colonial History

Convict Ship Minorca - 1801

Embarked: 104 men
Voyage: 176 days
Deaths: 5
Surgeon's Journal: no
Tons: 407
Previous vessel: Canada arrived 14 December 1801
Next vessel: Nile arrived 14 December 1801
Master John Leith
Surgeon George Longstaff
Minorca prisoners and passengers identified in the Hunter Valley

The Minorca arrived in Portsmouth 27th May 1801 and departed from Spithead on 21st June in convoy with the Canada and the Nile.[1]

Free Passengers

Free settlers and others sailing on the Minorca included
Matthew Gibbons,
John Driver,
Michael Keney,
William Keney,
Thomas Bolton (Boulton) and son,
Thomas Harley,
Chevalier D'Clambe, vigneron
James Vincent
Richard Longford.

They were accompanied by 11 women and 26 children.

Military Guard

The Military Guard on the Minorca consisted of sixteen men, 1 women and 3 children of the NSW Corps.

James Hardy Vaux

One of Australia's most famous convicts James Hardy Vaux was first transported on the Minorca. He later wrote his Memoirs while serving a sentence at Newcastle Penal settlement:

Extract from the Memoirs of James Hardy Vaux: -

In May 1801, after an almost fatal attack of the gaol fever, his father, mother, and sisters took a final leave of him, and he was removed to Gravesend, and put on board the Minorca transport, which lay there with the Canada and Nile bound to Port Jackson. We dare say it will be new to the majority of our readers to learn how persons in this situation are treated ; and as the subject has just been raised in the House of Commons, it acquires greater importance...........

'Having entered the ship, we were all indiscriminately stripped (according to indispensable custom,) and were saluted with several buckets of salt-water, thrown over our heads by a boatswain's-mate. After undergoing this watery ordeal, we were compelled to put on a suit of slop-clothing. Our own apparel, though good in kind, being thrown overboard. We were then double-ironed, and put between -decks, where we selected such births, for sleeping, etc. as each thought most eligible.

The next day, we received on board forty-six more prisoners from the Hulks at Woolwich, and the Canada fifty. The Nile also took on board one hundred women, from the different gaols in Great Britain. The three ships then sailed for Spithead where, on our arrival, the Minorca and Canada had their numbers augmented, from the Hulks at Portsmouth, to one hundred men each. Every thing being now in readiness, we only waited for the convoy to assemble, with which we were to proceed to a certain latitude.

Port Jackson

The Minorca sailed via Rio de Janeiro and arrived at Port Jackson on 14 December 1801 with 99 male convicts, five having died on the voyage.

In correspondence back to England in February 1802, Governor King wrote of the arrival of the Minorca -

Sir I have the honor to acquaint you of the arrival of the Canada, Minorca and Nile, with the persons and provisions stated in the enclosed account. The passengers were all in good health, and the convicts the healthiest and best conditioned that ever arrived here, being all fit for immediate labour [2]

Departure from Port Jackson

The Minorca departed Port Jackson bound for China in February 1802.

Prisoners of the Minorca identified in the Hunter region:

Calvert, James
Surrey Gaol Delivery 11 August 1800. Sentenced to 14 years transportation. In July 1803 he was sentenced to 300 lashes for 'running away from the colony' having been apprehended at Hunter River with five other prisoners. They had stolen a boat at Kissing Point. He was sent to Newcastle penal settlement in October 1811 and returned to Sydney in August 1814 his sentence having been remitted

Devine, Owen
Tried at Norfolk Gaol Delivery 4th August 1800 and sentenced to transportation for life. Sent to Newcastle penal settlement in September 1811. Returned to Sydney his time expired in February 1812. In 1818 he was being paid for lime for government use and was granted a parcel of land at Lower Branch, Hawkesbury River. He died at Sentry Box Rach, Lower Branch in 1824... Inquest on the body of Owen Devine, a settler who died suddenly in his boat on his way to Sydney after suffering a violent pain near his heart. The deceased had been 23 years in the Colony and was generally esteemed a very persevering, industrious and honest character. Interred on his own farm immediately after the verdict of 'died in a natural way'

Paul, George
Tried at Chelmsford, Essex Gaol Delivery 5 March 1800. Sentenced to 7 years transportation. Sent to Newcastle penal settlement in 1817. He was residing at Wilberforce when his Certificate of Freedom was accidently destroyed in September 1823

Salter, Joseph
Age 18. Tried at London 5 December 1798. Sentenced to 7 years transportation. Sent to Newcastle in December 1818. In December 1821Sentenced to 50 lashes for having in his possession store pork for which he could not account In July 1824 while in the service of government was charged with drunkenness and riotous conduct. William Douglas, overseer of the prisoners barracks, states, Salter is baker at the barracks. Last night a Bell ringing he was absent. I went in search of him and found him at a house drinking. I brought him to the barracks where he behaved so riotously I was obliged to give him in charge to the Chief Constable. Sentenced to 25 lashes

Samuels, Joseph
Joseph Samuels, age 14, Tried at Middlesex 20 May 1795. indicted for feloniously stealing, on the 10th of May , a dimity cloak, value 5s. a bed tick, value 20s. a bolster tick, value 5s. two pillow ticks, value 5s. three yards of muslin, value 9s. a pair of callico sleeves, value 1s. two muslin caps, value 2s. a linen table cloth, value 1s. two linen aprons, value 2s. a silk cloak, value 6s. and two silver table spoons, value 15s. the goods of Henry Hodges , in his dwelling house . Found guilty of larceny and sentenced to 7 years transportation. He was sentenced to death for murder at Brickfield Hill in 1803. Three attempts at execution by hanging failed and he was reprieved. In August 1805 he was punished for a robbery at Newcastle. He absconded from the settlement in December 1805. In May 1806 he escaped from Newcastle settlement in a boat with several other prisoners. They were never heard of again

Vaux, James Hardy
Alias Young. Transported to Australia as James Vaux in the Minorca 1801 under sentence of 7 years, returned home and was again transported as James Lowe in the Indian 1810 under sentence of Life. Escaped in the Midas brig to Rio de Janeiro. His former sentence to remain against him. Re-transported for the third time on the Waterloo in 1831

Wooten, Thomas
Tried at Hertfordshire Quarter Sessions 14 July 1800. Sentenced to 7 years transportation. . On 26 January 1821, sent to Newcastle on the Prince Leopold under sentence of 7 years transportation having been tried at the Criminal Court. Occupation bricklayer

Notes and Links

1). Political Prisoners

2). George Lewis and Thomas McCann also arrived on the Minorca having been tried for mutiny in 1797. In 1818 Thomas McCann escaped from the colony however was captured and returned from India on the Greyhound in 1818 and was sent to Hobart.

3). Billy Blue - William Blue arrived on the Minorca. He became a boatman ferrying passengers across Sydney Harbour. Also known as the Commodore. Select here to read the extraordinary life of Billy Blue by Cassandra Pybus.

4). National Archives - Voyages: (1) 1800/1 New South Wales and China. Capt John Leith. Portsmouth 21 Jun 1801 - 29 Aug Rio de Janeiro - 15 Dec Sydney Cove - 28 Apr 1802 Whampoa - 26 May Macao - 5 Aug Amboina - 2 Nov Cape - 1 Dec St Helena - 10 Feb 1803 Downs.

5). Five convict ships arrived in New South Wales in 1801 - Anne, Earl Cornwallis, Canada, Minorca and Nile.

6). More about the Minorca in the Historical Records of Australia, Series 1., Vol. 3


[1]. HR NSW, p.787

[2]. HRA., Series 1, Vol., 3, p. 379