Free Settler or Felon
Convict and Colonial History

Convict Ship Nautilus - 1840

Embarked: 200 men
Voyage: 145 days
Deaths: 1
Surgeon's Journal: Yes
Previous vessel: Middlesex arrived 25 January 1840
Next vessel: Woodbridge arrived 26 February 1840
Captain Henry F. Alloway
Surgeon George McClure
Follow the Irish Convict Ship Trail
Nautilus convicts/ passengers identified in the Hunter Valley


The Nautilus departed Dublin on 17th September 1839.

Military Guard

Passengers included Lieut. Mirran 96th regt., Ensign Lake 28th regiment, 28 rank and file of the 28th and 96th regiment, seven women four children and four free settlers.

Surgeon George McClure

George McClure kept a medical journal from 4 September 1839 to 15 March 1840 -

All of the prisoners were in a healthy constitution on embarkation, except one man, Cornelius Cavenagh, who later died. He was debilitated, but in consequence of his age and his entreaties to be allowed to accompany his comrades, the surgeon agreed to take him. Cavenagh was however on the sick list the most of the voyage and at last died when about a hundred miles from Sydney.

Some of the men were treated early on for ophthalmia and Mrs. Bishop, wife of a soldier suffered a miscarriage during the passage and was thereafter treated by the surgeon. There were none on the sick list when the ship arrived in Sydney, nor on the voyage to Norfolk Island. The surgeon thought that there was never a party of convicts landed in a more healthy or sound condition. [2]

Port Jackson

The Nautilus arrived in Port Jackson in February 1840 and departed Port Jackson for Norfolk Island on Saturday 22nd February 1840with 199 convicts.

Norfolk Island

Convicts who arrived on the Woodbridge in February 1840 were also sent to Norfolk Island at the same time as the men of the Nautilus.

Passengers to Norfolk Island included Capt. Alexander Maconnochie and family.

Alexander Maconochie had been appointed superintendent at Norfolk Island and took up his duties in March 1840. Alexander Maconochie was a penal reformer. His notions of penal science rested on the beliefs that cruelty debases both victim and the society inflicting it and that punishment for crime should not be vindictive but designed to strengthen a prisoner's desire and capacity to observe social constraints.[1]

Notes and Links

1). Report on Convict Discipline and Management by Alexander Maconochie (Laid before Parliament in 1838)

2). Conditions on Norfolk Island under Maconochie's management

3). George McClure was also employed as surgeon on the Westmoreland in 1838.

4). Nautilus convicts/ passengers identified in the Hunter Valley

5). Convict ships bringing detachments of the 96th regiment to New South Wales included the Woodbridge, Barossa, Nautilus, Augusta Jessie, Maitland, Pekoe and Eden

6). Convict Ships to Norfolk Island


[1] Australian Dictionary of Biography Online - Alexander Maconochie

[2] Charles, Library of Australian History (1983). The convict ships, 1787-1868 (Australian ed). Library of Australian History, Sydney, pp.356-357 372-373

[3] Journal of George McClure. UK, Royal Navy Medical Journals, 1817-1857 Original data: The National Archives. Kew, Richmond, Surrey.