Convict Ship Neptune 1838 (VDL)
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Voyage: 104 days
Surgeon's Journal: yes
|The Neptune departed Sheerness 7
October 1837 and arrived in Hobart 18 January 1838.
The Guard consisted of Ensign Paget, 2 sergeants and 27 soldiers of
the 51st regiment, 8 women and 6 children under Captain Mainwaring
who was accompanied by his wife and 2 children.
Below is an extract from the general remarks of Surgeon Joseph
Steret's medical journal which he kept from 15th September 1837 to
31st January 1838........
|On 10th November we fell in
with the convict ship Waterloo, James Ellis Esq., Surgeon
Superintendent and on the 13th November we crossed the
Equator and by the 30th having had an excellent run we were
in Latitude 31 S, the weather again growing cold, the
thermometer being in three days about 65. On 11th
December we crossed the Meridian of the Cape of Good Hope
and continued running down for the remaining part of
the month. The weather upon the whole favourable till
Christmas Day and the cold generally much more severe to the
sensations than as shown by the thermometer.
as I expected sails very well, much superior to any merchant
vessel I ever was in before, at the same time she rolls very
much before the wind and consequently ships a very
considerable quantity of water in her waist, but she is well
found. On the night preceding Christmas Day it commenced
blowing a heavy gale from the North from which we had hardly
any respite for thirteen days. The wind occasionally
shifting to the Westward. Even where we occasionally had a
day tolerably moderate the gale kicked up such a rattling
that the 'old Neptune' was rolling, tumbling and toiling as
if the boisterous sea and a party of Tritons were playing
football with her.
Nevertheless our fellows got on
tolerably well. They were not able to be much on deck except
a few of the most active but I mustered them every day to
their wine which was now served out daily and kept them
pretty busy below drying up the prison, holy-stoning the
bottom boards of their sleeping berths. They had hardly time
to be sick, it required all their energies. This state of
the weather continued till the sixth January. We had a few
cases of disease and some accidents this month. Two of the
men also had complaints, one with opthalmia and one
rheumatism but generally the diseases had neither novelty
When the weather became moderate the
effects of the damp and confinement below began to appear;
some slight cases of scurvy began to show themselves.
I did not find it necessary to send any one to the
hospital after our arrival; but after the prisoners had been
mustered and the usual police forms had been gone through I
sent two men, neither of whom were in a fit state to be
Notes & Links:
1). Frederick Strange arrived
as a convict on the Neptune. He was born at Nottingham, England.
By trade he was a portrait painter and house painter. On 22 June
1837 he was tried at the Quarter Sessions, Colchester, Essex, for
stealing a watch and sentenced to imprisonment for life. -
Australian Dictionary of Biography
Convict Records - A list of the convicts arriving in Van
Diemen's Land on the Neptune in 1838
3). Joseph Steret was also employed as surgeon on the
Camden in 1833
and the Bardaster
Ancestry.com. UK, Royal Navy Medical Journals, 1817-1857 [database
on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2011.