Find out more about your convict or settler ancestor at Free Settler or Felon

Home Convict Ships by Year     Convict Ship Index     Conditions on Convict Ships     Convict Ship Surgeons    Sources

Search Free Settler or Felon Database to find your Hunter Valley ancestor
Links to Convict Ships arriving in New South Wales, Norfolk Island and Van Diemen's Land
Convict Ship Nithsdale 1830

Embarked: 184 men
Voyage: 131 days
Deaths: 1
Surgeon's Journal: yes
Tons: 414
Crew: 32 men
Previous vessel: Mermaid arrived 6 May 1830
Next vessel: Roslin Castle arrived 29 June 1830
Captain Thomas Christian
Surgeon Superintendent Robert Malcolm

Prisoners to be transported on the Nithsdale came from counties throughout England and Scotland. After being transferred from county gaols and Newgate, they were held on prison hulks to await transportation. On the 9th December 1829, sixty male convicts were received from the Justitia and Ganymede hulks at Woolwich, and on the 18th, sixty four were received from the Retribution at Sheerness. On the 19th another sixty were received from the Dolphin at Chatham, making a total of 184 men.


At Sheerness on 1st January 1830, the Nithsdale weighed anchor and made for Deal under a N.W. wind. They reached Deal on the 3rd January and departed from there soon afterwards.


This was Robert Malcolm's second voyage as surgeon superintendent of a convict ship. He kept a Medical Journal from 9 November 1829 to 21 May 1830.

All the prisoners were examined by Robert Malcolm previous to their embarkation and found to be in a healthy state. During the voyage almost everyone experienced an attack of diarrhoea, in some cases very severe. Other illnesses included ophthalmia, fever and apoplexy. However mostly the prisoners remained healthy, one only dying of apoplexy. This was John Bostick.

Robert Malcolm was proud of the achievement of bringing a healthy ship into port....... Some fifty years ago it would scarcely have been credited that a vessel some hundred tons burthen with two hundred and fifty persons on board would ever be able to perform a voyage of 132 days duration and to disembark the persons in a state of perfect health at its conclusion without the loss of more than one man. (1)

The Guard was commanded by Captain Robert Moffatt of the 17th Regiment and Ensign Tobin.  The Guard consisted of a total of 29 commissioned officers and privates of the 17th regiment together with four women and three children.  Members of the 17th regt., mentioned in the surgeon's journal included Dennis Leary, John Keating, Benjamin Cooper, Dennis Kelly, Thomas Wall, Jonathon Bean, Thomas Carr, William Smith, John Pigot, Michael Whalen, Lawrence Fleming, William Pender, Thomas Horne. According to the surgeon the wife of Thomas Horne suffered a miscarriage on 28th December while still at Sheerness. She was three months advanced in pregnancy and had undergone much fatigue in nursing the Captain of the Guard's child to which she ascribed her affliction. 

Select here to find convict ships bringing detachments of the 17th regiment.


Mrs. Moffatt, wife of Captain Robert Moffatt and Miss Singer, a friend of Mrs. Moffatt came as passengers.

George Whittle, wife and child came as free passengers.


The Nithsdale arrived in Port Jackson on 12 May 1830.


The prisoners were mustered by Colonial Secretary Alexander McLeay on 15th May 1830 and were landed on Friday 21st May.

The indents include name, age, education, religion, marital status, family, native place, trade, offence, when and where tried, sentence, prior convictions, physical description and where assigned on arrival. There are also occasional details re pardons deaths and colonial crimes  - e.g. Hugh Bagley was serving a second sentence having previously been sent on the Minerva in 1821 as Hugh Farrell; Thomas Boulton was sent to Cockatoo Island for disobedience; and Thomas Creamer died in Newcastle Hospital on 31 October 1838.


The majority of convicts were assigned to private service. Some were assigned to the Australian Agricultural Company at Port Stephens.  Select here to find where some of the men sent to the Hunter Valley were assigned.

The youngest prisoner was Joseph Brammer age 15, who was sent to the Carter's Barracks on arrival.


1). Select here to read about a Court case in Sydney involving Captain Thomas Christian and the ship's steward who was making a claim for unpaid wages  - Sydney Gazette 12 June 1830

2). Select here to find out about bushranger Andrew Hamilton who arrived on the Nithsdale

3). Convict Robert Sutherland 's sister Isabella arrived on the Numa in 1834.

4). Convicts and passengers of the Nithsdale identified in the Hunter Valley

5). Punishment of Thomas Greenwood.......
Return of Corporal Punishments inflicted by Sentence of the Bench of Magistrates at Maitland, from the 1st to the 30th September 1833, in the presence of P.N.Anley, Resident Magistrate......Thomas Greenwood, Nithsdale, disobedience of orders and absenting, 50 lashes. Appeared much cut.

6). Return of Convicts of the Nithsdale assigned between 1st January 1832 and 31st March 1832 (Sydney Gazette 14 June 1832; 21 June 1832; 28 June 1832; 5 July 1832).....

Robert Cowin - Shingler assigned to David Reid at Argyle
Thomas Greenwood - Wool sorter assigned to Robert Futter at Argyle
William Hancock - Bricklayer assigned to James Blackett at Ultimo
William Jones - Blacksmith assigned to William Dumaresq at Hunters River
William Johnson - Sailor assigned to Andrew McDougall at Patrick Plains
John Maberly - Carpenter assigned to Henry Donnison in Sydney
William Miller - Blacksmith assigned to Judge Dowling in Sydney
William Miller - Blacksmith assigned to Thomas Bartie at Williams River
Hugh McCowen - Blacksmith assigned to S. North at Windsor
William Parker - Stonemason assigned to James Adair at Patterson's Plains
Daniel Stewart - Slater and builder assigned to Sydney Stephen at Sydney

7).Convict Ships bringing detachments of the 17th regiment........

Dunvegan Castle departed Sheerness 30 September 1829 - Lieut. John Grey
Katherine Stewart Forbes departed Spithead 14 October 1829 - Major Fairtclough 63rd regt.,
Mermaid departed Sheerness 5 December 1829 - Lieutenant Isaac Blackburn
Forth 1 departed Cork 1 January 1830 - Captain James Oliphant Clunie
Nithsdale departed Sheerness 1 January 1830 - Captain Robert G. Moffatt
Lady Feversham departed Portsmouth 8 April 1830 - Lieutenant Harvey 29th regt.,
Marquis of Huntley departed Sheerness 9 April 1830 Lieutenant Watson 20th regt.,
Adrian departed Portsmouth 27 April 1830 - Ensign Reynolds
Lord Melville departed the Downs 6 June 1830 - Lieutenant Robert Graham
Hercules departed Dublin 3 July 1830 - Major J.W. Bouverie
Royal Admiral departed Portsmouth 5 July 1830 - Captain John Church
Burrell departed Plymouth 27 July 1830 - Captain John Alexander Edwards
Andromeda departed Cork 28 August 1830 - Captain Charles Forbes
York departed Sheerness 4 September 1830 - Lieut-Col. Henry Despard
Edward departed Cork 17 October 1830 - Captain Deeds
Eliza II departed Cork 10 May 1832 - Lieutenant Hewson 4th regiment

8). National Archives - Reference: ADM 101/56/8 Description: Medical journal of the Nithsdale, convict ship from 9 November 1829 to 21 May 1830 by Robert Malcolm, surgeon and superintendent, during which time the said ship was employed in conveying convicts to New South Wales


[1] UK, Royal Navy Medical Journals, 1817-1857 . Medical Journal of Robert Malcolm on the voyage of the Nithsdale in 1830. The National Archives. Kew, Richmond, Surrey.

[2] Bateson, Charles, Library of Australian History (1983). The convict ships, 1787-1868 (Australian ed). Library of Australian History, Sydney : pp.348-349, 386

[3] New South Wales, Australia, Convict Indents, 1788-1842 Original data: Bound manuscript indents, 17881842. NRS 12188, microfiche 614619,626657, 660695. State Records Authority of New South Wales, Kingswood, New South Wales, Australia.