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Convict Ship Princess Royal


Embarked: 100 women
Voyage: 123 days
Deaths 0
Surgeon's Journal - yes
Previous vessel: Lord Melville arrived 3 May 1829
Next vessel: Eliza arrived 20 June 1829
Captain Henry Sherwood
Surgeon Superintendent Andrew Douglas Wilson
Follow the Female Convict Ship Trail
Prisoners and passengers of the Princess Royal identified in the Hunter Valley

The female convicts who were embarked on the Princess Royal late in 1828 came from districts throughout England. They were probably held in county prisons or Newgate prior to being transferred by coach or caravan to the Princess Royal for transportation to New South Wales.


The Lord Melville and the Princess Royal departed England on the 5th and 6th January 1829 respectively. [2]

Surgeon Andrew Douglas Wilson

This was Andrew Douglas Wilson's first voyage as surgeon superintendent on a convict ship. Later he was surgeon the Lady Feversham in 1830 and the Asia in 1832.

On this voyage of the Princess Royal he kept a Medical Journal from 30 September 1828 to 24 May 1829. He became ill at the end of this voyage -

I might properly be deemed guilty of negligence in not forwarding to the Board a fair copy of this journal but I am sure I shall be fairly exonerated from any such charge when I explain that I have in a great measure been confined to my bed ever since leaving Sydney (a period of 12 days) and that I am at this moment a fit patient for one of their Majesty's Hospitals.

At the same time I take leave to remark that few of the cases would appear of much importance, even by selection, although all were of consequence on the spot. The case of epilepsy was attended with some anomalous symptoms and excited anxiety. At last I found out it was caused in that particular convict by her drinking rum to excess which was stolen and given her by some of the sailors. On two or three occasions the fits were really alarming and from their occurrence in the most unaccountable way and at the most unexpected times, I was at a loss what to think of the case. There were appearances of inebriation but no reasonable grounds for such a conclusion, as the attainment of spirits was considered impossible. Ultimately however a sharp look out and a little jealousy among the convicts themselves brought this fact to light. The patient was a heartless woman, gave much trouble and in that was most ungrateful but such are female convicts generally. They expect as a matter of right to be waited upon as ladies and nursed like children, otherwise the surgeon may anticipate being threatened with a complaint against him to Mr. Capper or Governor Darling.

Andrew Wilson became ill again in 1832 when he was employed as surgeon superintendent on the Asia. He attributed his illness to a fall he had on the Princess Royal in which his skull had been damaged. He was so ill on the voyage of the Asia that on arrival in Sydney he had to be hoisted out of the ship in a chair. The disease was mainly in his hip but had since spread to almost every part of his body and confined him to bed.

Cabin Passengers

Passengers arriving on the Princess Royal included Stephen Owen and Mr. Baldy of the Commissariat; G.C. Stapleton of the Surveyor's Department and steerage passenger Tabitha Buckman servant to Mr. Owen.

Stephen Owen published his Memoirs in 1880 in which he makes a brief mention of his voyage and the loss of his first born child on board....

For about two years I was unemployed, seeking the restoration of my health, and during the interval I married Rachel Fletcher of Liverpool, making no mistake as to the object of my affections, but very seriously forgetful of ways and means, for which I have paid the usual penalty. I take to myself the entire blame of this imprudence, as she who became my wife would have been quite willing to wait until proper provision was made for the expense consequent on such an engagement. However, being in for it, I sought employment, and as there was no hope at that time of my enjoying in the atmosphere of London such a state of health as would enable me to attend to business, and the climate of Australia being favourably reported on, I accepted an appointment in the Commissariat of New South Wales, and embarking at Gravesend with wife and infant, 10th November, we reached Sydney and disembarked on 9th of May 1829, just six calendar months on board. Stephen Owen was stationed at
Moreton Bay from 1834 to 1839. His wife Rachel died at Moreton Bay in 1839 and he was left to bring up their four children alone. Contact descendant Gregg Barr for more information. Select here to read Stephen Owen's Memoirs at Trove

Stephen Owen died in October 1880. Read his obituary in The Mercury 16 October 1800

Arrival at Port Jackson

The Princess Royal arrived in Sydney on 9th May 1829 with 100 female prisoners and seven children. There were no deaths of convicts and most of the illnesses were trivial. The children belonged to Margaret Coffin, Margaret Hartigan, Susan King, Sarah Pitches, Margaret Morony, Caroline Thomas and Susannah Watson.

Convict Muster

All the women were mustered on board the vessel on 12th May by the Colonial Secretary Alexander McLeay. The convict indents include name, age, religion, education, marital status, family, native place, offence, date and place of trial, sentence, prior convictions, physical descriptions and to whom assigned on arrival. There is also occasional information regarding deaths, pardons, colonial crimes and relatives already in the colony.

The youngest on board was Ann Storrett who was only 15 years old. Isabella Errington was the oldest at 48 years of age. Their crimes were mostly various forms of stealing. One prisoner, Margaret Hartigan was convicted of manslaughter. About twenty six of the women have been identified residing in the Hunter Valley region in the following years. Select HERE to find out more about these women.

Convicts Disembarked

Parramatta Female FactoryThe Australian commented when the women were disembarked - The Princess Royal has brought a fresh re-inforcement of women to the Colony - On the whole, these are the best sort of cargoes just now if nuptial intercommunication of the sexes was but properly encouraged.

On the 21st May 1829, Andrew D. Wilson reported that all the convicts had been disembarked early that morning. The women were all assigned with the exception of Sarah Piper and Sarah Clarke, who from the bad state of their health were sent to the Factory at Parramatta.

The Crew

In June the Sydney Gazette reported of an unusual circumstance involving the seamen of the Princess Royal ......

A conspiracy of a very dangerous character was entered into by part of the crew of the ship Princess Royal, which conveyed female prisoners to this Colony some time since, but fortunately has been detected and counteracted. Owing, it is supposed, to an understanding between the seamen and the frail fair ones on the voyage, the former formed the resolution, if possible, to remain in this land of promise, at least for some time longer, and in order to attain their object, a plan was concocted according to which it was resolved to abscond, and to represent the ship as not sea worthy. The Commander, deserted thus by nearly his whole crew, at the very moment he was about to proceed on his voyage, and being informed of the report that had been raised respecting his vessel, came to the very proper resolution of calling a Board of Survey, in order that they might report upon her actual condition.

The Board consisted of Captain Lawes, of H.M.A.S. Satellite, the Commander of the Swiftsure, and Mr. Nicholson the Master Attendant, all of whom, after a minute examination, pronounced the ship to be perfectly fit for sea in every respect. A report of the men who had absconded was then made to the Superintendent of Police, by whom apprehending warrants were immediately issued, and the parties brought before the Bench to answer to the charge preferred against them. Being put upon their defence, they still persisted in declaring that the ship's timbers were rotten; one asserted that he would not trust his old shoes in her outside the heads, and another that he was not going to sea in a basket. The Bench, however, warned the defendants of the situation in which they were placed, they being not only liable to be sent to the House of Correction for neglect of duty, but to forfeiture all wages under the ship's articles.

After some little hesitation, the Magistrates' account of the penalties they were incurring by persisting in disobeying the orders of the Captain, seemed to induce them to alter their opinion of the state of the good ship Princess Royal, and they consented to return to their duty on board, where they were directed to be immediately transmitted, after receiving a severe reprimand from the Bench.

Convicts of the Princess Royal identified in the Hunter Valley -

Bunton, Margaret
Margaret Bunton age 19. House maid and nurse from Norfolk. Tried 25 April 1828. Sentenced to 7 years transportation for picking pockets. Assigned to James Norton in Sydney on arrival. Sent to 3 months on the 3rd class Female Factory for being absent without leave in June 1829. Absconded from John Weiss in June 1830. Sent to Sydney Gaol in September 1830. Forwarded to the Hunter River district. Assigned to Benjamin Singleton. Married William Cooper (ship Larkins 1817) at Maitland in December 1830

Cheeseman, Ann
Ann Cheeseman alias Bates age 20. Married, no children. Nursemaid from Manchester. Tried 16 July 1828. Sentenced to 14 years transportation for picking pockets. Assigned to John McLoughlin at 17 York St. Sydney on arrival. Absconded in June and August 1829. Assigned to William Ogilvie at Merton in August 1831. In March 1834 in Sydney she was found at the Market place at 3am instead of in her mistress Mrs. McIntosh's house. She was sent to the Female Factory for 16 days. Assigned to A. L. Kentish in Sydney in 1837. Sent to Newcastle gaol for medical aid in January 1840. Re-assigned to Mr. J. A. White in March 1840. In April 1841 she was sentenced to 14 days in the cells for drunkenness at Maitland and returned to government service. She was sent to Newcastle gaol from Paterson charged with absenting in June 1841 and sentenced to 14 days in the cells. Ann was granted a Certificate of Freedom on 9 February 1844

Clancey, Mary
Mary Clancey age 21. Nurse girl from London. Convicted of picking pockets 26 October 1828. Sentenced to 7 years transportation. Assigned to J. Hayward, Castlereagh St. Sydney on arrival. In April 1830 sent to Sydney gaol from Luskintyre for being pregnant. Forwarded to 3rd class at the Female Factory Parramatta

Clare, Martha
Martha Clare age 36. Widow with one child. All work and needlewoman from Essex. Tried in London 11 September 1828. Sentenced to 7 years transportation for privately stealing. Assigned to Cornelius Prout in Sydney on arrival. Assigned to Mr. Cobb in Newcastle district. Sentenced to one month in 3rd Class Female Factory in November 1830

Coffin, Margaret
Age 31. Widow with 1 child with her (James age 5 1/2) Native of Essex. Trade Plain Cook. Tried in London 1 September 1828 and sentenced to 14 years transportation for picking pockets. Assigned in May 1829 to Prosper de Mestre in Sydney..... Died at Liverpool in 1841. A ticket of leave for the Hunter district was cancelled in March 1842

Connell, Mary
Age 19. Straw bonnet maker from Cork. Tried in London 17 September 1828. Sentenced to 7 years transportation for shop lifting. Assigned to James Rooke in George St. Sydney on arrival. Assigned to John Cobb at Hunter River in November 1832

Dagnall, Rachael
Age 24. Married with no children (husband Richard Dagnall and brother Jeremiah Andrews in VDL). Native of Chester. Tried at Liverpool 5 May 1828 and sentenced to 7 years transportation for picking pockets. Assigned to A. McDougall at Maitland in 1832. Rachael Andrews married John McLoughlin at Maitland in 1835

Donoghue, Catherine
Age 18. House maid from London. Tried at Guildford 31 July 1828. Sentenced to transportation for life for picking pockets. Assigned to Mary Johnstone at Clarence Street Sydney on arrival. Note - died in Parramatta Hospital 14 June 1835

Foxall, Elizabeth
Age 25. Born at sea. House maid. Tried at Warwick 12 August 1828. Sentenced to transportation for life for picking pockets. Assigned to Sarah Wapples at Pitt St. Sydney on arrival. Convicted of insolence and neglect and sentenced to 6 weeks in 3rd Class Female Factory December 1830. Assigned to J. Smith at Newcastle in October 1832. Sent to Newcastle gaol from Newcastle for medical aid. Discharged to service of Mr. Smith at Newcastle. Found guilty of being absent without leave in August 1833. Died in Sydney hospital 1838. Note - husband William Foxall per ship William Miles to VDL

Green, Mary Ann
Alias Watson. Age 24. Maid of all work from Cheshire. Tried at Chester 14 April 1828. Sentenced to 7 years transportation for house breaking. Assigned to William Sparke in Sydney on arrival. Note - husband Thomas Watson arrived on the Georgiana to VDL. Granted a Ticket of Leave for Newcastle in March 1832.

Harcourt, Mary
Age 20. Housemaid from Birmingham. Tried at Warwick 9 August 1828. Sentenced to transportation for life for picking pockets. Assigned to John Reddall on arrival. Granted a Ticket of Leave for Maitland in 1838

Hartigan, Margaret
Age 21. Single woman with 1 child (Abigail age 14mths) - father William Spolin in London). Trade Tailoress. Tried in London 11 September 1828 and sentenced to transportation for life for manslaughter. Assigned to Lydia Walker in Sydney in May 1829. Assigned to James Pawsey at Newcastle in February 1831. Married John Smith in 1831 and in 1835 sought protection from husband's brutality. In Feb 1829 Ticket of leave changed from Newcastle to Maitland. Applied for Abigail from the orphanage but Abigail was apprenticed to Mr. Buxton of Newcastle in 1838

Hazle, Sarah
Age 40. Widow with 3 children. Plain cook from Hereford. Tried at Bristol 14 July 1828. Sentenced to 14 years transportation for pledging. Assigned to William Bradridge at Sydney on arrival. Married James Lake at Parramatta in February 1832. Note - Female Factory 17 March 1842. Granted Certificate of Freedom in Scone in 1843

Kinsman, Ann
Ann Kinsman aged 20. Farm servant and dairymaid from Cornwall. Tried at Dorset 14 July 1828. Sentenced to 7 years transportation for picking pockets. Assigned to Edward Sparke at Dart Brook on arrival. Applied to marry John Hoskins at Newcastle in February 1830. Sent to the Female Factory at Parramatta in March 1835 and then returned to her husband

Morris, Mary
Age 20. Native of Liverpool. Trade all work. Tried in Manchester 21 July 1828 and sentenced to 7 years transportation for robbing her master. Assigned to Ann Kennedy in Sydney in May 1829. Applied to marry Joseph Spencer (came free per Ceylon) in August 1831

Naylor, Sophia
Sophia Naylor alias Hunter aged 20. House maid from Northumberland. Tried 3 March 1828. Sentenced to 7 years transportation for picking pockets. assigned to C. Nott in Sydney on arrival. Sentenced to 6 weeks in the 3rd class Female Factory at Parramatta for highly improper conduct in May 1830. Sentenced to 2 months 3rd class in January 1831. Applied to marry Henry Latham (ship Surry) at Newcastle in December 1832

Pitches, Sarah
Age 29. Barmaid from Londonderry. Married with 1 child on board with her. Tried at Cambridge 14 July 1828. Sentenced to 7 years transportation for house breaking. Assigned to Andrew Nash at Parramatta on arrival. In 1832 assigned to Mrs. Mary Elliott in Sydney. In 1834 assigned to Rev. Threlkeld at Newcastle. Married William Turvey at Newcastle in October 1836

Simpson, Ann
Age 17. Native of York. Trade Gloveress. Tried at Hull 16 July 1828 and sentenced to 14 years transportation for picking pockets. Assigned to James Robertson in Sydney in May 1829 and returned to government service in June. Assigned to George Wyndham at Maitland and while assigned to Wyndham married John Prentice who was employed as overseer to George Wyndham

Smith, Mary Ann
Mary Ann Smith alias Ann Burke age 32. Laundress from Dublin. Married with 3 children. Tried at Nottingham 16 July 1828. Sentenced to 7 years transportation for shop lifting. Assigned to Stephen McDonald in Sydney on arrival. In September 1834 with J.B. Squire at Maitland. Married John Jones (ship Earl St. Vincent) in May 1835

Smith, Mary
Age 20. Nurse girl from Manchester. Tried at Nottingham 16 July 1828. Sentenced to 7 years transportation for shop lifting. Assigned to David Ramsay on arrival

Stokes, Ann
Age 17. Maid of all work from Reading. Tried 25 July 1828. Single. Sentenced to 7 years transportation for house breaking. Assigned to Ann Harley in Windmill St. Sydney on arrival. In November 1833 at Newcastle her daughter was baptised at Christ Church. Applied to marry Patrick Reddy at Newcastle in February 1834. Sent to Newcastle gaol in April 1834 under sentence of 9 months imprisonment. Assigned to Francis Beattie at Newcastle on release. Sent to Newcastle gaol for 21 days in the cells and return to government service. Assigned to Mr. Micklejohn at Maitland in May 1835. Disorderly conduct in gaol. Returned to government service from Maitland in July 1835 and re-assigned to Assistant surveyor Ogilvie at Maitland. Sent to Newcastle Gaol in August 1835 under sentence of 2 years imprisonment with hard labour. Assigned to Major Crummer at Newcastle in August 1837. Returned to government service in September 1837

Storrett, Ann
Ann Storrett from Leeds. Tried at Northumberland 3 March 1828. Sentenced to 7 years transportation for robbing an office. Assigned to William Palmer in Sydney on arrival. Assigned to Henry I. Pilcher at Maitland in January 1831. Sent to the Female Factory in March 1831

Tither, Charlotte
Age 21. Housemaid from Wolverhampton. Tried at Warwick 9 August 1828. Sentenced to transportation for life for picking pockets. Description 5ft 11 3/4in, ruddy fair complexion, flaxen hair, hazel eyes. DTHAT on left arm MLPIGT Love Heart, darts and JH on upper part of right arm. Assigned to Simeon Lord on arrival. Assigned to John Palmer on 5 March 1831. Sentenced to 3 months in 3rd class Female Factory for insubordination and insolence on 25 March 1831. Married Thomas McNulty in 1832. Both from Dalwood.

Williams, Margaret
Age 30. Nurse from Londonderry. Tried at Liverpool 27 July 1828. Sentenced to 7 years transportation for pawning illegally. Assigned to Samuel Lyons in George Street Sydney on arrival. Sent to Sydney Gaol for drunkenness in October 1829. Applied to marry John Smith (ship Lord Eldon) in January 1831 however permission refused and in February 1831 she was sent to the Female Factory at Parramatta.

Notes and Links

1). The Princess Royal was one of twenty-one convict ships arriving in New South Wales in 1829. Four of these carried female prisoners the Princess Royal, Edward, Lucy Davidson and the Sovereign. A total of 492 women arrived as convicts in 1829.

2). National Archives. Reference: ADM 101/62/1 Description: Medical journal of the Princess Royal, female convict ship from 30 September 1828 to 24 May 1829 by Andrew Douglas Wilson, Surgeon and Superintendent, during which time the ship was employed on voyage to New South Wales


[1] UK, Royal Navy Medical Journals, 1817-1857. Medical Journal of Andrew Douglas Wilson on the voyage of the Princess Royal in 1829. 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