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Convict Ship Queen 1791


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(Convicts and passengers from this ship only)
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Select from the Links below to find information about Convict Ships arriving in New South Wales, Norfolk Island and Van Diemen's Land between the years 1788 and 1850

J -K L M N - O P - Q R S T - V W - Y

Embarked: 133 men; 22 women

Voyage: 5 months
Deaths 7
Surgeon's Journal: no
Tons: 400
Previous vessel: Active arrived 26 September 1791
Next vessel Albemarle arrived 13 October 1791
Captain Richard Owen
More about the Third Fleet
Follow the Female Convict Ship Trail
Follow the Irish Convict Ship Trail

The Queen brought both male and female prisoners and was the first vessel to bring convicts from Ireland to New South Wales.  Four children were also on board. The New South Wales Corps formed the Guard.

The convict indents include the name, age, when and where convicted and sentence.

There is the following notation included in the indents.....

" The original list signed by Samuel Blow, Naval Agent dated on board the Queen at the Cove of Cork 11 April 1791 "

The Queen was one of eleven vessels of the Third Fleet. The following list of transport vessels provided by Messrs. Camden, Calvert and king contractors for the Commissioners of the Navy for the conveyance of convicts to New South Wales. (1)

Vessel's Name No. of Convicts to each    
  Males Females Total
Queen 175 25 200
Atlantic 220 - 220
William and Ann 188 - 188
Britannia 152 - 152
Matilda 230 - 230
Salamander 160 - 160
Albermarle 275 - 275
Mary Anne - 150 150
Admiral Barrington 300 - 300
Active 175 - 175
Gorgon 31 - 31

On 22nd March 1791 the vessels in England were given orders to depart..... positive orders have been dispatched from the Secretary of State's Office, to Lieutenant King, at Plymouth, for the fleet bound to Botany Bay, to sail the first fair wind; they are to stop at Madeira six days, but no person is to be suffered to go on shore. The Transport (the Queen) with provisions and convicts bound to Botany Bay, sailed from Cork, Ireland the 10th instant. They are to call at Madeira, and remain there (to await) the ships from England.

The Queen was spoken by the Prince William Henry packet boat on 19th April on its passage from Leeward Islands to Falmouth and all was reported well. The Queen arrived in Port Jackson on 26 September 1791. She was the next convict ship to arrive in New South Wales with female prisoners after the Mary Ann in July 1791.

There were approximately 600 female prisoners already in the colony and it would be interesting to know how these few Irish women fitted into their new situations.

In the Historical Records of Australia (Series 1. Vol. 1., p. 275) in the Return of the Transports arriving in New South Wales it is noted that the convicts were landed between the 27th September and 1st October and the soldiers were landed on 2nd October.


The Queen and the Active also brought part of the Guardian's cargo.

David Collins recorded the arrival of the Queen and the fate of some of the prisoners...... 

The remaining transports of the fleet were now dropping in. On the 26th September the Active from England and the Queen from Ireland, with convicts of that country, arrived....An officer's party was held on board the Queen, which arrived with one hundred and twenty six male and twenty three female convicts and three children. These ships had been unhealthy and had buried several convicts in their passage. The sick which they brought in were landed immediately ; and many of those who remained, and were not so ill as to require medical assistance, were brought on shore in an emaciated and feeble condition.

On 17th October 1791 in Sydney there was an enquiry held in regards to the conduct of Master Richard Owen and Second Mate Robert Stott of the Queen and to examine the complaint made by convicts of not having received the ration of provisions that was directed by contract to be furnished them during the passage. Justices of the Peace included David Collins, Rev. Richard Johnson, Augustus Alt and John Cresswell.  An account of the proceedings is in the HRA Vol. 1 p.283 and in Charles Bateson's Convict Ships.

Those examined at the enquiry included Ensign William Cummings, Lieutenant Blow (naval agent), Andrew Burn (convict), John Martin (convict), John Turner (acted as cook's mate), Hugh McGinnis, James Burn (convict, sail-maker), James Juda (convict), James Kelly (cook on the Queen). The Magistrates found that from the particular circumstances of the fraud it is impossible for us to determine with any precision what those deficiencies are, so as to enable us either to redress the complainants or punish the defendants (HRA Series 1, Vol. 1., p. 288)

David Collins........On the first day of November 1791 information was received from Parramatta that a body of twenty male convicts and one female, of those lately arrived in the Queen transport from Ireland, each taking a week's provisions and armed with tomahawks and knives, had absconded from that settlement, with the chimerical idea of walking to China or of finding some country wherein they would be received and entertained without labour. It was generally supposed however, that this improbable tale was only a cover to the real design which might be to procure boats and get on board the transports after they had left the cove.

An officer from Parramatta with a party was immediately sent in pursuit of them, who traced them as far down the harbour as Lane cove whence he reached the settlement of Sydney without obtaining any further intelligence of them. A few days afterward the people in a boat belonging to the Albemarle transport which had been down the harbour to procure wood on the north Shore, met with the wretched female who had accompanied the men. She had been separated from them for three days and wandered by herself entirely ignorant of her situation until she came to the waterside. By April 1792 the mortality amongst the convicts had been extremely great.

Distressing as it was, however, to see the poor wretches daily dropping into the grave, it was far more afflicting to observe the countenances and emaciated persons of many who remained, soon to follow their miserable companions. ....The weakest of the convicts were excused from all kinds of hard labour; but it was not hard labour that destroyed them; it was an entire want of strength in the constitution and which nothing but proper nourishment could repair. This dreadful mortality was confined chiefly to the convicts who had arrived in the last year; of one hundred and twenty two male convicts who came out in the Queen transport from Ireland, fifty only were living at the beginning of May

In 1793 the circumstances surrounding the convict ships of 1791 were mentioned in Parliament.....{Extract} Out of 500 passengers on board the Neptune but 42 were able to crawl over the ship's side; the rest were carried and eight out of every ten died at Sydney Cove. The detail of the sufferings of these wretched convicts would be tedious and painful; suffice it to say, that by the depositions taken by the solicitor of the treasury, they were equal to any endured in the slave ships. Out of 1,863 on board the Queen and other transports in autumn 1791, 576 on landing were sent to the hospital. Governor Philip wished to punish the author of these calamities, but doubted his power over offences committed on the high seas. It was necessary, therefore, that an admiralty court should be established at Sydney Cove. Sir Charles then moved six resolutions, the sixth being: To preserve those criminals who may hereafter be transported from a calamity similar to that which destroyed the greater part of the unfortunate men of the Neptune and to rescue them from the dangers of foul air and famine it seems expedient to allow a space of at least two tons for each person should be allowed; in addition to regulations already in place, a premium should be given to the contractors, on the arrival of every felon in good health at the place of their destination; and likewise that all the provisions on board of the ships hired to carry convicts, should be purchased for the service of government, and the surplus, at the end of the voyage, be deposited in their storehouses......(Sir Charles Bunbury's Resolutions respecting Convicts for Transportation 1793, Parliamentary History of England)

Historical Records of Australia (Series 1. Vol. 1., p. 275) in the Return of the Transports arriving in New South Wales noted that the Stores and provisions were all cleared by 14th October and the Queen was taken up again on the 19th to carry the Active's cargo to Norfolk Island and to return with the detachment of Marines.......

The quantity of provisions received by these ships being calculated for the numbers on board of each for nine months only after their arrival, and as, so large a body of convicts having been sent out, it was not probable that we should soon receive another supply, the governor judged it expedient to send one of the transports to Bengal, to procure provisions for the colony; for which purpose he hired the Atlantic at fifteen shillings and sixpence per ton per month. In the way thither she was to touch at Norfolk Island, where Lieutenant Governor King, with some settlers, was to be landed ; and the Queen transport was hired for the purpose of bringing back Lieutenant Governor Ross,'and the marine detachment serving there, relieved by a. company of the New South Wales corps.

The Queen arrived back in England after an absence of two years and four months. She had with her a cargo of cotton on account of the East India Company.

The Times reported on the 6th February 1793....The Queen was in a leaky state and her crew were reported to all dead (except eight or nine) and those very ill from scurvy. She did not touch at the Cape of Good Hope nor at St. Helena, to which the violent disorder of the scurvy is attributed. Only six men could come up on deck when she came in. Had the wind been unfavourable, they may have all perished. (2)

Notes and Links:

1). Sergeant Major William Jamison arrived on the Queen. He died in April 1802 and was interred in the Old Sydney Burial Ground

2). Convict ships bringing political prisoners and protesters

James Grant who arrived as a convict on the Queen died in November 1792. He was buried in the Old Sydney Burial Ground.    


1. Historical Records of Australia, Vol.1, p225

2. Times [London, England] 5 Feb. 1793

3. An account of the English colony in New South Wales: with remarks ..., Volume 1 By David Collins, Philip Gidley King, George Bass


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