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Links to Convict Ships arriving in New South Wales, Norfolk Island and Van Diemen's Land 1788 - 1850

Convict Ship Royal Admiral 1800

Embarked: 300 men
Voyage: 181 days
Deaths: 43
Surgeon's Journal: no
Tons: 923
Previous vessel: Speedy arrived 15 April 1800
Next vessel: Anne arrived 21 February 1801
Master William Wilson.
Surgeon Samuel Turner
Prisoners and passengers of the Royal Admiral identified in the Hunter Valley

The Royal Admiral carried 24 guns and a crew of 70 men. She was built in London in 1777 and owned by Gabriel Gillet and William Wilson.


There were several Scottish prisoners on the Royal Admiral......

George Mealmaker. Age 31. Tried at Edinburgh Court Of Justiciary 12 January 1798 and sentenced to 14 years transportation.

Finn's Leinster Journal 24th July 1799 reported that on the previous "Saturday morning all the convicts in Edinburgh gaol under sentence of transportation were sent off to embark at Leith for Botany Bay. Among these prisoners was George Mealmaker, who was found guilty respecting the society of United Scotsmen and Kirby who was convicted of swindling. " George Mealmaker left behind in Scotland a wife and family. He later supervised weaving at the Female Factory at Parramatta.

Scottish prisoners sent from Leith to England to embark on the Royal Admiral included:

Andrew Kellock age 27. Tried Perth Court of Justiciary 11 April 1796 . The Circuit Court of Justiciary was opened at Perth by the Right Honourable Lord Justice Clerk and Lord Craig. Andrew Kellock, journeyman weaver, was found guilty, upon his own confession of stealing a number of webs of cloth from the warehouse of Andrew Melville manufacturer in Kennoway at several times. He was sentenced to transportation for life, under the pain of death in case of his return. James Louden keeper of the tollbooth of Cupar of Fife and Janet Taylor his wife were indicted for allowing Andrew Kellock to escape from prison. - The Edinburgh Magazine

James Grant age 40. Tried at Aberdeen Court of Justiciary on 16th April 1796 and sentenced to transportation for life.........The Circuit Court was opened at Aberdeen by the Right Hon. Lord Justice Clerk and Lord Craig, and proceeded to the trial of James Grant and James Graham, who were accused of breaking into the shop of John Lyall in Dim head of Fordown, upon the night between the 4th and 5th January last, and stealing a quantity of yarn and other goods therefrom. They were both found guilty upon their own confession. Grant was sentenced to transportation for life. And Graham, who is a young man, was banished from Scotland for fourteen years.. The Scot's Magazine

John Gordon alias Garden alias Gardnor. Age 23. Tried Perth Court of Justiciary 22 September 1798 and sentenced to 14 years transportation.

Timothy Hurley age 30. Patrick Hurley age 26. Tried Edinburgh Court of Justiciary 13 April 1799 Timothy and Patrick Hurley were accused of uttering counterfeit coin, knowing it to be so. The Advocate Depute consented to restrict the libel to an arbitrary punishment. The libel being found proven, the prisoners were sentenced to be whipped through the streets of Ayr on the 36th inst, and to be transported for seven years. ..Edinburgh Magazine

William Butler. Age 20. Tried Edinburgh Court of Justiciary 28 May 1799 and sentenced to 14 years transportation. Edinburgh Magazine


The Royal Admiral arrived in Portsmouth to embark the prisoners on 20 April 1800. The London Times reported that 90 prisoners were put on a lighter at Blackfriars Bridge to be taken to the vessel. [1]


The Guard consisted of soldiers of the New South Wales Corps including Ensign William Lawson.


Two French vignerons, prisoners of war, Antoine Landrien and Francois de Riveau came as cabin passengers.

James Wilshire of the Commissary department came as a passenger. He kept a Journal on the voyage part of which has survived and may be found at the State Library of New South Wales. The journal begins with the embarkation on 5th May and ends on 16th July when the ship was near the Equator.

Twelve missionaries came on the Royal Admiral including John Davies, James Hayward, Samuel Tessier, Charles Wilson, John Youl and James Elder.... Missionary Register


The Royal Admiral departed England on 28 May 1800. [3] They reached Rio de Janeiro on 12 August 1800.


Gaol fever had raged and 43 of the prisoners died on the voyage as well as four seamen, a convict's wife and a convict's child.

The kindly young surgeon Samuel Turner, only twenty-six years of age, also died of fever during the voyage.Select here to find out more about the life of Samuel Turner.


The Royal Admiral arrived in Port Jackson on 20 November 1800 with 257 male prisoners.

Governor King wrote of the Royal Admiral in a despatch to the Transport Commissioners....

The deficiency of convicts Mr. Wilson accounts for by their having died of a fever, I cannot but in Justice to Mr. Wilson, observe that the appearance of the rest (altho' still in a very weak and crippled state) sufficiently testifies the great attention he must have paid to prevent any further mortality among them His conduct here has been extremely proper and conformable to the tenor of his Charter party. The cargo was all delivered before the allowed time expired.[2]

The Royal Admiral also brought stores including 1600 blankets, 800 hammocks, 800 coverlids, 200 round towels, 100 irons pots, 100 frying pans and 30 bellows as well as other goods.


Convicts transported on the Royal Admiral included :

George Howe, printer;
Joshua Palmer - a notorious fence;
John Platt, the colony's first coal miner. John Platt had been tried in Lancaster in 1798;
Thomas Shirley who was drowned in the Hunter River in 1808 while attempting to rescue the vessel Halcyon in a gale;
John Cheeseman was reported to have arrived on the Royal Admiral, he was executed for cattle theft in 1808.[5] He was unable to walk to the gallows as he was a cripple having been injured many years before in an escape attempt from Canterbury prison. [4]
Terence Flynn was one of the Pirates who seized the brig Harrington in 1808. He was later executed for murder


The Royal Admiral departed Port Jackson bound for China in March 1801.


1). Political Prisoners

2). More about the Royal Admiral at History of Missions etc

3). Select here to see an image from the British Library collection - Convicts making their way near Blackfriars bridge in order for their being conveyed to Woolwich. Image taken from: The Malefactor's Register; or, the Newgate and Tyburn calendar London : Alexander Hogg, 1779.

4). National Archives UK - Voyages: (1) 1799/1800 New South Wales and China. Capt William Wilson. Portsmouth 23 May 1800 - 12 Aug Rio de Janeiro - 21 Nov Sydney 30 Mar 1801 - 21 Apr Barrier Islands 17 Jun - 10 Jul Tahiti 2 Aug - 23 Oct Whampoa - 22 Dec Second Bar - 30 Mar 1802 Cape - 30 Apr St Helena - 2 Jul Downs.

5). Captain Wilson - Memoirs of Hydrography

6) Find out more about Landrien and Riveau in Historical Records of Australia

7) Edward Redmond married a widow, Winifred Duriault, née Dowling, on 15 October 1811. She had been convicted, with her sister Eliza, in County Kildare in 1801 and, sentenced to transportation for life, had arrived in the Atlas in July 1802, and in September had married François Duriault (de Riveau). He was a French vigneron who, together with Antoine Landrien, a fellow prisoner of war, had been sent out by the British government in 1801 to teach vine-growing to the colonists. In March 1804 Duriault was sent back to England because his work was unsatisfactory and Governor Philip Gidley King suspected that he was implicated in the convict uprising at Castle Hill, but his wife remained in New South Wales with an infant son, who became known as John Redmond. Irish Central Online

8). Five Convict Ships arrived in New South Wales in 1800 - Porpoise, Minerva, Friendship, Speedy and Royal Admiral.

9). Convicts of the Royal Admiral sent to Hunter Valley.......

Thomas Allen. Tried in Middlesex
Thomas Brown. Tried in Bristol
John Cummins. Tried in Middlesex
John Fitzwilliam. Tried in Middlesex
Samuel Fry. Tried in Middlesex
Joseph Sedgley. Tried in London
John Rosthorne
Thomas Shirley. Tried in Middlesex
John Smith. Tried in Middlesex
Thomas Smith. Tried in Middlesex
John Spittle/ Spital. Tried in Middlesex
Joseph Ward. Tried in Warwick


[1] "Yesterday morning ninety Convicts were put on board a lighter at Blackfriar's Bridge, on their way." Times [London, England] 2 Apr. 1800: 3. The Times Digital Archive. Web. 10 Mar. 2013.

[2] HRA., Series 1, Vol. III, p 82

[3] HR NSW, p. 787

[4] "News in Brief." Times [London, England] 7 Oct. 1809: 3. The Times Digital Archive. Web. 10 Mar. 2013.

[5] Sydney Gazette 5 September 1808