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Convict Ship Sarah 1829

Embarked: 200 men
Voyage: 100 days
Deaths: 1
Surgeon's Journal: yes
Previous vessel: Claudine arrived 6 December 1829
Next vessel: Larkins arrived 12 December 1829
Master Henry Columbine
Surgeon Superintendent Alick Osborne

The Sarah was built in London in 1819. [5]

The prisoners who were transported on the Sarah were convicted in counties in England - Middlesex, Surrey, Bucks, Norfolk, Essex, Suffolk, Warwick, Chester, Lancaster, Southampton, Oxford,  Lincoln, Cambridge and York.


This was Alick Osborne's fourth voyage as surgeon superintendent on a convict ship. He kept a Medical Journal from 29 July 1829 to 19 December 1829.

Two hundred prisoners who embarked on the Sarah came from the hulks at Portsmouth on 15th August 1829 and according to Alick Osborne, while there had become accustomed to ship board life. [4]


A detachment of the 63rd regiment provided the Guard for the voyage. Select here to find other convict ships bringing detachments of the 63rd regiment.


The Sarah departed London on 29 August 1829. They had a pleasant as well as a quick passage of 100 days, touching at the Islands of Tristan 'Acunha and St. Paul's; and for several days were in company with a French ship laden with Emigrants. [1] They also spoke the ship Gilmore, with settlers for Swan River, and the William with Sir W. Edward Parry, R.N. and family on board.

The weather was fine for most of the voyage, allowing the prisoners to be on deck all day. The prisons were kept clean and dry with stoves lighted all day and only the oldest men suffered any scurvy. Bark and wine was used as an effective prophylactic treatment. All but one of the men were landed in robust health, Edward Bullock having died on the passage out.

The following men were treated by the surgeon during the voyage:
George King, aged 20, convict;
Robert Stainsby, aged 22, convict;
Richard Stott, aged 18, convict;
Robert Field, aged 30, of the ship's crew;
George Cobb, aged 27, Private of the 63rd Regiment; his musket went off and the ball and stopper passed through his left foot. Put on sick list, 21 October 1829, at sea. Left the ship 16 December 1829 almost healed.
Thomas Gill, aged 25, convict;
William Francis, aged 24, convict; [3]


The Sarah arrived in Port Jackson on the 6th December 1829.


Colonial Secretary Alexander McLeay held a muster on board on 10th December 1829. The convict indents reveal information such as name, age, education, religion, marital status, family, native place, occupation, offence, when and where tried, previous convictions, physical description and where and to whom assigned on arrival. There is also occasional information regarding tickets of leave, pardons and deaths.

The Sydney Gazette reported- We always feel much pleasure in adverting to the continued display of humanity and attention manifested in the importation of prisoners to this “our favoured land."  Yesterday 199 male prisoners were landed from the Sarah, Captain Columbine, Superintendent, A. Osborne, Esq. Their state and condition was such, as to show that every attention must have been paid to their health and comfort on the voyage. The experienced Superintendent has been here often before, always receiving the approbation of the Authorities: and we need only say, that the appearance of the prisoners landed yesterday was seldom equalled, never excelled. Captain Columbine is entitled to equal praise for his cheerful and cordial co-operation in every thing tending to the comfort of the people. The conduct of the detachment of the 63d, under Lieutenant Croly, is said to have been most exemplary; and indeed the unanimity and harmony which prevailed amongst all parties in the Sarah, proves that the promotion of the general good was the only predominant feeling. This is as it should be, and cannot fail to be duly appreciated in the highest quarter. ' It is not a little remarkable that this is the second cargo of prisoners landed at Sydney under the superintendence of this gentleman within the present year, the first being by the Sophia on the 28th January - a circumstance which has not to our knowledge occurred to any other individual since the establishment of the Colony. - [2]

The men on arrival were distributed throughout the colony to various settlers and townsfolk or assigned to public service.

Some of their occupations they worked at in England are familiar today such as bakers, stonemasons, tailors, butchers and labourers. Others had trades now long obsolete - pot boys, carders, brass finishers, silk weavers, chimney sweeps, ropemakers and pipemakers amongst them. There were also a few men who by their work set them apart from the others. They included a customs house clerk (Charles Callan alias James Crosbie), attorney's clerk (Oliver Ewings), law stationer's clerk (James Williams) and apothecary (James Pickering). There is no record in the indents where they were sent on arrival but they may have been sent to Wellington Valley otherwise known as the Valley of the Swells. No matter what their occupations, until assignment their experiences were all similar - loss of freedom - prison - hulk - convict ship voyage - assignment. Whether because of their previous occupations, fortunate circumstances or the force of their personality, some of the men not only survived the whole ordeal but went on to lead successful lives. Men such as Leigh Dines Halstead who was a vetinary surgeon, and Charles Rhodius who became known throughout the colony for his artwork; and there was Peter Dawe who sealed his success when he accompanied Edward Denny Day in the capture of infamous bushrangers the Jewboy Gang.

Others found it difficult to adjust to their new circumstances - William Thorn was still being punished for misdemeanours nine years later. Many of the men would have had similar experiences of 25 or 50 lashes for various offences.


1). Alick Osborne was also employed as surgeon on the convict ships Lonach in 1825, Speke in 1826,  Sophia in 1829,  Planter in 1832, Fairlie in 1834,  Marquis of Huntley in 1835 and the Elphinstone in 1838.

2). Convict Artists

3). Hunter Valley convicts and passengers arriving on the Sarah in 1829

4). Ephraim Whiting accompanied Sir Thomas Livingstone Mitchell's expedition in 1831

5). Return of Convicts of the Sarah assigned between 1st January 1832 and 31st March 1832 (Sydney Gazette 14 June 1832).....

John Bennett - Farrier assigned to the Australian Agricultural Company at Port Stephens
David Connor - Pressman. Assigned to E.S. Hall at Sydney
John Hart - Tailor and dealer assigned to William Bradly at Goulburn Plains

6). Ships bringing detachments of the 63rd regiment -

Albion departed Sheerness 1 June 1828 - Lieutenant M. Vickery

Eliza departed London 29 June 1828 - Major Sholto Douglas

Marquis of Hastings departed 30 June 1828 - Ensign Stulbmer

Royal George departed Spithead 26 August 1828 - Captain J. Briggs

Vittora departed Devonport1 September 1828- Lieutenant Aubyn

Governor Ready departed Cork 21 September 1828 - Lieutenant J. Gibbons Lane

Ferguson departed Dublin 16 November 1828 - Captain D'Arcy Wentworth

Mellish departed Falmouth 2 January 1829 - Captain Baylee

Lord Melville departed London 5 January 1829 - Lieut-Col. Burke

Waterloo departed London 14 March 1829 - Lieutenant T. Grove

America departed Woolwich 8 April 1829 - Adjutant T. Montgomery

Norfolk departed Spithead 22 May 1829- Ensign W.J. Darling

Guildford departed Dublin 12 July 1829 - Lieut McLean 89th

Larkins departed Cork 16 August 1829 - Captain Mahon

Claudine departed London 24 August 1829 - Captain Paterson

Sarah departed London 29 August 1829 - Lieutenant Croly

Dunvegan Castle departed 30 September 1829 - Lieutenant John Gray

Katherine Stewart Forbes departed Spithead 14 October 1829 - Major Fairtclough


[1] Sydney Gazette 8 December 1829

[2] Sydney Gazette 8 December 1829

[3] National Archives - Reference: ADM 101/66/5 Description: Medical and surgical journal of His Majesty's convict ship Sarah for 29 July to 19 of December 1829 by Alick Osborne, Surgeon,during which time the said ship was employed in a voyage to New South Wales.

[4] Medical Journal of Alick Osborne on the voyage of the Sarah. UK, Royal Navy Medical Journals, 1817-1857. The National Archives. Kew, Richmond, Surrey.

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