John Rankine kept a Medical Journal
from 16 December 1836 to 3rd May 1837. This was his first voyage
as surgeon superintendent on a convict ship. In 1838 he was
surgeon on the Lord William Bentick to Van Diemen's
The prisoners of the Sarah & Elizabeth were
embarked at Woolwich in December 1836. The surgeon thought their
appearance was as good as could be expected when taking into
consideration their former habits of life, their age, and that
some had been confined in prison for many months. Sixty nine had
come from Newgate prison, seventeen from Liverpool, seven from
Warwick, two from Newcastle and several others from various
prisons, including one from Jamaica. Two women were sent on
shore before departure leaving 98 who sailed for New South
There were two deaths on the voyage out, the
first, Augusta Bennett alias Jane Jones died just a short time
after sailing. She had been extremely debilitated and had been
held in Newgate prison for more than eighteen months. The
second, Celia Williams from Jamaica, the surgeon described as a
negress who was also in delicate health and subject to
The remainder of the prisoners enjoyed
tolerably good health during the whole voyage. There were three
births, the first a natural birth, the second a breach and the
baby died shortly after birth. The third was a natural birth
with the complication of the retention of the placenta which was
dealt with by the surgeon satisfactorily.
female transport from England was the
which departed in June 1836. As with the prisoners of the
these women had committed crimes that were mostly non-violent
and included various forms of stealing, robbery and pledging.
Mary Wood was an exception. She was transported for violent
The Sarah & Elizabeth departed London
on 1st January 1837. Many of the women on board were married or
widowed and there were quite a few who left children behind in
England. Those who brought their children with them in included
Sarah Ash who came with her 2 year old daughter;
Campbell with her three year old son and
Ann Chester who
brought two children with her aged 2 years 6 months and 1 month.
The printed indents include information such as name,
age, education, religion, marital status, children, native
place, trade, offence, when and where tried, sentence, former
convictions and physical description. There are no details in
the indents as to where the women were assigned on arrival.
There are occasional remarks regarding relatives already in the
colony or those who are about to arrive.
Elizabeth Wise and her daughter Elizabeth Wise were tried in
Lancaster for housebreaking and arrived just a fortnight before
their son and brother George Wise who was transported on the
Phoebe Dunsmore's husband William had been convicted at the
same time as her and arrived on the
Jane Morgan's brother John Morris was already in the colony
having been sentenced to transportation for life seven years
Emma Mayner was a first cousin of Mary Smith who came to the
colony free and ran the Green Gate public house in Sydney.
Mary McIntyre was a niece of John O'Connor who came free to the
colony two years previously.
Eugenie Caroline Lemaire's
husband had previously been a prisoner at Hobart.
was a daughter of John Mendicott who had been transported
fifteen years previously.
Mary Ann Jenkins' husband John
Jenkins was a prisoner in Van Diemen's Land two years
Mary Anne Parker, a widow age 44 who was
convicted of stealing clothes had come to the colony free
previously as wife of a soldier of the 4th regiment.
Ann Selkirk had a sister Susan Johnstone who came to the colony
free three years previously.
Mary Smith had a brother Thomas
Gallagher who arrived on the
Isabella six years
Jane Watson's husband William Pendergass came on
Sophia Youngs who was convicted of horse stealing was described
as a Gipsy. Her husband arrived as a prisoner on the
Moffatt in 1836.
The Sarah & Elizabeth arrived
in Port Jackson on 23 April 1837. Cargo included 21 tons slate,
sundry government stores, ninety-six female prisoners and
Sunday 23rd April, the day the ship arrived,
was a cloudy day with winds from the south-west. At noon the
temperature was 72F (22C). On the 2nd of May when the women were
landed the day was clear with north-westerly winds, the
temperature had dropped to 70F (21C)
Families in want of
female servants could be supplied if applications were made on
or before Saturday 29th April. Assignees were required to enter
into the usual engagement under a penalty of 40/- to keep their
servants for one month unless removed in due course of the law.
On the 3rd May, several of the women were forwarded to
Port Macquarie by the steamer
William the Fourth
Sarah & Elizabeth was one of four convict ships bringing
female prisoners to New South Wales in 1837, the others being
and Sir Charles
Forbes. A total of 533 female convicts arrived in the colony
in 1837. The two vessels bringing prisoners from England in 1837
were the Sarah & Elizabeth and the
There were no female prisoners convicted in Scotland arriving in
New South Wales in 1837.
Weather permitting, the Sarah & Elizabeth was to
leave Port Jackson on the return voyage to London on 16th August
1837, taking with her 256 casks of sperm oil brought in from the
Ann (whaler); 360 bales of wool, 41 bundles of
whalebone; 1787 ox and cow horns; 973 tips, 10,000 bones, 10,000
hoofs; 500 bundles rattans; 1 box tortoiseshell; 2 bags of hair;
364 ox and cow hides; 52 pieces cedar; 4 boxes of tea; 1 case
books and 1 ton of bones.
Notes & Links:
1). Fifteen of the women of the Sarah & Elizabeth
have been identified in the Hunter Valley in the following
Select here to find more about prisoners and passengers of
the Sarah and Elizabeth
2). Some of the women were
adorned with tattoos:
||Blue dot back of left hand
||SFACMC on upper right arm, WCARMRID upper
||CRSG on upper right arm
||WS on upper left arm. WS inside middle
finger of left hand
||EB on upper right arm, blue ring fore
finger of left hand
||JLIHJT on upper left arm, JB back of left
||James Mary, I Love to the heart E...S and
flower pot inside lower left arm, 5 dots back of left hand,
dear mother, I love to the heart, anchor, DHIL inside lower
right arm, five dots back of right hand, blue ring fore
finger of same.
||Five dots back of left hand
|Mary Ann Jenkins
||JJ on upper right arm
||J.W.L. in blue, TLEB in red ink, outside
upper right arm.
||TPR. McCAM, upper right arm, R.F.A.M.E.M
upper left arm.
||JG inside lower left arm, JC on upper, W
inside lower right arm.
||LW inside lower left arm
||HOTM on left shoulder, J+RJS on right
||NOPE, no pen can right, No tongue can tel,
the skin hart that bids farewel. John Danel, heart pierced
with two darts, IL, man, love, AND LIBET and other marks
lower left arm, DBMN, heart and darts, Eliza Bignel and
other marks on lower right arm :.: F EL and heart back of
||TIJBT on upper left arm
||JB on right shoulder, HL on left shoulder
||H on upper right arm
||RP on upper left arm, blue dot back of
|Mary Ann Selkirk
||FRANK KEYS on upper right arm
||PN on upper right arm, TG upper left arm
||Anchor and heart, MJ inside upper right arm
||I+T and heart pierced with two darts on
upper right arm
|Elizabeth Wise the younger
||T,W EW on right shoulder