The Speedy was built in London in
1779. She was 313 tons with 10 guns and 22 crew and was owned by Messrs Enderby and Co., as was the
She was the next
vessel to leave England with convicts for New South Wales after
the departure of the
Hillsborough in December 1798.
female convicts were embarked on the Speedy in
England. Cabin passengers included Lieutenant-Governor
Philip Gidley King with his wife Anna Josepha and
daughter Elizabeth and their servant *Jane Dundas.
Other passengers included
George Caley who was a botanist and collector for Sir
Joseph Banks and
Francis Barrallier. . Joseph Barsden who later became a constable
at Parramatta, Edward Wise a weaver and his family and
John Burrell also came as passengers
Governor King had planned to embark on the
however that vessel being damaged in gales and deemed
unseaworthy they were forced to return to port and were
long delayed (1).
An account of the delays and
King and Caley's frustrations can be found in
Reflections on the Colony of New South Wales, George
Caley, Explorer and Natural History Collector for Sir
Joseph Banks. Finally it was decided that Governor King
should not be delayed any longer and he was ordered
instead to sail on the whaler Speedy which sailed a few
weeks later on the 24 November 1799.
Anna King, wife of Governor Philip Gidley King
kept a journal during the voyage which can be found online at
State Library of New South Wales. She gives frequent
accounts of the weather they experienced and of the violent
storms endured; at times she was up to her ankles in water and
feared for her life. Governor King suffered badly with gout and
other illnesses and Mrs. King worried about her husband's health
as well as the children Anna Maria and Philip who remained in
England. There are accounts of her tribulations on the voyage,
her excitement on reaching Cape Town and some of the tragedies
that occurred during the 143 days of the voyage.
Quested is mentioned in the journal however there is no
George Caley who King found difficult. The young
Ensign Francis Barralier who would later produce the first
survey of Newcastle
Harbour, also remains silent under her pen. She writes of
the surgeon but fails to mention his name. There are details of
some of the prisoners on a personal level that is rarely found
in the surgeon's journals later kept on convict ship
Her Journal begins on Wednesday 20th
November 1799, the day they sailed from Spithead in company with
one hundred and fifty sail of the ships under convoy with the
Queen Charlotte and
Sans Pareil. They reached Madeira on the 7th December and
Tenerife on Wednesday 11th December where they became becalmed 'which
makes our situation very unpleasant as we must be in sight of
the enemy, however we was very lucky to pass unobserved' In
mid December the weather was fine with the water as smooth as a
mill pond with scarcely a breath of wind and they became
becalmed. Around this time Mrs King remarked I am sorry to
conclude this day's observation by adding that the Scotch Fiddle
has made an appearance amongst the ladies which has caused some
new arrangements (*The Scotch Fiddle refers to the
itch/scabies). She also recorded that a poor
woman named Elizabeth Heathan departed this life about four and
was buried at eight.
The other women were also
sickly at this time, however on Christmas Eve they made St. Jago
and the following day there were a few festivities on
board....... On Christmas Day all the Officers dined with the
Kings; their dinner consisted of a boiled leg of mutton, three
roast fowls and a very fine ham with as good a mince pie as
could be made on board ship...... The Ladies seemed all very
happy and by way of a treat they had a little dance for about
two hours - it was much amusement to us to look at them, some
attempted Irish others Scotch steps and in truth I could
scarcely make out any sort of steps - but a country jump.
Anna King is tolerant at first of the female prisoners
until one day in December just after Christmas when one of them
threw herself overboard:
My former opinion with
respect to the behaviour of our females is very much altered now
as the following circumstance will convince every body what
hardened depraved creatures the greater part of them are. The
Captain had reason to punish one of the boys for a guilt
occasioned by a woman of the name of (Elizabeth)Ward - for which she was about to be
punished by being pumped on (the only punishment the Captain has
ever inflicted on any of them) this woman has often been heard
to say that if ever she was pumped on that she would Jump
overboard the next moment and sure enough she did and was it not
for the very great expeditious manner with which the captain
lowered the boat down took in sail and at this time we was going
seven knots, she must have been lost. Her clothes kept her up as
long as she did and when the boat got to her she was sinking but
the mate was very quick in his motions and got her up. It
pleased God that she should not be drowned. She was fortunately
placed into the boat with her head hanging downwards (and this
was near chance) the water of course ran out of her mouth, nose
and ears, when she was brought along side the ship she was
hoisted up in the boat and when she was taken into the ship I
really thought she was dead. The Doctor used every means for her
recovery, one of which I shall observe - he gave her three
teaspoonsful of of ground pepper in a glass of red wine - a most
powerful medicine but wonderful quick in the effect for
immediately as it was put down her throat the salt water came
off her stomach, she is recovering. It has given one such a turn
against them her conduct, as well as all the rest, that I shall
be happy to get to the end of our voyage, as soon as possible.
Two days later Mrs. King was able to report - The
woman is recovering fast. She appears to be very sorry for her
past conduct, and she is determined to lead a better life for
the time to come.
Another of the convicts passed
away at this time (28th December)....
One of the
poor women that was so ill has just drawn her last breath, after
a long and lingering illness. She has left a very young child
about seven months old, of course we shall not let it part
whilst on board - Captain Questead has appointed a very good
sort of an elderly woman to take the care of it and should it
live to reach our destined port I shall feel happy to protect a
poor little orphan.
Mrs. King reported on the
health of the little orphan often in her journal afterwards.
Perhaps their interest in this little baby brought their
attention to the plight of the many orphans in the colony as one
of the first tasks undertaken by Governor King was to establish
an institution for orphan children. Anna King took a particular
interest in this and was one of the six members of the Committee
appointed to set up the building. It was opened in 1801 and
although it was officially called The Female Orphan
Institution, informally it was known as Mrs King's
They had at this time very hot
weather with lightning and very heavy rain and crossed the
equator on 31st December. Seventeen men went through the
usual ceremony of being shaved etc. The ladies were excused
excepting one who chose to be very curious and hid herself in
the sheep pen in order to see the ceremony passed on the men -
to be sure she chose a nice warm situation and a very snug one
as she thought but unfortunately one of Mr. Neptune's observing
her peeping through the boards, he ran to catch her but before
he got to her she jumped through and got away from him however
it was judged right that she should be paid for peeping
therefore she was under the necessity of going through the
operation poor creature. She stamped and screamed tore her hair,
but all to no purpose. She is an Irish woman and the only one of
that country on board.
On the morning of the 5th
January Mrs. King was awakened and much alarmed by the screaming
Mary Butler.... She appeared mad - She bit and drew her
face in all manner of shapes, the doctor could not tell what to
make of this sudden disorder and she continued in this state the
whole night. - She says she shall not live, has every appearance
of madness and seems to have a wish to divulge something....Mary
Butler was treated kindly and seemed to recover briefly, however
two days later she took a turn for the worse and at half past
seven departed this life without a groan. I cannot help
lamenting this woman s death as she appeared a cleanly better
sort of woman, notwithstanding she lived amongst the Officers in
the steerage. Mary Butler was buried in sight of Trinidad
on 9th January, and on 14th January there was a great out cry
amongst the Ladies that they had seen Mrs. Butler's spirit
amongst them in the night .
On the 19th January Mrs.
King recorded that it was a fine day and being Sunday our
Ladies all dressed out very neat and clean excepting one that
calls herself Lady Underhill. (Mary
Underhill) She complains very much that she cannot
wear the things government has provided for her and
unfortunately she has but very few others - I never saw such a
proud creature in all my life and with all her rags and dirt
would you believe that she mounts a muslin turban which is
oftener as black as ink than it is white; then when her Ladyship
employs a person to wash it, she wears a black ribbon.
They made Table Bay on 3rd February 1800 where they remained
until 16th February 1800. George Caley spent the fortnight in
his own quarters in Cape Town and made a great collection of
specimens although was blamed by the Captain for delaying so
long at the Cape.
The Doctor also disembarked for a time
at the Cape. Mrs King remarked.... the Doctor was still an
invalid, not capable to do his duty as a doctor, his disorder no
person can tell, he has been out of his mind. Capt. Quested has
had much to do on is account and a good deal of trouble with
him. He went to the hospital at the Cape and the medical people
pronounced him mad.
On the 15th March, Edward Wise
the weaver fell overboard. He left a young wife who was later to
enter into a relationship with George Caley. (1)
March Mrs. King's journal records that there were heavy seas.
The women were obliged to be battened down in their berths and
beds in very hot conditions however their health was good
and they were merry and very happy and indeed cannot be
otherwise when every indulgence is properly allowed to them.
(Jane) Dundas has just fallen down the companion stairs and
dreadfully bruised her back and a foot. A convict woman has
fallen down the main hatchway and splintered her leg very bad,
another has scalded her foot in fact the ship rocks and lumbers
about so much that I wonder how the sailors keep on their legs.
Two days later Jane Dundas was still suffering....Dundas
scarcely can move - nor can she lay in bed - every time the ship
gives a lurch, she is ready to scream out with pain.
To the relief of all the Speedy arrived in Port Jackson on
13 April 1800. The previous convict ship to arrive in New South
Wales with with female prisoners was the
Minerva from Ireland in August 1799. On arrival the
female prisoners may have been sent to
Parramatta Female Factory which had been established at
Parramatta in 1796 and presumably where the weaver Edward Wise
was to be employed had he survived the voyage. (This building
was damaged by fire in 1804 and replaced)
departed Port Jackson for the fisheries in July 1800.....
Voyage to Terra Australis, Matthew Flinders June 1802
Notes and Links:
1). *Jane Dundas first arrived in New
South Wales on the
Prince of Wales with the first fleet in 1788. She
became a servant to Anna King and remained in service for
fifteen years. She died in 1805 and was buried in the Old Sydney
2). Female orphan School established in the
former residence of Lieut. Kent, George St. Sydney. Formally
opened in August 1801
Select here to read
more about Caley and Barrallier's Expedition to Hunter's River
6). Notes about some of the prisoners
on the Speedy....
Mary Atkins. Age 30. Tried in London 4
July 1798 and sentenced to 7 years transportation for
feloniously stealing, on the 1st of June , a cotton gown, value
10s. the property of Thomas Davis .
Old Bailey Online
Sarah Baker. Age 28. Tried in
London 12 September 1798 and sentenced to 7 years transportation br>
Sarah Basdon. Tried Sussex Q.S. 7 October 1796 and sentenced
to 7 yrs transportation
Margaret Battersby. Age 33.
Tried in London 24 October 1798 and sentenced to 7 years
transportation for feloniously stealing, on the 22d of October,
a base metal watch gilt with gold, value 2l. 5s. the property of
Thomas Jones , in his dwelling-house. Prisoner's defence. I did
not do it from any bad principle, but from distress.. -
Old Bailey Online
Mary owmend. Age 42. Tried Middlesex 9
January 1799. At the Old Bailey on 9th January 1799, Mary
BOWMANA was indicted for feloniously stealing, on the 29th of
December , a tin-saucepan, value 12d. and an iron frying-pan,
value 12d. the property of Elizabeth Joshua . Her age was given
Elizabeth, alias Sarah Brown. Age 27. Tried
Middlesex 3rd April 1799 and sentenced to 7 yrs transportation
for feloniously stealing, on the 22d of March , four guineas,
the property of Edward Levi , privately from his person.
Prisoner's defence. I met this man in Bow-street; he asked me if
he could go home with me; I asked him what he would make me a
present of; he said, four guineas; but whether he gave me the
four guineas, or whether I took it, I cannot say, for I was very
Old Bailey Online
Margaret Buckie. Age 42. Tried
Middlesex 12 September 1798 and sentenced to 7 yrs
transportation for feloniously stealing, on the 10th of July , a
cotton shawl, value 3d. two muslin aprons, value 7s. a linen
shirt, value 3d. a tippet, value 1d. a laced cap, value 5s. a
table cloth, value 2s. 6d. a pair of cotton stockings, value 2s.
and two silk sashes, value 2s. the property of John Williams.
Prisoner's defence. I had some work to do for her, and she gave
me the shawl with the things wrapped up in it. - Old Bailey
Martha Burrell + child 2 rs old.. Age 22. Tried
Surry Quarter Sessions 12 January 1796
Mary Butler. Age
30. Tried Lent Assizes. Kingston upon Thames 21 March 1798 and
sentenced to 7 yrs transportation
Ann Chaddick. Age 23.
Tried at Reading on 3rd March 1798 and sentenced to
transportation for life. Anne Chaddick became the wife of Edward
Lovedy, soldier of the 102nd reg.,. Petition of Lovedy for
confirmation of his wife's pardon to enable them to return to
England dated 30 January 1810. She received an absolute pardon
in march 1810
Sarah Clark. Age 30. Tried Summer Assizes,
Guildford 30 July 1798 and sentenced to transportation for life
Ann Clarke. Age 28. Tried Middlesex 3 April 1799 and sentenced
to 7 yrs transportation
Elizabeth Coleton. Age 14. Tried
in London 9 January 1799 and sentenced to 7 years
transportation. Elizabeth Colton was indicted for feloniously
stealing, on the 10th of January , two candlesticks, value 1s. a
woollen jacket, value 5s. a woollen cloth coat, value 10s. 6d.
two linen handkerchiefs, value 2s. 6d. a linen shirt, value 1s.
and a yard of flannel, value 6d. the property of John Bouccock .
Old Bailey Online
Mary Evans Age 29. Tried 4th July
1798 at Middlesex and sentenced to 7 rs transportation for
feloniously stealing, on the 4th of July , a watch, the inside
case made of metal, and the outside of tortoiseshell, value 3l.
a steel watch-chain, value 6d. a cornelian stone seal set in
base metal, value 6d. a brass watch-key, value 1d. and five
guineas in money, the property of William Bond , in the
dwelling-house of Jeremiah Day. . Prisoner's defence. I was in
Dyot-street between one and two o'clock, talking with two young
woman, and he began to pull the girls about, and they ran away,
and then he said I had robbed him of five guineas and a watch;
the watchman told me if I would give him two guineas he would
make it up. - Old Bailey Online
Elizabeth Faulkner. Age
20 Tried Q.S. Guildford 2 October 1798 and sentenced to 7 years
Catherine Fitzjohn. Age 33. Tried
Middlesex 26 October 1796 and sentenced to 7 years
transportation. for feloniously stealing, on the 2d of July , a
pair of women's stays, value 6d. a flannel petticoat, value 6d.
a black silk cloak, value 6d. a linen gown, value 12d. a check
linen apron value 6d. a white linen apron value 4d. a woman's
linen shift, value 12d. a pair of worsted stockings, value 2d.
three linen caps, value 3s. a pair of silk mitts, value 2s. two
yards of silk ribbon, value 12d. and a cotton shawl, value 12d.
the property of Mary Clander, widow. Prisoner's defence. My
husband brought these things to me, and I have never seen him
since; I have been here ever since the sessions before last, and
had nothing but what the gentlemen of the jail pleased to give
me and my babe, I have no friend in the world. - Old Bailey
Mary Garnham. Age 17. Tried London 9 January 1799
and sentenced to transportation for life for feloniously
stealing, on the 22d of December , six yards of cotton, value
12s. the property of William Hopps , privately in his shop
Old Bailey Online. She married John Brown a London shoemaker
who arrived on the Earl Cornwallis in 1800. Mary Brown died by
her own hand in 1819. An inquest found she was suffering from a
deranged mind at the time. Witness at her inquest included her
son John Brown and Mary Underhill.) see below)
Goodwin. Age 29. Tried Maidstone 15 July 1799 and sentenced to 7
Elizabeth Grant. Age 18. Tried Surry
Q.S. 27 February 1798
Mary Guile. Age 22. Tried 20
September 1797 in London and sentenced to 7 yrs transportation.
Received a Certificate of Freedom in January 1810
Hardcastle. Age 20. Tried in London 24 October 1798 and
sentenced to 7 years transportation. Received a Certificate of
Freedom in January 1810
Elizabeth Harenaugh. Age 18.
Tried Middlesex 4 July 1798 and sentenced to transportation for
Catherine Herbert Age 26. Tried at Reading 3 March
1798 and sentenced to transportation for life
Hill. Age 27. Tried Guildford 30 July 1798 and sentenced to
transportation for life
Susannah Harrison. Age 17. Tried
Middlesex 8 May 1799 and sentenced to Transportation for life.
On list of grants and leases of town allotments in July 1809.
Received an absolute pardon in March 1810.
Hasten. Age 19. Tried Maidstone 23 July 1798
Jennings. Age 21. Tried 23 May 1798 and sentenced to 7 years
Sarah King. Age 20. Tried Croydon Summer
Assizes 27th July 1799 and sentenced to 7 yrs transportation.
(The Summer Assizes are once in two years at Guildford, and the
prisoners then kept at the Bridewell there. Every other summer
they are held at Croydon, and during the time were confined,
heretofore, in stables, which are now properly converted into a
large room suitable for the purpose.)...Gentleman's
Catherine Lahey. Age 18. Tried Middlesex 12
September 1798 and sentenced to transportation for
life. Catherine Lahey and Ann Warner were indicted for that
they, on the 14th of August , a piece of base coin resembling a
shilling, falsely, deceitfully and traitorously, did colour,
with materials producing the colour of silver. Lahey's defence.
I was coming past the New Church in the Strand, and I found a
paper parcel; when I came home I opened it, and saw it was
money, and when these gentlemen came into the room I was wiping
the dirt off; whether it was good or bad I know not.
Old Bailey Online
Sarah Lawrence. Age 19. Tried in
London 12 September 1798 and sentenced to 7 years
transportation Sarah Lawrence and Mary Smith were indicted for
feloniously stealing on the 2d of August , four pair of silk
stockings, value 44s. the property of John Garton , in his
Old Bailey Online
Elizabeth Lilley. Age 25. Tried
Q.S. Guildford Surry 15 January 1799. and sentenced to 7 s transportation.
Miller. Age 16. Tried Middlesex 19 June 1799 and sentenced to 7
Jane Patterson. Age 19. Tried
Middlesex 19 April 1798 and sentenced to 7 yrs transportation.
Had a child Elizabeth on board with her which became very ill
and died on 25th January.
Mary Peake. Age 19. Tried Surry
Q.S. 27 February 1798
Sarah Seaton Age 28. Tried
Middlesex 18 April 1798 and sentenced to 7 yrs transportation.
Mary Shay. Age 21. Tried Surry Q.S. 27 February 1798
Ann Sidney. Age 27. Tried Middlesex 12 September 1798 and
sentenced to transportation for life
Age 27. Tried Middlesex 4 July 1798 and sentenced to 7 yrs
transportation Elizabeth Smith. Age 19. Tried Hertford Assizes
16 July 1798 and sentenced to 7 yrs transportation
South al. Archer. Age 20. Tried Middlesex 12 September 1798 and
sentenced to 14 yrs transportation.
Age 25. Tried in Middlesex December 1798 and sentenced to 7 yrs
Mary Thomas. Age 43. Tried Middlesex 3
April 1799 and sentenced to 7 yrs transportation
Thomas. Age 15. Tried 19 June 1799 at Middlesex and sentenced to
7 yrs transportation
Margaret Thompson Age. 22. Tried
in London 18 April 1798 and sentenced to transportation for
Susan Tillett. Age 20. Tried in Essex 18 July 1798
and sentenced to transportation for life
Underhill. Age 24. Tried Middlesex 3 April 1799 and sentenced to
7 years transportation....Mary Underhill and Daniel Fear were
indicted, the first, for feloniously stealing, on the 17th of
February , a feather-bed, value 20s. a pair of sheets, value 2s.
a blanket, value 1s. 6d. a set of fire-irons, value 1s. 6d. a
copper tea-kettle, value 2s. an iron saucepan, value 12d. and a
pair of bellows, value 12d. the property of Richard Angel , in a
lodging-room. Daniel Fear found not guilty.
Ward. Age 19. Tried Q.S. Guildford 2 October 1798 and sentenced
to 7 yrs transportation.
Sarah Whaley. Age 43. Tried
Croydon summer assizes 27 July 1799 and sentenced to
transportation for life
Sarah Willis. Age 40. Tried
Middlesex 12 September 1798 and sentenced to transportation for
Sarah Wood. Age 21. Tried 24 October 1798 and
sentenced to 7 yrs transportation
(1) Reflections on the Colony of New South Wales,
George Caley, Explorer and Natural History
Collector for Sir Joseph Banks.
(2) The Times 19
(3) Bassett, M.,1940 The Governor's Lady: Mrs Philip Gidley King, Oxford University Press, London p. 64