Convict Ship Strathfieldsaye 1836
Embarked: 270 men
Voyage: 118 days
Surgeon's Journal: yes
vessel: Thomas Harrison
arrived 9 June 1836
Moffatt arrived 31 August 1836
Captain Philip Jones
Thomas Braidwood Wilson
|Thomas Braidwood Wilson R.N., was
appointed Surgeon Superintendent of the Strathfieldsaye on
20 November 1835. He kept a Medical Journal from 16 December 1835 to
18 June 1836.
He joined the ship at Deptford on the 16th
December while she was still being fitted out for the convicts and
kept a journal from day until 18 June 1836
The ship was
delayed and not ready for sea until 27th January 1835. On this day
the guard, a detachment of the 28th regiment was embarked at
Deptford. The Guard consisted of Lieutenant Cadell, and Ensign
Garling, and 28 rank and file of the 28th regiment.
Passengers included Mr. Thomas Smith, farmer; Miss Cameron,
governess; Mary Peacock and Caroline Freeman, Servants; eight
soldiers’ wives, and thirteen children.
The Strathfieldsaye arrived at
Woolwich where seventy prisoners from the Justitia hulk
were received and then to Portsmouth where 200 prisoners were
embarked. In consequence of heavy weather and contrary winds they
did not reach the Downs until 3rd February. At the Downs the ship
struck on a sand bank where she remained hard and fast, however
fortunately the tide was flowing rapidly and in half an hour the
ship was afloat.
On 6th February 130 prisoners were received
from the Leviathan Hulk and 70 from the York.
Thomas Wilson remarked in his journal that during all his former
voyages he had never seen such miserable looking prisoners.
Evidence from a prisoner who had been sent to the Leviathan hulk
was later presented in Parliament. This man was first sent from the
Old Bailey to Newgate and then removed to the Leviathan hulk
at Portsmouth in December 1835...............
|He was placed in the lower
Deck, No. 6. Cell, where there were from Twelve to Fifteen
Convicts; they slept in Hammocks; there was a Wardsman in
it, a very steady Man, who had been Five Years in the Ship;
he never reported any body whilst he was on board; the
Convicts returned from their Work in the Dock Yard between
Four and Five o'clock in the Evening, they then took their
Hammocks from the Main Deck to their respective Divisions;
Lights were permitted 'till Eight o'clock; there was a Lamp
with Oil for each Cell found by the Ship, but there was an
old Prisoner called the Boatswain's Mate, who sold Candles
to the other Convicts; at Eight o'clock the Lights were put
out in the Cells and the Doors locked, but from Half past
Four until Eight the Convicts of one Cell might go to any
other Cell in the Deck; during this Time there was very bad
Conversation carried on, cursing and swearing often, with'
Histories of former Exploits; never saw any gaming; saw
Bibles and Prayer Books in No. 6. Cell, and saw Men
occasionally reading them; from New Year's Day last no
Provisions were allowed to be received or purchased, except
Potatoes and White Bread, the latter could only be had once
a Week, but a Prisoner, one of the Washermen, sold Potatoes
The Strathfieldsaye was detained at Spithead by
strong adverse winds until 18th February 1836 when they weighed
anchor. They had a favourable passage down the channel and across
the Bay of Biscay. They passed to the eastward of Madeira and
approached too near to the Coast of Africa when they 'got entangled
among the Canary Islands'. On 3rd April they anchored at the harbour
at Cape of Good Hope and the next day had a narrow escape when they
weathered the breakers on the starboard shore. The surgeon was
greatly vexed at this second instance of want or caution or skill in
the Master who promised to pay more attention to the surgeon's
advice in the future.
They took in a supply of water, fresh
beef and vegetables and also six bullocks. One man died after a
short illness while near the Cape of Good Hope. They had a
fair average voyage to NSW and arrived on 15th June 1836.
24th and 25th June two hundred and sixty nine prisoners were landed
in a far better health than when they embarked according to the
surgeon. The surgeon remarked that there was not the slightest
disturbance during the voyage. The prisoners behaved with becoming
decorum and propriety and there was no instance of personal
Thomas Wilson related his methods of managing
the prisoners in his journal:
|As soon as they were received
on board they were divided into messes with 8 men in each
and properly arranged in their berths. Cooks and others were
selected from the most active among the prisoners. The irons
were removed from all the prisoners and they were allowed on
deck constantly from 7 am till nearly dark. The decks were
dry holystoned and hanging stoves kept burning between decks
throughout the day.
Thomas Braidwood Wilson was also employed as surgeon on
the convict ships Richmond in 1822 (VDL),
in 1824, Mangles
in 1826, Governor
Ready in 1829, John in 1830 (VDL) and Moffatt
in 1834 (VDL).
Notes and Links:
William Law/Low who arrived as a convict on the
sentenced to 15 years transportation at Cockatoo Island in 1845
after he was found guilty of robbing the
Crown and Anchor Inn
at New Freugh.
Hunter Valley convicts / passengers arriving on the
Strathfieldsaye in 1836
Convict ships bringing detachments of the 28th regiment included the
Marquis of Huntley,