Free Settler or Felon
Convict and Colonial History

Convict Ship Sydney Cove - 1807

Embarked: 113 women; 4 men
Voyage: 158
Deaths 3
Surgeon's Journal: no
Tons: 282
Previous vessel: Alexander arrived 20 August 1806
Next vessel: Duke of Portland arrived 27 July 1807
Master William Edwards.
Surgeon Mr. Cleghorn
Follow the Female Convict Ship Trail
Prisoners and passengers of the Sydney Cove identified in the Hunter Valley

The Sydney Cove was built at Rotterdam in 1803. Lloyds Register for the year 1808 shows the owner of the Sydney Cove to be Thomas William Plummer, although this was later disputed and ownership was confirmed to have been Kable and Co., a company formed by Simeon Lord, James Underwood and Henry Kable. [3]

In December 1806 the following curious article appeared in Finn's Leinster Journal....

On Wednesday Earl Spencer delivered to his Majesty, at the Levee, a list of about 130 convicts now in Newgate, ready to be transported to Botany Bay for seven and fourteen years. His Majesty was graciously pleased to approve of the whole list. They are all females except six. [1]

Some of the abovementioned prisoners may have been those embarked on the Sydney Cove. They came from counties throughout England including Cornwall, Wiltshire, Lincolnshire, Lancaster, Northampton, Surry, Southampton, Somerset and London. Six women had been tried in Scotland.

Cabin Passengers

Passengers included Mr. Mills of the Royal Navy who later became harbour master at Port Dalrymple, Mr. and Mrs. Joseph Underwood and family, with Mr. Samuel Foster and several other settlers. Sarah Bird arrived as a free passenger.


The Sydney Cove departed Falmouth on 11th January 1807

Charles Bateson in the Convicts Ships lists 113 female prisoners and 4 male prisoners as having embarked in England and three females dying on the passage. The Sydney Gazette reported 109 females embarked and three died on the passage.

Port Jackson

The Sydney Cove arrived at Port Jackson on Thursday 18 June 1807, ten months after the arrival of the previous female transport Alexander which arrived in August 1806. Governor Bligh reported the arrival to William Windham in correspondence dated 31st October 1807 -

The Convicts by the Duke of Portland and Sydney Cove arrived as well as could be expected, and have been allotted to the different Settlers, to the general advantage of the agricultural parts of the Colony. (5)

Historical Records of Australia in a list of General Cargo, reported 106 female convicts arriving......

As well as 106 female convicts the Sydney Cove carried a cargo of 47 coils of cordage, 10 anchors, 2 casks of blocks, 100 Ash Oars, 22 Barrels of Pitch tar and Rosin, 4 Punetlets of Paint, 4 pair of Millstones, 10 cases of Muskets, 1 Case of musket Balls, 1 Package of Sand Paper, 1 Package of Razors and 27 Boxes of Candles on account of Government, 1 Box of Stationary and 1 Box of Coopers Tools. [2]

Later the surgeon Mr. Cleghorn was employed at the Hospital at Parramatta. He is mentioned in the correspondence of Surgeon Jamison to Viscount Castlereagh in 1807: ........

I further beg leave to represent that the colony is greatly distressed for want of assistant surgeons. I have been under the necessity of employing a Mr. Daniel McCallam to assist me in the discharge of my duty at the General Hospital, where being, since Mr. Wentworth's suspension, only one established assistant surgeon in the colony, who is doing duty at Parramatta. I applied to Mr. Cleghorn and Mr. Barr, who came out surgeons of the transport ships Sydney Cove and Duke of Portland, but neither of them would remain. They appeared disgusted with the treatment medical gentlemen meet with in this remote settlement, and the salary is inadequate to their maintenance, Government allowing only five shillings per day to the junior assistant surgeons. They really cannot exist on that pittance[4]

Departure from Port Jackson

The Sydney Cove departed Port Jackson bound for England in October 1807. Francis Williams, agent for Simeon Lord advertised his intention to depart on the Sydney Cove, as did Mr. I. Fleming, James Underwood, Robert Cain, John James and Mary Hewitt. John Mitchell and Elizabeth Thompson (with His Majesty's Permission) also intended to leave on the Sydney Cove.

Governor Bligh in a despatch to William Windham dated 1st October 1807 informed him of others whose intention it was to leave the colony on the Sydney Cove:
In addition to my Letter of yesterday's date, I consider it necessary to inform you that the following persons leave this colony in the Sydney Cove: James Underwood, formerly a convict, but now a trader concerned with a Simeon Lord, and a bad character; also, Francis Williams and Richard Rawlinson who were left here by the Lucy Privateer, and I ordered out of the Colony. These men, I apprehend will apply to become Settlers - if they do, I beg leave to request they may not be allowed the indulgence., I have etc. Wm Bligh. [6]

Notes and Links

1). Hunter Valley convicts / passengers arriving on the Sydney Cove in 1807

2). Convict Jane Craig was granted a Certificate of Freedom in 1810.

3). Samuel Foster came free per Sydney Cove. Granted a licence to retail wines and spirits in Sydney in 1810.

4). Thomas Lawrence came free per Sydney Cove. Employed as cooper to Simeon Lord in 1810

5). Reuben Uther - Came free per Sydney Cove - Merchant of Sydney

6). Select English Admiralty Reports to read more about ownership of the vessel

7). At Liverpool Quarter Sessions, there were thirty two prisoners convicted, of whom fifteen were females. Nine were sentenced to be transported and the others to different terms of imprisonment at Preston and Liverpool. Mary Campbell (a servant) and her accomplice, Bridget Wallace, for stealing several articles belonging to the former's master, were two of those sentenced to seven years transportation. - Lancaster Gazette 2 February 1805.

8). Prisoners and passengers of the Sydney Cove mentioned in the Colonial Secretary's correspondence:

Elizabeth Askins - Petition for mitigation of sentence in 1810
Valentine Austin - On list of convicts sentenced to transportation
Mary Bendall (Burne)- Petition for mitigation of sentence in 1810
Sarah Bird - Publican in 1815. Married George William Howe
Jane Brown - Sentence to transportation in 1820
Ann Butcher - Petition for mitigation of sentence in 1811. Sent to Newcastle in Dec 1811 and remained until 1813
Nelly Carty - Granted Certificate of Freedom Nov. 1813
Ann Cock - On list of prisoners sentenced to transportation in 1820
Hannah Edmunds - Produce received from the Hawkesbury Stores in 1809
Jane Ferriday - Married to John Pike of Parramatta (1820)
Ann Flaherty -Sent to Newcastle in Jan 1817. Paid from Police Fund for house at Newcastle required for Govt. use in 1818
Charlotte Fussell - Affidavit re loss of ticket of leave Elizabeth Gray - Received Certificate of Freedom April 1813
Elizabeth Griffiths - Affidavit re loss of Certificate of Freedom in 1823.
Judith Kelly - Petition for mitigation of sentence in 1810. Embarked on the Kangaroo for the Derwent in April 1816
Ann Killick - Petition for mitigation of sentence in November 1819. To be granted an absolute pardon in November 1825
Mary Lee - Received Certificate of Freedom in April 1813
Isabella Mathum - Received Certificate of Freedom in November 1813
Mary McGuire - Received conditional pardon from Lieut. Gov. Foveaux in 1808
Susannah Nock - Sentenced to transportation in 1820
Sarah Papps - Sentenced to transportation in 1820
Sarah Porter - Granted Certificate of Freedom in 1810
Mary Pullen - Petition for mitigation of sentence in January 1810
Charlotte Rochenskie - Affidavit re loss of her certificate of Freedom
Eleanor Russell - Received certificate of Freedom in November 1813
Elizabeth Todd - On list of convicts sentenced to transportation in 1820
Harriett Todd - On list of convicts sentenced to transportation in 1820
Ann Wilson - On list of prisoners to be sent to Newcastle in July 1814

9) The six women who were tried in Scotland were :

Catherine, wife of John McLeod. Alias Catherine Baird. Tried Edinburgh Court of Justiciary
Katherine Robertson wife of Duncan Stewart tried at Edinburgh Court of Justiciary
Agnes Wardrop tried at Glasgow Court of Justiciary
Christian Stewart tried at Glasgow Court of Justiciary
Jean Craig tried at Glasgow Court of Justiciary
Agnes Wilson alias Agnes Robertson, wife of Charles Lawrie tried at Stirling

10). Ann Parker was tried at the Exeter Castle on 28th July 1806. She received a sentence of death for stealing money, the property of William Hull. She was reprieved and her sentence was commuted to 7 years transportation.

11). Resources used to create Convict Ship pages


[1] Finn's Leinster Journal 3 December 1806

[2] HRA, Series 1, vol. VI, p. 194

[3] Entwisle, Peter, Taka: A Vignette Life of William Tucker 1784-1817 : Convict, Sealer, Trader, p.49

[4] HR NSW, Vol. VI, p.329

[5] HRA Vol. VI, p. 182

[6] HRA, Vol. VI, p.142