|The Whitby was the next convict
ship to leave Ireland for New South Wales after the departure of the
Margaret in September
John Kidd kept a Medical Journal from 5 February to 2
The first case he dealt with
was of eighteen year old Eliza McKey who was treated for hysteria on
9th February, before the ship even set sail. (National
Archives). Judith Tracey, a thin delicate woman aged 24 was also
treated while the ship still lay in Kingstown Harbour.
departed Dublin on 18 February 1839 with 133 female prisoners and
twenty five children. Over the next few months many of the women
were treated for either bowel complaints or catarrh. The surgeon in
his summary reported that the general state of health of the
convicts during the voyage was good. Several of the women were old
and infirm and many of the children young and delicate. Two died, a
woman Mary Hennessey on 5th June and a child.
prisoners when disembarked had a much more robust and healthy
appearance than when they came on board at Dublin which may be
ascribed to the way in which they were provisioned and the general
system of cleanliness, ventilation and measures adopted.
The Whitby anchored in Watson's Bay on the night of
Saturday 22nd June 1839, after a voyage of 125 days. The printed
convict indents reveal such information as name, age, education,
religion, marital status, family, native place, occupation, offence,
when and where tried, sentence, former convictions and physical
description. There are occasional details about family members
already in the colony; there is no information as to where or to
whom the women were assigned on arrival however out of 132 women
landed in Sydney only 25 were married. There were ninety women who
gave their status as single and another 17 who were widows. Some of
the single women were married within a year or two of arrival. Most
of them were married by the mid 1840's.
Monitor reported that - the female convicts per the ship
Whitby, were landed yesterday (2nd July) at H.M. Dockyard.
Broughton and Bishop Poulding were present, and addressed an
admonitory exhortation to the women of their respective persuasions.
There were several ladies of rank in the colony present, besides
others who were waiting to take delivery of the women assigned to
them. The Colonel was there, of course. After the assigned were
delivered over to their respective assignees, agreeably to the
Government regulations, the remainder amounting in number to forty,
were ordered to be forwarded that evening to
Parramatta Female Factory.
These forty women were probably the married women and widows and
Notes and Links:
1). Reports and
Evidence taken on the Inquiry before the Chief Remembrancer relative
to the Mode of conducting the Convict Service in Ireland.......
...Click on the text to read more
2). About thirteen of the women have been
identified residing in the Hunter region. Select
HERE to find more about prisoners and passengers of the Whitby.
3). John Kidd was also surgeon on the convict ship Egyptian in 1840
(VDL), Emma Eugenia in 1841 (VDL) and the Nile in
4). The Whitby was one of five convict ships bringing
female prisoners to New South Wales in 1839, the others being the
Mary Ann and
A total of 727 female prisoners arrived in the colony in 1839.