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Convict Ship Admiral Gambier 1808


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Convict Ship Admiral Gambier 1808

Embarked 200 men
Voyage 171 days
Deaths 3
Surgeon's Journal - No
Previous vessel: Speke arrived 16 November 1808
Next vessel: Aeolus arrived 26 January 1809
Master Edward Harrison
Prisoners and passengers of the Admiral Gambier identified in the Hunter Valley region

The Admiral Gambier was built at Jarrow in 1807. She was taken up by the East India Company in 1808 and engaged to convey convicts to New South Wales. She departed Portsmouth on 2 July 1808 with 200 male convicts and arrived in Port Jackson on 20 December 1808.

The Convicts

The prisoners of the Admiral Gambier were gathered from Counties throughout England - Bedford, Sussex, York, Somerset, London etc.

Many had been held in the prison hulks for quite some time. Joseph Woodhouse having been tried on 2 July 1806 was sent to the Retribution Hulk in October. He remained there until embarked on the Admiral Gambier on 7 May 1808.

Drawing of two convict hulks at quayside steps, one HMS Retribution, with colour notesDrawing of two convict hulks? at quayside steps, one HMS Retribution

William Marsden and James Butler were tried at Middlesex in 1807. They were held on the Captivity Hulk...

Hulk Register for the Captivity, 4 April 1807 (HO 9/8 folio 52). National ArchivesHulk Register for the Captivity, 4 April 1807 (HO 9/8 folio 52)

Others were held in Newgate prison and transferred to the Hulks for only a couple of days before being sent to the ship. James Bullock, Thomas Ellis, John Peake, Thomas Buckley, John Homer, John Hartup, Lewis Solomon, James Clarkson, James Frost, Charles Vining, Daniel Buckley and Thomas Wheeler had all been tried in London and were among those who only spent a short time on the hulk.

There was a female prisoner from Scotland listed in the indents of the Admiral Gambier - Betty Murray (alias Baillie, alias Barclay) was from Perthshire and sentenced to 7 years transportation on 6th May 1806, however she may have been transported on the Aeolus.

Other prisoners from Scotland transported on the Admiral Gambier included Robert Dow; Richard Hamilton; John MacFarlane; John McLeod; James Monison and John Smith who were all tried in Edinburgh.

Three prisoners had been court-martialled at Guernsey - Enst Schmidt, Henry Rose and James Griffiths. James McDonald was court-martialled at Newfoundland and Francis Austen, John Moffett and John Cullen at Messina.

Transportation Record - National Archives

Transportation Register Admiral Gambier - National Archives

(More about Transportation Records)

Military Guard

Passengers and Guard included Lieut. Bernard Martin Senior(1) and 34 troops of the New South Wales Corps. Ensign Senior had been promoted to Lieutenant by purchase on 27th February 1808. (HR NSW Vol., VI. p 817)


The Admiral Gambier departed Portsmouth 2 July 1808 in company with a West India fleet under convoy of His Majesty's ship Polyphemus, 64 guns; two Portuguese frigates; three gun brigs.


At Madeira she departed in company with the Juno whaler, and Aeolus transport, the latter having between 70 and 80 female prisoners on board.

Rio de Janeiro

The Admiral Gambier got into Rio de Janeiro on the 8th of September. A man previously apprehended at Rio who was suspected of being one of the mutineers of the Lady Shore was embarked

The Admiral Gambier sailed with the Juno 6th of October, leaving the Aeolus at Rio. After a day or two the Admiral Gambier parted with the Juno, but joined again within a few days sail of Port Jackson, the Juno having fallen in with heavy gales, and much damaged in her rigging and boats.

Arrival at Port Jackson

The Admiral Gambier and the Speke were the only two convict ships to arrive in New South Wales in 1808. The Admiral Gambier arrived in Port Jackson on 22 December 1808 with 197 male prisoners.


The prisoners were landed in good health and spirits. The Indent for the Admiral Gambier includes the name of the convict where and when convicted, term of transportation, and identifying number of tickets of leave, conditional and absolute pardons of some of the prisoners.

Departure from Port Jackson

The Admiral Gambier departed for England on 28 March 1809. She was wrecked in the Mozambique Channel on 20 June 1817.

Notes and Links

1). One of the early Bushrangers of the Hunter Region, Isaac Walker, arrived on the Admiral Gambier. In his time he kept company with some of the most desperate, depraved prisoners in the colony and in consequence suffered at the worst of the penal colonies including Newcastle (where he absconded from the Limeburner's gang in 1814), Port Macquarie and Macquarie Harbour in Van Diemen's Land. He was eventually executed with several other desperadoes in June 1824 in Van Diemen's Land.

2). Edward Young who arrived on the Admiral Gambier was sent as a prisoner to Newcastle in 1811. A bricklayer by trade, he assisted in the building of some of the lime kilns.

3). In 1811 two prisoners of the Duke of Portland Henry Millson and William Brown together with Robert Dawson alias Leeche of the Admiral Gambier and Benjamin Cordell escaped from Norfolk Island on the ship New Zealander. (HRA, Vol. VIII) 4).

4). Admiral Gambier convicts identified in the Hunter Valley region:

Thomas Berry - Hertford 1806

Mark Doolan - Portsmouth 1805

Thomas Edmonds - Somerset 1807

James Griffiths - Guernsey 1807

William Grose / Gross/ Smith - Middlesex 1805

Henry Paul Harry - Monmouth 1807

Henry Joyce - Guernsey 1807

Samuel Levy/ Lazarus/ Jones - Stafford 1806

Uriah Monks - Hertford 1806

William Noble - Middlesex 1805

George ParryMonmouth 1807

Richard Potter / Porter - Surrey 1807

William Powers - Warwick 1807

Isaac Walker - Bedford 1807

Stephen Waters - Sussex 1807

William White - York 1806

Edward Williams - Middlesex 1806

William Williams - Somerset 1807

Joseph Woodhouse - London 1806

Edward Young - Lincoln 1807

5). National Archives - Notes 1. Approximately 278 convicts are recorded in folios 405-418 of HO 11/1 (202 male; 76 female). These convicts were transported on the Admiral Gambier and the Eolus (also spelt Aeolus) in July 1808. Folio 411 (transcribed above) records 22 of the 200 convicts transported on the Admiral Gambier, of which 197 reportedly arrived in Sydney on 20 December 1808 (3 male convicts presumed dead en route). All of the convicts on the Eolus landed safely on 26 January 1809.

6). Biographical Database of Australia....Transportation Registers [TR] Some convict lists remained in England and are now found in The National Archives, London. One series of records known as the Transportation Registers were microfilmed under the Australian Joint Copying Project and are available in major Australian libraries, such as the State Library in Sydney and the National Library of Australia in Canberra. State Records NSW also hold some of these microfilm reels. The Transportation Registers are located as follows: The National Archives, London: Home Office - Criminal; Convict Transportation Registers - Convicts Transported 1787 - 1809 (PRO ref: HO 11/1; PRO Reel 87) The National Archives, London: Home Office - Criminal; Convict Transportation Registers - Convicts Transported 1810-1817 (PRO ref: HO 11/2; PRO Reel 87)

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