The Albion was built at Bristol in 1813. Convicts were transported to Van Diemen's Land on the Albion in 1823 and to New South Wales in 1827 and 1828.
The Prisoners came from counties in England and Scotland. Some of the men who were transferred from the Retribution hulk at Woolwich to the Albion on the 16th September included James Atherton, Richard Leeming, William Mitchell, John Greenwood, John Shuttleworth, Richard Pennington, Thomas Percival, Joseph Hart, John Badger, Thomas Palmer, John Linforth, Henry Bullock, William Bowes, Thomas Throp, Henry Pope, William Bairstow, William Bagnall, Edward Sugden, Thomas Clegg, Charles Jebson, Francis Fenwick and William Grayson.
It was reported in the London Morning Post on 20th September 1826 that a detachment of the 39th regiment was ordered to embark at Sheerness as Guard on the Albion. The Guard was under orders of Capt. Francis Crotty of the 39th. Assistant Surgeon James Evans of 57th regiment came passenger.
Departure of the Albion
The Albion departed Portsmouth on 4th October 1826.
Arrival in Port Jackson
It was a warm pleasant day on 14th February 1827 when the Albion arrived in Port Jackson. The men were mustered on board the ship on 17th February by Colonial Secretary Alexander McLeay. Convict indents include prisoners' name, age, education, religion, marital status, family, native place, trade, offence, when and where tried, sentence, prior convictions, place/to whom assigned and occasional information of colonial sentences and tickets of leave.
The Australian reported on 1st March: The male prisoners from the Albion were landed yesterday forenoon. Those which arrived by the Midas will be landed this morning. The whole of the prisoners are ordered for distribution. There are but few mechanics among them. They are for the most part labouring men.
This was an interesting assessment by the editor of the newspaper for while there were many farmer's men, ploughmen, errand boys, shepherds and labourers there were also quite a number of skilled workers. Some of the following are the occupations they gave ....brassfounder, blacksmith, whitesmith, cabinet maker, paper maker, stonemason, brazier, plumber, butcher, cork cutter, table knife cutler, tallow chandler, foundry and steam engine worker and sugar baker. Quite a few had also worked in the textile industry - stocking weavers, a needle bobbin maker, button makers, cotton spinners, cotton weavers, calico printers, ribbon weaver, cloth weaver, carpet weaver, leg horn hat presser, frame worker, horse hair manufacturer, silk dresser and fustian cutter.
Despite their varied occupations, unless they had a particular skill such as John Fordham, a printer's compositor who was assigned directly to Robert Howe at the Sydney Gazette, they were likely to be assigned to settlers to work as agricultural labourers and shepherds.
Several were assigned to the Australian Agricultural Company.....John Dodd, John Dunnivan, Thomas Harrison, Henry Horton, Thomas Leeson, John Linforth, Peter Lomax, John Mathieson, William Maulden, John McGraghe, John McNichol, John Murphy, Joseph Perara, Charles Simpson, John Tipping and Thomas Williams. The Company's holdings were in the Port Stephens district at this time. They did not expand north to the Liverpool Plains until the 1830s and their Newcastle coal mine wasn't operating until 1831, so the men who were assigned would probably have been employed as shepherds and agricultural workers on the Port Stephens land.
From the Sydney Gazette - 'There is a considerable number of young delinquents on board the Albion. On an inspection of the prisoners, which took place on Thursday last, by the Honorable Mr. McLeay, one precocious youth, in particular, of not more than 14 years of age, as he, himself stated, was asked, amongst other questions, how often he had been tried. He replied, four times! 'What trade are you?' was the next interrogatory. He had not been taught any. 'What were you brought up to?' said Mr. McLeay. 'To thieving your Honour!
The youngest prisoner on the Albion was John Brelsford a thirteen year old errand boy from Liverpool who was tried in Lancaster and sentenced to 7 years transportation for stealing in a dwelling house. He was 4ft 1' in height when he arrived and grew to be 5ft 5in. In 1830 he had three years added to his sentence for robbing a hut at Sutton Forest. He was sent to Cockatoo Island where he was to remain until he became free which would not be until June 1845. Other boys who were transported on the Albion included Thomas Kent who was tried in Hertford and was 15; John McGregor from Edinburgh was 16; Henry Moir from London was 15; Thomas Percival from Lancaster was 16; James Thomas from London was 16; John Wilday from Warwick was 15. They were all sent to the Carter's Barracks on arrival.
Location of Carter's Barracks.......
Departure from the Colony
The Albion departed the colony on 29th March bound for Batavia via Hobart lading eight casks of sea elephant oil, 100 chests of tea and an organ for St. John's Church, Launceston. Passengers D.A.C.G. Wemyss, Mrs Wemyss servant, Ensign Lewis and Charles Cowper. The Albion returned to Sydney from Hobart on 12th May with sheep, potatoes, wool, kangaroo skins and passengers including D.A.C.G. Wymss, Charles Cowper, Captain Dumaresq, Mr. Flahety, Mr. Townsend, Dr. Tytler and son, Mr. Day and steerage passengers.
Notes and Links
1). James Frazer arrived on the Albion. With the aid of another prisoner, he escaped from the colony. The Sydney Gazette reported on 28 February 1833.....Charles Robert Kelly, a prisoner of the crown, and one of the crew of the Custom House Boats, was brought before the Worships charged with having aided and assisted in the escape from the Colony of James Frazer, a prisoner of the Crown for life who held a ticket of exemption for the last eighteen months. Several witnesses were called whose evidence went to show that there had been some slight intimacy between the prisoners and Frazer, and that he had represented Frazer to be free. Mr. Raymond gave the prisoner a good character for activity and general good conduct and had known him to refuse money in similar transactions. Their Worships intimating to the prisoner that the evidence had been insufficient to commit him, he was discharged. James Frazer was apprehended in London in 1833 and again sentenced to transportation, this time for life for escaping. He arrived back in the colony on the
Fairlie in 1834. In November 1836.....Our readers may remember that a prisoner of the crown for life named James Frazer, some years since very coolly went to the Custom House, and cleared himself as a passenger for London by a ship then on the point of sailing; he reached London in safety, but was captured a few days afterwards coming out of his mother's house, when, a good round sum of money was found upon him. He was again convicted of returning before the expiration of his sentence, and forwarded to this Colony. When he absconded he was considerably indebted to several merchants, he carrying on the business of a general dealer, the Government have now come to the equitable conclusion that the money found upon him when apprehended in London shall be fully divided as far as may be practicable among his creditors. ' (Sydney Gazette 1 November 1836)
2). Several prisoners had been tried in Scotland - Robert Hall from Edinburgh was first transported to VDL on the Atlas in 1816. He was re-transported on the Albion in 1827. He died in Sydney Hospital in 1834.
3). Other prisoners tried in Scotland (some gave their native place as Ireland) included George Dodds, Charles Lamard ; Duncan McCarthur; John McGregor; David Malligan; John Mathieson; Andrew Marten; Thomas McKenna; Denis Murphy; Trafalgar Neilson McPherson; Charles O'Neil; David Robertson and John Stoddart.
4). Francis Cashel Crotty - Deaths - On the 29th of May last at Abele Grove, Epsom, the residence of his brother in law the Rev. J. Wellings, Francis Cashel Crotty, Esq., Major of His Majesty's 39th Regiment of Foot, quartered at Bangalore, Madras, whence he returned by the ship Wellington. - Sydney Gazette 30 October 1834
5). Return of Convicts of the Albion assigned between 1st January 1832 and 31st March 1832 (Sydney Gazette 14 June 1832; 21 June 1832; 28 June 1832)..... ..
Thomas Clegg - Painter and glazier assigned to J.B. Bettington at Sydney
John Evans - Factory boy assigned to Thomas Bray at Concord
James Grier - Bricklayer assigned to R. Lambert at Bathurst
John King - Silk dresser assigned to Donald McLeod at Argyle
Frederick Needham - Bargeman assigned to Major Rhode at Waterloo Mills
6). Convict ships bringing detachments of the 39th regiment included the following............
Regalia departed Dublin 16 March 1826. Lieutenant William Sacheverell Coke
England departed the Downs 6 May 1826. Major George Pitt D'Arcy