was built at Liverpool in 1818.
On 22 April 1819
Dr Edward Trevor, superintendent and medical inspector
of convicts, wrote to William Gregory, Under Secretary,
Dublin Castle, concerning varied state of clothing and
health of the 310 convicts recently embarked on convict
ships Bencoolen and
Mary. He commented
on the condition of convicts sent from Newgate jail,
Dublin; Kilmainham jail, Dublin; and Cork city jail and
criticised in particular the 'filthy' state of prisoners
from Cork city jail, and their drunken behaviour. (1)
Bencoolen was the next
convict ship to leave Ireland for New South Wales after
the departure of the
in 1818. The Bencoolen sailed from the Cove of
Cork on 24 April 1819 with 150 male prisoners.
Military Guard consisted of Lieut. Prior and Ensign
Hayes of the 46th regiment and a detachment of the 46th
and 87th regiments.
Headquarters of the 46th
regiment commanded by Lieut-Col George James Molle
arrived on the Windham and other detachments arrived on
Sir William Bensley,
Marquis of Wellington,
Other detachments of the 87th regiment arrived
This was William Evans' second voyage as surgeon
superintendent on a convict ship. He kept a
Medical Journal from 13 April to 4 September 1819. He
recorded in the Journal a case of food poisoning that
took place on 7 - 9 June. The crew had caught a Dolphin
two days previously which was hung from the rigging for
a day without being gutted. Two of the guard were taken
ill and six of the crew. One of the prisoners was also
taken ill. The worst cases were of the sail maker and
Mrs. Clancey, the Sergeant's wife. They suffered with
languor, heaviness and faintness, pain in the bowels and
a copper colour to their faces with large wheals or
The Bencoolen arrived in Port
Jackson on 25 August 1819 with the convicts in excellent
health, none having died on the passage out. The voyage
took a total of 123 days and they sailed 15,762 miles.
The surgeon remarked on the good behaviour of the
prisoners. No corporal punishment had been necessary.
Regulations were drawn up at the start of the voyage and
a committee of 12 prisoners appointed to settle
disputes. He knew that other convict voyages had been
characterised as scenes of gambling and impropriety but
not a single pack of cards had been found on the
Bencoolen. Instead the prisoners paid great
attention to their prayer books and religious and moral
tracts. The surgeon believed their decency and propriety
of behaviour and submissiveness to all those placed over
them indicated they meant seriously to retrieve their
Classification of the
prisoners was by a separation of the young from the old.
The better behaved prisoners improved the manners of the
others, rather than being corrupted by them.
the 30th August, five days after arriving in Port
Jackson, Mr. Campbell came on board and mustered the
prisoners who said they were pleased with their
treatment and made no complaints. On the 4th September
the convicts were disembarked at daybreak, and the
guards at 9am.
The Sydney Gazette noted that the
prisoners landed from the various vessels (the
Mary and Bencoolen), during the
previous week appeared to be in a healthy and
comparatively happy condition. They spoke of the
kindness and humanity they received from the Commanders
and Officers in the most grateful terms of praise; who
expressed universal satisfaction at their orderly
conduct and exemplary good behaviour during the voyage.
In September 130 prisoners were trans shipped on
the 'Admiral Cockburn' to Hobart.
Bencoolen was to depart for Calcutta in October
Notes & Links:
1). Eighteen of
the Bencoolen convicts have been identified in
the Hunter Valley. Select
HERE to find out more about these men.
William Evans was also surgeon on the convict ships
Sir William Bensley
in 1821, Asia
Sir Godfrey Webster
Southworth in 1834 (VDL)
3). 150 convicts - 4 Protestants and 146
Henry Comerford later became overseer at the
limburner's camp and
Clerk to the Bench of Magistrates at Patterson's Plains.
Convicts received on board the Bencoolen at Cove of Cork
in Ireland - National Archives
Chief Secretary's Office Registered Papers, National