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Convict Ship Brothers 1827


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Convict Ship Brothers 1827

Embarked: 161 women
Voyage: 122
Deaths 3
Crew: 34 men
Surgeon's Journal - Yes
Previous vessel: Grenada arrived 23 January 1827
Next vessel: Albion arrived 14 February 1827
Captain Charles Motley
Surgeon Superintendent James Forrester
Follow the Female Convict Ship Trail
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Convicts and passengers of the Brothers identified in the Hunter Valley region

The Brothers was built at Whitby in 1815. [2] Prisoners were transported to New South Wales on the Brothers in 1824 and 1827. She was the next convict ship to leave Ireland for New South Wales after the departure of the Phoenix in August 1826 and the next female convict ship to leave Ireland after the Lady Rowena in January 1826.

Departure of the Brothers from Cork

The Brothers departed Cork on 3rd October 1826 with 161 female prisoners. Four families of convicts already in the colony came as free passengers-

Bridget Larkins + four children; Bridget Larkins came with a letter from her husband which was hoped would lead to his location having been assigned to Major Druitt.

Hannah Taylor + two children. Hannah Taylor's husband Bartholomew Taylor was a carpenter who sailed from Cove of Cork on the Hooghley 5 January 1825. He was transported for life for robbing a house in which a murder took place.

Mary Gilligahan + one child; Mary Gilligahan's husband Peter was a farmer's man who was transported for 7 years for stealing potatoes. He had been free for two years and had a grant of land at Seven Hill.

Margaret Byrne (Margaret Byrne was a girl of sixteen, who had been kept a number of years in the depot at Cork in order to be sent out to her father. She stated her father's name to be Thomas. He had been sent out 12 years previously as a ribbon man and her mother came as a free settler on the Thames, Captain Fraser, arriving 11 April 1826).

James Forrester's Medical Journal

Surgeon James Forrester kept a Medical Journal from 13 August 1826 to 15 February 1827. He treated the following women during the voyage.......

22 October 1826 - Honoria Peppard - Syphilus

5th November 1826 Bridget Dickson - Headache

5th November 1826 Catherine Hughes - Complications after sea sickness

26th November 1826 - Mary Keefe - thin slight woman. Vomiting

26th November 1826 - Mary Ann Stewart - pain in the abdomen

26th November 1826 - Elizabeth Callophan - Stout plethoric woman. Haemoptisis

26th November 1826 - Catherine Hennessey or Donovan. Slight little girl aged 19. Attacked at 10pm with violent spasmodic pain in the abdomen. Had been very dejected since embarkation. Remained unwell the entire voyage

26th November 1826 - Ellen Collins - Weak, thin woman age 34. Debilitated.

5th December 1826 - Catherine Donnelly - A thin, delicate woman. Complaining of headache and backache. Became progressively more deaf. Her countenance shrunk and she became unusually pale with a vacant stare and glassy eyes. She died on the 21st December 1826

7th December 1826 - Mary Ryan - Asthma and oedema. Stout woman. Died 28th January 1827

10th December 1826 - Rosanna Stephens, age 26. Violent spasmodic pain in the abdomen

15th December 1826 - Catherine Byrne age 19. Hysteria, Stout little girl aged 19 seized with spasms

15th December 1826 - Honora Shea aged 30. Diarrhoea ending in hysteria

1st January 1827 - Elizabeth Wilson age 19. A well developed little girl. Suffering Phthysis. Died 14th January 1827

21st December 1827 - Mary Keefe - Debility

4th January 1827 - Mary Brady age 20. Pneumonia. Large, strong plethoric woman. [1]

Some of the illnesses treated by the surgeon included syphilis, febris, tabes, diarrhoea, enteritis, haemoptysis, hysteria, anasarca, colic and phthisis.

Arrival in Port Jackson

The Brothers arrived in Port Jackson on 4 February 1827, a voyage of 122 days. A muster was held on board by Colonial Secretary Alexander McLeay on 7th February 1827.

Alexander McLeay Alexander McLeay

The indents include name, age, education, religion, marital status, family, native place, trade, offence, date and place of trial, sentence, prior convictions, physical description and where and to whom the women were assigned on arrival. There is also occasional information regarding relatives already in the colony, deaths and colonial crimes.

Ninety five of the prisoners were single women, all of child bearing age although only nine were recorded as having children. Many of the women had left children behind in Ireland. Those who brought children on the voyage with them included:

Isabella Allison; Julian or Judith Burke; Mary Buttler; Honorah Carthy; Mary Jackson; Mary Lynch; Ellen Murphy; Ellen Ramsey; Honora Reardon; Martha Sadler; Ann Smith alias Ferguson; Jane Taafe; and Mary or Margery Treel.

One of the prisoners, Ann Byrne was supposed to have come on the Lady Rowena however had the remark 'not embarked' beside her name. She was tried in Dublin on 18th August 1825 and sentenced to 7 years transportation. Bridget Leonard was tried at the same time for the same offence. Bridget Leonard was transported on the Lady Rowena however Ann Byrne came on the Brothers. She was later required to prove her identity as the indent on the Brothers stated she was a prisoner for life instead of 7 years.

Prisoners Disembarked

After they were disembarked the prisoners were either assigned privately to settlers or sent to the Female Factory at Parramatta.

Parramatta Female Factory

Departure of the Brothers from Sydney

After disembarking the prisoners the Brothers was engaged to sail to Batavia - The Sydney Monitor recorded the attempted voyage:

Captain Motley of the Brothers on returning to port, after an ineffectual attempt to make the Western Passage through Torres Straits to Batavia, spoke of the weather he experienced as dreadful beyond description; such as during his course of Navigation he had never before experienced; for 50 hours his vessel laboured under a heavy gale, which Capt. M. believes to have strained and otherwise injured her, more than an ordinary passage from England to New South Wales and back again would have done. Notwithstanding all these difficulties he continued his endeavours to beat round the land with extraordinary determination, till at length Hope forsook him, and the safety of crew and vessel compelled him to shape his course back to Port Jackson. She resumed her voyage on Tuesday last.

The Brothers was one of five convict ships bringing female prisoners to New South Wales in 1827, however she was the only vessel bringing Irish convicts in that year. The other female convict ships arriving in 1827 were the Grenada, Princess Charlotte, Louisa, and Harmony. Over five hundred female prisoners arrived in the colony in 1827.

James Forrester was also employed as surgeon superintendent on the convict ships Southworth in 1832 and lost his life on the ill-fated voyage of the Amphitrite in 1833.

Notes and Links

1). Mary Barry's husband William Barry arrived on the Phoenix in 1826. Mary Barry died in 1833

2). Recorder's Court - Wednesday - Martha Saddler was next put to the bar, charged with stealing a gold watch with suitable appendages, from Wm. Kernan, Esq., Mr. Kernan deposed his having met a female in Capel Street, who after accosting him, took his watch, which, when produced, he identified; he admitted that he was in an inebriated state, to which he attributed his present inability to identify the heroine at the bar as the person with whom he had an interview; he also stated, that he did not feel a hand near his pocket; but that in five minutes after his conversation wit the woman whom he met, he missed his watch. James Power one of the Police Cavalry, stated that on the morning of the 7th inst., when passing through Francis street a group of suspicious persons, in deep and private conversation, arrested his attention; after which he at a distance, followed them up to Thomas Street, where a man named Hetherington, in company with the prisoner, entered a corner shop, and tendered for sale a gold watch, which witness, with some difficulty, wrested from him and conveyed both him the prisoner at the bar and the watch to Arran Quay Police Office, from whence they were committed to Newgate after the watch was claimed by the last witness. The jury, without a moment's hesitation found the prisoner guilty who was then sentenced to transportation for seven years. Hetherington convicted of receiving the said watch, was then sentence to twelve months imprisonment. - Freeman's Journal 30th March 1826

3). Sarah Cramsie and Thomas Boyle, for stealing 10 10s, the property of John McQuillan, the prosecutor stated that he was in Belfast on 16th October, when he met with Cramsie in passing through an entry - she said she had not broken her fast; and wished him to give her something - he had nown her ten years before, and she was come of decent parents - he gave her a tenpenny - two boys were with her - one of them 9not on his trial) seized him by the neckcloth and almost choaked him - the prisoner Boyle held him by the arm, while Cramsie took his notes out of his pocket - both Guilty; transported 7 years. - Belfast Newsletter 29 March 1825

4). Convicts and passengers of the Brothers identified in the Hunter Valley region

5). Seventeen convict ships arrived in New South Wales in 1827 - Grenada, Brothers, (F) Albion, Midas, Mariner, Countess of Harcourt, Guildford, Marquis of Hastings, Princess Charlotte, Manlius, Cambridge, Harmony, Prince Regent, Champion, Eliza, John and the Louisa

6). Ten tons of Copper coin for the use of the Colony arrived on the Brothers.

7). National Archives - Reference: ADM 101/13/7 Description: Medical and surgical journal of the Brothers convict ship for 13 August 1826 to 15 February 1827 by James [Toncster?], Surgeon and Superintendent, during which time the said ship was employed in transporting female convicts to New South Wales.

8). Transportation of Female Convicts


[1] UK, Royal Navy Medical Journals, 1817-1857. Medical Journal of James Forrester on the voyage of the Brothers in 1827. The National Archives. Kew, Richmond, Surrey.

[2] Bateson, Charles Library of Australian History (1983). The convict ships, 1787-1868 (Australian ed). Library of Australian History, Sydney : pp.346-347, 385

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