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Convict Ship Camden 1833

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Select from the Links below to find information about Convict Ships arriving in New South Wales, Norfolk Island and Van Diemen's Land between the years 1788 and 1850

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Embarked 200 men
Voyage 149 days
Deaths 2
Surgeon's Journal - Yes
Tons: 450
Previous vessel: Roslin Castle arrived 5 February 1833
Next vessel: Surry arrived 9 March 1833
Captain George Clayton  
Surgeon Superintendent Joseph Steret

The Camden was built on the Thames in 1799. Convicts were transported to New South Wales on the Camden in 1831 and 1833. (2)

Joseph Steret kept a Medical Journal from 11 September 1832 to 8 March 1833. He joined the Camden on 11 September 1832 at Deptford.


On the 15th September the vessel moved down to Woolwich where the Surgeon examined 100 convicts on the various prison hulks - 60 men at the Justitia; 20 men at the Discovery; and 20 at the Ganymede. They were sent on board the Camden that same day and the Camden then moved down to Sheerness and another 100 prisoners from the Retribution, Cumberland and Euryalis hulks were received on board  on 17th September 1832.

In his journal Joseph Steret remarked on the prisoners' enthusiasm to be taken to New South Wales.......

In general those marked down for this vessel were young healthy and in my opinion well calculated to bear the voyage. In a few days I found that my friends at the hulks contrived to palm off several with ulcers notwithstanding my utmost care. The Masters in more than one instance placed the Irons with which the prisoners came on board immediately on the diseased leg, which formed a good excuse for not taking the stockings off completely. At the Justitia hulk also they managed to put on an old man passing him off for fifty two; when he was shaved and cleaned and he must 'pass the Doctor' he looked mighty smart. However I found that he was over sixty. It is worthy noting that only two men out of two hundred expressed any reluctance to go (to NSW), one on account of his wife and family the other that he did not wish to leave England. All the rest were happy at the prospect of quitting the country and four or five whom I was obliged to reject begged vehemently to be permitted to accompany us
.   (1)


The guard consisted of 29 rank and file of 21st regiment., accompanied by 5 women and 10 children under orders of Major Thomas Fairweather. 


Passengers included Lieut. Duff and Dr. Davidson; John Wilson, Church Missionary Mrs. Wilson and 2 children for New Zealand.



They departed London on 22 September but did not reach Plymouth until the 5th October, having been in considerable danger from a severe gale on the night of the 2nd October. They departed Plymouth on 13th October 1832.  

In December after almost three months at sea, the change in climate together with some wet and blowing weather caused a great variety of disease. The effects of the confinement of food also began to be felt by the convicts.


In January they were round the Cape of Good Hope and continued running on the same parallel. Symptoms of sea scurvy began to manifest themselves, and did not abate until they reached their destination and procured fresh supplies.


The Camden arrived in Port Jackson on 18th February 1833. Some of the convicts were sent to the Hospital on arrival.  



1). Edward Davis alias George Wilkinson arrived on the Camden. He later joined a gang of bushrangers who became known as the Jew boy gang.  

2). Hunter Valley convicts & passengers arriving on the Camden in 1833

3). Major Fairweather served as Commandant at Launceston, Tasmania from 4 January 1834 to 23 April 1835.

4). Convict ships bringing detachments of the 21st regiment (Royal Scotch Fusiliers) and Officer in command of the Guard....

Mary departed London 4 September 1832  - Captain Daniels 21st regt.,

Roslin Castle departed Cork 8 October 1832 - Lieuts. Bayley & Pieter L. Campbell. 21st

Andromeda departed Portsmouth 17 November 1832  - Lieuts. Lonsdale & Armstrong 21st regt.,

Mangles departed London 14 December 1832 London

Asia departed the Downs 21 February 1833  - Lieuts. Kelly and Wilson of 6th regt.,

Lord Lyndoch departed Sheerness June 1833  - Lieut-Col. Leahy. Headquarters of 21st

Royal Admiral departed Dublin 4 June 1833  - Lieut. Ainslie 21st regt.,

Aurora departed Portsmouth 4 July 1833 Major Delisle 4th regt.,

Java departed Cork 24 July 1833  - Lieut. Wrixon, 21st regt.,

Neva departed Plymouth 29 July 1833  - Lieut. McEdwin 1st or Queens Own regt.,

Lloyds departed the Downs 25 August 1833  - Lieut. McKnight 21st regt.,

Fairlie departed England 27 October 1833  

Bengal Merchant departed 28 March 1838 - Lieut. Dear of 21st regt.,     

5). John and Ann Wilson became Missionaries in New Zealand..... Te Puna - A New Zealand Mission Station: Historical Archaeology in New Zealand By Angela Middleton.........

6). National Archives. Reference: ADM 101/15/7 Description: Medical journal of the Camden, convict ship, for 11 September 1832 to 8 March 1833 by Joseph Steret, surgeon and superintendent, during which time the said ship was employed in a passage to Sydney, New South Wales, with 200 male convicts.


1. Journal of Joseph Steret. UK, Royal Navy Medical Journals, 1817-1857 Original data:  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.350-51.