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Convict Ship Camden 1833


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Convict Ship Camden 1833

Embarked 200 men
Voyage 149 days
Deaths 2
Surgeon's Journal - Yes
Previous vessel: Roslin Castle arrived 5 February 1833
Next vessel: Surry arrived 9 March 1833
Captain George Clayton
Surgeon Superintendent Joseph Steret
Prisoners and passengers of the Camden identified in the Hunter Valley region
The Camden was built on the Thames in 1799. [2] Prisoners were transported to Australia on the Camden in 1831 and 1833. The Camden was wrecked in 1836.

The Convicts

The convicts came from counties in England, Scotland and Wales - Warwick, London, Chester, Berks, Kent, Oxford, Stafford, Cumberland, Lancaster, Leicester, Essex, Middlesex, Nottingham, Gloucester, York, Sussex, Durham, Bucks, Herts, Bedford, Devon, Huntingdon, Derby, Lincoln, Surrey, Bristol, Salop, Radnor, Jedburgh, Aberdeen, Inverness, Dumfries, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Perth, Glamorgan, Montgomery, Carmarthen and Monmouth.

Military Guard

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

Cabin Passengers

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

Surgeon Joseph Steret

Joseph Steret joined the Camden on 11 September at Deptford. On 13th the ship moved down to Woolwich where he examined one hundred convicts at their respective hulks - on 14th he examined 60 men at the Justitia, 20 on the Discovery and 20 at the Ganymede. They were all received on board the same day.

On Saturday 15th September they weighed anchor for Sheerness arriving there the next day. On the following day received 100 men on board from various hulks.

Most of the men were young and healthy however Joseph Steret remarked that his 'friends' on the hulk had managed to deceive him into receiving several prisoners with leg ulcers.

He remarked:

It is perhaps worthy to note that only two out of two hundred expressed any unwillingness to go, one on account of his wife and family, the other merely that he did not wish to leave England, all the rest were happy at the prospect of quitting the country, and for or five whom I was obliged to reject on account begged vehemently to be permitted to go on board.

They sailed from Sheerness on Saturday 22 September 1832

On 30 September 1832 there was a gale of wind against which they struggled for four or five days but were obliged to bear up for Plymouth where they anchored on 5th October. The prisoners suffered severely from seasickness and the guard were almost as bad. A child, one of the guard, almost died, however by good nursing he was saved and on the following day was observed by the surgeon dancing about the decks as usual. Three people were wounded from falls during the gales.[1]

Departure from England

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.[1]

In January they were round the Cape of Good Hope and continued running on the same parallel. Symptoms of sea scurvy began and did not abate until they reached their destination and procured fresh supplies.[1]

Arrival at Port Jackson

The Camden arrived in Port Jackson on 17th February 1833. Two convicts died on the voyage - Thomas Walmsley and John Terry.

Edward Kenny, John Dowling, George Smithson, Edward Dyke, Henry Harris, J. Baverstock, George Underhill, John Fletcher, James Law, Charles Herdsfield and Patrick Shields were sent to the hospital on shore on arrival[1].

Convict Muster

A Muster was held on board by the Colonial Secretary on 22 February 1833. ; The indents include Name, age, education, religion, family, marital status, native place, occupation, offence, when and where tried, sentence, prior convictions, physical description and occasional notes re punishments, pardons, deaths and relatives already in the colony........

Aaron Ashman - died at Kings Plains in service of R. Lambert 27 March 1836

Timothy Baverstock died at Hunter River

Allen Bond - Bullock driver on Sir Thomas L. Mitchell's expedition in 1845

Emanuel Brace - granted absolute pardon

Edward Bonas - died at Kempsey 1848

Edward Bell - Accidentally drowned at Bathurst 9 December 1838

Thomas Chubb - Sent to Norfolk Island

Thomas Caines - Sent to Norfolk Island.

Michael Coleman - died at General Hospital, Sydney

James Caton - Drowned at Port Stephens 27 July 1846

Joseph Chapman - sentenced to 2 years in an iron gang in 1836

Charles Edwards - absconded from assistant-surveyor W.R. Davidson Rainham in company with Broderick Shelford per Parkfield in 1845

Robert Gunn - spend 12 months in an iron gang for theft at Penrith in 1838

John Horton - Sent to Norfolk Island in 1834. Will not be free until 29 May 1850

Henry Lightbown - died in the General Hospital, Sydney 1837

William Murray - Died in the General Hospital, Sydney 8 December 1838

John Ritchie - sent to Norfolk Island[3]

Notes and Links

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). Prisoners and passengers of the Camden identified in the Hunter Valley region

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 and Pieter L. Campbell. 21st

Andromeda departed Portsmouth 17 November 1832 - Lieuts. Lonsdale and 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 on the voyage of the Camden in 1833. 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.

[3] Convict Indents. State Archives NSW; Series: NRS 12188; Item: [4/4017]; Microfiche: 684

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