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Convict Ship Countess of Harcourt 1822

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Embarked 172 men
Voyage 109 days
Deaths 1
Surgeon's Journal - Yes
Tons: 517
Previous vessel: Eliza arrived 22 November 1822
Next vessel: Lord Sidmouth arrived 27 February 1823
Captain George Bunn
Surgeon Superintendent Robert Armstrong
First Officer Mr. Cunningham; Second Officer Mr. Cousins; Third Officer Mr. Parker
Follow the Irish Convict Ship Trail

The Countess of Harcourt was built in India in 1811.  She transported convicts to Van Diemen's Land in 1821 and to New South Wales in 1822 1824, 1827 and 1828.

The Countess of Harcourt was the next convict ship after the Mangles to depart Ireland bound for New South Wales, departing Cork on 3rd September 1821.

A detachment of the 3rd regiment (Buffs) under orders of Capt. John Rolland formed the Guard. Assistant Surgeon Robert Ivory of the same regiment came as a passenger.

Passengers on the Countess of Harcourt included the Rev. William Bedford, Mrs. Bedford and three children.

A Court case recorded in the Morning Post and instituted by a seaman named Sullivan for wages owed while on a voyage of the Countess of Harcourt relates the movement of the vessel in 1822: -

Several seamen were hired in London and signed articles to proceed from London via Cork and elsewhere, to Van Diemen's Land and back to London; the Countess of Harcourt was hired by Government to convey convicts, and sailed from London in October, 1822, proceeded to Cork and thence to Sydney Cove (instead of Van Diemen's Land), where she landed her convicts, took in a cargo of tar for Batavia, at which port she afterwards took in another cargo, and then proceeded homewards; having arrived in the Downs, the captain landed and came to London, where he received orders to go to Holland with the vessel; five of the crew however refused to go to Holland, alleging that the articles did not stipulate for their going there. The Captain refused to pay their wages because they refused to work on the passage. Lord Stowell delivered judgement that the men were entitled to their wages. (1)

The vessel was visited by surgeon Thomas Reid while at Cork and he later wrote of his impressions......

24th. - My friend, having a yacht, invited me to have a sail through the harbour at Cove, and along a part of the coast. We visited the Surprise, a frigate fitted up for a convict depot, and afterwards a convict ship, called the Countess of Harcourt, about the proceed to New South Wales with male convicts. Her complement of prisoners had nearly arrived, and the judicious arrangements of the surgeon superintendent Dr. Armstrong, had already produced regularity; they were all as tractable as sheep; many of them were even quite cheerful. They might well be contented; - it was a happy change for them*. The condition of a convict in New South Wales is ten thousand times more comfortable than that of a peasant in Ireland, - in fact, there can be no comparison between them.
*Mr. Commissioner Bigge, in his report laid before parliament in 1822, remarks: "The convicts embarked in Ireland generally arrive in New South Wales in a very healthy state; and are found to be more obedient, and more sensible of kind treatment, during the passage, than any other class.

On the 1st September Dr. Edward Trevor informed Henry Goulburn, Chief Secretary at Dublin Castle that an examination had been made of 172 convicts bound for New South Wales on the Countess of Harcourt. Captain George Bunn acknowledged receipt of the prisoners as well as various articles for use on the voyage such as pencils, slates and writing books. Robert Armstrong also acknowledged receipt of the medical supplies for the voyage.....Chief Secretary's Office Registered Papers, National Archives, Ireland.

The Countess of Harcourt arrived in Port Jackson on Saturday 21st December 1822. She brought 171 male prisoners having lost one on the voyage. At least two wives of soldiers gave birth to healthy babies on the voyage.

A muster of convicts was held on arrival and included information such as name, where and when convicted, sentence, native place, trade, age, physical description and occasional information such as tickets of leave. There is no information in the indents as to where and to whom the prisoners were assigned on arrival however ninety-six of the men were forwarded to Parramatta for distribution. From there they were sent to government service or to various settlers throughout the colony including Joseph Morley, William Lawson, John Herbert, William Hayes, John Blaxland, John McArthur, Charles Throsby, James Atkinson, John Dwyer, John Campbell, George Bowman, Henry Baldwin.

The Countess of Harcourt departed Sydney on 29th January 1823 bound for Mauritius  

Notes & Links:

1). Hunter Valley convicts / passengers arriving on the Countess of Harcourt in 1822

2). Robert Armstrong was also surgeon on the convict ships Tottenham and Dick in 1821  

3). Other ships bringing detachments of the 3rd regiment included the Guildford, Shipley, Asia, Surry, Mangles, Asia, Southworth Henry, Princess Royal, Eliza and Brampton

4). Court Case re mariners' wages.......


1. Morning Post on 12th May 1824

2. Thomas Reid, Brief Sketches of The Moral, Physical and Political State of the Country in the year 1822

3. Bateson, Charles & Library of Australian History (1983). The convict ships, 1787-1868 (Australian ed). Library of Australian History, Sydney : pp.344-345,  384

4. National Archives - Reference: ADM 101/18/2 Description: Medical journal of the Countess of Harcourt, convict ship, for 12 July to 26 December 1822 by Robert Armstrong, surgeon and superintendent, during which time the said ship was employed on a voyage to New South Wales.

5). UK, Royal Navy Medical Journals, 1817-1857 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations, Inc., 2011. Original data: Admiralty and predecessors: Office of the Director General of the Medical Department of the Navy and predecessors: Medical Journals (ADM 101, 804 bundles and volumes). Records of Medical and Prisoner of War Departments. Records of the Admiralty, Naval Forces, Royal Marines, Coastguard, and related bodies. The National Archives. Kew, Richmond, Surrey.



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