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Convict Ship Fanny 1833

Embarked: 106 women
Voyage: 188 days
Deaths: 8
Surgeon's Journal: yes
Tons: 275
Previous vessel: Mary arrived 5 January 1833
Next vessel: Roslin Castle arrived 5 February 1833
Captain Henry Sherwood  
 Surgeon Superintendents Francis Logan and William Marshall
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The Fanny was built in Calcutta in 1829.[2]

In July 1832 the Essex Standard reported of the cholera outbreak in London - During the last four days the cholera morbus has been rapidly on the increase. The Times mentions, that five cases have taken place on one day in one of the City prisons. There have been 49 deaths in St. Katherine's Docks within the last few days, and 10 in the London Docks within a day or two. The ship Fanny, bound for Sydney with female convicts, is detained at the Little Nore with it, having had 14 or 15 cases, and, up to Sunday afternoon, four deaths, and several hopeless cases. It is raging on board the Parmelia and the John Craig at Standgate Creek.  


This was Francis Logan's second voyage as surgeon superintendent.

He kept a Medical Journal from 2 June 1832 to 19 February 1833. He became ill himself on 7th July before the vessel even left port and was unable to attend some of the women who became ill in July. His duties were taken over by surgeon William Marshall until 17th July 1832.

Francis Logan wrote in his general remarks at the end of the voyage - By what means cholera was brought on board the Fanny would be difficult to say, but most probably it was by a sailor from Blackwall who came on board late the night before the ship sailed down the river in a complete state of intoxication. and on the 1st July three days after, I was informed that one of the sailors was ill in bed. I found him ill with cholera in a state of collapse. The Chief mate told me that they thought nothing except the effects of the drunkenness was the matter with him which was the cause of not informing me sooner. On enquiry of his mess mates I found that he had been ill with purging from the moment that he came on board and there being only a few stanchions between the sailors and the women caused me think that this might be the way that it came amongst the women.[1]

Jane Harrison was the first of the women to become ill with cholera on 30th June however with constant care from Francis Logan, she survived the ordeal.   More women soon became ill and the vessel was taken to Standate Creek near Deptford. Some women survived but there were several who succumbed to the disease -

Jane Mills died on 4 July,
Jane Shannon died on 7 July,
Sarah Ralph died 9 July,
Mary Lynch died 11 July,
Hannah Burke died on 17 July 1832 ,
Matilda Hill died 21 July, all of cholera.  


The Fanny departed the Downs on 29th July 1832 and spent seven weeks at Simon's Bay before departing there for Sydney.


Two more women died on the voyage after the initial cholera outbreak. Ann Jones died after giving birth on 13th October. Fanny Barr died 22 January 22 1833 after a fever of several weeks. She had first become ill on 16th December when the vessel was three days out from the Cape. Eliza Baldwinson came close to death after suffering scurvy for most of the voyage. She first became ill on 19th August when the ship was near Madeira.

Francis Logan believed  that....... the first cases of fever that occurred were owing to the ship having been so near the coast of Africa those after leaving the Cape were evidentially the efforts of the cold damp atmosphere. With regard to the scurvy it commenced with those who had been most exhausted by sickness and in no case could the nitre be given in doses above half a dram without producing vomiting and pain in the stomach, in fact every little excitement during the whole passage seemed to affect the stomach and bowels with pain. .....

Before going on board of the Fanny every case of Cholera that I had seen or heard of where the patient was a female in a state of pregnancy, abortion took place and the woman almost instantly expired in the case of the woman Jane Mills no abortion took place nor were there the slightest symptoms of reaction when she expired. In the case of the woman (Eleanor) Shaw who had the modified cholera at sea, reaction commenced and soon after labour pains abortion took place and all the bad symptoms of the disease disappeared


The Fanny arrived in Port Jackson on Friday 2 February 1833.


The prisoners were mustered on board by the Colonial Secretary on 6th February 1833. Ninety-eight female prisoners and nine children arrived, a total of eight woman having died on the passage out. Thirty one of the women were married or widows and many left children behind in England.

It was expected that the women would be disembarked early in the week beginning Monday 11 February 1833, however they weren't landed until the morning of Tuesday 19 February immediately before the men of the convict ship Roslin Castle were also landed.  The Sydney Gazette reported that their appearance indicated possession of excellent health and praised the good care of the surgeon during the voyage.


Those bringing children with them included
Jane Anderson (1);
Rosanna Crawshaw (1);
Elizabeth Fellows (2);
Agnes Henderson (1);
Eleanor Hall (1);
Catherine Jackson (1);
Alice Salisbury (1); and
Jane Wingate(1).

These women were probably taken directly to the Female Factory at Parramatta.  

Others were sent for assignment:  

'Families who are in want of female servants, may be supplied from the prisoners who arrived in the Fanny, provided they apply according to the established form. The assignees will be required to enter into an engagement, under a penalty of forty shillings, to keep their servants for one month, unless removed by due course of law' - Sydney Gazette. The women of the Fanny were assigned to various applicants, although the number of applicants was two hundred above the number of women available to be assigned.

Sixteen of the women were to be sent to Bathurst, to which place they were conveyed in the caravan usually employed in transporting women to the Parramatta Factory.   The indents have details of those women who had relatives on board or already in the colony. Some may have been fortunate enough to be assigned to their relative or perhaps nearby..........  

Sarah Parson's father Robert Parsons arrived in the colony two years previously
Mary and Sarah Sedgwick were sisters
Mary and Elizabeth Blackshaw were sisters
Jane Wingate alias Robson - husband James Wingate arrived on the Parmelia in 1832
Elizabeth Lowe's husband arrived on the Mary in 1833 and was assigned to Mr. Icely
Jane Anderson or Manning - husband John Anderson coming out free
Susan William's aunt Esther Bevan arrived 12 years previously  
Ten of the women of the Fanny have so far been identified later residing in the Hunter Valley area. Select here to find out more about these women.  


In the fifty five years that had passed since convicts first arrived in Sydney Cove on the First Fleet, few female prisoners managed to escape from the colony, however the Fanny brought one woman, Eliza Barrett who absconded if only briefly, a couple of years later........ In 1838 the Sydney Monitor and the Sydney Gazette reported that a woman, named Eliza Barnett or Shearer, was committed take her trial, for escaping from the colony. She had originally been tried at the Surry Quarter Sessions, on the 9th April, 1832, convicted, and sentenced to seven years transportation. This woman was Eliza Barrett, a needlewoman from London who was convicted of man robbery and transported on the Fanny. Shortly after arrival she married a man named Thomas Shearer and as a matter of course was assigned to him. On 18th April, 1835, she absconded from her husband and lived for some time ashore under the protection of the Mate of a vessel about to sail to England. When the ship sailed, she was taken on board and concealed by the mate.

After the vessel had been at sea she was discovered by the Captain who on the arrival of the vessel at St. Helena delivered her to the authorities there as a runaway convict. She remained at St. Helena until a vessel for the Cape of Good Hope arrived by which she was forwarded there and remained in custody for twenty months until the Henry Wellesley arrived when she was put on board and conveyed to Sydney. She had an infant in her arms about six months old.. On her return to the colony she was sentenced to twelve months in the Female Factory at Parramatta.


1). The Fanny was one of five convict ships bringing female prisoners to New South Wales in 1833, the others being the Surry, Caroline, Buffalo and Diana. A total of 639 female convicts arrived in the colony in 1833. Only the Buffalo brought female prisoners who had been convicted in Scotland.  

2). Francis Logan was also employed as surgeon on the convict ships Champion in 1827,  Royal Sovereign in 1835 and the  Mangles in 1837.

3). National Archives - Reference: ADM 101/27/3 Description: Medical journal of the convict ship Fanny, from 2 June 1832 to 19 February 1833 by Francis Logan, surgeon and superintendent, during which time the said ship was employed in conveying convicts to New South Wales


[1] Journal of Francis Logan. 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.