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Convict Ship Fortune 1813


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Convict Ship Fortune 1813

Embarked : 200 men
Voyage: 190 days
Deaths: 4
Surgeon's Journal: no
Previous vessel: Archduke Charles arrived 16 February 1813
Next vessel: Earl Spencer 9 October 1813
Master Thomas Walker
Surgeon Samuel Ross

The Fortune first transported convicts to New South Wales in 1806.

In October 1812 two hundred prisoners from districts throughout England and Scotland were embarked on the Fortune. Many of the men had been transferred from the Retribution Hulk to the Fortune on 14th October 1812.[2] Others had been held in the Perseus hulk and transferred on the same day.

The Fortune arrived at Deal on 6th November 1812. The Morning Chronicle reported that strong gales had been experienced by the Fortune near Yarmouth and the brig Robert and Sarah and the Fortune were both washed onto Caister beach where the Robert and Sarah was wrecked.[1]

Cabin Passengers

Passengers included Deputy Commissary General David Allan, Mrs. Allan and family; Mr. and Mrs. Hogan and family and several gentlemen holding appointments in the Civil service - Messrs. Brodie and Hobson were Clerks in Commissariat Department. Benjamin Goddard and daughter Susannah arrived as free passengers. Lucy Willford and Thomas Willford later a publican at Punchbowl also came free.

Military Guard

The 1st Battalion of the 73rd regiment received an addition of an Ensign (Dawson) and 30 rank and file of the 73rd regiment. Other detachments of the 73rd regiment arrived on the Dromedary, Indefatigable, Guildford, Hindostan, Indian, Archduke Charles, Ann, Providence 1811 and Admiral Gambier 1811


The Fortune departed England on 3 December 1812.

The Voyage

They stopped at Rio from 3rd February 1813 to 22nd March 1813.

Illness and Accidents

On the passage two prisoners died of illnesses - John Birnie and William Miles and two others drowned Thomas Simpson and John Payne. A soldier Michael Dwyer, who was accidentally shot in the leg, also died after suffering amputation of the limb.

Port Jackson

The Fortune arrived at Port Jackson on 11 June 1813. The convicts; were said to have arrived in the colony in a healthy state.

A muster of convicts was probably held on board after arrival in Sydney. The indents included information such as name, date and place of trial, native place, sentence, physical description and occasional information as to tickets of leave and conditional pardons.Thirty-six of the prisoners were under the age of 21.

Convicts Disembarked

The prisoners were landed on Friday 18th June and inspected by Governor Macquarie before being assigned to their respective places.

The Sydney Gazette reported that they were of a fine healthy appearance and spoke highly of their treatment from the Commander of the Fortune on the passage.

Six of the prisoners who had been refractory were landed in irons and no doubt laboured under apprehensions from the representation here of their conduct. From these anxieties it was His Excellency's pleasure to relieve them, on a promise of amendment and they were accordingly liberated.

The Fortune brought the news to the colony that War was declared with the United States of America.

Merchandise imported included iron-mongery which was much needed in the colony although the Captain was obliged to request permission from Governor Macquarie to land the goods.

Departure from Port Jackson

The Fortune departed Port Jackson bound for China on 14 September 1813.

Notes and Links

1). Seven prisoners were convicted of rioting in Edinburgh Scotland in what became known as the Tron riots. Thre were executed - Hugh Macdonald, Neil Sutherland and Hugh McIntosh. Three were sentenced to transportation for life - John Sketon, Robert Gunn and Alexander MacDonald. Two others George Napier and John Grotto were sentenced to 14 years transportation.

Read - New Year Riot leads to Gallows by Robert Willson

Below is an account of the trial......

Tuesday came on the trial of Robert Gunn and Alexander Macdonald alias White. To the relevancy of the indictment, which charged them with six different acts of robbery, committed on the streets of this city on the night of the 31st December, or morning of the 1st January, no objections were made, and the prisoners having pleaded guilty, and subscribed a judicial declaration of their guilt, in presence of the court and jury, the Solicitor-General, in a short address, in which he stated, that it appearing the prisoners were not the leaders, but the led, in the late disgraceful outrages, and as he trusted enough had been done in the way of example, restricted the libel to an arbitrary punishment. The Lord Justice Clerk addressed the prisoners at considerable length on the enormity of those crimes which had brought them to the unhappy situation in which they then stood, and sentenced them to be transported beyond seas for life, under the usual certification. George Napier and John Grotto, whose trial on a former occasion was adjourned, were then put to the bar, and on being asked what they had to say to the indictment, to which at that time they pleaded not guilty? Napier pleaded not guilty of the murder, but guilty of the tenth charge of robbery, viz. that of robbing Peter Bruce, student of medicine, on the South Bridge, of a green silk purse, 5s. 6d. in silver, a gold ring, having a glass in it, and a man's round hat. Grotto likewise pleaded not guilty of the murder, but guilty of the eighth charge of robbery, viz. that of robbing John Buchan Brodie, writer, residing in York Place, of a watch, with a shagreen case, a watch-ribbon, four seals, set in gold, a gold watch key, a blue Morocco leather purse, containing a one-pound note, a seven shillings piece, 8s. in silver, and a man's round hat. The Solicitor-General in this case also restricted the libel to an arbitrary punishment, and the jury returned a verdict of Guilty. - Edinburgh Annual Register 1812

2). William Brodie who came out as Clerk in the Commissariat under Mr. Deputy Commissary General Allan was appointed to the Issuing provision Store at Sydney. It was discovered that he robbed the Store of several casks of Salt Meat and was sentenced to 2 years imprisonment in Parramatta jail. (HRA)

3). The Luddites.....May 25, 1812. The Special Commission for the trials of the rioters at Chester was opened by Judges Dallas and Burton. Their Lordships attended Divine Service the following day and afterwards proceeded to the Shire Hall, when the Grand Inquest of the County being sworn, Judge Dallas addressed the Grand Jury in an eloquent and impressive speech.....

On the general feature of the cases for your consideration, I have no reason to form any very pleasing conjectures. Distress, I fear, did not operate as some would wish us to believe. The characteristics of the system of disturbance are of a very different colour. Handbills were printed and circulated in the manufacturing districts, holding out hope to the disaffected, and threats to the well disposed. A secret oath was administered - the crest and consolidation of conspiracy - all these denote the intrigues of wicked and designing men, to create riot and partial injury. Justice has been for a while withheld, but the law must not unfold its terrors, always remembering, as we shall, that confidence and consideration so necessary in its execution.' - The trials commenced on the 27th; when James Renshaw, a weaver from Winslow, was indicted for a riot, with several others, at Etchells, near Stockport, on the 15th of April, and obtaining from John Norris 2s. and from other persons money, bacon, bread, and cheese. Verdict, not guilty.

The following persons were found Guilty: Edward Renfern and Nancy Hurst, for accompanying a large mob to the granary at Staley, belonging to the Huddersfield Canal Company, and for breaking open and entering the same, and stealing and destroying upwards of 1000 bushels of flour and meal. Thomas Burgess, a collier, from Bredbury, for being, in company with several others, assembled at and entering the corn-mill of Joseph Clay, and burning and carrying away flour. Samuel Lees, Thomas Etchells, and James Ratcliffe, for rioting at the same place. William Greenhough, for a riot at Tintwistle; John Temple, for a burglary, and robbery at Addington. Foster Roach, Collin Linden, James Wilson, James Bennett, Richard Wood, William Thompson, and James Tomlinson, for unlawfully assembling together in Etchells, and by numbers and intimidation, obtaining from J. Parker, Esq. 7s. J. Torkington and J. Henshall add R. Lowns, for rioting mid robbing in Pownall Fee and Styall. William Walker, dignified with the name of General Ludd, for a riot, and seizing flour from Ralph Booth at Gee Cross. James Crossland, for destroying machinery, and threatening the life of Robert Thomiley, a manufacturer of cotton. [Wm. Greenhough and Abraham Broadbent, tried on the same indictment, acquitted.] John Haywood, the younger, for a riot at Tintwistle. The Special Commission for the county of Chester remains in force till August. -
Gentleman's Magazine

4). Political Prisoners

5). Eliza Middleton, wife of Thomas William Middleton came free on the Fortune. (1825 Muster)

6). Convict James/William Blake was a member of John Oxley's Expeditions in 1817 and 1818

7). Return of Convicts of the Fortune assigned between 1st January 1832 and 31st March 1832 (Sydney Gazette 5July 1832)..... James Robinson - Groom and butcher assigned to John Palmer at Richmond Ville

8) The following men were soldiers who were court-martialled - William Langford, Alexander Stewart, George Strain, John Thompson

9). Hunter Valley convicts and passengers arriving on the Fortune in 1813
Convicts of the Fortune identified in the Hunter Valley region - NameConvicted atLocation NSW
Philip Barnard
James Blagrave
Daniel Brown
John / Johanna Brown
Samuel Bryant
John Bunn
Thomas Carpenter
John Chappell
Henry Collins / Collings
John Cooper
Samuel Crossley
George Davey
Thomas Davis
Thomas Digby
David Dixon / Dickson
Edward Drouet
Andrew Ferguson
John Frith
Thomas Gordon/ Leach
Robert Green
George Greenway
James Gudgeon
William Harper
John Holihan
Thomas Hunt
George Little
Lawrence Lynch
Edward Mason
Thomas McCarthy
Samuel Medworth / Midworth
Samuel Myers
George Napier
Samuel Radcliffe
John Robins / Robbins
James Scott
John Standford
Thomas Stanley
George Stone
George Strain
William Thorley
William White
Robert Winter
Stephen Woodcock


[1] Morning Chronicle 22 November 1813

[2] National Archives. Home Office: Convict Prison Hulks: Registers and Letter Books; Class: HO9; Piece: 4. UK, Prison Hulk Registers and Letter Books, 1802-1849



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