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Convict Ship
 Friends 1811

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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:100 women
Deaths 0
Surgeon's Journal: no
Tons: 339
Previous vessel: Admiral Gambier arrived 29 September 1811
Next vessel: Guildford arrived 18 January 1812
Captain James Ralph
Follow the Female Convict Ship Trail

Female prisoners transported on the Friends were gathered from districts throughout England and Scotland - London, Northumberland, Kent, Norfolk, Cumberland, Bristol and Edinburgh etc. Many had been tried at the Old Bailey and held in Newgate prison prior to embarkation.

French Traveller Louis Simond visited Newgate prison on his tour of Great Britain in 1810 / 1811. He described the ladies of Newgate in Journal of a Tour and Residence of Great Britain.......

Description of Female Prisoners in Newgate Prison by Louis Simond in 1811

The Friends sailed via Rio de Janeiro. The Sydney Gazette later reported that she had a tedious passage to Rio. She sailed from England five weeks before the Admiral Gambier, but arrived at Rio a week after her. From Rio the two ships sailed in company the 29th July, and continued together till the 8th August when they parted(3).

The Friends arrived in Port Jackson on Thursday 10th October 1811 with 100 female prisoners all in a healthy state.

At 10 o'clock on 11th October the Colonial Secretary and the Acting Commissary accompanied by the Principal Superintendent of convicts were to proceed on board the Friends in order to muster the women.
The women were to each receive a new suit of slops under the supervision of the Acting Commissary who was to ensure that the slops were delivered to the women. After receiving their slops, such of the female convicts as were intended to be assigned as indented servant to settlers and other residents in the town of Sydney were then landed in the forenoon. They were delivered over to their Masters or Mistresses who had previously presented the prescribed Bonds. The remaining female prisoners were sent by boats up to the Factory at Parramatta soon afterwards.

Lieutenant Robert Durie, in command at Parramatta was sent a list of the women who were to be employed at the factory.

Governor Macquarie wrote in a dispatch to Lord Liverpool in October 1811 -

"I have to inform your Lordship that I have, on all arrivals of convicts ships, ordered a muster to be immediately taken of the convicts on ship board by my Secretary and the Acting Commissary, and I afterwards take a muster of them myself so soon as landed, in order to ascertain the manner they have been treated during the voyage, and whether they have any complaints to prefer against the commander or surgeon of the ship in which they came. By the previous muster I also acquire a knowledge of the trades or professions of the convicts, which enables me to appropriate them afterwards in the most advantageous way for Government, and at the same time most easy for themselves. I have much satisfaction in reporting to your Lordship that the convicts arrived by the four ships Indian, Providence, Admiral Gambier and Friends were in general in good health, having been well treated on board, and had no complains to make against either the commanders or the surgeons." (2)

The following February (1812) Commissary William Broughton gave notice that the convicts of the Admiral Gambier and Friends who were employed at Government labour were entitled to the summer issue of clothing only. This consisted for the men of One duck frock, one pair duck trousers, one cotton shirt, one pair of shoes and one leather cap; and for the women, one linen cloth jacket, one shift, one pair of shoes, one straw bonnet.

The Friends departed Port Jackson bound for England on 2nd December 1811.  

Notes & Links:

1). Hunter Valley convicts /passengers arriving on the Friends in 1811

2). Jane Sims came free on the "Friends" as midwife to the Colony; and later schoolmistress. More about early nursing at NSW State Archives. Alfred Sims, later constable at Bringelly also came free on the Friends.

3). James Greenwood arrived as a free passenger

4). Edward Smith Hall arrived as a free passenger

5). James Wilkinson arrived as free passenger

6). Ann Walter who arrived as a convict was mentioned by Governor Macquarie to Under Secretary Peel in correspondence dated 18th October 1811 when Gov. Macquarie indicated he would show every degree of indulgence consistent with her situation and to endeavour to alleviate her sufferings as much as he could. (HRA, vol. VII, p.448)

7). Mary Irwin of the Friends was sent to Newcastle penal settlement for an unknown crime in March 1812 six months after arrival. Lieutenant Scottowe was Commandant at Newcastle at this time. There were few women at Newcastle in these early days. however the following had been sent for various crimes in 1811/1812 and may have still been there when Mary Irwin arrived - 
Mary Budman per Mary Anne sent for 1 year in November 1811 
Ann Butcher per Sydney Cove sent to Newcastle in December 1811 
Hannah Chappel per Speke 1808. Sent in July 1811 
Mary Donnelly arrived per Tellicherry sent to Newcastle August 1811 for 1 year 
Catherine Fahey per Marquis Cornwallis. Sent to Newcastle in September 1811 for 12 months 
Norah/ Honorah Fahey arrived per Providence sent to Newcastle in September 1811 for 12 months 
Eleanor McGrath/McGraw sent to Newcastle in July 1811 
Mary McLean per Experiment sent in December 1811 
Anne Malkins per Canada sent to Newcastle September 1811 to be kept at hard labour 
Hannah Porter arrived per Canada in 1810. Sent to Newcastle in September for 4 months 
Margaret Skinner per Indispensable sent to Newcastle in October 1811 
Elizabeth Wheary per Speke sent for 1 year in November 1811

8). More convicts of the Friends identified in the Hunter Valley / Newcastle region:
Name Convicted at
Mary Irwin Durham 1810
Sarah May Middlesex 1810
Mary Rubey / Roby Lancaster 1810
Ann Shorter Middlesex 1809
Bridget Smith / Vernor Kent 1810
Maria White / Smith Kent 1810



(1). Journal of a tour and residence in Great Britain, during the years 1810 and 1811 By Louis Simond

(2). HR NSW Vol. VII

(3) Sydney Gazette 5 October 1811  


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