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Convict Ship Henry 1823

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Embarked 160 men
Voyage 120 days
Deaths: 0
Surgeon's Journal: Yes
Previous vessel: Recovery arrived 30 July 1823
Next vessel: Ocean arrived 27 August 1823
Captain Thomas Thatcher
Surgeon Superintendent Thomas Davies R.N.

The convicts of the Henry came from counties throughout England. Some were held in county gaols after trial, or if they had been tried at the Old Bailey they were sent to Newgate. From these prisons they were transferred to the prison Hulks to await transportation.

Some of the prisoners of the Henry who had been tried at the Old Bailey were transferred to the prison hulk Retribution at Woolwich on 7th February 1823.

In an article in the Sunday Times in November 1822, it is revealed what they may have been given to eat for this two months spent on the hulk when it was reported that an opulent butcher from Rochester had won the contract to victual the convicts stationed on the hulks at Woolwich and Sheerness at three-pence farthing a man per day. The provisions were to consist of good ox beef, bread, small beer, cheese and meal.

Many of the prisoners were transferred from the Hulks to the Henry on 7 April 1823. The Henry departed London on 28 April 1823 just four days after the Ocean also bound for New South Wales. The Commodore Hayes for Van Diemen's Land departed with 219 prisoners on 26 April 1823.

The Guard consisted of 32 rank and file of the 3rd regiment (Buffs) under the orders of Captain H. Lockyer and Lieutenant Thomas Henry Owen. With their families there were a total of 52 people.  Other ships bringing detachments of the 3rd regiment included the Shipley, Asia, Surry, Mangles, Asia, Southworth, Countess of Harcourt, Guildford, Princess Royal, Eliza and Brampton The 3rd Regiment had its headquarters in Sydney between 1822 and 1827 and companies were dispatched continuously to various outstations, serving in Tasmania and with other detachments at Newcastle, Liverpool, Parramatta, Port Macquarie and Bathurst. The regiment shipped to India at the end of its service. (1)

This was Thomas Davies' second voyage as Surgeon Superintendent on a convict ship.  Thomas Davies was also surgeon on the convict ships Medway in 1821 and the Asia (111) in 1825.

He kept a Medical Journal from 13th March 1823 to 29 August 1823.  He wrote in his Journal that the unusually healthy state of the Guard and Convicts on the Henry may have in some measure depended on the strict attention paid in every part of the ship; a constant ventilation by windsails and keeping fires lighted in the prison daily; at intervals admitting as many on deck at a time as possible; employing them in various ways conducive to health; hammocks most days on deck; special care taken in their use of the cold bath and most particularly their body linen....(3)

The following convicts and passengers were mentioned in the surgeon's journal -

David Wilson, aged 19; disease or hurt, pains over the body, particularly in the large joints, griping and tenesmus, skin hot and dry, pulse frequent. Put on sick list, 2 April 1823, Gravesend. Discharged cured, 12 April 1823.

William Booth, aged 28; disease or hurt, seized in the night with rigor succeeded with much heat of skin, belly slow, pulse above the natural standard. Put on sick list, 17 April 1823, Sheerness. Discharged cured, 30 April 1823.

John Shaw, aged 23; disease or hurt, cough and acute pain of the breast, pulse 98, small and hard, belly costive.  Discharged cured, 12 May 1823.

Robert Hesk, aged 30; disease or hurt, severe griping pain in the belly, frequent stools, tenderness of the lower part of the belly, pulse frequent and hard. Put on sick list, 10 May 1823. Discharged cured, 16 May 1823.

Thomas Cornhill, aged 19; John Carter, aged 18; John Williams, aged 21; Thomas Jones, aged 28, William [Guit], aged 21; Thomas Rutter, aged 20; disease or hurt, accidents between 42 north latitude and 17 South latitude. Three of these were cases of ulcer succeeding to accidents, others the result of accidents inseparable from the movements of novices aboard ships.

Mary Collins, aged 36, wife of Private Collins; disease or hurt, premature labour, in the fourth month, stillborn twins. Put on sick list, 22 June 1823. Discharged cured, 6 July 1823.

[Mrs Captain] Lockyer; disease or hurt, slight bowel complaint of a few days standing. Put on sick list, 1 July 1823. No discharge date recorded but two days of treatment.

John Fearnhead, aged 28; disease or hurt, violent headache, nausea, vomited twice in the night, skin hot and dry, eyes turgid. Put on sick list, 4 July 1823. Discharged cured, 15 July 1823.

John Wilson, aged 29; disease or hurt, acute pain in the lower part of the belly, bowels much relaxed, slight fever, tongue loaded. Put on sick list, 10 July 1823. Discharged cured, 16 July 1823.

John Edwards, aged 58; John Holyland, aged 30; Charles Paine, aged 47; William [Pite], aged 17; James Stott, aged 15; William Boyle, aged 24; George Wigge, aged 17; disease or hurt, slight cases of catarrh. Put on sick list, 15 July 1823. All discharged by last day of July 1823.

William Jones [or Francis], aged 59; disease or hurt, taken ill in the night with every symptom of fever, his bowels have been open for four days. Put on sick list, 3 August 1823. Discharged cured, 18 August 1823.

Joseph Lee, aged 28; disease or hurt, slight dysenteric disease, attended with fever, soreness of the abdomen on pressure, stools frequent, tenesmus. Put on sick list, 17 August 1823. Discharged, 25 August 1823.

The Henry entered Port Jackson at day light on Tuesday 26th August 1823, bringing 160 male convicts in good health- not one case of illness according to the surgeon. The convict indents include the name, age, native place, date and place of trial and physical description with occasional information regarding Pardons and tickets of leave.. There is no information as to where and to whom the men were assigned on arrival. About forty men have been identified residing in the Hunter Valley region in the following years.

Some of the men were assigned to settlers in the Hunter region - Thomas Ward was assigned to Joseph Onus at Cockfighter's Creek; Thomas Shuttleworth was assigned to Timothy Nowlan; John Newins was assigned to Samuel Wright; John Abercrombie to the Australian Agricultural Company.

Captain Lockyer and his wife sailed to Hobart on the Mariner in December 1823.  

Notes & Links:

1). Old Bailey - George Massey was found guilty of demanding from Mr. James Lockwood, in a menacing manner, satisfaction for attempting to commit an abominable offence. Shore, the constable, stated that at the time he apprehended the prisoners, he used the foul threats mentioned in the indictment, towards Mr. Lockwood, and acted with the most outrageous violence. The Records ordered the convict to be called up instantly, and sentenced him to seven years transportation and informed the prosecutor that the public were greatly indebted to him for bringing the prisoner to justice. - Sunday Times - 3 November 1822.

2). Select HERE to find out more about Hunter Valley convicts and passengers of the Henry

3).  Return of Convicts of the Henry assigned between 1st January 1832 and 31st March 1832 (Sydney Gazette 14 June 1832; 21 June 1832; 28 June 1832).....

Patrick Golding (Goulding) - Gardener assigned to Dr. Forster at Field of Mars

William King - Ploughman assigned to William Bowman at Richmond

4). 3rd or East Kent Regt. of Foot (Buffs) 1827...........


1.  Grey, Jeffrey, A Military History of Australia, Cambridge University Press, 2000, p. 15

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

3. 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.

4. National Archives - Reference: ADM 101/33/2 Description: Medical and surgical journal of the convict ship Henry, for 13 March to 29 August 1823 by Thomas Davies, Surgeon and Superintendent, during which time the said ship was employed in a passage to New South Wales from England with 160 male prisoners.



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