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Convict Ship Minerva 1818

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Embarked: 160 men

Voyage: 119 days
Deaths: 0
Surgeon's Journal: yes
Previous vessel: Lady Castlereagh arrived 30 April 1818
Next vessel: Neptune arrived 5 May 1818
Captain John Bell
Surgeon Superintendent James Hunter
Follow the Irish Convict Ship Trail

The Minerva was built at Lancaster in 1804. This was the first of four voyages bringing convicts to New South Wales, the others being in 1819, 1821 and 1824.

The Minerva was the next convict ship to leave Ireland after the departure of the Guildford in November 1817. She departed Ireland on 1st January 1818 and arrived at Port Jackson 30th April/ 1st May 1818.

The guard consisted of a detachment of the 48th regiment commanded by Captain Francis Allman

Abraham Fenton arrived on the Minerva as Assistant Surgeon of the 48th Regiment. Other members of the 48th regt., included Private Matthew Caroline, Private William Longshaw and Private John Boardman.

Other ships bringing soldiers of the 48th regt., included the Pilot, Caledonia,
Dorothy, Larkins, Lady Castlereagh, Agamemnon, Guildford, Isabella, Prince Regent,  Baring, Prince Regent and Neptune

James Hunter kept a Medical Journal from 5 September 1817 to 8 May 1818.....

The convicts were yet to embark on 3rd October when a serious accident occurred. The Minerva lay close to shore in Cork Harbour when a boat fell from the booms and crushed Private William Cullen who was sent to the military hospital in Cork. He died the following day. Private William Longshaw of the 48th regiment was also sent to the military hospital. Several others were injured including a woman, Sarah Mulligan.

James Hunter examined the prisoners when they came on board and found that many of them suffered with ulcers, constipation and an eruptive itch which had commenced in the prison they had been held in. He treated convict John Cartwright in a kindly manner. Cartwright was weighed down by anxiety and lowness of spirits having left a wife and many children behind in Dublin. His strength had been reduced as well after the fatigue and privation during a tedious passage from Dublin. He was fed on arrowroot and wine and the surgeon intended to keep him in the hospital for the entire voyage if possible as the crowded conditions in the prison would be detrimental to his health.

They weighed anchor on 1st January 1818. Some of the convicts were assisting in sailing the ship and one, William McCormick was seriously injured by one of the anchors. He was treated by the surgeon and had recovered by the next week. Another convict John Cavenagh age 14 (according to the surgeon's journal) was injured two days later while employed hauling rope.

James Hunter was called to the prison on 5th January by the messmates of William Barnwell age 24 who had attempted suicide by cutting his throat. He had laid in a pool of blood since the previous evening but was treated by the surgeon and later recovered.

On 8th May John Thomas Campbell, came on board to examine the prisoners. He found them to be in good health except John McGar who had a slight fever. Robert Marang had been sent to the hospital on shore.

By November 1818 word had reached Ireland of the safe arrival of the Minerva in Sydney. The Freemans Journal reported:

Cork Nov. 24 - The Minerva, Captain Bell with convicts for Botany Bay, which sailed from this harbour on the 1st January, arrived at Sidney Cove on the 1st of May all well, being a period of only four months, without meeting a sail bound for England during the voyage. While off the Cape of Good Hope, they experienced a tremendous hurricane, which lasted for twenty minutes. The convicts conducted themselves properly, with the exception of a lame fellow ( a self styled Captain) who endeavoured to induce them to mutiny; which, being discovered was immediately put a stop to by his being punished. (Freeman's Journal 30 November 1818 p. 4)

The surgeon reported that no deaths had occurred on the voyage.

The convict indents reveal the name of the convict, when and where tried, sentence, native place, calling, age and physical description.

The Sydney Gazette reported that 157 male prisoners from the Minerva arrived in Hobart from Sydney in June 1818. The Guard was a detachment of the 48th regiment commanded by Lieut. Vandermulen who were to relieve Captain Nairn's company of the 46th regiment.

Passengers to Hobart included P.G. Hogan, Deputy Assistant Commissary General and wife; Lieut. C.J. Vandermulen and wife; and Ensign Lewis of the 48th regt.,

Notes & Links

1). James Hunter was also surgeon on the convict ships
Prince Regent
in 1820 and the Princess Royal in 1823

2). Hunter Valley convicts/ passengers arriving on the Minerva in 1818

3). Captain John Bell - Australian Dictionary of Biography

4). Minerva Shoals.....



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