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Convict Ship Minerva 1819

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Embarked: 172 men
Voyage: 113 days
Deaths: 1
Surgeon's Journal: no
Previous vessel Recovery arrived 18 December1819
Next vessel: Lord Wellington arrived 20 January 1820  
Captain John Bell
Surgeon Superintendent Charles Queade. R.N.
Follow the Irish Convict Ship Trail

The Minerva was built at Lancaster in 1804. This was the second of four voyages bringing convicts to New South Wales, the others being in 1818 1821 and 1824.

The convicts were embarked on the Minerva at Cork on 18th August 1819. The Guard consisted of a detachment of the 1st Foot (Royal) under orders of Ensign Harrison, 45th regt., Passengers included Mr and Mrs. Tate.

Correspondence dated 24th August from Dr. Trevor, superintendent and medical inspector of convicts, to William Gregory, Under Secretary, Dublin Castle, concerning his superintendence of embarkation of convicts at Cork reveals that there was an attempted mutiny on board prior to the ship sailing.

There is also a List of names and details of each of the convicts on board the Minerva. Included is the full name of each convict, age, date of assizes trial, crimes, and length of transportation sentence. Names are arranged by county. Crimes include picking pockets, sheep and cow steeling, vagrancy, perjury, highway robbery, assault, and possession of forged bank notes. Also included is the statement of John Bell, ship's commander, certifying receipt of all convicts listed, and receipt of various items of clothing for each convict. Also receipt of 'one hundred spelling books with religious extracts annexed thereto, and likewise Fifty Testaments'. Chief Secretary's Office Registered Papers, National Archives

The Minerva was the next convict ship to leave Ireland for New South Wales after the departure of the Daphne in May 1819. The Minerva departed Cove of Cork on 26th August 1819.

They endured some boisterous weather while off the Cape of Good Hope but came direct without landing anywhere. The Minerva arrived in Port Jackson on 17th December 1819.

It was customary to enquire of prisoners on arrival in the colony as to whether they were satisfied with the treatment they had received on the voyage out. On the arrival of the Minerva, three convicts - Thomas Quinn, James Connelly and John Hogan informed the authorities that they had not received their full rations of provisions, although they did not lay blame on either the Captain or the Surgeon. Governor Macquarie instigated an enquiry which took place on 3rd January and was headed by D'arcy Wentworth.....

Convict Thomas Dwyer was the first to give a deposition. He told the enquiry that from 26th August until 13 December the flour, suet, bread and raisins were deficient in quantity because of incorrect balancing of the scales. They were deterred from making complaints to either the surgeon or captain by the threats of convict John Harris who had been appointed to superintend issue of the rations.

James Connelly was the next prisoner examined. He was appointed by the prisoners to inspect the scales.

Convict Nicholas Roach was next interviewed. He had been appointed as cook for the prisoners. He stated that there was a deficiency in the beef from 23 October until 13th December.

James Berwise, 2nd officer was next examined. He was entrusted with the issue of the provisions to the soldiers, ships company and convicts from 26th August to 10th December when he became ill and the duty fell to.......

John Stonehouse, the Captain's Apprentice. He swore under oath that the rations issued were correct.

Seaman William Sheppard also examined the scales and found them to be correct.

Jeremiah Collier Angave one of the ship's company gave evidence stating that the scales were frequently checked and were correct and that the convicts had received their correct rations.

Patrick Gahigan, Sergeant in His Majesty's First or Royal Scots regiment superintended the weighing and issuing of the rations that were given to the Guard until 10th December and deposed that the scales were repeatedly balanced and were true and correct.

Alexander Forsyth, Sergeant of 1st Royal Scots deposed that he supervised the issue of the Guard's rations from 10th December until the ship's arrival in Port Jackson and the scales were correct on all occasions but one when Mr. Stonehouse was using them, however they were immediately corrected on that occasion.

The board of enquiry found that there was no blame attached to Captain Bell, surgeon Charles Queade and other officers of the ship and that the high health in which the prisoners arrived belied their claims.

The convict indents include information such as name, where and when convicted, sentence, native place, trade and physical description. There is no indication in the indents as to where the prisoners were assigned on arrival. One prisoner, Patrick Dane had died on the voyage out.

This was Charles Queade's second voyage as surgeon superintendent on a convict ship. Although his surgeon's journal seems not to have survived for this voyage, the rules that he recommended after his first voyage in the Pilot in 1817 were probably followed on this second voyage. His attitude to punishment for thieving and riotous conduct on the voyage can be gleaned from the journal of the Minerva in 1821. He was also surgeon superintendent on the voyage of the Phoenix to Van Diemen's Land in 1824.

The Minerva was to depart the colony in February. Those giving notice of their intention to leave on her included: Captain Bell, Dr. Queade, Chief Officer, Mr. Wilkinson; Second Officer Mr. Barwise; Third Officer Mr. Goodman; and Mr. Moore, Fourth Officer.  

Notes & Links:

1). George Tate and family arrived free passengers on the Minerva. Later overseer to John Oxley.

2). One of the convicts on the Minerva, Henry Stapleton from Kilkenny returned to Ireland when his sentence was served and was later convicted of another crime and sentenced to transportation again. He was re-transported on the Eliza in 1829. Select here to find out what happened to him when he returned to Ireland.

3). Cornelius Fitzpatrick, convict by the Minerva was executed for the murder of John Bentley at Newcastle in 1824.

4). Convicts / passengers arriving on the Minerva in 1819  

5). Captain John Bell - Australian Dictionary of Biography

6). Narrative and successful result of a voyage in the South Seas, Volume 1 By Peter Dillon........




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