Free Settler or Felon

Convict Ship Parmelia 1832


First Name

Surname / Subject


Use the Search Box above to find your Hunter Valley Ancestor.

Sources and Hints and Tips

Convict Ship Parmelia 1832

Last Updated 16 July 2020

Embarked: 200 men
Voyage: 111 days
Deaths: 4
Surgeon's Journal: yes
Tons: 446
Previous vessel: Dunvegan Castle arrived 16 October 1832
Next vessel: Mary arrived 5 January 1833
Captain James Gilbert
Surgeon Superintendent Richard Allen
Prisoners and passengers of the Parmelia identified in the Hunter Valley

 Whale tooth scrimshaw 'Parmelia' by Jesper Rasmussen depicting the ship Parmelia, with a banding of dolphins to the base, inscribed to verso 'Built at Quebec 1825 Swan River 1829, Jesper 1984, Albany'.[2]

The Parmelia was built at Quebec in 1825. She played a significant part in the history of Freemantle, Western Australia before making two voyages bringing convicts to New South Wales in 1832 and 1834.

The Parmelia arrived at Portsmouth from Sierra Leone on 18th April 1832 having been employed taking marines to the coast of Africa before being engaged as a convict transport to take English prisoners to New South Wales.


Richard Allen kept a Medical Journal from 18 June 1832 to 28 November 1832.....

On the 28th June the Parmelia proceeded to Woolwich and on the 2nd and 3rd of July convicts were received from the Hulks from which cholera had but recently disappeared. On the 4th July she proceeded down the river to complete her embarkation at Sheerness where the disease was also raging. Later in July the Essex Standard reported of the cholera outbreak in London -

During the last four days the cholera morbus has been rapidly on the increase. The Times mentions, that five cases have taken place on one day in one of the City prisons. There have been 49 deaths in St. Katherine's Docks within the last few days, and 10 in the London Docks within a day or two. The ship Fanny bound for Sydney with female convicts, is detained at the Little Nore with it, having had 14 or 15 cases, and, up to Sunday afternoon, four deaths, and several hopeless cases. It is raging on board the Parmelia and the John Craig at Standgate Creek. [1]

Two people died of cholera before the Parmelia even left England : John Wilson, soldier, died 2 July 1832 and Thomas Hopkins, convict, died 7 July 1832.

Military Guard

The Guard consisted of 31 rank and file of the 4th Regiment, one soldier of the 17th and one of the 63rd with their wives and families, under the command of Captain Young of the 38th regiment and Lieut. Williamson of the 48th regiment.

Cabin Passengers

Passengers included Assistant surgeon Stevens R.N.

The Voyage

Prisoners died on the voyage: - Roger Sims died on 24 August 1832, and John Sullivan died on 30 August 1832. Charles Ashall and Edward Gribbin both died at sea (indents)

Port Jackson

One hundred and ninety six prisoners arrived in Port Jackson on 16 November 1832. The voyage had taken thirteen weeks.

A muster was held on board by Colonial Secretary Alexander McLeay on 20th November 1832. The indents include name, age, education, religion, marital status, family, native place, trade, when and where tried, sentence, former convictions, physical description and occasional information about colonial crimes, death or pardons. There is no information in the indents as to where the convicts were assigned on arrival.

Some of the notes in the indents include:
Michael Allen - Sent to Norfolk Island
William Broad's Ticket of Leave was cancelled and he was placed on Pinch Gut Island for 12 months in December 1841
John Baxter sent to Norfolk Island
James Compson - Died in the Hospital at Bathurst 19 January 1837
Edward Dowling - Died in Camden in 1858
William Eccles - Drowned near Newcastle on 28 February 1835. See letter of Mr. Boughton of Paterson
John Forster - Died in the service of James Ryrie County St. Vincent
George Griffiths - Died on 26 February 1837 in the service of Mr. Boughton of Paterson
Isaac Gorman - Died in Liverpool Hospital 19 September 1839
Thomas Gascoyne - Died in hospital at Port Macquarie 19 November 1836
William Howarth - Died at Port Macquarie 30 March 1835
Thomas Harrison - died in Sydney Hospital 25 March 1834
James Harley - worthless character
Charles Holliday - Sentenced to 3 years at Moreton Bay May 1834 by Windsor Bench
Edward Mastin - Died at Wolumbie 14 December 1832
Hugh McCormick - Died in Bathurst Hospital 10 July 1839
James Thompson - died in the General Hospital Sydney
James Wingate - Died at Norfol kIsland
David Wyllie - Died at Port Macquarie Hospital 21 January 1845

Prisoners were landed on 28th November 1832. The Sydney Herald reported that they were young active men who would be an acquisition to the settlers.

From the Monitor - The men per Parmelia were all landed on Wednesday and duly assigned, sinking among our population as the water sinks among the sand, not being to be seen the next day. Had they been free men, they would have remained above the sand with the tenacity of clay. Such is the difference between youth and age, men unincumbered and men encumbered and men who must work whether they will or no, and men who need not work if they choose to starve. [3]

The Van Diemen's Land Commercial and Agricultural Advertiser gave a view of the labour situation at the time.......The arrival of so many convicts and free labourers, with the non arrival of masters and money to employ them, have already caused wages to fall in common free labour 25 per cent. throughout the Colony, and especially in Sydney. Many trades however keep up their wages. [4]


The Parmelia departed the colony late in December 1832 and arrived in Batavia on 29 January 1833. She departed Batavia 5th March, St. Helena 17th May 1833 and arrived back at Portsmouth on 8 August 1833.

Having embarked prisoners in Cork the Parmelia departed Ireland bound for New South Wales with another ship load of convicts on 29 October 1833 arriving back at Port Jackson on 2 March 1834.

Notes and Links

1). John Simpson was one of about sixty Parmelia convicts who were later sent to the Hunter River district. He was assigned to Dr. Henry William Radford and then Robert and Helenus Scott at Patrick Plains. After absconding from service, he was sent to work with the boat crew at Newcastle. He was probably there at the same time as Francis McNamara (Frank the Poet). Select here to find other convicts sent to the Hunter Valley

2). Frederick Phillips, steward and John Davit, cook of the Parmelia were later charged with drinking the ship's wine after arrival in port.

3). Select here to read about the punishment endured by John Thomas at Campbelltown in 1833.

4). James Gilbert was formerly Captain on the Edward in 1829 and 1831.

5). Richard Allen was surgeon on the convict ship James Laing in 1834.

6). Some of the prisoners embarked on the Parmelia had been involved in the Bristol Riots in October 1831. They included William Christopher, Henry Green and Aaron Martin.

7). Convict Ships bringing detachments of the 4th (King's Own) Regiment..........

Jane departed Cork 29 April 1831. Commander of the Guard Captain George Mason

Surry departed Portsmouth 17 July 1831. Commander of the Guard Captain Charles Waldron 38th regt.

Asia departd Cork 6 August 1831. Commander of the Guard Captain Richard Chetwode

Norfolk departed 15 October 1831. Commander of the Guard Lieut. David William Lardy 4th regt.

Captain Cook departed Dublin 5 November 1831. Commander of the Guard Lieut. Gibbons 49th regt.

Portland departed Portmsouth 27 November 1831.

Isabella departed Cork 27 November 1831. Commander of the Guard Captain William Clarke 4th regt.

Bussorah Merchant departed Dublin 14 December 1831. Commander of the Guard Lieut. William Lonsdale 4th regt.

John departed the Downs 7 February 1832. Commander of the Guard Lieut. George Baldwin 31st regt.,

Lady Harewood departed Portsmouth 15 March 1832. Commander of the Guard Lieut. Lowth 38th regt.,

City of Edinburgh departed Cork 18 March 1832 . Commander of the Guard Lieut. Bayliss

Clyde departd Portsmouth 9 May 1832. Commander of the Guard Lieut-Colonel Mackenzie

Eliza departed Cork 10 May 1832. Commander of the Guard Lieut. Hewson

Planter departed Portsmouth 16 June 1832 under command of Lieuts. Bullin and 4th regt.

Dunvegan Castle departed Dublin 1 July 1832. Commander of the Guard Lieut. Thomas Faunce 4th regt.

Parmelia departed Sheerness 28 July 1832 under Command of Captain Young 38th regt.

Waterloo departed Sheerness 12 March 1833 under Command of Captain Mondilhan 54th regt.


[1] Journal of Richard Allen. UK, Royal Navy Medical Journals, 1817-1857. Original data: The National Archives. Kew, Richmond, Surrey.

[2] Whale tooth scrimshaw 'Parmelia' by Jesper Rasmussen depicting the ship Parmelia, with a banding of dolphins to the base, inscribed to verso 'Built at Quebec 1825 Swan River 1829, Jesper 1984, Albany'. Carter's Antiques

[3] The Monitor 1 December 1832

[4] Van Diemen's Land Commercial and Agricultural Advertiser 14 December 1832



Settler and Immigrant Ships

Medical Practitioners

Inns and Hotels

Indigenous Notes

Lake Macquarie History

Law and Order

Maitland History

Australian History News

Australian Slang

Site Search