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Convict Ship Prince Regent (1) 1820

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Embarked: 160 men
Voyage: 3˝ months
Deaths: 0
Surgeon's Journal: yes
Previous vessel: Eliza arrived 21st January 1820
Next vessel: Castle Forbes arrived 27 January 1820
Captain William Anderson
Surgeon Superintendent James Hunter R.N.

The Prince Regent was built at Shields in 1810.

This was the first of three voyages transporting convicts to New South Wales, the others being in 1824 and 1827.

The Prince Regent departed Deal on 11th October 1819. She brought with her prisoners from districts throughout England including Lancaster, York, Middlesex, Nottingham, Warwick, Worcester, Kent, Oxford, Essex, Derby and London.

The youngest convict was Thomas Rooke from Essex who was only 14 years old. The oldest was Abraham Brierly who was 70 years of age.

The London Times on 21st October 1819 reported the case of two brothers Judah and Joseph Solomons, who were convicted at the Maidstone Assizes of being accessory to burglary committed in Sheerness. They had been removed from the Bellerophan hulk and shipped on the Prince Regent for NSW.  - "Their feelings were sensibly affected at leaving their native country, particularly Judah, who had long resided at Sheerness. On Thursday last, the ceremony of divorcement, according to the Jewish custom, took place at the Fountain Inn, Sheerness, between Joseph Solomons and his wife. It was performed by the High Priest and Chief Rabbi, who arrived for the purpose in a coach and four. The husband was permitted to come on shore, under an escort, and in irons; and, after the ceremony, he returned on board, to suffer that expatriation his guilt has brought upon him. "

James Hunter kept a Medical Journal from 1 September 1819 to 28 February 1820. His first case was that of James Hazel a convict boy who was suffering pyrexia and inflamed legs. His leg irons were both carefully removed and he soon began to recover under the surgeon's attention. Soon after it was found that many of the convicts were suffering with the same complaint and all the leg irons were removed and plain dressings were applied to the wounds. The next case William Brandford of the 48th regiment was also suffering from an ulcer of the left leg with the surgeon dressed with a bandage made from his own sheets, none being supplied on the vessel. During the voyage there were several accidents causing broken bones and one little girl was badly scalded. On 15th October the all the surgeon's skills were brought into use when a marlin spike fell from aloft and cut the nose and upper lip of seaman by the name of Wiseman, separating the nose and wounding the upper jaw. Two days later another seaman was injured in the hip by a heavy marlin spike falling on him also.

On the voyage Prince Regent spoke the Surry, Captain Raine on her return passage to England in 10° North 24° West on the 4th November 1820.

Three of the soldier's wives were mentioned in the surgeon's journal: Letty Stewart came on board in a very weak and debilitated state, having lately had a child. The surgeon gave her wine and preserved meats and she gradually recovered by November; Harriet Gordon had been in a bad state of health a long time and continued in a weakly state all the voyage necessitating the surgeon to supply her with medicine and occasional wine as well as a nutritious diet; and the wife of Thomas Hughes of the 48th regiment was delivered of a daughter on the morning of 14th December.

Much of the journal is taken up with illness and injuries of the crew and guard. Only a few of the convicts required the surgeon's attention for illness. Several of the old men he treated kindly and allotted extra provisions of preserved meat and wine. Other than Abraham Brierly who was 70, other older prisoners included John Dumville 63; Robert Pettit 57; William Sanders 54; Thomas Watts 69.

The Prince Regent arrived in Port Jackson on Thursday 27th January 1820. Governor Lachlan Macquarie recorded in his Journal  - the Guard consisted of 31 Soldiers of the 48th Regiment commanded by Cornet M.C. Chambers of the 21st. Light Dragoons. The Convicts and Guard arrived in good Health – none of either having died on the Passage out. The Rev. George Middleton, Asst. Chaplain for the Colony, his Child and Servant, the wife & 3 children of Cornet Chambers, and a Chelsea Pensioner have come out Passengers in the Prince Regent.

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

The Sydney Gazette later reported that Mr. Duncan of the Navy was one of the passengers. The prisoners were in a fine state of health on landing and Dr. Hunter was congratulated for his care of those committed to his charge. (2)

Those intending to depart on the Prince Regent in March included Chief Officer William Legar; 2nd Officer James Dunn; 3rd Officer John Phillpin; and purser Mr. James Duncan.

James Hunter was still in the colony when Philip Parker King was searching for a surgeon to join his third expedition on the Mermaid. James Hunter offered his services on the voyage and King was grateful for the presence of an experienced surgeon on the expedition......I accepted the proffered services of a young man who was strongly recommended by his Excellency the Governor, and he was on the point of joining me, when a surgeon of the navy, Mr. James Hunter, who had just arrived in charge of a convict ship, volunteered his services, which were gladly accepted, and he was immediately attached to the Mermaid’s establishment. The accession of a surgeon to our small party relieved me of a greater weight of anxiety than I can describe; and, when it is considered that Mr. Hunter left an employment of a much more lucrative nature, to join an arduous service in a vessel whose only cabin was scarcely large enough to contain our mess-table, and which afforded neither comfort nor convenience of any description, I may be allowed here to acknowledge my thanks for the sacrifice he made. On 20th July at Port Bowen James Hunter and explorer Allan Cunningham spent the day ranging about the vicinity of the shore whilst Mr. Roe with a boars crew was employed in filling empty water casks from a gully at the back of the beach. (1)  

Notes & Links:

1). James Hunter was also surgeon on the convict ships
Minerva in 1818 and the Princess Royal in 1823.

2). Twenty two of the convicts of the Prince Regent have been identified in the Hunter Valley region. Select here to find out more about convicts and passengers arriving on the Prince Regent.

3). Rev. George Augustus Middleton - Australian Dictionary of Biography 

4).  Return of Convicts of the Prince Regent assigned between 1st January 1832 and 31st March 1832 (Sydney Gazette 14 June 1832; 21 June 1832; 5 July 1832).....
Thomas Hartland   Top sawyer assigned to William Dun at Patterson's Plains
Thomas Redfern   Cotton manufacturer assigned to Martin Short at Sydney


1). Narrative of a survey of the intertropical and western coasts of Australia ... By Philip Parker King 

 The Sydney Gazette and New South Wales Advertiser (NSW : 1803 - 1842) Sat 29 Jan 1820 Page 3 SHIP NEWS

3). Bateson, Charles & Library of Australian History (1983). The convict ships, 1787-1868 (Australian ed). Library of Australian History, Sydney : pp.342-343, 383

4). 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.

5). National Archives - Reference: ADM 101/61/1A Description: Medical and surgical journal of the ship Prince Regent for 1 September 1819 to 28 February 1820 by James Hunter, Surgeon Superintendent, during which time the said ship was employed in conveying convicts to New South Wales. The journal takes the form of case by case entries giving name and whether the patient is a convict, soldier or seaman. The age of the patient is not usually recorded and for some of the seamen only the surname is given.


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