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Convict Ship Roslin Castle 1833

Embarked: 195 men
Voyage: 120 days
Deaths: 1
Surgeon's Journal: yes
Tons: 450
Previous vessel: Fanny arrived 2 February 1833
Next vessel: Camden arrived 18 February 1833
Master William Richards
Surgeon Superintendent George Imlay
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The Roslin Castle was built at Bristol in 1819. Convicts were transported to Australia on the Roslin Castle in 1828 (VDL), 1830, 1833, 1834 and 1836.[1]


George Imlay kept a Medical Journal which began on the 10th August when the guard boarded the vessel at Deptford. [2]


The Guard consisted of 30 rank and file of the 21st regiment accompanied by four women and four children under the command of Lieutenant Bayley. Other passengers included Mrs. Bayley and child and Lieutenant Pieter Laurenz Campbell of the 21st Fusiliers. The Roslin Castle left Deptford for Ireland two days later, however were obliged to put into Plymouth because of stormy weather, and did not arrived at Kingstown harbour until 7th September 1832.


Cholera was still raging in Dublin and it was reported that two men had died on the Essex hulk.
According to Parliamentary Papers 1838, John Lamb, age 50 was the keeper on the Essex and had been employed there for 17 years at a salary of £184 12s 4d. per annum and therefore was keeper of the gaol in 1833. [1]

Essex Hulk


On 11th September one hundred and fifty two prisoners and eight free settlers were embarked on the Roslin Castle and the vessel weighed anchor and put out to sea immediately to prevent communication between prisoners and their friends with the hope of lessening the chance of infection. After a stormy passage of five days when many of prisoners became ill with sea sickness and some showed signs of cholera, the vessel arrived at Cork Harbour. Seven men who were still ill were removed to the Surprise Hulk at Cork.


The Roslin Castle sailed from Cork harbour on 8th October 1832 with 195 prisoners and five free settlers - Patrick Whalan, James Macgrogan, Patrick Neale, Terence Neale and James Slattery.


In the early days of the voyage George Imlay had to deal with dysentery, ophthalmia, and catarrh. Scurvy made an appearance amongst the men after only a month at sea. Nearly one third of the men were affected. Seventeen year old Lawrence Madden was the first case and seemed to be the most serious. He was put on the sick list on 11 November 1832 and discharged to hospital on 10 February 1833, five days after arrival in the colony. There was one death on the voyage, just one day of making land at Sydney.

As on the Dunvegan Castle and the Eliza, a number of prisoners on the Roslin Castle had been found guilty of Whiteboy crimes..........The Whiteboys (Irish: Buachaillí Bána) were a secret Irish agrarian organization in 18th-century Ireland which used violent tactics to defend tenant farmer land rights for subsistence farming. Their name derives from the white smocks the members wore in their nightly raids, but the Whiteboys were usually referred to at the time as Levellers by the authorities.


The Roslin Castle arrived in Port Jackson on 5 February 1833.


A Muster was held on board by the Colonial Secretary on 8th February 1833. The indents reveal the name, age, education, religion, marital status, family, native place, occupation, crime, date and place of trial and physical description. Where and to whom the convicts were assigned on arrival in New South Wales is not revealed in the indents however many can be found in assignment lists in the Sydney Gazette.

There were a number of very young convicts on this voyage. Six were 16 years old; one was 15; one 14; and four were only 13 years of age.


The male prisoners who arrived on the Roslin Castle were landed immediately after the female prisoners of the Fanny. It was reported that the men appeared in a good state of health; as many of them were good farm labourers, it was thought they would be an acquisition to the settlers.

About sixty of the Roslin Castle prisoners have been identified residing in the Hunter Valley region in following years. Select here to find out more about these men.  


The Roslin Castle was laid on for Madras in March and was to convey the remainder of the 39th regiment.


1). Political Prisoners

2). Convict Edward Foley who came from Queens County was hanged in 1838 after being found guilty of the murder of natives at Myall Creek (Myall Creek Massacre)

3). Convict Patrick Travers who came from Co. Kildare and was sentenced to transportation for life for highway robbery, accompanied Sir Thomas Livingstone Mitchell's Expedition in 1848.

4). Colonial Military Officers

5). County Antrim - Transportation of Convicts - On Monday last, the following convicts were forwarded from Carrickfergus Jail under the charge of two of Mr. Erskine's Assistants, and a guard of soldiers, to Kingstown, for transportation to New South Wales. Their clean and comfortable appearance and the great decorum and regularity observed by the entire party on their departure ( not a murmur or complaint having been uttered, but expressions of thanks) reflect the highest credit on the attention and discipline of the governor of the Establishment. Patrick Mullan, aged 28, John Stewart aged 22, Alexander Geary aged 13 convicted of larceny at the Belfast Sessions to be transported, each, seven years. Francis Skimmins aged 33, Peter Boorman, aged 16 convicted of horse stealing at Spring Assizes, to be transported for life. James Armour, age 37, Robert Boyd aged 36, David Campbell, aged 20, Thomas Connolly aged 28 (a band of daring house robbers*) convicted of burglary at spring Assizes, to be transported for life - Samuel McClelland, aged 22, James McIlvane, age 18, William Duffin aged 21, William Geston aged 30, convicted of cow stealing at Spring Assizes to be transported each seven years. John K Henry aged 21 convicted of sheep stealing at Spring Assizes, to be transported seven years. Thomas Gilmore, aged 54, convicted of cattle stealing at Spring Assizes, to be transported seven years. Patrick Spelman aged 38 convicted of pig stealing at Spring Assizes, to be transported seven years - Robert Hamilton, aged 17, John Magill aged 24, John Loughran aged 15 convicted of larceny at Spring Assizes to be transported seven years. William McCafferty, aged 21, Robert Gilmore aged 60, James Cadden aged 28, convicted of malicious assault at Spring Assizes to be transported seven years. Daniel O'Lynn aged 27, convicted of obtaining money under false presences at the Belfast Sessions to be transported seven years. Archibald Miskimmin convicted at the last Assizes of returning from transportation before the expiration of his sentence to transported for life *These four men belonged to the party of burglars and highwaymen who were the terror of the Counties of Down and Antrim for a length of time Armour was well calculated for such purposes; he is six feet high, well proportioned and of fierce disposition. When arrested, in Ballymacrrell he fought six policemen, until he received twenty two very severe wounds. - Belfast Newsletter 10 August 1832   

6). Convict ships bringing detachments of the 21st regiment (Royal Scotch Fusiliers) and Officer in command of the Guard....

Mary departed London 4 September 1832 - Captain Daniels 21st regt.,

Roslin Castle departed Cork 8 October 1832 - Lieuts. Bayley & Pieter L. Campbell. 21st

Andromeda departed Portsmouth 17 November 1832 - Lieuts. Lonsdale & Armstrong 21st regt.,

Mangles departed London 14 December 1832 London

Asia departed the Downs 21 February 1833 - Lieuts. Kelly and Wilson of 6th regt.,

Lord Lyndoch departed Sheerness June 1833 - Lieut-Col. Leahy. Headquarters of 21st

Royal Admiral departed Dublin 4 June 1833 - Lieut. Ainslie 21st regt.,

Aurora departed Portsmouth 4 July 1833 Major Delisle 4th regt.,

Java departed Cork 24 July 1833 - Lieut. Wrixon, 21st regt.,

Neva departed Plymouth 29 July 1833- Lieut. McEdwin 1st or Queens Own regt.,

Lloyds departed the Downs 25 August 1833 - Lieut. McKnight 21st regt.,

Fairlie departed England 27 October 1833

Bengal Merchant departed 28 March 1838 - Lieut. Dear of 21st regt.,


[1] Parliamentary Papers

[2] Bateson, Charles & Library of Australian History (1983). The convict ships, 1787-1868 (Australian ed). Library of Australian History, Sydney, pp.350-351, 387

[3] Journal of George Imlay - UK, Royal Navy Medical Journals, 1817-1857 Original data: The National Archives. Kew, Richmond, Surrey.