Sugar Cane was the next
convict ship to leave Ireland for New South Wales after the
departure of the Boddingtons in February 1793.
Supplies on the
Sugar Cane included 31,496
lbs of beef;
45,440 lbs. of port; 64,512 lbs. of flour; 44 tons of lime
stone; 17 bales and 5 cases of clothing and necessaries.
The Guard was formed from soldiers of the NSW Corps. Thomas
Musgrave held grave fears for the safety of the ship's company
because of the calibre and health of some of the guard. Early in
February he had been informed that the War Office was sending on
board a soldier of the NSW Corps by the name of Samuel John
Stanton.....Stanton was said to be of a very infamous character
and as well as from the bad tendency his conduct might have by
mixing with the convicts it was recommended that Musgrave keep
him entirely separate from them .
applied to Under Secretary Nepean to have the man removed...You
must be fully convinced the person mentioned is very unfit to
act as a centinel over the convicts and you cannot be ignorant
how utterly impossible it will be fore me and my ship's company
to keep both soldiers and convicts in subjection. The (former) I
naturally concluded were sent on board to assist me in keeping
the convicts in order. I have also to observe that Mr. Bell, the
superintendent on account of Government and Mr. Rogers the
surgeon sent by the contractor are still of opinion
notwithstanding the survey that numbers of the recruits are
unfit to proceed on the voyage - indeed two of them are already
in so bad a state that they are incapable of doing anything.
In another plea to Nepean also in February Thomas
Musgrave wrote - Thomas McGennis one of the privates of the
New South Wales corps having behaved in a very riotous and
mutinous manner and threatened the life of my chief officer, I
have confined him in irons. Would be glad to know from you in
what manner I am to proceed with him that he may be punish'd as
an example for the rest of the men. If it is possible I should
wish to be released from him entirely as also of the other man I
wrote you about (Samuel Stanton). (1)
Superintendent David Wake Bell was about thirty three years old
at the time of sailing. He kept Under Secretary Nepean informed
of the proceedings on the Sugar Cane for the next few months.
Their progress from the Downs to Plymouth, Kinsale, Cork, Rio de
Janeiro and Port Jackson can be followed through his letters.
In correspondence dated 18 February 1793 at Catwater,
We sailed from the Downs on the 16th
instant, and kept company with the convoy as far as Portsmouth,
the frigate not being bound any farther to the westward. This
morning the wind coming to the SW and having Plymouth under our
lee, bore up, in order to know if there was any convoy for Cork,
as well as to get some hands, six men having left us since the
9th. On our entering the Sound, the men of war's boats came on
board and took the whole of our foremast men, so that we shall
not be able to proceed until we get those men again or others
from the shore, which I am much afraid will be a difficult
matter. Three of the NSW Corps have been in the sick list ever
since we sailed from Gravesend. (2)
to Nepean dated 11th March from Kinsale, Ireland, he informed
Nepean that they had sailed from Plymouth on 9th March without a
convoy and made Kinsale port on the afternoon of the 11th.....
Our reason of our making this port was occasioned by
being to leeward of Cork and blowing a strong gale, thought it
more advisable to put in than run the risk of beating to
windward, especially as the pilot boat informed us that a
privateer the day before had chased a ship close in with the Old
Head of Kinsale.. The moment the wind will permit we sail for
Cork from whence shall inform you of our further proceedings.
One of the four soldiers who deserted at Plymouth was taken by a
sergeant of the 11th regiment on the 26th February and is now on
board under confinement, together with the one I mentioned in my
former letter. It would be highly satisfactory sir, to the
master, as well as myself to know what we are to do with these
men, as they have now been a considerable time confined without
our knowing in what manner to act with them.
embarked the prisoners, the Sugar Cane sailed from Cork
on 12 April 1793
In correspondence dated 12th July from
Rio de Janeiro Bells writes: I had the honor to write you on
the 25th of last month by a vessel bound to Bristol, which was
the day we came to an anchor at this place. From the difficulty
of watering we have made a longer stay than I had reason at
first to expect. The convicts are all well, and so much
refreshed from the fresh beef and vegetables of which they have
had a plentiful supply, that there is every reason to expect the
remainder of the voyage they will be equally healthy as the
first part of it.
He hired the use of a translator
which cost five shillings a day for twenty six days and with his
help purchased 10 tons of limestone at one shilling per ton for
the use of the colony. If the wind permitted they planned to
sail from Rio on the morning of 13th July 1793.
arrived in Port Jackson on 17th September 1793.........
Lieut-Governor Grose later wrote to Henry Dundas
reporting the arrival of the Sugar Cane and Boddingtons -
Sydney, 12 October 1793. Sir, I have the honour to inform
you that since the date of my last dispatches the Sugar cane
transport, with Irish convicts has arrived here. The contractor,
as well in this ship as the Boddingtons, appears to have
performed his engagement with great liberality; and the
prisoners they have conveyed prove by their healthy appearance
the extraordinary attention that must have been paid by the
Naval Agents. In two ships containing three hundred and three
people, one person only had died, and amongst those landed in
the colony scarcely any are sick. The Britannia store ship
having been dismissed from government employment was immediately
engaged by the civil and military officers for the purpose of
purchasing a variety of stores they stood in need of, with the
particular view of fetching cattle from the Cape of Good Hope.
Messrs, Richard Kent and David Wake Bell, the naval Agents who
came out in the Sugar Cane and Boddingtons transports were
instructed to take their passage by the Britannia it being the
first opportunity that had offered of their returning to England
unless a considerable expense had been incurred by their taking
the route of India. (Grose to Henry Dundas 31st August
1794, HRA, Series 1, Vol 1., p 482)
the Sugar Cane from Port Jackson......
.......An account of the English colony in New South Wales
1). Ann Farrelly arrived as a
convict on the Sugar Cane. She died in October 1809 and was
buried in the
Old Sydney Burial Ground.
2). Convict Daniel
Brady/Leonard was granted a Certificate of Freedom in 1810 (SG)
3). Patrick Shaffery arrived as
a prisoner on the Sugar Cane. In December 1814 he was given
special permission to join Rev. Samuel Marsden and a missionary
expedition to New Zealand.
Select here to
find out more about the expedition
Hunter Valley convicts / passengers arriving on the Sugar Cane
5). From the National Archives UK the
following information about the Sugar Cane - Voyages: (1) From
Bengal 1794. Capt Thomas Musgrave. Calcutta 15 May 1794 - 29 Jun
Madras - 4 Oct Cape - 25 Oct St Helena - 25 Dec Crookhaven - 31
Jan 1795 Kinsale - 27 Feb Downs.
bringing political prisoners and protesters
Convict Ships arriving in New South Wales in 1793 -
8).James Fitzpatrick Knareborough
arrived as a convict on the Sugar Cane.....
He left the colony in 1796......
Historical Records of New South Wales, Vol. 2, Captain
Musgrave to Under Secretary Nepean, 10 February 1793, p.8
2). Historical Records of
New South Wales, Vol. 2, Surgeon Superintendent Bell to Under
Secretary Nepean, 18th February 1793, p. 16