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Convict Ship Whitby 1839 


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(Convicts and passengers from this ship only)

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Select from the Links below to find information about Convict Ships arriving in New South Wales, Norfolk Island and Van Diemen's Land between the years 1788 and 1850.

J -K L M N - O P - Q R S T - V W - Y

Embarked: 133 women
Voyage: 125 days
Deaths: 1
Surgeon's Journal: yes
Previous vessel: Waverley arrived 17 June 1839
Next vessel: Parkfield arrived 1 September 1839
Captain Thomas Wellbank
Surgeon Superintendent John Kidd

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The Whitby was the next convict ship to leave Ireland for New South Wales after the departure of the Margaret in September 1838.

John Kidd kept a Medical Journal from 5 February to 2 July 1839.

The first case he dealt with was of eighteen year old Eliza McKey who was treated for hysteria on 9th February, before the ship even set sail. (National Archives). Judith Tracey, a thin delicate woman aged 24 was also treated while the ship still lay in Kingstown Harbour.

The Whitby departed Dublin on 18 February 1839 with 133 female prisoners and twenty five children. Over the next few months many of the women were treated for either bowel complaints or catarrh. The surgeon in his summary reported that the general state of health of the convicts during the voyage was good. Several of the women were old and infirm and many of the children young and delicate. Two died, a woman Mary Hennessey on 5th June and a child.

The prisoners when disembarked had a much more robust and healthy appearance than when they came on board at Dublin which may be ascribed to the way in which they were provisioned and the general system of cleanliness, ventilation and measures adopted.

The Whitby anchored in Watson's Bay on the night of Saturday 22nd June 1839, after a voyage of 125 days. The printed convict indents reveal such information as name, age, education, religion, marital status, family, native place, occupation, offence, when and where tried, sentence, former convictions and physical description. There are occasional details about family members already in the colony; there is no information as to where or to whom the women were assigned on arrival however out of 132 women landed in Sydney only 25 were married. There were ninety women who gave their status as single and another 17 who were widows. Some of the single women were married within a year or two of arrival. Most of them were married by the mid 1840's.

The Sydney Monitor reported that - the female convicts per the ship Whitby, were landed yesterday (2nd July) at H.M. Dockyard. Bishop Broughton and Bishop Poulding were present, and addressed an admonitory exhortation to the women of their respective persuasions. There were several ladies of rank in the colony present, besides others who were waiting to take delivery of the women assigned to them. The Colonel was there, of course. After the assigned were delivered over to their respective assignees, agreeably to the Government regulations, the remainder amounting in number to forty, were ordered to be forwarded that evening to Parramatta Female Factory.  These forty women were probably the married women and widows and their children.

Notes and Links:

1). Reports and Evidence taken on the Inquiry before the Chief Remembrancer relative to the Mode of conducting the Convict Service in Ireland.......

   ...Click on the text to read more  

2). About thirteen of the women have been identified residing in the Hunter region. Select HERE to find more about prisoners and passengers of the Whitby.

3). John Kidd was also surgeon on the convict ship Egyptian in 1840 (VDL), Emma Eugenia in 1841 (VDL) and the Nile in 1850.

4). The Whitby was one of five convict ships bringing female prisoners to New South Wales in 1839, the others being the  
Margaret, PlanterMary Ann and Minerva.. A total of 727 female prisoners arrived in the colony in 1839.


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