Between 1788 – 1886 158,830 convicts from England and Ireland
were transported and landed in the Australian Colonies –
134,262 males and 24,568 females. Some 2,911 died on the way.
They were transported in 477 ships many of which made more
than one journey. (See Charles Bateson’s “The Convict Ships”
After being sentenced to transportation many convicts had to
spend months in prison hulks before a ship to transport them was
available. An image of one of the many prison hulks below. The
journey to Australia itself could take up to four months and
sometimes longer. Conditions in the transports improved over time
as did the time taken by the voyage.
Below is a small sample of the ships which transported convicts
to Australia for which images have been identified or there is
evidence supporting identification, how long the voyages lasted
and the numbers of convicts landed on arrival at their destination.
A CONVICT HULK
Convict prison hulk Discovery E.W. Cooke’s “Shipping and Craft”
The hulk was not Cooke’s old ship but the ship Discovery in which Captain George
Vancouver explored the West Coast of Canada. She became a prison ship in 1818 for
convicts awaiting transportation and served as such until 1824 when she was broken up.
I. Images Identified as of Convict Transports by the National
Maritime Museum, Greenwich, in its Reseach Guide G3 dated
1/28/2004 (Passengers: Ships sailing to Australia & New Zealand
CHARLES KERR – w3s 463t 1926 Sunderland
National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, UK (PU6382)
The Charles Kerr made one voyage to Sydney as a convict transport in
1837 landing 246 male convicts after a voyage of 123 days. She visited
Sydney again in 1839 and Adelaide in 1840.
EMERALD ISLE – w3s 501t 1836 Moulmein
HENRY PORCHER – w3s 485t 1817 Bristol
EDEN – w3s 513t 1826 London
At anchor In Port Adelaide 1839 – five sailing vessels – from right: Emerald Isle, Eden, Goshawk,
Henry Porcher and David
State Library of South Australia (B7177) National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, UK (9402)
The Emerald Isle made one voyage of 104 days to Hobart in 1843 nd landed 213 male convicts.
From Hobart she is recorded as going on to New Zealand. She visited South Australia in 1854
The Eden made four voyages as a convict transport – two to Sydney, the first in 1836 when she landed
277 male convicts after a voyage of 113 days, and the second in 1840 when she landed 269 male convicts
after a voyage of 131 days. The next two voyages were to Hobatt in 1842 where sh e landed275 male
convicts after a voyage of 105 days, and to Hobart and Port Phillip in 1849. She landed 53 male convicts
in Hobart and then went to Port Phillip. There was opposition to the landing of convicts at Port Phillip so
the198male convicts designated for Port Phillip were unloaded at Geelong
The vessel went to Sydney in 1937 after unloading convicts in Hobart, and visited Adelaide in 1838.
The Henry Porcher made three voyages as a convict transport – two to Sydney in 1825 and 1835,
and one to Hobart in 1836. The first voyage to Sydney lasted 120 days with with 175 male convicts
landed, and the second 119 days with196 male convicts landed. Her third voyage to Hobart was of
103 days and 258 male convicts were landed. The vessel was under Eat India Company charter
1818 to 1831, so after her first voyage would have gone to India for a return cargo.
FLORENTIA – w3s 453t 1821 Newcastle
National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, UK (PW7704)
The Florentia made two voyages to Sydney as a convict transport in 1828 and 1830. The first voyage
took 110 days and 165 male convicts were landed. The second voyage lasted 121 days and 196 male
convicts were landed. She is also recorded as arriving in Sydney from London in1841 and 1843. The vessel
was under East India Company charter from 1821 to 1827.
LADY JULIANA – w3s 379tt 1778 Whitby
Etching by R. Dodd – Lady Juliana in Frank C. Bowen’s “The Golden Age of Sail”
a storm in the West Indies in 1782
with mainmast shattered by lightning
The Lady Juliana was the first convict transport to leave Englandafter the First Fleet. She made only one
such voyage leaving Plymouth in July 1789 with 226 female convicts and arriving at Sydney in June 1790
after a voyage of 309 days. The vessel was under charter to the East India Company from181800 to 1809.
LADY KENNAWAY – w3s 584t 1817 Calcutta
Acquatint: “Off Margate, homeward bound, 1827” National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, UK made 1829 – engraver E.Duncan, (PAH8468)
artist & publisher W.J. Huggins
The Lady Kennaway made three voyages as a convict transport – to Hobart (VanDiemens Land as
Tasmania was then called) in 1835 and1851, and to Sydney in 1836. The first voyage to Hobart was 109
days and 274 male convicts were landed, and the second was for 112 days with 249 male convicts landed.
Her third voyage to Sydney was of 123 days and 258 male convicts were landed. She also made voyages
with Government assisted emigrants to Sydney in 1841 and Port Phillip in 1848, 1850 and 1853. The
vessel was under carter to the East India Company from 1826 to1831.
NORWOOD – w3s 849t 1854 Sunderland
National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, UK (PY0635)
The Norwood made two voyages as a convict transport to Western Australia in 1862 and 1867. In the first
voyage of 85 days she landed 290 male convicts, and in the second of 86 days she landed 252 male convicts.
PITT – w3s 775t 1780 Thames
Acquatintby J.W. Edy after Dominic Serres, R.A. Frank C. Bowen’s “The Golden Age of Sail”
The Pitt made one voyage of 212 days to Sydney as a convict transport in 1792. The ship was the first
regular East Indiaman (under charter to the East India Company from1786 to 1798) and the largest at
that time to be used as a convict transport. As an East Indiaman, her officers were entitled to carry trade
goods on their own account and the ship was over crowded. It appears that there were 402 convicts
(344 males and 58 females) on board when she departed. During the voyage 20 male and 9 females
convicts died, and 120 male convicts were landed sick on arrival at Sydney and there were further deaths.
There were also deaths among the military guard and their families during the voyage. The vessel
would have gone to India from Sydney to pick up a return cargo.
SIR GEORGE SEYMOUR – w3s 724t 1844 Sunderland
From an oil painting by W.Howard National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, UK (BHC3640)
The Sir George Seymour made one voyage as a convict transport – to Hobart and Geelong (with
Pentonville ‘exiles’) in 1845 and landed 394 male convicts. She made a voyage to Port Phillip with
government assisted emigrants in in 1849. In 1850, she was one of the first four ships opening the
Canterbury settlement in New Zealand .
VIMEIRA – w3s 941t 1851 Sunderland
National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, UK (PO6721)
The Vimeira made one voyage as a convict transport to Western Australia in 1865 where she landed 278
male convicts She also made a voyage to Port Phillip with Government assisted emigrants in 1868.
II. Other Images which are Probably Images of Convict Transports
BLENHEM – w3s 808t.n.m. 1845 Shields
From a postcard which describes the Blenheim State Library of Victoria
as “808 tons built Dunstan at (Sunderland?)”. (Accession No.H27568/40)
Sunderland and Shields are close by and ther
is a query besides “Sunderland”.
A Blenheim of that tonnage made three voyages as a convict transport to Hobart in 1848, 1850 and 1851.
The same ship also made one voyage to Port Phillip with Government assisted emigrants in 1854.
Over the three voyages she landed 896 male convicts in Hobart.
BUSSORAH MERCHANT – w3s 530t/om 650t/nm 1818 Calcutta
State Library of South Australia (B25221)
The Bussorah Merchant made three voyages as a convict transport – two to Sydney in in 1828 and 1831,
and one to Hobart in 1830. In her two voyages to Sydney she landed 166 and 198 male convicts respectively,
and in her voyage to Hobart 198 male convicts were landed. The vessel was owned by Duncan Dunbar.
She visited Hobart in 1837 and in 1839 brought emigrants to Sydney from London and Plymouth. She is
recorded as visiting Hobart and Sydney in 1841, and South Australia for London and Plymouth in 1848. She
visited Melbourne in 1860.
CLYDE – i3s 1,151t 1860 Glasgow
National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, UK (GO2266)
A ship of this name and details (tonnage, date and place built) was a convict transport to Western Australia
in 1863. After a voyage of 75 days she landed320 male convicts
EDWIN FOX – w3s 836gt 1853 Calcutta
Photo of painting of the Edwin Fox under sail. From the website http://www.shawsavillships.co.uk.
The Edwin Fox made one voyage as a convict transport to Western Australia in 1858. She landed 280
male convicts after a voyage of 86 days. She was purchased by Shaw, Savill & Co. in 1873 and in 1885
became a refrigerated meat storage ship in a number of New Zealand ports while shore plants were
constructed. In 1886, the vessel was hulked in Queen Charlotte Sound, Picton. In 1897, she was moved
to Port Chalmers where she became derelict. She is back at Picton. And being restored
HAVERING – w3s 906t 1849 Sth Shields
Watercolour (The Havering, Captain Pryce, National Library of Australia
passing St. Helena in Dec. 1851, bound for (nla.pic-an591979)
Sydney, New South Wales passage 82 days)
The Lloyd’s Register 1851 lists the Master for a voyage London-Sydney as “C. Price” The Register has
only one vessel named “Havering” of 775tom/906tnm, built in South Shields in 1849. She made one
voyage as a convict transport to Sydney in 1849, landing334male convicts after a voyage of 96 days.
Her Master for that voyage was John Fenwick who is listed in Lloyd’s Register as Master of the vessel
from 1849 up to the voyage to Sydney in 1851.
H.M.S. BUFFALO (ex-HINDOSTAN) – w3s 589t 1813 Calcutta
From a pen and ink drawing by Lt. Y.B. Hutchinson RN / State Library of South Australia (B4263)
who was a passenger on the ship in1836
Purchased by the Royal Navy in 1813 as a store ship and general carrier. She made a voyage in 1833 as
a convict transport to Sydney with female convicts – landing 178 at Sydney. In 1836, under the
command of Captain John Hindmarsh she made the voyage to found the South Australia colony.
HOOGHLY – w3s 466t 1819 London
Engraving (ca. 1840) / State Library of South Australia
The Hooghly made four voyages as a convict transport to Sydney in 1825,1827,1831 and
1834. She landed 736 male convicts after voyages ranging between 93 and 113 days. She
carried emigrants to South Australia in 1839, and made a further six voyages to South
Australia from 1843 to 1856. (See Ronald Parsons’ “Migrant Ships for South Australia
1836-1866″) . She also visited Port Phillip on a half dozen occasions no doubt looking for a
cargo for the return journey during this period.
LADY CASTLREAGH – w3s 842t 1802 Thames
Oil Painting – dismasted in a cyclone National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, UK (BHC 3437)
off Madras 24 October1818)
The Lady Castlereagh made one voyage as a convict transport to Sydne in 1818 landing 220 male convicts
after a voyage of 129 days She arrived in Sydney on 30 April 1818 and then went to Hobart from where
she departed for Madras on 26 June 1818. At Madras she was hit by a cyclone and blown out of the
Madras Roads and stranded. (See Ronald Parsons’ “Shipping Losses and Casualties Concerning Australia
and New Zealand”)– The vessel was under charter to the East India Company from 1803 to 1817.
MANGLES – w3s 594t 1802 Calcutta
Painting with title :”Convict ship Mangles, State Library of Victoria
master John Coghill” (Accession No. H93.410/20)
Mangles made seven voyages to Sydney as a convict transport in 1820,1822,1824,1826, 1828, 1833 and
1837 and one to Hobart in 1835 In Sydney she landed a total of 1,469 convict males after voyages
ranging from 100 to 149 days, and in Hobart 308 male convicts after a voyage of 109 days. The ship’s
Master for the first four voyages (1820-1826) voyages was John Coghill. Mangles made further voyages
to Sydney in 1837 and 1840. The vessel was under charter to the East India Company from 1816 to 1832.
She would have gone to India after her first five voyages to Sydney for a return cargo, and probably after
her next three voyages as a convict transport after the East India Company’s monopoly of the Indian trade
ended in 1834.
MELLISH – w3s 424t 1820 Calcutta
Acquatint hand coloured by E. Duncan after W.J. Huggins National Library of Australia
“Entering Sydney harbour” published 1830? (nla.pic-an9576808)
The Mellish made two voyages as a convict transport – to Sydney in 1829 and Hobart in 1830. After a
voyage of 106 days to Sydney she landed168 male convicts, and after a 108 days voyage she landed 115
female convicts in Hobart. She subsequently visited Sydney in 1839 and 1840, and Hobart in 1840.
Ships engaged by the Canterbury Association to carry emigrants to New Zealand.
From left to right: Bangalore, Dominion, Duke of Portland, Lady Nugent, Midlothian and Canterbury.
Of these six ships: Bangalore, Duke of Portland, Lady Nugent and Midlothian had or would make
voyages as convict transports.
Illustrated London News, 1851, Vol. 18, P. 422
BANGALORE w3bk 877t 1843 Jersey
The Bangalore made two voyages as a convict transport in to Hobart in 1848 and Moreton Bay in 1850.
At Hobart she landed 222 male convicts. At Moreton Bay she landed 292 male convicts after a voyage
of 113days. She was in charter to the East India Company for one voyage in 1797-1798.
LADY NUGENT w3s 535t 1813 Bombay (rebuilt 1843 642t)
The Lady Nugent made two voyages as a convict transport -to Sydney in 1835 where she landed
284 male convicts after a voyage of 126 days; and to Hobart in 1836 where she landed 286 male
convicts after a voyage of 121 days. She made a voyage to Sydney in 1838; and four voyages
to New Zealand from 1840 -1851 (henry Brett “White Wings”, Vol.II). Her first arrival in New
Zealand was in Wellington in October 1840 – one of the pioneer ships of the Wellington settlement.
She was in charter to the East India Company from 1825 to 1832.
MIDLOTHIAN – w3bk 414t 1836 Sunderland
The Midlothian (distant) in the woodcut has the same tonnage and place of build as the convict transport
of that name except that the date of build is given as 1835 not 1834. The Midlothian was in Lyttleton in
October1851 with a Capt. Gibson as master. She made one voyage as a convict transport to Hobart in
1853 with ‘J. Gibson’ as master. She landed167 female convicts after a voyage of 99 days She had
previously visited Melbourne in 1839, 1840, 1843 and 1850.
MOUNT STEWART ELPHINSTONE – w3bk 611t 1826 Bombay
Oil painting (signed and dated 1840) National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, UK (BHC3504 &
Negative No. 9422)
The catalogue of paintings of the National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, gives 1826 as date of
construction of the vessel in the painting which is also the date of build of the convict transport of the same
name. The Mount Stewart Elphinstone made two voyages as a convict transport – to Hobart in 1845 and
1848, and one to Moreton Bay in 1849..She brought Government assisted emigrants to Port Phillip in 1857.
ST. VINCENT – w3s 410t 1829 London (lengthened in 1844 and remeasured as 497t o.m. and 630t n.m)
Wood engraving (Leaving with “bounty” emigrants, Illustrated London News 1844,
The details (name, tonnage, date and place built) of the vessel in the engraving are the same as those of
the convict transport. The St.. Vincent made three voyages as a convict transport to Sydney in 1837
landing 190 male convicts after a voyage of 114 days, to Hobart in 1850 landing 205 female convicts after a
voyage of 106 days, and to Hobart again in 1853 landing 207 male convicts after a voyages of 128days.
In her 1853 voyage, she was the last convict transport to reach Van Diemen’s Land (Tasmania). She
made voyages to Sydney in 1840, 1841 and 1844. She was still afloat in1863.
SESOSTRIS – w3s 487t 1817 Hull
MORLEY – w3s 480t om 1811 Thames
Sesostris, Morley being piloted through the Torres Straits by HM Brig Britomart (Captioned
“Sunset May 22, 1841 of Mt. Cook”
Water colour (Publisher ca. 1841) National Library of Australia ( nla.pic-an23501541)
Sesostris made one voyage as a convict transport to Sydney in 1826 landing 147 male convicts after a
voyage of 111 days. In the Sydney records, she is listed as arriving in Sydney from London in 1839,
Tahiti in 1840 and Calcutta in February 1841. She is decribed as a barque.
Morley made six voyages as a convict transport – to Sydney in 1817 and 1818, to Hobart and Sydney
in 1820, to Hobart in 1823, and to Sydney in 1828 and 1829. She landed a total of 730 male and 71 female
convicts in Sydney ans 170 male and 50 female convicts in Hobart.
There is no record of other visits by the Morley in the 1830s to Australian ports. She did however visit
Adelaide in April 1840 from where she was reportedly destined for New Zealand and Valparaiso.
According to Ian Nicholson’s “Log of Logs” Vol. 2, she was in Sydney in early May 1841,and destined
for Bombay. This is consistent with a passage of the Torres Straits later in that month.
H.M. Brig Britomart (Lt. Cdr Owen Stanley) was leaving the Australian Station for India
TORY – w3bk 512t 1842 Sutherland
Lithograph by T.G. Dutton with caption: National Library of Australia
“Barque Tory..G.E. Langford, Commander… (nla.pic-an9579666)
Australian Cordilleras Gold Mining Company ..
Ship leaving the Downs with their first
expedition to Australia”)
The barque Tory, 433tom/512tnm,built Hylton near Sutherland 1842 (details from Hobart records) made three
voyages as a convict transport. Two voyages were to Hobart in 1845 and 1848. On both of these voyages
she embarked and landed 170 female convicts after voyages of 104 and 98 days. In 1847 she went to Norfolk
Island where sh landed 195 male convicts There is no record of the length of the voyage..
A barque Tory of the same details was lost when she went ashore near Port Stephens, N.S.W. in 1853. Her
Master was Captain Langford (as in the caption of the Dutton lithograph). The vessel was carrying a party
of labourers from the UK to Port Stephens for the Peel River Mining Company. No lives were lost. (R.Parsons:
“Shipping Losses and Casualties Concerning Australia and New Zealand”). This was possibly the end of
the voyage of which the beginning is depicted in the Dutton lithograph There was another barque Tory,
402t om /483t nm, also built in Sutherland in 1842 with which there has been some confusion. She visited
Adelaide in 1850 and 1851 from London and on her way to Melbourne. She traded between Melbourne and
New Zealand from 1851 until at least 1854. Her Master from her 1850 visit to Adelaide until at least 1854 in
Melbourne was Capt. J. Rowe.
VIMIERA – w3bk 941t 1851 Sunderland
National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, UK (PO6721)
Vimiera made one voyage to Western Australia in 1865 and landed 278 male convicts after a voyage
of 83 days.
WATERLOO –w3s 414t 1815 Bristol
Lithograph of the wreck of the convict WL Crowther Library, Tasmanian
transport Waterloo at the Cape of Good Archive and Heritage Office
Hope in August, 1842
Waterloo made six voyages as convict transport between 1829 and 1838 – five to Sydney and one to
Hobart in 1835. In these voyages she landed 1,026 male convicts in Sydney and 224 male convicts in
On her seventh voyage as a convict transport in 1842 with 219 male convicts on board Waterloo went to
and anchored at Table Bay on 24 August to pick up fresh supplies because of an outbreak of scurvy.
The Captain went ashore leaving a young first mate in command. A storm blew up during the
night, the ships anchors failed to hold and the ship went ashore. Some 143 convicts were drowned along
with 14 of the crew, 14 of the military guard, 4 soldiers’ wives and 14 of the soldiers’ children. (For a fuller
account of the loss of the Waterloo see Charles Bateson’s “The Convict Ships 1797-1866”.)
(Ship details from Charles Bateson’s “The Convict Ships 1797-1868”,
Library of Australian History, Sydney 1983 – first published by Brown,
Son & Ferguson, Glasgow 1959. The Lloyd’s Register, and Ship Arrival
and Departure information for Sydney, Hobart, Adelaide and other
Australian ports have also been consulted. East India Company details