The Ships they sailed on

There were approximately 150,000 convicts transported to Australia. The majority of these (130,000) came after 1815. Most were sentenced to seven years, but 25% were sent out for life.

Convict ships of the time were quite small, varying from 320 to 450 tons, about 100 feet long and 30 feet broad. They were crowded, not only with convicts and crew, but also provisions, stores, sheep, hogs, goats and poultry, not to mention rats, cockroaches and vermin. They were difficult to ventilate. The ships were usually provided and equipped by private firms, looking to make a profit. The contracts called for the ships to be sea-worthy, properly manned and fitted out, with the convict's quarters clean and ventilated> The contractors had to provide a surgeon. Prisoners were allowed on deck as much as possible. Rations, based on those in the navy were ample if properly distributed.

HMS "Governor Ready"

A ship of 512 tons built at Prince Edward Island in 1825.

Michael Fogarty departed Cork harbour, bound for Sydney, Australia aboard the Governor Ready. She arrived in Australia for the second time on the 16th January 1829 under the command of Master John Young. Thomas B. Wilson was Surgeon. She had left Cork on the 21st September 1828, a trip of 117 days with 200 male prisoners.

Michael fitted some, but not all the description of an average prisoner - he was 29 years old when transported (average age 26) and a farm labourer (most convicts were from the labouring class). In fact most of the Irish transported were about two years older than average. However, he was married, whereas most were single. Most had previous convictions - did Michael ? However in other respects Michael was different to the average. Most were transported for larceny (theft) of one sort or another - Michael's crime was listed as "coining". Two-thirds of those transported were Protestant - Michael, being from Ireland(which accounted for only one third of those transported) was Catholic.

Michael Fogarty arrived in Sydney on the Governor Ready on the 16th January, 1829.50 He was assigned to John Dickson of Sydney.

On the 18th May 1829 the Governor Ready sailed from Sydney bound for Ireland (?). Between Murray and Halfway Islands , North East of Cape York she struck a detached reef and foundered. The 39 crew took to the ships boats; 19 in the longboat; 12 in the skiff and 8 in the jolly boat. After touching several uninhabited islands they were sighted by the Brig. Amity off Timor, which they made after a passage of 2,500 kilometres (1,500 nautical miles) and 14 days.

HMS "Brittania" (The HELL SHIP)

A square-rigged ship of 500 tons, built in India in 1774. Privately owned, it had plied the oceans as a merchantman for over 20 years before the owners tendered for the convict trade to Australia.

According to Charles Bateson, in Convict Ships 1787 - 1868

" the combination of a callous and brutal master and a weak, incompetent surgeon made the voyage of the first Britannia one of the worst in the history of transportation. There was one death to every 17 prisoners embarked; ten men and one woman dying out of 144 men and 44 women. The convicts were brutally mistreated and the survivors were landed in a wretched and emaciated state".

The Britannia's master, Thomas Dennott was a sadist who kept the prisoners confined in irons and flogged them unmercifully. Dennott had ordered the mate John Thomas Rickets before sailing from Cork that:

"the convicts were never to be admitted to the deck in batches of more than 30 at a time or for longer than two hours at a stretch, and when on deck were always to be chained to the ship's side"

The surgeon first engaged for the Britannia declined at the last moment to sail, and was replaced by Augustus Jacob Beyer who had previously been surgeon on the Scarborough in the second fleet and the Boddingtons. He became the first surgeon to make a third voyage in a convict ship to Australia. The surgeon shamefully neglected his duties throughout the passage and the chief mate asserted that the surgeon had beaten some women.

Governor Hunter ordered an inquiry after the Britannia's arrival in Port Jackson. It turned out the Britannia was leaky and required alterations had not been carried out to the convicts quarters. The court was unanimous that Dernott's punishment of the convicts had been imprudent and that Beyer was particularly culpable. and that he had been inexcusably negligent and indifferent. To the everlasting shame of the British authorities, neither Dennott nor Beyer were punished, except that they were not again employed in convict service.

W.A. Power in his genealogical account of the Powers of Seven Hills writes:

"Morgan was a little more fortunate on this voyage than his comrades. due to his good behaviour, he was placed in charge of stores whilst on board and closed his eyes to the Captain's pilfering of those stores whilst the ship was berthed at Rio de Janeiro. Here Dennott exchanged stores for personal property. Morgan cannot be blamed for looking the other way when this was going on as Dennott was a sadist"

The male convicts on the Britannia were dispersed to the Government Farms at Toongabbie. Morgan Power was assigned to a medical man (probably the Surgeon General Jamieson).

HMS "Rolla"

The wife Morgan Power 'chose' was Brigit Bryne who arrived aboard the convict ship HMS Rolla on May 12th 1803.

The Rolla set sail from Cork on the 4th of November 1802 and arrived on May 12, 1803. The Rolla was a ship of 438 tin built at Shields in 1800. She sailed via Rio De Janeiro, a trip of 189 days under the command of Robert Cumming. Jonathan Buist was the surgeon on the voyage. There were 127 men and 37 women on board. Three men died on the voyage. The voyage was peaceful and relatively without event.

The "Crusader"

The Gormly family of Patrick, Mary and seven children, including James, along with Mary's youngest sister, sailed in the barque "Crusader" of 619 ton from Kingston Harbour (Dublin) on the 20th September, 1839. The Commander of the Crusader was Captain Inglas, an experienced seaman. The Surgeon was Dr Birdcastle. there were 42 crew members and 283 immigrants. On the voyage there were 13 deaths, including 3 from smallpox. The Crusader arrived in Sydney on 15th January, 1840.

"Sophia Jane" (Coastal Steamer)

The first steamer to reach Australian waters. She was a sip of fifty four horse power constructed by Barnes and Miller of London. Was broken up when acquired by Edge Manning.

Within ten days after the Gormly family had landed in Sydney they went ashore from the "Sophia Jane", a coastal steamer, at the town of Wollongong. James Gormly, then a young lad, later recalled the landing:

"As the ship approached land it anchored some distance out (there was no wharf or jetty) so the passengers were taken from the ship to the shore in a boat. There was a heavy swell in the sea at the time, the waves breaking on the sandy beach in front of where the court house, lock-up and other Government buildings then stood. When the boat touched the sand in the shallow water one of my sisters, then a young woman, took me in her arms and attempted to wade to dry land. a wave came up behind us and knocked us down. so we both got a thorough wetting"

The Sophia Jane was a steamer which came on the scene around Wollongong in 1834 she was a ship of 156 tons.

"Lady McNaughton"

Joseph Cox, his wife, his eldest son John and his five daughters left Ireland for Australia from Cork Harbour, on the 5th August 1836 aboard the "Lady McNaughton". Unlike the voyage of Michael Fogarty, the voyage of the Cox's was quite eventful. Although its was only a little longer (seven months (210 days) c.f. the 117 days of Michael's voyage), an epidemic broke out. The vessel was inadequately supplied with medical requisites. The doctor died. Food suitable for children and the sick ran out. Joseph Cox was stricken with fever and during his illness his wife died, along with seventy-two others on the voyage plus several more after landing. The "Lady McNaughton" arrived in Sydney on the 1st March 1837.

The Hon. James Gormly recorded the following recollections:

In 1836 the "Lady McNaughton" sailed from Ireland with a batch of immigrants. Amongst those was my wife's father and mother, who I have heard relate the vissitudes of the voyage.

"Lady McNaughton": sailed from Cork Harbour...on the 5th of November, 1836 ...arrived in Sydney on the 1st March 1837. It was considered a quick passage.

There were seventy-two deaths on the voyage. Mrs. Cox, your wife's mother, and her sister Mrs. Dodd were the only girls who were able to attend the sick people.

HMS "William and Ann"

A ship of 370 tons.

0George Best a convict shipped out on the William & Ann for life in 1791.

HMS "Indispensible"

Possibly 350 tons and French built ansd launched in 1791. Reached Australia via Rio de Janerio withj 133 passengers including females. Two passangers dioed on the trip. Arrived Sydnney 30th April, 1796.

Martha Chamberlain came to the colony in 1796 with a sentence for 7 years aboard the Indispensible.

Thomas Fox's "punt" (Wagga Wagga)

Late in 1858 Thomas Fox of the Squatter's Hotel advertised for "two steady and competent men to build a punt opposite the Squatter's Hotel" a project which the Wagga Wagga Express described as 'a most necessary improvement for the transfer of goods over the Murrumbidgee". Fox died before this punt was finished, but his widow sold it for 1,000 pounds at auction. It was a

"magnificent piece of workmanship...60 feet long without the flaps, which will add 10 feet to its measurements. Its breadth in the clear is 20 feet, and it can with ease ferry over at one time two heavily-laden drays with full teams of eight bullocks each. For the passage of sheep it is superior to any Punt the auctioneer has seen, and is furnished with commodious side wings for foot passengers when sheep are in transit".

The punt eventually operated from the end of Sturt Street, about 200 yards up-river from the planned site opposite the Squatters' Hotel.

 

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