The voyage of the Mary Anne 1(2) 1822

By Rhonda Arthur



‘a set of more abandoned characters never were sent out of the country’

Statesman (London) 11 December 1821, p3


            The Mary Anne under the command of Captain Warington slipped her moorings near Woolwich on 25 December 1821. 109 female convicts embarked (one was relanded and one died at sea), also on board were passengers Mr and Mrs Phillips and Dr Moran, 11 free women at the expense of the government to join male relatives and upwards of 70 children.

The ship touched at Rio de Janeiro and reached Hobart Town, Van Diemen’s Land on 2 May 1822. Forty-five female convicts were landed and the ship continued to Port Jackson New South Wales with the remaining 62 female convicts and passengers arriving on 20 May 1822.[i]

‘On Tuesday morning (4 December 1821), at half-past six, forty-four female convicts were removed from Newgate, under a proper escort, in hackney coaches, conveyed to the Dundee Arms, Wapping, and forwarded in a Gravesend boat to the receiving ship, lying at the Nore, preparatory to their being sent to New South Wales... many of them are banished for life; among them the notorious Bill Soames’ wife, together with Amey Steel, the young woman who was ordered for execution on Tuesday se’nnight. The ship takes out 200, and will sail in a few days.’[ii]



Dr James Hall RN was appointed surgeon-superintendent and he was on his second voyage on a transport ship. He kept a medical journal from 27 October 1821 to 23 May 1822 which closed after all of the female convicts had disembarked at Port Jackson.[iii]

Prisoners Embarking

From September to December 1821 the weather was bleak with violent storms, torrential rain, hail and snow throughout the whole of the Kingdom. Roads became impassable, buildings were flattened and the inhabitants perished. Farmers lost entire crops and their sheep died from exposure. On Christmas day, Captain Ogilvie of the Juliana (which took male convicts to Hobart Town the year before) went down with his ship as it was broken up on the Kentish Knock (shoals). The River Thames overflowed on a high tide and the Millbank Penitentiary was surrounded by water. The Governor was preparing to evacuate all of the prisoners but the flood fortunately only reached the kitchen gardens.[iv]

Eleven were London Gaol Deliveries and thirty-two were Middlesex Gaol Deliveries. The others were sent from prisons and gaols in counties throughout England: Berkshire, Chester, Cornwall, Cumberland, Devon, Hereford, Lancaster, Norfolk, Northumberland, Nottingham, Shrewsbury, Somerset, Southampton, Stafford, Surrey, Warwick and York. One prisoner was sent from Edinburgh and two from Glasgow.

Many of the female convicts had been confined in prisons for months and some had travelled considerable distances to the ship. They were conveyed on the outside of stagecoaches, or in smacks or hoys (small coastal boats) under the supervision of a turnkey. Often they had insufficient clothing for the journey and so too did the children who accompanied them. Mrs Elizabeth Pryor, a companion of Mrs Elizabeth Fry, the English prison reformer, visited the Mary Anne and complained that the Lancashire prisoners arrived on board:

not merely handcuffed, but with heavy irons on their legs, which had occasioned considerable swelling, and in one instance, serious inflammation.[v]

Spare a thought for Catherine Hilton, one of the prisoners from Lancashire, in handcuffs and leg irons, with an infant in her arms. She gave birth to her daughter Mary in Lancaster Castle on 17 June 1821.[vi]

Five female convicts departed York Castle on 22 November 1821 to be delivered to the ship. Elizabeth Ellerbeck had been incarcerated for ten months and the others for seven or eight months. Four of them were landed in Hobart Town.[vii]

Their crimes were mainly passing forged notes, shop-lifting, burglary, stealing from the person of various men either in the streets or at their lodgings, some were old offenders and had been in custody before. Twenty-two were transported for life, forty-one for 14 years, forty-five for 7 years, and one for 10 years.

Nine female convicts who landed in Hobart Town had been sentenced to death and were respited.

Jane Buckingham, aged 25, was tried with James Buckingham, aged 24, at the Staffordshire Lent Assizes in March 1821, and convicted for burglary and stealing goods to the value of 5 shillings. They were both sentenced to death. The Judge took a dim view of robbing a poor labouring man’s cottage, who with his wife and family were ‘plundered of nearly the whole of their little all’. James Buckingham was hanged in the front of the Stafford County gaol on 7 April 1821. Jane was respited and commuted to transportation for life.[viii]

Sarah Bush, aged 24, was convicted at the Norwich Assizes on 13 August 1821 for house-breaking. She was sentenced to death and respited to transportation for life. The Recorder noted :

It is after much to be regretted no place of refuge is procured for these unfortunate persons; once more at large, without character and friends, they have no alternative but to return to their former habits and connections.’

Sarah had previously been convicted at the Norwich Quarter Sessions in May 1816 for grand larceny and sentenced to 7 years transportation which was commuted to imprisonment. She was discharged from the Millbank Penitentiary on 9 May 1821 after being confined for five years.[ix]

Hannah Howell, aged 56, occupied a farm of considerable value in Aborfield Berkshire and had taken out an insurance policy for £2,000 in September 1820. She was convicted at the Abingdon Assizes Berkshire on 1 August 1821 for aiding and abetting a farm labourer to set fire to her barn, which destroyed the barn, stables, out-houses and stacks of corn. There was no evidence of her intent to defraud the insurance company, nor any motive shown for her to induce the young man to commit the act. However, the jury deliberated for over 2 hours and she was found guilty and sentenced to death, with a recommendation for mercy, which was consequently respited to transportation for life.[x]

Amey Steel was ordered for execution

Amey Steel and Anne Norris were both sentenced to death for similar offences of robbing and cruelly beating a man in their rooms in the neighbourhood of Whitechapel.

On 28 November 1821 crowds thronged towards the Old Bailey to view the public hangings. Anne Norris, aged 22, her arms pinioned, was dressed in white and behaved with unexpected fortitude as she was led to the scaffold. Late on the night before, Amey Steel, aged 19, was granted a reprieve.

Ex Sheriff Waithman, on hearing there was reasonable doubt that Amey Steel was the person who had committed the crime, looked into the matter and convinced the Home Secretary that she ought to be pardoned. Amey Steel did not embark on the Mary Anne and was freed on 16 June 1824.[xi]

Bill Soames’ wife had been transported before

On 24 April 1821, about 1am, Mary Burtenwood (spelt Burtonwood) and two other females gathered around William Walters and his friend as they were passing through Temple Bar in the Strand, Westminster. Mary put her arm around Walters’ neck and he felt her grappling for his watch. They moved on when the men refused to go with them but Walters immediately noticed that his silver hunting watch was missing and they set off in pursuit. Mary was caught with the watch in her hand and she threw it on the ground, cursing the watch and its owner at the devil. Mary was sentenced to transportation for life and the Middlesex Gaol Criminal Register records that she was Bill Soames’ wife.

Bill Soames, a tailor by trade, for over twenty years had relieved the well-to-do’s in and around the Strand of their money and trinkets—audacious and daring, and respectably dressed to avoid suspicion, he earned the nickname ‘The Prince of Pickpockets’. In early 1823 his life of crime had run its course and justice had finally overtaken him. He was transported for life on the Henry 1823 and sent to Port Macquarie New South Wales.

Mary Burtenwood told Dr Hall that when she was formerly in New South Wales she had dysentery and he found a slight chronic state of the disease still existed.

Bill Soames might have been unaware that Mary Burtenwood had married Robert Harrison, free, in Hobart Town on 7 April 1823 when he petitioned the Colonial Secretary in September 1823, while in the Sydney Gaol, objecting to being sent to Port Macquarie as he had not been transported before; he had arrived on the Indefatigable 1812 as a free settler, ‘my wife having unfortunately came as a Prisoner by the Minstrel’; but found his prospects were not realized and returned home on the Britannia on 6 April 1814. He received no reply.

In April 1824 Bill Soames again petitioned the Colonial Secretary asking to be reunited with his wife who was a servant at Government House in Hobart Town and he was:

feeling the utmost anxiety to join her, in order to end the remainder of his days of which he can expect but less more to come, owing to his advanced stage of life, in her society they having been married twenty-three years’.[xii]

NB: In a remarkably similar incident, on 2 April 1811, about 1.30 am, one Mary Powell and an unnamed female pushed Charles Sandford Dodd up against the shutters of a shop in Fleet Street Westminster. Dodd freed himself but he was grabbed hold of by Mary Smith who was leaning on a lamp post nearby, and he heard his watch chain rattle as Mary Powell ran past. Mary Powell was apprehended by a watchman who heard the cry to stop, but the watch was never found. The Middlesex Gaol Criminal Register records that she lived with Soames the noted pickpocket.

Bill Soames obtained permission from the Secretary of State to accompany:

his Lady who from motives of delicacy towards her husband’s family, had procured herself to be arraigned by another name, under which she received sentence of transportation’, and whom he affectionately described ‘as the most amiable and accomplished of her sex’.

Mary Powell was sentenced to 7 years transportation and embarked on the Minstrel which departed in convoy with the Indefatigable on 4 June 1812. She was landed in Botany Bay New South Wales in October 1812.

While the records show a six year age difference between Mary Burtenwood and Mary Powell, the evidence strongly suggests that they are one and the same person, who married Bill Soames in 1801.[xiii]

Ellen McNelly was relanded

Dr Hall had to decide whether the female convicts were able to survive a long sea voyage.

Ellen McNelly, aged 40, was treated by Dr Hall while the Mary Anne was moored near Woolwich. She was suffering from a chronic disease of the uterus and other evils ‘morbus uteri chronicus, aliaque mala’. Besides this disease, she had a palpitation of the heart and an aneurismal pulsation in the abdomen which she had signs of for several months. There is nothing further in the journal to say that she was relanded; however, the nosological table shows that three female convicts were ‘sent to hospital’. One for an ‘Aneurysm’ is likely to be Ellen McNelly, aged 43, from Carlisle, who was received on board the prison hulk Justitia on 15 December 1821 and transferred to the Penitentiary in April 1822.[xiv]

Free women and children embarked at the expense of the Government

The 11 steerage passengers and twenty-four children were landed in New South Wales.

Mary Leake (also spelt Lake) had four children accompany her. She suffered from sea-sickness and ‘fears for the safety of the ship have very much saddened her mind.’ Her husband, Jonathan Leak had been transported for life on the Recovery 1819 and he was permitted to conduct a pottery business on his own account. After Mary’s arrival he petitioned the Governor, Sir Thomas Brisbane GCB:

Your Memorialist having two other sons in England who are anxious to come to the Colony implore your Excellency will be pleased to procure a free passage for them as has been already granted to the rest of his family’.

In 1828 Mary and the children were residing with her husband at his pottery business at Brickfield Hill Sydney and also one of their sons who came free on the Fairfield in 1825.[xv]

Prisoners of the Bank 

Forging Bank of England notes had been a capital offence until the early part of the nineteenth century and the Bank decided to take a more lenient approach after more than 300 people had been hanged. A bill drafted by their solicitors Freshfields was passed as law in May 1801 and offered those who were convicted of forgery a ‘plea bargain’. This gave a prisoner the option of pleading guilty to being in possession of counterfeit notes with a punishment of 14 years transportation. The Bank did not offer any evidence in support of those who had pleaded guilty of possession and they were consequently acquitted of the capital charge.

The Bank of England directors ‘Gentlemen of the Bank’, through their solicitors Freshfields, received hundreds of letters from prisoners convicted of forging notes—many were written by or on behalf of women begging for help and charity to cope with the prison conditions and the voyage.

Twelve ‘London’ and fifteen ‘out of London’ women who embarked on the Mary Anne joined together and sent letters seeking assistance as had been extended to others in similar situations. The London women received £55 and the Country women £75.

One of the ‘London’ women, Elizabeth Smith also joined with Elizabeth Webster and sent a humble letter:

they are very much distress’d and not having any assistance since their long confinement and likewise quite bare of those necessaries so requisite for them Prepatory to their voyage Elizth Smith has got A child to look to and Elizth Webster being in an Afflicted State and standing in need of more Nourishment than the Prison affords wich is not in her power to Procure... A little Pecunary Aid wich if ever so small will be thankfully Receivd’.

Elizabeth Smith, aged 21, had pleaded guilty and was sentenced to 14 years transportation. The Bank was sympathetic and generously gave her £130 in total.

Elizabeth Webster, aged 20, was convicted in a separate action at the Old Bailey in June 1821 for disposing of a forged and counterfeit Bank note. She was sentenced to death, with a recommendation to mercy, and was respited to transportation for life. The Bank only gave her £5 to sail on the Mary Anne.[xvi]

The Voyage 

On 27 December, the Mary Anne was at Margate and: ‘all complaints are absorbed by seasickness which prevails to a large extent over the prisoners.’ Delayed by contrary winds, the ship left Deal on 30 December and reached the Motherbank (near Portsmouth) on 31 December.[xvii]

There were over 50 case notes in the surgeon’s journal before the ship was out at sea. Many of the women had complicated ailments which Dr Hall: ‘was often perplexed in endeavouring to give them a name, and more so, in devising a rational principle of cure.’

He was alarmed by symptoms which seemed to suggest ‘sudden danger to life’, not simple fits of hysteria, but a disturbance in the nervous system which originated in the uterus or the mind, or both in unison. He found that very few female convicts menstruate regularly and generally ceases while in prison which he believed was the underlying cause of many of the disorders.

Another cause was obstipatio (constipation) and sometimes between 12 and 24 women were treated in one day. Dr Hall was surprised that some of them had no evacuations for up to two weeks but Elizabeth Vaughan broke the record by holding on for three weeks. In those cases, enemas were recommended:

‘but owing to the genuine delicacy of the English female he could only persuade two degraded women to submit to their employment’.

He was frequently disappointed in treating this condition due to the small quantity of medicines on board, ‘such as aloes, confectio sennae, gambogia and scammonis pulvis’. Most of these cases were not put on the sick list and at times were so numerous they interfered with more important duties. After the medicines produced the desired result the patients usually wanted water gruel [oatmeal].

Nearly half of the patients who were put on the sick list were suffering from cephalalgia (a pain in the head). Around 18 January, when the ship was near Madeira the change of climate and increasing temperatures caused headaches, lassitude, nausea and torpid bowels. A dozen patients received purgative medications. On 24 January it was hot and calm and many women fainted that night.

Some of the medical treatments sounded more unpleasant than the actual illness and the scalpel was used to good effect:

Catherine Flanagan, aged 19, had a slight attack of pleurisy and was administered a venesection—an incision was made into a vein to withdraw 10 ounces of blood. She was also given a laxative and an emetic (Ipecac to cause vomiting). The next day Catherine was feeling better but the following day had a relapse. A further 10 ounces of blood was withdrawn and an emplastrium lyttae (a plaster of the blistering fly) was placed on her chest to form a blister. It was believed that once the blister healed, the body would be restored to its natural order. Catherine somehow recovered and survived the voyage.[xviii]

Difficult cases

Dr Hall’s professional integrity was challenged by three patients ‘and all three were punished as soon as their impostures were discovered, and thus they were radically cured’, although he didn’t say how they were punished. They could have been locked up in the coal hole for a number of days, sometimes in chains, and put on a bread and water diet, as happened to other female convicts who were punished.[xix]

Sarah Fletcher alias Mary Payne, aged 23, had symptoms of pleurisy and difficulty breathing, which induced a train of various symptoms of hysteria. She was put into hospital and was attended by Dr Hall many times between 14 December 1821 and 21 March 1822, where he was made subservient to:

her lustful and wicked designs... oftentimes she feigned a retention of urine, with all the attendant symptoms, in order, especially in the middle of the night, that I might be urged to introduce the Catheter!’

Her conduct record shows he was uncompromising in his report:

A robust country woman, a dangerous woman to man. Under a fair face and simplicity of manners lies a lying tongue and great hypocrisy in religion. Prostitute. An infamous feigner of illness.’

Sarah had left a child at home with her parents at Hertingfordbury UK and in the colony she bore several children by two husbands. She was granted a ticket-of-leave in 1832 and obtained a free pardon in 1840.[xx]

Mary Walton, aged 17, attempted to poison herself. Dr Hall was suddenly called to her and noticed that her fingers were stained white with argentum nitricum (used for temporary relief of wound healing). Mary confessed to having swallowed the caustic but could give no reason for doing so. Some weeks before, she had scalded her breast and belly which were slow to heal, but she was again scalded in the same parts. These scalds began to ulcerate and after a careful examination, Dr Hall found to his amazement, that she had been covering the surfaces with blistering plasters to prevent them from healing ‘& she now confessed that she wilfully scalded herself’.

Mary Walton landed at Port Jackson and recovered from this bout of self-harm. She was granted a ticket-of-leave in 1830 to reside in Port Macquarie, where she married and had several children.[xxi]

Sarah Fenton, aged 28, had a protracted illness following an attack of enteritis. Her last entry in the journal on 16 April said she caused:

Continual uproar in the hospital from the turbulent conduct of this patient: yesterday she took her bed & left the hospital, into which she was carried back by force. She does not seem to have anything important of illness... it is impossible to have any conversation with her, as she uses violent language, & refuses to take her medicine’.

Dr Hall’s comments on her conduct record reveal his indignation:

This woman is supposed to be as desperate & depraved a character as ever has been transported; capable of doing murder, turbulent, reprobate; never easy but in mischief; fond of exciting uproar and mutiny; a feigner of illness; a hypocrite; a Devil incarnate. Has been repeatedly punished with temporary benefit—kind treatment has no effect.

Sarah Fenton was a very troublesome patient, but she married within a year of her arrival and settled down. Unfortunately her husband died in 1834 and her two children were placed in the Queen’s Orphan School. Her life spiralled out of control and in 1837 she was convicted for stealing four £1 notes and sentenced to transportation for life. Sarah had been transported for 7 years for a petty larceny and a conditional pardon was approved for her colonial conviction in 1848, 26 years after her arrival.[xxii]

Rio de Janeiro

Off the coast of Brazil the temperature was 84o f. (approx. 29oc.) in the shade.

Elizabeth Clarke, aged 18, had a splitting headache ‘owing to her having exposed her bared head to the rays of a vertical sun’. She was given a venesection, purgatives and pills, and seems to have had a linen cloth soaked in a mixture of vinegar and cold water always tied round her head in a bow ‘Appliciator lintea in liquore frigida madefacta semper arcum. caput’. It was two weeks before she fully recovered, but she ran away from the hospital when the nurse was absent, and went up on deck for a once-in-a-lifetime chance of seeing the City of Rio de Janeiro. Her headache returned and the lotion and pills were repeated.

Hannah Howell, aged 20, the daughter of a female convict of the same name, spent most of the day in the heat on shore at Rio de Janeiro. Her memory of the day was diminished by the evening when she became almost insensible from heat exhaustion, with heart palpitations, spasms in her hands and cramps in her toes.[xxiii]

A couple of weeks after leaving Rio the weather was stormy and several of the women had tumours of a suppurative kind form in their breasts. After suppuration the tumours dispersed.


There were five cases of ophthalmia (inflammation of the eye, especially conjunctivitis), and three of them were young children. A medicated eyewash of lead diluted in liquor was the preferred treatment and two children also had a blister applied near their ears.

Wounds & Accidents

Several patients had mishaps: a stubbed toe, a painful torso and shoulder, cuts on foreheads and swollen ankles but the most deserving of sympathy was ‘Owens child, a delicate little girl’ aged 7. While playing, she received a slight bloodied nose, but the next day had an accidental blow on the head which produced a very profuse haemorrhage from her mouth and nostrils. She passed out having lost above half a pint of blood.

The little patient had all its clothes removed from the upper parts of the body, over which were laid clothes wetted with vinegar & water, especially along the course of the large vessels; the body lying with the head elevated, in a current of air. The child was kept in this position six hours; the Epistaxis (bleeding from the nose) did not return.’

The mother of this child, Elizabeth Owens, a free woman, was on board with two children (James born 1813 and Elizabeth born 1815) to join her husband Thomas alias William Owens per Coromandel 1819 in New South Wales.[xxiv]

Died at sea

Mary Ann Smith, aged 26, was tried at Newcastle upon Tyne, Northumberland and sentenced to 7 years transportation. She arrived on board in very low in spirits and had suffered under chronic visceral diseases for several years. Blisters were applied on her navel, neck and abdomen with little or no effect. She also had an irascible temper and on one occasion flew into such a rage the surgeon thought that she was going to drop dead. Sometimes she would not disclose her complaints or take any medicines and had an uncertain appetite. Sago, preserved meats and simple medicines of saline draughts with cordials and opiates did not remain for long in the stomach, though bottled porter (beer) did. On 16 January she was ‘more lively in spirits than usual’ but by midday on 27 January 1822 appeared to be at the point of death ‘articulo mortis’ and died at 8pm. The immediate cause of death seemed to be a cancer of the stomach, ‘but many chasms prevented an examination of the body’.[xxv]

Conduct Records

Dr Hall’s report on each of the female convicts appears on the top right hand corner of their conduct records. These comments sometimes include the gaoler’s report and aided in the allocation for service and assignments.[xxvi]

Some sound like character assassinations:

Rachael Chamberlaina most infamous character, a confirmed thief and vile prostitute, a sly woman, hypocrite, blasphemer, drunkard, revengeful, reprobate, refractory, insolent.’ Her gaol report said ’A very bad character, has been in 13 different gaols, her husband has gone to the Bay’.

Hannah Whitelya woman of plausible manners, a pretender of Religion and was employed as schoolmistress; has been found to be a vile dissembler, prostitute, and connected in the infamy of Rachael Chamberlain and Sarah Fletcher, fond of writing letters for bad purposes.’

Some were well behaved:

Jemimah Championexcellent, respectably connected, a woman of great sensibility, very timid, easily agitated and very susceptible to anxiety of mind & subject to dyspepsia & hysteria.’

Sarah Ann Godbold and Prudence Davis were both ‘very satisfactory’ and Elizabeth Pindard excellent’.

Some had prospects of being reformed:

Catherine Flanagan reprobate, a loose girl, a careful mother.’

Hannah Reading a dirty reprobate and vile prostitute, a very abandoned depraved girl, but capable of improvement.’

Elizabeth Worrall ‘loose morals, but of a good disposition and susceptible of reformation; she has improved.’

Or had changed for the better:

Elizabeth Smitha very genteel well behaved woman of a quiet and excellent disposition. Her husband is a respectable tradesman in London. She has been, gay, vain and thoughtless, left her husband and family, and cohabitated with a bad man, Joseph Smith, who arrived in the ship Lord Hungerford. She now seems repentant, sensible to her faults, desirous of leading a virtuous life and being restored to her husband, who has always been willing to pardon her. She merits the notice of the benevolent.’ Elizabeth Smith absconded from service in 1827 and was never apprehended.

Prostitution on board

Despite the best efforts of the surgeons and masters on convict ships female convicts prostituting themselves with some of the crew prevailed.

Some were caught:

Sarah Appletonvery sly, of a silent demure habit; has committed prostitution on board and has been punished.’

Ellen Ellerbeckreprobate, hypocrite, has committed prostitution on board and has been punished.

One was caught unintentionally:

Ann Williams had been ‘impregnated privily by one of the sailors on board’ and presented to Dr Hall on 30 March with uterine pains and a sudden show, after a fall about an hour before. He believed she may have attempted by ‘mechanical means to excite a miscarriage, as she is a wicked woman’. The surgeon prescribed one grain of opium to be taken immediately as needed. Rx grij opii pro re nata. A few days later a slight haemorrhage commenced and the pains recurred now and then, but the discharge ceased and she remained in bed. Nothing further is known of her condition.

Arrival in Hobart Town, Van Diemen’s Land

Lieutenant Governor Sorell inspected the female prisoners on board the ship and: ‘forty of them were landed and forwarded to the services and employments to which they were assigned. These prisoners generally arrived in a healthy and orderly state’.[xxvii]

The Assignment List names forty-five female convicts who disembarked in Hobart Town. The eldest was aged 56 and the youngest aged 16.[xxviii] Two were sent to the Colonial Hospital:

Kezia Hulley, aged 55, lost her mind ‘Insanity’, and Mary Beldon, aged 49, had an obscure internal disease which she attributed to having accidentally swallowed a pin ‘Tumores Interni’. Kezia Hulley died on 11 June 1822 and Mary Beldon lingered until 21 March 1823.

Two badly behaved women were possibly sent to Macquarie Harbour:

Sarah Fenton and Rachael Chamberlain’s (spelt Rachel Chamberlin) conduct records are noted in the Index of Libraries Tasmania as ‘Property: Macquarie Harbour Penal Stations’ which suggests that they were there. Two days after the arrival of the Mary Anne in Hobart Town, a colonial brig the ‘Duke of York’, took 35 male and 2 female convicts under sentence of transportation to Macquarie Harbour with stores for use of the newly established settlement. The names of the two female convicts are unknown.[xxix]

There is uncertainty whether two female convicts were landed in Hobart Town. They each have indents recorded but their names do not appear on the assignment list.

Frances Gray (spelt Grey) was 15 years old when she was tried at the Old Bailey in June 1821 and sentenced to 14 years transportation. She was one of the ‘London’ women who received £55 from the Bank of England. On 6 October 1823 Frances was granted permission to marry Isaac Witheat, a convict per General Stuart 1818 and they married at St Phillips Church of England Sydney.[xxx]

Eleanor Johnson (real name Emily Macdonald), aged 32, was tried at the Old Bailey and sentenced to 7 years transportation for stealing a watch. On 26 February 1823, under the name of Emily Johnson absented herself from the Factory at Parramatta and was at large. Eleanor was granted a conditional pardon in 1829.[xxxi]

Mutinous conduct

Seven seamen were charged with neglect of duty and were sent to Sydney on the Richmond for trial by order of Lieutenant Governor Sorell. Six were discharged from duty without trial. George Boyce was committed for trial at the Criminal Sessions Sydney for attempting to strike Captain Warington. He was acquitted and discharged from duty.[xxxii]

To Port Jackson

Several women became slightly indisposed with catarrhal complaints. Elizabeth Edyvean, aged 20 had suffered ‘universal ails’ associated with ‘cynanche tonsillaris’ (inflammatory sore throat) and recovered by 20 May.

Thursday 23 May all prisoners were disembarked today, in good health and this Note closes the journal.

James Hall (2) Surgeon-Superintt


See Also: 

- By Colleen Arulappu, The Ship's Surgeons: James Hall (Mary Anne 1822, Brothers 1824)

Medical and Surgeon's Journal, Mary Anne 1822



The Female Convicts Research Centre Inc. All of the female convicts who arrived in Van Diemen’s Land are on its database which can be assessed by guest users following the links:

ADM 101/52/1 Medical and surgical journal of the female convict ship Mary Anne from 27 October 1821 to 25 May 1822 by James Hall, Surgeon and Superintendent, during which time the ship was employed in a voyage to New South Wales.

Bateson, Charles, Library of Australian History (1983). The convict ships, 1787-1878 (Australian ed). Library of Australian History, Sydney: pp 226, 334-345, 384.

British Newspaper archives


[i]               Sun (London) Monday 7 January 1822 p3, Hobart Town gazette and Van Diemen’s Land Advertiser (Tas.:1821-1825)/Sat 4 May 1822 p2/HOBART TOWN, The Sydney Gazette and New South Wales Advertiser (NSW:1803-1842)/Fri 24 May 1822 p2 SHIP NEWS.

[ii]               Oxford Journal-Saturday 8 December 1821 p2.

[iii]              Charles Bateson, ’Hall, James (1784-1869)’, Australian Dictionary of Biography, Australian National University,, assessed online 17 March 2022. by Colleen Arulappu.

[iv]              Champion (London) Sunday 30 Dec 1821 p12. New Times (London) Tuesday 1 January 1822, Bath Chronicle and Weekly Gazette Thursday 03 January 1822 p2. Star (London) Tuesday 08 January 1822.

[v]              Memoir of the life of Elizabeth Fry with Extracts from Her Journal and Letters-Vol 1, Second Edition, p429.

[vi]              Catherine Hilton Convict ID 8759. Mary Hilton Birth & Baptism Pr3272/1/8 St Mary’s Lancaster England.

[vii]             Sheffield Independent Saturday 1 December 1821. Elizabeth Ellerbeck Convict ID 8751. Sarah Fenton Convict ID 8752. Sarah Kelliwell alias Wilson Convict ID 8758. Mary Robinson Convict ID 8772. Margaret Kelsey (NSW).

[viii]         Jane Buckingham Convict ID 8743. Staffordshire Advertiser Saturday 24 March 1821.

Staffordshire Advertiser Saturday 14 April 1821

[ix]          Sarah Bush Convict ID 8746. Bury and Norwich Post Wednesday 18 July 1821. Bury and Norwich Post Wednesday 1 May 1816 p3. Norfolk Gaol HO27; Piece;12 p623. The National Archives; Kew, London, England; PCOM 2: Metropolitan Police: Criminal Record Office: Habitual Criminals Registers and Miscellaneous Papers.

[x]           Hannah Howell Convict ID 8760. The Salisbury and Winchester Journal Monday 13 August 1821 p2. The Ipswich Journal Saturday 18 August 1821 p1.

[xi]          Amey Steel: Old Bailey Proceedings Online (, version 8.0, 04 April 2022), October 1821, trial of AMEY STEEL ELIZA DAVIS (518211024-5). Morning Post Wednesday 28 November 1821. Champion (London) Sunday 2 December 1821 p14.

[xii]              Mary Burtenwood Convict ID 8745: Old Bailey Proceedings Online (www.oldbaileyonlineorg, version 8.0, 04 February                 2021), June 1821, trial of MARY BURTONWOOD (t18210606-68). Middlesex Criminal Register HO26; Piece 27, p15. ADM101/52/1 p2. RGD36-1-P122 Marriage Mary Burtonwood to Robert Harrison.

Bill Soames: The Statesman (London) 4 June 1812, p3. Morning Chronicle 21 Jan 1814. The Sydney Gazette and New South Wales Advertiser (NSW:1803-1842) Sat 2 Apr 1814/p2/Sydney. Old Bailey Proceedings Online (www.oldbaileyonlineorg, version 8.0, 19 February 2021), February 1823, trial of WILLIAM SOAMES (t18230219-25). The Sydney Gazette and New South Wales Advertiser (NSW:1803-1842)/Thu 10 July 1823/p2. Home Office/Convict Prison Hulk Register/HO9/7. Colonial Secretary’s Papers pp418-9. Source citation: Series NRS 900 Fiche 3163-3253. Colonial Secretary’s Papers, 3 Apr 1824 p104 Source citation: Series NRS 900  Fiche 3163-3253. Colonial Secretary’s Papers, 6 Apr 1824 p39 Source citation: Series NRS 900  Fiche 3163-3253.

[xiii]           Mary Powell: Old Bailey Proceedings Online (www.oldbaileyonlineorg, version 8.0, 31 January 2021), April 1811, trial of MARY SMITH, MARY POWELL (t18110403-55). Middlesex Gaol 1811 HO26; Piece 17, p78, 1817 Muster HO10/9.

[xiv]             Ellen McNelly: UK, Prison Hulk Registers and Letter Books, 1802-1849. No 6134 received on the Justitia hulk on 15 December 1821, convicted at the Carlisle Assizes in August 182. [digit missing] for receiving a stolen watch, 14 years transportation, sent to the Penitentiary on 4 April 1822.

[xv]             The Sydney Gazette and New South Wales Advertiser (NSW:1803-1842)/Fri 24 May 1822/p2 Ship News. Mary Leake, free woman: The Sydney Gazette and New South Wales Advertiser (NSW:1803-1842)/Fri 24 May 1822/p2 Ship News. Colonial Secretary Index. 1822 Application for free passage for two sons (Reel 6056; 4/1763 p.215). Musters HO10/18 and HO10/19.

[xvi]          Prisoners of the Bank: Clive Emsley, Tim Hitchcock and Robert Shoemaker, “London History-Currency, Coinage and the Cost of Living”, Old Bailey Proceedings Online (, version 7.0, 12 March 2022). Bank of England Archive/Freshfields Prison Correspondence 1781-1840; BHO 'Index of Prisoner/Letter Writers: M-Y', in Prisoners' Letters to the Bank of England, 1781-1827, ed. Deirdre Palk (London, 2007), pp268-287. 532. [F25/9/41a] Fifteen 'out of London' women, Mary Ann transport ship, November 1821. 533. [F25/9/41b] Twelve 'London' women, Mary Ann transport ship, November 1821. [F25/9/7] Elizabeth Smith and Elizabeth Webster, Newgate, 24 September 1821, Webster, Elizabeth [509, 533]. Old Bailey Proceedings Online (www.oldbaileyonlineorg, version 8.0, 24 March 2022), June 1821, trial of ELIZABETH SMITH & ORS (t18210606-35). Old Bailey Proceedings Online (www.oldbaileyonlineorg, version 8.0, 24 March 2022), June 1821, trial of ELIZABETH WEBSTER (t18210606-61) Elizabeth Smith Convict ID 8773. Elizabeth Webster Convict ID 8778.

[xvii]            Commercial Chronicle (London) Tuesday 1 January 1822 p3. Sun (London) Monday 7 January 1822 p3.

[xviii]           Catherine Flanagan Convict ID 8753.

[xix]    by Elaine Crawford.

[xx]             Sarah Fletcher Convict ID 637. Conduct Record CON40-1-3. Free Pardon No 663 dated 20 Nov 1840.

[xxi]             Mary Walton landed at Port Jackson and sent to the Factory at Parramatta HO10/36, Ancestry.

[xxii]            Sarah Fenton Convict ID 8752. Conduct Record CON40-1-3, image 154. Death of husband RGD34-1-1 no 3761. SWD28,CS05/86/1885 No 115 Robert Armstrong. SWD28,CS05/86/1885 No 112, Mary Ann Armstrong.

[xxiii]           Elizabeth Clarke female convict landed Port Jackson. Hannah Howell Convict ID 8760.

[xxiv]           Elizabeth Owens:


[xxv]            Mary Ann Smith Convict ID 131755.

[xxvi]           Rachael Chamberlain Convict ID 8747. Hannah Whitely Convict ID 8779. Jemimah Champion Convict ID 8748. Sarah Ann Godbold Convict ID 8754. Prudence Davis Convict ID 8750. Catherine Flanagan Convict ID 8753. Hannah Reading Convict ID 8768. Elizabeth Worrall Convict ID 8785. Elizabeth Smith Convict ID 8773. Sarah Appleton Convict ID 8740. Elizabeth Ellerbeck Convict ID 8751. Ann Williams Convict ID 8780.

[xxvii]           Hobart Town Gazette and Van Diemen’s Land Advertiser (Tas.:1821-1825)/Sat  11 May 1822 p2/HOBART TOWN.

[xxviii]          Colonial Secretary’s Papers, 5 June 1822 p385.

[xxix]           Sarah Fenton: Libraries Tasmania Record ID 1301667 CON40-1-3 image 154. Rachael Chamberlain: (spelt Rachel Chamberlin) Libraries Tasmania Record ID 1380024 CON40-1-1 image 257. Hobart Town Gazette & Van Diemen’s Land Advertiser (Tas.:1821-1825)/Sat 11 May 1822 p2/HOBART TOWN.

[xxx]                  Frances Gray Convict ID 132314. PtoM Sydney 6 October 1823, p424. BDM NSW no 3222/1823.

[xxxi]                 Eleanor Johnson Convict ID 132325. The Sydney Gazette and New South Wales Advertiser (NSW:1803-1842)/Thu 27 Feb 1823/p1 PRINCIPAL SUPERINTENDENTS OFFICE, FEB 26, 1823. The Sydney Gazette and New South Wales Advertiser (NSW:1803-1842)/Tue 22 Sep 1829/p1/Classified Advertising.

[xxxii]           Colonial Secretary’s Office 30 May 1822, permission from Governor to Capt. Warington to discharge the six seamen. Colonial Secretary’s Main Series of Letters Received, 1788-1826, p93. Reply 3 June 1822 Main Series of Letters Received, 1788-1826, p93a. George Boyce: State Archives NSW Gaol Description and Entrance Books, 1818-1930; Series/ 2514; Item/ 4/6360; Roll/ 850 Entrance book Sydney.




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