“…ninety-seven female Convicts, and twenty-three children, together with twenty-one free women (passengers, and forty-nine of their children), embarked on Board the Lord Sidmouth in September 1822 for passage to Van Diemen’s land and New South Wales.
                                                                                Robert Espie
                                                                                Surgeon & Supt.”

The Lord Sidmouth arrived at the River Derwent on the 10th February, 1823. Fifty-one convict women were disembarked over the following days before the ship continued its voyage to NSW with the remaining passengers.

Mr Robert Espie R.N. was a surgeon on eight convict ships.  The journal of Robert Espie while surgeon on the Lord Sidmouth had the rules to be observed during the voyage hung up in the prison and his journal showed that he applied the rules to all on board the ship.

‘Throughout the journal the instances of offense and punishments were numerous but fell within the rights of a surgeon to discipline those he had in his charge. But Robert Espie was unhappy when the boatswain struck one woman because she was insolent.  He said the “unfortunate creature” did not possess her right faculties and took care to prevent the recurrence of any similar incidents.’[1]

Espie's journal from the Lord Sidmouth's voyage is an interesting read; it has a very detailed look at what happened before the ship left, the daily routine, the punishments and disembarkation. Espie’s journal also gives a daily report of  the ship’s location co-ordinates and weather reports as you follow the voyage from Woolwich on the River Thames, to Van Diemen's Land and on to New South Wales. Another interesting read is the story of Robert Espie, as written by Colleen Arulappu. 

'On Wednesday morning the female prisoners per the Lord Sidmouth were inspected on board of that vessel by His Honor the Lieutenant Governor; and on Thursday the number destined for this Settlement were landed. The remainder of them, now on board the Lord Sidmouth, proceed to Port Jackson'. Hobart Town Gazette and Van Diemen's Land Advertiser Saturday 15 February 1823 - Page 2


[1] Colleen Arulappu, The Surgeons and their Voyages - Tales from Transcribers, Robert Espie (Lord Sidmouth, 1823)





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