There were 86 ships which transported female convicts directly to Van Diemen's Land. Another 43 ships transported female convicts via Sydney.

Ships which transported female convicts directly to Van Diemen's Land from the United Kingdom are here.

Surgeon Superintendent's reports give much of the known information about the voyages of convict ships. These reports can contain the following information:

  • sick list
  • immunisation list
  • case histories of patients in the ship's hospital
  • nosological synopsis
  • general remarks

The Surgeon Superintendent's reports were microfilmed as part of the Australian Joint Copying Project (AJCP) and can be found in many libraries around Australia.

(Further information can also be found on the Voyages page where volunteers transcribe newspaper articles and reports on the convict ships, and their voyages.)

Thank you to everyone who has contributed transcriptions of surgeons' journals. Colleen Arulappu is compiling a dictionary of terms used in Surgeon's Journals. (Please note that this is a work in progress.) 

 

Recent Updates

Platina 1837

The General Remarks section gives a comprehensive account of the voyage; each month is detailed as to illnesses, the weather at the time and its effects on the women’s health. The surgeon included some recommendations to improve ventilation on board with an extra instruction to prevent anything being passed up or down via the ventilation tubes.  He wrote of one patient who swallowed a pin (case 6) and another who was successfully treated for a very nasty boil (case 14).

Nautilus 1838

J. G.  Stewart MD RN was Surgeon Superintendent in charge of 133 female convicts and 8 children departing at Woolwich.  The Sick List has 171 entries and includes former occupations, where sent from, and the number of months in prison.  There are 40 case notes and one woman despite careful nursing died. Overall though the women arrived healthy, except for a valetudinarian who was unable to walk the 2 miles to the Cascades Female Factory from the landing place.  The General Remarks include many interesting observations and of particular interest is information provided by the prisoners of their diets while confined in jail. (p24).  Transcript courtesy of Rhonda Arthur (9/10/2018)

Majestic 1839

The  journal is a long and mainly medical report. The surgeon wrote up many cases  which showed the common health problems  encountered on the long sea voyages. He included instructions for diet which seemed to be an important part of the women’s recovery from illness. The notes about the illness and eventual death of an infant make sad reading but also  give a glimpse of  the concern of the convict mother who defied the surgeon to fed her child forbidden food. Transcript courtesy of Colleen Arulappu  (27/09/2018)

Gilbert Henderson: Life onboard a female convict ship

An article from The ENGLISHWOMAN’S DOMESTIC MAGAZINE – Vol I Pages 311-317  printed in 1866. (contributed by Colleen Arulappu)

 

The Medical Journals from the Convict Ships.

The medical journals describe the illness of convicts who were admitted into the ships hospitals during the voyages. They give admission date, the symptoms and treatment and the eventual outcome such as “discharged cured”, “discharged dead” or “sent to the Colonial Hospital” on arrival.

Much on the content is medical with detailed lists of symptoms and the treatment prescribed- usually in Latin. A great deal revolves around bowels habits and dispensing of purgatives. However there are snippets of information in many journals which give insight into the women, the routines, and glimpses of life aboard ship.

There is a General Remarks section on the last one or two pages of each journal. Always well worth reading as they give a summary of the journey and sometimes the views of the surgeon.

The journals vary in length and in content. There are some journals which are informative reading for everyone who has a convict ancestor because they describe how life was organized on a convict voyage.

 

Archival References to Female Convict Ships to Van Diemen's Land

 

List of Convict Ships

 

Ships direct to Van Diemen's Land (Tasmania)

Ship Date of Arrival

 

Online Material
Morley 29 August 1820

 

 https://www.jenwilletts.com/morley_1820.htm
Providence II 18 December 1821

 

 
Mary Ann I 2 May 1822

Transcript of Surgeon's Journal   (courtesy of Rhonda Arthur)

James Hall, Surgeon Superintendent, observed women who presented with complicated ailments which he was unable to name and was often alarmed that their symptoms denoted imminent danger to life.  He was tested by the shameful antics of three women: Fletcher feigning symptoms in order to be persuaded to have the Catheter introduced and Hall hoped that his comments might forewarn his brother officers on female convict ships; Walton who admitted to self-harm by scalding her breast and belly after she had tried to poison herself; and Fenton, a malingerer, who caused continual uproar in the Hospital with her violent and abusive language.  The other patients must have breathed a sigh of relief when one day she took her bed and left the Hospital but no doubt crestfallen when she was carried back in it by force.  Another woman, Beldon, had an obscure internal disease which she attributed to having accidentally swallowed a pin, and Williams who was secretly impregnated by one of the sailors and had tried to manufacture a miscarriage.  They all make compelling reading of the Journal and General Comments.

National Archives Record Summary of Surgeon's Journal: item 1item 2item 3

Lord Sidmouth 10 February 1823

Transcript of Surgeon's Journal (courtesy of Colleen Arulappu)

The Lord Sidmouth 1825 Surgeon's Journal:  has a very detailed look at what happened before the ship left, the daily routine, the punishments and disembarkation.

Mary III 5 October 1823

Transcript of Surgeon's Journal (Courtesy of Colleen Arulappu)

The Surgeon's Journal is a long and detailed one describing, almost on a daily basis,  the illnesses and treatments used.  It gives  harrowing accounts of the deaths of several young children, in particular the death of William Wood.  The surgeon strived to save his life, little William clung to life for many days and his mother protected him at times from painful treatments. Sad reading.

Brothers 15 April 1824

The Waverley Surgeon Superintendent Journal(courtesy of Colleen Arulappu)

Brothers (1824) Surgeon's Journal: has colourful account of a family of free settlers.

Henry 8 February 1825
Midas 23 November 1825

Transcript of Surgeon's Journal (courtesy of Colleen Arulappu)

Midas 1825 Surgeon's Journal:  has a long journal written by a compassionate surgeon. It gives a more detailed description of what life was like for the women on the prison deck.

Providence II 16 May 1826

Transcript of Surgeon's Journal (courtesy of Colleen Arulappu)

Providence 1826 Surgeon's Journal has no general remarks but is detailed journal about convicts and their illnesses.

  • National Archives Record Summary of Surgeon's Journal: item 1item 2
Sir Charles Forbes 3 January 1827

Sir Charles Forbes Surgeon's Journal 

(Contributed by Colleen Arulappu)

Sir Charles Forbes 1827 Surgeon's Journal has some colourful remarks about the patients. 

  • National Archives Record Summary of Surgeon's Journal: item 1item 2
Persian 5 August 1827

Transcript of Surgeon's Journal (courtesy of Colleen Arulappu)

Persian 1827 Surgeon's Journal has a detailed description of the mental illness of an important free passenger and the struggle by surgeon and master to save his life.

  • National Archives Record Summary of Surgeon's Journal: item 1item 2
Sovereign 19 November 1827
Mermaid 27 June 1828
Borneo 8 October 1828
Harmony 14 January 1829

Transcript of Surgeon's Journal (Courtesy of Colleen Arulappu)

Harmony 1829 Surgeon's Journal:   The journal for the Harmony 1829 is a very long document and focuses on the many medical cases (49 in all). The surgeon writes little of the personal or of the activities on board ship but his medical care was successful and he wrote of observing the women and children at muster in order to check their health and attack problems before they became too troublesome. There were no deaths among the convict women on board. He does write of his findings on treatments that worked well and those which he found made little impact. There were also a couple of cases from the free passengers on board.

  • National Archives Record Summary of Surgeon's Journal: item 1item 2
Lady of the Lake 1 November 1829
Eliza 24 February 1830

Transcript of Surgeon's Journal (Courtesy of Rhonda Arthur)

David Thomson was Surgeon Superintendent of the Eliza.  117 convicts were received on board when the weather was beginning to be cold and damp and several began to suffer from ill-health.  On first putting out to sea the ship encountered boisterous weather with the wind being generally strong for much of the voyage.  Almost all of the women were affected with sea sickness and many never had one entire day free of it for the whole of the voyage.  Patients suffering from fever, enteritis, dysentery, diarrhoea and haemorrhoids were vomiting, coughing, moaning and crying day and night.  Treatments included having blisters applied and leeches for bleeding and a mild diet of sago, arrowroot and calf’s foot jelly.  One woman who was subject to fits of epilepsy suddenly became maniacal, had her head shaved and was put to bed in a strait waistcoat.  Three infants were born at sea: the first, weak and emaciated expired; the second a girl delivered prematurely was supported with goat’s milk (presumably from the resident goat); and the third was a healthy boy born with a double harelip and cleft who was unable to suck and could only swallow, and both were landed safely in Hobart Town

  • National Archives Record Summary of Surgeon's Journal: item 1item 2
Mellish 22 September 1830

Transcript of Surgeon's Journal (courtesy of Rhonda Arthur and Colleen Arulappu)

Mellish 1830 Surgeon's Journal:   From the journal the journey was a healthy one with very few deaths or serious illnesses.   The General Remarks are well worth a read as the surgeon accounted for the deaths but he also described the daily routine of how the bottom berth boards were taken up and stowed on the top bunks. He told of how the wine and juice were served out under his supervision. He was a careful and caring doctor who could see the distress of his dying patients.  Contributed by Rhonda Arthur and Colleen Arulappu.

America 9 May 1831

Transcript of Surgeon's Journal (courtesy of Colleen Arulappu)

America 1831 Surgeon's Journal is an easy to read medical journal which described the illnesses and treatments used in the early 1830s. Among the cases are many which give the course and treatment for diarrhoea and dysentery. It also includes several cases of  menstrual problems.  There were several cases illnesses and death of children

Mary III 19 October 1831

Transcript of Surgeon's Journal (courtesy of Rhonda Arthur)

Samuel Sinclair, Surgeon Superintendent was kind, considerate and humane whose Journal is comprehensive and includes his views concerning health, mortality and social justice.  151 female convicts embarked in good health with two exceptions:  Elizabeth Barthrop and Ellen Turner both unusual cases.  Six infants died and he railed against the practice of infants not being suckled to evade regulations allowing them on board.  There were 15 or 16 cases of scurvy and his treatment included an excellent antiscorbutic drink made from Essence of Spruce which was fermented in a Still.  He considered that it would be a great advantage in preserving human life if Ships refreshed at ports on the passage out.  Comfort and cleanliness was paramount.  Regular exercise of "dancing with the Ship's ropes", activities for learning and making a counterpane (bedspread) were encouraged.  Stormy weather and heavy seas caused falls and fractures: the last patient's procedure is described in graphic detail.

Hydery 10 August 1832

Transcript of Surgeon's Journal (Courtesy of Rhonda Arthur)

Allan McLaren MD was Surgeon & Superintendent.  150 female convicts aged between 16 and 60 were sent from various jails in England and Scotland.  At Woolwich a case of Cholera Asphyxia appeared without any premonitory symptoms in a woman who was very much exhausted by her affectionate attentions watching over her sick daughter.  The ship was placed in quarantine and towed to Standgate Creek where four more cases occurred.  The clothing and bedding and other items used by the patients were destroyed and the ship was cleaned and aired by knocking out the lower deck ports fore and aft.  The ports were not sufficiently caulked and on getting underway the weather turned foul and the ship leaked.  The women alarmed by the outbreak of cholera were now despite best efforts in a wet and filthy state suffering from seasickness and other complaints.  Nearly all of them were confined to bed and constantly vomiting.  A scene which the surgeon said “I hope never to witness again”.  His notes suggested improvements of the service including discontinuing the gratuity of £100 to Masters and Mates as being unnecessary and by reducing the quantity of peas issued being more than can be consumed.  One woman suffered severe pains after eating a handful of raw peas. The surgeon detailed every case of any interest and his diligent supervision throughout the voyage ensured that most of the women arrived in good health.

Frances Charlotte 10 January 1833
Jane II 30 June 1833

 

 
William Bryan 23 October 1833

Transcript of Surgeon's Journal 

Contributed by Rhonda Arthur.

Seven women died  from cholera before the ship sailed. Sadly two were sisters,  one of whom  became ill after nursing her sister and they died only hours apart.  The surgeon gave detailed descriptions of the symptoms and the suffering of the women. Once the ship left the Thames there were no further cases of cholera. The only other death was a woman who suffered from mania .  The surgeon described her distressful behaviour.  There were several names of women on the surgeon's list which do not correlate with convict names and could be from the nine free women who sailed on the William Bryan.

Edward 4 September 1834

Transcript of Surgeon's Journal

Contributed by Colleen Arulappu

Joseph Steret’s journal is not a long one but it is full of very amusing accounts of troublesome women and of two of them becoming drunk.  There is also a sad account of the death of the ship’s master.

New Grove 27 March 1835

 Transcript of Surgeon's Journal  - Main section (Part 1) (Courtesy of Colleen Arulappu)

The main part of the surgeon's journal is in two sections because the surgeon became ill and was replaced.  The first part is a sick list with dates of admission and discharge from hospital. The second part was written by  surgeon David Thomson and gave detailed accounts of the illness and treatment of each main type of disease.    He wrote careful accounts of the course of an illness and his treatment. The journal is mainly medical with little personal information about of the women but it does show the care taken to preserve health and cure the patients. Includes an unsigned set of notes – presumed to be referring to Surgeon George Rowe’s illness.

Neva 12 May 1835

Wrecked off King Island, originally bound for NSW, 6 survivors landed at VDL

Hector 20 October 1835

Transcript of Surgeon's Journal, courtesy of Colleen Arulappu

Morgan Price was a surgeon on eight convict transport ships to NSW and Hobart, although most were carrying males. He had few deaths on his voyages and none on the Hector.  The brief General Remarks mentioned the conditions the women from Scotland endured on the  voyage from their prisons to Woolwich.  The journal noted two seriously ill women, expected not to survive, but did so and, the surgeon said they were treated with tonics and nourishing diet.

National Archives Record Summary of Surgeon's Journal

Arab II 25 April 1836

Transcript of Surgeon's Journal   Courtesy of Colleen Arulappu 

The journal is a clear account of the illness aboard  ship. The first patients were listed even before the ship left for sea and the surgeon said they concealed their illnesses  in order to embark with their companions.  The birth of a still born child four days after boarding and the resultant death of the mother make sad reading. The surgeon said the funeral prayers.

National Archives Record Summary of Surgeon's Journal: item 1item 2

Westmoreland 3 December 1836

National Archives Record Summary of Surgeon's Journal: item 1item 2

Platina 22 October 1837

Transcript of Surgeon's Journal  Courtest of Colleen Arulappu

The General Remarks section gives a comprehensive account of the voyage; each month is detailed as to illnesses, the weather at the time and its effects on the women’s health. The surgeon included some recommendations to improve ventilation on board with an extra instruction to prevent anything being passed up or down via the ventilation tubes.  He wrote of one patient who swallowed a pin (case 6) and another who was successfully treated for a very nasty boil (case 14).

National Archives Record Summary of Surgeon's Journal: item 1item 2item 3item 4

Atwick 23 January 1838

Transcript of Surgeon's Journal (complete, courtesy of Colleen Arulappu)

The General Remarks section at the end of the journal gives an excellent description of how prisoners were organized aboard ship. Their daily routine, meal times, bathing, schooling and measures to prevent scurvy are set out. Most interesting is the mention of dancing and other light entertainment to maintain health through exercise. The surgeon, Peter Leonard, undertook four voyages on convict transport ships, delivering over eight hundred, mainly male convicts, with only six deaths over all.

Nautilus 29 August 1838

Transcript of Surgeon's Journal (courtesy of Rhonda Arthur 9/10/2018)

J. G. Stewart MD RN was Surgeon Superintendent in charge of 133 female convicts and 8 children departing at Woolwich.  The Sick List has 171 entries and includes former occupations, where sent from, and the number of months in prison.  There are 40 case notes and one woman despite careful nursing died. Overall though the women arrived healthy, except for a valetudinarian who was unable to walk the 2 miles to the Cascades Female Factory from the landing place.  The General Remarks include many interesting observations and of particular interest is information provided by the prisoners of their diets while confined in jail. (p24).

Majestic 22 January 1839

Transcript of Surgeon's Journal (courtesy of Colleen Arulappu 27/09/2018)

The  journal is a long and mainly medical report. The surgeon wrote up many cases  which showed the common health problems  encountered on the long sea voyages. He included instructions for diet which seemed to be an important part of the women’s recovery from illness. The notes about the illness and eventual death of an infant make sad reading but also  give a glimpse of  the concern of the convict mother who defied the surgeon to fed her child forbidden food. Transcript courtesy of Colleen Arulappu  (27/09/2018)

Hindostan 12 September 1839

 

 
Gilbert Henderson 24 April 1840

Transcript of Surgeon's Journal (courtesy of Rhonda Arthur 19/06/2018)

Sir John Hamett MD was Surgeon Superintendent and highly qualified for this command.  184 female convicts, 15 free women and 24 children embarked at Woolwich.  1 female convict died, 3 were sent to the Colonial Hospital on arrival and 1 infant was unintentionally given a fatal dose of Laudanum by her devoted mother.  There were 9 deliveries of women on board: 7 were healthy and 2 were stillborn.  These women and infants together with other bad cases repeatedly required Castor Oil, a “valuable medicine”, of which 2½lbs first supplied at Deptford was replenished by the surgeon when the ship anchored at Teneriffe (2lbs) and at Table Bay (1lb).   Constitutional hysteria together with a few complicated cases were necessarily palliative and with these exceptions constipation was the most prevalent.  The other complaints in general were not severe and treated with cathartics, sudorifics and tonics.

Life onboard a female convict ship Gilbert Henderson (extract from The ENGLISHWOMAN’S DOMESTIC MAGAZINE – Vol I Pages 311-317) contributed by Colleen Arulappu

Navarino 17 January 1841

 Surgeon's Journal currently being transcribed by Rhonda Arthur (4/10/2018)

Mary Anne III 19 March 1841

Transcript of Surgeon's Journal (courtesy of Rhonda Arthur)

James Barr M.D. was Surgeon Superintendent.  125 female convicts, 19 emigrants and 39 children were sent on board in Dublin.

There were 4 case notes and each one is unusual.  The first case was a woman who in despair attempted to commit suicide by hanging herself from a cleat above her head.  Suffering seasickness and unable to eat any solid food she died exhausted.  The surgeon regretted that he did not perform an autopsy, party to spare the feelings of the other women and also as his attention was taken up with a case of Tetanus.  This woman, the keeper of the lower deck, received a splinter of wood in her forefinger which was removed and dressed with a poultice.  Two days later she complained of acute pain and was then seized with muscular spasms followed by lockjaw.    The third case was a delicate infant who died from convulsions following the sudden disappearance of an eruption on his head.  The final case was a woman in very low spirits who prior to embarkation was eating ground glass in the hope of becoming sick and being left behind.  A few mild cases of cholera occurred which yielded at once to calomel and opium. 

The Surgeon’s General Remarks summarize his views on these cases and are recommended reading.

  • National Archives Record Summary of Surgeon's Journal: item 1item 2
Rajah 19 July 1841
Garland Grove 10 October 1841

 

Mexborough 26 December 1841

Transcript of Surgeon's Journal (courtesy of Colleen Arulappu)

The Mexborough 1841 Surgeon's Journal: A clever and tough surgeon whose journal is brief but the struggle with the illness or defiance of Mary Hoolihan is of interest.

Emma Eugenia 8 April 1842
Hope 17 August 1842
Royal Admiral 24 September 1842
Waverley 15 December 1842
Garland Grove 20 January 1843
Margaret 19 July 1843
East London 21 September 1843

The East London 1843 Surgeon's Journal: The disparaging descriptions of the convict women make colourful reading. There is a report from an inquiry into the many deaths on board.

Woodbridge 25 December 1843
Emma Eugenia 2 April 1844
Greenlaw 2 July 1844

 

Transcript of Surgeon's Journal (courtesy of Colleen Arulappu)

The journal has a complete set of names from his Sick List, including  convicts, crew and master of the ship.  There were five deaths during the voyage and in the General Remarks at the end of the journal the surgeon commented on the diet in Irish jails which he felt contributed to the outbreak of scurvy on board. He also recommended changes in the provisions supplied, especially for those ships which carried Irish convicts.

Angelina 25 August 1844
Tasmania 20 December 1844
Phoebe 2 January 1845
Tory 4 July 1845
Lloyds 7 November 1845

Transcript of Surgeon's Journal (courtesy of Rhonda Arthur 16/08/2018)

Charles K Nutt M.D. was Surgeon Superintendent.  170 female convicts and 17 children were all sent from Millbank Prison.  There were 42 cases in the Sick Book including a woman who had chronic bronchitis and spent most of the voyage in the hospital; two cases of scurvy; a slight case of mumps; two cases of gout in the same woman and another was twice treated for caries of the inferior maxillary bones.  Towards the latter part of the voyage some of the women complained of cold and rheumatic pains.  A female child was born at sea.  Six were transferred to the Hospital in Hobart Town including a curious case of a young girl who had an epileptic seizure which left her with a mental impairment and a tragic case of an infant whose forehead was blistered having been kept for too long in the sun and developed a fever –the only death on board.

  • National Archives Record Summary of Surgeon's Journal: item 1item 2
Tasmania 3 December 1845
Emma Eugenia 5 June 1846
  • National Archives Record Summary of Surgeon's Journal: item 1item 2
Sea Queen 29 August 1846
Elizabeth and Henry 4 January 1847
Arabian 25 February 1847
Asia V 21 July 1847
Waverley 25 October 1847
Cadet 2 January 1848
  • National Archives Record Summary of Surgeon's Journal: item 1item 2
John Calvin 18 May 1848
Elizabeth and Henry 30 June 1848
Tory 6 August 1848
Kinnear 7 October 1848
Lord Auckland 20 January 1849

Transcript of Surgeon's Journal Courtesy of Colleen Arulappu

Lord Auckland 1849 Surgeon's Journal: The Lord Auckland sailed from Ireland in 1849 and the medical cases described several women as having suffered from the famine. The General Remarks are well worth reading for the surgeon’s comments about how to treat Irish female convicts, his encouragement of cleanliness and comments on the types of illness encountered during the voyage.

Cadet 12 April 1849
Maria II 23 July 1849
  • National Archives Record Summary of Surgeon's Journal: item 1item 2item 3
  • Transcript of Surgeon's Journal (courtesy of Colleen Arulappu). Maria 1849 Surgeon's Journal: Detailed medical notes. The General Remarks described the free-settlers placement.
Stately 2 September 1849
Australasia 29 September 1849
St Vincent 4 April 1850
Earl Grey 9 May 1850
Baretto Junior 25 July 1850
  • National Archives Record Summary of Surgeon's Journal: item 1item 2
Duke of Cornwall 27 October 1850
  • Transcript of Surgeon's Journal (Several accounts of the attacks of Hysteria on board the vessel and the extraordinary effects they brought on the women.Courtesy of Colleen Arulappu)
  • National Archives Record Summary of Surgeon's Journal: item 1item 2 
Emma Eugenia 7 March 1851
  • National Archives Record Summary of Surgeon's Journal: item 1item 2
Blackfriar 29 May 1851
Aurora II 10 August 1851
Anna Maria 26 January 1852
John William Dare 22 May 1852
Sir Robert Seppings 8 July 1852
Martin Luther 1 September 1852
Midlothian 24 February 1853
Duchess of Northumberland 21 April 1853

Further Resources


Grahame Thom's website of convict ships medical journals 1816 to 1867

The Ships' Surgeons and their Voyages: Tales from the Transcribers

Convict Ships Index

 

 

 

Ships to Van Diemen's Land via Sydney

Ship Date of Arrival

Online Material

Elizabeth Henrietta 1817
27th August 1817 arrived His Majesty's colonial brig Elizabeth Henrietta, MR. WHYTE Commander, having on board 30 male and 50 female convicts:- A part of the latter are to be re-shipped on board the Governor Macquarie for Port Dalrymple

Friendship

1818

Friendship departed England  July 1817

Fifty-six female convicts were transferred from the Friendship to the Duke of Wellington, to be conveyed to Hobart Town. https://trove.nla.gov.au/newspaper/article/2177726

https://www.jenwilletts.com/convict_ship_friendship_1818.htm

Elizabeth Henrietta 1818 October 1818,
Arrived at Port Dalrymple, during the present week, from Sydney, the Government brig Elizabeth Henrietta, with 60 female prisoners

 

 

 

 

The following article printed in 1865 - signed by "the Village Doctor" - describes his appointment as a surgeon, his preparations and experiences on a voyage out to Australia on a (unnamed) female convict ship.

A CONVICT SHIP I received a note from Sir ASTLEY, informing me that he had procured for me the appointment of Surgeon onboard a ship, which had been taken by Government for the purpose of transporting a number of female convicts to Australia. I cannot say I felt particularly delighted by the information. In the first place, I had fixed my hopes on receiving a permanent appointment and this would of course terminate when the voyage was ended; and beyond that, it led to noting. However, there was some occupation for me, which, if not very remunerative, was better than idling my time away, and I immediately wrote Sir ASTLEY a letter, thanking him for his kindness and promising to call on the authorities to whom he had referred me without delay. I now began to make preparations for my voyage to Australia, I placed one hundred and seventy pounds of my little capital in the bank, and the rest I kept to purchase my case of instruments, outfit and to provide for my current expenditure. My spirits were elated at the prospect of my visit to the antipodes, and I promised myself much pleasure and satisfaction in my new employment. Never was man more thoroughly disappointed. My voyage was one of continued misery from the time the ship left England till she arrived in Sydney. At the present time it would hardly be thought credible were I to relate the method of life onboard a convict ship five and thirty years since, and then it was immensely improved, by comparison to what it had been five and thirty years before. At that time noting was more common, on the [caprise] of the Captain of a ship, or possibly on the complaint of the second or third mate, to lash an unfortunate creature up the gangway, and flog her most severely, in exactly the same manner that sailors are flogged in the Navy; and so common and so little thought of [....] these occurrences, that it was not even thought worth while to enter them in the ship’s log. Although in my own time, an improvement had taken place in the treatment of these wretched women, heaven knows it was even then bad enough. When they arrived at their destination, and were assigned to the different settlers , there was always one loud cry of horror at their degraded state. And yet there was little to be wondered at. If any good or modest feeling remained in them before the ship left England, it was almost certain to be destroyed before she reached her destinations. After the treatment they had been subjected to during the voyage, and the examples which they had constantly before their eyes, it would have been far more surprising when they landed. if they had preserved one commendable attribute of woman hood,. That they had lost every principle which make women honourable. It would be impossible for men to lay the details of the general demoralization of the ship before the reader; suffice it to say that my life, when onboard, was made wretched by it. I endeavoured, to the best of my ability, to make things better; but as in those days the relative positioned of the surgeon, my remonstrances had no weight, and my threats were laughed at. (The Village Doctor – in the St James Magazine) Information taken from Sheffield Daily Telegraph 4 July 1865