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Arrived on the vessel 'FORTH' Master Henry Hutton, Surgeon Superintendent Thomas Robertson.
(The Forth departed Cork 21 October 1834 with 196 male prisoners. Arrived in Port Jackson on Monday 3 February 1835. One man died on voyage.)
Granted Ticket of Leave 16 March 1843 Maitland
A coroner's inquest into the death of Peter Kilduff, held on Tuesday 15 October 1850, at the Fitzroy Hotel, at 7 a. m., before Henry Glennie, Esq.
Peter Kilduff carrier. Employed by Henry Dangar taking goods to station 'Yellowroy' (Yallaroi). Killed when a wheel of the dray passed over his head a mile and a half beyond Rix's Creek, in the Singleton area. He was the brother of John KILDUFF 1793-1854 and
Michael KILDUFF 1799-1874
An inquest was this day held at 7 o'clock A M.' before the
Coroner of the district, at the Fitzroy Hotel, on view of
the body of Peter Kilduff, then lying dead.
The Jury being sworn, proceeded, to view the body which
was in a dray in the adjoining yard, and having returned,
Thomas M'Mahon was called and being sworn, stated
that he resided on a part of Mr. Henry Dangar's
ground at Singleton, from which place he started
with his team, on yesterday, October 14. about eleven
o'clock a.m. in company with two other teams, all
three laden with property for Mr. Dangar's station
at Yallaroi ; and that having accompanied them
about three miles on the road, and having cautioned
deceased, who was then much worse for "liquor"
to take care of himself, left his own team in charge
of a man whom he had employed to drive it and rode
on before them, to the Pound at Full Brook, a few
miles further on. Having delayed here some time,
and the drays not having yet made their appearance,
he returned to see what delayed them and was surprised
to find them but a short distance from where he first
left them. The driver of his own team being,
from drunkenness, incapable of driving, he took
the whip from him, stopped the team, and went back
to the second one which was a short distance behind
his (witness's) and spoke to the driver, John Smith
who did not appear to be drunk. Smith having
looked back and observed that deceased's team stopt
walked back to see what detained it, and shortly
after ran back again to witness exclaiming that Kilduff's
brains were dashed out. Witness himself
went to the spot and saw deceased lying on the road
a short distance behind his team, quite dead— his
brains scattered about, and his head frightfully
crushed, the wheel of the dray, which had on
about forty-five cwts., having passed over it.
The Jury having re-assembled at the appointed
hour, Smith was then called, and being sworn, con
firmed the former witness's statement up to the time
he left them to go to the pound, and stated that after
he (M'Mahon) left them, they halted to have dinner
—after dinner, took a keg (the inseparable curse of
such journeys) containing about four gallons of
wine, from one of the drays, and drew therefrom
about one pint full which they divided between them;
they started again and had not travelled far when
witness observed the team which deceased drove, to
stop ; he halted his own team and went back to that
of deceased to see what detained it; when he arrived
there he did not see deceased till he went a little bit
from the dray: He saw deceased lying quite dead on
the road, the off wheel having passed over his head,
the last time witness saw deceased, about five minutes
before he observed his team stopping, he was walking
on the near side by his bullocks, and did not that
day see deceased sitting on the pole of his dray, nor
was he drunk. The Coroner having summoned up the
evidence the Jury after a few moments deliberation,
returned-a verdict, that deceased met his death
accidentally. the wheel of his dray having passed over
his head, but how it happened they were unable to say.
From the position in which deceased was found, his
head lying immediately in the very track of the off
wheel and his legs near the track of the near wheel.
It is C0njectured that he must have fallen off the
pole while endeavouring to get on it; being at the
time much under the influence of liquor. Of the six
or seven sudden deaths that have occurred in this
neighbourhood, within a very short period, five, we
believe, were the results of intemperance.
The callousness and utter want of sympathy, and the
indifference with which these wretched individuals, who
are habitual drunkards, witness death in its most ap
palling form, may be gathered from the fact, of the
two co-mates of the deceased, having shortly after
the accident, seated themselves round the fatal keg.
from which deceased, doubtless drank his death, and
satisfied their craving thirst.
(Sydney, NSW : 1850 - 1932)
Thursday 24 October 1850
Transcription, janilye 2011
NOTE: The license for the Fitzroy Hotel in George-street, Singleton was granted to Alexander Munro 1812-1889 in 1848.
My third great grandfather John KILDUFF was born about 1793 in County Roscommon Ireland, one of the smallest Irish counties and its name derives from the Irish - Ros Coman, meaning St Coman's Wood. Its social history is mainly based around agriculture and it was badly affected by the great famine of 1845-47. He married Mary McCARTHY 1796-1870 at Roscommon about 1816. Mary McCarthy was born about 1796, to William and Ellen McCarthy, also of Roscommon.
There were no records of John, Mary, their parents, their marriage or any children in the 2000 version of the International Genealogical Index. John and Mary may have had one or two children in Ireland, since her death certificate (1870) indicates that at the time there were four children living and one male and one female deceased. They had at least four children in the Colony but there is no surviving record of other children.
John was involved in illegal activities even after he was married. He was arrested and tried in County Roscommon Court in July 1820. He was convicted of Ribbonism and was sentenced to transportation for fourteen years. The crime is recorded on his Certificate of Freedom dated 11 October 1834. In a sense John was a political prisoner, although Ribbon societies in the first half of the nineteenth century were responsible for disruptive activities and violence against landlords and others.
Once in the colony John kept out of trouble.
He was embarked on the "John Barry" at Cork, Ireland which sailed on the 16 June from Cork with Captain Roger Dobson and Chief Surgeon Dan McNamara, and arriving in the Colony on 7 November 1821.
The Convict Indents papers, record that he was a labourer, that he could not read or write and was a Catholic.
A physical description indicates that John was 5 ft 5? in (about 1.67 m) tall with a fairly pale complexion, fair hair and grey eyes.
The following reconstruction of where John and later his wife Mary lived is based on various sources including parish and civil, birth, marriage and death records and Census records.
John was first assigned to John Good in the District of Bathurst and Melville, where he worked to clear the land and plant crops. About a year later another convict Thomas Killier was also assigned to Good. For some reason John was not recorded in the 1822 Muster of convicts, although Killier is, as a servant to John Good. John Kilduff is recorded in the Muster of 1824/1825 at Melville.
In 1825, John Kilduff petitioned the governor for mitigation of his sentence:
"To His Excellency Sir Thos. Brisbane KCB, Captain General and Commander in Chief of the territory of New South Wales and its Dependencies ? We hereby certify that John Kilduff, who came by the Ship John Barry, which arrived in the year 1821 has not been convicted of any crime or misdemeanours in this Colony, but is to our certain belief an honest, sober and industrious character, having served faithfully John Good residing in the District of Bathurst from the 10th November 1821 to August 1825. [Signed] J. Harris, Resident Magistrate, John Joseph Therry RCC Clergyman, John Good, Master"
Even with such eminent signatories as Doctor John Harris and the senior Catholic cleric, his petition was unsuccessful, possibly because he had served only about four of his 14 years.
His wife Mary sailed to Sydney on the Thames, which arrived in Sydney from Cork on 11 April 1826 with 37 free women and 107 children as passengers and a cargo of government stores. It's Captain was Robert Fraser and the Surgeon Superintendant Dr. Linton
John was still assigned to John Good. It is thought that he allowed them (with government permission) to live in a house at Seven Hills. In late 1827 when their daughter Mary was born they were almost certainly at Seven Hills. Some time after this John was reassigned to Daniel Kelly at Wilberforce, possibly to allow better living conditions for his wife and child. John Good comes back into the story later, as the uncle of my second great grandfather Patrick William Hall 1821-1900
The Census of October and November 1828 records John, Mary and the 1 year old child Mary at Wilberforce. John was a labourer assigned to Daniel Kelly, a former convict. Three other convicts were also assigned to Kelly. John Good was still at Seven Hills.
John's sentence expired by servitude in 1834. By the time of the 1841 Census the family was living at Pitt Town. John was the householder and was a farmer. The surviving records are only abstracts. The household consisted of John Kilduff and his wife and three sons and one daughter, all aged seven and under fourteen at the time of the Census and all born in the Colony. There were no convict servants. The house was described as of wood and unfinished but inhabited. The householder was classed in the category landed property, merchants, bankers and professionals so John must have owned or leased the land.
John remained at Pitt Town for the rest of his life. He died on 6 February 1854 aged 60 at Pitt Town. His burial is recorded in the parish record of St Matthews Catholic Church, Windsor which gave his occupation as farmer. He died before civil registration of deaths began (1856) so no other details are available.
Mary Kilduff died on 24 April 1870, age 74 at Cornwallis probably at the home of William and his family. She was laid to rest beside John at the Windsor Catholic Cemetery, Windsor New South Wales.
Her death certificate provides most of the known details of her family and children.
The children of John Kilduff 1793-1854 and Mary Kilduff nee McCarthy 1796-1870 were:-
3. Mary KILDUFF b: 25 November 1827 at Pitt Town d:17 July 1911 Sydney, On 25 November 1847 married Patrick William Hall 1821-1900 The children of this marriage were:-
Mary Ann Josephine HALL 1848 - 1923
William HALL 1849 - 1910
Bridget HALL 1852 -
John Joseph HALL 1855 - 1906
Edward HALL 1859 - 1864
Sarah Mary HALL 1862 - 1938 m. Edward William MCKEE 1884-1962
Emily Johanna HALL 1867 - 1953
Ellen HALL 1869 - 1869
Patrick Henry HALL 1869 - 1871
Agnes HALL 1872 - 1874
4. John Kilduff b: 21 July 1831, Pitt Town, NSW d: 25 April 1911 at Windsor, NSW. On the 1 December 1858 at Windsor, NSW married Sarah BUCKRIDGE 1840-1930.
The children of this marriage were:-
Eleanor Kilduff 1859 - 1949
John Robert Kilduff 1860 - 1906
Ada Sarah Kilduff 1863 - 1928
Amy Adeline Kilduff 1865 -
Minnie Elizabeth Kilduff 1868 - 1937
George Norbert Kilduff 1870 - 1954
Alfred Rowland Kilduff 1873 - 1889
Ida Mary Kilduff 1875 - 1907
Cecily Mary Kilduff 1878 - 1951
William Martin Kilduff 1881 - 1902
Mary Isabella Kilduff 1883 - 1904
5.William Kilduff b:1832 Riverstone, NSW d: 23 April 1911 Windsor, NSW. On the 3 May 1855 at St. Matthews Catholic Church, Windsor, married Mary Sophia SEYMOUR 1837-1916.
The Children of this marriage were:-
Mary Ann Kilduff 1855 - 1855
Lucy Kilduff 1856 - 1928
Mary Anne Kilduff 1858 - 1938
Elizabeth Margaret Kilduff 1862 - 1945
William Joseph Kilduff 1864 - 1865
Therese Lydia Kilduff 1865 - 1945
William Charles Kilduff 1868 - 1911
George Martin Kilduff 1870 - 1914
John Joseph Kilduff 1872 - 1926
Edwin Leonard Kilduff 1875 - 1943
Frederick Leo Kilduff 1878 - 1908
Francis Kilduff 1883 ? 1954 m. Mary Ivy Williams 1890-1929
6.Unknown Kilduff 1834 - after 1870, according to Mother's death certificate still living when she died
1828 New South Wales, Australia Census (TNA Copy)
New South Wales, Australia Convict Ship Muster Rolls
and Related Records, 1790-1849
1841 New South Wales, Australia, Census
NEW South Wales Registry of Births Deaths Marriages
New South Wales, Australia Historical Electoral Rolls, 1842-1864
New South Wales State Records
Australian National Archives
A huge thanks to
Colin Kilduff,another tireless researcher
Below is a photograph of John Kilduff's Certificate of Freedom,
granted on 11 October 1834
Although my second great grandfather Patrick William HALL saw the inside of many different gaols in New South Wales, for his fighting, horse thieving and burning his neighbours shed down, he's one of the very few in my tree that didn't arrive as a convict. I suppose we had learned to grow our own by then.
Patrick was born in Galway in 1821 the son of William HALL 1787-1839 and Mary, nee GOOD 1700-1840. The HALLs in Ballinasloe ran a grocery shop and young Patrick learned to read and write and the trade of shoemaking.
Patrick HALL arrived as an assisted immigrant on the "Ferguson" in 1841, not long after his parents died and was assigned to his uncle John GOOD at Seven Hills, west of Parramatta.
It was here that he married Mary KILDUFF on the 25 November 1847 at St.Matthews Catholic Church, Windsor, New South Wales.
Mary KILDUFF had been born in Seven Hills on the 25 November 1827, the daughter of John KILDUFF born in Roscommon, Ireland in 1793 and charged with Ribbonism in 1820. He was transported to New South Wales on the 'John Barry' in 1821.
His wife Mary MCCARTHY1796-1870 also from Roscommon, Mary arrived on the 'Thames' on 11 April 1826 as part of a government scheme to reunite wives with their convict husbands.
The children of Patrick HALL and Mary, nee KILDUFF were:-
1.Mary Ann Josephine Hall 1848 - 1923
2. William Hall 1849 - 1910
3. Bridget Hall 1852
4. John Joseph Hall 1855 - 1906
5. Edward Hall 1859 - 1864
6. Sarah Mary Hall 1862 - 1938
7. Emily Johanna Hall 1867 - 1953
8. Ellen Hall 1869 1869
9. Patrick Henry Hall 1869 - 1871
10.Agnes Hall 1872 - 1874
1. Mary Ann Josephine HALL born 11 November 1849 at Pitt Town and died on the 16 July 1923 at 'Watsonville' the house at 92 Boyce Road, Maroubra.
On the 20 September 1883 in Albury, at a double wedding with her sister Sarah and Edward Stamp McKee, Mary Ann married Watson Braithwaite or 'Great Uncle Watty' as all the family refered to him, and still do.
Watson Braithwaite, the owner of several hotels in NSW, his first being the 'Engunnia Hotel' between Brewarrina and Bourke, in 1890. He then bought the Carrier's Arms' in Bourke from 1891 to 1897. Then Watty moved to Sydney and took over a pub at 611 George Street from Kate Watts and called it The Bourke Hotel. We still have some of the glass beer tankards from 'The Bourke' with Braithwaite's inscribed across the front. Watty became quite the celebrity after Henry Lawson wrote about him in his poems and stories
Watty had been born in Heidelburg, Victoria in 1858 and died at St. Vincent's Hospital, Sydney on the 28 October 1912.
Watty and Mary Ann had no children. When Mary Ann died, 'Watsonville' was passed down to my great grandmother, Sarah.
When The `Army' Prays For Watty
by Henry Lawson
When the kindly hours of darkness, save for light of moon and star,
Hide the picture on the signboard over Doughty's Horse Bazaar;
When the last rose-tint is fading on the distant mulga scrub,
Then the Army prays for Watty at the entrance of his pub.
Now, I often sit at Watty's when the night is very near,
With a head that's full of jingles and the fumes of bottled beer,
For I always have a fancy that, if I am over there
When the Army prays for Watty, I'm included in the prayer.
Watty lounges in his arm-chair, in its old accustomed place,
With a fatherly expression on his round and passive face;
And his arms are clasped before him in a calm, contented way,
And he nods his head and dozes when he hears the Army pray.
And I wonder does he ponder on the distant years and dim,
Or his chances over yonder, when the Army prays for him?
Has he not a fear connected with the warm place down below,
Where, according to good Christians, all the publicans should go?
But his features give no token of a feeling in his breast,
Save of peace that is unbroken and a conscience well at rest;
And we guzzle as we guzzled long before the Army came,
And the loafers wait for `shouters' and -- they get there just the same.
It would take a lot of praying -- lots of thumping on the drum --
To prepare our sinful, straying, erring souls for Kingdom Come;
But I love my fellow-sinners, and I hope, upon the whole,
That the Army gets a hearing when it prays for Watty's soul.
2. William HALL born on the 17 October 1849 in Albury, New South Wales and died in Queensland on the 17 April 1910. William married Margaret Mary BOWLES on the 7 May 1891 in Queensland. Margaret Mary was the daughter of George BOWLES 1818-1898 and Bridget KENNEDY 1820-1910 both from Ireland. Margaret Mary was born in Ipswich, Queensland on the 10 October 1857 and died on the 19 May 1942 at Toowong, Queensland.
The children of this marriage were:-
William Hall 1887 - 1888
Myra Ann Hall 1888 - 1974
John Watson Braithwaite Hall 1892 - 1970
George William Hall 1894 - 1976
Alice Elsie Hall 1896 - 1972
Stanley Vincent Hall 1898 - 1972
Cyril Robert Hall 1901 - 1958
Emily Mary Ellen Hall 1909 - 1966
3. Bridget HALL was born on the 28 October 1852 in Pitt Town and baptised at St. Matthews Catholic Church in Windsor on the 20 November 1852 Bridget died a few weeks later.
4. John Joseph HALL was born at Billybong near Piney Range down in the Riverina district, near Albury on the 8 November 1855 his parents moved down there to farm on a small lease. John Joseph never married and remained in the area until his died of pneumonia at the Corowa Hospital on the 11 November 1906. John Joseph worked on the riverboats along the Murray River.
5. Edward HALL was born at Piney Range on the 8 November 1859 and died at 4 years old on the 2 April 1864 in the Albury Hospital.
6. Sarah Mary HALL my great grandmother was also born at Piney Range on the 5 August 1862. By this time her father, due to the bills piling up realised farming wasnt his forte turned to the hotel business. He acquired the license for The Travellers Arms in Piney Range.
On the 20 September 1883 Sarah Mary married Edward William MCKEE born Edward William STAMP the son of English born, Geelong Clerk of Customs Edward Shelton STAMP 1831-1861 and Emma nee RIDDLE 1837-1899. Emma, in 1872 married Alfred Stanford Hutchinson MCKEE 1837-1883 after Edward Shelton STAMP died and her son took his stepfathers name. Edward William had been born in Newtown, Victoria on the 16 April 1855 and died on the 22 April 1930 at Watsonville Maroubra.
Sarah Mary MCKEE nee HALL died on the 9 November 1938.
The children of the marriage between Edward and Sarah MCKEE were:-
1.Edward William McKee 1884 - 1962 m. Pearl PRYOR 1892-1957
2.Alice E McKee 1886 - 1891
3.Mary A McKee 1888 - 1889
4.Florence Ellen McKee 1891 - 1967 m.(1) Sidney Edward FOOTE 1891-1935 (2) Cecil Michael Joseph HODGE 1894-1968
5.Sarah Josephine McKEE 1894 - 1937 m. Colin Charles EATHER 1894-1966
7. Emily Johanna HALL born on the 21 February 1867 at Piney Range. Her family moved to Bourke sometime in 1884 and Emily married (1) Daniel DOCHARD on the 1 November 1888 at Bourke. Daniel DOCHARD had been born in Bathurst in 1865 the son of James DOCHARD 1831-1903 and Catherine MCCOY 1838-1903. Daniel and Emily moved to Sydney and Daniel set up a large carrying business called DOCHARDS which was still going in the 1940s. The children of this marriage were:-
James Daniel Dockard 1889 - 1945
Mary Frances Dockard 1891 - 1974
Daniel DOCHARD died in 1906 and Emily Johanna next married Edwin BERRY in 1913. Edwin died at Chatswood, Sydney in 1927. Emily Johanna lived on till the 17 July 1953 when she died at Paddington, Sydney.
8. Patrick Henry HALL born on the 28 November 1869, Patrick Henry only lived 21 months and died of Bronchitis on the 28 August 1871.
9. Agnes HALL born on the 2 November 1872, also only lived a short time and died on the 13 March 1874 at Piney Range.
The photograph below;
Standing: Florence Ellen MCKEE, Sarah Josephing MCKEE
Edward William MCKEE, Sarah Mary,nee HALL Edward William MCKEE snr
Please contact me if you had an ancestor who arrived on the THAMES
The Irish immigration ship the Thames which brought wives and children from Cork Ireland to Sydney to unite with their husband/father who had been transported prior to 1826
The Thames was the first immigration ship to carry families directly from Ireland.
The Thames sailed from Cork 14 November 1825 and arrived 11 April 1826 and carried 37 wives and 107 children. There were also 16 paying passengers and crew captained by Robert Frazier and Surgeon Superintendant Dr. Linton R.N
There is no official passenger list existing in the NSW State Archives, the National Archives in Canberra or the National Archives in Dublin Ireland .
The purpose is to locate extended family members of those that immigrated on the Thames with the view to drawing together background information on what has happened to those Thames families and their convict husbands since 1826.
The objective is to document as many as possible Thames family stories and provide this information to the Mitchell Library and to the Society of Australian Genealogists (SAG) in the form of a manuscript.
A researcher named Lyn Vincent of Lyndon Genealogy has managed to reconstruct a passenger list through using the 1828 Census, the Ship Surgeon's Report, Birth, Death and Marriage Indexes and the Australian Biographical & Genealogical Record.
A Constable Michael Sheedy in the 1830s also compiled a list of family names that travelled on the Thames .
Unfortunately there were 16 deaths on the voyage (3 wives and 13 children). Close analysis of the Surgeon's Report (Dr. Lynton) has identified 2 of the wives and 8 children) on a microfilm held by the Mitchell Library. It would seem that not all of the Surgeon's report has been copied to microfilm.
The Sydney Gazette and New South Wales Advertiser (NSW ) Wednesday 12 April 1826. Page 2
Yesterday arrived the ship Thames, Captain Robert Frazer, with stores for Government.
She sailed from Cork the 14th November; from Teneriffe 29th November; and from
Pernambuco 11th January last.
By this conveyance are forwarded 37 women, the wives of free men and prisoners, who
bring along with them 107 children. We are sorry to say that 3 women and 13 children
died on the passage. Passengers, Mr. Raymond, Mrs. Raymond, and 9 children, and Mr. James Richards,
saddler. Surgeon Superintendent, Dr. Linton, R. N.
Another vessel, with male prisoners, was to leave shortly after the departure of the Thames.
The Sydney Gazette and New South Wales Advertiser (NSW) Wednesday 19 April 1826 Page 3
The women and children landed from the Thames on Saturday last, and were conducted
to the Old Orphan School, where they continued until called for by their several
relatives and friends.
The women, generally, looked hearty enough. As for the boys and girls, they were
perfect models of the Hibernian race; they seemed quite at home on their way up
George-street, and were as dignified in their step as any emigrant. This is a nouvelle
method to "ADVANCE AUSTRALIA," in importing children by wholesale. However, it's all
grist that comes to our mill. We hope the next importation the Ministry will send us,
may turn out to be a cargo of healthy and attractive damsels, and children will follow of course.
When the first HEATHER's had settled at Chislehurst, the civil war had been raging in England, with Charles I and the Royalists battling against Cromwell and the Roundheads. By the time the fourth Robert Heather died in 1780, a hundred and forty years had passed. The Commonwealth had come and gone. The restoration which followed had seen the return of the Stuarts who in turn gave way to the House of Hanover. Wars had been fought in Europe and America and the American war of independence was currently in progress. Times had changed and people tended to travel more.
Thomas HEATHER reached adulthood and found employment as a labourer at Chilsehurst, the birthplace of three of his forefathers.
We do not know when or where Robert & Thomas's mother Elizabeth died, but if she was alive in 1787 she must have been appalled by the events which overtook the family. Younger son Thomas, then twenty three years of age and working at Chislehurst, was arrested in October 1787 & held in goal to answer a charge of having robbed a man of money and possessions. Five months later, on 17 March 1788, when the home circuit held it's next sitting at Maidstone, Thomas HEATHER appeared before the judge & jury. He defended himself as well as he was able without the assistance of any legal adviser, but was found guilty of the charges of having robbed one George COTTON of a silver watch and fifty shillings in a field near the Kings highway. He was sentenced to be hanged. On 18 April 1788 the Justices of the Assizes at Whitehall in London reviewed the sentences of the Home Circuit, and Thomas HEATHER was one of those who had their death sentences commuted to fourteen years transportation to a penal settlement beyond the seas.
Thomas spent the first two years of his sentence in goals in England. The first 14 months were probably spent in goal at Maidstone, where most Kent convicts were confined.
In May 1789, Thomas was moved from Maidstone goal to one of the hulks on the Thames river near Gravesend. These hulks were derelict ships tied up in the river to house prisoners who toiled in the nearby dockyards. About mid November, he was transferred to the ship NEPTUNE , the transport ship aboard which he was to make the voyage to New South Wales.
The ship "Neptune" was a vessel of 792 tons which had been built on the Thames in 1779. It was a three-masted, square rigged wooden ship, and was twice as large as any previous convict transport. On 14 November 1789, it left it's anchorage at Longreach and moved down the Thames to Gravesend. Three days later, with it's consignment of convicts on board it sailed for The Downs, the roadstead about five miles North-East of Dover. The part of the ship set up as the Convict's prison was the Orlop deck, the lowest on the vessel, well below waterline, so they had no portholes, no view of the outside world, and very poor ventilation.
There were four rows of one-storey high cabins, each about four feet square, two rows being on each side of the ship from the mainmast forwards, and two shorter rows amidships. Into these cabins no fewer than 424 male and 78 female convicts were crowded.
The appalling conditions under which these convicts were forced to live can be better appreciated when it is remembered that, immediately they had come on board, all convicts had been placed in leg-irons and these were not removed throughout the entire voyage. Into each of these tiny cabins were crowded four to six persons, chained in pairs.
Chained below, Thomas HEATHER would not have been able to take in the scenery as the ship "Neptune" had moved out of the Thames and come to anchor at The Downs, there to spend four days while stores and equipment were taken of board. Then anchors were weighed and the vessel left for Plymouth, a slow voyage which took six days after the ship overshot that port and the error wasn't detected until she was off The Lizard, from where a retreat was made back up The Channel. At Plymouth a series of disputes arose, involving the military, the contractors and the captain of the ship "Neptune". Amongst the military was Captain John MACARTHUR who was on his way out to the Colony for duty there. Accompanying him was his wife, Elizabeth, who kept a diary of events during the voyage. A feature of the dispute was a formal duel between MACARTHUR and Captain GILBERT of the ship "Neptune". As a result of the duel Captain GILBERT was replaced by Captain TRAILL, of whom Mrs MACARTHUR wrote prophetically that "His character was of a much blacker dye than was even in Mr GILBERT's nature to exhibit".
The ship "Neptune" stayed at Plymouth until 10 December and then sailed back along the coast to Portsmouth where it anchored in Stoke's Bay on the 13th. There she met up with two other vessels of the Second Fleet, the "Surprize" and the "Scarborough". The convicts endured the cold weather for twenty-four days before the West winds abated and allowed her to sail on 5 January 1790. She anchored at Spithead until the 8th, but then the winds proved "Faithless" and the vessel arrived back at Mother Bank on the 15th.
At last, on Sunday 17 January 1790, more than two months after leaving The Thames, the ship "Neptune" left Portsmouth and moved down the English Channel. In chains below, Thomas HEATHER would not have had the opportunity to gaze for one last time upon the land of his birth. The voyage was really under way and the convicts became well aware of this fact two days later when they crossed the Bay of Biscay. The sea was so rough that Mrs MACARTHUR recorded in her diary, "It could not be persuaded that the ship could possibly long resist the violence of the sea which was mountain high".
After a month or so the MACARTHUR's succeeded in being transferred to the ship "Scarborough" after they had had a series of disputes withe John's superior, Captain NEPEAN. Captain TRAILL might have been relieved to see them go. The voyage was nothing new to Donald TRAILL. He had been First Mate on the ship "Lady Penrhyn", one of the transports of the First Fleet. Apparently he had learned a few tricks from his earlier experiences.
Historical records indicate clearly that he deliberately starved the convicts on the ship "Neptune" so that he could draw extra rations for himself, and in addition, enrich himself by disposing of surplus rations on the foreign market at ports of call. One convict wrote later to his parents, "we were chained two and two together and confined in the hold during the whole course of our long voyage, without as much as one refreshing breeze to fan our langous cheeks. In this melancholy situation we were scarcely allowed a sufficient quantity of victuals to keep us alive, and scarcely any water".
Sickness was prevalent right from the beginning of the voyage. Heavily ironed and without adequate access to fresh air and sunlight; inadequately fed and without sufficient bedding for warmth at night, the convicts soon began to succumb to the ordeal of their conditions. By the time the ordeal of the cold weather was over they found that they were faced with another which was just as trying - the heat and humidity of the tropics as the ship "Neptune" crossed the Equator and continued south down the coast of Africa. By the time The Cape of Good Hope was reached after 87 days, no fewer than 46 of the convicts had died. Anchoring in False Bay at Capetown on 14 April, the ship "Neptune" stayed for fifteen days, taking on board food, water, a large number of cattle, sheep and pigs, and also twelve convicts from the ill-fated ship "Guardian".
The HMS "Guardian" had been dispatched with supplies for the infant colony of New South Wales in response to an urgent plea sent home by Governor PHILIP with the last returning vessel of the First Fleet. Unfortunately, after the ship "Guardian" had left Capetown on its voyage eastwards, the skipper, Lieutenant RIOU, had taken it too far to the south in his quest for the Roaring Forties, and the ship had run into an iceberg. Two months later RIOU had brought his crippled vessel back into the port at Capetown. The mishap had played a large part in the food shortages which Sydney Town suffered in 1790.
After its stay at Capetown, the ship "Neptune" departed on 29 April to commence its run across to Van Diemen's Land. The existence of the strait we now know as Bass Strait was unknown at that time, so all vessels heading out to Sydney Town via Cape of Good Hope sailed around the south of Van Diemen's Land. More deaths occurred amongst the convicts on board during this leg of the voyage, and while the ship "Neptune" beat its way up the east coast of New South Wales. By the time the ship made its way up Sydney Harbour and dropped anchor in Sydney Cove on 28 June 1790, it had built up the worst record of all convict ships of all time. In all it had lost 147 male and 11 female convicts, and upon its arrival landed 269 others who were sick.
Into Sydney Cove on the same day as the ship "Neptune" arrived, came also the ship "Scarborough". The ship "Surprize" had arrived two days previously. Fortunately the convicts on those ships had fared much better than had the unfortunate souls on the ship "Neptune". The arrival of the Second Fleet was a source of interest for those already in the colony, and many were attracted to the shore to take in the scene. What they observed as the prisoners disembarked was a shocking spectacle. Great numbers of those who came off the ship "Neptune" were not able to walk, or even move a hand of foot. These were slung over the ship's side in the same manner as a box would be slung over. Some fainted as soon as they came out into the open air. Some dropped dead on the deck, while others died in the boat before they reached the shore. Once on the shore some could not stand or walk, or even stir themselves. Some were lead by others and some crept upon hands and knees. All were shockingly filthy, with their heads, bodies, clothes and blankets full of filth and lice.
Somewhere amongst those who came ashore was Thomas HEATHER. It was a scene which he undoubtedly remembered for the remainder of his life. Whether he was one of the sick we do not know, but if he was he soon recovered. He had arrived in a settlement which was so short of food that the hours of public work had recently been shortened, and even the soldiers had pleaded loss of strength. Amongst those who witnessed the shocking spectacle down at the shore that day was Governor PHILIP himself. Not surprisingly, he ordered that an inquiry be held into the conditions on the ship "Neptune".
Thomas HEATHER arrived in the colony when the settlement at Sydney was 2 years old. A second settlement was also being developed on a tract of land at the head of the harbour, and ground prepared for sowing corn. The farm so established became known as Rose Hill. By June 1790 Rose Hill had a population of 200, and in the following month a town was laid out there under the Governors instructions. During that first year that Thomas spent in the colony, many convicts were transferred from Sydney to Rose Hill. It is most likely that Thomas was one of those at the new town before 1790 was out.
The following, is a letter published in the London Morning Chronicle on the 4 August 1791 from a female convict at Sydney Cove, dated 24 July 1790.
"Oh! If you had but seen the shocking sight of the poor creatures that came out in the three ships it would make your heart bleed.
They were almost dead, very few could stand, and they were obliged to fling them as you would goods, and hoist them out of the ships, they were so feeble; and they died ten or twelve a day when they first landed.
The Governor was very angry, and scolded the captains a great deal, and, I heard, intended to write to London about it, for I heard him say it was murdering them. It, to be sure, was a melancholy sight.."
Convict Women on the Neptune
Ships of the Second Fleet
A History of THE EATHER FAMILY:
Thomas EATHER and Elizabeth LEE
by John St PIERRE
for the EATHER Family history committee.
The Women of Botany Bay, by Portia Robinson
Australia's Second Fleet - 1790 by Jenny French
The children of Thomas and Elizabeth LEE :-
1. Ann EATHER 1793 - 1865
2. Robert EATHER 1795 - 1881
3. Charlotte EATHER 1797 - 1862
4. Charles EATHER 1800 - 1891
5' Thomas EATHER 1800 - 1886
6. John EATHER 1804 - 1888
7. Rachel EATHER 1807 - 1875
8. James EATHER 1811 - 1899
for some of my family tree images
- Displaying 1-5 of 5 Journals