Friday, 2 December 2011

Third Fleet Notes

The Third Fleet ships left in England in 1791. The ships were -
Matilda - ship - 460 tons - built 1779
Atlantic - ship - 422 tons - built 1784
Salamander - ship - 320 tons - built 1776
William and Anne - ship - 370 tons - built 1759
Active - brig - 350 tons - built 1764
Queen - ship - 400 tons - built 1773
Albemarle - ship - 530 tons 
Britannia - ship - 520 tons
Admiral Barrington - ship - 527 tons - built 1781

Two other convict ships that sailed in 1791 were -
Mary Ann - ship - 298 tons - built 1772
HMS Gorgon - frigate

Most of the vessels obtained for the journey were old and in some cases in need of repair and not suitable for the trip. However these were the only ships available at the time as there was was threat of war in Europe and ship owners were reluctant to release their ships for such a venture.

Simeon Lord was born in Todmorden, Yorkshire on 28 January 1771. His parents were Simeon Lord (1744-1787) and Ann Fielden (1746 - 1786).  On 22 April 1790 at Manchester Quarter Sessions he was found guilty of theft of a quantity of cloth and sentenced to seven years transportation to New South Wales. His journey to Port Jackson was on the Atlantic leaving Plymouth on 27 March 1791 and arriving at Sydney Cove on 20 August 1791 - a journey of 146 days. Before leaving England he had embarked on the Atlantic at Woolwich before the ship sailed to Plymouth where convicts from the Dunkirk hulk were brought aboard. A number of convicts from this hulk were unwell when they arrived on the ship. Six of these convicts died before the ship sailed and another 18 died during the voyage. The ship's surgeon had tried to replace the sick men with others in better health without success.

The Third Fleet was divided into divisions. The Atlantic, the Salamander and the William and Ann sailed from Plymouth while five of the other ships sailed from Portsmouth. The Queen sailed from Cork with a contingent of Irish convicts in April.

Generally the ships that sailed from Plymouth had an uneventful trip though in late April during a storm the Salamander was separated from the other ships but rejoined them when they arrived at Rio de Janeiro. Rio de Janeiro was the only stop during the voyage and therefore the only place where fresh stores were available. The ships encountered heavy weather in the second leg of the voyage but arrived at Port Jackson a few days apart, the Atlantic being the first ship in the group to arrive. 

The ships in the Portsmouth division had a more eventful voyage and separated shortly after sailing arriving at Port Jackson on a variety of dates between 1 August and 16 October. Ships such as the Matilda were leaking and were lucky to arrive safely. Conditions aboard the ship were wet, not just damp, and 25 convicts died during the voyage with another 20 sick on arrival at Sydney Cove. Convicts on some of the ships had been deliberately starved. On the Queen the weights used to measure food had been scraped so the 4 lb weight, for example, was actually 3 lb 10 ounces. Frequently the 4 lb weight was substituted for the 5 lb weight or the 3 lb weight was substituted for the 4 lb weight. These practices drastically reduced the amount of food provided to the convicts. Once again those responsible for these actions were not punished. Two of the ships, Admiral Barrington and Albemarle carried too many convicts and the overcrowding would have contributed to the high death rate on these ships.

One thousand eight hundred and sixty-nine male convicts and 172 female convicts embarked on  Third Fleet ships. There were 173 deaths of male convicts and 9 deaths of female convicts.

Mary Ann - 150 female convicts - 9 deaths
HMS Gorgan - 31 male convicts - 1 death
Matilda - 230 male convicts - 25 deaths
Atlantic - 220 male convicts - 18 deaths
Salamander - 160 male convicts - 5 deaths
William and Ann - 188 male convicts - 7 deaths
Active - 175 male convicts - 21 deaths
Queen - 133 male & 22 female convicts - 7 deaths
Albemarle - 282 male convicts - 32 deaths
Britannia - 150 male convicts - 21 deaths
Admiral Barrington - 300 male convicts - 36 deaths

  • Bateson, Charles: The convict ships 1797-1868. Sydney, Library of Australian history, 2004 (originally published 1950)

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