The Admiral Gambier was built at Jarrow in 1807. She was taken up by the East India Company in 1808 and engaged to convey convicts to New South Wales. She departed Portsmouth on 2 July 1808 with 200 male convicts and arrived in Port Jackson on 20 December 1808.
The prisoners of the Admiral Gambier were gathered from Counties throughout England - Bedford, Sussex, York, Somerset, London etc.
Many had been held in the prison hulks for quite some time. Joseph Woodhouse having been tried on 2 July 1806 was sent to the Retribution Hulk in October. He remained there until embarked on the Admiral Gambier on 7 May 1808.
Drawing of two convict hulks at quayside steps, one HMS Retribution
William Marsden and James Butler were tried at Middlesex in 1807. They were held on the Captivity Hulk... Hulk Register for the Captivity, 4 April 1807 (HO 9/8 folio 52)
Others were held in Newgate prison and transferred to the Hulks for only a couple of days before being sent to the ship. James Bullock, Thomas Ellis, John Peake, Thomas Buckley, John Homer, John Hartup, Lewis Solomon, James Clarkson, James Frost, Charles Vining, Daniel Buckley and Thomas Wheeler had all been tried in London and were among those who only spent a short time on the hulk.
There was a female prisoner from Scotland listed in the indents of the Admiral Gambier - Betty Murray (alias Baillie, alias Barclay) was from Perthshire and sentenced to 7 years transportation on 6th May 1806, however she may have been transported on the Aeolus.
Other prisoners from Scotland transported on the Admiral Gambier included Robert Dow; Richard Hamilton; John MacFarlane; John McLeod; James Monison and John Smith who were all tried in Edinburgh.
Three prisoners had been court-martialled at Guernsey - Enst Schmidt, Henry Rose and James Griffiths. James McDonald was court-martialled at Newfoundland and Francis Austen, John Moffett and John Cullen at Messina.
Passengers and Guard included Lieut. Bernard Martin Senior(1) and 34 troops of the New South Wales Corps. Ensign Senior had been promoted to Lieutenant by purchase on 27th February 1808. (HR NSW Vol., VI. p 817)
The Admiral Gambier departed Portsmouth 2 July 1808 in company with a West India fleet under convoy of His Majesty's ship Polyphemus, 64 guns; two Portuguese frigates; three-gun brigs.
At Madeira she departed in company with the Juno whaler, and Aeolus transport, the latter having between 70 and 80 female prisoners on board.
Rio de Janeiro
The Admiral Gambier got into Rio de Janeiro on the 8th of September. A man previously apprehended at Rio who was suspected of being one of the mutineers of the Lady Shore was embarked
The Admiral Gambier sailed with the Juno 6th of October, leaving the Aeolus at Rio. After a day or two the Admiral Gambier parted with the Juno, but joined again within a few days sail of Port Jackson, the Juno having fallen in with heavy gales, and much damaged in her rigging and boats.
Arrival at Port Jackson
The Admiral Gambier and the Speke were the only two convict ships to arrive in New South Wales in 1808. The Admiral Gambier arrived in Port Jackson on 22 December 1808 with 197 male prisoners.
The prisoners were landed in good health and spirits. The Indent for the Admiral Gambier includes the name of the convict where and when convicted, term of transportation, and identifying number of tickets of leave, conditional and absolute pardons of some of the prisoners.
Departure from Port Jackson
The Admiral Gambier departed for England on 28 March 1809. She was wrecked in the Mozambique Channel on 20 June 1817.
Prisoners of the Admiral Gambier identified in the Hunter Valley region:
Hertford Gaol Delivery 21 July 1806. Sentenced to transportation for life. Granted permission to marry Ann Ward, 5 April 1811, Sydney. In November 1811 sent to Newcastle penal settlement and again in July 1813. Granted a Ticket of Leave in June 1830
Messina Court Marial 28 April 1807. Sentenced to 14 years transportation. On a lists of convicts to be sent to the Derwent per Windham in April 1814. Employed by Timothy Nowlan as a labourer near Newcastle in 1824
Tried Somerset Assizes August 1807. Sentenced to transportation for life. Sent to Newcastle penal settlement in January 1816. On a list of prisoners at Newcastle claiming expiration of sentence in November 1818
Guernsey Court Martial 11 November 1807. Sentenced to transportation for life. Sawyer. In January 1813 sentenced to 12 months hard labour at Newcastle for stealing from the house of James Grady, 2 watches value of 6 pounds. In 1818 on list of prisoners at Bathurst recommended for mitigation of sentence
Grose, William Smith
Middlesex Gaol Delivery 4 December 1805. Sentenced to 7 years transportation. In February 1813 while employed as government stockman, absconded from duty and apprehended by William Morgan. Sent to Newcastle penal settlement. William Morgan was later paid 10 pounds for his apprehension.
Harry, Henry Paul
Tried at Monmouth Assizes 10 March 1804. Sentenced to transportation for life. Sent to Newcastle penal settlement in May 1810. Considered by the Commandant John Purcell to be an old man of 60 unfit for labour.
Alias Joice. Guernsey Court martial 11 November 1807. Sentenced to transportation for life. In October 1809 absconded from the farm of William Furber possibly in Kissing Point area. In October 1811 he absconded from public labour and in July 1812 the following notice from the Sydney Gazette - two most notorious Characters, viz. John Fitzgerald and Bartholomew Foley, have effected their Escape from on board His Majesty's Ship Lady Nelson bound to Port Dalrymple, after plundering her of sundry Articles of Slop Cloathing, etc; and also William Fitzgerald, a Sawyer, Henry Joyce, and Thomas Coin who has absconded from Newcastle; likewise Samuel Morris, alias Worsal Sam, formerly Mr. Dight's Servant. All Settlers and others are hereby cautioned against harbouring or employing any of the above-named Runaways, on Pain of the most rigid Prosecution ; and all Constables and others are hereby returned to use the utmost endeavour in apprehending and lodging them in safe Custody.
In 1828 Henry Jose was assigned to the A. A. Company at Port Stephens
Alias Winkfield. Tried Norfolk (Kings Lynn) Quarter Sessions 13 April 1807. Occupation carpenter. Sentenced to 7 years transportation for marrying two wives. He did not acknowledge the justness of the sentence because his first wife was an adulteress. In August 1821 he was transported to Newcastle on board H.M. Brig Elizabeth Henrietta under orders that he was to be imprisoned at Newcastle and to pay a fine of 50s and to remain imprisoned until paid. His children Eliza and Henry were permitted to go to Newcastle to be with their father.
He was a dealer residing at Parramatta and 54 years of age in 1828. In October 1831 he was sentenced to 7 years transportation and sent to Norfolk Island. In April 1838 he was one of ten convicts admitted to Sydney Gaol having arrived from Norfolk Island to be examined by the authorities
Alias Lazarus. Tried Stafford Assizes 13 August 1806. Sentenced to transportation for life. In 1823 made petition for a Ticket of Leave however in September 1823 he was sent from Newcastle to Port Macquarie. Abraham Fenton was employed as surgeon at Port Macquarie at this time. In January 1824 Levy petitioned to be allowed to return to Sydney stating he was then at Port Macquarie, and formerly of Derwent and Newcastle. He was granted a Ticket of Leave for Patrick Plains in March 1837. In February 1838 his Ticket of Leave was cancelled for harbouring and employing a bushranger. In 1838 goods found in possession of Levy to be sold by public auction at Patrick Plains. Granted a Conditional Pardon in 1840
Alias Mark Doolan. Convict of larceny at Portsmouth Quarter Sessions 26 April 1805. Sentenced to 7 years transportation and admitted to the Laurel Hulk 21 June 1805. Sentenced to 12 months labour at Newcastle penal settlement in May 1810. In 1816 On list of persons who came as convicts and who claimed they were free at the last General Muster, without supporting documentation. Granted a Certificate of Freedom in November 1816
Hertford Goal Delivery 10 March 1806. Sentenced to transportation for life. In 1812 on the list of prisoners to be sent to Newcastle. In 1813 reported as an escapee from Coal River. Captured and taken to Windsor. In April 1815 at Newcastle Commandant Thomas Thompson was informed that Monk's sentence was remitted and he was permitted to return to Sydney
Middlesex Gaol Delivery 5 December 1805. Sentenced to 14 years transportation. In February 1824 Permitted to pass from Windsor, with John Earle, cattle and a servant, to Earle's farm in the County of Durham. Married Elizabeth Thompson 30 August 1809 at St. Philips Sydney. Issue 1) Albenia Walker (step-daughter). In 1824 a landowner at Hawkesbury. Granted 300 acres Parish of Leamington Co. Hunter in 1824. Died in 1826
Tried Monmouth Assizes 18 July 1807. Sentenced to transportation for life. In 1812 on list of prisoners to be sent to Newcastle. In August 1814 permitted to proceed from Newcastle to Sydney to conduct business for his master George Pell.
Tried Surrey Assizes 18 March 1807. Sentenced to transportation for life. In 1817 on the list of prisoners to be sent to Newcastle. In 1822 employed in Stephen Woodcock's road party near Campbelltown. Requested to be assigned to his brother-in-law Daniel Brown. Employed by Brown by 1825. In 1831 his ticket of leave was cancelled for drunkenness indecent conduct and making away with his employer's property.
Tried Warwick Assizes 23 March 1807. Sentenced to 7 years transportation. In April 1812 on the list of prisoners to be sent to Newcastle
Bedford Gaol Delivery 16 July 1807. Sentenced to transportation for life. Age 25. 5ft 8in, brown hair, dark complexion. Convicted of house breaking at the Summer Assizes and sentenced to death, reprieved, and sentenced to transportation for life. Put on board the Hulk at Woolwich 27 August 1807. In NSW became a Bushranger. In January 1814 with two other convicts Angelo LeRose and Samuel Cobb was charged with stopping Samuel Larkin on the road and robbing him. Walker was sentenced to death, the sentence being commuted to transportation for life. He was transported to Newcastle penal settlement, Lieut. Thompson, Commandant at Newcastle instructed that Walker being a dangerous and desperate ruffian to be wrought in double irons and employed on hard labour. He was sent to the limeburner's gang which he absconded from on 25 November 1814 with five other desperadoes - Francis Parcello, Walter Preston, John Cricks, John Lee and
Thomas Desmond on 25th November. He had been captured by January 1815 when his name was included on a list of runaways to be returned to Newcastle per Estramina. He absconded in January 1816 and again in August 1816. On this occasion he was returned to Newcastle having been speared by natives. In October 1819 he was punished for attempting to run and in May 1820 punished for attempting to break out of Newcastle gaol. In 1821 he was on a list of convicts at Port Macquarie where he absconded in November 1821. He was included on a list of convict runaways from Port Macquarie who were embarked on the Elizabeth Henrietta bound for Hobart in 1822. In June 1824 at Hobart Isaac Walker along with John Thompson, James Tierney, Patrick Connolly, George Lacy and George Saxton were all sentenced to death for highway robbery and assault
Tried 16 March 1807. Sentenced to 14 years transportation. In March 1822 sentenced to transportation for 14 years having been tried at the Court of Criminal Jurisdiction. On list of prisoners transported to Newcastle in 1825. Assigned to government employment at Newcastle Granted ticket of leave for Maitland in November 1831. In November 1841, free. Admitted to Newcastle gaol from Maitland on a charge of bestiality. Sent for trial
Tried York West Riding 14 April 1806. Sentenced to 7 years transportation. In January 1815 On list of prisoners transported to Newcastle
Alias Davis. Middlesex Gaol Delivery 12 September 1804. Sentenced to 7 years transportation. On November 1812 sentenced to 12months labour at Newcastle. Sarah May, Thomas Anderson, Edward Williams, William Tucker, Daniel Thurston and Charles Clarke on a list of convicts to be sent to Newcastle penal settlement on the Estramina
Tried Somerset Assizes 8 August 1807. Sentenced to transportation for life In April 1821 Prisoner arrived from Hobart under sentence of transportation to Newcastle. On list of prisoners transported to Newcastle
London Gaol Delivery 2 July 1806. Sentenced to transportation for life. In November 1817 on a list of prisoners to be sent to Newcastle. In August 1824 Joseph Woodhouse in the service of government charged with drunkenness and disorderly conduct. Sentenced to be confined to barracks. Buried at Newcastle in December 1824
Tried at Lincoln, Boston Sessions, 6 April 1807. Sentenced to 7 years transportation. A bricklayer by trade Edward Young was sent to Newcastle penal settlement for the special purpose of erecting lime kilns. On 8 December 1810 he was punished with 60 lashes for refusing to do public labour and in a most mutinous manner threatening the Commandant john Purcell. In February 1811 he was required back in Sydney to work as a tiler.
Notes and Links
1). In 1811 two prisoners of the Duke of Portland Henry Millson and William Brown together with Robert Dawson alias Leeche of the Admiral Gambier and Benjamin Cordell escaped from Norfolk Island on the ship New Zealander. (HRA, Vol. VIII) 4).
2). National Archives - Notes 1. Approximately 278 convicts are recorded in folios 405-418 of HO 11/1 (202 male; 76 female). These convicts were transported on the Admiral Gambier and the Eolus (also spelt Aeolus) in July 1808. Folio 411 (transcribed above) records 22 of the 200 convicts transported on the Admiral Gambier, of which 197 reportedly arrived in Sydney on 20 December 1808 (3 male convicts presumed dead en route). All of the convicts on the Eolus landed safely on 26 January 1809.
3). Biographical Database of Australia....Transportation Registers [TR] Some convict lists remained in England and are now found in The National Archives, London. One series of records known as the Transportation Registers were microfilmed under the Australian Joint Copying Project and are available in major Australian libraries, such as the State Library in Sydney and the National Library of Australia in Canberra. State Records NSW also hold some of these microfilm reels. The Transportation Registers are located as follows: The National Archives, London: Home Office - Criminal; Convict Transportation Registers - Convicts Transported 1787 - 1809 (PRO ref: HO 11/1; PRO Reel 87) The National Archives, London: Home Office - Criminal; Convict Transportation Registers - Convicts Transported 1810-1817 (PRO ref: HO 11/2; PRO Reel 87)