Free Settler or Felon
Convict and Colonial History

Convict Ship Bangalore - 1850

Embarked: 297 male exiles
Voyage: 113 days
Surgeon's Journal: yes
Captain William B. Morgan
Surgeon William H. B. Jones

The Bangalore transported prisoners to Van Diemen's Land in 1848 and this voyage to Moreton Bay in 1850.


Although there were thousands of convicts who were sent to Moreton Bay for colonial crimes, the Mount Stewart Elphinstone in 1849 and the Bangalore in 1850 were the only two ships bringing convict 'Exiles' direct to Moreton Bay, then part of New South Wales.

Transportation to New South Wales had ceased in 1840 and the arrival of Exile ships was controversial, however squatters and pastoralists particularly on the Darling Downs were in need of labour and welcomed the addition to their dwindling work force. The Bangalore was the last ship to bring prisoners to the east coast of Australia although they continued to be sent to Van Diemen's Land and to Western Australia.

Departure from England

The Bangalore left Portsmouth 6th January 1850 with 454 souls on board.

Surgeon William Hutchinson Bulkeley Jones

William H.B. Jones kept a medical journal from 17 December 1849 to 16 June 1850. Some of the cases he mentioned in his Remarks included :

1). Archibald Campbell who was placed on sick list for a severe acute dysenteria which terminated favourably;

2). John White who had an illness in the lungs;

3). Sergeant Joseph Kearn, Pensioner Guard who came on board as an invalid, labouring under an advanced stage of phthisis. The Surgeon remarked; that Joseph Kearns had just returned from India and was at the Battle of Sobraon, under Sir Hugh Gough and Sir Henry Hardinge. He had been severely wounded by a ball passing through the face and the cicatrix of that wound broke out afresh on board. Ann Kearn the widow of the deceased sergeant, was safely delivered of a female child on board on 10th March 1850.

4). William Smith a spare delicate seaman, fell during the gale of wind, down the fore hatchway and landed on a piece of wood immediately over the left kidney causing a rupture and he died in good deal of suffering but of short duration.

5). Mary Starkey - on the 18th February, Mary Starkey, wife to a pensioner guard was safely delivered of a boy.

6). James Roy - the Surgeon also noted on the case of James Roy aged 7 who received an injury according to the parents by being thrown over the shoulders of another boy which injured his back.

7). John Blacknell - on the 12th February the first case of scorbutus occurred in a very delicate convict John Blacknell.

Moreton Bay

The acting health officer at Moreton Bay, Kearsey Cannan inspected the ship on arrival and gave an excellent report stating that the prisoners and ship were in the utmost state of health and cleanliness. The surgeon William Hutchinson Bulkeley Jones was proud of the clean and healthy state of the ship and included at the end of his general remarks a history of the voyage of the Hillsborough to contrast the differences between the conditions of convicts transported fifty years previously with those who arrived on the Bangalore.[2]

The Moreton Bay Courier reported in May.... Mr. Horsey from the office of the Principal Superintendent of Convicts went down to the Bangalore on Wednesday, for the purpose of mustering and taking descriptions of the prisoners on board after which has been done the men will be open for engagement on board through Mr Horsey. There are already applications for more than two hundred of them and it is not supposed that many of them will be long on board. These men will not - as a general rule - be allowed to engage in Brisbane or its neighbourhood. Particular cases may occur in which this regulation may be parted from as, for instance in the case of any individual who may not be able to maintain himself in the bush, and whose services may be pressingly required in the towns; but in general the rule will be adhered to.

The Aurora, ketch has been chartered on behalf of the government to supply the passengers with fresh provision, and to bring them up from the ship; and persons who go down to hire men will be provided with a passage there and back without charge either for themselves or the prisoners whom they may engage. Passports to visit the ship are to be obtained from the Police Magistrate. The pensioner guard on board the Bangalore consists of persons who intend to settle in the colony, under the provisions of the recently published regulations The women and children are the families of the pensioners and the cost of their passage is chargeable to the 30,000 pounds voted by Parliament for transportation purposes.

We hope that the prisoners themselves will properly consider their own circumstances and their prospects and endeavour to maintain the good character given of them by the Surgeon Superintendent.

Dispatches re the Arrival of the Bangalore at Moreton Bay

Copy of a Despatch from Governor Sir C.A. Fitzroy to Earl Grey
Government House, Sydney, July 5, 1850. (Received January 4, 1851.),

My Lord,
I have the honour to transmit the report of the Principal Superintendent of Convicts of the arrival at Moreton Bay, on the 1st of May, of the Bangalore, and of the distribution of the convicts sent out in that ship

2. Your Lordship will be gratified to observe that those men conducted themselves during the passage in a very orderly manner - not a single punishment having been inflicted while they were on board; and that, with the exception of only three, the whole of them had found immediate employment at liberal wages, either as labourers, domestic servants, or mechanics.

3. Your Lordship will also observe, that the officer of the convict department, who was sent to Moreton Bay to muster and superintend the disembarkation of these people, speaks in the highest terms of the assistance afforded him by the Surgeon-Superintendent and officers of the ship, to all of whom, and especially to Dr. Jones, great praise is due for the order and cleanliness that appeared to have been maintained throughout the voyage.

4. I take the liberty of adding the copy of a letter addressed to the Colonial Secretary of this Government by Captain Wickham, R.N., Police Magistrate of Moreton Bay, on the same subject, and on the report of Dr. Jones bearing testimony to the good conduct of the pensioners who were placed on board the Bangalore as a guard.

5. As this is the last convict vessel that is likely to be sent to any part of this colony, I further annex a Return which has been furnished me by the Principal Superintendent of Convicts, showing the number of convicts that have arrived in the colony during the last twelve months who have had their tickets of leave annulled for misconduct. It will be perceived that out of 1618 disembarked, only 40 have been subjected to this forfeiture, and of that number 10 only for offences of a grave character.

I feel convinced that your Lordship will peruse these documents with much interest. I have, etc Charles Fitzroy.

Report of the Principal Superintendent of Convicts respecting distribution of the convicts by the Bangalore

I HAVE the honour to report for the information of his Excellency the Governor, that having received information of the expected arrival at Moreton Bay of some convict ships direct from England, I considered it my duty, after a consultation with the Colonial Secretary, to send one of my senior clerks (with the police runner) to Brisbane, to muster and distribute such men as might arrive there ; and the following is the report made to me by that gentleman on his return :

'On the 1st ultimo, having heard of the arrival of the convict ship Bangalore at Moreton Bay, I procured the necessary documents from the police magistrate and proceeded on board, when I found that the vessel had originally embarked 297 convicts in England, under the superintendence of Dr. Jones, surgeon in the Royal Navy : four of that number had died on the passage out; six others, from ill health. were immediately landed and placed in the Brisbane Hospital (one since dead); and the prisoner named in the margin was re-landed in England, although his name was not struck out of the assignment list.

Dr. Jones, however, handed to me the order of the Admiral-Superintendent of the Portsmouth Dockyard to remove the man from the Bangalore to the Stirling Castle hulk, together with a written receipt for the man, given by the Deputy-Governor of the latter vessel.

'I inspected such portions of the ship as were occupied by the prisoners, which I found in all respects to be both clean and wholesome; the men themselves presented a very orderly and creditable appearance, fully bearing out the very excellent character given of them by the surgeon-superintendent, and with whose treatment during the voyage they expressed themselves perfectly contented. One remarkable fact is worthy of notice - that not a single punishment of any prisoner occurred since their embarkation.

'After the muster and personal description of the men were completed, persons were permitted to visit the ship, but only under a written order from the police magistrate, and in eight days from that period the whole number was engaged, with the exception of three, who, by the concurrence of Captain Wickham, were landed at Brisbane and received into barracks; two of these men are clerks and the other a Jew, and were expected to be specially applied for.

'The wages obtained by the labouring portion of the men ranged from £13 to £16 a-year, and to mechanics and domestic servants was given from £18 to £30 per annum, in each case with the usual rations. The readiness with which these men were applied for, and from various sources of information derived in the district, it is evident that there is still a great demand for this description of labour in the surrounding districts of Moreton Bay, and I am fully persuaded that had another vessel arrived with the Bangalore, having on board the same number of men, they would have been eagerly sought for, and speedily disposed of. I may perhaps be permitted to remark in support of my opinion, that one agent alone at Brisbane had instructions from various persons to obtain 150 men, but of course was not successful in hiring so large a proportion from one vessel.

'In conclusion, I consider it my duty to make you aware of the obligation I am under to the police magistrate at Moreton Bay, to the surgeon-superintendent of the Bangalore, as well as to the master and officers of that vessel, for their kind co-operation with me on all occasions in carrying out the public duty with which I had the honour to be intrusted.'

2. To this it is only necessary for me to add my testimony of the energy, zeal, and ability displayed by Mr. Horsey in the performance of the duties intrusted to him on this occasion (Signed) J. McLean, Principal Superintendent

Notes and Links

1). Vessels bringing Exiles included the Havering, Hashemy, Eden, Adelaide, Mount Stewart Elphinstone, Bangalore and Randolph


[1] Moreton Bay Courier 4 May 1850

[2] UK Royal Navy Medical Journals, 1817 - 1857. Medical Journal of William Hutchinson Bulkeley Jones on the voyage of the Bangalore in 1850. National Archives, Kew