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Convict Ship Countess of Harcourt


First Name

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Embarked 184 men
Voyage 128 days
Deaths 0
Surgeons Journal - Yes
Previous vessel: Bussorah Merchant arrived 25 July 1828
Next vessel: Competitor arrived 10 October 1828
Captain William Harrison
Surgeon Superintendent John Drummond

The Countess of Harcourt departed London on 3rd May 1828. Convicts were transported to Van Diemens Land on the Countess of Harcourt in 1821 and to New South Wales in 1822 1824, 1827 and 1828.

The convicts on this voyage mostly came from counties in England and Scotland and many of them had been transported for crimes such as pick pocketing, stealing, embezzlement, house breaking and highway robbery.

Surgeon John Drummond

John Drummond kept a Medical Journal from 29th March to 22 September 1828. Shortly after embarkation many of the prisoners became affected with slight bowel complains and catarrh.

The surgeon attributed these complaints to the change in diet and clothing. Illness was increased by the extremely cold and damp weather that took place during the first two weeks after leaving Port. As they advanced further southwards cases of fevers and dysentery began to arise.

St. Jago

They called at St. Jago and departed there 5th June 1828.

Ship Conditions on the Voyage

During the latter part of the voyage the weather remained cold and damp with frequent gales. The men suffered much from the continual wet state of the prisons and sleeping berths. Owing to the faulty state of the ships decks, the prisons were often completely flooded. John Drummond made every attempt at cleanliness, scraping the decks each day and encouraging the men to keep themselves and their clothing clean. Any indulgence possible was granted to them which the safety and duty of the ship could allow.

Schools were established and attended and with much good effort John Drummond had the satisfaction of landing all the convicts at Port Jackson, none having died on the voyage.

Port Jackson

The Countess of Harcourt arrived in Port Jackson on Monday evening, 8th September 1828, a voyage of 128 days. On making the harbour she collided in Neutral Bay with the Bussorah Merchant carrying away the latters jib boom.

Convict Muster

A muster was held on board by the Colonial Secretary Alexander McLeay on 12th September. 183 men were mustered, one man having been re-landed in England and one sent to the hospital at Sydney on arrival. The indents reveal name, age, education, religion, marital status, family, native place, trade, offence, date and place of trial, former convictions, physical descriptions and where and to whom the prisoners were assigned on arrival. There are also occasional notes re tickets of leave, colonial sentences and dates of death.

The youngest prisoners were sixteen years of age and there were quite a few 17 year olds as well.

Military Guard

The Guard consisted of the first detachment of the 63rd regiment under command of Lieutenant Christopher Dexter. Mrs. Dexter came as cabin passenger. Select here to find convict ships bringing detachments of the 63rd regiment.

Lieutenant Dexter was later stationed in Van Diemens Land in command of the Westbury Garrison. He died in Madras after only one hours illness in 1834.

Convicts Disembarked

The prisoners were landed on Monday 22nd September. The Australian reported that the prisoners of the Bussorah Merchant and the Countess of Harcourt were distributed amongst persons in town and up country who had found it convenient to make requisition for the mens services. Several of the men were assigned to the Australian Agricultural Company.


The Countess of Harcourt was re-fitted with a new main mast at Fowlers yard in Cockle Bay before departing the colony for Singapore.

Notes and Links

1). Convict David Morris was employed as scourger at Bathurst prior to 1831.

2). Hunter Valley convicts / passengers arriving on the Countess of Harcourt in 1828

3).Seventeen convict ships arrived in New South Wales in 1828 - Florentia, Elizabeth, Marquis of Huntley, Hooghly, Morley, Asia, Mangles, Borodino, Phoenix,
Bussorah Merchant, Countess of Harcourt, Competitor, Marquis of Hastings, Albion, City of Edinburgh, Eliza, Royal George

4). Return of Convicts of the Countess of Harcourt assigned between 1st January 1832 and 31st March 1832 (Sydney Gazette 14 June 1832; 21 June 1832; 28 June 1832; July 1832).....

Thomas Bailton (?Bolton)Sweep assigned to Cooper and Levy at Liverpool
John Gregory - Farm servant assigned to Cooper and Levey in Sydney
John Jones - Slater. Assigned to William ODonnell at Maitland
Philip Lee - Blacksmiths boy assigned to William Somerfield at Sydney
John McPherson - Smith. Assigned to Thomas Hore at OConnell Plains
William Robinson - Farmers boy assigned to Robert Uther in Sydney

5). John Drummond was also surgeon on the convict ship Prince Regent in 1830 (to Tasmania)

6). Convict ships bringing detachments of the 63rd regiment -

Albion departed Sheerness 1 June 1828 - Lieutenant M. Vickery

Eliza departed London 29 June 1828 - Major Sholto Douglas

Marquis of Hastings departed 30 June 1828 - Ensign Stulbmer

Royal George departed Spithead 26 August 1828 - Captain J. Briggs

Vittora departed Devonport1 September 1828 - Lieutenant Aubyn

Governor Ready departed Cork 21 September 1828 - Lieutenant J. Gibbons Lane

Ferguson departed Dublin 16 November 1828 - Captain DArcy Wentworth

Mellish departed Falmouth 2 January 1829 - Captain Baylee

Lord Melville departed London 5 January 1829 - Lieut-Col. Burke

Waterloo departed London 14 March 1829 - Lieutenant T. Grove

America departed Woolwich 8 April 1829 - Adjutant T. Montgomery

Norfolk departed Spithead 22 May 1829 - Ensign W.J. Darling

Guildford departed Dublin 12 July 1829; - Lieut McLean 89th

Larkins departed Cork 16 August 1829 - Captain Mahon

Claudine departed London 24 August 1829 - Captain Paterson

Sarah departed London 29 August 1829 - Lieutenant Croly

Dunvegan Castle departed 30 September 1829 - Lieutenant John Gray

Katherine Stewart Forbes departed Spithead 14 October 1829 - Major Fairtclough

7). National Archives - Reference: ADM 101/18/5 Description: Medical journal of the Countess of Harcourt, convict ship, for 29 March to 22 September 1828 by [John] Drummond, Surgeon and Superintendent, during which time the sad ship was employed in conveying convicts to New South Wales.


[1] UK, Royal Navy Medical Journals, 1817-1857 Operations. Original data: Admiralty and predecessors: Office of the Director General of the Medical Department of the Navy and predecessors: Medical Journals (ADM 101, 804 bundles and volumes). Records of Medical and Prisoner of War Departments. Records of the Admiralty, Naval Forces, Royal Marines, Coastguard, and related bodies. The National Archives. Kew, Richmond, Surrey.

[2] Bateson, Charles Library of Australian History (1983). The convict ships, 1787-1868 (Australian ed). Library of Australian History, Sydney : pp.348-349, 386

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