The Jane was a teak built, coppered and copper fastened vessel. She was the next convict ship to leave Ireland for New South Wales after the departure of the Palambam in March 1831.
Prisoners to be embarked on the Jane came from counties throughout Ireland. The Connaught Telegraph reported in January 1831 that nine convicts confined in the Roscommon prison under rule of transportation, left on their route to the Surprize Hulk moored in the Cove off Cork under an escort of the 66th Reserve. They joined other transportation prisoners being held on the Surprize (1) Samuel Hollingworth was the local Inspector of the Surprize in 1831.
On 21st April 1831, 128 male prisoners were embarked from the hulk. Among their number were rapists, murderers, thieves and deserters. Some were also convicted of rioting and abduction.
The Guard consisted of Captain George Mason, one subaltern, one sergeant, and 28 men of the 4th or Kings Own including Private Mills, Private R. Pavey, Private Carr and Private Matthews.
The Jane departed Cove harbour on 29 April 1831.
Cape of Good Hope
Five prisoners were embarked at the Cape of Good Hope on 12th September 1831 (Thomas Deans, Chris. Hoffinan, James Ward, George Smythe, James Cassidy).
Surgeon Oliver Sproule
Oliver Sproule was approximately fourty-four years of age on this voyage. He died at Brook Hill near Omagh on February 17 1869 aged 82 years.
Oliver Sproule kept a Medical Journal from 14 March to 14 November 1831. He reported that although the ship was over six months on the passage to New South Wales and was detained in the Tropics for seven weeks, the prisoners and crew remained generally healthy, all on board being free of contagious diseases.
The usual means were resorted to for keeping the prison sweet and clean and in damp weather as dry as possible which was on some occasions rather difficult there being no charcoal on board for the airing stoves owing to some mistake at Deptford. The prisoners were also kept clean and orderly and were all admitted on deck in fine weather during the greater part of the day so that when they were sent below in the evenings there was a complete renewal of air in the prison. Their beds were stowed away on deck every day and were invariably once a week opened out and shook in the open air. Scurvy however became very prevalent among the prisoners but not until we were nearly three months at sea. I am rather at a loss how to account for this disease particularly as it was altogether confined to the convicts; and many of those even who were of an active turn and made themselves useful on deck did not show the least symptom of it therefore I am inclined to think that want of exercise was a principal cause which could not be remedied on account of the smallness of the vessel. I had only one case of scurvy during a passage of four months on the Larkins and the prisoners appeared if anything more healthy on embarkation in the Jane than they did in that ship and both having embarked their prisoners at Cork too. I cannot account for it (scurvy) in any other way than this, particularly as the provisions appeared equally good in both ships unless that I found that the lemon juice was not so fresh as it was in the
Two prisoners died on the voyage, - John Coughlan from diarrhoea on 28 August and Michael Mooney from hepatitis on 16 September 1831. The illnesses/conditions the surgeon treated on the voyage included Syphilis, psora, catarrh, synocha, rheumatism, hepatitis, herpes, pneumonia, fracture, gastritis, scorbutus, diarrhoea, obstruction of the oesophagus and pleuritis.
The Jane arrived at Port Jackson on 5 November 1831. The prisoners were mustered on board on the 8th November by the Colonial Secretary Alexander Macleay. Convict indents reveal the name, age, religion, education, marital status, family, native place, offence, date and place of trial, sentence, former convictions, physical description and where and to whom assigned on arrival. Included also is occasional information about relatives already in the colony, deaths, pardons and colonial sentences. The youngest prisoners on board were Patrick McCarthy and Patrick Purcell who were only 13 years old.
The Sydney Herald reported that the male prisoners of the Jane were: - a very stout, robust, and healthy set of men; they will no doubt be found a valuable acquisition to those settlers who may be fortunate enough to obtain them, being mostly accustomed to agricultural pursuits.
The prisoners were landed on Monday 14th November and Oliver Sproule was congratulated on the healthy condition of the men: Notwithstanding the very great length of the voyage, it is but due to Dr. Sproule to say, that no cargo of a similar description was ever discharged in better order. The men were all in a clean and healthy condition, and will prove a great acquisition to the settlers. The number originally shipped was 133. Out of these 131 were put ashore in good health; two only being sent to the General Hospital. The Captain of the Jane and the officers of the guard, Captain Mason and Ensign Campbell of the 4th or King's Own, are also we understand, entitled to great praise for their cheerful co operation with the Surgeon Superintendent during an unusually tedious voyage. - Sydney Gazette
Section of 1843 map of Sydney by William Henry Wells
Departure of the Jane
Captain Baigrie was planning to leave Sydney for London with a cargo of the first Wool of the season in November 1831.
Notes and Links
1). Oliver Sproule was also employed as surgeon on the convict ships Borneo in 1828 (VDL), Larkins in 1829 and the Lady Nugent in 1835
3). City Limerick Quarter Sessions - The Recorder then proceeded to pass sentence on the following persons, who were engaged in rioting on the 25th June last - John Buckley, John Madden, Patrick Speerin (a pensioner), Honora Hamahan, Margaret Shannon, and Catherine Lynch to seven years transportation each. - Freeman's Journal 26 July 1830.
4). The journal of Captain Mason of the 4th (or King's Own) Regiment of Foot : his voyage to Australia, his service there and his return journey,1831-1835.