Free Settler or Felon
Convict and Colonial History

Convict Ship Prince Regent I (1) - 1820

Embarked: 160 men
Voyage: 3 1/2 months
Deaths: 0
Surgeon's Journal: yes
Previous vessel: Eliza arrived 21st January 1820
Next vessel: Castle Forbes arrived 27 January 1820
Captain William Anderson
Surgeon James Hunter R.N. Prisoners and passengers of the Prince Regent identified in the Hunter Valley

The Prince Regent was built at Shields in 1810. This was the first of three voyages transporting convicts to New South Wales, the others being in 1824 and 1827.

The Convicts

The prisoners of the Prince Regent were convicted in England and Scotland - Lancaster, Hertford, Warwick, Middlesex, London, Salop, Kent, Stafford, Nottingham, Leicester, Chester, Lincoln, Worcester, Huntingdon, Gloucester, York, Lancaster, Oxford, Derby, Essex, Northampton and Edinburgh and Chatham.

The youngest convict was Thomas Rooke from Essex who was only 14 years old. The oldest was Abraham Brierly who was 70 years of age. [6]

They were held on various hulks to await transportation. The men from Hertford were held on the Bellerephon hulk - Richard Riskin, Joseph Wooton, James Anthony, Abednago Munn, Thomas Smith, Edward Bearcroft, John Turner, James Ward and William Lines were all transferred from the Bellerephon to the Prince Regent on 1 October 1819.[8]

The Cambridge Chronicle and Journal in October 1819 reported the case of two brothers Judah and Joseph Solomons, who were convicted at the Maidstone Assizes of being accessory to burglary committed in Sheerness. They were also held on the Bellerophan hulk and transferred on 1 October 1819.......

'Their feelings were sensibly affected at leaving their native country, particularly Judah, who had long resided at Sheerness. On Thursday last, the ceremony of divorcement, according to the Jewish custom, took place at the Fountain Inn, Sheerness, between Joseph Solomons and his wife. It was performed by the High Priest and Chief Rabbi, who arrived for the purpose in a coach and four. The husband was permitted to come on shore, under an escort, and in irons; and, after the ceremony, he returned on board, to suffer that expatriation his guilt has brought upon him.' [7]


The Prince Regent departed Deal on 11th October 1819.

Surgeon James Hunter

James Hunter kept a Medical Journal from 1 September 1819 to 28 February 1820. His first case was that of James Hazel a convict boy who was suffering pyrexia and inflamed legs. His leg irons were both carefully removed and he soon began to recover under the surgeon's attention. Soon after it was found that many of the convicts were suffering with the same complaint and all the leg irons were removed and plain dressings were applied to the wounds. The next case William Brandford of the 48th regiment was also suffering from an ulcer of the left leg with the surgeon dressed with a bandage made from his own sheets, none being supplied on the vessel. During the voyage there were several accidents causing broken bones and one little girl was badly scalded. On 15th October the all the surgeon's skills were brought into use when a marlin spike fell from aloft and cut the nose and upper lip of seaman by the name of Wiseman, separating the nose and wounding the upper jaw. Two days later another seaman was injured in the hip by a heavy marlin spike falling on him also.

Three of the soldier's wives were mentioned in the surgeon's journal: Letty Stewart came on board in a very weak and debilitated state, having lately had a child. The surgeon gave her wine and preserved meats and she gradually recovered by November; Harriet Gordon had been in a bad state of health a long time and continued in a weakly state all the voyage necessitating the surgeon to supply her with medicine and occasional wine as well as a nutritious diet; and the wife of Thomas Hughes of the 48th regiment was delivered of a daughter on the morning of 14th December.

Much of the journal is taken up with illness and injuries of the crew and guard. Only a few of the convicts required the surgeon's attention for illness. Several of the old men he treated kindly and allotted extra provisions of preserved meat and wine. [4] Other than Abraham Brierly who was 70, other older prisoners included John Dumville 63; Robert Pettit 57; William Sanders 54; Thomas Watts 69. [6]

On the voyage Prince Regent spoke the Surry, Captain Raine on her return passage to England in 10° North 24° West on the 4th November 1820.

Port Jackson

The Prince Regent arrived in Port Jackson on Thursday 27th January 1820.

Military Guard

Governor Lachlan Macquarie recorded the arrival of the Prince Regent in his Journal - the Guard consisted of 31 Soldiers of the 48th Regiment commanded by Cornet M.C. Chambers of the 21st. Light Dragoons. The Convicts and Guard arrived in good Health - none of either having died on the Passage out. [9]

Convict ship bringing detachments of the 48th regiment included the Pilot, Caledonia, Dorothy, Larkins, Lady Castlereagh, Agamemnon, Minerva, Guildford, Isabella, Prince Regent, Lord Eldon, Ocean and Baring

Free Passengers

The Rev. George Middleton, Asst. Chaplain for the Colony, his Child and Servant, the wife and 3 children of Cornet Chambers, and a Chelsea Pensioner also came in the Prince Regent. [9]

The Sydney Gazette later reported that Mr. Duncan of the Navy was one of the passengers [2].


The prisoners were said to be in a fine state of health on landing and Dr. Hunter was congratulated for his care of those committed to his charge.[2] They were distributed to Parramatta and Liverpool districts for assignment on 8 February 1820[10]

Departure from the Colony

Those intending to depart on the Prince Regent in March included Chief Officer William Legar; 2nd Officer James Dunn; 3rd Officer John Phillpin; and purser Mr. James Duncan.

James Hunter

James Hunter was still in the colony when Philip Parker King was searching for a surgeon to join his third expedition on the Mermaid. James Hunter offered his services on the voyage and King was grateful for the presence of an experienced surgeon on the expedition......I accepted the proffered services of a young man who was strongly recommended by his Excellency the Governor, and he was on the point of joining me, when a surgeon of the navy, Mr. James Hunter, who had just arrived in charge of a convict ship, volunteered his services, which were gladly accepted, and he was immediately attached to the Mermaid's establishment. The accession of a surgeon to our small party relieved me of a greater weight of anxiety than I can describe; and, when it is considered that Mr. Hunter left an employment of a much more lucrative nature, to join an arduous service in a vessel whose only cabin was scarcely large enough to contain our mess-table, and which afforded neither comfort nor convenience of any description, I may be allowed here to acknowledge my thanks for the sacrifice he made. On 20th July at Port Bowen James Hunter and explorer Allan Cunningham spent the day ranging about the vicinity of the shore whilst Mr. Roe with a boats crew was employed in filling empty water casks from a gully at the back of the beach.[1]

More about James Hunter here

Notes and Links

1). James Hunter was also surgeon on the convict ships Minerva in 1818 and the Princess Royal in 1823.

2). Prisoners and passengers of the Prince Regent identified in the Hunter Valley

3). Return of Convicts of the Prince Regent assigned between 1st January 1832 and 31st March 1832 (Sydney Gazette 14 June 1832; 21 June 1832; 5 July 1832) -
Thomas Hartland Top sawyer assigned to William Dun at Patterson's Plains
Thomas Redfern Cotton manufacturer assigned to Martin Short at Sydney


[1] Narrative of a survey of the intertropical and western coasts of Australia ... By Philip Parker King

[2] The Sydney Gazette and New South Wales Advertiser (NSW : 1803 - 1842) Sat 29 Jan 1820 Page 3 SHIP NEWS

[3] Bateson, Charles, Library of Australian History (1983). The convict ships, 1787-1868 (Australian ed). Library of Australian History, Sydney : pp.342-343, 383

[4] UK, Royal Navy Medical Journals, 1817-1857. Medical Journal of James Hunter on the voyage of the Prince Regent. The National Archives. Kew, Richmond, Surrey.

[5] National Archives - Reference: ADM 101/61/1A Description: Medical and surgical journal of the ship Prince Regent for 1 September 1819 to 28 February 1820 by James Hunter, Surgeon Superintendent, during which time the said ship was employed in conveying convicts to New South Wales. The journal takes the form of case by case entries giving name and whether the patient is a convict, soldier or seaman. The age of the patient is not usually recorded and for some of the seamen only the surname is given.

[6] Convict Indents. State Archives NSW; Series: NRS 12188; Item: [4/4007]; Microfiche: 643

[7] Cambridge Chronicle and Journal, etc (Cambridge, England), Friday, October 29, 1819; pg. 1; Issue 2975. British Library Newspapers, Part V: 1746-1950.

[8] Home Office: Convict Prison Hulks: Registers and Letter Books; Class: HO9; Piece: 7 UK, Prison Hulk Registers and Letter Books, 1802-1849

[9] Lachlan and Elizabeth Macquarie Archive Online

[10] Colonial Secretary's Papers. Reel 6007; 4/3501 p.243