Free Settler or Felon
Convict and Colonial History

George Clayton R. N.,

Convict Ship Surgeon-Superintendent

Date of Seniority Royal Navy 1 July 1811

George Clayton was included in the Navy List of Medical Officers of 1814. He was employed as Surgeon-Superintendent on three convict ships to Australia.

Shipley 1817

He was employed as Surgeon Superintendent on the convict transport Shipley which departed England on 18 December 1817 and arrived in Sydney on 24 April 1817.

George Clayton kept a Medical Journal from 19 November 1816 to 3 May 1817 - George Clayton followed the methods directed by the Transport Board as regarding cleanliness of persons and places, ventilation and fumigation. So that the air could flow freely, he would allow nothing extra to be stowed or kept in the prison such as clothing or charts other than absolute necessities. He kept the prison dry and warm by the use of the stoves. This was George Clayton's first voyage as surgeon superintendent on a convict ship. He managed the convicts by a system of rewards for good behaviour and ordered only a few punishments - With respect to occurrences, not any of moment took place. The prisoners, after those from Portsmouth had been embarked were a little unruly from a notion spread by the Portsmouth convicts that no punishments were used on board the passage ships and consequently they might act with impunity. But by hindering the admittance of any spiritous or fermented liquors on board and the punishment of one of the most violent men, the turbulence soon subsided and they became manageable. In order to prevent excitement no more than a 1/4 of a pint of wine to each man was allowed in one day, and that only on two days in the week. Only five punishments took place and two of those were given to one man

He departed Sydney for Batavia on the Shipley on 28 May 1818.

The Globe 1819

George Clayton's next employment as surgeon superintendent was on the Globe which arrived in Sydney on 8 January 1819. He kept a Medical Journal from 28 August 1818 to 30 January 1819 - Punishments meted out during the voyage included 12 lashes to Abel Lancaster for riotous conduct and abusive conduct to a sentinel; Thomas Heys 12 lashes for abusive language to Lieut. O'Brien; James Robinson 12 lashes for attacking the sentinel; Benjamin Millington 42 lashes for obstructing a sentinel; and unusually to John Palfrey, a passenger on the voyage, who was handcuffed for exciting tumult in the convicts and guards. Mrs. Palfrey was treated by the surgeon for a headache!

He departed for Batavia on 5th March 1819 on the same vessel.

Competitor 1823

George Clayton's next appointment was his last voyage. He departed England on the convict ship Competitor on 18 March 1823 bound for Van Diemen's Land however died at sea on the 8th July three weeks before reaching his destination. Three prisoners also died on the voyage.

The Competitor arrived at Hobart on 3rd August 1823. Three prisoners who were sent to the hospital on arrival died soon afterwards.

George Clayton's personal effects were later auctioned in Sydney: they included a Bayley's Dictionary, folio; and upwards of 100 volumes of Latin, French, and English Works, principally medical; a case of surgical instruments; wearing apparel, bed, bedding etc.