Free Settler or Felon
Convict and Colonial History

Richard Allen R. N.,

Convict Ship Surgeon-Superintendent

Date of Seniority Royal Navy *16 July 1826

Richard Allen was employed as Surgeon-Superintendent on two convict ship voyages to Australia:

1). Parmelia - departed Sheerness 28 July 1832

2). James Laing - departed Dublin 16 February 1834

The James Laing arrived at Port Jackson on 29th June 1834.

Richard Allen died by his own hand on 29 June 1834 on board the vessel.

The Asiatic Journal reported that he shot himself while under temporary derangement of mind. He was 37 years of age. ' there had been much sickness among the convicts on the voyage. Excessive fatigue, and great anxiety for the sick, had occasioned an affection of the brain in Mr. Allen, which terminated fatally. He was greatly beloved by all who knew him, and was deeply deplored by his sorrowing widow and family' .

An inquest was held on board found that Mr. Allen had been for some time previous to the arrival of the vessel, in a very abstracted and despondent state and had shown evident symptoms of aberration of the mind. He had been unremittent in his attention to his duties, and the comforts of the prisoners committed to his charge during the voyage.

On the approach of the ship to the to the heads, he had some conversation with Captain Tomlin R.N., commanding the vessel about half past 3 am, on Sunday morning, after which he retired to his cabin, and had been there about an hour and a half, when the Captain was awoken in his cabin, which was next to that of the deceased, by the report of a pistol; he immediately arose, and found it proceeded from the cabin of deceased, whom he found quite dead, having applied a pistol to his head, the contents of which had deprived him of life. Verdict, destroyed himself by a pistol, shot while labouring under aberration of mind. [1]

In his Will, Richard Allen bequeathed to William Walker of Blackmoor farm at Worcester all his plate, linen, furniture, house and other goods to be held in trust for his wife Catherine Allen.[2]


[1] The Australian (Sydney, NSW : 1824 - 1848) Tue 1 Jul 1834 Page 2

[2] The National Archives; Kew, England; Prerogative Court of Canterbury and Related Probate Jurisdictions: Will Registers; Class: PROB 11; Piece: 1839