Free Settler or Felon
Convict and Colonial History

William Bland R. N.,

Convict Ship Surgeon-Superintendent

William Bland was appointed Surgeon to the Firebrand in January 1834. [1] He was appointed to H.M.S. Wolf in May 1834. He produced Notes on the Malay Woodpecker and Poisonous serpents and remedies after serving on H.M.S. Wolf.

Mary Ann 1839

William Bland was employed as Surgeon-Superintendent on the convict ship Mary Ann to New South Wales in 1839. He kept a medical journal from 4 June 1839 to 18th November 1839.

The Journal was an unusually detailed account of the women's daily routine

At 6 o'clock in the morning let up the two cooks and mess women out of the prison and generally speaking as many of the prisoners as choose to avail themselves of the liberty granted them. About 1/2 past seven, the main prison door was opened and all came on deck with their beds and blankets neatly rolled up and tied to keep them so and stowed away in the nettings. After which they wash and clean their persons and at 8 o'clock all breakfast on deck.

Two well behaved hard working women were appointed as Matrons, one over the fore and the other over the after prison, and under their direction, one woman by turns out of each mess began at 9 o'clock to clean out the prisons fore and aft, in and beneath the sleeping berths and the water closets, in the dry and hot weather we used sand and water, with pieces of old blankets to scour the decks and all the wood work such as tables benches etc.

The Nurse having had the Hospital cleaned out generally before this time, when the morning visit was made and the wants of the sick attended to in wet or damp weather, the decks and other parts were dry rubbed only, and all other means taken to preserve from damp below. About tea, all, except the sick were sent upon deck, the prison doors were locked, in order to their being well aired and dried, windsails being down the hatchways and to keep them clean. In the meantime the children and adult school assembled on deck while the others were employing themselves with patchwork and knitting, until twelve when all went to dinner, soon after which time juice was served out to every one, calling them by number and drinking it at the tub in presence of the steward. Those neglecting to drink it had no wine afterwards.

William Bland was on the List of Surgeons of the Royal Navy who were fit for service in 1841.

Garland Grove 1842

On the voyage of the Garland Grove to Van Diemen's Land in 1842 he kept a Medical Journal between 17 August 1842 and 21 February 1843. He remarked that 'The routine of the economy and discipline carried on in this ship was the same as practised on board the Mary Ann convict ship detailed in my Journal of that ship in the year 1839'.


[1] Hampshire Advertiser 11 January 1834