Free Settler or Felon
Convict and Colonial History

Convict Ship Albemarle - 1791

Embarked 282 men; 6 women
Voyage 200 days
Deaths 32
Surgeon's Journal - No
Tons: 530
Previous vessel: Queen arrived 26 September 1791
Next vessel: Britannia arrived 14 October 1791
Captain George Bowen
Follow the Female Convict Ship Trail
Prisoners and passengers of the Albemarle identified in the Hunter Valley

The Albemarle, constructed in France in 1776, was among the fleet of eleven convict ships that formed the Third Fleet, which arrived in Australia in 1791.

Third Fleet Ships

Mary Ann



Admiral Barrington





William and Ann


Departure Dates

Mary Ann departed England in February 1791 and the rest of the fleet departed in March 1791 and later met with the Queen from Cork at Madeira.
Active, Admiral Barrington, Albemarle, Britannia and Matilda departed from Portsmouth; their naval agent was Lieutenant Robert Parry Young. HMS Gorgon sailed from Portsmouth on 18th March 1791.

Atlantic, Salamander, and William and Ann departed from Plymouth; naval agent was Lieutenant Bowen.

Queen departed from Cork, Ireland; naval agent, Lieutenant Samuel Blow.


The Albemarle departed Portsmouth on 27th March 1791 in convoy.
Map of Portsmouth and the Motherbank

Military Guard

The New South Wales Corps formed the Guard on the vessels of the Third Fleet.


On the 9th April, the convicts attempted to seize the ship.
David Collins gave an account of the event stating that it was Captain George Bowen who shot William Syney in the shoulder: - The convicts of this ship made an attempt, in conjunction with some of the seamen, to seize the ship on the 9th April, soon after she left England; and they would in all probability have succeeded, but for the activity and resolution shown by the master George Bowen, who, hearing the alarm, had just time to arm himself with a loaded blunderbuss, which he discharged at one of the mutineers, William Syney (then in the act of aiming a blow with a cutlass at the man at the wheel) and lodged its contents in his shoulder.

His companions seeing what had befallen him, instantly ran below; but the master, his officers, and some of the seamen of the ship following them, soon secured the ring leaders, Owen Lyons and William Syney. A consultation was held with the naval agent, the ship's company and the military persons on board; the result of which was, the immediate execution of those two at the fore yard arm.

They had at this time parted company with the other transports (The Matilda, Active, Britannia and Admiral Barrington) and no other means seemed so likely to deter the convicts from any future attempt of the like nature. Two seamen who had assisted the convicts were put in irons and left at Madeira to be sent back to England. [2]

In Historical Records of New South Wales Vol.1 Part 2, p. 487, unsigned correspondence dated 24th April from Madeira gives an account of the mutiny. The correspondence was assumed to have been written by Lieut. Robert Parry Young .......

On the 9th instant, in latitude 44 30 north, longitude 15 20 west, a number of convicts were admitted upon deck early for the benefit of fresh air. In a favourite opportunity (when the principal part of the watch was aloft about the rigging) they made an attempt to take the ship from us, having previously prepared themselves overnight for that purpose. They began with knocking down the sentinels and taking their arms from them, which they easily effected, and were actually making their way aft to the cabin, the principal ringleader going to the helm with a cutlass in his hand he had just taken from one of the sentinels to cut down the helmsman and take possession of the wheel; but very fortunate for us all, I was upon deck at the time they began their insurrection, and immediately ran to the cabin for my blunderbuss, met and shot the ringleader in the right shoulder; feeling the smart of the wound, he down cutlass and run; the others seeing their principal hero flying, immediately followed his example, and flew to the prison room and forehold, and left me in possession of the deck. I then mustered all hands under arms, and sent a part below to search for those that had secreted themselves; found three of the principals; the first we got up instantly confessed the whole plot, and that the other two were the ringleaders and the original instigators of this horrid scene; upon this information, and one of them being the man I had wounded, it was unanimously thought proper for the future preservation of the ship and our lives, and to strike terror in the convicts, immediately to hang the two last at the fore-yard-arm; this had the desired effect upon the convicts on general, who immediately sent us a letter confessing all their horrid intentions, and of taking the ship to America.

We are now very peaceable and I am in hopes shall continue so during the remainder of the voyage. The Matilda parted company the first night we left Portsmouth, the Active and Britannia on the night of the 3rd, and the Admiral Barrington on the 7th in a hard gale of wind, so that we had no ship in company.

Lieut. Robert Parry Young

Later Governor Phillip commended Lieutenant Young for his handling of the situation......
Lieutenant Robert Parry Young, who came out as Naval Agent in the Albemarle, has, I presume, informed their Lordships of the convicts having mutinied on board that ship during the passage, and the necessity he was under, of executing two of the ringleaders. From the information I have obtained of that business, Lieutenant Young appears to have conducted himself with a great deal of propriety and in a very officer-like manner, I am, etc. A. Phillip.

Cape of Good Hope

The Albemarle was reported to be intending to sail from Simon's Bay about 30th May [3]

Port Jackson

They arrived in Port Jackson on 13 October 1791 however remained off the coast for several days, perhaps due to bad weather.


Two hundred and fifty male and six female convicts landed between 13th and 17th October. The soldiers landed 21st October and Stores and Provisions landed 26th October.
Arrival of the Albemarle in 1791[5]

Twenty three soldiers with one woman, one free woman a convict's wife and one child also arrived on the Albemarle.

Female Prisoners

Six women were embarked on the Albemarle. According to the convict indents they had all been tried at the Justice Hall, Old Bailey on 16th February 1791 [4]
Elizabeth Cave Tried at the Old Bailey 16th February 1791. Indicted for stealing, on the 1st of February , one man's cloth coat, value 7 s. one silk handkerchief, value 18 d. one linen handkerchief, value 6 d. one man's hat, value 4 s. and two shillings in monies , the property of Josiah Wheeler . Sentenced to 7 years transportation. Prisoner's defence....I am an unfortunate woman......

Bridget Cooney - Mary Gorman capitally convicted in December Sessions, received the King's Pardon on condition of being Transported to New South Wales for life.

Ann Griffin capitally convicted in December Sessions, received the King's Pardon on condition of being Transported to New South Wales for life

Elizabeth Ozeland - Age 42. Tried at the Old Bailey on 8 December 1790 and sentenced to death for burglary. Sarah Smith. Tried at the Old Bailey and Sentenced to 7 years transportation.

Departure from the Colony

The Albemarle departed Port Jackson for India on 3rd December 1791 and in 1793 was captured by a French privateer and taken to Morlaix.

Notes and Links

1). Robert Parry Young was accompanied on the voyage by his partner Elizabeth Middleton alias Young.

2). John Darke arrived on the Albemarle as a piper in the NSW Corps. He died in March 1799 and was buried in the Old Sydney Burial Ground

3). Charles Whalan (Sergeant). Came free per Albemarle, 1791; served in the 102nd, 73rd and 46th Regiments; Sergeant of the Governor's Body Guard of Light Horse; landholder at Prospect (CSI)

4). Some of the voyage of the Albemarle from Port Jackson to Bombay is revealed in a Narrative and successful result of a voyage in the South Seas ..., Volume 1 By Peter Dillon........

George Bowen, captain of the ship Albemarle, on her voyage from Bombay to London, was brought into Morlaix, being interrogated respecting what he knew of la Perouse, who sailed from France on a voyage round the world, made answer, that in December 1791 being on his return from Port Jackson to Bombay, he himself saw on the coast of New Georgia, in the eastern ocean, part of the wreck of M. de la Perouse's ship floating on the water, and that he imagines it to have belonged to a French-built ship. That he did not go ashore, but that the natives of the country came aboard his vessel. That he could not understand their language, but that he conceived from their signs some ships had visited those parts. That these people were acquainted with the use of several implements of iron, of which they were very desirous. That he, the deponent, had bartered several iron articles with these Indians for beads and bows. That, with regard to the character of these Indians, they appeared to him to be peaceable and better informed than the inhabitants of Otaheite, since they had a perfect knowledge of the implements of iron. That their canoes were made in a superior manner. That when the natives were on board his ship he did not yet know any thing of the wreck; but sailing along the coast, he perceived it about midnight, on the 30th of December 1791, by the light of a large fire which was burning on the land. That had it not been for this fire he should probably have run on the rocks of Cape Deception. The deponent further declares, that all along this part of the coast of New Georgia he observed a great number of cabins or huts. That these Indians were of a stout make and gentle disposition; whence he presumes that if M. de la Perouse, or any of his crew, were on the land, they are still living; and that he knows, of all the vessels which have navigated these seas, none but M. de Bougainville, the Alexander, the Friendship of London, M. de la Perouse, and the deponent, ever were at this place; consequently, he presumes, the wreck must have belonged to the ship of M. de la "Perouse, since the Alexander was sunk in the strait of Macassar, and the Friendship arrived safe in England. Being interrogated, whether he had seen any garments upon the natives of the country, denoting them to have had communication with Europeans, he answered that these Indians were naked, that the climate is very hot, and that he understood by their signs that they had seen ships before. That he saw in the possession of these Indians, fishing-nets, the threads of which were made of flax, and the meshes were of European workmanship. That he took a piece of one out of curiosity, from which it would be easy to judge that the materials and workmanship were European.

5). Convicts and passengers of Albemarle mentioned in Colonial Secretary's Papers ......

Thomas Abbott - dealer of Sydney; died 1812

Thomas Alexander, James Dawson, Joseph Bigg alias John Page, James Waterson and Thomas Parsons On list of convicts who have received absolute pardons [Jan 1814]

William Mayhew - Petition for Mitigation of sentence 1817

John Mitton - On list of persons to be issued with horned cattle from govt. herds 22 June 1816. Constable at Toongabbie

James Molee - On list of all grants and leases of land registered in the Colonial Secretary's Office

Robert Nash - miller - Sent to Norfolk Island; he was conditionally pardoned in February 1796, received a grant of land and in 1798 appointed master of carpenters; he received an absolute pardon in 1800 and was later appointed storekeeper and a superintendent; he was evacuated to the Derwent in 1808 where he became involved with milling.

Isaac Nelson - Memorial for confirmation of grant at Prospect Creek, George's River

William Parrott - Former overseer of shoemakers and member of Loyal Association at Parramatta. Petition for mitigation of sentence 14 February 1810

Asher Pollock - On list of prisoners to be sent to Newcastle per 'Estramina' 23 November 1814

John Reeves - On return of land cleared and other improvements made by settlers on Hunter's River and Patterson's River - 18 February 1823

Robert Smith - Employed by G M Woodhouse of Appin. Memorial 25 June 1820

George Snealer - Received Certificate of Freedom. To be struck off victualling list - 29 May 1813

Thomas Storer - Permittd to draw cattle from govt. herds - 12 September 1812

James Sutherland and John Taylor- On list of persons who came as convicts and who claimed they were free at the last General Muster, without supporting documentation 16 November 1816

Edward Tims - Of Airds

Thomas Warner - Unable to attend muster because employed on boat VDL - 1814

Charles Whalan - Came Free. Served in 102nd, 73rd and 46th regts.,


[1]. Historical Records of Australia, Vol.1, p225
[2]. An Account of the English Colony in NSW

[3]. The Times 11 October 1791

[4]. Convicts of the Albemarle - State Records of New South Wales

[5]. Hunter, John, Voyages to New South Wales in The Analytical Review By Thomas Christie

[6]. Historical Records of NSW, Vol. 1, part 2., p 489