Free Settler or Felon 

Convict Ship Clyde


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Embarked 216 men
Voyage 122 days
Deaths 1
Surgeon's Journal - Yes
Previous vessel: John Renwick arrived 27 August 1838
Next vessel Earl Grey arrived 21 November 1838
Master John Matches
Surgeon Superintendent John Smith
Follow the Irish Convict Ship Trail
Prisoners and passengers of the Clyde identified in the Hunter Valley region

The Clyde was built at Greenock in 1819.[1] Convicts were transported to Australia on the Clyde in 1830 (VDL), 1832 (NSW) and 1838 (NSW).

The Convicts

Crimes committed by the convicts of the Clyde included various forms of stealing, assault, picking pockets, manslaughter, highway robbery, house robbery, stealing sheep, coining, perjury, arson, rape, arson, forgery and sacrilege; there were also twenty men who had been Court-martialled at the Cape of Good Hope. Five men were convicted of whiteboy crimes in Ireland....

David Burke for stealing firearms
John Lynn for administering unlawful oaths
John Molloy for stealing firearms and manslaughter
Patrick Ryan having stolen firearms in his possession
Owen Smith for riot and assault.

The youngest prisoners were Charles Bankes, errand boy age 14; George Hurley, errand boy age 14; and George McFaddyn, errand boy aged 13.

Cabin Passengers

Cabin passengers included Lieutenant Islam of the 51st regiment and Lieutenant Mortimer/Morton 21st regiment and Mr. Churton. Steerage passengers included 3 free settlers from Ireland

Military Guard

The military guard consisted of 29 rank and file of the 21st, 50th, 51st and 80th regiments.


The Clyde departed Dublin 11 May 1838 with 216 prisoners.

Surgeon John Smith

John Smith kept a Medical Journal from 24th April to 15 September 1838. He reported that the convicts were mostly young and healthy. Health during the voyage was good and there were no cases of any great importance. Changes of temperature produced diarrhoea and catarrh but they were mild and of short duration. There was one birth, retention of the placenta requiring manual assistance and there had been convulsions and delirium but recovery was speedy and perfect.

Cape of Good Hope

Scurvy began to appear in the less healthy as they approached the Cape of Good Hope and they called at Simon's Town on the 21 July and took on an additional 20 convicts, all military men in good health; and fresh provisions, including live sheep. [2]

They stayed 7 days at the Cape and the health and spirits of the people were greatly improved. They were given a considerable quantity of potatoes and the surgeon was convinced that 'this liberality of the Government contributed greatly to our good health'. No cocoa was issued but the allowance of oatmeal was sufficient. They departed the Cape on 28th July 1838. [2]


The men were well-behaved and were encouraged to dance and march around to the music of the flute. The decks were seldom wetted and afterwards were always dried by stove and windsails. Chloride of lime was freely used and every means taken to keep the decks clean and dry. They made King's Island on 1st September and spoke the Camden brig in the Straits, bound to Sydney. [2]

Port Jackson

By the time the Clyde arrived in Port Jackson on 10 September 1838, the men's clothing was in very bad condition and the surgeon remarked that 'the people were all in tatters'. [2]

There had been no deaths on the voyage out, however James Durkan from Co. Mayo died in Sydney General hospital on 19 October 1838.

Departure from the Colony

The Clyde departed Sydney bound for Java on 9th October 1838.

Notes and Links

1). John Smith was employed as Surgeon Superintendent on convict ships Marquis of Huntley in 1828 Surry in 1834 and Moffattin 1836

2). Prisoners and passengers of the Clyde identified in the Hunter Valley region

3). Political Prisoners

4). Soldiers court-martialed at the Cape:

Patrick Bartley from Co. Tipperary, soldier, labourer and stone cutter. Cape Castle Court Martial for desertion 27 July 1837

John Beveridge, soldier and in door servant from Fifeshire Scotland. Graham's Town Court Martial 20 November 1837 for desertion and theft

Robert Campbell from Inverness. Soldier and shoemaker. Graham's Town Court Martial 28 October 1837 for desertion and theft.

James Clarke from Co. Armagh, soldier and labourer. Graham's Town Court Marital 31 October 1836 for mutiny

Robert Cunningham from Co. Sussex, labourer and soldier. Cape Castle Court Martial 13 January 1837 for mutiny

James Curless from Co. Tyrone, soldier and butcher. Cape Castle Court Martial 18 May 1837 for mutiny

John Dunn from Co. Louth, soldier and labouer. Cape Castle Court Martial 16 November 1836 for mutiny

John Fahey from Co. Galway, soldier and labourer. Graham's Town Court Martial 27 July 1837 for desertion

Patrick Gaynor from Co. Tipperary, soldier and labourer. Graham's Town Court Martial 18 November 1837 for mutiny

James Hughes from Co. Tipperary, labourer and soldier. Graham's Town Court Martial 10 June 1837 for desertion

Kyron Larkin from King's County, soldier and groom. Graham's Town Court Martial 1 May 1838 for drunkenness and firing at serjeant

Thomas McCulgan from Co. Fermanagh, soldier and labourer. Cape Castle Court Martial 16 November 1836 for mutiny

Daniel McFee from Edinburgh, soldier and labourer. Graham's Town Court Martial 28 October 1837 for desertion

George McLeod from Sutherland, soldier and tailor. Graham's Town court marital 16 October 1837 for desertion

Timothy Mars from Co. Tipperary, soldier and labourer. Cape Castle Court Martial 12 April 1837 for mutiny

Richard Matthews from Leicestershire, soldier and wool comber. Cape Castle Court Martial 26 December 1836 for mutiny

Malachai Ryan from Co. Tipperary, soldier and labourer. Cape Castle Court Martial 12 April 1837 for mutiny

Thomas Sutton from Middlesex, soldier and brickmaker. Grahams Town Court Martial for desertion

Ninian Turner from Edinburgh, soldier and rope maker. Grahams Town Court Martial 12 December 1837

George Wallace from Fifeshire, house carpenter and soldier. Graham's Town Court Martial for desertion


[1] Bateson, Charles Library of Australian History (1983). The convict ships, 1787-1868 (Australian ed). Library of Australian History, Sydney : pp.346-347

[2] UK, Royal Navy Medical Journals, 1817-1857. Medical Journal of John Smith on the voyage of the Clyde in 1838.The National Archives. Kew, Richmond, Surrey.

[3] National Archives - Reference: ADM 101/17/7/4. Transcript of the Surgeon's Journal of the voyage of the Clyde in 1838

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