Free Settler or Felon
Convict and Colonial History

Convict Ship Fanny - 1816

Embarked: 174 men
Voyage: 146 days
Deaths: 3
Surgeon's Journal: no
Tons: 432
Previous vessel: Baring arrived 7 September 1815
Next vessel: Mary Ann arrived 19 January 1816
Master John Wallis.
Surgeon William McDonald
Convicts and passengers of the Fanny identified in the Hunter Valley

The Fanny was built in the Thames in 1810. This was her only voyage bringing convicts to New South Wales.

Captain John Wallis was formerly Master of a slave ship taking negroes from Africa to the West Indies [1]. He was also Master of the Three Bees in 1814, the Isabella in 1822 and the Isabella in 1823.

Military Guard

A detachment of the 56th regiment formed the guard. Another detachment of the 56th regiment arrived on the Ocean in 1816

Justitia Hulk

Some prisoners were held on the Justitia Hulk at Woolwich prior to transportation. They included Michael Scaysbrook, James Donohoe, Thomas Williams, George Coates, George Beck, Harry Griffiths and Patrick Nowlan who were all received on to the hulk on 22 March 1815 and transferred to the Fanny on 7th August 1815.

John Henry Capper was Superintendent of Ships and Vessels employed for the confinement of prisoners.

Copy of a Letter from Sam. Watson, D. D. to J. H. Capper, Esq. -
Woolwich Royal Arsenal,
12th October 1815.
Dear Sir, I have this day received, through Captain Smith of the Justitia Hulk, your requisition for my Report of the behaviour of the Convicts during the last quarter, which I subjoin with all respect accordingly.

The convicts are in general perfectly orderly in time of divine service, and many of them appear devoutly attentive to the prayers and sermon, the impression of which I trust they carry with them, through the divine blessing, to their daily labour. Several, at their own request (after serious conference) were lately admitted to the Lord's Table, and I had good reason to think that our meeting together was for the better. The Society for promoting Christian Knowledge have occasionally listened to my applications, as a member, and have most liberally supplied me with bibles and tracts for the use of the convicts among themselves, and Psalters for public worship. These last are kept by me from Sunday to Sunday; but I have not hesitated to allow the bibles and tracts to be carried with their readers to New South Wales, well knowing that the Society, whose charity never faileth, would readily supply the deficiency. I have, with the concurrence of Captain Smith (who is alive to every thing that can be really beneficial to the prisoners in his charge) provided elementary books, according to the regulations of the National Society, and established a school in the Justitia, for teaching such as are disposed to read and write. Much pleasure it has given us both to see some, even advanced in age, profit beyond expectation, insomuch that I am confident a supply of common paper and pens would be most usefully employed in the ship, without adding anything to the expense of the establishment, while for what I have hitherto furnished, I am abundantly repaid by the result of the experiment, for the success of which I own myself indebted to the Captains judicious selection of a very steady convict as teacher, grateful  in the discharge of his duty, whose services would be desirable for the remainder of the seven years sentence, but who for that very reason has the best claim to favourable notice on the plea of mercy.

Everybody seems well satisfied with your division of the decks into several compartments; an arrangement calculated to facilitate, what appears to me the grand objects, classification and occupation, while it shuns the two extremes of gregarious assemblage on the one hand, tending to obstruct reformation; and on the other hand, the odious thought of solitary or coupled depravity, which go directly to dehumanize, if not to brutalize, the mind. I have the honour to be, dear Sir, Your faithful humble Servant, (Signed) SAM. WATSON, D. D. Chaplain

Retribution Hulk

The following men were received on to the Retribution hulk moored at Woolwich and transferred to the Fanny on 17th August 1815 - John Steward, George Claris Edward Aldridge Thomas Murphy John Bones, William Rowland, Owen Sullivan, John Thompson, Charles Sprott, John Curr, James Hawkins, Francis Robertson, Robert Smith, George Patterson, John Williams, Richard Williams, Edward Williams, Peter Frank, George Gerrard, James Lowe, James Waters, Joseph Potts, Daniel Cooper, Manuel De Silva, Oscar Davies, Thomas Evans, John Taylor, James Walker, alias Driver and Nathaniel Ewer.

Departure from England

The Fanny was reported to be still at the Downs on 22nd August 1815 [2]. She departed there 25 August 1815 with 174 prisoners and called at Rio on 21st October - 30th October 1815.

Port Jackson

The Fanny and arrived in Port Jackson on 18 January 1816.

The Fanny brought the news to the colonies of 'some brilliant and important victories by the armies under the Command of the Duke of Wellington, in Conjunction with those of the allies, the King of Prussia, commanded by Prince Blucher, terminating in the total Defeat of Bonaparte'. Bonaparte had been sent to St. Helena under a strong guard where he was to remain under the special care of a British Regiment commanded by General Sir Hudson Lowe. A list of killed and wounded officers was included in the Sydney Gazette of the 20th January 1816. Included on the list of severely wounded men was Captain Henry Dumaresq, Aide de Camp to General Sir J. Byng.

Goods imported on the Fanny included best Brazil tobacco, fine old port, Jamaica rum, Hollands' gin, gentlemen's hats, pine cheese, Gloucester hams, canvas, seaming twine, sail needles, clothing, ale, Stockholm tar, mould candles and men's shoes.

Convicts Disembarked

The prisoners were landed on Thursday 25th January with those of the Mary Ann; after being Inspected by Governor Macquarie, they were appointed to the various occupations they appeared best adapted to.

Departure from the Colony

The Fanny departed Port Jackson bound for Batavia on 30th March 1817.

Notes and Links

1). Among the 171 male prisoners who arrived in Port Jackson on the Fanny was surgeon Thomas Parmeter

2). Trials at Edinburgh - Felix O'Hara and Felix O'Neil were put to the bar. The Jury having, by a plurality of voices, found the pannels guilty the Solicitor General craved the judgment of the Court upon them. Their Lordships delivered their opinions at length, expatiating upon the heinousness of the crime committed by the pannels; the dastardly and cowardly attack made by them upon Collector Noble, and were unanimously of opinion that the great extent to which the crime of smuggling had arisen in that part of Scotland ( it having been proved in the course of the trial, that regular bands went about in the face of open day, carrying on that illegal traffic), called for an exemplary punishment; and that the more so as in this case a most abominable attempt had been made by the pannels by bringing forward their accomplices in guilt to commit perjury, by swearing that they were in another part of this country when the crime was committed of which they had, however, fortunately been convicted. The Lord Justice Clerk after a suitable and most impressive address to the pannels sentenced them to transportation for seven years, with the usual certification. The pannels, who are bot young men, wept bitterly when sentence was pronounced; and upon removing them from the bar, both declared their innocence. - Freemen's Journal 22 July 1814

3). On the night of the 12th September 1816 ten prisoners of the Guildford together with two men from the Fanny, Felix O'Neil and Manuel De Sylva, and another from the Baring made a desperate bid to escape from the Colony. They seized Simeon Lords brig Trial, Master William Burnett, which was at anchor near the Sow and Pigs in Watson's Bay and sailed out of the harbour.

4). William McDonald was also surgeon on the convict ship Larkins in 1817

5). Captain (Robert William Felton) Lathrop Murray, whose trial and conviction for bigamy at the Old Bailey, London in January last after various ineffectual efforts for a mitigation of his sentence sailed for Portsmouth in the last convict transport for Botany Bay. (Belfast Newsletter 27 October 1815) More about Robert Lathrop Murray at Australian Dictionary of Biography Online

6). Edward Whitehouse, brassfounder, came free on the Fanny

7). Convicts and passengers of the Fanny identified in the Hunter Valley

8). Nine convict ships arrived in New South Wales in 1816 - Mariner, Fanny, Mary Anne, Ocean, Alexander, Guildford, Atlas, Elizabeth and Surry. Approximately 1,415 prisoners arrived in NSW in 1816.


[1] State Records Authority of New South Wales, Kingswood. Main series of letters received, 1788-1825. Series 897, Reel 6044; 4/1730 pp.101-43

[2] The Morning Post (London, England), Thursday, August 24, 1815; Issue 13913. 19th Century British Library Newspapers: Part II.