Free Settler or Felon
Convict and Colonial History

Convict Ship Guildford - 1816

Embarked 228 men
Surgeon's Journal: no
Previous vessel: Alexander arrived 4 April 1816
Next vessel: Atlas arrived 22 July 1816
Captain Magnus Johnson
Surgeon Superintendent Alexander Taylor
Pirates Seize the Trial in 1816
Follow the Irish Convict Ship Trail
Prisoners and passengers of the Guildford identified in the Hunter Valley

The Guildford was built on the River Thames in 1810.[5]She made eight voyages to Australia with convicts - 1812, 1816, 1818, 1820, 1822, 1824, 1827 and 1829.

The Convicts

Convicts transported on the Guildford came from counties throughout Ireland.

In October 1815 a Special Sessions under the Insurrection Act was adjourned from the County Court House at Limerick to Rathkeale at which place the following men were tried before Serjeant Johnson, Assistant Barrister Lloyd and a full Bench of justices -

Patrick O'Donnell, of Pallis Kenry for being absent from his father's house, on the night of the 8th instant.....Callaghan Riordan of Rathkeale and Maurice Roche of Callow, for being found drinking in a public house in Rathkeale about two o'clock on Monday morning.

After a most patient trial they were all convicted as idle and disorderly persons and under the Statute were immediately sentenced to be transported for seven years to Botany Bay for which placed they will be embarked on Friday. The License of the Spirit Retailer at whose house Riordan and Callaghan were drinking was very properly withdrawn by the Bench of Justices. Four other men are to be tried at Rathkeale this day under the Insurrection Act. Jeffrey Browning Esq a Magistrate of this co. apprehended Michael Kinnane near Croom at an unseasonable hour on Wednesday night - he was yesterday lodged in jail under an escort of the 74th. The 45th 600 strong, have marched to Clonmel
. [2]

Clonmel Oct 7., On the 5th instant a Special Sessions of the Peace under the provision of the insurrection act was held here, Mr. Prime Sergeant Moore presiding; 18 or 20 Magistrates were present....Edmond Ryan, Pat. Dwyer and William Bryan were charged with having arms ammunition etc in their custody contrary to law. It appeared in evidence, that Mr. Palliser a magistrate had gone early on Sunday morning to the house where prisoners were found, attended by a serjeant and 12 men of the Meath militia. Mr. P demanded admittance and after some hesitation the door was opened; the party proceeded to search the house after having been assured by each of the persons that there were no arms therein, when a carbine, three musket locks, some powder, balls, etc were found concealed; two of the prisoners, though in bed were found party dressed. The Magistrates retired for hal an hour and returned into Court with a sentence of transportation against the prisoners; who were immediately conveyed to a car at the Court house door, and driven off under a strong escort on their way to Cork, where they are to be shipped for Botany Bay. [3]

The London Times reported in November 1815 .....On Friday evening, three Dublin convicts, by the names of Falkiner, Hopkins, and Holster who were obliged to be brought up from the Botany Bay ship, in order to make room for the persons sentenced to transportation, under the Insurrection Act, at Clonmel and Limerick, attempted to make their escape out of the north Jail, through the sewer; the three had descended, and were in this situation when they were discovered by the vigilance of Mr. Welsh who had them property secured. [1]

The abovementioned men were all transported to New South Wales on the Guildford.

Surgeon Superintendent

Alexander Taylor was also Surgeon Superintendent on the convict ship Prince Regent in 1821.

Free Passengers

Free Passengers included Charles Frazer, private of 46th regiment and colonial botanist. Charles Frazer later accompanied John Oxley on his expeditions in 1817, 1818 and 1819. On 4th July 1828 he accompanied Allan Cunningham and Captain Patrick Logan on an Expedition to Breakfast Creek at Brisbane.

Military Guard

A detachment of 34 men of the 46th regiment under orders of Ensign Vicars of H.M. 56th regiment arrived on the Guildford as guard. The Headquarters of the 46th regiment commanded by Lieut-Col George James Molle arrived on the Windham and other detachments arrived on the Marquis of Wellington, Lord Eldon, Fame, Recovery, Elizabeth, Larkins, Three Bees, General Hewitt, Guildford, Surry, Surry, Shipley, Sir William Bensley, Morley and Bencoolen

The Voyage

Three prisoners died on the passage out -
Foder Perrin on 5th January 1816;
Michael Wheelan on 14th January 1816 and
William Nolan on 23rd February 1816. [6]


The Guildford arrived in Sydney Cove on Tuesday 8th April 1816, the prisoners all in good health [4].

Prisoners Disembarked

William Hutchinson was the Principal Superintendent of Convicts in New South Wale. The convict indents include information such as name, when and where convicted, term of sentence, native place, occupation, age, physical description and occasional details of tickets of leave or pardons. The men were disembarked on 15th April 1816 and forwarded to Parramatta, Windsor and Liverpool......

Mark Maher was privately assigned to Mr. Charter, overseer of government stock at Parramatta;

William Gilmour and Daniel Tierney were assigned to the government garden at Parramatta. Another forty men were assigned to the Parramatta district.

Richard Clarke was privately assigned to Richard Johnstone at Portland Head and another sixty men were assigned to the Windsor district.

James Connor and George Dignum were privately assigned to Mr. Hume. John McDaniels was privately assigned to Mr. Bunker;

Patrick and James Ledwick were privately assigned to Mr. Throsby and another 15 men were assigned to the Liverpool district.

Departure from the Colony

The Guildford sailed for Batavia in June 1816.

Notes and Links

1). Political Prisoners

2). Philip Perry of the 34th regiment arrived free on the Guildford however in October 1816 he was found guilty of stealing public stores and sent to Newcastle penal settlement.

3). Convict Nicholas Connolly accompanied John Howe on his expedition of discovery in 1819 and 1820.

4). 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.

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

They headed north and by daybreak were out of sight. Passengers on the Trial may have included Sergeant and Mrs. Annandale, William Briskland, William Probert, John Suibson, William Morgan, and two Otaheitans Touboui and Dick as well another woman. None of the passengers had been allowed to return to land. Governor Macquarie was informed at midday on the 13th and that evening about 5 o'clock the armed colonial brig Rosetta with a detachment of soldiers of the 46th regiment was sent in pursuit of the fugitive prisoners. The Rosetta returned to port a fortnight later without having found them. Their descriptions were soon posted in the Sydney Gazette

Francis Harrison per Guildford, a convict from the County Gaol, Dublin, tried December 1814 and sentenced to 7 years transportation. Age 30; occupation stonemason. 5ft 8 3/4in, dark brown hair, black eyes, dark ruddy complexion. Had been employed in the Stonemason's Gang, Sydney

Hugh Ward per Guildford, tried at the County Gaol of Dublin in July 1815 and sentenced to 14 years transportation . Age 23. Occupation brass founder. 5ft 8 in, Brown eyes, sandy brown hair, florid complexion. Is reported as a useful man on board a ship. Employed as a brass founder in the dock yard, Sydney.

Patrick Doyle per Guildford, Tried at Kildare in April 1815 and sentenced to transportation for life. Age 23. Occupation horse shoer. 5ft 6in, grey eyes, sandy hair, fair pale complexion. Employed in the lumber yard, Sydney

Thomas Dalton per Guildford. Tried in County Westmeath in August 1815 and sentenced to transportation for life. Age 35. Occupation groom and servant. 5ft 7 in, hazel eyes, sandy hair, fair ruddy complexion. Assigned as Government Servant to Mr. T. Rose Sydney.

James McMahon per Guildford. Tried at Trim in July 1815 and sentenced to 14 years transportation. Age 25. Occupation Labourer. Native of Kildare. 5ft 7 1/2 in, grey eyes, brown hair, dark pal complexion. Late employed in the Town Gang.

James Murphy per Guildford. A notorious offender, formerly convicted and sent to the Colony in the name of Brown, was convicted the second time at Dublin in March 1815 for seven years. Age 27. Occupation mariner. 5ft 1 in, black hair, hazel eyes, dark pale complexion, Absconded from the Town Gang. He claimed a woman of the name of Mary Scott as his lawful wife who arrived per Alexander.

John Ferrara, per Guildford. Native of Portugal and mariner. A young man of mild temper about 5ft 9 in, dark yellow complexion and owing to his desertion from the Guildford on arrival, was not mustered with the prisoners of that ship. He was generally in company with Manuel de Sylva, and belonged to the Boats' Crew.

Thomas McGrath, per Guildford. Tried at Limerick county in March 1815 and sentenced to transportation for life. Age 26. Trade Stonemason. 5ft 8 1/2in, grey eyes, dark brown hair, dark ruddy complexion. Lately employed as labourer at Macquarie Tower.

Nicholas Russell per Guildford. Tried County Down in July 1815. Age 28. Trade Stonemason. Native of Wicklow. 5ft 11in. Stout made, hazel eyes, light brown hair, ruddy complexion. Employed as a labourer at Macquarie Tower.

Francis O'Hara, per Guildford. Tried at Dundalk in March 1815. Age 28. Trade cooper and labourer. Native of co. down. 5ft 5 1/2in, hazel eyes, brown hair, fair pale complexion. Employed in His Majesty's Stores, at Sydney.

Felix O'Neil, per Fanny 1816.Felix O'Neil, per Fanny 1816. Age 29. Trade Stonemason, Native of Armagh. Tried at Edinburgh

Manuel de Sylva, Fanny 1816. Age 42. Occupation sailor and sailmaker. Native of Carthegena. Employed in the Boats' Crew.

Charles Dyche per Baring 1815. Age 40. Occupation sawyer, lately publican at Burton upon Trent. Tried at Derby and sentenced for life. Either from infirmity of imposition was employed in the Invalid Gang.

On 12th January 1817 six soldiers embarked at Newcastle on the Lady Nelson commanded by Thomas Whyte to investigate a report of a wreck fifty miles to the north of Port Stephens and ascertain the fate of the vessel. (Thomas Whyte, master mariner had arrived as a convict on the Baring in 1815). They discovered part of the wreck on 14th on the beach of a deep and extensive bay in latitude 30 20' South. They learned from natives in the vicinity that the Trial had been wrecked and some of the men constructed a boat out of the materials of the wreck in which a large party once more went out to sea. Others had taken to the bush, among whom was a woman with a young child of whom not a single trace could be found.

The soldiers spent several days exploring the bushland in the vicinity to ascertain the fate of the passengers. They could not positively establish whether the small vessel made from the Trial sank or only disappeared from the view of the black spectators on shore. The Captain, passengers and crew, had endeavoured to make their way towards Newcastle, but no account had been further received from them. There were rumours of a woman who had stowed away on the Trial and was living with the natives in a most distressing state, however in February 1817 Richard Palmer wrote to the Sydney Gazette regarding this woman claiming that she was a relative of his and that she had not secreted herself but had a regular clearance for the Derwent where her husband was in the employ of Simeon Lord. He offered a reward of twenty pounds to any person finding her. In 1826 an anonymous correspondent to the Monitor claimed to have knowledge of the woman who escaped from the wreck of the Trial and was sojourning with a tribe of Aboriginal natives with her daughter about 12 or 13 years old. She was married to one of the tribe by whom she had two children and acted as a midwife to the matrons of the tribe. He received his information from a native of a tribe near Liverpool Plains.

6). Journal of Two Months' Residence on the Banks of the Rivers Brisbane and Logan on the East Coast of New Holland - by Charles Frazer, Colonial Botanist


[1] Ireland. Times [London, England] 22 Nov. 1815: 4. The Times Digital Archive. Web. 11 Mar. 2013.

[2] Freeman's Journal 21 October 1815

[3] Belfast Newsletter 13 October 1815

[4] HRA, Series 1, vol. IX p. 141

[5] Bateson, Charles Library of Australian History (1983). The convict ships, 1787-1868 (Australian ed). Library of Australian History, Sydney : pp.340-341, 381

[6] Parliamentary Papers