Free Settler or Felon
Convict and Colonial History

Convict Ship Hadlow - 1818

Embarked 150 men
Deaths: 2
Surgeon's Journal: yes
Previous vessel: Earl St. Vincent arrived 16 December 1818
Next vessel: Martha arrived 24 December 1818
Captain John Craigie
Surgeon Thomas C. Roylance
Prisoners and passengers of the Hadlow identified in the Hunter Valley region

The Hadlow was built in Quebec in 1813.[1] This was her first voyage transporting convicts to New South Wales, the next being in 1820.

The Convicts

The prisoners of the Hadlow came from counties in England and Scotland - Derby, Bucks, Leicester, Middlesex, Northampton, Lincoln, Sussex, Lancaster, Warwick, Hereford, York, Gloucester, Bristol, London, Chester, Stafford, Nottingham, Oxford, Salop and Inverness. One man had been court-martialled at Valenciennes.

Their occupations were recorded in the convict indents. Many of the men could have proved useful to the colony after they served their term of servitude. There were clerks, labourers, carpenters, boatmen, shoemakers, an ostler, a hatter, an apprentice jeweller, two musicians, cloth worker, frame work knitter, stocking weavers, grocer, boat and canal maker, road maker, watchcase maker, waterman and pilot, shopman, groom, carpet weaver, cooper, woollen weaver, baker, silk weaver, miller, cart driver, bullock driver, painter and glazier, upholsterer, gun lock filer, shipwright, coach maker, hawker, errand boy, coal miner, butter maker, brickmaker, brass foundry worker, coach wheel maker, chimneysweep, cutler, figure and landscape painter and button maker [2]

Bristol Gaol

Two of the prisoners Henry Dunn and James Gittens had been tried in Bristol in March and found guilty of highway robbery. They were probably then incarcerated in Bristol Gaol.

In March 1818 a visitor described the Bristol Gaol:

We first entered the yard appropriated for criminals: it is an irregular space, about 20 feet long and 12 wide, and was literally so crowded with its 63 inhabitants, as to occasion some difficulty in passing through it. In this yard is to be seen vice in all its stages; boys intermingle with men; the accused with the convicts; the venial offender with the veteran and atrocious criminal. Amongst a multitude of persons whom the gaoler described as having no other avocation or mode of livelihood but thieving, I counted 11 children - children hardly old enough to be released from a nursery - hardly competent to understand the first principles of moral obligation - here receiving an education which, as it must unfit them for anything useful, so it must eminently qualify them for that career which they are doomed to run. All charged or convicted of felony, with out distinction of age, were in heavy irons; almost all were in rags; almost all were filthy in the extreme; almost all exhibited the appearance of ill health. The state of the prison the desperation of the prisoners, broadly hinted in their conversation and plainly expressed in their conduct the uproar of oaths, complaints, and obscenity the indescribable stench, presented together a concentration of the utmost misery with the utmost guilt; a scene of infernal passions and distresses which few have imagination sufficient to picture and of which fewer still would believe that the original is to be found in this enlightened and happy country. After seeing this yard, and another of larger dimensions, the adjacent day room and sleeping cells, the conclusion of my own mind was, that nothing could be more offensive or melancholy. This opinion, however, was speedily refuted when a door was unlocked, we were furnished with candles, and we descended 18 long steps into a vault at the bottom was a circular space - a narrow passage, 18 inches wide, runs through this and the sides are furnished with barrack bedsteads. The floor, which is considered to be on the same lever with the river, was very damp. The smell at this hour (one o'clock) was nothing more than can be expressed by the term disgusting. [3]

On 9th July 1818 after three months in Bristol gaol, Henry Dunn and James Gittens were sent to the prison hulk Justitia.

Surgeon Thomas C. Roylance

Surgeon of the Hadlow Thomas Roylance kept a Medical Journal from the 10th July to 4th January 1819.

He joined the vessel as it was lying at Deptford. Shipwrights from the Dockyard were already her fitting up ready for the reception of convicts. Provisions were loaded and preparations made for sea. [4]

Military Guard

On Friday 17 July a detachment of troops embarked as guard under command of Lieut. Robert Robinson of 24th regiment. Thirty two soldiers accompanied by six women and four children formed the guard.

Free Passenger

John Topey; aged 28, passenger, formerly sailor on HMS Kangaroo, suffering from pulmonary consumption with frequent cough was taken ill, 1 August 1818 and died 23 August 1818 at 9pm. The surgeon on 14 August 1818 had reported to Mr Capper that Topey was a 'hopeless state' asking for Topey's removal and the same to the Commissioners of the Navy on 18 August 1818. His body was committed to the deep as the ship proceeded down the Channel on 24 August 1818. [5]

Convicts Embarked

The Hadlow dropped down to Woolwich on 30 July and on 1st August fifty male prisoners from the Justitia Hulk were received on board. At 3pm on 2nd August the Hadlow weighed anchor and made for Sheerness where, on 4th August 58 male convicts from the Retribution hulk and 40 from the Bellopheron hulk were received on board. One of the prisoners, William Newell aged 14 from Leicester was returned to the Retribution Hulk. [4]

William Monard aged 25, private 24 Regiment, was treated by the surgeon after suffering violent pain in the abdomen, on 31 July 1818. He was discharged cured 4 August 1818.[5]

George Newall; aged 15, convict from the Justitia; suffering enlargement of the liver, much debilitated, fever, pain in the right hypocondrium on 3 August 1818; discharged 7 August 1818.[5]

On 9 August 1818 the convicts were mustered on deck with clean shirts, trousers, stockings and handkerchiefs and the surgeon performed divine service.

13 August 1818 - Henry Dunn, a man of colour, cook to the convicts was put in handcuffs in consequence of his being detected handing a lighted segar [cigar] into the prison.

15 August 1818 the surgeon went into Sheerness harbour, and reported the Hadlow to Captain James Walker of HMS Northumberland.

16 August 1818; divine service was performed and prayers read by Thomas Woodward, convict. Each mess of convicts was issued with one bible and one prayer book. John Pountney; aged 43, convict from the Justitia became ill on this day. He died at sea on 23 September 1818.

On 20 August 1818 two convicts John Green and Thomas Mayo were punished with two dozen lashes each in consequence of them having insulted and threatened a sentry on his post.

There were twenty boy convicts on the Hadlow and before the ship set sail the surgeon sent a well-behaved convict by the name of Thomas Woodward, to the boys prison, for the purpose of superintending and instructing them. His irons were removed on 25 August as soon as the ship was at sea. [5] Thomas Woodward was a frame worker and knitter from Leicestershire age 24 who was sentenced to transportation for life which was commuted to 14 years. Later in the colony he was employed as overseer at the Commissariat Store at Sydney.

Rules and Regulations

The surgeon set up a set of Rules and Regulations which he expected the Officer of the Guard to assist in enforcing:

1. No convict shall be allowed to go over the ship's side or to climb the rigging.

2. No convict shall be allowed to wash his clothes by towing them overboard.

3. At the hour of six in the morning when the weather permits, every convict shall come up with his bed and shall wash himself and return below, with the exception of the last third of their number, and two boatswains mates of the Convicts superintending in the prison; one at each hatchway and two Corporals of the Guard on deck one at each hatchway until the whole of the convicts have brought up their beds washed themselves and two thirds of their number returned below - in the evening at sunset each convict to come up for his bed under the same regulation as to superintendence of the Corporals of the Guard assisted by the Convicts Boatswains Mates. [4]


On 19 August 1818 the surgeon received bag of despatches from the Commissioners of the Navy for the Governor of New South Wales.

On 22nd August 1818 the Hadlow proceeded down the Channel and by 24 August they were at sea off Start Point

25 August 1818 - a platform was built on deck for the airing of convict beds.

26 August 1818 - the prison strictly inspected and searched to discover knives and some property which had been reported as stolen.

28 August 1818 - the surgeon took one iron off John Elmhurst and William Scone in consequence of their being employed as cooks for the convicts, and Richard Chesterfield for working as a sailmaker.

30 August 1818 - commenced the issue of vinegar and mustard, to the guard, passengers and convicts. Mustard in the proportion of half a pound to each mess (to last two weeks), vinegar according to the established allowance. Examined the convicts' irons found four or five loose but no cause of suspicion. Issued to each convict a pint of wine, drinking it at the tub, upon deck.

2 September 1818 - commenced the daily use of Osbridge's machine for sweetening water. Took one iron off John Owen in consequence of sickness.

4 September 1818 - James Gittons, John Baker, Charles Wain, James Harrison (all convicts) complained that they had been struck and ill treated by soldiers of the guard. Requested in writing the master to inform the officer of the guard to make an investigation to this claim.

6 September 1818 - at 2:30am alarmed by a tumultuous noise and people calling to me exclaiming that the convicts had risen, had got possession of the ship. I immediately ran on deck, the soldiers were coming up with their arms, the officer of the guards and the master at the same time on enquiry, I found that the alarm given was that the convicts had forced or were forcing their way up forward. Went forward, found no convicts on deck, but the first mate and some seamen with pikes and cutlasses went down with the first mate into the hospital and examined the doors and bulkhead, found no marks of violence. Had a party of the guard under the officer in the Larboard Gangway. Opened the prison door at the fore hatchway, called the convicts on deck, one at a time by my muster list. Carpenter examined their irons, found no cause of suspicion, went down into the prison with the master and carpenter and strictly examined it, particularly the hospital bulkhead, and doors, found no marks of violence, on full enquiry had reason to believe, the alarm was occasioned by two or three convicts leaping out of their bedplaces, and running forward to secure someone whom they suspected was breaking open a box.[5]

Cape of Good Hope

They called at the Cape where prisoner Sarah Hallowell was embarked. Sarah Hallowell was already heavily pregnant when she boarded the ship. In Sydney, while still on board, her baby was still born and Sarah died a short time later.

Port Jackson

The Hadlow moored at Sydney Cove on Thursday 24 December 1818 when the surgeon allowed the irons to be removed. They remained moored there for the next ten days.

Convicts Disembarked

On 4th January at sunrise the convicts cleaned themselves and prepared to land. They were landed at 8am at King's Wharf Sydney in charge of William Hutchinson, Principal Superintendent of Convicts. Surgeon Thomas Roylance attended the inspection of the prisoners by his Excellency Governor Macquarie at the Gaol Yard later that morning.

Select here to find out more about disembarkation of Convicts

Convict Indents

The convict indents reveal such information as name, age, when and where convicted, native place, sentence, occupation, physical description and occasional information regarding tickets of leave or pardons. There is no information as to where the convicts were assigned on arrival. [2]

Notes and Links

1). Thomas Roylance returned to England on the Shipley. He was also employed as surgeon on the convict ship Lord Sidmouth in 1821.

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

3). Robert Maggs arrived as a convict on the Hadlow. In March 1821 his name was placed on the wanted lists with the following description: Late servant to Captain Brabyn; escaped from Windsor Gaol; about 5ft 11in; light brown hair, hazel eyes, florid complexion; trade a nursery man. Had lately returned to Windsor from Newcastle penal settlement. Maggs was captured by chief constable of Liverpool Mr. Ikin at the Devil's back in July 1821....This well known offender who stands charged with having perpetrated depredation upon depredation, and who has been at large many months was apprehended in a temporary hut with no less than four pistols and a cutlass in his possession. He was executed in September 1821.

4). Isaac Perrott later became a police constable

5). Return of Convicts of the Hadlow assigned between 1st January 1832 and 31st March 1832 (Sydney Gazette 5 July 1832).....
Samuel Sims. Labourer and weaver assigned to William Lithgow at Sydney.

6). Methods of purifying water were stipulated as necessary in agreements with contractors in all convict ships as early as 1801. Several methods seem to have been used. Lieutenant (?Philip) machine is mentioned frequently......

Brackish water, that is, such as has a certain admixture of sea-water, is peculiarly unwholesome, and ought to be avoided if possible. To mention the impropriety of using stagnant or putrid water is almost superfluous: but if this be indispensably necessary on any occasion, a small quantity of powdered charcoal, or of quick-lime, or some vitriolic acid, being added, will, in a great measure, correct its ill tendency. Where there is room to suspect the eggs of insects, or little animalcules, in. water, it should always be boiled before it be drunk -, although it is questioned by some, whether this be a good practice in common. But when water is offensive in consequence of being long kept, the most effectual and expeditious method of sweetening it is by making air pass through it, or by exposing it to the air in as divided a state as possible. Boiling will not expel the putrid effluvia contained in water ; but such is the attraction of air for this offensive matter, that the water need only be thoroughly brought in contact with it to be rendered quite sweet. This is best done either. by blowing through it, by inserting the nozzle of common bellows into a tube, or by the machine invented by Mr. Osbridge, a naval officer - The Soldier's Friend, Containing Familiar Instructions to The Military By William Blair


[1] Bateson, Charles Library of Australian History (1983). The convict ships, 1787-1868 (Australian ed). Library of Australian History, Sydney : pp.342-343, 382

[2] Convict Indents State Archives NSW; Series: NRS 12188; Item: [4/4006]; Microfiche: 640

[3] Lancaster Gazette 13 June 1818

[4] UK, Royal Navy Medical Journals, 1817-1857. Medical Journal of Thomas Roylance on the voyage of the Hadlow in 1818. The National Archives. Kew, Richmond, Surrey.

[5] National Archives. Reference: ADM 101/32/1/1 Description: Folios 2-15: Folio 2: 10 July 1818; [Roylance] joined the Hadlow convict ship of 372 tons (John Craigie, master) lying at Deptford.