Free Settler or Felon
Convict and Colonial History

Convict Ship Henry Porcher - 1825

Embarked: 176 men
Voyage: 120 days
Deaths: 1
Surgeon's Journal: yes
Previous vessel: Lonach arrived 4 September 1825
Next vessel: Midas arrived 17 December 1825
Captain John Thomson.
Surgeon Charles Carter
Follow the Irish Convict Ship Trail
Convicts and passengers of the Henry Porcher identified in the Hunter Valley

Convict Ship Henry Porcher transported convicts to Australia in 1825 (NSW), 1835 (NSW) and 1836 (VDL).


On the 10th July 1825, the Henry Porcher departed London bound for Ireland. The Morning Post reported that she was at Deal on 13th July before proceeding to Kingston, Dublin.

The Convicts

The men had been held in county and city prisons before being transferred to Dublin to be incarcerated on the Essex hulk.....

The Belfast Newsletter reported that the undernamed convicts passed through Belfast on the 22nd April 1825 from the county Antrim gaol, en route to the hulk Essex ..... John Bell, Michael Clarke, James Dogherty, Bernard McCurley (Dowdall), John Selley, Paul Mcgillion, George Gibson, James Quinn, Patrick Brady, James Cassidy, William Henry, James Gribbon, Thomas Boyle, William Begley, William McCafferty and Andrew McAlister. [1]

The Essex Hulk

The convicts of the Henry Porcher were the first to be embarked from the Essex at Dublin.

In 1829 John Speer M.D. Surgeon R.N and Medical Superintendent on the Essex hulk published 'A brief Account of the Diseases that appeared on board the Essex Prison Hulk, during the Years 1825, 26, and 27'....... The Irish government having determined to station a hulk at Kingstown, considering it would be beneficial to the public, by saving the heavy expense of demurrage, as well as other expenses attendant on the shipment of prisoners for New South Wales, they accordingly stationed the Essex there, and commenced receiving prisoners in the year 1825. The hulk became suddenly crowded, which produced disease amongst the prisoners. Select here to read more about illness on the Essex in the year 1825.

Departure from Ireland

The Henry Porcher departed Dublin on 5 August 1825.

Surgeon Charles Carter

Charles Carter kept a Medical Journal from 22 June 1825 to 9th December 1825.
Those he treated included
Thomas Chapman of the 57th regt.;
James Black of 57th regt.,
James Quinn, prisoner;
Patrick Ryan, prisoner; and
Thomas Purcell who died of scurvy. [4]

Military Guard

The Guard consisted of a detachment of 57th regt., under orders of Captain Vance Young Donaldson. Vance Young Donaldson was appointed Ensign 14 September 1804, Lieutenant 25 December 1805, Captain 24 June 1813 and Brev. Major 10 January 1837. He served in the Peninsula from June 1809 to the end of the war, including the siege of Badajoz in April 1811; battles of Albuera, Vittoria and the Pyrenees. He was appointed Commandant at Norfolk Island in 1826.

Port Jackson

The Henry Porcher arrived in Port Jackson on 3 December 1825, a voyage of 120 days. The prisoners were mustered on board by the Colonial Secretary Frederick Goulburn. The bound indents include the name, age, when and where tried, native place, sentence, calling, physical description, conduct on the voyage and where they were assigned on arrival. Occasional details regarding colonial sentences, deaths and pardons was recorded. There is no information as to the crime they had committed in Ireland.

Several of the convicts were highly recommended by the Officers on the ship - Phillip Riley, Dominic Henry, Thomas Scully, John Shannon, Laurence Gannon, Thomas Cummons, Patrick Donnelly alias Kennedy, John Ellwood, and Owen Macauly.

There were some very young prisoners on the Henry Porcher including
Michael McGill aged 11;
Owen Curren aged 13;
Patrick Daley aged 14;
Michael Flanagan aged 14;
James McDade aged 14;
Michael McCann aged 15
George Gibson aged 16,
Philip Reilly aged 16 and
Thomas Reilly aged 16.
They were mostly sent to Carter's Barracks on arrival. The oldest prisoner on board was James Gribbon from Carrickfergus who was 73 years of age.

Convicts Disembarked

The prisoners were landed on Friday morning 9th December. Charles Carter noted in his Journal that after the prisoners were disembarked at Sydney. (175 in number, having lost but one on the voyage), they were inspected and delivered over to the charge of Lieutenant-Governor Stewart, who expressed gratification at the very healthy, orderly and cleanly state of the prisoners.

Soon after their landing a watchman attached to the Prisoners' Barracks by the name of James McDonnell was detected conveying spirits to some of the men. For his trouble he was sentenced to 10 days on the treadmill.

Free Passengers

Passengers included Peter Spicer and Rev. John Espy Keane, Mrs Keane and family. On arrival Rev. Keane preferred charges against the surgeon regarding the treatment of some of the prisoners (see Colonial Secretary's Correspondence). Rev. Keane later became the first incumbent at Holy Trinity Church, Kelso.

Rev. Keane came into dispute with the surgeon Charles Carter during the voyage which led to Charles Carter being dismissed from service on convict ships. This voyage on the Henry Porcher was his last.

The following correspondence in the Historical Records of Australia explains in part Charles Carter's dismissal......

Governor Darling to Earl Bathurst.
My Lord,
New South Wales, 4th February, 1826.
I have the honor to transmit to Your Lordship the accompanying Letter, which was addressed to me on my arrival by Archdeacon Scott, with three Enclosures, respecting a mis-understanding which took place on board the Henry Porcher, Convict ship, between the Revd. Mr. Kean, a Passenger, and Mr. Carter, the superintending surgeon. The case was in fact disposed of before my arrival, as far as it could be here, Mr. Carter having refused to appear before a Court of Enquiry, which the Lieut. Governor had ordered to investigate the facts stated by Mr. Kean. I have since seen Mr. Carter, who contends that, having delivered over the Convicts, placed under his charge, in good order, he has fulfilled his duty; and that he is not amenable, to an investigation for his conduct towards a Passenger

Without entering into the merits of the present question, it would appear that Mr. Carter's conduct has not been wholly unexceptionable on other occasions; as the accompanying Paper, which has been delivered to me by the Archdeacon, relates to a misunderstanding between him and the Revd. Mr. Hill who is a most zealous and respectable man, when coming- out to the Colony some years since. I am extremely sorry to trouble your Lordship on this occasion, and should not have done so, could the matter have been otherwise disposed of. I beg to submit that the best means of preventing a recurrence would be to direct that Mr. Carter may not return to this country in the convict service. I have only to add that I have furnished Mr. Carter with the usual Certificate of his having delivered over the Convicts in good order, and I have signified my intention in the Certificate to make this report to your Lordship, in order that the Commissioners of the Navy may be duly apprized of Mr. Carter's proceedings. I have, and, Ra. Darling.

Charles Carter was also employed as surgeon on the Hebe in 1820, the Hibernia in 1819, the Arab in 1822 and Sir Godfrey Webster (VDL) in 1823. His mis-understanding with Rev. Hill mentioned in the correspondence above took place on the Hibernia in 1819.

Convicts and passengers of the Henry Porcher identified in the Hunter Valley :

Beggs, George

Boyle, Thomas

Brady, Patrick

Carroll, James

Carroll, Richard

Carroll, William

Cassidy, Patrick

Chapman, Richard

Clark, Michael

Clinch, Peter

Conlan, Patrick

Conway, Patrick

Daley, Patrick

Daly, Hugh

Dogherty, James

Doyle, William

Elliott, William

Farrell, John

Farrelly, Daniel

Flannaghan, Michael

Ford, Thomas

Gannon, Lawrence

Geoghan, Matthew

Glass, William

Gorman, John

Hazlett, Archibald

Johnstone, William

Kelly, Edward

Kelly, Patrick

Keogan, James

Kiely, Henry

McCarty, John

McCauley, Bernard

McCauley, Owen

McDade, James

McGill, Matthew

McGonnegle, John

McManus, Charles

Murphy, Charles

Murphy, John

Neill, Michael

O'Hearne, James

Paine, Edward

Phillips, Patrick

Reilley, Bernard

Shannon, John

Smith, James

Smith, Patrick

Toole, Stephen

Tute, Peter

Waldron, Patrick

Notes and Links

1). Some of the convicts may have witnessed the pomp and ceremony surrounding the arrival of Governor Sir Ralph Darling on the morning of Tuesday 20th December 1825

2). Find out more about Henry Porcher convict and bushranger Stephen Toole

3). National Archives - Extra/chartered ship, built by Hilhouse, measured 1817, 2 decks, 4in bottom, length 113ft 8in, keel 90ft 6 3/4in, breadth 30ft 10in, hold 13ft 9in, wing transom 18ft 5in, port cell 24ft 10in, waist 11in, between decks 6ft 7in, roundhouse 6ft 61/4 in, ports 6 upper, 485 tons. Principal Managing Owners: 1 Joseph Graves. 2 Samuel Marjoribanks, 3 George F Young.

4). John Duffy was only sentenced to 7 years transportation however his sentence was effectively for life....... Parliamentary Papers

5). Newspaper reports of prisoners' trials in Ireland ......

Dublin - The Commission, Monday December 10 1824 - The several cases for trial having been gone through, the following persons were brought up for judgement: {Extract}

William Doyle, burglary, death; James Carroll, death; Edward Whelan and Patrick Doyle, death; Michael Brusel, death; Cornelius Mulligan, cow stealing, death; Owen Duffy and William Carroll, burglary and robbery, death; John Russell and Andrew White, highway robbery, death but recommended to mercy; Richard Willan and John Forde, robbery, death but recommended to mercy; Michael Geoghean and Charles Murphy stealing lead, to be transported for seven years; Margaret Quin and Mary Dunleavy, robbery, transportation for seven years; John Magee, felony, imprisoned twelve months; James Daly felony imprisoned twelve months; William Silk, felony, transportation for seven years; Daniel Nolan, cow staling transportation for seven years; Arthur McWillliams felony, transportation for seven years
. - Freeman's Journal 11 January 1825.

6). Belfast Newsletter 29 March 1825.......
George Gibson - for stealing two dozen of silver forks, the property of Mr. Joseph Stevenson - James McKibben - drives Mr. Stevenson's cart - on 11th October he was entrusted with 4 dozen of silver forks put up in two parcels to take to Springfield the country house, they were put into a basket in the cart - in Donegall street he was informed by John Knox that his cart was robbed, and soon after Mr. Knox brought the prisoner to witness when one of the parcels containing two dozen forks was found in his cape. - Guilty; transportation for 7 years.

John Bell, for a burglary and felony in the house of Robert Shaw, watchmaker, Belfast. . - Robert Shaw - between Wednesday night and Thursday morning the 27th and 28th October, his house was broken and a great number of watches and 40 guineas in gold taken away - the scullery window was found open in the morning - he afterwards got a gold watch from Mr. Moore, watchmaker Randalstown, which was part of the property he lost. John Bell found guilty and a sentence of death recorded made against him, but to be recommended to transportation for life. -

William Begley, for stealing 2 horse shoes and some smiths' tools, the property of Alex. McConnell, a blacksmith, about two miles from Belfast. The prisoner was apprehended by a watchman coming into Belfast with his booty, and taken to the police office, where the prosecutor next day identified his property - guilty transported 7 years.

William Clark and James Dogherty, for stealing two geldings, the property of Patrick Bradley - Pat. Bradley - on the morning of the 11th February two horses were stolen from him at Kildrum, county Donegall - he found them the day following at Randalstown in Bryan McAuley's stables. Francis Mullan, ostler to Mr. McAuley - At a late hour on the night of 11th February the two prisoners brought three horses to the inn, the horses had halters on them, and prisoners said they had brought them at Coagh fair the day before, the two men were made prisoners early next morning.....They were found guilty and sentenced to death - His Lordship said that he should recommend the punishment to be committed to transportation for life
.- Belfast Newsletter 29 March 1825


Catarrhal affections first made their appearance, which, generally speaking, yielded to gentle aperients, diaphoretics, and expectorants. Slight ulcers became exceedingly common, particularly on the lower extremities, chiefly created by the irons, and not infrequently on purpose, in order to get released from their weight. The ulcers yielded, in general, to simple dressings with sulphate of copper; some to poultices; and occasionally adhesive straps were had recourse to, after the plan of Mr. Baynton. This treatment was combined with mercurial alteratives and aperients, agreeably to Mr. Abernethy's directions, to regulate the digestive organs, which were always disordered: I apprehend, from the want of proper exercise. During the latter end of spring and beginning of summer, fever made its appearance among the prisoners. At the commencement, the disease was ushered in by a slight shivering or rigor, or probably it did not amount to either, but merely a chilliness and loss of appetite; this was- succeeded by some increased heat, thirst, and headache, with a pulse not more than ninety; the bowels confined. If these symptoms were attended to at their commencement, and relief administered, the disease was in general checked or mitigated. In the cold stage, a gentle emetic very often restored reaction, and produced diaphoresis; and if afterwards followed up by a mercurial purgative and the saline effervescing draught, a crisis in eight or ten days was the result; after which, bark with wine, and a more generous diet, became necessary. If the fever advanced, the symptoms became more severe, and violent determinations or congestion of blood took place in different organs, during the reactive stage. Not unfrequently the patient became affected with violent pain in the head, throbbing of the temples, suffusion of the eyes, and constipation of the bowels. These symptoms were generally relieved by local bloodletting, shaving the head, cold applications, and mercurial purgatives. In a few cases general bloodletting was had recourse to, but the debility became so great, with only temporary relief of the local pain, that very often the application of leeches afterwards was absolutely necessary. This rendered the disease more formidable and difficult to treat, so that latterly I abandoned the practice of general bloodletting, and found much more success after local bloodletting, cold applications, and purgatives ; for I believe the lancet cannot be used with that degree of freedom in the diseases of prisoners, as in those of soldiers and sailors. It frequently occurred that petechias appeared, and I think I have observed it more frequently after general bloodletting. Where this appearance was unaccompanied with local congestion in the brain, or other internal viscera, the good effects of bark, wine, and the mineral acids, were very striking, and often prevented a slow fever of some weeks' duration. Notwithstanding the care that was taken to administer relief at the first onset of the disease, several cases appeared marked by very malignant symptoms, such as delirium, tongue and teeth covered with a brown crust, petechiae, and involuntary discharges. These were treated according to circumstances : where local congestion existed, leeching and cupping were had recourse to; where the biliary and intestinal discharges were morbid, mercurial and saline purgatives were administered, with antimonials and effervescing draughts; and where the debility became very great, with subsultus tendinum, involuntary discharges, etc, wine, opium, camphor, and blisters were prescribed. In the end of July, the greater part of the prisoners were shipped, leaving a few cases of fever. John Speer M.D. Surgeon R.N and Medical Superintendent on the Essex hulk
..... 'A brief Account of the Diseases that appeared on board the Essex Prison Hulk, during the Years 1825, 26, and 27'

The next convict ship to embark convicts from the Essex hulk at Dublin was the Regalia in March 1826.

8). Return of Convicts of the Henry Porcher assigned between 1st January 1832 and 31st March 1832 (Sydney Gazette 14 June 1832; 28 June 1832).....

Edward Connor - Reaper assigned to John Mann at Williams River

Thomas Forde - Horse breaker assigned to D.A.C.G. Bowerman at Parramatta

John Fleming - Dairyman assigned to Arthur Rankin at Bathurst

Daniel McGrinty - Hatter. Assigned to George Bowman at Richmond

9). Vessels bringing detachments of the 57th Regiment........

Asia 1825 departed Cork 29 October 1824 Captain Richard Heaviside

Asia (III) 1825 departed Portsmouth 5 January 1825 - Lieutenant Thomas Bainbridge

Royal Charlotte 1825 departed Portsmouth 5 January 1825 - Major Edmund Lockyer

Hooghley 1825 departed Cork 5 January 1825 Cork - Captain Patrick Logan

Norfolk 1825 departed Portsmouth 17 April 1825 - Captain James Brown

Minstrel 1825 departed Portsmouth 17 April 1825 - Lieutenant Henry John Tudor Shadforth

Lonach 1825 departed Cork 16 May 1825 - Lieutenant John William Donelan

Sir Godfrey Webster departed Cork 11 July 1825 Lieutenant John Ovens

Medway 1825 departed the Downs 2 August 1825 Downs - Lieutenant William Bates

Henry Porcher 1825 departed Dublin 5 August 1825 Dublin - Captain Vance Young Donaldson

Marquis of Hastings 1826 departed Portsmouth 22 August 1825 - Ensign Stewart

Mangles 1826 departed Cork 23 October 1825 - Lieutenant-Colonel Thomas Shadforth

Sesostris 1826 departed Portsmouth 30 November 1825 - Major John Campbell

Prince Regent 1827 departed London 11 June 1827 - Lieutenant Campbell

Morley 1828 departed Dublin 3 November 1827 - Captain Robert Hunt

Borodino 1828 departed Cork 11 February 1828 Cork - Captain Philip Aubyn

Mangles 1828 departed Dublin 23 February 1828 Dublin- Lieut. Hill and Adjutant Lieut. Kidd

Bussorah Merchant 1828 departed London 27 March 1828 - Captain Burton Daveney (+ 1 soldier)

Marquis of Hastings 1828 departed Portsmouth 1828 30 June 1828 - Colonel Allen

Asia 1828 departed London 23 November 1828 - Lieutenant George Edwards

10). 57th Regiment (West Middlesex) Hart's Annual Army List


[1]. Belfast Newsletter 26 April 1825

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

[3]. UK, Royal Navy Medical Journals, 1817-1857. Medical Journal of Charles Carter on the voyage of the Henry Porcher in 1825. The National Archives. Kew, Richmond, Surrey.

[4]. National Archives - Reference: ADM 101/33/4 Description: Medical journal of the convict ship Henry Porcher for 22 June to 9 December 1825 by Charles Carter, surgeon and superintendent, the said ship conveyed 176 male convicts to Port Jackson in New South Wales.