Free Settler or Felon
Convict and Colonial History

Convict Ship Lord Eldon - 1817

Embarked: 221 men
Voyage: 174 days
Surgeon's Journal: no
Previous vessel: Almorah arrived 29 August 1817
Next vessel: Larkins arrived 22 November 1817
Captain James Thomas Lamb
Surgeon  James Bowman
Chief Officer Llewellyn Bishop
Convicts and passengers of the Lord Eldon identified in the Hunter Valley

The Lord Eldon was built at Shields in 1802 [1].She was the next convict ship to leave England for New South Wales after the departure of the Almorah.

The Convicts

The convicts came from counties in England, Scotland and Wales - Gloucester, Leicester, Stafford, London, Middlesex, Devon, Northumberland, Salop, Cumberland, Nottingham, Derby, York, Surrey, Wiltshire, Somerset, Lancaster, Lincoln, Southampton, Durham, Norfolk, Stafford, Worcester, Essex, Bedford, Hereford, Hertford, Warwick, Bucks, Oxford, Plymouth, Flint, Carmarthen, Ayr, Dumfries, Inveraray, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Stirling and Aberdeen. There were also several who had been court-martialled at Chatham CM, Gibraltar CM, Madras CM and Isle of Wight CM.


The Lord Eldon departed England on 9th April 1817 and called at Madeira where one prisoner escaped by swimming ashore. [4]

Rio De Janeiro

They touched at Rio De Janeiro.

Military Guard

The Military Guard consisted of a Detachment of 30 men of the 46th. Regt. under the command of Lt. Norman McLean of the Royals or 1st. Regt. of Foot.

The Headquarters of the 46th regiment commanded by Lieut-Col George James Molle arrived on the Windham and other detachments arrived on the Ocean, Lord Eldon, Fame, Recovery, Elizabeth, Larkins, Three Bees, General Hewitt, Guildford, Surry, Surry, Shipley, Sir William Bensley, Morley and Bencoolen.

Convict Ship Lord Eldon Convict Ship Fame Convict Ship Recovery Convict Ship Elizabeth Convict Ship Three Bees Convict Ship General Hewitt Convict Ship Guildford Convict Ship Shipley Convict Ship Ocean Convict Ship Sir William Bensley Convict Ship Morley Convict Ship Marquis of Wellington Convict Ship Canada Convict Ship Bencoolen Convict Ship Larkins Historical Records of the 46th Regiment Convict Ships bringing detachments of the 46th regtiment to Australia

Free Passengers

Passengers included John McArthur and two sons William and John.

John Macarthur had been in England giving evidence on behalf of Colonel Johnston who had led the Rum Rebellion against Governor William Bligh in 1808. He was at first prevented from returning to New South Wales as a punishment however after discussions with the colonial Office in early 1817 was given permission to return to New South Wales on condition that he would not become involved in public affairs.

Henry Early and wife Mary returned to the colony on the Lord Eldon. Henry Early had been in the colony as early as 1807 and had been pensioned home after injuring his arm at Dawe's Battery. He was a saddler and later set up business in Maitland.

Surgeon James Bowman

Four prisoners died on the voyage.

There is no surgeon's journal available for the Lord Eldon, however James Bowman kept a journal on the voyage of the John Barry in 1819 and his methods for organizing the prisoners were probably similar on this voyage.

On the John Barry men were appointed to the various duties necessary for them to attend during the voyage. Three cooks, three hospital men, one to wash for the hospital; one boatswain of the prison and two boatswain mates; eight deck clearers, four swabbers, four sweepers, two to fill the cisterns with water, one to have charge of the windsails; two barbers, twenty four hatchmen for the prison, four to be on duty at a time and relieved every two hours, these men to be answerable for anything that may occur in the prison day or night, and report to sentries in the hatchways every half hour. Three teachers were appointed to attend to the school. The convicts were to sleep four in each berth, six to mess together and one to be caterer of the mess and receive the provisions. Two delegates from the convicts to see the ship's steward serve the provisions, to be answerable for the quantities issued, and to be changed every day. The beds, blankets and clothing were marked according to each man's number on the embarkation list [5].

Port Jackson

Two hundred and fifteen male prisoners arrived in Port Jackson on the Lord Eldon on 30 September 1817. [2]

A strange sight greeted those who came to the Sydney docks to witness the arrival of the ship. From glass houses erected on deck emerged a fine selection of camellias and roses interspersed with fruit trees such as figs, oranges, plum, lemons, quinces, grapes, pomegranate, guavas and olives. Macarthur's diary notes that he had olives in four pots and two olive plants from Provence. [3]


The Lord Eldon departed Port Jackson bound for Batavia in December 1817. Crew advertised to depart on her included Charles Pollard, Joseph Good, James Gribble, Daniel Beexey, John Wegmore, Scar Mahomea, Boxo, Ally, Porunna, Sucur, Sarsce, all Lascars; Ally, serang; Michael de Suez, Antony de Cruiz, seconnies.

The Lord Eldon stopped in at Hobart to deliver there two convicts who had absconded on board from Sydney - George Edwards, shipwright by trade; John Richards, Clerk by profession. In April 1818 these two men absconded from Sullivan's Cove, Derwent River in two Government boats with several other men.

Notes and Links

1). James Bowman was also surgeon on the convict ships Mary Anne in 1816 and the John Barry in 1819

2). Convicts and passengers of the Lord Eldon identified in the Hunter Valley

3). Convicts of the Lord Eldon.......

James Freeman arrived as a convict on the Lord Eldon. He was sent to work at the limeburner gang and after absconding was punished in 1819. He later married and settled down near Norah Head where he ran a dairy on land owned by Robert Henderson. His premises were visited by the Jewboy gang in 1840.

Samuel Henry Horne also arrived on the Lord Eldon. For his part in capturing the bushranger John McNamara he was awarded a land grant and pardon. He later became known throughout the Upper Hunter as the Chief Constable at Patrick Plains. Read his biography at Family History Society, Singleton

James Woodley gained notoriety for his part in piratically stealing the pilot boat at Newcastle with several other felons. They were chased into Rushcutters Bay 60 miles to the south. A wanted notice was posted soon afterwards, however he probably remained at large until January 1822 when he gave himself up under a Proclamation by Sir Thomas Brisbane and was sent to Port Macquarie.

Samuel Bailey arrived as a convict. He was sentenced to 14 years transportation for stealing a watch in 1820 and sent to Newcastle penal settlement. He was employed as turnkey at the Newcastle gaol in 1830 and lockup keeper at Maitland in 1835. He married Sarah Morris in 1836 and became publican at the Cottage of Content Inn at East Maitland in the 1840's. See Sarah Morris - from mother to convict to publican - By descendant Janelle Collins

4). Lord Eldon - Wikipedia

5). The Wine Doctor - Dr. Philip Norrie

6). Register of Shipping


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

[2] Lachlan and Elizabeth Macquarie Archive

[3] Allen, Richard, Australia's Remarkable Trees, Miegunyah Press, 2009, p. 126

[4] Sydney Gazette 4 October 1817

[5] Medical Journal of James Bowman on the John Barry in 1819, UK, Royal Navy Medical Journals, 1817-1857 Original data: The National Archives. Kew, Richmond, Surrey.