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Convict Ship Nithsdale
Embarked: 184 men
Voyage: 131 days
Deaths: 1
Surgeon's Journal: yes
Tons: 414
Crew: 32 men
Previous vessel: Mermaid arrived 6 May 1830
Next vessel: Roslin Castle arrived 29 June 1830
Captain Thomas Christian
Surgeon Superintendent Robert Malcolm
Convicts and passengers of the Nithsdale identified in the Hunter Valley

PRISONERS TRANSPORTED ON THE NITHSDALE came from counties throughout England and Scotland. After being transferred from county gaols and Newgate, they were held on prison hulks to await transportation. On the 9th December 1829, sixty male convicts were received from the Justitia and Ganymede hulks at Woolwich, and on the 18th, sixty four were received from the Retribution at Sheerness. On the 19th another sixty were received from the Dolphin at Chatham, making a total of 184 men.


At Sheerness on 1st January 1830, the Nithsdale weighed anchor and made for Deal under a N.W. wind. They reached Deal on the 3rd January and departed from there soon afterwards.

Surgeon Robert Malcolm

This was Robert Malcolm's second voyage as surgeon superintendent of a convict ship. He kept a Medical Journal from 9 November 1829 to 21 May 1830.

All the prisoners were examined by Robert Malcolm previous to their embarkation and found to be in a healthy state. During the voyage almost everyone experienced an attack of diarrhoea, in some cases very severe. Other illnesses included ophthalmia, fever and apoplexy. However mostly the prisoners remained healthy, one only dying of apoplexy. This was John Bostick.

Robert Malcolm was proud of the achievement of bringing a healthy ship into port - Some fifty years ago it would scarcely have been credited that a vessel some hundred tons burthen with two hundred and fifty persons on board would ever be able to perform a voyage of 132 days duration and to disembark the persons in a state of perfect health at its conclusion without the loss of more than one man. (1)

Military Guard

The Guard was commanded by Captain Robert Moffatt of the 17th Regiment and Ensign Tobin. The Guard consisted of a total of 29 commissioned officers and privates of the 17th regiment together with four women and three children. Members of the 17th regt.,mentioned in the surgeon's journal included Dennis Leary, John Keating, Benjamin Cooper, Dennis Kelly, Thomas Wall, Jonathon Bean, Thomas Carr, William Smith, John Pigot, Michael Whalen, Lawrence Fleming, William Pender, Thomas Horne. According to the surgeon the wife of Thomas Horne suffered a miscarriage on 28th December while still at Sheerness. She was three months advanced in pregnancy and had undergone much fatigue in nursing the Captain of the Guard's child to which she ascribed her affliction.

Select here to find convict ships bringing detachments of the 17th regiment.

Cabin Passengers

Mrs. Moffatt, wife of Captain Robert Moffatt and Miss Singer, a friend of Mrs. Moffatt came as passengers.

George Whittle, wife and child came as free passengers.

Port Jackson

The Nithsdale arrived in Port Jackson on 12 May 1830.

Convict Muster

The prisoners were mustered by Colonial Secretary Alexander McLeay on 15th May 1830 and were landed on Friday 21st May.

The indents include name, age, education, religion, marital status, family, native place, trade, offence, when and where tried, sentence, prior convictions, physical description and where assigned on arrival. There are also occasional details re pardons deaths and colonial crimes - e.g. Hugh Bagley was serving a second sentence having previously been sent on the Minerva in 1821 as Hugh Farrell; Thomas Boulton was sent to Cockatoo Island for disobedience; and Thomas Creamer died in Newcastle Hospital on 31 October 1838.


The majority of convicts were assigned to private service. Some were assigned to the Australian Agricultural Company at Port Stephens.

The youngest prisoner was Joseph Brammer age 15, who was sent to the Carter's Barracks on arrival.

Nithsdale convicts in the Hunter Valley region:

Name Notes
Andrews, James Miner from Cheshire. Assigned to the A.A. Company on arrival
Babbington, Richard Ploughs, shears, reaps. Native place Lincoln. Assigned to Henry I. Pilcher  at Maitland on arrival
Baguley, Thomas Shepherd and ploughs. Native place Derbyshire. Assigned to Henry I. Pilcher at Maitland on arrival
Barnard, Thomas Top sawyer from Norfolk. Ticket of Leave for Cassilis 1836
Beasden, Jeremiah Shears, milks. Ploughman. Native place Kent. Assigned to George T. Graham on arrival
Bidmead, George Cloth worker from Gloucester. Assigned to Rev. Lancelot Threlkeld at Lake Macquarie on arrival
Bold, Joseph Cloth miller from Leeds. Assigned to Thomas Luscombe on arrival
Brenan, Peter Boot maker from Dublin. Ticket of Leave Paterson 1846
Brewer, John Ploughman. Milks and reaps. Native place Essex. Assigned to Thomas Luscombe on arrival
Burgess, George Blacksmith from Birmingham. Sent to Newcastle Gaol 1844
Callaghan, John Waterman from Kent. Assigned to George T. Graham on arrival
Carr, Thomas Ploughs, shears, reaps. Shepherd. Ticket of Leave Newcastle 1836
Clarke, Thomas Shepherd. Milks. Native place Worcestershire. Assigned to A.A. Company on arrival
Clewlow, John Stable boy from Stafford. Assigned to Robert Lethbridge on arrival
Collins, Edward Ploughman, reaps and milks. Native place Stafford. Assigned to the A.A. Company on arrival
Conquest, George Bargeman from Leicestershire. Assigned to Thomas Luscombe on arrival
Creamer, Thomas Ploughs, milks, reaps. Native place Bedford. Assigned to Rev. Lancelot Threlkeld at Lake Macquarie on arrival
Dalton, Thomas Carter from York. Assigned to Henry I. Pilcher on arrival
Davies, Edward Iron pan maker from Shropshire. Assigned to James Reid at Rosebrook on arrival
Daws, Abraham Stocking weaver from Derbyshire. Assigned to Henry I. Pilcher on arrival
Devine, John Weaver from Glasgow. Assigned to Walter Buchanan Wilkinson on arrival
Dogherty, John Weaver and hawker from Manchester. Sent to Newcastle Gaol from Maitland in 1847
Fisher, Edwin Tailor from Birmingham. Ticket of Leave for Maitland 1841
Fletcher, John Miner from Yorkshire. Ticket of Leave Maitland 1848
Foster, William Indoor servant and waiter from Halifax. Assigned to James Reid  at Rosebrook on arrival
Fuz, Robert Boatman from London. Assigned to Henry I. Pilcher on arrival
Garbutt, William Ploughs and reaps. Native place Yorkshire. Assigned to John Galt Smith on arrival
Geoghagan, Michal Soldier and labourer from Roscommon. Assigned to A.A. Company on arrival
Gould, John Linen weaver from York. Ticket of Leave Patrick Plains 1854
Graham, James Carter from Haddington. Assigned to John Busby at Sydney on arrival. Newcastle Gaol 1835
Grant, Henry Shoemaker from Stepney. At No. 3 Stockade at Newcastle 1845
Greenwood, Thomas Wool sorter and soldier from Halifax. Assigned to John Burke at Maitland in 1836
Hamilton, Andrew Indoor servant, cook and soldier from Lanarkshire. Maitland 1831. Norfolk Island 1833.
Holland, William Cotton spinner from Cheshire. Assigned to A.A. Company on arrival
Holt, William Weaver and labourer from York. Assigned to A.A. Company on arrival
Johnson, William Sailor from Berwick. Assigned to Andrew McDougall at Patrick Plains in 1832
Jones, John Stephen Ploughs, shepherd, milks, shears, reaps. Native place Somersetshire. Assigned to Richard Jones in Sydney on arrival
Jones, William Blacksmith and farmer's man from Surry. Assigned to William Dumaresq in 1832
Judd, Charles Cordwainer and soldier from Hampshire. Assigned to James Cornish at Maitland on arrival
Kahiel, Matthew Farmer's boy from Lancashire. Assigned to Carters Barracks on arrival. Ticket of leave Maitland 1838
Kent, William Soldier and Officer's servant from Brighton. Died at Harper's Hill Stockade in 1838
Lamb, Thomas Miner from York. Sent to Newcastle Gaol 1850
Liversedge, William Butcher, ploughs, reaps. Shepherd. Native place Yorkshire. Assigned to John Gaggin on arrival
Logan, John Weaver from Paisley. Assigned to Andrew McDougall at Hawkesbury on arrival. Ticket of Leave Patrick Plains 1840
Mabberley, John Carpenter from Berkshire. Assigned to Henry Donnison at Brisbane Water in 1836
Madderah, William Waterman and weaver from York. Assigned to John Gaggin at Windsor on arrival
Matthews, James Ploughs, shears, milks. Native place Kent. Assigned to James Webber at Penshurst on arrival
McCowan, Hugh Blacksmith. Ploughs. Native place Argyle. Assigned to Archibald Bell in 1836
Miller, William Blacksmith from Glasgow. Assigned to John Portus at Maitland in 1836
Minchin, Ambrose Ploughs, reaps, milks. Native place Gloucester. Assigned to William Innes on arrival
Morgan, Thomas Ploughs, shears, milks, reaps. Native place Gloucester. Ticket of Leave Invermein 1836
Norman, Thomas Ploughs, shepherd. Tried at Aylesbury. Assigned to Robert Henderson at Brisbane Water on arrival
Parker, William Stonemason from Nottinghamshire. Assigned to James Adair in 1832
Partington, Benjamin Ploughman, reaps, shears, milks. Native place Lancashire. Assigned to John Busby Sydney on arrival. Ticket of leave Cassilis 1835
Pegg, Thomas Carter from Derbyshire. Assigned to John H. Boughton on arrival
Phillips, William Barber from Cheshire. Ticket of leave Maitland 1836
Polin, Francis Weaver, reaps. Native place Glasgow. Assigned to Robert Lethbridge on arrival
Powell, Charles Labourer from Warwick. Assigned to Walter Buchanan Wilkinson on arrival
Riles, William Ploughs, reaps, milks. Native place Lancashire. Assigned to Walter Buchanan Wilkinson on arrival
Simpson, Ralph Potter from Stafford. Assigned to John Hall at Pitt Town on arrival. Ticket of leave Invermein 1837
Slack, John Chairmaker from Derby. Sent to A.A. Company at Port Stephens 1830
Smallwood, Benjamin Shoemaker from Stafford. Assigned to Robert Lethbridge on arrival
Smith, Joseph Groom and indoor servant from Gloucester. Sent to Newcastle Gaol 1841
Smith, Samuel Chimney sweep from Derbyshire. Ticket of Leave Merton 1838
Smith, William House painter from London. Assigned to G. Blaxland at Merton 1836
Sugden, Thomas Ploughman from Yorkshire. Assigned to Thomas Coulson at Black Creek on arrival
Sutcliffe, George Worsted spinner from Bradford. Assigned to Carters Barracks on arrival. Ticket of Leave Invermein 1834
Sutcliffe, William Indoor servant from Manchester. Assigned to Henry I. Pilcher on arrival
Thompson, Thomas Shoemaker from London. Assigned to William Forsyth at Hunter River on arrival
Turner, James Cook and butcher from London. Assigned to Henry I. Pilcher at Maitland in 1836
Walker, John Labourer from Greenock. Assigned to John McEvoy at Maitland on arrival
Watson, James Tailor and fisherman from Kent. Ticket of Leave Maitland 1834
Watts, William Shoemaker and indoor servant from London. Sent to Newcastle Gaol in 1840
Wheeler, John Stableman from London. Assigned to the A.A. Company on arrival
White, William Stable boy from Kent. Assigned to the A.A. Company on arrival
Whittle, James Shoemaker from Greenwich. Assigned to John Laurio Platt in 1833
Wilcox, John Stableman from Southwark. Assigned to Robert Henderson at Brisbane Water on arrival
Wilson, James Weaver from York. Assigned to Hugh Cameron on arrival
Wisewood, John Native place London. Assigned to James Webber at Penshurst on arrival. Died at Brisbane Water 1831
Woodfield, John Bricklayer, solder, and Officer's servant from Wiltshire. Assigned to William C. Wentworth in 1836
Wright, John Stone sawyer and polisher from Stafford. Assigned to James Webber at Penshurst on arrival
Wyatt, Henry Cotton weaver from Stafford. Ticket of Leave Maitland 1839. Ticket of Leave Patrick Plains 1845

Notes and Links

1). Oh Happy Day, Those Times and These Times by Carmen Callil - In this remarkable book, Carmen Callil discovers the story of her British ancestors, beginning with her great-great-grandmother Sary Lacey, born illegitimate in 1808, an impoverished stocking frame worker in Leicestershire. Through detailed research, we follow Sary from slum to tenement and from pregnancy to pregnancy. We also meet George Conquest (per Nithsdale), a canal worker and the father of one of Sary's children. George was sentenced - for stealing a piece of hemp - to seven years' transportation to Australia, where he faced the extraordinary brutality of convict life. Meanwhile, Mary Ann Brooks and her father John, a silversmith, travel across the seas from Lincolnshire to escape the Workhouse and life as a skivvy.  To be Published: 3 November 2020

2). Select here to read about a Court case in Sydney involving Captain Thomas Christian and the ship's steward who was making a claim for unpaid wages - Sydney Gazette 12 June 1830

3). Select here to find out about bushranger Andrew Hamilton who arrived on the Nithsdale

4). Convict Robert Sutherland 's sister Isabella arrived on the Numa in 1834.

5). Punishment of Thomas Greenwood -
Return of Corporal Punishments inflicted by Sentence of the Bench of Magistrates at Maitland, from the 1st to the 30th September 1833, in the presence of P.N.Anley, Resident Magistrate Thomas Greenwood, Nithsdale, disobedience of orders and absenting, 50 lashes. Appeared much cut.

6). Return of Convicts of the Nithsdale assigned between 1st January 1832 and 31st March 1832 (Sydney Gazette 14 June 1832; 21 June 1832; 28 June 1832; 5 July 1832)

Robert Cowin - Shingler assigned to David Reid at Argyle
Thomas Greenwood - Wool sorter assigned to Robert Futter at Argyle
William Hancock - Bricklayer assigned to James Blackett at Ultimo
William Jones - Blacksmith assigned to William Dumaresq at Hunters River
William Johnson - Sailor assigned to Andrew McDougall at Patrick Plains
John Maberly - Carpenter assigned to Henry Donnison in Sydney
William Miller - Blacksmith assigned to Judge Dowling in Sydney
William Miller - Blacksmith assigned to Thomas Bartie at Williams River
Hugh McCowen - Blacksmith assigned to S. North at Windsor
William Parker - Stonemason assigned to James Adair at Patterson's Plains
Daniel Stewart - Slater and builder assigned to Sydney Stephen at Sydney

7).Convict Ships bringing detachments of the 17th regiment........

Dunvegan Castle departed Sheerness 30 September 1829 - Lieut. John Grey

Katherine Stewart Forbes departed Spithead 14 October 1829 - Major Fairtclough 63rd regt.,

Mermaid departed Sheerness 5 December 1829 - Lieutenant Isaac Blackburn

Forth 1 departed Cork 1 January 1830 - Captain James Oliphant Clunie

Nithsdale departed Sheerness 1 January 1830 - Captain Robert G. Moffatt

Lady Feversham departed Portsmouth 8 April 1830 - Lieutenant Harvey 29th regt.,

Marquis of Huntley departed Sheerness 9 April 1830 Lieutenant Watson 20th regt.,

Adrian departed Portsmouth 27 April 1830 - Ensign Reynolds

Lord Melville departed the Downs 6 June 1830 - Lieutenant Robert Graham

Hercules departed Dublin 3 July 1830 - Major J.W. Bouverie

Royal Admiral departed Portsmouth 5 July 1830 - Captain John Church

Burrell departed Plymouth 27 July 1830 - Captain John Alexander Edwards

Andromeda departed Cork 28 August 1830 - Captain Charles Forbes

York departed Sheerness 4 September 1830 - Lieut-Col. Henry Despard

Edward departed Cork 17 October 1830 - Captain Deeds

Eliza II departed Cork 10 May 1832 - Lieutenant Hewson 4th regiment

8). National Archives - Reference: ADM 101/56/8 Description: Medical journal of the Nithsdale, convict ship from 9 November 1829 to 21 May 1830 by Robert Malcolm, surgeon and superintendent, during which time the said ship was employed in conveying convicts to New South Wales

9). National Archives, Kew. HO 17/54/24 [1829 Oct] Criminal Petitions - Prisoner name: Samuel Latham. Prisoner age: 30. Prisoner occupation: Butcher. Court and date of trial: Chester Summer Assizes 1829. Crime: Cattle stealing - one calf. Initial sentence: Death, commuted to transportation for life. Gaoler's report: Character good. Annotated: Ordered to the hulks. Nil. Petitioner(s): Twelve inhabitants of [Winnington, Staffordshire] who have known the convict since birth. Grounds for clemency: Previous irreproachable character; first offence; his family is highly respected in the neighbourhood.


[1] UK, Royal Navy Medical Journals, 1817-1857 . Medical Journal of Robert Malcolm on the voyage of the Nithsdale in 1830. The National Archives. Kew, Richmond, Surrey.

[2] Bateson, Charles, Library of Australian History (1983). The convict ships, 1787-1868 (Australian ed). Library of Australian History, Sydney : pp.348-349, 386

[3] New South Wales, Australia, Convict Indents, 1788-1842 Original data: Bound manuscript indents, 1788 - 1842. NRS 12188, microfiche 614 - 619,626 - 657, 660 - 695. State Records Authority of New South Wales, Kingswood, New South Wales, Australia.