Free Settler or Felon
Convict and Colonial History

Convict Ship Shipley - 1820

Embarked: 150 men
Deaths: 4
Voyage: 113 days
Surgeon's Journal: yes
Previous vessel: Agamemnon arrived 22 September 1820
Next vessel: Guildford 30 September 1820
Master Lewis Williams Moncrief
Surgeon Henry Ryan
Passengers and prisoners of the Shipley identified in the Hunter Valley

The Shipley was built at Whitby in 1805. This was the third of four voyages bringing convicts to New South Wales, the others being in 1817, 1818 and 1822.

Prison Hulks

Some of the convicts who were held on the Laurel Hulk were transferred to the Shipley on 2nd May 1820; others held on the Justitia were transferred on 5th May.

John Henry Capper's Report on the state of the Convict Establishment details how some of them may have been employed.......

Report of John Henry Capper, Esq.
Superintendent of Ships and Vessels employed for the Confinement of Offenders under Sentence of Transportation;
12th January 1820.
My Lord, London, 12th January 1820.
I Have the honour of making a further Report to your Lordship, upon the state of the Convict Establishment. Employment has been provided, during the last year, for the greater part of the Convicts capable of laborious work, on board the respective Ships.

Your Lordship is, however, fully aware, that the Convict Ships are much encumbered with Prisoners, who are not only unfit to undergo the voyage to New South Wales, but totally incapable, from age and infirmity, of being employed in any manner: I renew this subject, in order that it may not escape your Lordship's notice, that every facility has been given, during the last year, for relieving the Gaols throughout the Kingdom of all the Male Transports, among whom are many whose constitutions are completely worn out.

The Convicts in the Hulks stationed at Sheerness and Portsmouth, have been advantageously employed in carrying on the Public Works in the Dock Yards at those Places; and the Prisoners which have lately been transferred to the Dock Yards at Chatham and Woolwich, have commenced works well adapted for Convicts. The Juvenile Offenders, which are of late much increased in number, have been occupied; a considerable number of them having been constantly employed in making shoes and articles of clothing for the Prisoners; and the Boys, who are learning the business of bookbinder, carpenter, smith and cooper, have made such progress in those trades, as leaves no doubt, when the day arrives of their being liberated from confinement, that they will be fully competent to earn their livelihood. I feel it my duty, however, to observe to your Lordship, that a few of the Boys have occasionally manifested vicious conduct, but by my placing them more immediately under the command of an Officer specially selected for that duty, they have, by constant watchfulness, been kept under control.

The Convict Hulk, which is now fitting at Portsmouth in lieu of the Laurel, worn out, will make the fourth Ship (each capable of containing five hundred Prisoners) constructed upon the plan recommended by the Navy Board to a former Committee of the House of Commons; which plan has fully answered the object in view on its first adoption, that of classification, and affording means for constant inspection
. [3]

Cabin Passengers

Mrs. Cartwright, the wife of Rev. Robert Cartwright arrived on the Shipley.[4]

Military Guard

The Guard consisted of Detachments of the 48th. 53d. and 69th. Regts., being Commanded by Lieut. Windsor of the latter Corps.[4]

Surgeon Henry Ryan

Henry Ryan's medical journal commenced on the 17th May while the vessel was still moored at Woolwich. Several soldiers of the 69th regiment who presented with symptoms of delirium over the course of a few days were sent by the surgeon to the Military Hospital at Woolwich - Private William Halliton, Private William Norman, Private Joseph Walker and Jeremiah Haggerty were all sent on shore. [2]


The Morning Post reported that the Shipley came down to Deal from the river on the 1st June. She departed the Downs on 5 June 1820.

Deaths on the Voyage

The first convict treated by the surgeon was a young lad by the name of James Ellis who presented with symptoms of gastric bleeding on 27th June. He died on 30th June. James Hearn, a weak emaciated convict died on 7th August 1820.

According to Governor Macquarie's Journal there were four deaths of convicts, one of them having been accidentally drowned......

Tuesday 26. Septr. 1820 ! The Ship Shipley, Commanded by Capt. Moncrief, with 146 Male Convicts from England anchored in Sydney Cove on the afternoon of this day; Three Convicts died on the Passage - and one Convict was drowned by accident. [4]

Departure from the Colony

The Shipley departed Port Jackson for England in March 1821

Notes and Links

1). Passengers and prisoners of the Shipley identified in the Hunter Valley

2). Rev. Robert Cartwright - Australian Dictionary of Biography


[1] Bateson, Charles, Library of Australian History (1983). The convict ships, 1787-1868 (Australian ed). Library of Australian History, Sydney : pp.342-343, 383

[2] UK, Royal Navy Medical Journals, 1817-1857. Medical Journal of Henry Ryan on the voyage of the Shipley in 1820. The National Archives. Kew, Richmond, Surrey.

[3] Estimates and Papers - Report of John Henry Capper

[4] Lachlan and Elizabeth Macquarie Archive