Tuesday, 11 June 2013

11th June 1813: The Convict Ship 'The Fortune' arrives in Sydney, Australia

'The entrance of Port Jackson, and part of the town of Sydney, New South Wales' an aquatint by Havell & Son, after Major James Taylor, c.1821
On Friday 11th June, the ship 'The Fortune' arrived in Port Jackson, Sydney, Australia, after a voyage of 6 months from when it left England.

The exact date of departure is not clear. For whilst the official records state that it left the South Coast on 3rd December 1812, the fact is that one of the prisoners on board - the Bolton Luddite convict, Thomas Holden - sent a letter to his family dated 11th December 1812 from the ship. 'The Fortune' had been beached in a storm after leaving Woolwich and had spent almost 7 weeks moored in Rio de Janeiro between 3rd February and 22nd March 1813.

200 prisoners had left England, but only 196 arrived: 2 had died of illness on the voyage (including the Luddite John Burney), whilst another 2 had drowned. 36 of the prisoners were under 21 years of age.

The prisoners on board were not taken ashore until a further 7 days had passed: 16 of them had been convicted with various offences connected with Luddism, to wit

Lancaster Special Commission (all sentenced to 7 years transportation):

James Brierley
John Burney (died en route)
Samuel Crossley
John Fisher
Joseph Greenhalgh
Thomas Holden
John Hope
Jon Hurst
James Knowles
Christopher Medcalfe
Samuel Radcliffe
Henry Thwaite

Chester Special Commission (all respited death sentences):

James Crosland
Colin Linden
James Wilson aka Roach

Derby Lent Assizes 1812:

John England (death, respited)

Nottingham Lent Assizes 1812:

Gervas Marshall (7 years transportation)

The Sydney Gazette reported that 6 of the prisoners were in irons, having been punished for their behaviour on the trip. Governor McQuarrie reportedly released them from this punishment before they were all sent to various locations to serve their sentences.

Information about the prisoners is taken from the relevant page on The Convict Stockade and also from jenwilletts.com.

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