The Convict Ship Mandarin

The Convict Ship “Mandarin”

 

The convict ship Mandarin sailed from Spithead Pourtsmouth on 25th February 1840 bound for Van Diemen’s Land (Tasmania).  On board were the Chartist leaders John Frost, Zephaniah Williams and William Jones whose death sentences for High Treason had been commuted to transportation after a public outcry. The Mandarin was a 425 ton S-rigged sailing ship built by Horton in 1834 captained by James Muddle.  Altogether there were 212 convicts were on board , being transported for offences ranging from attempted theft of handkerchiefs to manslaughter.  According to many sources transportation was considered a very severe punishment for many of the prisoners who by today’s standards had committed relatively minor offences.

 

CLICK HERE TO SEE DETAILS OF ALL THE CONVICTS ABOARD THE MANDARIN INCLUDING JOHN FROST ZEPHANIAH WILLIAMS AND WILLIAM JONES  (alphabetical order)

The Convict Ship, Mandarin, sailed 24th February, 1840

 

John Frost later wrote about his experiences on board the Mandarin: “By degrees I gained strength, and with an increase of strength came an increase of resolution to bear my sufferings with patience and firmness. One day, when the ship was tossing about, I had before me a pretty tough piece of convict beef ; had hold of the partition with one hand, and I was attempting to cut the beef with the other, when I heard a chuckling above me. I looked up and saw the old boatswain laughing at me, ‘ Ah, Mr. Frost,’ said he, ‘ this voyage will be worth a thousand a-year to you; it will teach you something of life.’

 

On a previous voyage, 14 deaths occurred on the Mandarin caused by suffocation, exhaustion from sea sickness, apoplexy, phrenitis and convulsions, so the job of Alexander McKechnie, the ship’s surgeon, was an important one in keeping the convicts alive during the voyage, and on this trip, however, only one person died.  Dr. McKechnie.kept detailed medical notes about the convicts illnesses:-

 

Joseph Hudson, aged 26, convict; haemoptysis. Put on sick list 4 March. Discharged 12 March

James Williams, aged 30, soldier 51st Regiment; febris. Put on sick list 8 April. Died 10 April

Thomas Connall, aged 22, soldier 96th Regiment; colica spasmod. Put on sick list, 15 April  -Discharged 25 April

Thomas Bush, aged 22, convict; scurvey. Put on sick list, 18 April – Discharged 24 April .

John Gallop, aged 28, convict; scurvey. Put on sick list, 24 April –  Discharged 24 April..

John House, aged 27, convict; scurvey. Put on sick list, 26 April 1840. Discharged 30 April

George Coe, aged 33, convict; scurvey. Put on sick list, 7 May 1840. Discharged 4 June .

Richard Cass, aged 22, convict; scurvey. Put on sick list, 25 May 1840. Discharged 9 June.

Thomas Mole, aged 23, convict; scurvey and catarrh. Put on sick list, 25 May 1840. Discharged 6 July 1840 to the Colonial Hospital.

Thomas Evans, aged 19, convict; scurvey. Put on sick list, 27 May 1840. Discharged 2 June.

Walter Duke, aged 33, convict; purpura. Put on sick list, 8 June 1840. Died 10 June 1840.

William Bolden, aged 52, convict; purpura. Put on sick list, 11 June 1840. Discharged 6 July 1840 to the Colonial Hospital.

Charles Baker, aged 30, convict; scurvey. Put on sick list, 12 June 1840. Discharged 23 June.

John Morton, aged 24, convict; purpura. Put on sick list, 24 June 1840. Discharged 29 June.

Francis Rogers, aged 20, convict;  catarrh. Put on sick list, 28 June 1840. Discharged 1 July 1840 to the Colonial Hospital.

Jean Jacques Courbean, aged 62, convict; atrophia. Put on sick list, 29 June 1840. Discharged 1 July 1840 to the Colonial Hospital.

John Williams, aged 25, convict;  hernia. Put on sick list, 2 July 1840. Discharged 2 July 1840 and supplied with a truss.

 

More information can be found about the conversations of Dr. Alex McKechnie on board the Mandarin can be found in Les James’ book, “Render the Chartists Defenceless”.

 

After 126 days at sea on board the Mandarin, the convicts reached their destination of the penal colony at Port Arthur, Tasmania, after a journey of over 12,000 nautical miles, arriving on 30th June 1840.

 

CLICK HERE TO SEE INFORMATION ABOUT THE PENAL COLONY AT PORT ARTHUR – “a machine to grind rogues honest”.

https://portarthur.org.au/

 

 

 

 

 

 

OTHER CONVICT SHIPS ARRIVING AUSTRALIA IN 1840

http://www.historyaustralia.org.au/twconvic/1840

SHIP MASTER SURGEON DEPARTED ARRIVED MALE CONVICTS FEMALE CONVICTS
Mandarin

1840

Muddle, Jas McKechnie, Alex Spithead Hobart 212 0
Maitland 1840? Baker, Jn. Toms, Plp. Sheerness Sydney 310 0
Margaret 1840? Canney, Ed. Browning, Col. A. Dublin Sydney 0 133
Pekoe 1840? Keen, Sampson Bower, Rbt. Dublin Sydney 184 0
Eden 1840? Naylor, Hy. J. Forman, Geo. E. Sheerness Sydney 270 0
Egyptian 1840? Skelton, Jn Kidd, Jn Dublin Hobart 170 0
Augusta Jessie 1840 Sparke, J.S. Dunn, Thos. Dublin Norfolk Is. Sydney 161 0
Mangles 1840? Carr, Wm. Nisbett, Alex. Plymouth Norfolk Is. Sydney 290 0
Canton 1840? Mordaunt, Jn Irvine, Jn Spithead Hobart 240 0
Middlesex 1840? Munro, Chas. Baird, Jn. Dublin Sydney 200 0
Woodbridge 1840? Dobson, Wm. B. Moxey, Geo. T. London Sydney 230 0
Runnymede 1840? Forward, W Fisher, Ptr London Hobart 200 0
Gilbert Henderson 1840? Tweedie, J Hamett, Sir Jn London Hobart 0 185
Surrey 1840? Sinclair, Geo. Leah, Ed. Downs Sydney 0 213
Isabella 1840? McAusland, Alex. Mahon, Hy. W. Dublin Sydney 0 119
Asia 1840? Fawcett, Jas Johnston, J Sheerness Hobart 276 0
King William 1840? Thomas, Geo. France, Campbell Dublin Sydney 180 0
Nautilus 1840? Alloway, H. McClure, Geo. Dublin Norfolk Is. Sydney 200 0
Parland 1840? Rawlings. Bombay Sydney 11 0
Westbrook 1840? 0

 

Between 1788 and 1852, a total of about 1,800 Welsh convicts were transported to Australia – about 1.2% of the total number of convicts transported there by that time.

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2 thoughts on “The Convict Ship Mandarin

  • 25th July 2018 at 3:35 pm
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    This is all very interesting- many thanks! Also, Patrick, many thanks for attending our play in June.
    Best Wishes,
    Arlene Pryce
    Heritage Theatr Cymru

    Reply
    • 6th August 2018 at 2:38 pm
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      Thanks Arlene
      Thoroughly enjoyed your play
      Pat

      Reply

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