News from 1830, 1831 & 1832

A descendant of Solomon Allen, one of the machine breakers from Berkshire, has reminded me that it was 179 years ago today (25th June 1831) that the convict ship Eleanor arrived in New South Wales. On board the Eleanor were men from Berkshire, Dorset, Hampshire, Wiltshire, and one man from Kent. The Eleanor sailed from Spithead on the 19th February 1831, the Master was Robert Cock and the Surgeon Superintendent was John Stephenson.

25th June 1831   -   The Convict ship, Eleanor, arrives in Sydney
Joseph and Robert Mason, brothers from Bullington in Hampshire, both wrote home to tell their family of their arrival in New South Wales.

In a letter dated 27th July 1831, addressed to his mother, sisters and friends, Robert Mason wrote:-
' ... we arrived in Sydney harbour on Saturday the 25th about nine o'clock in the evening, the mouth of the Bay is a mile wide both sides being fenced with rocks and after a winding course of about 7 miles you come to the town of Sydney it appears to be one of the finest and more secure harbours in the world the Town is on the side of a hill that gradually rises from the sea and it has a very beautiful appearance from a ship laying in the habour. Here the water turns to the right and goes 16 miles further up the country to a Town called Parramatta but this water is not deep enough to carry anything but small vessels.'

In a letter dates 30th September 1831, addressed to his 'wife, daughter, mother & sisters', Joseph Mason wrote of his arrival in Sydney:-

'We coasted along New South Wales till the 25th of June when about noon we caught eye of the light‑house at Sydney. Our Captain hoisted the Pilot Flag but a calm setting in, we did not receive the Pilot till sunset and they cast our anchor in Sydney Cove about 9 o’clock being just 18 weeks on our journey to the day two cannons were fired from our ship which echoed and re‑echoed among the adjacent Rocks and being the thing rather uncommon it shook off the lower stonsil boom on the lar‑board side.'

9th July 1831 – The following letter was sent from the Principal Superintendent’s Office in Hobart, to the Colonial Secretary.

            In reply to your Memorandum of this date respecting the conduct generally up to the men transported by the Eliza. I have the honour to report for the information of His Excellency the Lieutenant Governor, that the convicts by that ship have behaved in a most exemplary manner since their landing and that none of those in Town have been convicted of the most trifling offence to the present day and a circumstance unprecedented in my experience of the colony.

(AOTAS CSO1/524/1136)

11th July 1831
The convicts from the Eleanor come ashore and are taken to Hyde Park Barracks in Sydney.

We remained on board till Monday 11th of July when we were permitted to come on shore in our own clothes, a great indulgence and considered an extraordinary thing by the people. We went to the Barracks where we were inspected by the secretary and then put into a backyard with orders not to correspond with those who were sent here for CRIMES. The character that our Captain and Doctor gave us excellent and the people of Sydney considered us to be downright honest men a valuable qualification here.

(From a letter written by Robert Mason to his Mother, Sisters and Friends, dated, Sydney New South Wales, Wednesday July 27th 1831)


                                                          Hyde Park Barracks, Sydney




2nd AugustKent - Philip Porter, age 17, appeared at the Maidstone Assizes today, charged with setting fire to the property of several farmers in the parish of Orpington. The evidence against him was circumstantial. The Judge stopped the case and the boy was acquitted.

5th AugustEssex - At 9 o’clock this morning, William Jennings, who had been convicted of setting fire to the premises of William Addy, at Writtle, and of burglary at Althorne, was executed in front of Springfield Gaol.



3rd AugustVan Diemen’s Land – The convict ship, Proteus, arrived at Hobart Town today. All the convicts on board survived the voyage

8th AugustVan Diemen’s Land – One of the convicts who had arrived on board the Proteus, 20 year old John Simon Clark from Huntingdonshire, was transferred to the Hospital in Hobart, he was suffering from Phthysis.



6th AugustHampshire – John Dore and James Whitcher, who had been found guilty of setting fire to several ricks of corn and hay, three barns, a stable and a cart shed at Cocum Farm in the parish of Barton Stacey on the 11th December last year, were removed from the Leviathan prison hulk at Portsmouth and put on board the transport ship York, that will take them to Van Diemen’s Land.