Author Archives: Heather

Claudine 1821

From 4-6pm all the convicts on deck dancing.1 Henry Ryan, Surgeon-Superintendent on the convict ship Claudine, kept a detailed journal from 13 August 1821 to 15 December 1821.  The voyage took 113 days from Woolwich to Van Diemen’s Land and … Continue reading

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John Barry 1821

Dancing on convict ships 19 August 1821 …the soldiers were still on deck in numbers at the time, having just finished their usual evening dancing… Surgeon-superintendent, Daniel McNamara kept a medical journal on the convict ship from 16 May to … Continue reading

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Grenada 1821

6 June 1821; serving Lime juice and sugar to the guard and convicts,… gave permission to dance. Surgeon-superintendent, Peter Cunningham was noted for encouraging the convicts in his charge to dance.  His medical journal of the convict ship, Grenada, was … Continue reading

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Guildford 1820

Dancing on convict ships The surgeon recommends that convict ships should carry pipes and tabors so that convicts may dance to prevent them brooding on their misfortunes.1 The Guildford transported 190 convict men to the colony from England in 1820.  … Continue reading

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In transit from hulk to convict ship

Dancing on convict ships. Before leaving the Hulk, the convicts are thoroughly clothed in new suits, and ironed; and it is curious to observe with what nonchalance some of these fellows will turn the jingling of their chains into music … Continue reading

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Daphne 1819

Dancing on convict ships. Music and dancing on deck in the evening. The Daphne transported 180 convicts from Ireland in 1819.  These men came from all over the country and had been held in the Kilmainham Gaol in Dublin, and … Continue reading

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Surry 1816, 1819 and 1823

Dancing on convict ships As the Surry neared her destination, the prisoners were not locked up for the night until 9.30 or 10.00pm, being allowed on deck to that hour “to recreate with music for their general good conduct” with … Continue reading

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Broxbornebury 1814

Dancing on convict ships Jeffery Hart Bent travelled to the colony to become the first Supreme Court Judge of Australia and kept a diary of his journey on the Broxbornebury. On board was  Captain Thomas Pitcher Jnr, Surgeon Colin McLachlan, … Continue reading

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Speedy 1799

Dancing on convict ships Anna Josepha King, the wife of Governor Phillip Gidley King, kept a diary describing her voyage to the colony.  Beginning on the day she embarked, Tuesday 19th November 1799, through to her arrival in Port Jackson … Continue reading

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Dancing on Convict Ships

Life onboard convict ships varied significantly according to the date of transportation, the attitude of the captain, and the surgeon in charge of the prisoners. On some ships, dancing was actively encouraged every day for its health benefits. On the … Continue reading

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