The Convict Ship William Hammond 1856
William Hammond was a late frigate ship with three masts and oak hull with specifications: Official #6113, 683 tons, length 149.5 ft., breadth 28.6 ft., depth 19.0 ft. with a draft of 13.6 ft. She was built in Sunderland in 1853, but at this point in time her builder is not known to me. Her owner may have been Thomas & Co. but this cannot be confirmed and could be one of the many companies named Thomas or Thompson.
At the start of the voyage, a sailor named John Gollatly fell overboard and drowned, whereupon another sailor (Deady) attacked the Chief Mate, accusing him of causing Gollaty’s predicament. The ship picked up convicts from the Thames prison hulks Defence and Warrior, then made her way to Portsmouth and Portland where more convicts embarked. At Plymouth Deady appeared before a magistrate and was imprisoned, and along with six other sailors who were sick, did not make the voyage.William Hammond finally left Plymouth on January 5, 1856 bound for the Swan River Colony and arrived in Fremantle on March 29, 1856 after a passage of 84 days. None of the 250 convicts who had embarked died on the voyage. Convict George Anderson’s regiment was on its way to the Crimean War when Anderson was sentenced at a camp near Varna, Bulgaria for desertion, thus missing his military service in the Crimea. Captain Horatio Edwards commanded the crew of 32. Dr George David Maclaren and Mr Wallis Barr were the surgeon superintendent and religious instructor respectively; it was Barr’s second voyage on a convict ship. Also on board were 30 men of the enrolled pensioner force, their 20 wives and 40 children. However of these, one convict guard of the EPF, Corporal Henry Fraser, died on the voyage. Only one EPF man had served in the Crimean War, Private John Bain formerly of the Ambulance Corps.
Dr George Maclaren’s surgeon’s journal for the voyage is preserved in the National Archives, Kew. Researchers can view a copy on the Australian Joint Copying Project (AJCP) microfilm reel 3212 which is held in most major libraries and archives throughout Australia.
Captain Horatio Edwards maintained a ship’s log of the voyage, but to date I have not been able to source this account.
Royal Engineers’ Expedition to the Swan River Colony, Lieut. Derrick Prall, R.E., 1999.
Crew List Index (CLIP) Website.
Lloyds Register of Shipping Website.
Perth Dead Persons Society (DPS) Website.
The Sunderland Site, Peter Searle’s Website.
© Diane Oldman 2015