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Shipping Intelligence: an introduction

Except for the 63rd Regiment, the officers and men of the eight infantry detachments serving in the Swan River Colony first made landfall in one of the other Colonies. Some were raw recruits when they left Britain but most were experienced soldiers. Near enough to 1,200 Redcoats served in Western Australia and over 160 took their Army discharges and settled in that State. This would have been the case for countless other soldiers who served and settled in other Colonies in the 19th Century.

The British Government, in its parsimonious manner, used its human resources wisely. The men who were charged with keeping law and order in WA in its early history, mostly initially arrived as convict guards on the prison ships to Port Jackson, NSW and Hobart Town, Van Diemen’s land. The ships from Britain were not always convict ships, they could have been troopships, cargo ships or even immigrant ships. Once stationed in headquarters and at military posts in the Eastern Colonies, some troops were selected to journey westward.

Prior to embarking on a ship to Australia, the Redcoats may have travelled from other parts of Britain to start that first part of their journey. The last folios of the Musters and Pay Lists show that all troop movements and the expenses related to them are covered by ‘vouchers’ which, in turn, are accounted for in the Pay Lists. The men could have travelled from as far as Scotland, Ireland or some part of England to reach Chatham before receiving orders to make their way to Deptford for embarkation; they could even have been transported from places of confinement if they had been serving time for a military offence. There were many stopping points along the way, to pick up convicts from prisons or hulks, or because of weather conditions, before the men saw their last view of Britain on a passage of between 115 and 130 days at sea.

The list below generally only reflects the ships on which the 160 military settlers arrived from Britain, thus there were none from the 39th detachment in Frederickstown (Albany) as none of those men settled in Western Australia. It also excludes the Royal Engineers and Sappers and Miners who served in WA from 1850 to 1862. A description of these ships (Scindian, Anna Robertson, Marion and Nile) can be found on my website:

There is no particular order for links created to profiles of the ships in the table below; indeed some ships may not be profiled at all if sufficient information is not available. As with all pages of this website they are a work in progress. Identifying an arrival date and ship from Britain for each man who ultimately served in Western Australia is complex and my posting of them can be entirely random. Each Redcoat’s profile posted on the website via the A – Z Redcoat Index will eventually show an arrival date in Australia with a link to his ship. Each regiment’s heading in the table below will link to a document showing each settler’s departure and arrival dates (downloadable as a PDF file).

21st Regiment: Ships Britain to Australia

Asia 1833
Camden 1832/33
Circassian 1832/33
Enchantress 1833
Java 1833
Lotus 1832/33
Mangles 1832/33
Mary 1832/33
Portland 1833
Stakesby 1833

99th Regiment: Ships Britain to Australia

Anson 1843/44
Asiatic 1843

Forfarshire & Lord Petre 1843
Gilmore 1843
John Renwick 1842/43
Kinnear 1842
Navarino 1842/1843
Richard Webb 1841/1842
Somersetshire 1841/1842

12th Regiment: Ships Britain to Australia


14th Regiment: Ships Britain to Australia