The Ship, Builder and Owner
Kinnear was built in Yarmouth [Norfolk] by Ambrose Palmer in 1834. Her first survey was completed in June 1835 in London, described as a ship of 359 tons. She left London in mid-July that year on her first of many voyages to Australia. George Kinnear, a young Scottish entrepreneur, with his wife and daughter were on board, arriving in Hobart on 24th October 1835. George Kinnear would be known as a foundation director of the Bank of Australasia. Ellice Kinnear & Co. and/or Ellice & Co. owned the vessel from 1835 to 1843. In 1837 Kinnear was described as a barque and her tonnage increased to 369 tons and remained so until her final listing in Lloyds in 1858.
For most of her career Kinnear was a cargo/passenger vessel – mainly to Australia. She also made journeys to the Black Sea, to Genoa and finally to South America. She made two convict voyages to Van Diemen’s Land in 1842 and 1848, the latter voyage transporting female prisoners.
The Ship’s Unwilling Passengers
In June 1842, Kinnear and the convict guards from the 99th Regiment arrived in Kingstown, Dublin where 174 male convicts embarked for the voyage to Hobart. These men had been tried in over 20 different county courts in Ireland.
The surgeon recorded that throughout the voyage no symptoms of scurvy were apparent; a few boils on the lower extremities of some of the prisoners occurred towards the end of the voyage but were quickly removed by a change of diet. He indicated that the majority were landed in a better state of health than on their reception on board.
Two convicts died on the voyage: Robert Taylor (56) tried in County Antrim died on 3rd August 1842 of pneumonia. James O’Donnell (24) tried in County Mayo died of diarrhoea on 10th October 1842.
The Ship’s Guards and Carers
In 1842, Kinnear was one of 22 convict ships arriving in Van Diemen’s Land from British ports. The troops were ultimately bound for New South Wales where the majority of 99th Regiment troops in Australia were then garrisoned. Guarding the convicts to Hobart are listed left: one officer, a colour sergeant, two corporals, and 26 privates. Within the month of landfall on Australian soil, they would sail on Kinnear to Port Jackson to join their regiment in NSW.
Eight of the 99th guards on board Kinnear were recorded on the surgeon’s Sick List and were soon returned to duty. Three of the guards ultimately served in Western Australia. Private #1136 John Jonson discharged from the Army on 30th June 1852 and settled in the Colony.
The Master for this voyage was Captain William Lidderdale, and the Surgeon Superintendent, George I Fox.
The Ship’s Voyage
31 May 1842 Surgeon and Guards embarked Kinnear [ADM101-40-5].
02 Jun Departed London [Morning Post 3 Jun 1842].
15 Jun Arrived Kingstown, Dublin [Naval Military Gazette 25 Jun 1842].
10 Jul Departed Kingstown, Dublin [The Courier 28 Oct 1842].
23 Oct Arrived Hobart, Van Diemen’s Land [The Courier 28 Oct 1842].
Passage 105 days. Disembarked 172 convict [DPS].
29 Oct Departed Hobart [Sydney Morning Herald 10 Nov 1842].
10 Nov Arrived Port Jackson, New South Wales [Sydney Morning Herald 10 Nov 1842].
The Ship’s Journal
George Irwin Fox RN maintained his Surgeon Superintendent’s journal on Kinnear from 31st May to 23rd October 1842 – thus he accompanied the 99th Regiment convict guards from London to Hobart where the convicts were disembarked. He appears to have remained on board for Kinnear‘s sailing to Sydney and from there returned to England via Port Phillip, Victoria on the ship Aden. The Kinnear voyage was the only one he made as Superintendent Surgeon on a convict ship.
In Fox’s first page of his journal he reports, a List of Prisoners vaccinated on board … on her passage to Van Diemen’s Land between 31st May and the 23rd October 1842. He completed and signed a list of four ‘failures’ on September 2nd, 14th, 23rd and 28th.
In his General Remarks (left) Fox records, Of the whole number of Cases of Disease included in the Nosological Synopsis accompanying this Journal, the only ones of any note were those the details of which are transmitted in full – the others have been merely instances of temporary indisposition, easily and speedily removed by the means put in force and presenting nothing uncommon or interesting.
Throughout the voyage, 81 passengers were reported on the Sick List and 79 returned to duty. Two men died and were included by the Surgeon in his six detailed Case Notes. Fox seems to have managed a medically ‘good ship’ given it was his only voyage with convicts aboard.
The Ship’s Demise
The fate of Kinnear built in 1834 is currently unknown.
Wikipedia, Wikipedia Commons.
Lloyd’s Registers 1834-1860.
The Convict Ships, 1787-1868, Charles Bateson, 1974.
Free Settler or Felon? [Jen Willetts].
Australian Medical Pioneer Index.
Log of Logs Vols. 1, Ian Nicholson 1993.
Passengers in History website [Maritime Museum of South Australia].
Musters & Pay Lists WO12-9805, National Archives, Kew.
Journal of Her Majesty’s Ship Kinnear, ADM101-40-5, National Archives, Kew.
© Diane Oldman 2023