Navarino was built in Cochin (Kochi) on the Malabar Coast (southwestern India) in 1808. Fort Cochin had been a Dutch Colony for most of the 18th Century until ceded to the British in 1795. Navarino was a 464 ton (later 493 ton) barque built by James Scarth with dimensions 116 ft. 2.5 ins. length, 29 ft. 9 ins. breadth and 5 ft. 9 ins. depth. She was rebuilt in 1829 in Calcutta and in 1835 her teak hull was again rebuilt – possibly in Amherst, Nova Scotia.
A search of Lloyds Registers from 1808 to 1837 failed to produce any listings, although up to six ships of the same name were listed in the 1830s. From 1837 Navarino‘s activities were easier to trace. She had a good many years as an emigrant ship sailing from various ports in England to Australia: 1837 (to Kangaroo Island and Adelaide), 1839 (from Cork to Sydney), 1848, 1849, 1851, 1854, 1855, 1857 (to Port Adelaide). In between Navarino had two convict voyages to VDL in 1840/41 and 1842/43.
The search for information about Navarino‘s builder, James Scarfe, has been fruitless as has the search for her original owner and changes over the years. Her owner from 1837 and for some years beyond, including her convict voyages, was T Ward; he seemed to employ the same Master during his ownership: Captain Christopher Abel Warming.
The Ship’s Unwilling Passengers
In August 1842, Navarino and the convict guards from the 99th Regiment arrived in Kingstown, Dublin where 180 male convicts embarked for the voyage. Unfortunately information about individual crimes and sentences has not been indexed for this voyage – although images of indents and other documents are available in the Tasmanian Archives.
The surgeon reported that the prisoners suffered severely from seasickness in the first few days after leaving Dublin, but remained generally in good health.
Two convicts died on the voyage: James Smythe on 14th December 1842 died of apoplexy – which appears to have arisen from the rupture of a cerebral vessel during an attack of epilepsy. Patrick Molloy died of dysentery on 9th January 1843. Several of the convicts were sent to Hobart Hospital upon arrival.
The Ship’s Guards and Carers
In 1843, Navarino was one of 18 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 sergeant, one corporal, and 25 privates. Within the month of landfall on Australian soil, they would sail on Navarino to Port Jackson to join their regiment in NSW.
Only two of the 99th guards on board Navarino were recorded on the surgeon’s Sick List and were soon returned to duty. Eight of the guards ultimately served in Western Australia and Private #1538 William Proctor discharged from the Army in October 1849 and may have settled in the Colony.
The Master for this voyage was Captain Christopher Abel Warming, and the Surgeon Superintendent John James Lancaster.
The Ship’s Voyage
09 Aug 1842 Navarino being fitted for convicts at Deptford.
20 Aug 99th Regiment guards departed on Navarino at Deptford.
31 Aug Arrived Kingstown, Dublin. Immediately commenced receiving convicts on board.
10 Sep Embarkation of 180 male convicts completed. Unfavourable winds detained the ship in harbour.
22 Sep Departed Kingstown.
10 Jan 1843 Arrived in Hobart, Van Diemen’s Land.
Passage 110 days. Disembarked 178 convicts.
20 Jan Departed Hobart.
29 Jan Arrived Port Jackson, New South Wales.
The Ship’s Journal
John James Lancaster RN maintained his Surgeon Superintendent’s journal on Navarino from 16th August 1842 to 30th January 1843 – thus he accompanied the guards from Deptford, London to Sydney after disembarking the convicts in Hobart.
Born in Plymouth, Lancaster was a seasoned sailor-surgeon even before gaining his Royal Navy seniority in 1834. His first voyage on a convict ship was in 1831 when he was appointed Acting Surgeon-Superintendent on Lord William Bentinck transporting prisoners to Bermuda. He sailed on a variety of sea routes with the Royal Navy including the capture of a Spanish slave ship in 1833 when serving as Assistant-Surgeon with H.M.S. Despatch. Lancaster’s second convict voyage was on Lord Auckland, sailing from London on 16th July 1844, transporting prisoners from Millbank Prison, and arriving in Hobart on 15th November 1844.
The condition recorded by the highest number of passengers on the Sick List was catarrh (35). This would account for about half the medical problems aboard Navarino. From the outset, Surgeon Lancaster was very much concerned with the cleanliness of the ship throughout its voyage. He remarks, “The prisons were cleaned daily by scraping and dry holy stoning on the prison deck being only wetted twice during the whole voyage, and to this precaution I am disposed to attribute in a considerable degree our perfect immunity from any scorbutus [scurvy] complaints. Stoves were also frequently kept burning while the prisoners were on deck, and the prisons sprinkled with a solution of chloride of lime. The prisoners were inspected daily to enforce personal cleanliness, and also to ascertain at the earliest moment the appearance of disease amongst them.”
The Ship’s Demise
It seems likely that Navarino‘s last listing in Lloyds Register was 1860, although with her history of non-listing, I cannot be sure. It is difficult to identify the date of her last survey – with the cross outs and stamps in red ink shown (right).
The fate of Navarino 1808 is currently unknown.
Wikipedia, Wikipedia Commons.
Lloyd’s Registers 1808-1865.
The Convict Ships, 1787-1868, Charles Bateson, 1974.
Tasmanian Name Index [Tasmanian Archives]
Free Settler or Felon? [Jen Willetts].
Australian Medical Pioneer Index.
Musters & Pay Lists WO12-9804-9805, National Archives, Kew.
Journal of Her Majesty’s Ship Navarino, ADM101-56-3, National Archives, Kew.
Log of Logs Vols. 1 & 2, Ian Nicholson 1993.
Australasian Underwater Cultural Heritage Database.
West Kent Guardian 13 Aug 1842.
Launceston Examiner 14 Jan 1843.
The Courier 13 Jan 1843.
Colonial Times 17 Jan 1843.
Sydney Morning Herald 30 Jan 1843.
The Australian 30 Jan 1843.
© Diane Oldman 2023