The Eleven Ships

Convict Transport 'Alexander' (Marine Artist Frank Allen)

Convict Transport ‘Alexander’ (Marine Artist Frank Allen)

Alexander, weighing in at 452 tons, 114 ft long and 31 ft at the beam, the Alexander was commanded by Master Duncan Sinclair. She carried 192 male convicts and was the largest ship in the fleet.  Being built in Hull, England in 1783, little is known about the vessel after her return journey to England, as there are no records after 1808.



Store-ship 'Borrowdale' (Marine Artist Frank Allen)

Store-ship ‘Borrowdale’ (Marine Artist Frank Allen)

Borrowdale, one of three store-ships was built in Sunderland England for the owners Leightons & Co in 1785, three years before her trip to Botany Bay. Commanded by Master Hobson Reed, Borrowdale weighed 375 tons.  After an outward voyage of 9 months, Borrowdale was put back into service as a coal carried in general coastal trade, but several months later she sunk in a massive gale of Great Yarmouth Roads.


Convict Transport 'Charlotte' (Marine Artist Frank Allen)

Convict Transport ‘Charlotte’ (Marine Artist Frank Allen)

Charlotte, being 345 tons, 105 ft long and 28 ft at the beam, she carried 88 male and 20 female convicts to Botany Bay.  Built in 1784 and commanded by Master Thomas Gilbert, her return to England saw her doing the London-Jamaica run until she was sold to a Quebec merchant in 1818.  The vessel was then lost off the coast of Newfoundland that very same year.


Store-ship 'Fishburn' (Marine Artist Frank Allen)

Store-ship ‘Fishburn’ (Marine Artist Frank Allen)

Fishburn, one the three Store-ships, was built in Whitby in 1780 and was owned by Leightons, who were also the owners of Golden Grove and Borrowdale.  Fishburn was commanded by Master Robert Brown and possibly carried a crew of up to 30.  The vessel disappeared from the records after being discharged from HM’s service at Deptford, nine days after her arrival back in England.


Convict Transport 'Friendship' (Marine Frank Allen)

Convict Transport ‘Friendship’ (Marine Frank Allen)

Friendship, a convict transport ship, being 276 tons and 75 feet long was one of the light weight ships in the fleet and was commanded by Master Francis Walton. Built in Scarborough in 1784, she carried 76 male and 21 female convicts. During her return voyage to England her crew came down with scurvy and with insufficient crew to man her, she was scuttled in the straights of Macassar. The survivors were transferred to the Alexander.


Store-ship 'Golden Grove' (Marine Artist Frank Allen)

Store-ship ‘Golden Grove’ (Marine Artist Frank Allen)

Golden Grove, a store-ship of 331 tons, was under the command of Master William Sharp.  She had the distinction of carrying the Reverend Richard Johnson, the first chaplain to the colony and his wife Mary.  Golden Grove arrived at Deptford on 9 June 1789 having made one of the fastest passages back to England.  She disappeared from records around 1804, after working on the London-Jamaica run.



Convict Transport 'Lady Penrhyn' (Marine Artist Frank Allen)

Convict Transport ‘Lady Penrhyn’ (Marine Artist Frank Allen)

Lady Penrhyn, a convict transport vessel of 333 tons was commanded by Master William Copton Sever. Built at the Thames in 1786, she carried 101 female convicts.  After returning to England, she was put on the London-Jamaica run and was captured in 1811 in the West Indies and scuttled.




Convict Transport 'Prince of Wales' (Marine Artist Frank Allen)

Convict Transport ‘Prince of Wales’ (Marine Artist Frank Allen)

Prince of Wales was launched at the Thames in August 1786 for the owner James Mather, a Cornhill merchant.  She was added to the number of transports in December 1786, and carried only one male convict and 49 female convicts. She was of 350 tons and commanded by Master John Mason.On returning, Prince of Wales operated around England until 1797 when her registration was transferred to Fort Royal, Martinique, after which, little is known.




Convict Transport 'Scarborough' (Marine Artist Frank Allen)

Convict Transport ‘Scarborough’ (Marine Artist Frank Allen)

Scarborougha convict transport vessel of 430 tons, carried 208 male convicts under the command of Master John Marshall.  After a safe passage back to England, the ship and her Master returned to Port Jackson in the Second Fleet.  On completion on her duties as a convict transport and with major repairs and under a new Master, Scarborough was employed on the London to St Petersburg route.

With changes in ownership and masters, Scarborough was employed on the London-West Indies/St Vincent run.  The last entry for the vessel was in 1805, twenty-three years after it was built.


HMS 'Sirius' (Marine Artist Frank Allen)

HMS ‘Sirius’ (Marine Artist Frank Allen)

HMS Sirius was built in 1780 as the Berwick for the East India trade. She was badly burnt in a fire and was bought and rebuilt by the Admiralty in 1781 and renamed Sirius.  She was 612 tons and commanded by Captain John Hunter.  After her arrival in Port Jackson, she remained as a supply ship and sailed to the Cape of Good Hope in October 1788 to obtain food supplies for the starving colony.

After returning HMS Sirius was wrecked off Norfolk Island on the 19 March, 1790.


HMS Supply (Marine Artist Frank Allen)

HMS Supply (Marine Artist Frank Allen)

HMS Supply, was the smallest of the fleet, being only 168 tons and 70 feet long. Carrying 50 people and commanded by Captain Henry Ball, she led the fleet most of the way primarily because of her speed. Supply was designed by Benjamin Slade as a Deptford yard transport and built in 1759 by Bird at Rotherhithe.HMS Supply returned to England where she was renamed the Thomas & Nancy. The ship seems to have carried coal on the Thames until around 1806.

Go to the individual ships to read further on their history

© First Fleet Fellowship Victoria Inc, 2013