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Voyage of the Minerva 1799-1800

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Minerva Convict Transport Ship's Voyage to Port Jackson in 1799/1800

See also: Category:Minerva, Arrived 11 Jan 1800

Under the command of Joseph Salkeld (or Stalkeld), Minerva left the Downs, on 6 August 1799. She sailed from Cork, Ireland on 24 August with 165 male and 26 female convicts, plus three children belonging to convicts. She arrived in Port Jackson on 11 January 1800. Three prisoners had died on the passage out.

The majority of the convict passengers on board the Minerva were Irish rebels, notably members of the United Irishmen. Their leader, Joseph Holt, was was one of the convicts on board the ship. A detailed account of the ship's journey to New South Wales, including Holt's memories of the ship's crew and convict passengers, can be found in his memoirs.

While Holt stood by his fellow political prisoners, who he believed had been sentenced for their fight against tyranny, he referred to many of his fellow transportees as "the convicts" and resented that he was considered to be a felon. He noted that the "ship's company had such a name for criminality that a part of them were sent at once [on arrival in New South Wales] to Norfolk Island, a place of transportation for those who are too bad for Botany Bay". A History of New South Wales by Barrington related the following (quoted in Holt's memoirs on page 60):

"The generality of the convicts sent byt his ship were but ill calculated to be of any advantage to the settlement of [New South Wales] as little addition could be made by them to the strength of the labouring gangs. Many of them were bred up in genteel habits and others to light professions, and of course unaccustomed to hard labour. These must become a drain on the store; for yet, it was not possible for the Governor, consistent with his well-known feeling of humanity, to send a physician, the once sheriff of a county, a catholic priest or a protestant clergyman and family to the brick carts, the brick fields, grubbing-hoe or the timber carriage. The lower classes of convicts in the [ship's cargo] were mostly old men, fit only for hut keepers, to remain home and prevent robbery... thus making good the old proverb "set a thief to catch a thief".

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FURTHER READING

  • Holt, Joseph, Crofton-Croker, T (editor), 1838, Memoirs of Joseph Holt, General of the Irish Rebels, in 1798: In Two Volumes, Volume 1 (in eBook format) , Henry Colburn, (London). at: [1]
  • Australia Explained

https://australia-explained.com.au/history/history-minerva-part-1-sydney-and-her-ship-based-connections https://australia-explained.com.au/history/history-minerva-2-violent-democrats



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