Helmsman graphicMonitor graphicHelmsman graphic The Cozens/Byrnes Merchants Networks Project - Updated 21 September 2020

Network logo png

[Prevous page - Pathways3 For 1840-1868] [You are now on Merchants Networks Project Pathways4 page filed to list Convict Contractors to Australia 1784-1865 pathways4.htm] [To the next Pathways 5 file in this series Pathways5]

Graphic of Chinese junk, oldFor a page in Chinese
about this website,
click on the image of the junk

Pathways to the Convict Contractors to Australia

(And to many of their associates)

On owners of migrant (non-convict) shipping

Follows a list of possibly useful sources drawn from wide-ranging netsurfing ...
Comber Index: Rev. William Charles Comber (NZ), Card Index, Shipping to New Zealand 1839-1889. (A chronological listing of ships to New Zealand with ship names, tonnage, captain, date and place of sailing and arrival, no passenger information, somertimes gives shipowner name)
David Dobson, Ships from Scotland to Australasia 1820-1860. FAMHIS 387.209411, 2005. (Alphabetical by ship name)
Vaughan Evans, Maritime Resources for Historians and Genealogists. PAM 929.2072 - 1988.
Davenport and Mottram, Early Shipping in Moreton Bay, Vol. 1, June 1846-Dec 1859, Vol. 2 1860-1863. FAMHIS 387.2, 1998.
Laxon and Perry, BI: The British India Steam Navigation Company Limited. FAMHIS 387.5065. (Concerned with Queensland Ports)
Lloyd´s Register of British and Foreign Shipping.
John Maber, North Star to Southern Cross. FAMHIS 387.50994 1967. (Covers ships organized under shipping lines)
Ian Nicholson, books various.
Ronald Parsons, Australian shipowners and their fleets. PAM 387.5240994, 1985.
Ronald Parsons, Ships of Australia and New Zealand before 1850: details of ships registered with the customs at ports in Australia. G 387.20994, 1983.
Ronald Parsons, Southern Passages: a maritime history of South Australia. G 387.5099423, 1986.
Ronald Parsons, Migrant Ships to South Australia 1836-1866. G 325.94, 1999.
Pennie Pemberton, Pure Merinoes and Others: The ¨Shipping Lists¨ of the Australian Agricultural Company. 1986. online in PDF format
F. Rhodes, Pageant of the Pacific: being the maritime history of Australia. GR 994, 1937.
Index: Norma Tuck, Ships Muster Index: Passengers and Crew departing NSW 1816-1825.
Website: Western Australia: 1829 Shipping Arrivals to the Swan River Colony. From Western Australian Genealogical Society.
Website: Highlands and Islands Emigration Society Passenger Lists (1852-1857).
Website: Mariners and Ships in Australian Waters, from State records of NSW
Website by Elizabeth Rushen: First Female Emigration Scheme between Great Britain and the Australian colonies, Emigration Commission of 1831-1832 and the work of London Emigration Committee of 1833-1836 followed by government and private enterprise schemes to encourage female emigration re agents John Marshall and James Denholm Pinnock.
London Emigration Committee (LEC) (1833-1836): Edward Forster (Chair), Nadir Baxter, Charles Holte Bracebridge, Bishop William Grant Broughton, William Crawford, Capel Cure, Sir George Hampson, Samuel Hoare, Thomas Lewin, George Long, Charles Lushington, Sir (William) Edward Parry, Henry Walter Parker, Col. Charles Beaumont Phipps, Sir John Pirie, Capt. Daniel Pring, John Stuckey Reynolds, John Abel Smith, (Samuel) Henry Sterry and John Taylor.
Dublin Emigration Committee (1834-1836): Richard Cane (Chair), Thomas Abbott, Thomas Black Cawood, Rev Matthew Flanagan,George French, James Scott Molloy, Daniel Porter, William Willans, Surgeon Thomas Wright.
Cork Emigration Committee (1832-1836): Peter Besnard (Chair 1832), William Crawford (Chair 1834-1836), Robert Delacour Beamish, Rev George J.M. Brennan, Joseph King Cummins, Rev John Egan, Rev M. Horgan, Samuel Lane, Daniel Leahy, Rev John N. Lombard, Joseph Leycester, Rev Theobald Mathew, Daniel Meagher, James Murphy, Rev William O'Connor, Rev Michael B. O'Shea, Rev Dr Quarry, Rev Daniel P. Talvey, Robert Twiss, Lt Charles Friend RN, HM Agent for Emigration

See also:
Ronald Parsons, Trying to find a seafaring ancestor. Gunmarcha, S.A. Gould Books, 1988. 929.1 PAR - Recommended as a good starting point for Australian sources.
Margaret Chambers (Compiler), Finding families: The genealogist's guide to the National Archives of Australia. Sydney, Hale & Iremonger, 1998. REF 929.934 NAT An excellent guide to the records held by Australian archives. Covers both merchant shipping records and navy records.
Jim Melton, Ships' deserters 1852-1900. Sydney, Library of Australian History, 1986. REF 359.1334 MEL - (Always check this reliable source in case your ancestor deserted or jumped ship rather than having legally immigrated, a common practice in Australia's early days!).
Rod Dickson, The history of the whalers on the south coast of New Holland from 1800-1888. Carlisle, W.A., Hesperian Press, 2007. REF 639.280994 DIC (If your ancestors were whalers this may prove very useful as it details whaling voyages to Australia, listing ships with a short profile of the vessel and in some cases, information about the crew)
N. A. M. Rodger, Naval Records for Genealogists. London, HMSO, 1988. REF 929.341 ROD - A very comprehensive work covering the Royal Navy. And, Bruno Pappalardo, Tracing your naval ancestors. London, Pubic Record Office, 2003.


Dan Byrnes´ three print-published articles on the convict contractors are:

Dan Byrnes, '"Emptying The Hulks": Duncan Campbell and the First Three Fleets to Australia’, The Push From The Bush: A Bulletin of Social History, No. 24, April, 1987., pp. 2-23.

Dan Byrnes, 'Outlooks for the English South Whale Fishery, 1782-1800, and the "great Botany Bay debate"', The Great Circle, Vol. 10, No. 2, October 1988., pp. 79-102.

Dan Byrnes, 'The Blackheath Connection: London Local History and the Settlement at New South Wales, 1786-1806', The Push, A Journal of Early Australian Social History, No. 28, 1990., pp. 50-98.


Continuation from file pathways3.htm

This is file Pathways4 - To go back to its previous file in this Merchant Networks Timelines series of files, click to Pathways3

Convict transportation to Australia was maritime history as well as penal history

Commentary by Dan Byrnes

PayPal preferred graphic

PayPal - safe and secure

If you value the information posted here,
and the projects of these websites in general,
you may like to consider making a donation
to help reduce our production costs?
It would be greatly appreciated.
Options include:
paying via PayPal which this website uses - Ed

Most of the Convict Contractors outlined above are little discussed even by Australian or British maritime historians. Despite the fact they are rather fascinating in terms of social history. Interestingly, we find that Marxist-inspired historians have never taken them on as exponents of the class war in Britain!

Probably, the single most-discussed merchant/convict contractor name has been Duncan Dunbar II, who was a truly phenomenal businessman, though mostly he is not exactly identified as a convict contractor.

Perhaps the name the second most-discussed, at least by Australians, and that in terms of an extremely bad press, is that of Anthony Calvert, who tends to stand is as the dominant name of the London slaving firm Camden, Calvert and King, who organised the half of the Second Fleet with an atrociously high death rate, and most of the Third Fleet.

And in general, because so little work has been done on the contractors, the views given by the first historian to give them due attention, Charles Bateson, have tended to prevail in a way that colours Australian perceptions on the entire topic. Other names discussed somewhat (for various reasons not necessarily including convict contracting) are the whaler Daniel Bennett, merchant Robert W. Brooks, John William Buckle, Duncan Campbell, members of the Chapman family, alderman (Sir) William Curtis, Alexander Davison, Devitt and Moore, Samuel Enderby Snr, members of the Larkins family of Blackheath, the London Missionary Society, George Lyall, the Mangles family, George Moore (because he was so early, by 1783-1784), John Prinsep (but not his partners Lambert and Saunders), Pirie (because he was a Lord Mayor of London), William Richards (contractor for the First Fleet), Samuel Francis Somes and Joseph Somes. Most of the other names have gone little commented by Australians.

In general, it can be said, that where convict transportation was most objectionable, such difficulties arose mostly with ships arriving to Australia before 1800-1805. After 1805, the convict transportation system, because it was more settled-in, became more sedate, and more attentive to prisoner-welfare, especially once ships doctors were given a wider role to play, a phenomenon which has promoted the appearance of a few specialty articles devoted to questions more of medical management strategies.

Historians interested in other areas of history apart from the maritime, have perhaps given the convict contractors more attention, in terms of topics such as the history of Anglo-Australian migration patterns, British business histories, changes in British navigation laws and trading patterns, and/or the histories of a variety of mostly London-based organisations, such as the General Shipowners Society of the nineteenth century. The neglect given them by Australian historians in particular is why they have lately been grouped here. They are grouped above, alphabetically, until information on them is better organised for this website, then in due course they will be re-grouped chronologically.

Of course, the netsurfer will quickly realise that information on many of the contractor names is still difficult if not impossible to locate for anyone not working in the UK. These lacunae indicate how much the names have been ignored by historians, and it also suggests they have been ignored by family historians of the UK.

I feel that many matters need to be commented regarding the Convict Contractors, and suggest that the following points be considered:
(1) That the convict service, as it can be called, the system used by the British Government to transport convicts to Australia, went through successive phases 1786-1865, till it petered out and was finally abolished. These phases have been largely ignored, and lack of detailed information on the contractor names involved has hardly helped to stem a blurring effect.
(2) The attention Australians have traditionally given to the first three fleets of convict ships, seen as separate from each other, has had the paradoxical effect of splitting, and resplitting, relevant information instead of allowing information to be gathered and regathered in increasingly useful ways. My own solution to this, in 1987, was to suggest in an academically-published paper, that the first three fleets be seen as a single burst of shipping - given that within that single burst, there was a power struggle between contractor names that led to the business demise of the contractor of the First Fleet, William Richards, the battle having been won by Anthony Calvert and his allies. Regrettably over time, the article prompted almost no Australian reader to re-examine anything. (The article was, Dan Byrnes, '"Emptying The Hulks": Duncan Campbell and the First Three Fleets to Australia’, The Push From The Bush: A Bulletin of Social History, No. 24, April, 1987., pp. 2-23.)

(3) During the latter phases of the convict service, some convict contractors branched into shipping free passengers to Australia, and/or New Zealand, helping to promote Britain´s emigration programs.
(4) Where convict contractors had London addresses, the addresses fall into several sub-categories: (a) areas intensely devoted to maritime industries, such as Wapping, (b) London City addresses, that is, in what is regarded as The City of London, the square mile of the financial services precinct, or very close to it (c) affluent suburbs some distance from The City, such as Blackheath, Cheltenham, Epsom in Surrey. Given the closeness of addresses to The City, it then becomes interesting to see which contractors were members of which organisations which met regularly, and with whom they would thus have associated in various way, either for social or business purposes, or concering the goals of the particular organisation. Various contractors were affluent enough to have estates in the country and have been designated as such above.
More to come.

This is file Pathways4 - To find more of Merchant Networks Timelines series of files, click to Pathways3

Internal Site Search Engine For This Website:

This free script provided by
JavaScript Kit

View web stats from www.statcounter.com/ for this website begun 4 July 2006

View The Merchant Networks Stats

Helmsman graphicHelmsman graphicHelmsman graphicHelmsman graphicHelmsman graphicHelmsman graphicHelmsman graphicHelmsman graphicHelmsman graphicHelmsman graphic