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Susanne Voyatas

The Female Convict Ship

The Female Convict Ship, Elizabeth, sailed from Cobh Harbour on 28 August 1827, under the command of Commander Walter Cock and Surgeon Superintendent Joseph Hughes. It arrived in Port Jackson on 12 January 1828.

The female convicts were labelled the worst and most turbulent by the Rev John Vincent . Obviously he classed all the women by his moral and social beliefs, probably no different from the way we would today.

There were four different ships by the name of the Elizabeth that carried convicts to the colony between the years 1816 and 1836. In many colonial records there are different classifications for this trip, such as Elizabeth (4), Elizabeth 2(1), so for easy identification, I intend to refer to this voyage as Elizabeth 1828.

The ship has been described as a three mast ship built 1812 in Calcutta , 540 tons and owned by Sanders & Co.

The purpose of this project is to collect as much information as possible about each of the convict women and their lives in the new colony, which will be collated into a biographical register.

By remembering these women and acknowledging their contribution to the new colony, whatever the consequence of their actions, we acknowledge that without their being, so neither would we be now. They are our history.

It is not my intention to write a book that might attempt to rationalise, dissect, categorise or stereotype their lives, social or moral behaviours either in Ireland or Australia.

The many publications, regarding the convict era, which are available that more than adequately and eloquently explain these circumstances and provide in depth opinions better than I ever could do. Some of the publications do reinforce the typical stereotyping that has occurred and others provide more in depth analyses of the circumstances and situations (see reference list) . However all publications offer readers the opportunity to expand their opinions and learn so much more about the founding circumstances of our nation.

So if you are a descendant of one of the women of the Elizabeth 1828, come on board and tell their story.

With this information the Cork City Gaol is planning to commemorate them.

All contributors will be acknowledged.

To contribute your information download a copy of this PDF, complete it and return to:

S. Voytas, 37 Park Road, Springwood, NSW 2777 Australia

* a quote taken State Records NSW: Colonial Secretary, Miscellaneous: Reverend John Vincent's Papers re; voyage of the Elizabeth SRNSW 4/6981.

Contact: jvoytas@bigpond.net.au