David was found guilty at the Quarter Sessions in April 1787 but did not get transported until March 1791. The experiences of James Wilbow are instructive. Did David spend four years on the prison hulks before transportation? I have detailed the actual information relating to the voyage below. The information came from an now defunct Australian website that was devoted to the subject

The Third Fleet (1791)

       Vessel        Year      Built    Tons    Arrived    Port    Sailed        From      Days Embarked   Deaths   Escaped   New Cons  Arrivals          Master                       Surgeon
                                                                                                  M    F    M    F    M    F    M    F    M    F
Matilda              1779  France       460    01 08 1791  NSW   27 03 1791  Portsmouth    127   230  ...   25  ...  ...  ...  ...  ...  205  ...   Matthew Weatherhead                  ...
Atlantic             1784  Wales        422    20 08 1791  NSW   27 03 1791  Plymouth      146   220  ...   18  ...  ...  ...  ...  ...  202  ...   Archibald Armstrong             James Thomson
Salamander           1776  Thames       320    21 08 1791  NSW   27 03 1791  Plymouth      147   160  ...   5   ...  ...  ...  ...  ...  155  ...        J? Nichol                       ...
William and Ann      1759  England      370    28 08 1791  NSW   27 03 1791  Plymouth      154   188  ...   7   ...  ...  ...  ...  ...  181  ...        E? Bunker                       ...
Active               1764  Shoreham     350    26 09 1791  NSW   27 03 1791  Portsmouth    183   175  ...   21  ...  ...  ...  ...  ...  154  ...     John Mitchinson                    ...
Queen                1773  Georgia      400    26 09 1791  NSW   .. 04 1791  Cork          ...   133   22   7   ...  ...  ...  ...  ...  126   22      Richard Owen                      ...
Albermarle            ...  France       530    13 10 1791  NSW   27 03 1791  Portsmouth    200   282  ...  32*  ...  ...  ...  ...  ...  250   6+      George Bowen                      ...
Britannia             ...       ...     520    14 10 1791  NSW   27 03 1791  Portsmouth    201   150  ...   21  ...  ...  ...  ...  ...  129  ...     Thomas Melville                    ...
Admiral Barrington   1781  France       527    16 10 1791  NSW   27 03 1791  Portsmouth    203   300  ...   36  ...  ...  ...  ...  ...  264  ...   Robert Abbon Marsh              Peter Gossam
* 32 deaths included 2 executions

He sailed on the 27th March 1791, from Plymouth, on the SALAMANDER, part of the third fleet, in the charge of Lieutenant Richard Bowen as Naval Agent. A total of 160 males embarked, there were 5 deaths aboard, and 155 disembarked. The Salamander was a vessel of 320 tons, the Master being a, J NICHOL. The ship had been turned by a Thames shipyard in 1776.

The two cuttings where taken from The Times dated March 25th 1791 (page3 Issue 1961) and March 28th 1791(page3 Issue 1961) respectively. It appears that The Salamander and the other ships in the fleet had several attempts at leaving Plymouth before they succeeded. 

The Salamander sailed with the Plymouth Division of the third fleet accompanied by the ships, William and Anne, and the Atlantic, on board which his brother John Lewis alias Simon, also being transported. 

A Book "The Third Fleet Convicts" by R. J. Ryan contains the following information 

The main fleet sailed in two divisions; the Atlantic, Salamander and William & Ann left Plymouth on 27 Mar 1791 while the Albemarle, Active, Admiral Barrington, Britannia and Mathilda left Portsmouth on the same day.  The Mary Ann had sailed more than a month earlier and HMS Gorgon had made her departure on 15 March 1791.  However, the ships reached Port Jackson over a period which extended from ( July 1791 (Mary Ann) to 16 October 1791 (Admiral Barrington).
While the ships of the Plymouth division stayed together until the Salamander parted company near the equator, those of the Portsmouth division were soon scattered by stormy weather almost from the first night at sea.  With the fleet scattered miles apart a mutiny erupted on the Abermarle which resulted in summary execution for two of the convicts.  They were hanged at the yardarm on the day of the mutiny, 9 April 1791.
The Plymouth division regrouped at Rio de Janeiro and sailed from that port together.  However, they soon became separated in a heavy gale.  All three ships sailed directly from Rio to Port Jackson, thus making them the first ships to forego a recruitment stopover at Cape Town.  Ships of the Portsmouth division variously raced and limped into Port Jackson - they never re-assembled as a sailing group after being driven apart in early April. "

The Atlantic can claim to be the first to sail non-stop from Rio de Janeiro to Sydney.  The Salamander can claim to be the second ship to do it.
Another unknown source confirms the comments of Ryan in stating that   

It was in the strictest terms an uneventful voyage, though late in April, approaching the Equator, the Salamander parted company with the fleet, on a dark and squally night, but rejoined in Rio de Janeiro. The three ships departed Rio together, however almost immediately they ran into foul weather and parted company in a heavy gale. All three ships made passage from Rio to Port Jackson direct, the first convict ships to do so. They had independently worked their way down the latitude of the Cape, then without calling at Table Bay or False Bay, ran down their easting, in about 40 degrees South. 

The Salamander arrived at Port Jackson on the 21st August 1791, 147 days out of Plymouth. David's brothers ship had arrived the day before, the third vessel was a 154 days out of Plymouth on arrival in Port Jackson.


From the "NEW HOLLAND MORNING POST", 18th October, 1791

A LIST OF CRIMINALS who have come to our shores in recent months

Our readers will find hereunder a List of Persons transported as Criminals to New South Wales in the Ships as following, via: Atlantic, William and Ann, Britannia, Matilda, Salamander, Albemarle, Mary Anne, Admiral Barrington, Active and Gorgon.

THE THIRD FLEET of 11 ships arrived in 1791, with over 2000 convicts. The newspaper report states that 194 male convicts and 4 female convicts died during the voyage, and that though conditions on board ship weren't as "diabolical" as the previous year, they were still outrageous.
The convicts from Ireland who arrived on board the "Queen" are not included in the newspaper lists.

As before, the list was compiled in London as so there is no way of knowing which people died on the voyage out, or did not leave England for any reason.
........LEVY, Jacob, Middlesex - - - - 7
LEWIS, David, Brecknock - - - - 7
LEWIS, Edmond, Notts - - - - - 7
LEWIS, Edward, Carmarthen - - - 7
LEWIS, James, Radnor - - - - - 7
LEWIS, John, Surrey - - - - - - 7
LEWIS, John, alias Simon, Brecknock - - - 14
LEWIS, John, Wilts - - - - - - 7
LEWIS, Thomas, London - - - - - 7
LEWIS, William, Middlesex - - - 7....


David LEWIS did not see a year out. The early church records of New South Wales reveal that David was buried on 11th June 1792. He had been in Australia less than a year



Parramatta had only been founded four years earlier in

1788 Site of Parramatta chosen by Governor Phillip, 24th April. - Settlement at Rose Hill founded, 2nd November 1788.

1789 First wheat crop harvested at Rose Hill, November 1789. - James Ruse established his farm, lst Nov.

1790 'First burial in St. John's Cemetery. Town laid out, June 1790. - 1791 James Ruse granted 30 acres upland. Experiment Farm, No. 1 grant, 30th March.
Rose Hill renamed Parramatta, 4th June. - Military barracks completed, May 1791.

Parramatta is now a City in its own right

Further Information regarding

James WILBOW (1769-1840) arrived on the 3rd Fleet on board the "Salamander" which arrived in Sydney on 21 August 1791. He had been tried at Newgate Court on 10 January 1787, and spent 4 years on board the convict hulks at Portsmouth before being transported for the last 3 years of his 7 year sentence. He was freed in 1794 and decided to settle in Australia, and became infamous in the Colony when in 1796 he apprehended and shot the notorious bushranger Black Caesar. James was subsequently granted land along the Hawkesbury River, in 1809 was appointed a constable and in 1820 promoted to district constable in Sydney.

From: "Barry & Margaret Heywood" <>  Subject: [PJ] WILBOW "Salamander" 1791 Date: Thu, 7 Aug 2003 22:30:30 +1000

My GGGGrandfather, James William WILBOW, was born 1768 in London and Baptised at St. Sepulchre's Church, London. He was the son of James WILBOW and his wife Jane LAURENCE (married at St. Olave Church, Southwark. London, March 1, 1767). James was arrested for stealing and tried at Newgate Court, on January 10, 1787. He was found guilty and sentenced to 7 years, the first four he spent on the Hulks at Portsmouth. He was then transported on the Salamander, to Australia, for the rest of his sentence. He arrived in Port Jackson on August 21,1791. Married Mary MARTIN on March 29, 1807 at St. Phillips Church Sydney. They had 2 children, Catherine born 1793 (married Matthew ELKINS) and James born 1798 (married Elizabeth MITCHELL). James later had a relationship with Elizabeth SHIPP, meeting her c. 1816, in Sydney, where he was a Constable (appointed in February, 1812. Their children were William 1817, Margaret 1819, Jane 1821 and James B. 1823. Before becoming a Constable, James ha!
d held a grant of land in the Hawkesbury area. James William WILBOW died on March 18, 1840, in Sydney and was buried at St. Matthew's C of E Cemetery, Windsor.
Margaret (WILBOW) HEYWOOD.- Gold Coast.

In January 2006 I received the following e-mail from The Tomaree Family History Group

Situated 21/2 hours north of Sydney in Port Stephens The Group is researching  the lives and crimes of the convicts and crew of the Salamander as Salamander Bay where we met was called after the ship which entered our waters after it dumped its cargo of convicts in Port Jackson. We would be most grateful if you could give us any background on David Lewis.  As he died not long after arriving here there is little we can write about him. We hope to publish our book in about April...... Marilynne Sharp - Project Coordinator.

Go To The MORGAN Lewis Page

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This page was last updated on 10/06/21 16:33