THE VOYAGE OF THE SALAMANDER 1791
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
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.
SHIP THREE 1791
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
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.
'First burial in St. John's Cemetery.
Town laid out, June 1790. - 1791
James Ruse granted 30 acres upland. Experiment Farm, No. 1 grant,
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" < firstname.lastname@example.org> 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,
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
Return to The REES Lewis Page
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This page was last updated on 10/06/21 16:33