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This Page was Last Updated on Easter Day, 24th April 2011

Lady Kennaway
A1 Ship / Barque Æ1; 542/584t.; 1817…1857+

Selected voyage(s):
The Lady Kennaway made many voyages to Australia, three of which were under charter as a convict transport; to van Diemen's Land [Hobart, Tasmania] in 1834-5 and 1851, and to Sydney NSW in 1836. She made voyages with assisted emigrants to Sydney in 1838, 1841 and 1854, and to Port Phillip [Melbourne, Victoria] in 1848, 1850 and 1853.

Ships built in Calcutta were generally built from imported timber, unlike some of the other Indian ports. Many ships built for the Indian Country trade (India-China) were later used as convict transports to Australia, where they were regarded well. As with the Moffatt, the Indian-built Lady Kennaway was sturdy and speedy for her age.

Harold Ingham [eMail, 7 March 2009] is interested in a voyage of the Lady Kennaway .by which, according to a copy of an HEIC ARMY document, an ancestor was "received" from the Lady Kennaway on 12 October 1825 at Bombay. Harold seeks to estimate the departure date from England and the ships next destination after Bombay: he believes that many ships transporting troops called at a S.A. port en route but and wonders how long they spent there.

The UK National Archives WebSite [accessed April 2011] comments of the Lady Kennaway:

Chartered ship, built at Kidderpore 1816, 542/573 tons. Principal Managing Owners: 1-2 George Joad, 3 George Frederick Young. Voyages: (1) 1825/6 Bengal. Capt Thomas Surflen. Torbay 22 Jul 1826 - 27 Nov Calcutta. (2) 1827/8 China and Halifax. Capt Thomas Delafons. Downs 7 Jun 1828 - 8 Nov Whampoa - 21 Jan 1829 Second Bar - 4 Apr Ascension - 11 May Halifax. (3) 1829/30 Madras and Bengal. Capt Lewis W Moncreieff. Downs 2 Jun 1830 - 26 Sep Madras - 10 Oct Calcutta - 19 Mar 1831 St Helena - 2 Jun Downs.

and notes documents held at British Library (Asia, Pacific and Africa Collections) include:

Early in June 1834, one hundred men embarked in the Lady Kennaway at Woolwich, transferees from the 537 ton barque Norfolk which had abandoned her voyage after being forced back three times. Another 180 men were taken on at Portsmouth later that month. Departing Portsmouth on 30 June, she proceeded to Cork where thirty-one military prisoners (not Irish convicts) were embarked. Many of the prisoners were sick, especially those from the Norfolk, and seventeen died at Cork with a further eighteen were re-landed sick at Haulbowline Island. The Lady Kennaway sailed from Cork on 27 October 1834 commanded by Master Robert P Davidson, and surprisingly only two further convicts died on the voyage. Hobart was reached on 13 February 1835, 109 days after leaving Cork, and 258 prisoners landed. The military prisoners embarked at Cork were not landed at Hobart: eighteen were apparently landed at Sydney and presumably some of the deaths were from amongst their ranks.

On a slower voyage of 123 days in 1836, the Lady Kennaway departed the Downs on 2 or /11 June and arrived in Sydney on 12 October, under the command of R Davidson and with Surgeon Superintendent Wilson; two of the 300 male prisoners embarked died. The Convict List is viewable at http://www.convictrecords.com.au/convicts/ship-name/lady-kennaway [accessed April 2011].

The Lady Kennaway departed Leith Roads on 19 April 1838 and arrived in Sydney NSW on 11 August 1838. Lyndall Hore (2000) transcribed the Passenger List and Surgeon's Report for this voyage and they are available [accessed April 2011] on OzShips [http://www.blaxland.com/ozships/events/3/217.htm] and History Australia [historyaustralia.org.au/ifhaa/ships/kennaway.htm, historyaustralia.org.au/ifhaa/ships/kennawaypx.htm], while digitised Assisted Immigrant Passenger List are available on http://search.ancestry.co.uk.

The Lady Kennaway brought 256 immigrants to Sydney in 1841. Starting from London, she departed Plymouth on 13 June under the command of J L Spence, and arrived in Sydney on 12 October. Digitised Assisted Immigrant Passenger List are available on the NSW Records Office WebSite [Reel 2134, [4/4788]] and on http://search.ancestry.co.uk. Alex E Grady [eMail, 16 March 2009] is interested in this voyage. Michael [via Kerry van de Laarschot, eMail, 16 and 18 September 2009], is researching Mathew Goodwin and Rose Fitzpatrick, for whom he has a copy of the entitlement papers; Matthew's mother was Ann McKernan.

The Lady Kennaway was apparently extensively re-fitted in the mid-1840s, as a report in The Hobart Town Courier and Gazette of Saturday 8 April 1848 (p4), copied from an earlier edition of the Cork Constitution, refers to the loss of "the fine new East Indiaman Lady Kennaway" which " had only made two voyages" [the actual incident appears to have occurred over 7-11 November 1847]:

(From the Cork Constitution.)
THE fine new East Indiaman Lady Kennaway, belonging to the representative (an only daughter) of the late Mr. T. Ward, of London, was totally abandoned by her crew, in the Bay of Biscay, in a sinking condition, yesterday week. She was commanded by Captain Enery, and her first officer was Mr. R. Walsh, of this city, brother-in law of Mr. J. Hill, of the Grand Parade. She left Bombay on the 21st of June, bound to London, laden with a cargo valued at £210,000, consisting of Indian silk, crapes, Cashmere shawls, gums, spices, rice, &c. She arrived at St. Helena on the 9th of September, and put again to sea on the 14th, expecting to be in London by the 1st of October. The voyage was, however, retarded by adverse winds, the vessel having to lie to in a storm for six weeks ; but on Sunday morning week, when in the Bay of Biscay, the wind became fair for a run to London. After dinner that day, while toasting their expected safe return home, the watch announced a coming storm. All hands were instantly on deck, and the sails were taken in, storm-sails rigged, and the necessary preparations had been scarcely effected when a tremendous gale overtook them, the first shock of which nearly threw the noble vessel on her beam-ends. The gale continuing, the sea ran mountains high, and the ship pitched heavily. Her decks were swept, her bulwarks stove in, and some of her boats were carried overboard, while the two which remained were seriously damaged. On the following morning (Monday), the vessel not steering, Mr. Walsh was lowered over her stern, and on examination found that the rudder irons were gone, and they instantly set to work to rig out a storm-helm, but the gale was so terrible that all the men in the ship, 35 in number, could not work it, and it had to be cut away. At this lime it was discovered the vessel bad sprung a leak and there were three feet of water in the hold ; their attention was then turned to the pumps to endeavour to keep her afloat. The storm continued during that night and Tuesday, making dreadful havoc in the rigging, sails, and spars; and the following morning a Dutch vessel having been descried, she was signalled from the wreck, when she instantly hove-to, and the captain, second mate, and 26 of the crew left the Lady Kennaway, and, getting on board the Dutchman, proceeded to Falmouth. The first mate, Mr. Walsh, the third mate, and four of the crew, however, refused to leave the ship, stating that they would remain on board, and try to save her. These daring fellows immediately set to work and threw overboard a large quantity of cargo to lighten the ship. Despite their efforts, the water gained on them in the hold; and on Thursday morning, finding the vessel settling down, they had to take to the remaining boat. This craft was in a very unseaworthy state, with almost every plank loose, from the beating of the storm during the past four days. Having escaped from the ship, they rowed for about four hours, and by continually baling out the water that rushed into her scarcely kept her afloat, when, at the moment they had given up all hope and expected to go down, they espied a sail. Having made signal to her and been observed, the vessel steered towards them, and they had scarcely jumped upon her deck when the boat swamped and went down, with all the papers of the Lady Kennaway. The vessel which arrived so opportunely to their rescue belonged to Guernsey, laden with fruits, but short of provisions; and Mr. Walsh and his five companions were put on board a Cove pilot-boat on Sunday last, and arrived in this city the same night, almost naked, having lost their clothing. Immediately after, Mr. Walsh proceeded to London. The Lady Kennaway spoke the East Indiaman St.penheath, off the Cape of Good Hope, in distress having suffured in the gale. The Stepenheath belonged to the same owner. The Lady Kennaway had only made two voyages, and the Stepenheath six.

The vessel was recovered; The Register (Adelaide, South Australia) of Saturday 23 December 1916 (p5) carried an article discussing, among others, the Lady Kennaway:

OLD AUSTRALIAN SHIPS. MORE MEMORIES. Mr. A. T. Saunders writes:– … …
The barque Lady Kennaway, 584 tons, was built in Calcutta in 1817, and in 1827 was commanded by Capt. Thomas Surfleir, two of whose brothers were old South Australians. In 1843 one was a landing waiter in the customs, and another was farming about the Reedbeds. Mrs. Surfleir was well known in Port Adelaide in the 60's and early 70's, when she used to drive into the Port in her spring cart with her dog on the seat beside her. Forty odd years ago I used to see a good picture of the Lady Kennaway in the house of Mr. Thomas Jelly, of Port Adelaide, and this week I again saw it, after an interval of 40 years, in the house of Mr. W. P. Mart, Dudley street, Semaphore. It is a good picture, and gives a good idea of the style of ship the East Indiamen of 100 years ago was. On December 18, 1847, The Illustrated London News had a picture of the Lady Kennaway being towed in the Bay of Biscay, where she had been abandoned, by two Danish vessels, the brig Industrie and the barque Nayadin. She sailed from Bombay on June 3, 1847, struck bad weather in the Bay of Biscay on November 7, 1847, lost her rudder, threw part of her cargo overboard, made a jury rudder, but could make no headway, and had to cut away the jury rudder. Meantime several small craft were hanging round the ship, but would give no assistance; they were waiting for her abandonment. Ultimately the captain and crew escaped to the Meuse, a French iron vessel, and were landed in England. Some fortnight afterwards the two Danish ships found the Lady Kennaway, and sent men aboard, who found that she was making little water, but had been plundered; most of the sails, running gear, fittings, and some silks bad been taken. The two ships got towlines to the lame duck, and rigged up another jury rudder, but one of the towing ships sprang a leak and had to let go, and save herself. Then arrived the British war brigantine Dolphin, Honourable Boyle, commander, and put a midshipman and seamen aboard. More bad weather was encountered, and the other Danish vessel had to let go. The second jury rudder was swept away, and a third had to be made, and in the end the midshipman and his eight sailors got the vessel to Start Point where a pilot was taken on board and soon after the steamer Confiance took her in tow. When port was reached she was not making any water, her remaining cargo was not much damaged, and she and her cargo were valued at about £200,000. The Danes claimed £100,000 salvage, and the Dolphin £25,000, but I do not know the result. The Lady Kennaway was repaired, and in 1848 left England with a cargo for Port Phillip, Victoria.

Master James Santry next brought her to Australia, sailing from Plymouth on 11 September 1848 with 190 Irish girls orphaned by the potato famine of 1845; the Lady Kennaway made Port Phillip near Melbourne Victoria on 6 December 1848 and the Depot on 13 December, after a run of 89 days. A transcription of the Agent's List [SRNSW 4/4816 Reel 2144] by Ada Ackerley and Dr Pauline Rule is available on the Famine Orphan Girl Ships to Australia WebSite [accessed April 2011]. The digitised Assisted Immigrant Passenger List is available on the NSW Records Office WebSite [Reel 2144, [4/4816]] and on http://search.ancestry.co.uk.. The VicNet Website has notes re this voyage: http://home.vicnet.net.au/~pioneers/pppg5bg.htm [accessed Apr2011].

The Lady Kennaway also arrived in Port Phillip near Melbourne on 25 February 1850. The digitised Assisted Immigrant Passenger List is available on the NSW Records Office WebSite [Reel 2145, [4/4817]] Agent's Immigration Lists, (lists of immigrants in private ships) Reel# 2136.

On her final trip as a convict transport, leaving Portsmouth on 5 February 1851, the Lady Kennaway reached HobartTown in Van Diemen's Land [Tasmania] on 28 May after 112 days, losing only one of the 250 male convicts entrusted to her. On this voyage she was commanded by J Santry, with Joshua Caldwell as Surgeon Superintendent. The Courier (Hobart, Tas.) of Wednesday 30 July 1851 (p2) reported: "A barque, supposed to be the Lady Kennaway, from Norfolk Island, was coming in yesterday evening. Another barque and schooner were also signalised." A protest was made to the Secretary of State for the Colonies over the arrival at Hobart of the Lady Kennaway and Black Friar, headed "Hobart Town, 29th May, 1851", signed by T.D. Chapman [Thomas Daniel Chapman, 1815-1884] and other members of the Council of the Tasmanian Branch of the League. The Convict List is available http://www.convictrecords.com.au/convicts/ship-name/lady-kennaway. Perhaps concerning this voyage, a Report by the Board [of Immigration] on Irish female immigration and irregularities on board the "Lady Kennaway" was presented to the Legislative Assembly of the New South Wales Parliament in 1858 [not sighted by this author].

For her third voyage to Melbourne, the Lady Kennaway sailed from Southampton on 9 May 1853, arriving in Melbourne on 15 August after 98 days at sea. She brought cases of goods for Melbourne merchants as well as 274 emigrants, who all arrived in good health, although three infants had died while at sea. In 1853 Victoria attained self-government and kept its own official records; previously arrivals to Port Phillip were included with New South Wales records.

Departing London, the Lady Kennaway arrived Sydney on 8 December 1854. On board were Phoebe and John Robinson, free settlers from Ireland. Their Irish-born daughter Sarah Robinson died and second-born Mary Jane Robinson was born on the voyage. On arrival in Sydney, Phoebe was unable to attend immigration procedures due to illness resulting from her confinement on the voyage. Also aboard the Lady Kennaway was Phoebe's sister Sarah William(son). The digitised Assisted Immigrant Passenger List is available on the NSW Records Office WebSite [AO Reel 2137, [4/4791]; rf also AO Reel 2466 [4/4939]]. Peter McCarthy eMailed [21 April 2011] that his great-grandfather Thomas McCarthy was also aboard the Lady Kennaway in 1854 with wife Elizabeth (née Cosgrove) and their six children, the youngest child being Patrick's grandfather, Patrick.

On Wednesday 25 November 1857 the Lady Kennaway was driven ashore in a heavy gale and wrecked within the mouth of the Buffalo River off East London, British Kaffraria [now part of South Africa], having safely delivered 153 unmarried "servant" women plus a several artisans and their families at East London. A passenger list can be found on Dr Keith Tankard's Kennaway Trail on The New Labyrinth of East London Lore [http://www.eastlondon-labyrinth.com/cybertrails/kennaway-09.jsp, accessed April 2011].

Sources: Smyth (1992), and others.

Images: Three depictions exist: they appear to be renditions of the same instance. The National Maritime Museum attributes "The Lady Kennaway off Margate... homeward bound 1827" (1829) to engraver Edward Duncan and artist / publisher William John Huggins; while the Brady Family Tree Website (http://www.bradyfamilytree.org/genealogy/ship/LadyKennaway.php [accessed Apr2011]) attributes the same image to William Adolphus Knell (1840). The Brady WebSite has an unattributed rendition of identical aspect (1840) of the Lady Kennaway, sans Margate and other background, sourced from Catherine Edwards' WebSite. A pencil rendition of the 1829 setting, with Margate but with slightly altered rigging (one jib sail set, but no jib sail furled on the bowsprit) (1838, unattributed but signed 'A E Slevin') is on the OzShips WebSite http://www.blaxland.com/ozships/docs/1838/838t0004.htm.

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