Surprize (ship)

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For other ships of the same name, see Surprise#Ships.
General characteristics
Tons burthen: 400 tons (bm)

Surprize was one of the notorious Second Fleet ships to Port Jackson. At 400 tons burthen (bm), she was the smallest ship of the fleet, and was an unsuitable vessel for so long a voyage, proving to be a wet ship even in moderate weather. In rough seas and heavy gales the convicts "were considerably above their waists in water", according to the commander of the guards. She had been chartered by the British East India Company to load tea at Canton for the return journey.

In company with Neptune and Scarborough she sailed from England with 254 male convicts on 19 January 1790. Her master was Nicholas Anstis, formerly chief mate on Lady Penrhyn in the First Fleet, and surgeon was William Waters. She arrived at the Cape of Good Hope on 13 April 1790, and spent sixteen days there, taking on provisions. She was parted from her consorts in heavy weather and came in sight of Port Jackson on 23 June. Contrary winds blew her out to sea again and she did not make port until 26 June 158 days out from England. During the voyage thirty-six convicts died (14%), and 121 (48%) were sick when landed.

It is not known if this is the same Surprise that made another voyage in 1794.

Further reading[edit]

  • Bateson, Charles (1974). The Convict Ships, 1787-1868. Sydney.