Charlotte (1784 ship)

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Name: Charlotte
  • 1784: Mathews & Co.
  • 1789: Bond &Co.
Port of registry: London
Builder: Thames
Launched: 1784
Fate: Possibly sunk November 1818; disappears from lists in 1821
General characteristics
Tons burthen: 335, or 338, or 3455394,[1] or 384[2] bm
Length: 105 ft (32 m)[1][3]
Beam: 28 ft 3 in (8.61 m)[1]
Sail plan: Full-rigged ship
Crew: 30[4]
Notes: Barque-built (1786)[1]

Charlotte was an English merchant ship built in the River Thames in 1784 and chartered in 1786 to carry convicts as part of the First Fleet to New South Wales. She returned to Britain from Botany Bay via China, where she picked up a cargo for the British East India Company. Charlotte then spent most of the rest of her career in the London-Jamaica trade. She may have been lost off Newfoundland in 1818; in any case, she disappears from the lists by 1821.

Convict transport[edit]

An engraving of the First Fleet in Botany Bay at voyage's end in 1788, from The Voyage of Governor Phillip to Botany Bay.[5]

She was a "heavy sailer," such that she had to be towed down the English Channel in order to keep pace with the rest of the Fleet.[6] Her master was Thomas Gilbert, and her surgeon was John White, principal surgeon to the colony.[7] On 15 May, when Charlotte had been two days at sea it was discovered that her third mate had been left behind at Portsmouth; he was replaced for the remainder of the voyage by a seaman hastily dragooned from the accompanying naval vessel Hyaena.[8]

She left Portsmouth on 13 May 1787, carrying 84 male and 24 female convicts, or 88 male and 20 female.[9] Among the prisoners were James Squire, James Bloodsworth, James Underwood, Samuel Lightfoot, William Bryant and Mary Bryant,[10] She also carried 42 men from the New South Wales Marine Corps to guard the convicts.[4]

Charlotte arrived at Port Jackson, Sydney, Australia, on 26 January 1788.[11] This voyage was commemorated on the Charlotte Medal, commissioned by White.

She left Port Jackson on 6 May 1788 bound for China to take on a cargo of tea, under charter to the East India Company.[12][11]

Later career and fate[edit]

On her return to England on 28 November 1789 Bond and Co., Walbrook merchants, purchased Charlotte to use her in the LondonJamaica trade. Later, she was sold to a Quebec merchant.[13]

A Charlotte was lost off Newfoundland in November 1818.[14][13] However, there is no evidence to link the Charlotte that sank while sailing from Quebec to Liverpool with M'Call, master, to the Charlotte of this article. Another source notes that Charlotte continued to be listed in Lloyd's Register until 1821.[2]


An Urban Transit Authority First Fleet ferry was named after Charlotte in 1986.[15]

See also[edit]

Citations and references[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d Bateson (1959), pp.79-82.
  2. ^ a b Hackman (2001), p.81.
  3. ^ "Picture of the Charlotte". First Fleet Fellowship. 1996. Retrieved 24 July 2012. 
  4. ^ a b "The Ships of the First Fleet". Fellowship Of First Fleeters. 2011. Retrieved 24 July 2012. 
  5. ^ The Voyage of Governor Phillip to Botany Bay (1789)
  6. ^ Collins 1975, p. lvi
  7. ^ Samuel Eliot Morison (1944-05-22). "The Gilberts & Marshalls". Life. Retrieved 2009-10-14. 
  8. ^ Collins 1975, p. lvii
  9. ^ Bateson (1959), p.85.
  10. ^ "First Fleet Online". Retrieved 2012-07-03. 
  11. ^ a b "Ship News". The Sydney Gazette and New South Wales Advertiser, Sunday 2 November 1806, p.1. Retrieved 5 August 2015. 
  12. ^ Letter from Newton Fowell, midshipman on HMS Sirius, to John Fowell, 12 July 1788. Cited in Irvine (ed.) 1988, p.81.
  13. ^ a b Bateson (1959), p.102.
  14. ^ Lloyd's List n° 5352.
  15. ^ Sydney Ferries Fleet Facts Archived 12 April 2015 at the Wayback Machine. Transport for NSW


  • Bateson, Charles (1959) The Convict Ships, 1787–1868. (Glasgow: Brown, son & Ferguson).
  • Collins, David (1975). Fletcher, Brian H., ed. An Account of the English Colony in New South Wales. A.H. & A.W. Reed. ISBN 0589071688. 
  • Hackman, Rowan (2001) Ships of the East India Company. (Gravesend, Kent: World Ship Society). ISBN 0-905617-96-7
  • Irvine, Nance, ed. (1988). The Sirius Letters: The Complete Letters of Newton Fowell. Daniel O'Keefe. ISBN 1862900000. 

External links[edit]