Charlotte (1784 ship)

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Name: Charlotte
  • 1784:Mathews & Co.
  • 1789:Bond &Co.
Port of registry: London
Builder: Thames
Launched: 1784
Fate: Sunk, November 1818
General characteristics
Tons burthen: 335, or 384[1] bm
Length: 105 ft (32 m)[2]
Beam: 28 ft (8.5 m)[2]
Sail plan: Full-rigged ship
Troops: 42 marines[3]
Crew: 30[3]

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 the rest of her career in the London-Jamaica trade. She was lost off Newfoundland in 1818.

Convict transport[edit]

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.[4] Her master was Thomas Gilbert, and her surgeon was John White, principal surgeon to the colony.[5] 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.[6]

She left Portsmouth on 13 May 1787, carrying 84 male and 24 female convicts, among them were James Squire, James Bloodsworth, James Underwood, Samuel Lightfoot, William Bryant and Mary Bryant,[7] and arrived at Port Jackson, Sydney, Australia, on 26 January 1788. 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.[8]

Later career and fate[edit]

On her return to England on 28 November 1789 Charlotte was sold to Bond and Co., Walbrook merchants, for the London to Jamaica run. She lost off Newfoundland in November 1818.[9]


An Urban Transit Authority First Fleet ferry was named after Charlotte in 1986.[10]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Hackman (2001), p.81.
  2. ^ a b "Picture of the Charlotte". First Fleet Fellowship. 1996. Retrieved 24 July 2012. 
  3. ^ a b "The Ships of the First Fleet". Fellowship Of First Fleeters. 2011. Retrieved 24 July 2012. 
  4. ^ Collins 1975, p. lvi
  5. ^ Samuel Eliot Morison (1944-05-22). "The Gilberts & Marshalls". Life. Retrieved 2009-10-14. 
  6. ^ Collins 1975, p. lvii
  7. ^ "First Fleet Online". Retrieved 2012-07-03. 
  8. ^ Letter from Newton Fowell, midshipman HMS Sirius, to John Fowell, 12 July 1788. Cited in Irvine (ed.) 1988, p.81
  9. ^ "The Charlotte". First Fleet Fellowship Victoria Inc. 2012. Retrieved 24 July 2012. 
  10. ^ Sydney Ferries Fleet Facts Transport for NSW


  • 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]