Harriet Hodgett’s Journeys By Sea- Part 4

“Harriet clutched the rail to steady herself, as the ship lurched when the wind caught her sails and lifted her forward.”

Harriet Hodgett’s fourth sea voyage had begun. Today it is the anniversary of the beginning of that journey 200 years ago.

Thomas and Harriet Hodgetts, with their two youngest sons, James aged 13 and Daniel 11, as well as daughters Sarah, 19; Elizabeth, 15; Hannah, 8; and Jane, 6 years, had taken passage on the schooner, Sinbad, for Port Dalrymple in northern Tasmania.

The family was joining their eldest son, John, and his family, who had made this journey over two years before.

They left their eldest daughter Mary, her husband, Thomas Graham, and their three infant daughters, at the Hawkesbury River.

The Sinbad was a wooden, 2 mast schooner, of 44 tons, built in Sydney in 1818, for George William Barnard, specifically for the coastal trade between the colonies.

In the State Records of New South Wales is a hand-written document that records this voyage of the Sinbad.

On page 142 of the Harbour Master’s Registers, it states- ” No 11/194 Muster of the Master, Crew, and Passengers of the schooner Sinbad of Sydney- Berthen Registered 44 tons- bound for Port Dalrymple”. It then lists the five crew and eleven passengers, with pertinent details.

I know this document has been shared amongst Hodgett descendants. Although it is great so many are willing to share research, we always need to be mindful of copyright and legal requirements.

This document is not available on the Internet through one of the large subscription websites such as Ancestry.com; Findmypast or the Latter Day Saints, FamilySearch. Although the State Records of New South Wales has a partnership with these websites for some records, this document is not part of records available. Nor is it available through the State Records website itself. Not yet anyway.

However, you can get a copy of this record for your family records by visiting the State Records facilities or by post, by paying the nominal administration fee. That all-important reference is-

” NRS 1289 Ships Musters, Dec 1816-1825 4/4771 pp 142-143, Reel 561″.

I need to remind you, that even though you can get a copy, it is still ‘copyright’ to the State Records, and you cannot legally make copies and distribute to others, as they do not assign ‘copyright’ to you when you get the copy. Nor can you put it up on websites without permission and attribution.

However, you can make a transcription and share with family members without legal problems. By making a transcription and sharing with family history researchers you do a greater service. Firstly they know that it exists, what it says and where it is from. Secondly, realize that in the future, your descendants, and researchers generally, will probably not be able to transcribe old documents, as they will not be able to read ‘running writing’ and the cryptic abbreviations.

I share with you a transcription of my copy of this document below.

MALH027314 002

By putting a header at the top of the page and transcribing word for word the whole document, my family knows in an instant, from whom this document came and when the work was done. They also know if they wish they can also get their own official copy from the State Records of NSW, using the reference. ( I also type these up to make a more tidy copy and add some notes).

Although it is wonderful to have this surviving document, it is important for our family history, to know how and why this document was created in the first place.

In 1819, the Colony of New South Wales was made up of several communities at Sydney, Parramatta, Hawkesbury River, Newcastle, Norfolk Island, Hobart, and Port Dalrymple. They were all part of the colonial convict system, although not all the people who resided there, were convicts. That is to say, there was a growing number of free persons in these communities. This included our Hodgetts family.

However, these free people could not move freely around between these communities or to any other place in the world without the permission of the Governor through his various officials.

The law required that all persons do two things before they could move to another place, particularly by sea. Firstly they had to publicly advertise their intention of moving, by placing a notice in the newspaper, the Sydney Gazette. Our Thomas Hodgett’s notice of intention appeared on 13th and 20th February 1819. This made sure you didn’t leave any debts and gave people, who owed you money notice to pay before you left the colony.

Secondly, you had to get a written ‘pass’ from the Judge Advocate’s Office,  which checked your status, and how you came to be in the said Colony you wished to leave. You would be given this pass stating your name, your status, and sometimes age, to give to the ship’s master, to allow you onboard the vessel, even though you had already paid for your passage. The information from this pass was then lodged with the Harbour Master’s Office and was entered into his daily register. Thomas Hodgett’s would have needed that pass when he and his family disembarked at Port Dalrymple to show the Government officials there he had permission to settle in that community.

Now we know what records were created, where can we get a copy of the corresponding documents for John Hodgetts and family, who had left Sydney some years before, to settle in Port Dalrymple?


A Sherwood family of County Kildare, Ireland

As I mentioned in a former blog I am preparing to visit Britain in a few weeks to attend a Family History Cruise with Unlockthepast on board the Marco Polo. Full details of this Conference Cruise can be found at http://www.unlockthepastcruises.com/

One of my ancestral families from Ireland is a Sherwood family. From documents I have collected in Australia I can briefly outline my family as below.


Robert Sherwood, bc 1765, Monasterevin,County Kildare Ireland, Married 1818 in Kildare, Bridget Hannah Dunn.. Emigrated to Sydney per Premier in 1840. Issue included: William Dunn, b 1820; Amelia (Emily), b 1822; Robert, b 1825; Nelson, b 1828; Joseph, b 1830; Emily, b1833; Margaret, 1835.

Robert Sherwood died in 1860 and Bridget Sherwood in 1867. Both are buried in Sydney.

I have copies of several documents including Robert’s Death Certificate, Church Burial Entry and newspaper death notice in the Sydney Morning Herald., of 24 Sept, 1860 which states:-

At his residence, Balmain, on the 21st September, Mr. Robert Sherwood, aged 104 years, late of Malpes Court, New England, and formerly of Ivy House, county Kildare, Ireland. He served forty-two years in the army, and was highly respected by all who knew him.”

The earliest records I have for this family in Australia are their immigration records. Originally I located these records some forty years ago from the card indexes held at the NSW State Archives now State Records of New South Wales. This index gave me the information that the family arrived on the Premier on 2 July 1840. This index is now on http://www.ancestry.com. I have always found newspapers to be a great source for family history, and I encourage all family historian to tackle this great resource. I followed up the arrival of the Premier in the shipping intelligence and other sections of the Sydney Herald (Sydney), and other surviving newspapers of that time.

In the newspapers there is often information concerning the voyage and the ship itself, not found in the Harbour Masters Papers or other Shipping records, but sometimes much more, which adds to the family’s story. When looking for details on the voyage of the Premier in 1840, I certainly found some interesting information.

PREMIER, 560 tons, Weir, master, from Plymouth April 2nd, with 159 immigrants. Passengers, Mr. Ross, and T. Turner, Esq., surgeon. Agents. T. Gore and Co.

News – The William Mitchell had arrived from this port previously to the Premier sailing.

The Premier brings a fine and healthy looking body of Bounty Immigrants; during the voyage. only four infants were lost. She had an   uncommonly swift passage (90 days), though   becalmed for some time off the Cape.

However, by far the most interesting information was that there had been a mutiny on board.

The crew, incited by some Sydney crimp-taught fellows who were among them, mutinied and one of them had the audacity to strike the commander, after having given him the lie.

A mutiny you say! Great, how can I find out more about that?

Of course these sailors were incarcerated in the Sydney Gaol on arrival and hauled before the Courts to explain themselves. These Court cases were reported in the newspapers of the day, as well as other news items about the mutiny.

The fullest report by the Surgeon Superintendent Mr John Turner., was published in the Sydney Monitor and Commercial Advertiser. , 4 July 1840. Here is a short extract-

MUTINY ON BOARD The “Premier” Immigrant Ship   Dear Sir,–To prevent misconstruction, the following account of the mutiny on board the Premier, from the Log-book, is at your service, if worth inspection. I remain yours obediently, J. TURNER, Surgeon. ” I have much pleasure in bearing testimony to the ready and willing manner in,which most of the male Immigrants came forward on Tuesday the 6th of June to assist in navigating the ship under circumstances of a most trying nature.. ……

The Court Reports of the 7th July published in the same newspaper on the 8th and 9th of July gave further details. The full extracts run to some twelve pages of notes for my Sherwood Family History file.

All these newspapers can be freely accessed online in Digitised Historical Newspapers through Trove on the National Library of Australia website at https://www.nla.gov.au/

Although my ancestors are not named in these reports we know that approximately twenty four male immigrants of about forty five assisted the officers and apprentices to ‘man’ the ship for about two days. There is no doubt all on board would have been aware of what was happening. It would have been very traumatic for many, especially during the gales as most were from poor farming communities of Ireland, and had never been to sea before. What great details to add to the story of the Sherwood family’s voyage to Australia.

I encourage everyone interested not only in the Sherwood family, but anyone descended from one of the 30 families or the 16 unmarried men or 35 single women on this voyage to look up these newspapers to get a feel of what went on at the time.

Next blog I will be discussing surviving government records available for the Premier’s, 1840 voyage with information about the immigrants themselves. I will be looking at these records for my Sherwood family.

Family and Local History Research Tool- Index of Passengers and Crew In and Out of Sydney from Sydney Newspapers 1830-1841

When your ancestors arrived in Australia they could have come as :

a) Seaman/wife of a seaman or family of a seaman

b) Soldier/wife of a soldier or family of a soldier

c) Convict/ wife of a convict or family of a convict

d) Assisted Immigrant

e) Unassisted immigrant

f) Government Official/ wife of official or family or a servant of an official.

They could only have arrived by ship until after the mid 20th Century when air travel was possible.

Firstly, you need to consider from what port, or via what port, they may have come. Many immigrants did not come directly to Sydney. For example a large number of unassisted immigrants came via Tasmania, where they got off the ship, looked around for several weeks or months before deciding to board a coastal ship to Sydney. Others may have joined the big rush to America before re-emigrating and finally settling in Sydney. Just be aware of possibilities.

I have compiled indexes from the shipping and news columns of at least two and sometimes as many as four Sydney newspapers. The newspaper entries are compared for the most informative entry to be added to the index. If there is a variation of the spelling of the Surname in the various papers, all variations are added. The newspapers used are theSydney Gazette; Australian; Sydney Herald and Sydney Monitor.


Incoming passengers- Although shipping passenger lists have survived for incoming passengers into Sydney, for this period can be found on the State Records of New South Wales, they are thought to be incomplete. Many names can be found on these indexes which do not appear on the archive lists.

Outgoing passengers- There are no outgoing passenger lists at the State Records of New South Wales for this period. This is the first known index to fill this important gap in the records.


In this time period very few crew lists were prepared, only four are known to survive in the State Records of NSW. Included in my index are mention of crew named in inquests, court reports, news items etc. Any additional information on the passengers is also included.

Incoming crew- Although there is at the State Records of New South Wales, an unpublished card index for ship’s captains arriving in Sydney in this period, there are no lists for crew. All mention of members of any ship’s crew through newspaper items such as wrecks, inquests, death reports and court cases are listed in this indexes.

Outgoing crew- The only known lists for ship’s Captains and crew leaving Sydney at this time. Again these lists have been compiled from all sections of the newspapers.

The information includes Surname, Christian name or initials ; Title;Ship; Date of arrival in Sydney; Date of departure from original port and other ports of call; Date of departure from Sydney and destination port; Ship’s status of person named; remarks and notes as well as full references.

Example: Volume 2




Date of Arrival

From Ports

Date of


To Port




Other Notes


FENNELL, Mr Richard



London/ Hobart Town

01.05.1833/ 28.10.1833



SMH 14.11.1833

There are in excess of twenty thousand persons in this series of indexes for the 1830-1840 period.

Volume 1 1830-32; Volume 2 1833-35; Volume 3 1835-37 were published in book, microfiche and e-book form. The index is arranged alphabetically by Surname and then Christian name of Passengers and Crew arranged in one table.

Volumes 4, 1838; Volume 5, 1839 and Volume 6 1840 are arranged in two parts. Part 1-arranged alphabetically by Surname and then Christian name of Passengers and Crew.

Part 2-Arranged alphabetically by ship for Crew




Date of Arrival

From Ports

Date of Departure

To Port




Other Notes



BROWN, William


Madras/King George’s Sound/Port Phillip





S G 15.01.1839

Court Case

Here is also a special index for 1841. This year didn’t feature in my time original period of my 1830 to 1840 indexes. Pastkeys, a research business based in Sydney had compiled a set of indexes for immigration into New South Wales after 1842, which then left a gap in indexes to surviving records. After consultation with Pastkeys I agreed to fill the gap for 1841 from the Sydney newspapers, so Volume 7 was compiled also following the same guidelines as Volumes 4-6 in two parts.

Example: Volume 7




Date of Arrival

From Port

Date of Departure

To Port




Other Notes


YULE, Robert

HMS Erebus


Hobart Town




Second Master

SMH 15.07.1841

On Scientific voyage of magnetic observation

In the last few years the National Library of Australia has scanned these microfilms of each of these newspapers and digitally released them on their website ( https://www.nla.gov.au ) under Trove, in their Historical Newspapers section. In theory this makes my indexes obsolete as the word search facilities of the National Library site makes all the records available at the press of a button.

However, any family historian who relies on the computers facilities to find all their family history entries will often be very disappointed. Often many thousands of possible entries have to be sieved through to see if your family is indeed there. Also, the text recognition program used, although very helpful cannot hope to be 100% accurate. The printing of these early newspapers range from very dark and easy to read print to very faint and impossible to read. It needs the human eye to interpret those dark and smudged, as well as those faint broken text words. I have spent some forty years working with early 18th and 19th Century newspapers from all over the world, and have had much experience in working out those troublesome words.

I would use the National Library of Australia newspaper website everyday, but always consult my indexes if working in the 1830- 1841 time frame, as it saves me many hours of time. I immediately know if there is an entry, and in which newspaper I should be looking in.

These indexes are copyright to me and cannot be found on Ancestry.com, findmypast.com or any other website. Check them out at my website heritagepath.com.au

Why not give these indexes a try, as you just never know, they just may solve your research problem.