Robert Jillett - Convict on the Hillsborough


                Hillsboro - Rob. Gillett al. Thomas Elston, Middlesex, 11 Jan 1797, Life.
[On another Hillsborough list, Rob. Jillit, alias Thos Elston, shoemaker].
- Thomas Bradshaw, convicted Warwick Assizes, 31 March  1798, for life. 
[Arr. NSW Hillsborough 1798. (HO 11/1, Reel 87, p.255)]

NOAH, William, 1978.  Voyage to Sydney in the Ship Hillsborough 1798-99, and a Description of the Colony. [Ms. in Dixon Library], Library of Australian History.    
   Gives a vivid description of the voyage and conditions endured by the convicts.  It also notes that six women were given permission to accompany  convict husbands to "the Bay"[Port Jackson=Botany Bay], though not Noah s own wife. A Thomas Bradshaw is listed amongst the convicts, transported for life.  While Elizabeth Bradshaw does not appear on formal lists for the Hillsborough, confirmation that she was indeed aboard comes from Noah s diary entry for Saturday 15th June, 1799, "a Mrs Bradshaw caught the Fever by Attending her Husband & it spread among the Women that several of them was very poorly".  Thomas Bradshaw apparently survived to be landed alive, but there is no further reference to him in musters and lists for NSW.  It seems likely that he died soon after arrival at Sydney, a fate of several others who arrived on the infamous fever-ship Hillsborough.  At least 95 out of 300 convicts died of goal fever (typhoid in the course of the eight month voyage.

p.63  Thomas Bradshaw, tried at Warwick, listed amongst convicts sent from the Stanishlaws Hulk, Woolwich, Oct. 20th 1798.
p.64  Robert Jillit {sic, no alias), tried at Newgate, Shoemaker,listed amongst those convicts sent from the Prudentia Hulk, Woolwich, Oct. 20th 1798.
October 1798
p.11       Thurs 18th inst  "......Arrived alongside the Hilsborough laying at the Upper Hope Gravesend ........"
p.12       Frid 19th inst     ".....only a few of the Ship s Company on board besides 6 Convicts Wives going out with there Husbands ....."
                "Saturday ye 20 inst  Received on board from the Prudentia Hulk 72 Convicts & from the Stanislaws 56 of Woolwich from a Lighter guarded by a Party of Soldiers &c these Men were truly Deplorable so Rag d & Altered that the several [who] went from Newgate I hardly knew them for Vermin they was Eat up with these to us was no very Agreable Companions having never experienced the Hardships of the Hulks which by Account is very Miserable.  But kind Hope Paints in our mind a Better Day & leads us thro the Most Disagreable Pangs and Misfortunes of Life which Death would Otherways be a Happy Relief  "

November 1798

p.15      having left the upper Thames, now lying off Deal (Downs of the Town of Deal)
                Mon 12th inst  "...... Departed this Life and Infant belong g to one Holderness a Convt who was at Langston but his Wife had with 6 other women got permission to go to the Bay with there Husbands and Came Onboard the Day we Came and Allowd a place a purpose on the Gun Deck ...."
                17th inst  [arrived off the Mother Bank, Portsmouth, opposite Rye

December 1798
p.19       one wife was charged 150 guineas for the voyage.
p.20       Thurs 20th   sailed from Portsmouth
                Frid 21st  anchored off Portland Roads
p.21       Sun 23rd  sailed from Portland,  by this time Robert Jillett  would have spent 8 months in Newgate Goal, 13 months on the Hulk Prudentia at Woolwich and just over 2 months on the Hillsborough while she was engaged in loading convicts and stores, tending the sick and preparing for sea.
                Immediately sailed into a gale which resulted in saturated clothes and bedding
                Called at Funchal (Madiera) taking on provisions - wine and produce - sailed past Tenerife - Called at Island of Mayo, Cape Verde Islands - lengthy time at Cape Town tending sick.
Contains details of food and issue of clothes, discipline, potential mutiny, convict discipline of fellows, etc. etc
p.51       Sat 15th June, 1799, "a Mrs Bradshaw caught the Fever by Attending her Husband & it spread among the Women that several of them was very poorly".

July 1799
                Friday ye 26th inst  "at 4 in the Morning Hove to off the Harbour Mouth till Daylight at 7 made Sail & turned up the River which is 7 miles from the Town the appearance is Wild and uncultivated but it made our Hearts glad to think we would now be releast from our unhappy & Miserable Situation in Every Countenance it was Easy to see the Happiness it Created this Voyage was one Continual seen of Harrucan Winds that is seldom meet with in any part of the Globe being here the Depth of Winter & a Voyage the Wind set this Way .........    the following Ship laying in the Harbour the Buffalo & Reliance Kings Sloop of War the Supply a Hulk the Albion and Britannia whaler .............  we were now visited by the Gentlemen of the Town & our Irons Knockd Off"

                "Monday ye 29 Inst    ............. We had now got to the End of a Long and Painfull tedious Voyage where Every Distress was to be meet with Heat Cold Hunger Thirst want of Remant Air &ca witch Created in us poor Convicts filth, Verming & all kind of Diseases wich caus d a Hundred poor Souls to be Buried in the Bowels of the Deph"

Historical Records of Australia

Series 1, Volume2, 1797 - 1800, p. 376- 77
Governor Hunter to the Duke of Portland {Extract}
Sydney New South Wales 27th July 1799

My Lord Duke,
The Albion, south whaler, anchored here on the 29th of June, and deliver d nine hundred tuns of salt pork, and the Hilsborough, transport, arriv d yesterday, in which had been embark d three hundred convicts, but I am sorry to say that such had been the mortality on board that ship two hundr d and five only were landed here, and of that number six are since dead; most of them must for a time be placed in the hospitals.

Here again my Lord, I am compell d, much against my inclination, to recur to my former representations of the want of cloathing and blankets. These people have been put on board this ship with a miserable matrass, and one blanket, and the cloaths only in which they embark d, not a supply of any kind to land them here in, and those worne on board the ship are not fit to be taken on shore; yet, ragged as they are, I cannot suffer even those things which are liable to carry infection to be destroy d, because I have nothing to supply in lieu, the whole colony being naked.

I will direct every means to be used for preventing the goal fever (which I understand to be the principal malady) from being introduced into our hospitals. Permit me, my Lord, to solicite most earnestly that your Grace may issue such directions on the subject of cloathing for the people in this colony as may serve to furnish us with an early supply.

Robert Jillett - Sent on Convict Ship the Hillsborough
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