Lady Penrhyn (ship)

From SpottingWorld, the Hub for the SpottingWorld network...

The Lady Penrhyn was a First Fleet transport ship of 333 tons, built on the River Thames in 1786. Her master, William Cropton Sever, was part-owner. John Turnpenny Altree was surgeon to the convicts, and Arthur Bowes Smyth was surgeon to the ship. She left Portsmouth on 13 May 1787, carrying 101 female convicts, and arrived at Port Jackson, Sydney, Australia, on 26 January 1788. She had been chartered by the British East India Company, and left Port Jackson on 5 May 1788 to sail to China for a cargo of tea. She arrived back in England in mid August 1789.

The Lady Penrhyn was part-owned by London alderman and sea-biscuit manufacturer William Curtis.[1] Curtis was a Lord Mayor of London of the 1790s, who sent a regular tea ship to China. Curtis was affectionally known as 'Billy Biscuit' because of his family links to sea biscuit manufacture. Curtis' speech about reading, 'riting and 'rithmatic', belied his literacy level which didn't have a lot to do with his success in life.

The list of stores unloaded from the Lady Penrhyn on 25 March 1788 at Port Jackson has been widely quoted in books on the First Fleet. In Sydney Cove 1788 by John Cobley [2] the amount of rice unloaded is given as 8 bram. This amount has been repeated in various books on the First Fleet. Bram, however, is not a unit of measurement and the original log entry lists the amount of rice as 8 barrels. [3]


  1. Byrnes, D. The Blackheath Connection: The Phantom First Fleet to Australia, Available [online]
  2. Cobley, John, 1914-1989. Sydney Cove, 1788. London : Hodder and Stoughton, 1962.
  3. Australian Joint Copying Project. Reel 5777, piece 4376, part 9. Canberra : National Library of Australia, c1988

Further reading

cy:Lady Penrhyn (llong) simple:Lady Penrhyn (ship)