Several SRNSW microfilm reels containing records of the prisoners held on the hulk Phoenix were purchased in memory of our original Convict Connections convenor, Jennifer Chandler, on the recommendation of Queensland historian, Dr Jennifer Harrison. Finally, we are able to announce that SRNSW microfilm reels 819, 820, 821 and 822 have been indexed and released on CD
The convict ship, Phoenix, was damaged on a reef just inside the Sydney Harbour entrance. As the colony was experiencing a shortage of gaol cells, the ship was moored in Lavender Bay and used as a prison ship (or hulk) between 1824 and 1837.
Although there were a few female prisoners taken on board, the majority of men were those who were waiting to be transported to penal settlements such as Norfolk Island, Moreton Bay, and Port Macquarie – or those returning from these penal settlements having served their time for colonial convictions.
Others on board the hulk were waiting to testify in criminal cases as witnesses. Others were convicts in a weak state waiting to be shipped to the Port Macquarie Invalid Station.
Up to 260 prisoners could be held on the hulk at one time. Not all on board had arrived in the colony as convicts. Some were soldiers, some came free and some were born in the colony.
In June 1837, the hulk was in danger of sinking, and the following year she was decommissioned and sold for scrap.
Convict Connections have the Phoenix Hulk Indexes available on 4 CDs - names include convicts,
soldiers, free men, natives, mutineers, stowaways, witnesses and more. Click here for further details.