John Hammond was born circa 1775 in England and died 9 October 1812 Sydney, New South Wales, Australia of pneumonia.

John Hammond's son born in the Colony of New South Wales

In 1798 or earlier John Hammond began a relationship with the convict Margaret McMahon and they resided together at the Brickfields, Sydney. Their son John was baptised on 1 September 1799 at St Phillips in Sydney as John Hammon (sic), son of John Hammon (sic) & Mary McMann (sic). His son is recorded in the birth records of New South Wales as John Hammon McMann (sic), the son of Margaret McMann (sic), with no father's name recorded. In 1801 John Hammond, a soldier, was transfered for garrison duty on Norfolk Island. By 1802 Margaret McMahon had began a relationship with the convict Thomas Chaseling who resided at Portland Head. John Hammond's son had become the step-son of the convict Thomas Chaseling (c1772-1847), was raised as his son, and given his surname.

Two John Hammonds in the Colony of New South Wales

The Irish convict woman with whom John Hammond had a relationship, Margaret McMahon the mother of his son, had arrived in the Colony in 1795 aboard the Marquis Conwallis. According to Barbara Hall in her book A Desperate Set of Villains: The Convicts of the Marquis Cornwallis, Ireland to Botany Bay, 1796 (1942), John Hammond (Hammon) arrived on the Pitt in 1792 and obtained a land grant a Petersham Hill in 1795. Receiving a land grant shows that John Hammond was not a convict. Barbara Hall, however, does not quote a source, and there is no record of a John Hammond arriving on the Pitt as a soldier, a civilian, or even a convict.

There are records for 2 different John Hammonds in the Colony of New South Wales at that time, both soldiers who arrived as part of the NSW Corps, and who both later transfered to the 73rd Regiment. One of these John Hammonds was living with Margaret McMahon at the Brickfields, Sydney, and is the father of her son John.

These 2 soldiers both obtained land grants in 1795, one at Petersham Hill as mentioned by Barabra Hall, and one at Windsor. These 2 John Hammonds arrived in the Colony as Privates on different vessels: the Royal Admiral on 7 October 1792, and the Sugar Cane on 12 April 1793. Both were sent to serve garrison duty on Norfolk Island in 1801. Both transfered to the 73rd Regiment on 24 April 1810, the John Hammond of the Sugar Cane as a UK Veteran. John Hammond of the Royal Admiral was a Corporal in the 73rd, and John Hammond of the Sugar Cane, who was a drummer, still had the rank of Private.

The John Hammond of the Royal Admiral died in Sydney whilst still serving in the 73rd Regiment on 9 October 1812 at the recorded age of 37. He had been admitted into the Hospital 8 days earlier with symptoms of "acute catarrh", an excessive discharge of build up of musus in the nose or throat. He died on the eigth day of pneumonia. An autopsy was performed on his body and at the time the surgeon estimated his age to be about 43. It was found that his left lung was full of fluid, and his right lung had hepatized so that it could not longer absorb oxygen. He was buried the next day, 10 October 1812, at Old Sydney Burial Ground.

As a veteran soldier the John Hammond of the Sugar Cane would have been ineligible to leave Australia to fight in Ceylon (Sri Lanka) with the 73rd in 1814, and may have transfered to the NSW Veterans Corp. His fate may be recorded in his military papers in London.

The John Hammond who lived with Margaret McMahon at the Brickfields would most likely have been the John Hammond who received the land grant just 6 kilometres away at Petersham Hill. It then appears that Barbara Hall's reference is correct except that she named the wrong ship. The evidence seems to suggest that the John Hammond who received the land grant at Petersham Hill was the John Hammond of the Royal Admiral, the John Hammond who died in Sydney in 1812.


Offspring of Margaret McMahon and John Hammond (c1775-1812)
Name Birth Death Joined with
John Chaseling (1799-1876) 30 August 1799 Sydney, New South Wales, Australia 2 November 1876 Leets Vale, New South Wales, Australia Ann Everingham (1802-1849) Ann Everingham (1802-1849) Sarah Mary Stubbs (1798-1878)

The Voyage of the Royal Admiral

Master (Captain) Essex Henry Bond, Surgeon Richard Alley

The Royal Admiral, with a weight of 914 tons, had been built on the Thames River in 1777. She was 120'2" long with a beam of 37'10".

The first of the female convicts boarded at Gravesend on 4 May 1792, with the last of the female convicts on the 13 May 1792.

Whilst the Royal Admiral was docked at Gravesend about 20 soldiers from the NSW Corps joined her on 14 May 1791. One of these soldiers was a Private John Hammond. Also assigned to the NSW Corps during the voyage was a convict from Scotland, Donald Kennedy, who was being transported aboard the ship accompanied by his wife Ann.

14 May proved to be a busy day: Captain Bond along with owner Mr Larkin came on board and “paid the Ship”; the long boat was ousted and received 7 packages for private trade; and live stock and sundry stores were received on board.

The London Times reported that on the morning of Friday 27 May 1791, 102 convicts were sent off from Newgate Prison, put on a lighter and sent down the river in preparation for being transported to New South Wales.

In total 348 convicts were placed aboard the Royal Admiral, 299 male and 49 female. (The ships log, instead, records 297 male and 51 female convicts. Records of convicts for voyages were not the best. For example the ship indents for the Royal Admiral included 6 convict women who actually arrived on the next sailing ship, the Bellona and some women listed on the indent were already in Australia, having arrived on the Kitty. Also some women’s names were missing on the indent but their names appear in Log Entries.) Onboard there was also some wives of the male convicts, possibly some husbands of the female convicts, and some children of the female convicts. The Royal Admiral also carried some passengers travelling to work in the Colony, and their wives and children.

The object of this voyage was to transport both male and female convicts to Port Jackson and from there proceed to China to load tea for the voyage back home. The Royal Admiral sailed from England on 30 May 1791. The ship arrived in Port Jackson just 4 months later on 7 October 1792. One of the seamen, Thomas Dargin, deserted the ship at Sydney Cove. He was in love with one of the convicts, mary Loveridge, onboard who he later married. On 29 October 1792 he received 6 lashes for quitting the ship without leave.

The convicts - both male and female - had mixed together on the voyage, as there are many entries in the ship’s log referring to "The soldiers under arms and all convicts on deck".

During the voyage 1 male convict had managed to escape at the Cape of Good Hope. 8 convict men and 1 convict women died on the passage out. A further male convict and a further female convict died whilst the ship was docked at Sydney Cove. 3 seamen also died during the voyage, 1 from drowning when he fell overboard. 4 children were born during the voyage and another child whilst the boat was docked at Sydney Cove. The 4 children born during the voyage included a stillborn infant, and a baby boy who died on 25 September 1792 at 19 days old, his mother being the 1 female convict who had died during the voyage. She had died a week earlier from complications of the childbirth. The female convict who died whilst the ship was docked at Sydney Cove had also died from the complications of childbirth 2 days after giving birth.

On board the Royal Admiral all passengers (free and convict) experienced fever and sickness during the voyage. This fever had caused many of the deaths during the voyage, and continued to cause deaths after disembarkment. 72 men, 11 women and 5 children were landed sick. The remainder of her convicts were sent to be employed at Parramatta and adjoining settlements.

Captain Bond also brought goods to the Colonies to trade. His agent John Macarthur sold Porter (a heavy dark brown beer made with malt) and other goods at the trading stores at both Sydney Cove and Parramatta.

The only addition made to weekly rations in the Colony because of the Royal Admiral arrival was the allowance of 6 ounces of oil to each person. This oil was issued in lieu of butter. Major Grose directed the officers commanding companies of the NSW Corps to purchase for each company from the Royal Admiral a 25 gallon of spirits.

The Royal Admiral departed Port Jackson bound for China in November 1792.

The Voyage of the Sugar Cane

Master (captain) Thomas Musgrave, Surgeon David Wake Bell

The Sugar Cane, which weighed 403 tons, mad been built on the Thames River in 1786.

The Sugar Cane sailed from Cork, Ireland, in company with the Boddingtons, on 12 April 1793 and arrived in Port Jackson (Sydney) 5 months later on 17 September 1793. 110 male and 50 female prisoners were transported on the Sugar Cane.

The Sugar Cane also brought to the Colony its guard for the convicts of a Sergeant’s party of the NSW Corps, including a Private Thomas Hammond, drummer. Also aboard were supplies for the Colony being: 31,496 lbs of beef; 45,440 lbs. of port; 64,512 lbs. of flour; 44 tons of lime stone; and 17 bales and 5 cases of clothing and necessaries.

During the voyage, on 25 May, information was given to the Government’s agent on the ship that “a meeting was intended by the convicts”. In preparation for this mutiny some of the convicts had sawn off some of their irons. Insinuations were also made to the Government’s agent that the convicts were to be joined by some of the sailors and soldiers in the guard. On making further enquiries the agent “thought it indispensible to the safety of the ship to cause an instant example to be made”. He ordered one of the convicts who had sawn off his irons to be executed that night. Other convicts were punished the next morning. The agent heard no more during the voyage of attempts to take the ship.

The execution of the male convict was to be the only death during the voyage.

Lieut-Governor Grose later wrote to Henry Dundas reporting the arrival of the Sugar Cane and Boddingtons -

Sydney, 12 October 1793.

Sir, I have the honour to inform you that since the date of my last dispatches the Sugar Cane transport, with Irish convicts has arrived here. The contractor, as well in this ship as the Boddingtons, appears to have performed his engagement with great liberality; and the prisoners they have conveyed prove by their healthy appearance the extraordinary attention that must have been paid by the Naval Agents. In two ships containing three hundred and three people, one person only had died, and amongst those landed in the colony scarcely any are sick.


Footnotes (including sources)