What were Dr Desailly and his wife doing in this antipodean outpost of Van Diemen’s Land (Tasmania)?
“They held no official position, nor were they of the free settlers who were beginning to trickle into the colony,” wrote Mabel Hookey in a rare, limited-edition book published over 50 years ago. “They did not swell the ranks of those unfortunates [convicts] who had left their country for their country’s good, nor were they political exiles.
“A vessel under special charter brought them to Van Diemen’s Land, and they always had plenty of money, derived from a mysterious pension, paid regularly and with great secrecy. . It was whispered that Dr Desailly’s English practice had been at the court of George IV, and that his beautiful wife had been a Lady in Waiting to Queen Caroline. “
I know Dr Desailly’s Royal secret and you can read the full story HERE.
Could it possibly have had anything to do with the divorce proceedings between George IV and Queen Caroline?
Did his closely guarded secret have everything to do with children of the Prince of Wales? Maybe legitimate children from his secret marriage to Maria Fitzherbert? If so, where were they? Absolutely nothing is known of them.
Were they conveniently dispatched on a Third Fleet ship of all-female convicts that set sail for Australia in 1791?
The ‘Mary Ann’ was an all-female convict ship which had sailed to New South Wales (Australia had not been named yet) as part of the Third Fleet in 1791 “under strange circumstances.”
Although officially one of the Third Fleet the ‘Mary Ann’ sailed independently of the rest of the fleet, leaving England forty days before the first of the other ships. The remaining nine vessels were mostly in a bad state of repair, “mostly old, and the Navy Board’s officers were less than vigilant than usual or had no alternative but to accept vessels that were in poor repair and ill-found.” 1
Under the command of her part-owner, Mark Monroe, the 298 ton vessel sailed from England on the 16 February, 1791, arriving in Port Jackson on 9 July. This was the fastest voyage yet made by any ship of the three fleets. Bateson reports a cargo of 150 female convicts but the records of ‘Shipping Arrivals & Departures, Sydney, 1788-1825′2show this to be incorrect. The ‘Mary Ann’ (officially) carried 141 female convicts, six children and one free woman. Six children and one free woman? She was the only ship in the fleet to carry exclusively female, and no male, convicts.
There were a number of indications of a hasty departure. As reported by Collins, the Master of the ship “had not any private papers on board (but what added to the disappointments everyone experienced), he had not brought a single newspaper, and having been but a few weeks from Greenland before sailing for this country, he was destitute of any kind of information.” 3
Even more intriguing was an incident reported by Charles Bateson. After a grueling 143 days at sea “possibly because she called at only one port en route to refresh her prisoners with fresh provisions” a very strange thing happened.
“The Master landed a boat in a bay on the coast about 15 miles to the southward of Botany Bay; but no other observation of any consequence to the colony, than that it was a bay in which a boat may land.” 4
Notice it was the Master who landed the boat according to Bateson.
Puzzled by this I wrote to my genealogist in England asking for information about the ‘Mary Ann’.
“There seem to be no ships musters for the ‘Mary Ann’,” he wrote back. “Looked next the embarkations returns for 1791 but there was no mention of the ‘Mary Ann’ … I looked at the Home Office lists for the ‘Mary Ann’ but these give only the list of convicts, so there is something wrong with your data.”
I found the list of female convicts on the ‘Mary Ann’ but none for the free women and child.
So what have we got?
The Master of the ‘Mary Ann’, a female convict ship carrying six children and one free woman, lands a boat on the coast away from the main settlement about fifteen miles from their port of destination, for no apparent reason, even though there must have been many on board who were ill and in need of fresh food and water having stopped only once on the journey. Her departure does not seem to have been recorded in England. No ships musters could be found. She leaves hastily “under strange circumstances” without the usual papers, sailing over a month in advance of the other ships in the fleet and making the trip in record time. The captain also happens to be the part-owner.
Was something fishy going on here?
But that’s not all.
Bateson offers another interesting observation. “Of the ten sail of transports [the Third Fleet] lately arrived, five, after delivering their cargo, were to proceed on the southern whaling fisheries – the ‘Mary Ann’, ‘Matilda’, ‘William and Mary’, ‘Salamanda’ and ‘Brittania’. Two of the whalers, ‘Matilda’ and ‘Mary Ann’, came in from the sea the day on which the others arrived. The former found a boat in a bay on the coast six miles to the southward of Port Stephens …” 5
Port Stephens is some 200 miles to the north of Botany Bay.
Was there some kind of cover-up going on?
I know what was going on and it was a cover-up to save the Prince of Wales’ Skin.
Or maybe his neck.
I wrote the book to answer this and other big questions.
I’ve written a book revealing clues to a secret hidden until now in the Third Fleet of female convicts sent to the new colony of Australia.
The ship was named the ‘Mary Ann’.
Here is the cover of my true story showing a painting of a small boat with secrets being smuggled ashore even before she offloaded her cargo of suffering female convicts.
So what was the big hurry?
This rare unknown painting shows a small boat leaving the ‘Mary Ann’, the only all-female convict ship and one of eleven to sail to Australia from England in 1791 as the Third Fleet.
She sailed hastily a month ahead of the rest “under strange circumstances”.
“You have discerned an amazing story.” – Writer’s Digest
Right from the start there’s a paranormal mystery.
Why did the ‘Mary Ann’, the only all-female convict ship among the Third Fleet of convicts to Australia, leave England in 1791 in such a hurry before the rest of the fleet and “under strange circumstances”?
Who was the Commander of the ‘Lady Nelson’ and what was his true shocking identity?
Have I found the unsuspected unknown missing children of George IV?