Item 14 - Convict seizure of brig Frederick

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Convict seizure of brig Frederick


  • 1834 (Creation)

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1 narrative

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James Porter was born in London in about 1800. He was sent to sea at an early age and spent some time in Chile. In 1821 he was convicted of stealing and sentenced to transportation for life. He arrived in Hobart the following year on the Asia. After several attempts to escape he was sent to the penal settlement at Macquarie Harbour. In 1834, with nine other convicts, he seized the brig Frederick and sailed her to Chile. They landed at Valdivia where they assumed new identities as shipwrecked sailors. In 1836 Porter was arrested, returned to England, and transported again to Tasmania, arriving in 1837 on the Sarah. He was sentenced to death for piracy, but the sentence was commuted and he was transported to Norfolk Island. After four years of good behaviour he was transferred to the mainland. In May 1847 he absconded from Newcastle, supposedly on the brig Sir John Byng. He was never heard of again.
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A narrative of the sufferings of certain of the ten convicts who piratically seized the brig Frederick at Macquarie Harbour in Van Diernen's Land , as related by one of the said convicts whilst lying under sentence of death for this offence in the Gaol at Hobart Town. Ms. note: 'written by James Porter a convict who arrived by the 'Asia' in Nov. 1827'.

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This material is made available for personal research and study purposes under the University of Tasmania Standard Copyright Licence. For any further use permission should be obtained from the copyright owners. For assistance please contact

When reusing this material, please cite the reference number and provide the following acknowledgement:
“Courtesy of the UTAS Library Special & Rare Collections”

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gc August 2018




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