The 1863 Lord Dalhousie

By Ms Christine Christine Harris

The Enrolled Pensioner Guards (EPGs) who arrived on the 1863 Lord Dalhousie, built in 1847 had previously been employed as a convict transport to Tasmania and now, again to Western Australia.

An uneventful voyage of 90 days arriving December 28 with 270 convicts, 30 EPGs and their 20 wives, 16 sons and 19 daughters. There were also other passengers including 5 prison warders, crew and officers including Surgeon Dr Fasken – his Journal is available on the EPG website see link.

See also an image attached of the Lord Dalhousie and the man it was named after, a former Governor of India.



Some items of interest about the EPGs:

  • EPG Samuel Efford (see photo) was a small farmer, gardener and for a time lighthouse keeper. On St Patrick’s Day 1885, he held a fête on his land with a full military band with outdoor sports, prize baby show, prize beauty show and a jolly nose show together with refreshments - all for two shillings and six pence. A special train had been chartered and a fireworks display held also. He ultimately left an estate worth £1,700 - a sign of his success.
  • EPG Patrick Meer was working at Rottnest and gave evidence at the trial of William Vincent in 1866 for aggravated assault on an indigenous prisoner. William Vincent was the son of Henry Vincent, first Superintendent of the infamous Rottnest Island Prison. Henry Vincent resigns the same year following investigation of charges of cruelty against prisoners.
  • Charles Cook Hunt surveyor and explorer on an expedition to open up WA east of York from January to August 1865 employed 6 EPGs to assist.  The party suffered from lack of water, sore eyes, splinters in eyes, bullocks being poisoned and excessive heat and bush fires. As well as making a trail the party were digging wells and bricking them up to provide permanent water holes for travellers, such work paved the way for explorers to open up the eastern goldfields. 2 of the EPG came from the Lord Dalhousie EPGs John Hyland and William Laughlin – his obituary attached.



Plenty of interesting stories for individuals can be found here on the Enrolled Pensioner Guard website.


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