Marion was built in Calcutta in 1834 for Duncan Dunbar II, the greatest ship owner of the 19th century. At the peak of his shipping business in 1858, Dunbar owned 43 ships with a total tonnage of 36,800. Thirty-seven voyages by Dunbar ships transported convicts to the Australian penal colonies, many of them to Western Australia. His ships also made 40 voyages to Australia and New Zealand carrying migrants (1).
Specifications: Official #972, 684 tons registered in London. An early frigate ship. Hull of teak; three masts, two decks + poop deck, square stern, 2 galleries; figure head of a female bust. Length: 135.7 ft. Breadth: 33.3 ft. Depth: 24.1 ft. Draft: 18.0 ft. (2).
Marion was employed as a convict transport and left Portland, England on 2nd November 1851 with a crew of 39 bound for the Swan River Colony. She carried the sixth of 37 shipments of male convicts destined for Western Australia. The voyage took 89 days and she arrived in Fremantle on 30th January 1852. Captain Alex Bissett and Frederick W. Le Grand were the captain and surgeon respectively. The Religious Instructor was 18-year old Reverend Crawley (3).
There were no pensioner guards on this voyage and the supervision of the convicts fell to Lieutenant William Crossman, RE and 30 Royal Sappers and Miners (two sergeants, one bugler and 27 others) accompanied by wives and children (4).
Also see sources & links
(1) Duncan Dunbar and His Ships, a lecture by Duncan Dunbar-Nasmith 2006.
(2) Derrick Prall’s publication.
(3) Perth DPS website.
(4) Muster Rolls & Pay Lists WO11-130 October 1851 to January 1852.