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See also my analysis of what became of the passengers.


Built in Quebec, Canada in 1825, 117 feet long and of 443 tons, the barque Parmelia, master: Captain J.H. Luscombe, brought the first civilian officials to Western Australia to establish a British colony here. Escorted by HMS Sulphur carrying soldiers, she left England in early February 1829, arriving off Fremantle 2 June 1829, and running aground on the sandbank which bears her name.
She made two more voyages to NSW, but no more to the Swan River Colony, and was destroyed by fire in an English dockyard 1 May 1839.

Foundation Day has always been observed on June 1, although it was on June 2, 1829, that Captain James Stirling, with Surveyor-General Roe and the first contingent of 68 settlers, arrived at Fremantle in the transport Parmelia. The Parmelia grounded on a bank that still bears her name, but was floated off the next day and the Governor and his fellow settlers landed on Garden Island. On June 18 Lieutenant-Governor Stirling landed on Rous Head, and it was from there that his first proclamation annexing the colony to the British Empire was made. A detachment of the 63rd Regiment from H.M.S. Sulphur had landed the previous day to be in readiness for the ceremony. Hitchcock: 10.

Passenger List (from Battye AJCP Reel 294 CO18 Vol 3/19-20 from FHWA)

Captain James Stirling, RN (Lieutenant-Governor) Mrs Ellen Stirling and Andrew (4)
William Stirling, James's cousin, his PS; d. 1831
George Mangles, Ellen's cousin, Director of Stock; ret. Engl. 1832
Thomas Blakey and Mrs Sarah Blakey (Stirling's servants); he transp. VDL 1838; she dep. 1837
John Kelly and Mrs Elizabeth Kelly (also Stirling's servants); may have left 1832
George Eliot, relative of Stirling's, junior clerk
Peter Broun (Colonial Secretary) aka Brown while in the colony and Mrs Caroline Broun with MacBride & Ann Broun
Richard Evans, Margaret McLeod, Mary Ann Smith (Broun's servants); Evans d. 1830; McLeod ret. Eng. 1832
William Shilton (clerk to the Colonial Secretary) aka Sheldon; dep. Eng. 1835
Commander Mark J. Currie RN (Harbour Master) dep. Eng. 1832 with Mrs Jane Currie, his wife, an artist
Frederick Ludlow & Mrs Mildred Kitts Ludlow, Jane Fruin (Currie's servants); Fruin dep. Eng. 1832 with Curries
John Septimus Roe (Surveyor-General) & Mrs Matilda Roe
Charles D. Wright (Roe's servant)
Henry C. Sutherland (assistant surveyor) and Mrs Ann Sutherland
James Drummond (agriculturist), Mrs Sarah Drummond and Thomas (18), Jane (16), James (15), John (13), Johnson (9) and Euphemia (3)
Elizabeth Gamble (Drummond's servant)
Charles Simmons (colonial surgeon, died 1831)
Tully Davy (assistant surgeon to the 63rd regiment) - drowned in Cape Town; Mrs Jane Davy and Jessie Jane (8), Joseph T. (6), Henry John (4), Edward N. (2) and Eliza Rose (2 months); no record of this family in the colony
James Elliott, Patrick Murphy (Daly's servants)
Alexander Fendam (cooper) and Mrs Mary Fandam
William Hokin (artificer/bricklayer), Mrs Mary Hokin and John (14), William (12), Mary (10), Thomas (8), David (6), and Charles (2)
Thomas Davis (smith), Mrs Catherine Davis and John (3), Charlotte (2)
James C. Smith (boatbuilder) and Mrs Sarah Smith; ret. Eng. 1832


My crude research suggests that of the forty or so adults who shipped aboard the Parmelia from England bound for the Swan River Colony:

The 'successful' stayers were, arguably, the Governor and his wife (though even they were only here until 1838), the Colonial Secretary, Peter Broun, who died here in 1846, John Septimus Roe, who had a well-deserved splendid funeral in 1878, James Drummond, who died in 1863 in Toodyay, and some of the tradespeople and servants.

about a dozen returned within a few years (George Mangles, Sarah Blakey, John and Elizabeth Kelly, Margaret McLeod, William Shilton, Mark and Jane Currie, Jane Fruin, James and Sarah Smith –  and probably Jane Daly); one (Thomas Blakey) was transported to VDL for theft;
four died unexpectedly (Wm Stirling, Richard Evans, Charles Simmons). One (Tully Davy) didn't even get to the Colony, drowning in Cape Town.
They could therefore have been said to be 'unsuccessful' in their venture.

References and Links

Calista, Leda, Medina, Orelia, and Parmelia and are southern suburbs of Perth named after early ships.

Berryman, Ian 1979 ed., A Colony Detailed: The First Census of Western Australia 1832, Creative Research, Perth.


Hitchcock, JK 1929, The History of Fremantle, The Front Gate of Australia 1829-1929, Fremantle City Council.

See the Family History WA page for 1829 ship arrivals.

Wikipedia page

Garry Gillard | New: 16 January, 2015 | Now: 21 September, 2023