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HMS Sulphur

HM's sloop Sulphur (master John Perriam), carrying military personnel, accompanied the barque Parmelia which brought the first European settlers to Western Australia in 1829. Its commander was Captain William T. Dance, whose wife's name was Helen. His lieutenant was William Preston. Also aboard was Capt Frederick Chidley Irwin, in command of the 63rd regiment.

Hitchcock 1929:
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.

Statham-Drew:
The Sulphur was also very overcrowded. She not only carried the 100-strong military guard with their commander, Captain Irwin, a bachelor, but also the ten women who had won the ballot for accompanying wives (the number allowed per regiment), together with their children, servants and luggage. Then there was three years’ worth of army stores: tents and poles, guns and ammunition, provisions including livestock, summer and winter clothes and bedding, musical instruments, etc. In addition she was carrying 10,000 bricks, ordered by Captain Stirling, which were stacked on deck where they impeded normal activities. The Sulphur also carried the new Colony’s Treasury or Public Chest: sixteen boxes containing £200 in copper coin, £200 in silver Spanish dollars, and £600 in English silver coinage—a total £1,000 to meet all the expenses of government, which Dance was to deliver to Stirling on arrival. 124

I have not attempted to find out what happened to the people who arrived on Sulphur. This research has been undergoing for some years by a researcher who will publish it some day, I suppose –  probably after my death.

References and Links

'Cygnet' [Cyril Bryan], 'H.M. Bomb Sulphur: a forgotten chapter', West Australian 17 January 1935: 19 (above).

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

Statham-Drew, Pamela 2003, James Stirling: Admiral and Founding Governor of Western Australia, UWAP.

Whiteley, E.S. 1967, 'H.M.S. Sulphur', Early Days, vol. 6, part 6: 45-55.

See the Family History WA page for 1829 ship arrivals.

WA Genealogical Society (FHWA) page for this ship contains a Return of Officers and Ship's Company of HMS Sulphur. It was first published in the Settlers Gazette, Newsletter of the Swan River Pioneers 1829-1838 from Issue No. 8, September 1996. This page contains two lists: the second is the Muster Roll of the 63rd Regiment, transcribed from Battye Library Acc 36 Vol 1/67 by Graham Bown. They differ. I have no idea why. For example, John Sicklemore is a Lieutenant on the ship but not mentioned in the Muster Roll, while Lieutenant William Pedder is listed in the Muster Roll but was apparently not on the ship.


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