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Michael Collins

** community contributed record **

Name, Aliases & Gender

Name: Michael Collins
Aliases: Michael Hurley
Gender: m

Birth, Occupation & Death

Date of Birth: 1791
Occupation: Labourer
Date of Death: -
Age: -

Life Span

Life span

Male median life span was 53 years*

* Median life span based on contributions

Conviction & Transportation

Sentence Severity

Sentence Severity

Sentenced to 7 years

Crime: Stealing money
Convicted at: Cork County
Sentence term: 7 years
Ship: Chapman
Departure date: 25th March, 1817
Arrival date: 26th July, 1817
Place of arrival New South Wales
Passenger manifest Travelled with 86 other convicts


Primary source: Irish Convict Database by Peter Mayberry.
Source description:

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Maureen Withey on 11th September, 2021 wrote:

Irish Convict Database by Peter Mayberry.
Michael Collins, alias Hurley,  age on arrival, 26, Chapman (1) 1817, Tried at Cork Co., 1816. 7 years. DOB 1791, Native place Bandon Cork Co. Labourer. Remarks: Ship uprising informer.


There were two separate mutinies on board Chapman during the voyage and seven prisoners were killed during them.

An extract from the surgeon’s journal tells of the events surrounding the first mutiny on 17th April 1817:

April 1817.

Fresh breezes with variable winds. At 8, Ship’s Company employed passing Chain Cable over the Main hatchway. Captain Drake has been induced to adopt this measure for the better security of the prison, as the conduct of the convicts of late has been suspicious, by so many of them taking off their bezzels on various pretences. Prison deck cleaned as usual.
At 10, mustered all the convicts up the main hatchway and down the forescuttle, observing as they passed round from eighty to a hundred of them with their bazzels and chains defective, and a number with only one bezzel on, and could give no satisfactory account of what had become of the other.

P.M. At 2.30 Michael Collins, convict, communicated to Mr. Baxter, the Mate in charge of the prison deck that it was the intention of the convicts to take the ship and carrie her to America. As soon as this information was made known to Captain Drake, he gave orders for the chain cable to be passed over the fore and after hatchways for the better security of the ship should any attempt be made by the convicts to pull the stanchions down enclosing the prison. Every other means that could be devised for our safety was adopted, and a good watch kept during the night.

THURSDAY 17TH. After muster Collins was called into Captain Drake’s cabin and strictly examined on the subject he had communicated to Mr Baxter the preceding afternoon. On different questions being put to Collins respecting the wicked intention of the convicts he still persisted in what he had before related, namely that it was certainly the intention of the prisoners to attempt taking the ship, and, if they succeeded, to murder all hands and proceed to America; he further stated that Francis Murphy, Lauchlan McLean, William Morrison, Peter Allan were the principal leaders of the plot, and had sworn all the captains of the different messes to act with their messmates at a proper opportunity; and so sure were they of success that they even named themselves as the succeeding officers of the ship. William Morrison was to be the Captain and wear Captain Drake’s Clothes, Lauchlan McLean the Officer of the Guard, and wear his clothing, and Francis Murphy the greatest villain amongst them, to be the Doctor and wear his apparel. Having heard thus much circumstantially detailed, no room was left what measures for safety ought to be followed; accordingly the convicts usually allowed as cooks on deck during the day were immediately ordered below, and every other means adopted for the safety of the ship; Collins not allowed to return below and taken under our protection.

P.M. At 4, mustered all the convicts up the after hatchways and down the forescuttle, detaining as they went round for suspicious conduct, John Emns, William Burn, John Doyle the 1st, John Doyle the 2nd, John Murray and John Fox. Punished John Emns with twenty four lashes on his back. John Doyle the 1st with six lashes on the back and two on the breech, John Doyle the 2nd six lashes on his back and two on the breech, John Murray with eight lashes on his back, John Jackson with thirty six lashes on his back, Cornelius Crawley, one of the crew, with thirty six lashes on the back; John Fox escaped punishment by bringing a large file up out of the prison, which the convicts had contrived to get down for the purpose of assisting them to take their bezzels off.

At 5PM, Handcuffed Francis Murphy and sent the prisoners below.

At 8PM James Wells, Ship’s cook was standing on the grate of the starboard forescuttle and suddenly found it lifting under him. A general alarm throughout the ship was immediately given that the convicts were forcing the scuttles forward; at the same time, a strong party of them was distinctly heard to run quickly aft in the prisoner towards the hospital Bulkhead, the door of which they thrust open but did not come any further aft, as a brisk fire of musketry was opened upon them by the guard and crew from the loopholes in the aftermost bulkhead and down the hatchways. Soon after the firing commenced, some of the convicts were heard to call out, fire away, we will given you no quarters.

About 9PM, ceased firing as the prisoners called out for mercy At the commencement, George Murray one of the crew, was shot through the body by accident and instantly expired. When everything was restored to quietness, enquiry was made to known the number of killed and wounded. which could not be exactly ascertained owing to its being dark, and it was not deemed prudent to visit the prison until morning. All hands at Quarters during the night.

April 18 A.M.
At 5AM, sent a message down into the prison demanding files, saws and pieces of iron we had received information they had amongst them, with a positive assurance if they did not instantly comply, the guard and crew would again begin firing upon them, and continue to do so while a living convict remained in the prison; to which message the prisoners return for answer, they would give up everything and begged to be spared a few minutes to search for them; at the expiration of a short time; several articles were produced such as pieces of iron etc, during the period granted to find these articles, many things were observed to be thrown out at the scuttles, supposed to be the saws and files we had received information of, as they were not produced with the pieces of iron etc. The prison was now visited and Lauchlan McLenan, Daniel McCormick, George Stephenson found killed, likewise twenty-two wounded. Many of them severely. Punished the following principal conspirators, viz Barnard Kelly with 36 lashes on the back, William Grady 26, William Connor 24, William Leo 36, Thomas Magiff 30, John Doyal 8, Francis Murphy 17, John Flood 24, Edward Donoghough 30, Michael Savage 36, William Nelson, one of the crew, 24.

P.M. Committed the bodies of the deceased to the deep viz, John Murray (seaman), George Stephenson, Daniel McCormick, and Lauchlan McLean, convicts. Made Francis Murphy, Michael Savage, William Leo, John Doyal, Edward Donohough, John Jackson and William Morrison prisoners on the poop. As soon as the wounded were cleaned and dressed, cleaned the prison deck and sprinkled it with vinegar. Fine pleasant weather. Two discharged out of the sick list, and twenty-two cases of gun-shot wounds added.
Saturday 19th A.M.
Fresh breezes from the S.W. with occasional showers of rain. prison deck cleaned as usual. Captain Drake with his principal officers employed examining and completing the prisoners bezzels.

P.M. Fresh breezes and clear weather. Punished in the course of the day forty-six of the convicts principally for having their irons defective.
Sunday 20th - Got all the convicts clothing and bedding on deck to be examined and aired. Washed the lower deck throughout the prison room. Noon fine pleasant weather.
P.M. At 4, sent the convicts bedding and clothing below. Wounded for the most part doing well. No addition to the sick list.

Monday 21st. P.M
Completed the whole of the prisoners bezzels that were found defective, and punished 33 of them for having them so; at 5, departed this life Thomas Mullholland; at 5.40 committed the body of the deceased to the deep. The Guard and Convicts have this day been served with half an ounce of lime juice and half an ounce of sugar to each person, to be by my request continued daily during the remainder of the passage to New South Wales. The prison deck has been sprinkled all over with vinegar and the hospital fumigated.

Wednesday 23rd. Expired suddenly James Roberts, convict at 9. Punished James McGreene with 17 lashes on his back, Matthew Daw with 18, John McDonna 18, for being found with their bezzels muffled.

Thursday 24th at 10.
Punished Thomas Higgins with 12 lashes on the back and 12 on the breech for insolence to James Talbot, captain of the deck, and saying all was not over with them in the prison yet…..Mustered all the convicts up the after hatchway and down the forescuttle as formerly, serving to each person as he came up a gill of wine. At 9 punished Christopher Kelly with 12 lashes on his back for uncleanness and John Hoy with 12 on the back for insolence.

Friday 25th….Departed this life Daniel Parker. Punished Thomas Hall with 24 lashes on the back for rattling his chains in the night and alarming the sentinel; John Dooly 24 lashes for the same offence, Joseph Morton 24 lashes on the breech for attempting to take off his bezzels….

Source: Jenn Willetts,  https://www.freesettlerorfelon.com/convict_ship_chapman_1817.htm

Maureen Withey on 11th September, 2021 wrote:

An Alternative account of the role of Michael Collins in instigating the mutiny:


Dianne Jones on 12th November, 2021 wrote:

CRIME: Stealing money from various houses (New South Wales, Australia Convict Ship Muster Rolls and Related Records, 1790-1849; 1817, Chapman).

ALIAS: Also known as Michael Hurley (http://members.pcug.org.au/~ppmay/cgi-bin/irish/irish.cgi).

AGE: Listed as 22 years old on the Chapman’s Muster Roll, but as 26 years old on Peter Mayberry’s database.

Convict Changes History

Maureen Withey on 11th September, 2021 made the following changes:

convicted at, term: 7 years, voyage, source: Irish Convict Database by Peter Mayberry. (prev. ), firstname: Michael, surname: Collins, alias1: , alias2: , alias3: , alias4: , date of birth: 1791, date of death: 0000, gender: m, occupation, crime

Dianne Jones on 12th November, 2021 made the following changes:

alias1: Michael Hurley, crime

This record was discovered and printed on ConvictRecords.com.au