Voyages to Australia: She sailed from Portsmouth 27/3/1791 arriving in Sydney on the 1/8/1791, a trip of 127 days . On board were 230 males of which 25 died in transit , 205 arrived . The ship's Master (Captain )on this voyage was Matthew Weatherhead . The "Matilda " was part of the Third Fleet which consisted of the following ships." Atlantic ", " Salamanda ", " William & Ann " ," Active " , " Queen" ," Aldermarle" , " Britania" , " Admiral Barrington " , " Mary Anne " & the " Gorgon ". The "Matilda " returned to England only to return in 1813 .
25/3/1813 She sailed from Sydney to Jervis Bay to explore the Shoalhaven under the command of Captain Collins . She returned to Sydney 13/4/1813 . An account of this voyage is in the Sydney Gazette 17/4/1813.
She sailed from Sydney to Bass Straight then on to New-Zealand under the command of Captain Sam Fowler . She was attacked by Maoris at Port Daniel New-Zealand , later that year .
She sailed from Sydney in Feuary 1815 under the command of Captain Sam Fowler . At 3pm on the 18/2/1815 the Mate on deck noticed breakers off her starboard bow , they had discovered an unchartered reef . The Captain gave the reef the name of Fowlers Reef, this later became Nelson's Reef . This is recorded in the Sydney Gazette 8/11/1815. She then continued to Marquesas Islands , where she engaged in pealing operations . She reached Rooapooah 13/4/1815 & returned to Sydney 6/11/1815 . She then sailed to England .
22/3/1817 She began taking on supplies and loading passengers . These passengers were members of the 48th Regiment of Foot due in Sydney to replace the 46th Regiment . The "Matilda " sailed 28/3/1817 along with 2 other ships " The LLoyds " & " The Dick " These ships carried only a few of the regiment . The " Matilda " arrived in Sydney 1/8/1817 with the regiment on board including one Leut Edward Close and family , the founder of Morpeth . The " LLoyds" & " The Dick ". followed . The "Matilda " retuned to England . She took 127 days to sail to Port Jackson . This bettered the Mary Ann's record by 16 days, ships master Matthew Weatherhead Drove her very hard ,she was a very leaky ship and on arrival required extensive repairs . She had been detained two days by anchoring in the bay of Schouten Island . off Freycinet Peninsula, Tasmania . There were 25 deaths during the passage , and on arrival 20 of her prisoners required hospital treatment . Many aged and infirmed had been embarked and some of these men had been unfit to make the voyage . However ,the primary cause of the high death toll was probably the leakiness of the ship and Weatherhead's hard driving . The Matilda must have been a wet as well as a damp ship and scurvy was no doubt part of the result. The fact that while 10 convicts died between England and the Cape, 15 were buried at sea between the Cape and Port Jackson seems to bear this out .
She served her time out as a whaler mainly hunting Southern Sperm Whales in the Southern Ocean and was decommisioned 1840 . Five of the Third Fleet transports were the first convict ships to go Whaling off the Australian Coast . This trade was included in the monopoly enjoyed by the East India Company . She did not fair well as a whaler and before long departed Australian waters . The Matilda , when bound for the coast of Peru , was wrecked on a shaol. but her crew reached Tahiti in the ship's boats , and there 21 survivors , including one convict stow away , were picked up by the H.M.S. Daedalus.
Reference Books ( The Log of Logs ), (Ships of the First Fleet)