Frederick, brig of about 121 tons, was built at Sarah Island, Macquarie Harbour using convict labour. In January 1834 ten convicts seized the vessel as she was preparing to sail for Hobart. The incomplete brig sprang a leak in gales and was abandoned off Chile in February. In March the convicts arrived at Valdivia in a boat, and were arrested under suspicion of being pirates.

Released under observation while local authorities sought further information, six of the party escaped in a boat in June while the remaining four were arrested, sent to England, and then returned to Hobart in 1837 for trial. The charge of piracy could not be maintained because the Frederick was not a completed ship, so they were convicted of robbery and sent to Norfolk Island.

Further reading: J Porter, The capture of the Frederick, Adelaide, 1981; R Butler, The men that God forgot, Melbourne, 1975.

Graeme Broxam