On the 8 October 1804 H.M. Armed Tender Lady Nelson , under the command of Lieutenant James Symons began preparations to sail from Port Jackson to Port Dalrymple on the northern part of Van Diemen's Land to assist in the new settlement that was being formed by Lieutenant Colonel Paterson. The crew was employed in painting the ship, taking on water and supplies. There were convicts and soldiers, along with thirteen crew, ready to sail on the Lady Nelson.
The log book of the Lady Nelson did not show the names of the crew, but they were recorded in the Buffalo 's log. They were: Lt. James Symons Acting Commander, First Mate John Barton, Second Mate William Evans; Able Seaman William Robinson (also known as Roberts), George Jackson, Richard Jackson, William Duice, John Winsor, William Commelly, James Done, Charles Abercrombie (this man drowned on the voyage), Thomas Allen and Henry Antones.
The Lady Nelson was commissioned to accompany the H.M.S. Buffalo , along with Integrity and the Francis to the Tamar River . The newly appointed Lt. Governor Paterson was under orders to establish the third settlement in Van Diemen's Land .
The weather was squally and the Lady Nelson did not get out of the Sydney Harbour until the 16 October. The vessel called into Twofold Bay to collect water and wood on 20th October On her way south from Twofold Bay the ship met strong gales and heavy seas. On the morning of 23rd. her starboard bulkhead was stowed in and boat, provisions and pigs were washed overboard, along with the ship's binnacle, compass and stove. She was also leaking badly. The compass was later replaced when they came in contact with the schooner George , who was on her way to the River Derwent from Port Jackson.
Arriving back at Twofold Bay on the 25 October repairs were carried out and a raft made so that fresh water could be taken on board. During these activities one of the sailors, Chas Abercrombie, was drowned.
Leaving Twofold Bay on 1st November squally weather was again encountered and continued until the Lady Nelson reached the Kent Group of Islands .
At Cape Barron Island the ship met up with the Francis, which was sheltering there. It was here that Mary, one of the convict women died. A coffin was made by the carpenter and she was buried on shore with a funeral service.
Still the weather did not abate and with another gale approaching the two ships were forced to stand off Waterhouse Island until it improved.
On the 21 November at 3 P.M. the Lady Nelson passed the Island of Rocks as she approached Port Dalrymple where the colours were observed flying, the H.M.S. Buffalo having arrived with Lt. Governor Paterson on the 3 November.
The official members of the party for Port Dalrymple were: Lt. Col. Paterson, Commandant; Mr. Jacob Mountgarrett, Surgeon; A. F. Kemp, Captain of the NSW Corps; Alex Cumberbeach, overseer; Mr. Hill, Supt. Of Government stock; Alexander Riley Esq., Storekeeper; Alexander Riley Esq,. Storekeeper; Thomas Massey, Chief Constable; Matthew Morton, Constable; John Stoneham, Constable; John Winter, Constable.
For the next week the Lady Nelson was employed unloading baggage, prisoners and soldiers, and well as a quantity of bricks.
On 30 November a boat from the Buffalo brought Governor Paterson, Ensign Piper, Mr. Mountgarrett, five soldiers and five boat crew aboard the Lady Nelson in preparation for the exploration of the Tamar River .
During the next few days the ship sailed and was occasionally towed up the river, going aground on several occasions. During this time the Governor and his party went ashore at places such as the Cataract River on 6th December and the Cataract Falls on 8th December.
While the parties were off exploring the country the crew on the Lady Nelson were kept busy making rope, drawing and making yarn, gathering wood and collecting water, cleaning out the hold, caulking the deck, attending to the rigging, and mending the boats. They were supplied with their provisions one week at a time and would have cooked their own meals.
Returning down the river the Lady Nelson came to at West Arm on the 10th. December.
On the 17 December the Lady Nelson helped to move stores to the West Arm. Over Christmas the crew were kept busy doing their usual jobs or repairing and caulking the deck of the Francis as well as the Lady Nelson.
The Francis was ready to sail to Port Jackson on the 29 December.
William Roberts a crew member received 12 lashes for contempt and neglect of duty while a beacon was being made for Shag Rock.
Over the next week the sails were loosened for drying and repairs while other tasks were performed in readiness for the return voyage to Port Jackson.
The Lady Nelson got underway and worked out of the harbour at 9 o'clock on the 12 January 1805 with the assistance of the Governor's boat and crew then making sail on her homeward journey to Port Jackson where she arrived on 23 January 1805 .
This was the last time the Lady Nelson would be seen in Van Diemen's Land waters as a survey ship. Her next big task would be to return Maori Chief Te Pahi and his four sons to the Bay of Islands New Zealand in 1806.
The Lady Nelson returned to Tasmania when she helped with the removal of those people still on Norfolk Island , in 1807, and again in 1808 to Hobart and to Port Dalrymple in 1813.
In 1812 the Lady Nelson sailed from Port Jackson to Port Dalrymple with 33 male and 13 female convicts on board. The weather was extremely rough and the voyage was aborted and returned to Port Jackson. When the weather cleared the Lady Nelson again sailed for Port Dalrymple. With the 46 convicts, guards and crew there would have been over 60 on board. The convicts were some of the worst types of criminals and were being moved from Sydney to the penal settlement of V.D.L. How they were contained is difficult to imagine but its possible that they were handcuffed to the rails on the deck. It would have been a most dreadful time for all on board.