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Briefly about the Food on board:

Perhaps nothing was more important to the contentment of migrants on board ships bound for South Australia than the regular and ample supply of good food, prepared well. Often the reality fell well short of the ideal. This was especially the case for steerage passengers, whose food was much inferior to that of cabin-class passengers. Yet [...]

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Posts related to: Food on board

Week 03 – Waiting on the wind

One week after the storm the Duke of York was still at the Isle of Wight, held there by ‘adverse winds’. Captain Morgan made use of the time to repair the ship and replenish his stores, providing fresh meat for both passengers and crew while he had the chance, but his passengers fretted at the delay.  He [...]

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Week 06 – a ‘perfect Hurricane’

An oil painting by Washington Allston of ships in a storm at sea, 1804.

On 26 March the John Pirie seemed to be making progress, as it finally cleared the English Channel and struck out for the Atlantic Ocean. But just west of the Bay of Biscay the weather worsened dramatically into what one of our informants described as a ‘perfect Hurricane’.  All but overwhelmed by ‘a most tremendious Sea’, the little ship was literally [...]

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Week 07 – aftermath of the storm

After six weeks of bad weather and no progress, all of the travelers were unhappy.  The passengers on the John Pirie were still suffering the after effects of the terrifying storm, (one left the ship at Dartmouth never to return,) while the captain and crew saw about extensive repairs to the ship. There was also general [...]

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Week 08 – adieu to old England

By 10 April the Duke of York was on its way once more, although not without anxiety on Captain Morgan’s part. The recent storm still weighed on his mind. He and the mate prayed together for guidance and then he sought extra consolation in reading the 121st Psalm. Reassured, he gave the order to get underway [...]

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Week 12 – Crossing the line

1849 sketch of a sailor trying to catch a porpoise while standing on the bowsprit of the ship

As the Duke of York nears the Equator the crew hopes to have a bit of fun. Crossing the Line ceremonies were common on sailing vessels and often involved ‘King Neptune’ coming on board to ‘baptise’ first timers.  Crew members and passengers might be ‘shaved’ with big mock razors and all by-standers were often doused with water. But [...]

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Week 13 – tensions reach breaking point

Sketch of the Cygnet at anchorage, Port Augusta, April 1833.

This week we catch up with the Cygnet as it approaches the Equator. A bout of bad weather has seen many of the passengers sick and conditions below deck are foul. Boyle Travers Finniss is impatient with what he sees as the ‘apathy’ of the passengers and decides on a thorough clean up, despite the reluctance [...]

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Week 21 – a sumptuous feast

This week we have eight of the nine ships on the ocean, as the Buffalo makes ready to sail. We also have a rare insight into the thoughts and feelings of one of the ordinary emigrants who is traveling in steerage. Rosina Ferguson and her husband have left their native Scotland to travel to Portsmouth [...]

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Week 22 – all ships underway

Black and white photograph of an 1833 portrait of Robert Gouger.

All of the fleet is finally underway, but it is by no means fair sailing.  The Buffalo sets off hopefully, after much delay, but is soon back in port ahead of an approaching storm.  This week we meet two new informants on the Buffalo – George Stevenson, who is secretary to Governor Hindmarsh and partner [...]

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Week 28 – A wedding on the beach

Scene: burial at sea

On land Things are looking up at the tiny settlement of Kingscote.  We start the week with a wedding on board the John Pirie. Mary Ann Powell, who travelled as an emigrant in steerage with her two brothers and sister-in-law, marries one of the Pirie crew – William Staple, who intends to remain in South [...]

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