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Posts related to: provisioning the voyage

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 05 – the Cygnet sets sail

After four weeks at sea the poor passengers on the John Pirie and the Duke of York had barely left sight of land. But the capricious spring weather had not finished with them yet, as both vessels continued to battle gale force winds and high seas. The animals on board the John Pirie suffered greatly, and many of the [...]

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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 10 – fine weather and sea shanties

image of an emigrant's trunk with leather straps and brass fittings

With good sailing conditions at last, both the Duke of York and the John Pirie were making good progress, both heading south off the coast of Africa.  By 30 April the Duke of York sighted the Island of Brava, the southernmost island in the Cape Verde group, off the coast of present day Senegal, while the John Pirie passed [...]

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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 14 – steady progress

Image of a ship's chronometer housed in its wooden box

All six ships are making steady progress, sailing south in the Atlantic. The weather is fine and conditions pleasant, but relations on board the John Pirie and the Cygnet are tense. On the John Pirie the and the ship’s carpenter come to blows over a seemingly trivial matter – the supply of nails, but it seems there is a [...]

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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 25 – The demon drink

Scene: sailors skylarking

On land It is one week into the grand experiment of colonisation and things are not going well at Nepean Bay. Samuel Stephens and Captains Morgan and Ross have their hands full, with both the company men and the crews of both ships ‘very troublesome, impertinent, idle and dissatisfied’ in Stephens’ words. The unloading is [...]

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Week 26 – the expanding settlement

scene: kangaroo island

On Kangaroo Island The fledgling settlement on Kangaroo Island is now into its third week and it is not a happy place. Samuel Stephens and Captains Morgan and Ross are increasingly anxious about their failure to find an adequate supply of fresh water nearby. Both the Duke of York and the Lady Mary Pelham need to replenish [...]

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Week 27 – a scandal averted

lithograph of a wallaby

At Kangaroo Island Samuel Stephens is gradually settling into a routine, although his habit of rising well before 6 am in the middle of winter cannot endear him to his men. He sends the company stock off to good grazing land near the Salt Lagoon, and selects a portion of land for a more permanent [...]

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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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Week 31 – Farewell to the Duke of York

In South Australia Sadly, we bid farewell to Captain Morgan and the sailors of the Duke of York this week, as they finally set sail for Hobart and the whaling grounds off Australia. After seven months of his company, it will seem strange to be without him.  His constant harping on religion may have got [...]

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Week 32 – Visions of the future

The maritime portion of South Australia from surveys of Captn. Flinders and Col. Light, Survr Genl.

In South Australia In Kingscote Samuel Stephens takes advantage of the John Pirie sailing to Hobart to write to George Fife Angas, enclosing a copy of his private journal. The tone of this letter is somewhat defensive.  Stephens stresses that he has ‘had a great deal to contend with’, and admits that he may well [...]

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Week 33 – seeking a site for settlement

In South Australia Colonel Light and his surveying party continue their slow progress up and down the coast, still searching for Jones’ harbour and for fresh water.  They find Sturt Creek and Light is encouraged by the many fresh water lagoons nearby. With some prescience he records : ‘The little river, too, was deep; and [...]

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Week 34 – a tempest

In South Australia Light continues his exploration of the coast, although he is beginning to doubt the existence of the harbour Jones described. For the record he copies Jones’ description into his journal, which allows us to be fairly certain that the anchorage in question is Port Adelaide, but clearly this was not obvious to [...]

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