ERRATA SHEET : SOUVENIR EDITION SHOTTS TO YEPPOON
Page 38 Amend Kerry Edmistone to read Harry Edmistone.
Page 41 half way down page amend to read Page 46 George Edmistone and his brother James (who visited Starryshaw Farm Shotts Sct during WW1) corresponded with their cousins etc etc
Page 47 Peter Rene (child 6:1:5:4)
Page 48 Ian Harold(child 6:1:5:5) Children 6:1:5:5:1+2+3)
Page 50 John William Thomas children all (child 8:2:2 ++) and Tanya Alisa (Child 8:2:2:5)
Page 50: Helen "Nellie" Kerr's sister Elizabeth (aka Betsy)Gray Stewart b.26-1-1870 d. 22-12-1933 Mackay Qld m. George Scott at Barcaldine Qld 15-6-1895. They had five children.
Page 52: The home of William and Nellie Kerr on Meikleville Hill was there when the Kellow’s built in 1916-17 and the Harders built after WW1. Mr H E Kellow (Headmaster Rockhampton Grammar School) in a letter states that Meikleville Hill was known as Kellow’s Hill at first then Meikleville Hill. Mr Meikle owned that land at one time. Kerr Street was called Stewart Street (Nellie Kerr was a Stewart) and Meikleville Street was called Kerr Street. The present (2000) address of the William Kerr home is 15 Kerr Street.
Meikleville Hill - Harders House on Right, Kerr home in distance. c.1920
Page 53 : Nellie Kerr (nee Stewart) and her sister Elizabeth (Betsy) aged 15 and 13, domestic servants, arrived on 6th May 1885 at Rockhampton on the ‘Waroonga’ (the same ship that George Kerr’s second wife, Margaret and the girls arrived on) with their father David Gray Stewart and his 3rd wife Mary Stewart, half brothers William 5, James 3 and sister Jane 1. Mary died 3-4-1889 and David married Kathleen Annie Holland 13-7-89.
Enid Wilson wrote : My husband, who knew Bill Kerr, says he was not killed in a dray rollover at Capsize Gully, that was a man named Perron. Bill Kerr made a habit of visiting the pub when in town and by the time he arrived home would be asleep and the old mare, in the sulky, would wait at the gate until Mrs Kerr saw them. She would bring them in and let the horse go. But on the day of his accident, Mrs Kerr did not notice that they were home and the mare got thirsty and went down the gully for a drink. The sulky rolled over, tipping Bill out and injuring his back. He was in a wheelchair after that and died about two years later.
…Last paragraph on page 26 Sailing Ship 'Selkirkshire'
Although the complete route sailed by the Selkirkshire is still not known, recently a James Huey of Sydney contacted me with the information that he had transcribed the handwritten account on the journey commencing at Glasgow Sct on July 20 1882 which is held in the National Library. The Log kept by Mrs Thornton, the surgeons bride, is from July 19 to September 14 1882. I have received an electronic copy of the log which I will add to my Kerr Family webpage and here.
Click to see enlarged
An account of a voyage from Glasgow to Rockhampton July to September, 1882
NOTE FOR READERS:
Obviously, the conditions which Mrs Thornton enjoyed as the spouse of an important ship's "officer" were vastly superior to those under which the emigrant passengers travelled. However, Mrs Thornton's account gives a great insight into the general conditions of the voyage, and events along the way, including the conditions and conduct of the "emigrants", which we can be fairly sure that any individual emigrant passengers would have experienced or witnessed, at least to some extent. The original Frances Thornton "journal" is in the National Library of Australia, Canberra ACT, filed as Manuscript MS 1025. This transcript has been compiled by me from a copy of the original handwritten version in the Library, and barring possible human errors in transcribing Mrs Thornton's handwriting, is faithful to her words. Spelling, capitalisation, and abbreviations, are recorded as they are in the
original, so any "errors" that you see, are not mine. Note that the journal inexplicably ends, after the entry for September 14th, when the ship would have been somewhere south-west of the Cape of Good Hope, and east of Gough Island, in the South Atlantic Ocean. There would still have been some weeks to run to Rockhampton. A handwritten note from Mrs Thornton's daughter, which accompanies the journal in the Library, has also been transcribed, and follows as an addendum to the transcript of the journal.
I have no direct interest in this voyage in itself, but my Irish Grandfather was a migrant on the same "Selkirkshire" on its maiden voyage from Greenock, Scotland, to Brisbane, in 1878/9. Doubtless he experienced similar conditions. R. J. HUEY P.O. Box 256, Lindfield, NSW 2070 May 1996
Additional comments. July 2002 by Eric Meacock Busselton WA
Mrs Thornton’s daughter was incorrect in her statement "4 deaths and 4 births on this voyage".The passenger list states embarked 408 births 3 deaths 4 landed 407. The voyage lasted 15 weeks (105 days) departing Glasgow 20 July 1882 arriving Rockhampton Qld 2 November 1882.
Reading the account of the trip from embarkation in Glasgow, (head winds forced Captain Reid to take the North Channel, round the North of Ireland, instead of coming down St. George's Channel), across the Atlantic to the 'Doldrums' and on September 10th just opposite Gough Island (40° 21´S, 09° 53´W) approximately 2400 km WSW from Cape Town. It is evident that the ship did not use the Suez Canal but rounded the Cape of Good Hope and the ship then probably visited Durban, Madagascar, Colombo, Singapore, Spice Islands, Darwin and then on to Queensland ports.
Although the Suez Canal opened in 1869 many shipowners, including David Jenkins of the Shire Line, continued to use the 'Cape' route with their sailing ships being prepared to 'wait and see', indecision which nearly bankrupted the newly created Suez Canal Company.
A model of the Selkirkshire made by James Huey's ancestor, who sailed to Australia on an earlier voyage, is in the possession of James' cousin, who has a boat chandlers business in Brisbane where the model is displayed in a glass case.
Eric Meacock 1 July 2002
JOURNAL OF OUR VOYAGE IN THE SHIP "SELKIRKSHIRE"
FROM GLASGOW TO ROCKHAMPTON (QUEENSLAND)
James had only about two days notice to take charge of the vessel as Medical
The ship is 1200 tons burden, an iron vessel, built in the Clyde. We arrived in
Glasgow on Tuesday all in confusion but found very comfortable quarters at the
This morning we went on board with the dispatching officer, as James had to
inspect the stores. It was the first time I had ever been on a ship in my life. I had
no idea they were such a size. They had prepared a nice cabin and another little
room next to it for us. After we left the ship, I went to the hotel alone, and did
not see any more of James till night. He had all the emigrants to examine ready
for next day.
This morning at ten o'clock we went on board the steamer that was to take us
down the Clyde to the Ship. I sat and watched all the emigrants come. They are
a fine respectable looking lot of people, mostly Scotch, and all appeared
remarkable cheerful. I only noticed two crying. In about an hour and a half, we
got nicely off, cheered by thousands of people who were watching on the quay
The morning was beautiful and I quite enjoyed the lovely scenery along the Clyde
to the "Tail of the Bank" where the Selkirkshire was lying.
We found the Agent General on board. I was just going to be introduced to him in
the most genteel manner when my foot caught in my dress, and I almost fell
forward on my face.
In the afternoon we had Mr Laur, one of the owners for a short visit. He was most
agreeable to me, and gave orders to the Captain that I was to have everything
done that I wished in any way.
We also had men sent by the Board of Trade, to see that all was right. I saw them
let the lifeboat down, which can be done in three minutes, then we stood and
watched the cannon fired. If it had not gone off properly we should had to have
waited until a new one was got.
It was great fun watching the different people leave the ship. Steamers came two
or three times for them. It was eight o'clock before we saw the last of them leave.
By that time we were quite ready for our supper. After we had got supper over,
James and I went on deck, with the Captain, and stayed there till midnight,
watching for the steam tug, which ought to have come early in the evening for us.
Then the sailors all sang while they heaved the anchor up
Fair Thee well, my bonny maid of Perth,
We are bound for the Rio Grande
this they kept singing over and over again till the anchor was safely up. I forgot
to say that small boats with young men, and girls, in them, stayed near the ship
all the evening. They sang Scotch songs, which sounded very sweet as their
voices floated up to us every now and again.
Passed a good night, but all very sick this morning, myself included. James
had much trouble with the emigrants, who were wanting attention continually.
Fortunately he was not himself sick !
I could not eat any of the good things provided for me, by our Cabin Stewart [sic],
a pleasant looking black man.
I will mention a few things that were put specially on my account on board. One
additional sheep, one pig, 2 dozen fowls, 1 dozen ducks, fruit, biscuits, and
many things to numerous to mention.
In consequence of head winds, Captain Reid found it necessary to take the North
Channel, round by the North of Ireland, instead of coming down St George's
Channel. The Matron who has charge of the single women, thinking the Pilot was
one of the emigrants ordered him to quit the deck at once. This greatly amused
I was nearly as bad myself for I thought the stern end of the vessel went first.
The Pilot left us tonight, and the Tug, our last chance of communicating with our
dear ones, for some time to come, unless we should meet a vessel homeward
I was going to write Papa and Agnes long letters, but was so sick I could not
Nothing but sea, and sky, to look at today. We took our last look at land, that we
shall have for some days to come, last night, that was (Tory Islands)
Nearly all the women and children are sitting about looking ill & melancholy.
Our first Sunday at sea. No church bells or anything, to remind us what day it
is. James ought to hold a service, but he is going to put it off till next Sunday,
when we hope everyone will have quite recovered. They are already beginning to
do so. I feel almost better again myself, but I have not been nearly so bad as
most of the poor emigrants have been.
A life on the ocean wave,
The man who wrote it was green,
He never had been to sea,
And a storm he never had seen.
He never had been aroused
From the morning's gentle dose,
By the sound of the splashing water,
As it fell from the horrid hose.
And Oh he had never been seasick,
And crept into bed in his clothes,
While every motion aroused his throes,
And his feelings were all in his throat.
Early this morning, Mr Stewart, the Second Mate, came to tell James there
were some dolphins in sight. He shot at two, one of them he hit right in the
back and killed it. There was a shark also, and a whale, spouting in the
I stayed on deck all the morning, and was ready to take my place at the table for
the first time since I came on board.
James and I, the Captain, and First Officer, dine together. We have three or
four courses to dinner every day, and everything of first class quality. Today we
had two kinds of soup, roast fowl, boiled fowl, and sailors corned beef,
mashed potatoes, carrots and turnips, cauliflower, then tarts and pudding,
for desert almonds, raisins, nuts, figs, and other things. Breakfast is a
substancial meal to, potatoes, beefsteak, curried lobster, whiting, and other
things to numerous to mention. I don't think any of us will starve. About 4 in
the afternoon the steward brings us a cup of tea, and a biscuit, then about eight
o'clock we have a kind of tea supper.
Last night was very rough and stormy. I could not sleep at all.
rocked in the cradle of the deep
sounds very charming in a song, when we are safe on land, but I can assure
any-one of an enquiring turn of mind, that it is not half so pleasant in reality, as
we are led by the song to suppose.
the day has been very wet and stormy and I have had cause several times today
to regret, that I did not get some respectable old fly to give me a few lessons in the
art of sticking to walls and ceilings.
In the afternoon I amused myself by giving out sweets, to the little children from
the store of medical comforts. Children appeared as if by magic. I don't know
where they all came from. I never noticed so many before, women brought little
babies, without a single tooth in their heads, for a share, and assured me they
were very fond of them. Fancy a government giving the best London mixtures to
It makes me think of the lion, and the lamb, lying down together, and things of
Tonight the people were allowed to have their first concert, which commenced at
seven o'clock. James was Chairman and I sat next to him. We had the people
arranged all round as well as we could, about four hundred in all, I think.
Sailors were popping their faces from above us, hanging down from all kinds of
imposible places and greatly distracted my attention from the singers, but I
don't think I missed anything particularly gratifying, but we are obliged to have
something to amuse the people sometimes who are all quiet well conducted
people. The children too are very good, and run about as happy as the day is
I got up early this morning to walk on deck before breakfast, but found it wet, so
I was glad to get in again out of the wet rain.
In the afternoon it got out fair and very warm, while James and the Captain
were talking and looking over the side of the poop, they saw an enormous sunfish
swim past, with its fin sticking out of the water. It could be seen quite
distinctly, the sea is so clear.
Just after dinner we passed a large vessel homeward bound !!!!
In the evening I sat in my cabin and listened to the girls singing hymns. James
had to conduct the prayers for the single girls tonight, as the Matron was ill.
He has a very great deal to do, beginning his first round at eight in the morning,
and being kept going pretty near all day long, among so many people, who are
always wanting something.
A beautiful warm day, with a cool wind blowing, quite a pleasure to be outside;
the sea calm and blue, very agreable to the feelings, but not much good so far as
sailing is concerned. I could walk very near as fast as we are going now. I
suppose we shall get on better, bye and bye, when we catch the trade winds.
James and the second mate, Mr Stewart were on the forecastle all the afternoon
trying to harpoon porpoises, which were playing about the bows but they were
not successful. The emigrants made such a noise and frightened them away. In
the evening James gave permission for two of the single men to play the violin on
the Poop for the single girls to have a dance, which they seemed to enjoy very
I have been busy all day sewing in my cabin, under very difficult circumstances.
I had to kneel on the floor and cut out on our little sofa. But I got so interested in
my work that I quite forgot I was far away from home. About ten o'clock, James
and I had a quiet walk on deck. This is the time we enjoy the most when the
people have retired, it is the only quiet we get in the day.
So busy with my work again today, I never was on deck once till evening.
Sunday once more. James held service for about an hour this morning, went
through the morning prayers, and sang some of the old familiar hymns, "O
Paradise O Paradise", "Jerusalem the Golden", and "Eternal Father". A very
nice service, I think everyone enjoyed it very much. In the evening we all walked
quietly about on the poop. The sea looks beautiful at night with the moon shining
on the water. Prettier I think than it ever looks on land.
The people are all greatly excited this morning getting their boxes up for their
clean clothes. Looking at their clothes is what the Captain calls sailors' pleasure.
On Sunday afternoons when the sailors have no work to do they amuse
themselves by turning over their things. Very trivial things amuse people at sea.
This afternoon the sea was beautiful breaking in great waves against the ship
sides, and splashing right up onto the deck where I was sitting.
About 10 o'clock at night James and I sit and listen to the singing that goes on
among the married people on the main deck. When all the children are in bed,
and all is quiet, they sit in rings on the ground and talk and sing. One woman
has a very sweet voice, and often sings for us and one of the men can sing Tom
Bowling splendidly. It makes James and I laugh to see the black stewart sitting
every night, as close as ever he can get to the women. James teases him and tells
him he will write and tell his wife. Then he looks quite pleased, and tells shows
his teeth. He has got a very young white wife; he brought her likeness to show
Yesterday I was not well and did not get up till evening. The ship rocked about so
much all Monday night. that no one could get any sleep, and consequently a good
many were ill again on Tuesday. This morning James and the Captain shot at
some grampuses, a sort of small whale, with rifles but did not hit them. Today,
one of the single women got into trouble, and James orderded her to be confined
between decks for 24 hours for punishment. This afternoon a small brigantine
passed us homeward bound. We signalled her, and expect she will report us all
well on her arrival. We had a nice concert tonight, after which we stayed on
deck till 12 o'clock. A lovely moonlight night.
Very hot today, 80 degrees in the shade, but nothing to what we expect. The
awning was spread on the Poop, which made it very pleasant. We none of us
could eat much today, it was so hot. James and I sat at night and wished we
could take a walk up our own lane at home for a change.
I stayed in my own room all the morning it was so hot on deck. In the afternoon
the Captain sent me a sofa, on deck. James made it look very pretty with
cushions and rugs. I slept and read till it was time for our tea supper. People
get into very lazy habits at sea, I least I know I do. I never feel inclined to do
anything. Tonight the sea seemed almost on fire with phosphoressence
especially in the wake of the vessel.
This morning there were some large fish, around the ship. We thought they
were sharks, but they turned out to be a fish called Albicore. The second mate
tried to catch some with a line and hook, with some white cloth tied to it. This
is the bit bait used for this fish, but he did not succeed.
This morning as I was coming out of our cabin door, to go to prayers with James,
our black stewart stopped me and said, You must pray for me Mrs Tornton, I like
to get people to pray for me.
James had such a bad headache it was all he could do to read the prayers. I read
a chapter, and a few hymns, every Sunday when service is over, to an old blind
woman who is nearly eighty years old. She is very inteligent to talk to, and very
cheerful; everyone shows her great kindness.
On Sunday afternoons my little patients cluster round the cabin door, waiting for
the sweets, that we give them once a week. I always give them out myself. It
pleases me quite as much as it does them, I believe. The very little ones nearly
cry in their eagerness to get them.
I had a very busy morning making my two little rooms tidy. I feel quite at home
in them now and often quite forget I am on the sea but I spend a good deal of
time wondering what Papa, and Agnes, and all of them are doing at home. I
would just like to get into the garden, and have a good tuck out on red currants
and things for a change.
All the morning we were following a vessel, and this afternoon we got close
enough to her, for the Captain to put up signals, the Dunelsu [?] of Liverpool,
bound for Valpariso. We saw the Captain's wife on board. Our emigrants gave
them a good cheer, but previously to that we talked to them with flags, and
wished them a pleasant voyage, then they came as close up to us as possible and
bowed and waved their handkerchiefs. As soon as it was dark we sent up a
couple of rockets for a farewell. They then burned a blue light, in answer to our
rockets. That was the last we saw of them. In the morning we were far ahead of
them and out of sight.
We are now in the tropics. It is very warm, but not nearly so warm as it will be
in a few days. The Captain tells me it will very likely be 90 in the shade, that is
at hot as it is in the Suez Canal. The evenings are generally much cooler with a
pleasant breeze blowing. It gets dark very quickly in the tropics, about 6 o'clock
at night, then it gradually gets lighter again as the night advances.
When the deck is cleared at night, I take a good walk backwards and forwards for
a change. I am getting to walk the deck pretty well now. I could not manage it at
all at first.
I have been busy all day sewing. I have had one of the girls down to work the
machine for me.
Since tea I have been on deck talking to the Matron. Tonight I have seen several
shooting stars, leaving a beautiful train of light behind them. We have just
come in sight of a southern constellation, called Cassapia's Chair, like this : :
In the course of a few days we shall come in sight of the well known Southern
This morning at breakfast the Captain told us a large vessel had got up to us
during the night. After breakfast was over, he signalled her, and found it was
the Glengarry from Liverpool, bound for Calcutta. James came to me and told
me to be quick and dress, as the Commander of the Glengarry was our Captain's
greatest friend, and had invited us to go on board. In a very few minutes we had
one of our life boats in the water and got safely off. I felt quite dismayed, when I
saw there was no means of getting into the boat, except by a ladder straight
down the ship side. However I managed quite well, and did not feel at all afraid
when the time came. The row in the boat was a pleasant change, but it was
soon over, and we stepped on board the Glengarry. Captain Lisle came forward,
and welcomed each one as we appeared. We found it a splendid ship, 1700
tons registered. The First Mate showed us all over it. They had lots of hens, a
pretty little kitten, and two goats. One of the goats was a foreign kind, and
looked almost like a dog, quite different to our English kind. The Glengarry has
no passengers on board, nothing but a large cargo of salt. She is much heavier
loaded than ours, and therefore much steadier. After we had seen all about, we
went into the Cabin. It was a very handsome one, with a great deal of carved
oak, and painted glass about it. We then went into the Captain's private room,
and stayed there talking for an hour or two. He begged us to stay and have
dinner with him, but James and Captain Reid insisted on him coming to dine
with us. One of the sailors gave James a flying fish that had come in through one
of the port holes, and Captain Lisle gave me a begonia in full flower, as a
momento of our visit. He stayed and spent the rest of the day with us, and in
the evening we got up an impromptu concert on his behalf. Our people all sang
(Auld Lang Syne) for a parting song. He seemed to enjoy it very much, and so did
his crew, who shouted and asked to have it sung again. As soon as he got back
to the Glengarry he gave us a couple of rockets. About an hour after our Captain
returned the compliment as a kind of good night. Thus ended a very pleasant day.
This morning the Glengarry was still in sight, so the two Captains amused
themselves by carrying on a little chaff, by means of the flags. At last Captain
Lisle got offended and went away from us. We have seen a great number of
flying fish this afternoon. They fly out of the water to try to escape their great
enemy, the Albercore, which take great jumps out of the water after them. The
Albercore is a large fish, about twice the size of a cod, and striped exactly like a
It has been very cool and pleasant today for the tropics. James had a beautiful
new hammock slung up to the spanker boom for me this afternoon. We made it
very comfortable with an eider down quilt, and cushions. I found it so pleasant I
stayed in it about 4 hours. The people had a concert but I did not trouble going
down to it.
Sunday once more. James held the usual service at 1/2 past ten this morning.
I had a flying fish for my dinner today. It tasted very nice, something like
whitebait. It flew onto the deck, and the boat swain brought it for me, as they
consider it a great delicacy.
During the night a poor little child died. It was buried at 8 o'clock the same
morning. James read the service over it. It was dreadfully hot today, 86 in the
Another fearfully hot day. Everyone prostrated with the heat. Shoals of flying
fish, that look just like swallows flying about. Some whales passed close to us.
The sunset was very lovely tonight, it just looked like forests of beautiful trees set
in gold and blue.
James and the Captain slept on deck, it was so warm down below.
This morning we were wakened by a fearful downfall of rain. We are now in the
doldrums, where dreadful storms of rain and thunder frequently occur. It rains
much heavier than it ever does on land. The sun shining with unabated vigour
all the time. Three vessels have passed us today, one bound for San Francisco,
and two homeward bound. We were glad to see them, as the Captain and
everyone are anxious to let their friends know they are all safe and well so far.
We see a good many vessels just now as all take the same course till they cross
the line, after which they go their different ways.
Today has been cool and pleasant. This evening we saw the first two stars of the
This afternoon we have all been greatly amused by seeing the dead horse. It is a
peculiar ceremony the sailors always go through when they have been one month
at sea. They make as good an imitation of a horse as they can. They then tie a
rope to it, seat a man on its back, then the whole of the crew pull it round the
ship and sing. When they have done this they offer it for sale. James and the
Captain both bid for it. At last the Captain offered three bottles of Brandy, and
got it. After this they hoist it up to the yard arm, with a man on its back,
pretending to make it kick. When the sailors are tired of hoisting it up and down
and singing they let it drop into the sea. Sometimes when there is not much
wind, they burn it, and then the performance is over.
Tonight a dreadful scene took place, such as I hope I may never see again. The
people were having a concert and all was going on very nicely, when a man
rushed into the midst of the people, crying ship on fire. At once a dreadful panic
took place. Men, women, and children rushed madly about, shrieking and crying.
The noise was deafening. Women fainting on all sides, little children neglected
by their mothers, went about with their little hands clasped, begging someone to
save them. About fifty of the single men at once tore the covers of the boats, and
got into them ready to save themselves. Happily it turned out after all to be a
false alarm. One of the sails had fallen down, that was all. They found the man
who gave the alarm, and put him in irons.
After our service the Presbyterians held a service among themselves, as they do
not care for the Church of England service, most of the people being Scotch.
Another child, 16 months old, died during the night, and was buried this
morning, at 10 o'clock. An enquiry was held on the man who shouted fire. He
was ordered to be kept in irons for a week. Tomorrow we shall have crossed the
line. We expect to cross it at 1 o'clock tonight. This evening Neptune sent a
messenger on board with a letter to say he would hold a court tomorrow to
initiate any new subjects into his kingdom. They set fire to a barrel of tar, that
we could see for miles, supposed to be the chariot that he went away in.
Today Neptune came on board at two o'clock, with his court. First came two
policemen to clear the way before him, hitting everyone a good crack that came
in their way, which made the people skip about and caused great amusement.
Next came Neptune and his wife, both splendidly got up, Neptune with a crown
and flowing hair, his wife with long fair hair below her waist, a fan, parasol, and
all the rest of it. They were seated in a chariot, with a coach man driving in
front. Next came about 20 more, all got up very funny, with masks on their faces.
As soon as they had walked round two or three times, the shaving began. The
ones who had to be shaved were led in blindfolded. They were then seated on a
raised up seat
A whale has been following the ship since early this morning, but we have not
seen nearly so many as we expected, indeed we have seen very little fish of any
sort so far, considering the distance we have come.
James has been registering the first baby born on board the Selkirkshire today.
He has named it John Thornton Shaw. It is a very tiny mite. When Captain
Lisle paid us a visit, he asked if we had anything new, so I brought him the two
days old baby, as the newest thing on board.
Now we have crossed the line, we are beginning to feel it a little cooler and
pleasanter every day, only the worst of it is it will be to cold and rough before we
are round the Cape of Good Hope. We are now opposite the coast of Southern
America. We expect before long to sight the island of Trinidad, and, Gough
We have made the fastest run today, that has been made since we left Greenock,
237 miles. It was very squally with very heavy showers of rain. Sometimes the
vessel laid right over on its side.
James made a very short service of it this morning, only half an hour. Then the
Catholics and others held their services. In the afternoon I gave the usual dole of
sweets out to the children. They all stand and wait round the cabin door.
Nothing of any importance today. The emigrants have to get up at four o'clock,
on Mondays, to do their washing.
Today has been considerably colder. The sky in this part is most delicate
coloured, with a beautiful sunset. It gets dark very soon in the evening.
The sea has been very rough, rocking the ship from one side to the other in a very
I stayed in my berth all day long, as it was so rough. The sea washed right over
the main deck several times. The people rushed when they saw it coming, to seek
shelter, but it generally caught them, and gave them a good drenching before
they made their escape. I think I had the best of it in my quiet little room.
Aug 32nd Sept 1st
We have been following a ship all the day that we think is the Glengarry, but we
have not got up to it so far. Weather a little calmer today and pleasanter.
This morning James came and told me to look out as there was an albatross
flying round the ship, so I put my head out of the port, and saw it, and a lot of
Cape pigeons. They are very pretty things with black and white striped wings, and
Our usual service was put off this morning, on account of coming up again with
the Ship we saw on Friday, as the Captain wanted to signal her. It was not the
Glengarry as we thought but a large barque called the Locksley Hall. from
London, going to Port Adelaide. They left London five days before us, so we have
done better than them. They appeared to have about 20 lady passengers on
board. By afternoon we were a long way ahead of them and quite out of sight by
A very cold day. We expect bad rough weather for about a month to come.
Tonight we had a severe storm of thunder and lightning, with very heavy rain.
We had a very uncomfortable night rocking about from one side to the other,
everything in the cabin banging about, and making a dreadful noise. This
morning we saw a large ship with scarcely any canvas out. Our Captain wanted
to get up to her and see if anything was the matter, but as soon as we got near,
she bent away from us as quickly as possible. Very wet and cold again today.
No chance of getting out on deck.
Nothing but rain and general discomfort, the decks deserted by all but the sailors.
James and myself are beginning to long for the end of the journey. It is so very
monotonous on a sailing vessel, never was seeing anything but sky and water the
whole of the way.
Such numbers of Cape Pigeons are flying about today. I stayed in my berth all
day, and observed their shadows as they flew past the port hole. We have seen
no fish of any sort for several days.
James caught a Cape Pigeon and brought it into my room for me to look at. It was
a very large one, with a white body and striped wings. We got it down on the
deck, and let it fly away again, after having a good look at it.
Today has been very pleasant after a week of bad weather, just like a beautiful
September day at home. Great numbers of birds have flying about all day. I
amused myself this afternoon fishing for them, but did not succeed in catching a
single one of any sort.
We are just opposite Gough's Island today. It is very wet and stormy.
Very stormy, heavy seas washing over the deck/
Still very rough with a very heavy sea. We are not making much progress spite of
all the discomfit we are undergoing.
No improvement in the weather yet. The emigrants have a very dull time of it,
not being able to get be on deck on account of cold and wet.
All the people are kept below. Tonight the Captain gave orders for the hatchways
to be fastened down. It was very lucky he had done so as the sea was so high it
took the boat rests away, and dashed away the covers of the boats to pieces. The
sailors on watch run up the rigging to escape being washed over board. Captain
Reid and the Mate clung to the rigging. They were lifted right off their feet when
the sea washed over the Poop. We were in great danger for a few hours.
The writer of this diary was my mother Frances Macadam, one of the children of Samuel and
Frances Macadam, of Darlington, born June 24, 1854.
She married my father, James Parsons Thornton, on July 18, 1882. They had been engaged for
some years waiting for my father to complete his medical training at Durham University. I think he
probably did this about 1881, and had later been on the medical staff of Newcastle-on-Tyne
Infirmary. My father got a chance to go as medical officer on a sailing ship taking about 400
Scottish emigrants to Australia, and obtained special permission to take my mother as a paying passenger.
They were married at short notice by Special Licence, at St John's Church, Darlington at 8 o'clock in the morning and set off at once for Glasgow.
You will see that the diary - or "Log" as she used to call it - begins on July 19th, the very day after the wedding. She does not put the year - that was 1882.
I believe the sailing ship took the best part of three months going round the Cape, but after Sep 14th it comes to an end. Why we shall never know ! People start these diaries with enthusiasm but get bored later perhaps, or maybe she was not well. She certainly suffered some shock after the panic amongst the emigrants of which she tells, as for years afterwards she could not bear to be in a theatre, or place of entertainment, where there was clapping or shouting as it made her nervous.
My father got a special grant of money for landing the same number of passengers as started from Glasgow - 4 deaths and 4 births on the voyage.
My parents returned by steamship through the Red Sea and Mediterranean, but visited several
places in Australia before they came home, Brisbane, Adelaide, Melbourne, and Sydney.
My father began practice as a doctor in Southport and retired in 1902 when we came to live in
My mother told me that being married at such short notice there was no time to have trousseau
dresses made so she took lengths of material with her and a dressmaker amongst the emigrants
helped to make them up for her on the voyage.
The wedding cake she did not see until her return home, and I remember as a small child, being given a few crumbs of the little bit left which was kept in a tin box.
They got back to England about 6 months before my birth on May 15, 1883. I was an only child.
Newton Abbot, Devon