Mitchell Library, State Library of New South Wales

Fanny Shorter - diary of her voyage as an unmarried immigrant on the ship S. S. Duke of Buccleuch from Plymouth to Brisbane, 3 April-28 June 1884
MLMSS 5003

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Fanny Shorter
S.S.Duke of Buccleuch
Captn Winter
left Plymouth March 29/84

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Thursday April 3/84

Lovely morning but rather too rough the first day I have felt equal to writing we are in sight of land and the ship flying signals the Engines are stopped for some reason or other unknown to us

we left Plymouth about Midday on Sunday we had dinner on board after which we where all sick on Monday Jessie & I stayed in bed all day also most of the other girls Tuesday it rained all day the Matron asked the Doctor for some arrowroot which was verry nce Wednesday was fine generaly but a few storms the Mothers where alowed to visit us in the afternoon Elizth came John and Elizth had been sick but was better Fanny not sick but had a verry bad cold the others had been a little

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sick but was better Whillie has been verry sick we are all getting pretty well now

we are only 32 single women a verry agreable company I am captain of No 5 mess I have to get up at 6 O clok give out the Watercan for the Constable to fill for us we all have to wash and get out on the deck about 8 O clock comes breakfast then I have to put the things on the Table we had porridge and Treakle this morning verry nice but I could not eat it Jessie has eaten nothing we are waiting an opportunity to get some cocoa made we get coffee for breakfast and Tea at Night

We are divided on deck from the married people by a wooden fence & a constable to stand by the gate to see that no one talks

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to thier friends most of the Girls have thier Mothers and Fathers on board then we have several Mothers who have sons and daughters among the married people we have one old Lady here over 60 years of age the Girls have to scrub our floors with sand and holy stone makes them dry and white our berths are nice and clean and open much nicer than in the city of Richmond but this old Duke of Buccleuch rocks all the time like a cradle it is never steady

We are 12 miles of Lisbon with 3 steamers standing by they want 3 thousand pounds to tow us to Lisbon will now do it for 15 hundred the Captain will only give one thousand

have seen John Whillie and Ernest on deck also Aggie and Jack who look merry enough they say the engine is disabled the delay is

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Saturday April 5th

could not write yesterday it rained all day did not get on deck at all it was verry rough all day and all night we are still rocking about but expect to be taken to port by to night Matron says we shall have to go on another ship it will make our voyage the longer but will cost us no more we felt verry anxious last night we drifted verry near a rock we are still near it we can make out a flag flying on it but do not know what rock it is we are off the coast of portugal

we had to hold on with our hands yesterday to keep up several of the Girls had bad falls Jessie was one we did slip of the benches one after the other on the floor I did not undress last night it was so rough we have had a steamer standing

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by us since Thursday morning

we have lotts of rats on board the Sub Matron killed one Tuesday yesterday she had one on her head she verry pluckily knocked it down and put her foot on it one of the Girls had one scratching her ear in bed. She felt its little cold nose smelling about her face this is a lovely day verry warm on deck. I am sitting one side of the fence John and Elizth and the children on the other I have just given them our spare bread they do not get enough we have not found our appettites yet this has been a buisey morning scrubbing scrapeing and rubbing with holy stone and sand and now that we have got it all nice we shall have to go through the same process on board another ship it is rather

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to bad but I feel verry thankful we are so far safe one feels so verry helpless on the sea there seems to be nothing but a little water between us and God I could do nothing but think yesterdey some of the Girls where playing cards the ship lurched away went girls cards stools and all about the floor I was obliged to laugh then we sang some hymns at night but we where all verry flat

Lisbon Monday April 7th

After various experiences of storm and sunshine we are anchored safe in Lisbon Harbour a beautiful place in full view of the Town with as the Town stands on a Hill side (or rather Hill sides for there seems to be many hills)

we have a fine view of it and the land all around for many miles

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we where in a sad plight yesterday we had to stop down under out of the Sailors way we had 4 Tug boats trying to tug us into port while we kept rolling from side to side we are quite still now it seems such a pleasure to have a rest I am glad to have had a view of Lisbon we are to have our Mothers visit us to day it was too stormy yesterday

Tuesday April 8th

A change has come over the scene this morning last night it was Fairy Land now it is all Gloomy it has rained all the morning we are all down below no one on the deck we have done our scrubbing for to day we had our Friends to visit us yesterday they came down stairs to see our house they all thought we where best off the British Consulís assistant came on board yesterday & some of the men complained to him of the insufficient quantity of food the Consul himself is to come on board to day to investigate it

we had boats round us yesterday with oranges figgs and bread I got eleven Oranges for sixpence they where verry good indeed we get on pretty well for food we get porridge and treakle for Breakfast we have had Jam and pickles given us what we want more of is bread we have plenty of Biscuits but dont eat them if we can help it

there was a dance on deck last night with songs down stairs after we charmed the rats

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they came running out among us (you would like to have seen us then)

Wednesday April 9

A lovely morning warm and bright the Town looks lovely instead of smoke as we see it around Towns in England we see every colour among the houses they seem to be painted all colours we did not get up yesterday it poured with rain all day we where glad to see the sun shining this morning the Matron killed another rat last night after our chaseing it round the deck

we have a lot of Black men for Sailors in our time of greatest danger they knwlt down saying their prayers and the Captain called up the single men to help the other sailors in manageing the Ship

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the young men behaved so badly that the riot Act was read to them they did not get enough bread and they Blamed the Docter instead of the Baker

we have had a rehersal this afternoon there is to be a Service on Sunday so the Matron has been practising with some of the Girls for the Choir it was a lovely evening we staid on deck till half past eight

Thursday April 10

Another fine day took our beds on deck for an airing had our boxes up to day first time mine was in better condition than I expected Elizth got her Jam upset some boxes where very much battered

School comenced to day for the Children it is upon deck the Schoolmaster is one of the passengers who was schoolmaster before

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he is taking his Family to Queensland

the matron is goin to start dancing class for us to dance evenings on deck it is a very lively secene just now on deck all the Girls are looking over their treasures we are doing well now we get fresh meat and bread from the Town it is verry nice bread but so light we cannot get enough of it we have such large appetites

we are standing out in the harbour or River cleaning the boilers while the repairs are goin on

Friday April 11

Another fine day one day verry like another now it is getting rather monotonous. I shall be glad when we move on again Ellizth came to see us this afternoon being good Friday I have had the materials given me to day to make a cake for Sunday the Captain of each mess have to make

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it the Doctor brought 2 of the Constables from the Married peoples part to shew them our part he said it was the cleanest part of the ship and he wanted them to see that the married men did theirs like it Elizth told me they had no tools to do it with we have a scrubbing brush Flannel and pail and a broom for each mess we scrub our Tables and stools every day clean our tins and cupboards every week we have to stone the Floor every day.

Saturday fine day Matron got the Materials for us to make our own pudding to day we sent to the Salloon Gallery to be baked some of the married people where quite jealous of us the Single men had to go without dinner untill they had done thier cleaning they thought they would rather clean up have a clean house than a clean stomack so they set to work and got thier dinner at three o clock instead of one.

Sunday April 13

we had service on the quarter deck this morning it was a change for us we where glad to get out the young men made fun of us being let out for the first time some of the Catholic men went ashore to Church I dont think they where much better for it they got elevated and one got locked up for being drunk and disorderly his comrades are going ashore to day to bring him back I dont expect they will alow any more to go ashore now

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We eat our pudding to day it was very good Elizth came in to day I gave her a piece of mine the married people did not get any pudding to day

Whillie came in this afternoon the matron would not consent for more than one other to come she does not like us to be too happy however Ernest will come next time some of the Brothers took French leave

there was a wordy fight between to of our Girls last night one of the young men brought some sweets one got them the other claimed them No 2 got a box of figgs after so that settled it

Monday April 14

rather rough and cold today nothing interesting to relate at present enjoyed today had a jumping match and

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charades this evening it was great fun

Wednesday 16

fine day but it rained very much during the night was woke awoke this morning by Jessie & her neighbour screaming they had a rat with them was just settling of again when I felt one on my own face the rats where verry buisey last night

Whillie and a lot of others are gone ashore to day John intended to go but was not very well we have got one Woman in the Hospital which is on our part of the deck there has been several women sick we have got a baby here to keep for one of the Cabin passengers while she goes ashore it is a verry musical

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one and never gets tired

Thursday recieved a letter from Susie to day was very glad to hear from home Whillie got one from Ms Parsons Hohn got a news paper from Bristol he got a letter from Jane yesterday containing one from Annie

Whillie enjoyed himself ashore yesterday he went with some of the other young men to see their mate who is in prison for a few days they got showed over the Prison John and Elizth is goin Saturday want me to go with them but the Docter will not allow any of the single women ashore

I was helping to cover and number the library books this morning they have a nice lot of books and they are given away at the end of the voyage

we are verry happy all of us and most sociable Elizth was not verry well this morning had to see the Docter I see them every day but can only speak to them by stealth Elizth comes in 3 or 4 times in the week

Saturday April 19th

had nothing much to write about yesterday one day is verry much like another now the new machinery is to arrive expected to arive tomorrow we had an exciting time Thursday night one of our girls dressed as a young man with a mustache on an excelent get up voice and all none of us had any suspicion of her and she acted so well that we where all frightened we thought a mad man had got among us one girl fainted to or 3 was quite overcome the matron

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thought there would be no fear of our haveing a young man in on the sly

Elizth is better but not able to go ashore to day John and Ernest is gone they all admire the Town it is a grand week in Lisbon I believe I should like to go but the Docter will not allow the single women to go with thier parents there was a fight among the young men yesterday one got put in Irons we dont hear anything of it down here I shall be glad when we are moveing again

the Catholicks had Mass yesterday three priests came from the shore to conduct it

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Monday April 21st

A miserable morning has rained all night but cleared up about 12 o clock was to ask the doctor to go ashore this morning 4 or us chosen to speak none of the Single Women had been allowed to go some people who went ashore yesterday got drunk and made such a disturbance it was almost murder one man was taken ashore before the magistrate to day but was aquitted but no more are to be alowed to go men or women it is too bad only for that I think I might have gone we have had beautiful flowers brought from the shore most of us whor one to service yesterday for a button hole we had our visitors yesterday Elizth is not well again the machinery which

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was to have arived yesterday has not arrived yet some of our people went to see the Bull Fight yesterday the first of the season the king & queen was there in state it was a grand sight they say

Thursday April 24

I have past over 2 days the days here are so much alike there is so little to write about to day the machinery has arived but they have not begun to bring it aboard yet we are glad to think we shall soon be on our way it has been verry rough the last 3 days and the rain poured down we have canvas all over the deck but it blows all under it is no shelter it blows right accross the deck

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I recieved a newspaper yesterday I think from John but do not know the young men (or some of them) was before the captain and Doctor this morning about beating up their beds they had a free fight with them some of them have no beds left one even lost the boards out of the bottom there are over two hundred single men if they would only keep their own of the ship but they crowd round our gate in the evening and if it continue Matron is goin to send us down earlier

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the Machinery has arrived and they are haveing in a large quantity of Coals and the wind being high it blows all over the ship we are as black as sweeps


the Machinery is fixed. still takeing in coals. they expect to leave here tomorrow some say Sunday is a luckey day to start but our experience so far seems to point another day I have made a cake to day for my mess it will have no fruit in it but I put a lemon in it and plenty of sugar

Sunday April 27

have been in a state state of excitement all day we expected to leave here this morning was ready at 9 o clock but could not get the anchors up the chains had got so Twisted had to call another ship to our assistance one they keep for the purpose I suppose it had no masts or sails the young men had to go on it to help pull up we got no service to day for which we where all sorry we had a row this morning between a woman in our part and her Daughters husband who it seems ill uses his wife who comes to her mother with her complaints it was nearly the means of having our visitors stopt but we have got over it so far I hope it wont

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happen again the innocent here have to suffer with the guilty Elizth is ill to day with inflamation of the bowels she is a little easier this evening several of the married people have had it but they say it is not a dangerous form of the disease John came in for a few minutes this afternoon the children are not admitted because some of them got the measles I shall not be allowed to see Elizth but she has got 2 verry good nurses one have been an hospital nurse is now appointed nurse for the voyage the other is a verry nice Woman who share their mess Mrs Baber who with her husband and four children from Bedminster

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Monday April 28th

Still at Lisbon the anchors are so entangled that they have sent them ashore to be put straight we are not expected to leave here until tomorrow have had a little excitement to day on the discovery of an innumerale company of live stock on 2 or our Girls sisters Irish of course beds Blankets and their clothes I am thankful I am not verry near them but still there is no knowing where they may turn up

Wednesday April 30

we are going along verry steady now it is verry fine and much warmer than yesterday we are expected to enter the straits of Gberalter this evening we left Lisbon yesterday at 12 o clock it was verry rough in the river which is verry wide indeed

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there was a boat capsized and 2 men drowned just in front of our ship yesterday morning at Lisbon it is verry dangerous there 3 rivers meet there and we where anchored in front of the Kings Marine residence on the one side with Lisbon on the other we could see the Pallace a little farther on we passed it quite close comeing down the river it is a large Square block with 2 Square Towers a little above the roof which is quite flat it is only 2 stories high it looks more like a prison than a pallace there is no park or garden if a garden it is a verry small one there is a Terrace round it with some small threes about the kind size of a goosbery bush only higher we could see no large trees any

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where all along the coast we passed a large watering place with some verry pretty houses and lotts of Batheing machines they paint the houses all colours they make a pretty picture it was a feast day or some holiday some of the Ships where Trimed all over with Flags and these where fireing Salutes from the men of War ships we are in Trafalgar Bay to day just off cape Trafalgar it was verry rough yesterday after we left Lisbon I was verry sick all the evening also Jessie and her Father Elizth is up to day but Tommy is in bed with measles but is better and a difficult subject to keep in bed

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Sunday Evening May 4th

have felt verry unwell all the week till to day a return of Sea Sickness we passed Giberalter Wednesday evening about 6 O clock it was rather dark so could not see much on it I should like to have had a good look over it it looks verry imposing we have had land in sight nearly all the way from Lisbon we are now passing an Island called Gora (or something like it) there are lotts of Houses on it but it looks verry verry bare and dessolate not a tree or shrub or any thing green on it that we can see

the Water here is a beautiful blue color the Sunsetts are lovely quite unlike anything I have see in England but not more beautiful than the English sunsets are

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but quite different sometimes we have had lovely weather and no rain since we left Lisbon it has not been verry hot yet we went to Church this morning which is quite an event to us being the only time we get out of our house but I would rather have it so than be mixed up with the other people we have more room and more comforts than any one can think for and I think I can say we all take a pride in keeping it clean

we had verry nice plum pudding for dinner to day we are to have a concert when we stop at Port Said those who take part in it are goin to commence practising to morrow Elizth and John and Whillie came in to see us today Elizth is pretty well again tom is well again but not allowed on

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deck yet John is not looking well we are goin to sing some of Sankey and Moodys hymns after Tea some of the Married people are to stand the other side of the Fence to play the music and help us sing

a baby died on Friday and was buried in the evening


still fine John is better in fact we are all better to day


box day to day quite exciting so much to show each other we where surprised to hear this morning that the quarter Master died last night and was burried before sunrise this morning they stopt the ship while they burried him he was taken ill yesterday evening of heart disease

little Fanny and Johnny is not verry well to day we have another patient in the hospital brought to day the sick are verry well cared for on this Ship we are goin on well now expect to get to Port Said thursday

Wednesday May 7

Made a cake to day the Docter was kind enough to order the materials as an extra I must say we have plenty of food and of good quality

Thursday 8th

Cleaned all the Tins to day before breakfast we had to lay them all out on the Tables for the Docter and Captainís inspection

arived at Port Said at 3 O clock have been all excitement ever since there are not many houses but they are large and new looking there are 3 Street run

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back from the Water with houses Faceing the water with a nice broad Esplanade in Front as soon as we arived there where a swarm of small boats alongside with oranges Lemons and Trinkets I bought a Coral broach and Earings Jessie wanted to buy a necklace but before we could get them the Officers ordered them all off

every thing here looks Eastern all sand beyond the houses some of the houses have a few small trees out side them the men here dress in loose Robes all collors they make a pretty picture we are close to the Shore opposite us is an English Bar and a French Caffee with Tables and Chairs outside

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the peope seem to be enjoying themselves there are a lott of Large Steamers here 6 came in this afternoon there is an Egyptian Man of War here we have had 3 English Sailors alongside playing thier Music and singing to us our Girls Joining in the Chorus as you may expect they where Slightly elevated they threw us some oranges in doing so one of them fell in the water and got a ducking the best sight is to see the colored men bringing in the Coal there is a large barge each side of the steamer there is such a lot of men they look like a lot of bees they have a double plank a row of men goin up with coal

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and another lot goin down with empty Baskets they do not stop to walk they run they all stop for a rest ocasionaly they are all gabling at once it is like Babel

Fanny has got the Measles verry bad Tom is quite well now

Friday May 9th

Awoke at 5 O clock this morning by the drawing up of the Anchor I got out of bed and looked out of the port hole to see the last of Port Said there seemed to be a lot of people about we are now about half way through the Canal we have just left Ismalia (please excuse the Spelling) we have had to wait for 5 large Steamers to pass and there are 3 large ones following us the canal is about

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as wide as the New Cut at Bristol when the tide is up there are what is called Stations every 7 miles 2 or 3 houses with a small garden outside which is a relief to the eyes after so much sand in some places the Canal is Fringed with rushes and small Bushes we are goin verry slow so slow that a Boat came along side and sold Oranges they got 5 Shillings for nothing they had set up some but before they could send them all up one of our Black sailers cut the rope and sent them off of course they liked it well enough

we are prepared for the Concert but are not sure that we can have it to night

I forgot to say that at Ismalia there is a large Lake where we could see the Kediveís pallace a Square flat Building just 2 rows of Windows

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I does not look half so imposing as Ashton Court there was what looked like a plantation of (not verry large) Trees behind which we could see the roofs of some more houses it is not a Situation I should choose for an house

I enjoy our present Situation it is so unlike any thing I have ever seen still I should soon tire of so much sand, I like more green there is a boat along side with fish caught in the Canal they have not met with a customer as yet it has been very hot to day the Glass stood at 83 down stairs and it is much hotter on deck we must not wear Black hats any more those who have no white hats must cover their Black hats with something white

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the Canal is 85 miles long

Saturday May 10

Our Concert did not come of last night they did not stop early enough it was a lovely moonlight night so they did not stop till they got to a lake they did not gain much for we had to stop in the Lake untill after Breakfast for some Steamers to pass we passed 15 Large Steamers in the canal we got out of the canal about 3 O clock we saw the Town of Suez but we was about a mile of there where some large Steamers in the Port one a French Man of War we did not Stop there we where goin verry slow

we are now in the Gulf of Suez with a bare rugged looking Coast each side of us the officers are Trimming the deck with Flags for the Concert which is to come of to night

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it has been verry hot to day but the evenings are nice and cool but it gets dark about 7 O clock it is moon light now evenings

Monday 12

The Concert on Saturday was a great success we enjoyed it verry much the Young men are goin to have one this week we are to have another in a fort night we where disappointed yesterday there was no Service it was the 7 Sunday on board and we have had Church Service twice

we sang some hymns in the evening it was verry hot indeed last night to day is verry hot the Matron says we shall get it no hotter now it is cool and pleasant in the evenings the glass down stairs is up to 90

Elizth has got a bad eye

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I have made a green shade for her to day Fanny is better but not allowed to get up yet John has been better since the weather has been hot I have had no Stockings on to day we work with Chemise and one petticoat on downstairs and the perspiration drop off us we are getting verry lazy I dont think I shall want to work for a while after I get to Australia we have got to Lazy to wash our pudding bags we hang them out of the port holes windows by a String to wash them in the sea and Laugh to see them dancing about dont you think we are verry Childish we are not troubled with rats now we have 3 Cats on board from Lisbon and they stay at our end of the ship

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Wednesday 14th May

verry hot to day the Glass stands at 94 down below we have passed a lot of Rocks this Afternoon we have not passed any Ship to day as yet for a wonder we expect to arive at Aden to morrow they tell us it will be cooler soon we go along so steady now we only know we are moveing by looking at the Water

we succeeded so well in makeing our pudding bags wash themselves that some of the Girls have hung out thier garments but allas some of them got them washed away I dont think I will try it I only wash a Towel or handkerchief they are not easy to wash in salt water we have got 2 days for washing

I got up yesterday morning before

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daylight and had a bath then went back to bed again any one can bath before 6 O clock them we have a day a week for each Mess beside we had Lemon juice given out to day I am affraid we shall drink more than is good for us the Nights are dreadfully hot now there is such a show of legs at night now

Fanny is much better Tom is quite well Elizth is not verry well her eye is so bad one poor man died to day he had measles and Chicken pox took cold and had Bronchitis he leaves a wife and 3 Children and expecting another every day his wifes Mother is with us poor old Lady she has been with him this afternoon

we get the dancing class evenings

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Friday May 16

Still verry hot but not quite so bad on deck there is more wind we arived at Aden at midnight and left again at 8 O clock this morning we passed a great many Large Rocks there was the gate of tears the gate of Affection and the Gates of hell and the 12 Apostles Aden is build on a Rocke it is a small place or we could not see much of it we have seen verry little green since we left England

the poor man who died was buried the same evening at Sunset his wife and Children is in with us now 2 or them is in the hospital ill with measles a little baby died yesterday and was buried at Sunset which makes 4 deaths Elizth is better but her eye is still verry much inflamed

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Fanny is getting over the measles all right as yet but she has lost all her color is more baby than ever she was Aggies collor is quite a Torment to her I saw one of the Officers running after her this afternoon he wanted to paint a box red and was comeing to her cheeks for the color he gave her his breakfast one morning

the Officers and Sailors are all verry nice men the first and second mate are verry fond of Children they flock round the first he gives them sweets it was inspection day yesterday and we all got in disgrace about our Tins I thought we all had done well but we had to touch them all up again and after all the Captain and docter did not come to see them

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I awoke about midnight and got up and had a bath and Miss Williams with me I went back to bed again and slept well you would think you where in a queer place if you could step in to our place at midnight we have just enough light to make everything look ghostly some snore some grunt some talk and all are restless the hot nights here and there is one sitting up some have got out of bed and are lying on the benches

we must not talk to each other I forgot to say when speaking writing of Rocks that we saw 2 Wrecks by them they where both above water or the greater part of the hull was under the water one was a Steamer


A little cooler to day we had a little fun last night a married couple

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Shipped as single people so the wife was with us the husband with the Single men they repented the step when they had been to see about 2 weeks they wanted to be together the Docter wrote to London for permission which arived at port Said but before they new it she got away with her husbend of courese she was brought back for breaking the rules and not alowed to go till last night so we stood in line and cheered them threw some Shoes and Oatmeal in place of Rice the marred people carried it on outside so I expect they had a lively time of it

we have the Lamps hung up on deck evenings now and have prayers on deck it is dark early here being winter here they say

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Monday May 19

Still verry hot the Glass is still at 90 we have been rocking a verry little these 2 days but it has affected some of us I fear I shall never be a good Sailor

we had no service yesterday morning the Docter had so many patients to see he could not attend a Gentleman from the Salloon conducted a service in the Afternoon by us so we did not get out yesterday it was verry nice we had sermon after from the of Revelations following verses he was a verry good speaker preacher hofften have a service with the single men but we have not heard him before

we passed Socotra yesterday an Island 200 miles Long

Elizth and John and Whillie came in yesterday Elizth eye is

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still bad I was sick this morning and Jessie we could not work the Matron roused Jessie 2 or 3 times because she was doing nothing she wont allow us to lie down or sleep on deck I suppose it is best but when one feels sick it seems better to lie down no doubt if you think about it at all you will picture us leading a verry Lazy life if you could only see us you would be surprised to see how busy we are all the time Elizth finds me plenty to do

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Wednesday May 21

A little cooler to day on deck but still 90 Downstairs we had a little rain yesterday morning at 4 O clock the first since we left Lisbon we are goin along fine now. Yesterday the Ship did better than she has ever done before from 12 O clock yesterday till 12 to day we have made 254 knotts yesterday the figures where 257 the quickest speed we have yet made we have chart which contains our passage as far as Colombo the speed is marked out each day

have made another cake to day but it was to late for Tea I have been making a box cover for the matrons box to day of Waterproof mackintosh

we had a dance last night the deck illuminated with Lanterns we had a voilin and a brass instrument

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to play it went off verry well indeed the young men held three second concert there are over 200 young men most of them of good education so they have good concerts but we are not allowed to go to hear them it seems redicelous the way we are kept I suppose it is best so (they get decieved some times)

we have passed no ship these 2 days


A fine day a good air on deck verry pleasant indeed the glass down stairs stands at 89 we have gone 258 miles since 12 yesterday till 12 to day we passed a sailing ship and saw some flying fish but they are much smaller then expected they look something like butterflys a verry little larger

inspection day to

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day we took a great deal of trouble with the Tins to day and the Captain did not come to see them but the docter said they looked beautiful the Captans of messes had arranged to strike if there was any complaints I must tell you a little secret, our matron is verry hard to please some times

Elizth came in to day her eye is better she can see a little

Jessie is learning to dance I think it will be good for her we had music again last night but not inside one of the married men played

I think I forgot to tell you that Jessie had her hair cut or slipt like a boy before we left Plymouth all the young girls have had it cut and some of the young women and some of the married women

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which I think is a mistake we have still a deal of much sickness on board

Saturday May 24th

We have been goin verry fast the distance today was 260 miles there where many of us sick again this morning but we are better now we have just come up from Tea and we are at Colombo we can see the Land all round it is lined with trees as far as we can see it is good to see so much green, Another Baby died last night

Sunday May 25

Such a Sunday I dont know how to describe it it has been like a fair there where people here before 6 O clock selling Fruit we have had pine Apples 11/2d amp; 1d each cocoa nuts 1d & 2 mangoes 1d and Bananas 2d per doz also limes

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we have had Lace, Hats, Jewelery, gems unset and other things too numerous to mention

the people men here are copper color I suppose they would be called they wear thier hair long and done up in a knob behind and a comb to keep it smooth from the forhead like the little girls used to wear in England they look so clean and smart as to put our young men on board to shame and they all speak good english one of them told us he was a Christian, Gods son

we saw 3 cingalese Ladies they came alongside in a boat they where dressed in the Latest paris Fashions with a lot of Jewelery on them they Laughed and looked so pleasant we had a venerable looking cingalese man to preach to us to day he held

[Page 50]
several services the men where putting cargo down one part of the Ship so I could not get near enough to hear all he said Colombo seems to be quite a large place there are some verry pretty houses here the Trees we see are Cocoa Nut palms and Banana trees we have had rain to day and it is verry cloudy now and getting dark though it is only 6 O clock they say it is winter here now but it is quite hot enough to be pleasant the glass stands nr 90 down stairs

I could not sleep for heat last night it lightened all the evening but there was no thunder the place looks pretty lighted up at night there are so many color lights we

[Page 51]
are just opposite the Christian Church it is just lit up it looks verry pretty Fancy white people brought the Gospel to them, now they preach to white they are fine inteligent looking men I am quite in love with them the Church bell has just comenced tolling it sounds very home like


We are off again rolling I dont think I shall ever forget Colombo we have had a day of it I like the people here they talk and joke and Laugh and look so pleasant we have have seen all kinds of beautiful things Indian silks and Muslin silk scarves sashes and handkerchiefs gems and Jewelery in fact it has been like a fair these 2 days

[Page 52]
I have bought a dress of Indian silk for which I paid 1&3d per yd and a broatch and earings for which with 8 cats eyes stones set in silver which was verry cheap but I have not heard yet how much we have bought hats as large as umberelas for 6 each much larger than any we ever saw at home the boats here are such funny looking things so narrow about 10 inches wide but verry deep they fix a seat outside to sit upon the worst of these days are takeing in the Coals we all get so blacks it would be a treat for you to see the Children the Gutter Children in London is nothing to them Aggie is quite a picture Miss Roberts has kindly sketched me a boat just to give you an Idea what they are like

[Page 53]

A man came on board for clothes to wash some of the people gave him some to do which I hear was verry well done for 2d per doz

a barber came on and did a good trade

we had a baby die yesterday and was taken ashore to be burried another baby died to day

Wednesday May 28th

We left Colombo about 4 O clock on Monday I was a little sick yesterday it rained very hard all day and we have rolled about a bit ever since we left Colombo it has been fine to day there was a flying fish came over the side last evening it is about as large as a large sprat

[Page 54]

the wings are transparent and rather large

this is our cake day we get a quart cup full of raisons and Currants we make a large cake

Friday May 30th

We have been goin verry slow to day the docter sent some cake for each mess to day as a present the Tins looked so nich yesterday they where verry much amused by the remarks of one of the Captains an Irish woman we have to thank her for the cake she told them she did not think it right to work so hard for nothing she asked for a sup of Porter but he gave the cake instead

Monday June 2nd

a miserably dark rainey morning the first second rainey day since we left Lisbon it has cleared up this afternoon we had no service

[Page 55]
againyesterday wich was a great disapointment we have been goin verry slow since we left Colombo we had our visitors yesterday afternoon the Children where admitted the first time since the measles broke out

Elizth eye is still verry bad the docter says it will not get well until she lands another baby died yesterday My Mate Mary Thomas a welsh girl is verry ill with pleurosy I feel verry anxios about her she is so delicate she has a Father & Mother Sister and Brother on board we have a young man in hospital ill of rheumatic fever


fine to day the days are shorter than they where I have been cutting and tacking a polonaise to day for the matron we have had Land in view all day but a long way off

[Page 56]
We have been passing large patches of land and pummice stone which have been floating about since the earthquake last year

Wednesday June 4th

Arived at Batavia this morning passed a lot of small Islands covered with Trees and Bushes some of them had houses on there are a lot of Ships in the harbour, they have been taking of Cargo the men here are Chinese and Malays & not half so pleasant looking as the Colombo men, they Laughed and talked to us but we could not understand them they threw kisses which we understood but did not return

there where no sales here to day there where some on the forecastle Cigars etc but we did not see them

Fruit is forbidden in this port being unhealthy

Elizths eye is better to day My mate is better

[Page 57]
but verry weak the poor young man who was ill died last night and was buried this morning about 7 O clock he has a Mother and Father on board there was a baby boy born last night the first birth as yet we have had lovely skies in the evenings in the indian Ocean we have admired them every night they made beautiful pictures the clouds are in patches and form all kinds of things and lovely colors we have just started from Batavia it is about 6 O clock here evening about 10 in the morning in England


had a storm last night the thunder and lightening was grand


have passed some verry high mountains to day verry rockey one called Balley 10 thousand feet high and Lumbock 12 thousand feet an extint colcano and others that look as high

[Page 58]
it has been much cooler to day the Matron gave a cocoanut for the cleanest looking Bread bucket there is one to each mess and the Captains have to keep them clean it was won by myself but I must say it was difficult to decide


We went to Church Sunday which makes 4 times out of Eleven Sundays we had a service in the evening by our deck so that we could join one of the passengers gave us a verry good address on the meaning of Whitsuntide and its Lessons to us

we get hot days now and cool evenings we had music to the dancing last night and songs between the dances it was verry enjoyable it is lovely Nights now we stay on deck till after 9 O clock another baby died yesterday and our Constables baby died to day she was a dear little Girl 18 months old

[Page 59]
Thursday June 13th

Another Tin day come round they gave great Satisfaction we are to have a prize for doing them so well

Elizth eye is better but she still has to wear a shade over it


have got our boxes up to day for the last time before we land we had a ground rice pudding for a prize 1 for each mess they had fruit in them and was very nice we are goin to have another Concert to night we had a very nice service last night by our friend from the Salloon subject the lost Sheep it was verry good indeed we expect to get to Thursday Island on Sunday so there will be no service


had a good time last night Dancing to the voilin and singing there is dancing every night but we only get the voilin ocasionly then

[Page 60]
we dress for the evening it has been verry hot to day we shall be at Thursday Island tomorrow

was awakened last night by one of the Girls singing in her sleep it was so sweet and pretty it was Miss Thomas my mate in the next berth she has been ill but is now better there where a lot of us awake listening to her singing Miss Woollett and I went and had a bath and went back to bed

Monday June 17th

we arived at Thursday Island Saturday evening the people here are sensible they would not work on Sunday so we had a quiet Sunday and we enjoyed it we had our visitors in the afternoon and a nice service in the evening by our Friend from the Salloon

Thursday Island is a pretty place there is a group of 7 Isdlands named after the days

[Page 61]
of the week they are covered with Trees and a few small wooden houses here and there on Thursday Island there are some nice large wooden houses verry pretty the Islands are woody the Matron says it is like the Islands on the scotch coast

the sunset among them last night was the lovliest I have ever seen in one place yellow shaded through pink to crimson in another verry pale blue shaded to dark in another every shade of purple with a ground of green trees of every shade of green

the Costom house officer came on yesterday to Tempt one of the Girls for his servant by offering 12 shillings a week of course he did not get one I donít think there is more than six who think of goin to service out of 38 only 4 have lived as servants at home

left a lot of cargo here

[Page 62]
Tuesday June 18

We left Thursday Island yesterday at 4 O clock we Anchored at 10 for the night outside Albany pass I was up at daybreak this morning when we started it was a treat the loveliest scenery I have seen since I left home it was not verry far through we where about an hour goin through

there was a beautiful large house in one place belongs to a Mr Jardine whose Father was in Captains Cooks ship when he discovered Australia he took a Fancey to the place and deserted his ship and settled there the natives where afraid of him thought he was a god so he held his own with them his estate is the only piece of land in Australia that have not belonged to the Government it must be verry solitary for him but I suppose he is used to it the Matron says he

[Page 63]
is a peculiar looking man getting old now has had no wife so when he dies his estate goes to Government

Wednesday June 19th

we are goin along verry fast now but we anchor at night at 10 O clock there are so many Coral reefs here we are goin along by the Copast the Land is hilly and covered with Trees but we see no sighn of Life on it we are prepareing for Townsvile to morrow we are having a Tea party to night in honour of the Girls who Get off at Townsvile we are to have dancing and singing after Tea


We enjoyed ourselves verry much yesterday we invited each other to tea every mess was different except the Captains we invited our 2 Constable and their wives to Tea we had 2 kinds of cake Jam & Marmalade and Milk in our Tea the

[Page 64]
Doctor and his wife came down to the Doctor said he hoped we should enjoy our selves he was verry pleased to give us the opportunity he said he may have had as good girls before but he was quite sure he never had better he never had any that gave him less trouble or keep the place better he said it was like a Marble hall (the soap we use make the wood look white) we thanked him also the Matron and cheered them (they have both been many voyages before)

after Tea we had dancing and singing and every one said they never enjoyed themselves more the Mothers came in in the evening and the Doctor and his wife some of the officers and Salloon passengers some of the Girls danced the Highland fling and the Irish Jiggs after all was over there was a large pomela for each mess it is a fruit like a melon outside

[Page 65]
and an orange inside the color is pink inside

we see verry high mountains along the ocast some of them we can see the tops above the clouds we have seen smoke curling up in several places there are some natives about here we passed Cook town this morning

Friday June 20th

Arived at Townsville at 7 O clock this morning it is a pretty place we are anchored a long way from the shore wo we cannot see much of the Town

114 people got of here only 6 Girls to the disappointment of the Government Agent who has got Situations for 100 Girls they do not want Families here

Saturday Monday June 23rd

we left Townsvile Saturday evening passed Bowen and Mackey and arived at Rockhampton at 8 O clock this morning we are a long way from the Town

[Page 66]
the river is not wide enough for so large a ship we have a lot of cargo to unship here they were dischargeing cargo the 2 days we where at Townsvile it is a verry interesting sailing here from Townsvile there are small Islands all the way, we had a nice quiet Sunday yesterday a service in the evening


left Rockhampton this morning at 7 O clock would have left before but it was too dark the weather is much cooler now we expect to land at Brisbane thursday so must bring my book to a close it will be such a bustle at Brisbane that I donít expect to be able to write these you must excuse all mistakes and bad writing as it was written under difficulties I had no table to write on, I must say on looking back over the 12 weeks we have been here that on the whole it has been

[Page 67]
a verry pleasant time we have had sunshine and smooth sea all the way from Giberalter if ever I want to come back I shall not be afraid of the voyage we hear that emigration is to be stopped altogether except for single women,

I send this to you John dear for you to take a copy for Aunt Charlotte and lend it to Alfred to copy for his mother you will let Robert see it as soon as you can

I have sent a copy to Annie Carter for the Ashton people you must please give our verry kind love to all and accept the same yourself I will write the first letter to Robert as soon as we get a place to write to send you a copy of some verses which one of our girls wrote

there where 6 girls got of at Rockhampton and 24 Families and most of the single men

[Page 68]
Farewell to the Buccleuch

Farewell to the Ship that has sailed over the seas
But sadly to say by verry slow degrees
Yet what care we now when safely in haven
Thoí great were the dangers through wich weíve been taken

Farewell to the Sailors who manned our brave Steamer
For their faces to us have grown quite familiar
Tho of different complexion yet equal in feeling
Then why not of them should our memories be pleasing

We girls have not suffered from much melancholy
for we united our efforts to pass the time jolly
With working and singing to the best of our notion
And also danced off the effects of the Oacean

So green in our memories are Port Said and Aden
Batavia Colombo Suez and Lisbon
At Lisbon we stayed a little too long
For the remembrances there dampen my song

[Page 69]
Yet our Journey has been intermingled with sorrow
For some of us sadly had Friends stricken low
And why should we grieve: for we cannot recover
Those whom our Father called earlier home

Miriam Roberts


Arived at the mouth of the river at 2 p.m. on Wednesday Landed Thursday June 26th stayed last night at the depo it was a wet morning yesterday fine through the day

John Bick went to the post office got a letter from Joe Yeates with an account of the death of poor John Yeates which made us feel verry sad I am verry verry sorry,

Brisbane is a beautiful place from the river I have not been out of the depot yet it is a verry large place I am goin to the post office to inquire about the mails

have been to the post office no letters from home there [indecipherable] at the depot there is a mail in tomorrow and one leaves here for England at 1 O clock so I will send this to you and a paper to Robert if I get time

John is gone to look for a house Whillie and Ernest is looking after the luggage

some of our girls have got situations some going with their Friends if you write to me send it to the Emmigration depot

with kind love to all believe me your ever affectionate sister Fanny Shorter

We all send our love to all God bless you all I shall like Brisbane if I get something good to do it is a beautiful place

boots clothing meat Tea and bread is as cheap as at home

[Transcribed by Allanah Jarman for the State Library of New South Wales]