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As published in the South Australian Government Gazette 1854


This is not a complete list of vessels arriving or reported on in the gazette

Some of the below listed voyages refer to vessels arriving in 1853




Published date


On the arrival of the passenger ship Agra, I received a memorial signed by many of the passengers, complaining of the breach of many of the clauses of the “passenger act” 1852. By the advice of the law officers of the Crown, information’s were laid in the Police Court, Adelaide. The cases came on for hearing on the 11th October when the master of the Agra was adjudged by the Magistrates to pay three separate fines of £5 (five pounds) for the sale of spirits to passengers during the voyage from London to this port and it having been proved that he had not served out the provisions daily as required by law, he was fined £25 (twenty five pounds) sterling for that offence.



david malcolm

Arrived from Plymouth on the 3rd January after a passage of 105 days, with 220 immigrants. Four deaths and two births took place at sea. There had been very little sickness during the voyage; the immigrants appeared healthy and expressed themselves happy and contented.



Arrived from Plymouth the 16th January, after a passage of 97 days, bringing to the colony 227 immigrants of whom 92 were single women. Only one person died at sea, a boy of five years old; there were two births at sea. This ship arrived in a most satisfactory manner



The Epaminondas arrived on the 24th December, having been at sea 119 days; she has brought to the Colony 446 souls. There were nine births and eighteen deaths on board. The ship arrived in excellent order, everything being clean and orderly; the emigrants expressed themselves well satisfied with their diet and treatment. Considerable sickness had prevailed at one time on board, but it was eventually overcome and there was little sickness of moment on the arrival of the ship. The system of having the berths built amidship in emigrant ships continues to be adopted and appears to be a decided improvement on the old system especially in vessels of large size. I would very strongly recommend that the boxes and luggage belonging to the young women intended for South Australia should be put in some part of the ship separated from the luggage of the other emigrants. As the young women are sent immediately after arrival to the depot in town, it is most desirable that their boxes should be sent with them, and procurable without loss of time. When the young women leave their boxes behind them, several days sometimes elapse before all are found and if lost, it is difficult to say who ought to be accountable.

I have now to report that the ship Epaminondas has lately arrived, carrying, in addition to the emigrants sent by the Commissioners, several cabin passengers. I am convinced that it is an erroneous system, and ought not to be continued, as it is liable seriously to interfere with the authority of the surgeon of the ship in the management of those committed to his care. Several families which arrived have complained to me that they had received embarkation orders for one of the other colonies, but that the Emigration Agent at Southampton had informed them that the ships in which these people ought to have sailed, being too full, he would send them to South Australia and that the local Government would on arrival forward them to their destination.The names of these people are – Thomas Fruin, wife and child for Sydney; Martin McGillevray, wife and child for Melbourne, as his relatives had been previously sent to that Colony; Michael Ryan and wife for Melbourne; James Ward, wife and child for Melbourne; there were also four young women, who assured me their destination was for Melbourne. There were in addition to these mentioned some others who wrote to me on the subject which letters I have forwarded for the consideration of His Excellency the Lieutenant Governor.Some of those who have made this complaint have been by this means separated from members of their family who have been forwarded to other Colonies.




The Fortune arrived from Plymouth on the 6th of June after a passage of 102 days, bringing to the Colony 244 souls; four births and one death took place at sea. This vessel arrived in very excellent order in all respects; the people were clean, tidy and well behaved, and the greatest harmony prevailed on board



hannah maria

Several informations were laid against the master of the passenger ship Hannah Maria for the sale of spirits to a passenger called Nahum Cornbloom.

It appeared that this person was virtually a cabin passenger but that owing to the space allotted to him as a cabin not being sufficient, he was legally a “passenger” according to the Act. This was pleaded in extenuation and in consequence of this breach of the law being apparently unintentional, I took judgement on one case and withdrew the other informations; the defendant was fined £5 being the lowest penalty for the offence.




From Southampton, arrived on the 14th of March after a passage of 99 days with 307 immigrants. Four births and twelve deaths occurred at sea and before disembarkation. Much discontent prevailed on board amongst the immigrants, which made it necessary for the Immigration Board to investigate the nature and causes of the complaints. It appeared that there had been, during the voyage a lamentable want of cooperation between the master and surgeon of the ship. The immigrants generally complained of an insufficient supply of lamps. It appeared on inquiry that on leaving England and for some time after, eighteen lamps were lighted at dark in the part of the ship appropriated to the immigrants, but it was shown that the Surgeon-Superintendant had not taken the precaution of having any of these extinguished at bedtime; and when the master of the ship went below on two occasions to see that all was safe, he found all the lamps lighted after midnight. On the first occasion he spoke to the Surgeon, who did not rectify the evil; and, considering that such a state of things, if permitted to continue, would seriously endanger the safety of all on board, he took upon himself to limit the number of lamps lighted at sunset to five amongst the immigrants, one in the hospital and one in the matrons room. On this occasion the Board could not blame the master for interfering when the Surgeon so far neglected his duty.  etc etc……..

“Had the surgeon superintendant been unblameable in hi own conduct, we should have viewed with less distrust his charges against the Captain; but it is most clearly shown, that the surgeon superintendant was discovered after the usual hours of retiring to rest, sitting in the pantry with the steward, drinking wine which had been brought from the hospital stores. It is also clearly proved that the Surgeon allowed the boatswain to frequent the young women’s apartments in the evening, under the pretence that he was in love with and about to marry one of the single girls. Such behaviour in a Surgeon-Superintendant cannot be too strongly condemned; it tends to undermine all regularity and order, and to introduce insubordination and confusion.”


john bunyan

The John Bunyan arrived from Liverpool on the 22nd May 1854 after a passage of 100 days; bringing to the colony 318 souls; twenty nine deaths and four births took place at sea. The great mortality in this ship was caused by measles and scarlet fever, both of which broke out within four days after the ship left Liverpool. These diseases appeared first among the single women, and went right through the ship to the forecastle amongst the sailors. When the ship arrived the disease had ceased and the general health was very good. The surgeon superintendant appears to have experienced some difficulty in managing the single women, a few of whom were not well behaved. In consequence of irregularities occurring in the evening he was obliged to diminish the number of lights which are usually allowed; this caused some dissatisfaction but, from the circumstances he was quite justified in the mode of punishment which he adopted. It is to be regretted that, on this occasion, the innocent were put to inconvenience on account of the ill-behaved.



joseph rowan

The Joseph Rowan arrived on the 16th June after a passage of 88 days, bringing to the colony 373 souls; four births and two deaths occurred at sea. This ship also arrived in very excellent order, and great credit is due to all concerned in the management of the people. In the Joseph Rowan, the final disembarkation of which took place on the 5th instant, three families had failed to obtain any occupation whatever.



Arrived on the 15th of August, after a passage of one hundred and four days. She brought to the Colony 234 souls. Four deaths and four births took place on the voyage


19th Oct 1854


The Neptune arrived the 25th October, having been 143 days at sea; she brought to the colony 309 souls. The births were six in number; the deaths at all ages eighteen, but only two were those of adults. Sickness prevailed to a considerable extent in this ship during the greater part of the voyage. The cases of diarrhoea were very numerous and difficult of cure. The opinion of the surgeon-Superintendant Dr. Popham, was that the illness was produced and kept up, by the water put on board in England; he strengthens his opinion by the statement that the ship being in want of medicines, put into the Cape of good Hope, where a supply of water was procured and from the time this water began to be used, the diarrhoea ceased; but during the subsequent part of the voyage, a cask of the English water having been broached, the diarrhoea recommenced. The provisions according to the charter party, were in some cases deficient in quantity. The ship arrived on on the 25th October. By the evidence taken before the Immigration Board, and by the surgeons journal, it appears that the butter was all consumed on the 23rd of September, the raisins on the 4th October, the treacle on the 10th of October, preserved soup on the same day, suet on the 15th October and flour on the 20th October. The complaints of the people on this head were almost universal. The ship itself was well adapted for the conveyance of emigrants, but the fittings were put up in the most slovenly manner. The surgeon superintendant complains of his having been kept without proper food during the voyage. That although according to the terms of the charter party, he and Mrs Popham ought to have got provisions in quantity and quality suited to cabin passengers, yet, that in fact they actually suffered hunger for want of food, and that Mrs Popham’s health was so affected by it, that Dr Popham was forced to leave his lady in Cape Town. I have for these reasons, thought it my duty to refuse to sign the papers of the ship certifying that the requirements of the charter party have been complied with. As only an uncertified copy of the charter party is sent to this colony, it is impossible to proceed, legally, further than to prosecute for the short issue of such provisions as are made necessary by the Passengers Act, 1852” and accordingly, acting under the advice of the law advisers of the Crown, I have laid information for the short issue of flour. This case stands as yet for trial. It is not possible to account for this deficiency of provisions, and the careless manne5r in which the ship was fitted up, by the low price at which the contract was taken by the Commissioners. The contract price by this ship was £19 9s.; that by the Standard which preceded it was £18 14s. 9d. (eighteen pounds, fourteen shillings and ninepence) and that by the Olivia which arrived after the Neptune was £17 7s. (seventeen pounds, seven shillings). I am at a loss to account for the inferior quality of the water. I know not whether there are different places in the Channel or the Thames where outward-bound ships take in water, but if so, it may be a matter of importance for the Commissioners to make enquiry where the water of this ship was taken on board, as it may be the means of preventing sickness in future, if it can be discovered from what cause the impurity of the water had proceeded. I have now great pleasure in giving two extracts from the journal of the surgeon superintendant- “Latitude 24º 37’ South, longitude 25º 44’. Sunday, August 7, 1853. At three o’clock this afternoon we heard a cry of “a woman overboard”, ran on the poop directly and saw Emma Edwards in the water, about 200 yards from the ship and Mr Simkins, the third mate, swimming towards her; she had been an inmate of the hospital since she was attacked with measles, and had been in a very desponding state since the time of leaving Plymouth; she frequently said to myself, as well as to the captain and others, that she should not live to see Adelaide, and on the previous Friday she told my servant she did not think she should live a week. Yesterday, she gave away several articles of clothing to some of the young girls, saying she would never wear them again. The ship was going at a rate of eight knots an hour, with a stiff breeze and before she could be brought-to and the boat lowered, they were nearly a mile astern, and quite lost sight of, as the sea was running very high. The life boat was pulled in the direction in which they were last seen, and after some time the third mate was seen on the top of a wave; with as little delay as possible he and the body of Emma Edwards (whom he had supported for some time, though she pulled him under twice) were brought back to the ship, Mr Simkins in the most exhausted state and Emma Edwards quite dead.”

“Sunday, August 21st, Latitude 35º 38’ south, longitude 2º 5’ west. Strong gale with a very heavy sea. About 2 am, the mainsail was carried away with a fearful noise, causing much consternation among the emigrants. This afternoon, as several of the females were sitting on the poop, a heavy sea was shipped, which washed Rebecca Lane partly down the rudder trunk, carried away the bulwarks of the poop and would have carried overboard Louisa Bedford, but for the promptitude of Mr Simkins, the third mate, who sprang to her assistance, laid hold of her and saved her from a watery grave.” On this being communicated to His Excellency the Lieutenant Governor, His Excellency appreciated so highly this noble, though unsuccessful attempt to save human life, that he ordered the sum of £50 (fifty pounds) to be presented to Mr Simkins and informed that gentleman that an account of his gallant conduct should be transmitted to the Royal Humane Society of London.




Arrived here on the 3rd July, having been ninety one days on the passage, bringing to the Colony 402 souls. Ten births and fourteen deaths occurred at sea; measles prevailing during the early part of the voyage. Eight deaths were caused by that disease. This ship is admirably adapted for the conveyance of emigrants-it is lofty between the decks, and well lighted, and ventilated. Upwards of a hundred single girls arrived by this ship, but were not of the class most in demand in the colony. The surgeon-superintendent of the Nugget is of opinion that the system of berthing amidships might have been adopted with benefit in this vessel. He objects to the lying-in hospital being in the compartment appropriated to the young women, as it is the most noisy part of the ship, and also most difficult of speedy access at night.


19th Oct 1854


The Olivia arrived on the 14th November having been 109 days at sea. There were nine births and six deaths on the voyage. It is most gratifying to state that nothing could exceed the harmony and happiness of all on board this vessel. The emigrants expressed themselves not only satisfied but deeply grateful for the untiring kindness and attention of Mr Charles Kitching, the surgeon and Mr Thomas Williams the master of the ship




Arrived in this port on the 21st July, after a passage of ninety three days; bringing to the Colony 188 souls. Four deaths and four births occurred during the voyage, or before final disembarkation. All the deaths happened during the fourteen days in which the emigrants are allowed to remain on board. The Surgeon of this vessel also suggests the propriety of having the lying-in hospital removed from the single women’s apartments. He complains of a deficiency of some of the medical comforts, such as porter and brandy. The emigrants arriving in this vessel were of a most eligible class; and the single women found immediate employment.


19th Oct 1854

royal charlie

The Royal Charlie arrived from Southampton on the 24th of May after a passage of 128 days, bringing to the colony 225 souls; thirteen births and two deaths occurred at sea. There was much dissatisfaction and discontent in this ship, which seemed to have been caused by a want of judicious management of the people. The medical comforts were given away without proper discretion during the early part of the voyage and were all expended long before the vessel arrived in this port. This, with other evidences of injudicious management were apparent.



sir edward parry

Sailed from Plymouth on the 20th December 1853 and arrived here on the 25th March, making the passage 95 days. Four deaths and five births occurred at sea. In nearly all of the ships which arrive, the state of the water closets is a source of constant annoyance and discomfort; the plumbers work seems to have been executed in a very careless manner. To obviate the continued complaints on this subject, the Commissioners have had manufactured under the directions, and with the professional assistance of an engineer peculiarly versed in such matters, a new description of water closets, which they hope will be free from most of the defects which have hitherto caused complaint. etc etc…..

I am desirous of calling the attention of His Excellency the Lieutenant Governor to the fact that the preserved meat put on board some of the emigrant ships is in many cases of very inferior quality, a very large proportion of the quantity put on board being actually unsound and unfit for human food. This was the case in the Sir Thomas Gresham, at every weekly issue it being necessary to throw many tins overboard; but there were a sufficient number of tins of sound meat to give to all their full rations during the voyage, but on arrival at Port Adelaide there remained only four tins, which I caused to be opened, and found one out of the four quite putrid. There was no brand or manufacturer’s name on the tins, and I know not from whom they were purchased. I consider an evil of this kind well worthy of the attention of the Commissioners in England. Means may be taken to oblige the owners to purchase food of this description from manufacturers of known character.


sir thomas gresham

From Plymouth arrived on the 19th of March after a passage of 109 days. there were eight births and four deaths during the voyage. In this shipcomplaints of a very serios nature were made and investigated by the Immigration Board. I regret to state that the Surgeon Superintendant has, since the arrival of the ship died in the Colonial hospital.



The Standard came to anchor on the 13th October, having been 104 days on the passage, and was commanded by Mr John Blyth; he brought the same vessel with emigrants last year, and has, on both occasions, been most attentive and kind to the people during the voyage. In this vessel there was only 4 deaths-one female adult and three male infants. There were nine births on the passage. The number of souls originally embarked was 321; the number of souls landed was 326. The surgeon Superintendant, Mr Hammond Chalk, performed his duties in an energetic and efficient manner; the emigrants generally expressed themselves grateful for the kindness and attention shown them by the surgeon and master of the ship. The matron of this ship was disrated for inefficiency.




Arrived on the 3rd of February after a passage of 92 days from Plymouth with 252 immigrants; five deaths-two of adults and three of children; and three births took place at sea. This vessel arrived in very excellent order.


taymouth castle

The Taymouth Castle arrived from Plymouth on the 3rd of May after a passage of 86 days, with 295 emigrants; eleven births and two deaths occurred at sea. The ship was in very good order. The arrangement of the berths in this vessel was on a different system from any hitherto employed. They were grouped together in blocks on the telescope principle, so that when not in use they might be reduced to half their size; and the tables were constructed in such a manner as to be allowed to occupy the vacant space during the day. I am not disposed to look on this system as being a desirable mode of berthing emigrant ships. When it becomes necessary to allow one emigrant to remain in bed during the day, the table in that group of berths cannot be used and about eleven persons are put to great inconvenience for the sake of one. Where no great amount of sickness prevails, such a system might not seriously interfere with the general comfort of the ship, as arrangements might be made to meet individual cases of temporary sickness; but were any general epidemic to prevail, the inconvenience produced by the want of tables would be excessive. The inner half of the bottom boards of the berths, constructed in the manner described were fixtures; this is decidedly objectionable, as it interferes with the proper cleaning of the ship. The surgeon superintendant recommends that the different beds should be numbered as great disturbance was caused amongst the young women every time the beds were taken on deck by their disputes about ownership. In this ship there was put on board by the Commissioners an oven capable of baking about 160lbs of bread at a time, in order to afford the emigrants, especially the women and children, an occasional supply of soft bread; the supply of flour to the emigrants was, by this means, issued to them four times in the week, in the shape of soft bread. This is a great improvement and, I think, if  adopted in all ships would not only add greatly to the comfort but also to the health of the people, if precautions were taken that means are used for properly leavening the bread, so as to make it light and digestible.



Arrived on the 31st August, having been one hundred and four days on the voyage; she brought 227 emigrants; seven births and seven deaths occurred at sea. This vessel, in its present state, is not well adapted for an emigrant ship; the rigging is old and bad, and there was great leakage throughout the ship on both sides, wetting the bedding and causing great discomfort to the emigrants. I think it wonderful that sickness did not prevail to a much greater extent on board this ship. The people seemed a very eligible class, finding ready employment-and the Surgeon-Superintendent performed his duties very satisfactorily. At the muster, a strange but serious complaint was lodged by four single girls against the Surgeon-Superintendent. On investigating this charge, I found that these four girls were the worst behaved females on board, and it seemed that they had agreed among themselves to make a charge against the Doctor, by way of making the first attack; but there was abundant evidence that their accusation was utterly untrue.




The Time and Truth arrived from Plymouth on the 8th of May, after a passage of 118 days; bringing to the Colony 239 souls; six deaths and four births took place during the voyage. This vessel arrived in very excellent order. The fresh potatoes which were put on board at Plymouth were found after 12 days to be unsound, so that there was not a sufficient supply of preserved potatoes to last the voyage; in other respects the provisions and water were abundant and good. The surgeon superintendant suggests that an addition should be made to the quantity of the Sp. Aeth. Nitric. put on board under the Charter Party, I have had no complaint made on this head by any other surgeon.




The Trafalgar arrived from Plymouth on the 28th of June having been at sea 114 days. She has brought 305 souls to the colony; seven births and four deaths took place during the voyage. It gives me great pleasure to state that this vessel also has arrived in very good order, and though the date of  final disembarkation has not yet arrived, everything has till now gone on harmoniously.



william hammond

Arrived from Southampton on the 18th January after a passage of 93 days with 265 immigrants. Four deaths of children and one birth took place at sea. This vessel also arrived in a very satisfactory state.


William Prowse

Arrived on the 19th August, after a passage of eighty seven days, bringing to the province 268 souls. This vessel came out in very excellent order, and the Surgeon-Superintendent performed his duty most efficiently. A new system of berthing the people was adopted in this ship, which seems to me most excellent, and which the Surgeon-Superintendent found to be practically very useful. The berths were arranged round the ships of the ship as in the old system, but the half of each berth is movable upon a hinge so as to allow a clear space during the day between the berths and the sides of the ship, when the one half is fastened up. This enables the port holes to be opened at all hours of the day, so that both light and ventilation are obtained, while the whole space in the centre of the between decks is available, as in the old system. I highly approve of this system, especially in ships of small size; for, in such ships, the system of berthing amidships is attended by the discomfort of dividing the space allotted to the tables and messing into two compartments, which, except in very large ships, is decidedly inconvenient. There was, in the William Prowse a want of sufficient strength about the hinges, which were fastened with nails instead of screws, and the wood to which they were fixed was not sufficiently strong; but this is a mere matter of detail. The Surgeon-Superintendent recommends that, in future emigrant ships, the poop should be divided off; one half being set apart and divided into hospital, bathroom, bread room and store-room; the door of the latter to open on the main deck. He recommends this to obviate the necessity of serving out the provisions between decks, which, he says, causes great confusion, and interferes with the cleaning of the ship on the days set apart for that purpose. The emigrants by this vessel were of a very eligible class and found ready employment.


19th Oct 1854


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