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Diary of Eliza Nicholson Davies
on board the ship Earl of Zetland bound for Port Chalmers, 1875

Sketch of Voyage to New Zealand in Sailing Vessel "Earl of Zetland" Emigrant Ship - Leaving March 1875 from the Thames and down to Talmouth (Falmouth) out to sea.

Sketch of progress and incidents during part of the Voyage to New Zealand by my daughter Eliza Nicholson Davies on board the Sailing Vessell (sic) "Earl of Zetland" Emigrant Ship leaving England March 1875.

Sunday, April the 4th 1875
Another child born and a child of Mrs Baron died and buried. Sailors fighting! two put in irons.
Monday & Tuesday, April 5th & 6th 1875
Very hot. Sailors amusement of Neptune coming on board - I preferred quiet and staid (sic) out of the way. Skies beautiful. Dr gave us a tin of mutton broth becaus (sic) Stanway had greedily divided its meat, best share to himself.
Wednesday, April 7th 1875
Found two body lice on our things amused to hear the loud exclamations of Mrs Fearn against an Irishman "Why don't they keep them things to themselves? that's so fond of them not give them to them that does not want them. Then again another woman sings out Mrs Harvey! Will you come to your wean? Its bleating. A child also fell down stair among the boxes Not hurt. Becaml'd (sic) Oh Hot oh Hot oh Hot!!
Thursday, April 8th 1875
Thankful for a glass of Wine in the heat asked the Dr for it. Hot potatoes Scone buttered boiled &c for our dinner & tapioca pudding from our own stores. Felt quite overcome that God had provided these things to sustain me in the heat too hot to exert one's self. Ship going 3 knots an hour. Children crying all all round at nights too hot to sleep. Three Ships passed!
Friday, April 9th 1875
Caught a Shark, excessively hot all the weeks.
Saturday, April 10th 1875
Sails catch a little breeze have been a week almost becalm (sic) in tropical heat. but Oh Joy today we catch the Sth East Trade-winds. two Rainbows and a certain Swell of the Sea, indicating to the Sailor the change of wind Slight or breakers in the right direction great rejoicing on board. boys of all ages bathing in a great tub in a corner of the forecastle.
Sunday, April 11th 1875
All iron and steel good rusty.
Monday, April 12th 1875
No entry.
Tuesday, April 13th 1875
Edward down on his knees scrubbing the deck in fron of our bunk this has to be scraped or scrubbed 3 times a week our place getting very greasy as we are close to the storeroom door where there is much traffic to and fro and much noise and close atmosphere where all crowd up for rations, Arthur packing up a box of soiled clothes to go below. All the under boards of lower bunks ordered up today and scrubbed and deck white limed under no joke on a hot hot day! A ship in sight! Opened a tin of corned mutton (from Coleford) but although very good we cared little for it was so salt and we have about had enough of salt things. Pickled Cabbage Sugar and butter served out today. Edward calls to Arthur first runs up on deck & see for our 5 quarts of water! "Well Mother, are you all right? Ah Dear Boy, have they all work'd for Mother! Had some medicine from the Doctor for Indigestion. A Homeward Bound Vessel signalled today.
Wednesday, April 14th 1875
No Entry.
Thursday, April 15th 1875
Saw a sailor with a flying fish in his hand had a slight disagreement with my neighbour Stanway a disagreeable low life fellow. His wife calle Earnest a cheeky bad (sic) & not the first bad word of Madam's! Washed up my floor in front of the bunk with housecloth. Oh the mess and noise! Nothing bu noise night and day for 3 month cannot Read and scarcely think. Our ship rolls much very few can read or sew. If we set ourselves down Sailors have to move us to do their work "Boatswain calls out today to his hands Now then Boys all you that are sick same and lazy come along. Now ladies If you have any respect for your corns get off." Getting boats ready for stormy weather I don't like the thought of needing them they are got very dry in the Tropics. Went up to the Galley and whispered to the Baker "Do give me a pannikin of flour I have no bread" Yes. Made a cake with butter and Carbnate (sic) of Soda. Often wished I had the marmalade Cousin James so kindly offered to buy but had no means of carrying wished I had some ginger bread. Anything at Sea goes doubly relishing. Allnight I sat on the Mainhatch looking up - Through the sails and rigging up the Mast at the nearly full moon and the splendid sky and stars. Mr D with others and Earnest singing near the deck crowded with Emigrants. As I sit just between the two raised boards I felt something poking my back under the canvas I sit on and on looking closely round discover a Boy inserting himself under the canvas to spend the night. Many sleep on deck. It is so hot but Not I, and glad I never did for two women were much scandalised. Mr D slept in the Male Hospital all through the hot weather and I preferred bearing the heat and keeping the children and myself private. On going down for the night hear Mr G singing. There is a star to guide us" also "Trust in God, and do the right". It is good to hear a Christian warbling forth his hear at Sea.
Friday, April 16th 1875
Boxes up felt better and was able to get clothing out. The scene will bear description. Stairs removed hatches up above and below for two hours before dinner in fact all got no dinner till the boxes were up. Roaring swearing &c decks above and below crammed with luggage Children cant get up for two hours and dinner eaten! Then down goes all the luggage again only to come up once more. Learning not to be alarmed at many things (I) hear the water rush, gush, slush past the port holes close to our bunks creak creak streak of all the Emigration fixtures (for beds) ? every time the Vessel rolls. Condensing engine running water into Tanks sounding exactly like a leak in the Hold Then the Iron Topsail Sheet bearings of the Mast frequently goes "Boom Boom" against the iron mast and down the hollow it echoes into the abyss below till up get a dozen men call the 3rd mate and men all through to see if the Cargo is shifting. They make out the cause and we trouble ourselves no morw will we reach N. Zealand about that noise. Often think of Mrs Stills nice bread and of that loaf Aunt Sarah tied up I eat that so at many time in imagination. Washed myself in the bunk as usual. Ship rollong and threatening to upset the water in the besd. Oh the torment of these horrid horrid creatures. It appears most all Emigrants pass through this trial as we learn on all hands at New Zealand. Very distressing to wash and change clothing in such a small place and so little privacy. Newspapers Here remark that there were not sufficient privacy in the married people compartments. It is truly the pursuit of cleanliness under difficulties.
Saturday, April 17th 1875
A man slipped in coming down these badly arranged stairs with two pots of scalding tea in hands. No one hurt. Mr Ford fell down stairs was put in Hospital for a week Concussion feared. Mrs Wilkin confined at 2-15am. As I could not sleep I was thirsty I giving Mr W some tea for Wife got a cup in return for myself.
Sunday, April 18th 1875
Sent letters to England by a ship bound for Falmouth.
Monday, April 19th 1875
Made a cake and a pudding. Boys scrubbing floor for me found the Dr had observed me busy and ordered me a glass of wine. Sailors called out on deck "Now all you Passengers better bundle down steering There's a young Cyclone coming." I have adhered to my Jewish predilictions and abjured Pork all the way excepting eating the Pea Soup it was boiled in - Which I was forced to or starve. Many of the Pork Eaters have festered wounds.
Tuesday, April 20th 1875
Today's stores are Butter, Treacle, Sugar, Mustard, pepper and salt. A heavy sea - Big wave coming down the Hatch stairs washing off the projection over the Hatch which is a construction similar to an attic window on the outside of a Roof. This framework and wash of sea took Mr Ford with violence onto her back upon the Spars and on being led down was put to bed for weeks. To continue the description of the water coming into the hold it was 3 or 4 Hogsheads of water poured in. The immediate thought of all who saw it come in was that shipwreck was present before us. The sailors however clapped on the strong heavy boards and we found ourselves battened down for the first time, but not the last. lights were procurred (sic) and the body of water now rolling ankle deep below our Beds were partly drawn up by means of a Hose and partly swept into a small grating for the Bilge Water.  Those who did not see the water coming down the stairs imagined we had sprung a leak Confidence was however restored in a few hours but Seas repeatedly washed the deck above. The fright unnerved many for the remainder of the Voyage. We also had a young man on board who proved to be a Lunatic and very great part of the time he had to be confined with two men to watch him and also had a straight jacket put on but he got better as we neared New Zealand and was brought out on deck on arrival. He was employed at the Depot &c assist the Cook. Mrs Laurie one of our passengers knows Cousin Carrie, her mother is a Mrs Blemo Lickscord but they have been living at Mutley and attending the new Baptist Chapels there her husband was a Policeman at Newcastle upon Tyne so we were quite cronics (sic) till Laurie pummelled his wife disgracefully to the surprise of all the neighbours, I sent him guilty to Coventry and gave her food secretly when he neglected her, but some time after he took such a decided stand on the Temperance question when several were arguing and acknowledged himself a 15 years abstainer that I couldn't help coming out rather warmly on his side ours being a heary tete a tete, between Mr Laurie and wife, Esan Gibbard and wife Mrs Bailie, mother of the youngest infant, Mr Bailie, Mr Davies, myself and Mr Hendry, our Constable, a thoughtful, educated, worthy man. Irish baby born the third birth 11pm. Dr says "Get to your beds please going at 12 knots an hour Ed" obliged to have medicine 3 times a day for dirhoea.
Wednesday, April 21st 1875
Our first wet day every one wishing we were at NZ.
Thursday, April 22nd 1875
No entry.
Friday, April 23rd 1875
Thank God for mercies in the night a squall blew away the stay sail and stern sail boom snapped off, the roar of wind woke me with alarm out of a sound sleep I awoke Mr D telling him I thought the noise above indicated that the ship was on fire the noise was as if the sails were in flames. Sailors running and calling loudly. Mr D got up and went on deck and ascertained the cause the sail was recovered because attached to ropes, the piece of boom was sawn in two and fixed as uprights to support the boat, two more pillars being added, and well it was so for the frame work was too slight and scarcely bore the strain of storms although strengthened by twisted ropes to bulwarks but it did hold out to NZ. Many Albatrosses now seen.
Saturday Evening, April 24th 1875
Every preparation for battening down the Hatches strong thick boards belonging to the hatch        up. Perhaps you would like to know how we manage our dinners. We see the provisions being carried to the single women and we know the married people are served next we carry up the dinner tins an article of this         shape, to the Galley. In the Lower part of the tin soup is put and in the upper potatoes or meat and the lid secures it to prevent a spill in the rolling. After eating we proceed with the most convenient article we can get to the tank on deck for hot water to wash up from the condensing engine - wish we had a few old dish cloths and a few clean rags for puddings. We carry the dirty water up on deck in our slop bucket. These articles are provided by the Emigration Company's.
Sunday, April 25th 1875
A quiet night fine morning rocking movement tires us all and makes us feel weak.
Monday, April 26th 1875
Large lantern on floor at night. Men half stripped on their kneew examining their clothing and killing creatures - women overlooking their childrens clothing clean people sadly bemoaning themselves - A bucket of water poured down on the men by some wag above. Mr Esan Gibbard up at 3am sees an intruder run from the single men's place down our stairs (with something under his arm) to his parents. Several parties having missed money and trousers this circumstance was reported to the Dr who pooh poohed it, but said quietly he meant to have a search unawares, but never did. Poor Edw'd suffers more than ourselves from lice being berthed next to an Irishman. Passengers all saying that the Irish ought to be shipped according to their nationality.
Tuesday, April 27th through Saturday May 1st 1875
No entries.
Sunday Morning, May 2nd 1875
Praise God for his preserving mercies for from Friday evening till now gales and squalls and heavy seas. We have been battened down for two days, & 3 nights catching chances to empty buckest and trying to get our meals. Very little bread to be had Galley being completely washed out, Pies and Cakes washed out of oven. Men driped (sic) here and there. Mr Davies bruised to the shins one very much by being rolled against the sharp edges of the spars or rough timber - ready for occasional repairs as necessary.
Monday, May 2nd through Friday, May 7t 1875
No entries.
Saturday, May 8th 1875
A truly awful hurricane began at 6pm and lasted until 30 or 4am. Six sails lost, iron of bow spritt (sic), 6 sailors hurt, one nearly lost overboard.
Sunday, May 9th 1875
No entry.
Monday Morning, May 10th 1875
All calm but wet. Oh God the hearer and answerer of prayer may we never have thy goodness obliterated. New sails put up. I went up for a quarter of an hour to breathe the fresh air. Sat on the ropes on the hatch watching the heaving sea and seeing it wash in and out of the holes on the deck. Ship rolling much. To describe our feelings and the scene during the hurricane is almost beyond me but I will let you know some of it. It was about noon when the Captain said in Mr Davies hearing to the 1st mate "What is the matter. The Barometer has run down rapidly in ten minutes." The Captain concluding it was rain coming at 5pm. As I was on deck I heard rapid orders to furl the Sails. I went as usual to have an early tea by getting a pot of boiling water instead of cold. We made our own tea that night and had finished it by the time the others Ch (?) have theirs. Emigrants on Tea we all styled it, but the Gale had risen so quickly that only a few of the first up got tea, the hatch being battened down and the wind terrific and also came on very dark by 6pm. A short ladder was brough by the 2 (2nd?) mate and put to the Ventilator a couple of yards from our bunk and in front of Mr & Mrs Philip Gibbards bunk. A few more ventured up the ladder for tea but most people went without any. It was a providence for us that we had ours when we did at 5 o'clock. During the Evening several tried in vain to go up. One just went up and lifted the ventilator and inch but came back with great fear saying I never saw anything like this in my life. A sail was then flapping to rags in the wind, gradually the noise increased. Chains and pullet, and        in wild confusion dashing with tremendous force over our heads. The motopn of the ship steady as we are going before the wind but the velocity of that motion we shall never forget the only approach I am liken it to give you       is the motion of the stars through space. We flew on and on and on with frightful speed and though some were unaware of the state of the Case believed it was the nose of the Donkey Engine at work, we at our and knew we were in fearful peril. The morning after we learned that the Captain had nearly been washed away also a cabin passenger only just saved. One of the Quartermasters was lashed to the wheel for 7 hours the Captain for two endeavouring to keep the ship in her course. At one time the sailors all fled to the forecastle and refused to come out till our noble 2 mate a thoroughly efficient man (Mr Bell) implored them to come out and try what they could do if they didn't value their own lives to try to save those below. There was not a soul on board who liked Mr Bell. Well they came out and did what they could. The storm lulled at 12pm and at 4am a sailor called out down our Ventilator "Fine morning all well." We still shipped heavy seas till daybreak. Where was the first mate? Ah yes, he was drunk. He ordered the poor sailors up the Mast in the gale, they saw his state and refused to go. It being a rule that where the first mate can go they are bound to follow. He attempted to go himself but a wave took him with one sweep to the other end of the ship and back again! This sobered him but to my own knowledge he was down several times in the night for drink besides what he had in the cabin. During the gale a sailor lifter up the ventilator and shouted down "Tell Mrs Duff that Mr Duff is all right", "he is in the cabin."

In the morning we went up to see the wreck and feel thanks we could not speak. Gravity on every face, sailors and passengers alike awe struck. Roperies wild confusion. Pulleys everywhere. Seven sails gone, gone to the wind and seas only one large one left which has proved the means of our preservation. Had that one gone instead of others we should instantaniously (sic) have dipped beneath the wave to have been seen no more on the Earth. When those who loved the Lord gathered breath to speak it was easy to say "Hear what the lord has done for us." Then many a heart acknowledged that they had spent the night wrestling with God each one answering spontaneously that they felt that the safety of the ship and all on board rested on their earnesty unceas (sic) in intercession, also saying that they believed, but for prayer, we should have gone down as there was so much awful cursing and swearing on board - I myself shall never forget the awful wishes of the Boatswain the day previous he wished because we did not speed fast that we should have ten thousand dreadful gales to blow us to - Ah how soon we were in peril of the fact to himself and as he handled a chain I hear him take the name of Jesus in vain. That chain nearly proved his death.

?, August 23rd, 1875
Arthur's and his Mothers Log.
Mother. Well Arthur this is a wet day, real New Zealand weather. I shall write my diary for Coldford for we can't move house today!
Arthur. Don't you write all you find fads, What you "Thought" about, you say what the sailors thought about it or else you'll frighten Grand Pa.
Oh if Aunty had been on board wouldn't she have written a diary? My word Yes!!!
So as he is detained from school and is at marbles beside me Pools upon Pools round our houses. The moving postponed and everything "G Y"? I shan't try to finish the diary of Voyage (ie now me,)

Wednesday, May 12th (shown as May 11th in diary) 1875
Fine went upon Deck but ship rolled so could not get along. Tha Captain gave me a hand. Took up Edw'd Bread to the Galley to get it Baked - Ans "No more married peoples bread baked after 12 o'clock." A sad sight to see the ships plight after the storm. Rigging in great confusion Sailors trying their best to right it thinking perhaps we might yet experience more storms. Yet through making the Lord Jesus my trust cannot resign myself to sleep at night but feel impelled to pray and watch praying almost unceasing by for safe conduct of the Ship & safety of all on board. Oh for more faith. Much comforted to reflect on the prayers offered at home and at 240 when we left. Also many friends on board were specially prayed for in public by their respective Pastors. Surely the Lord will regard the cry of those who have put their ...... the shadow of His wing. Glad to read my large type Psalms. No small print can be made out in a dark steerage and a rolling pitching ship. Oh all ye travellers by sea Bring large print with you if you mean to read.
Thursday, May 13th 1875
Wet and stormy. Battened down. A sea in again into the tween decks which I have previously called the hold! erroneously. Shipping Seas Above Often Beef and Rice for Dinner. Christy the Sailor's hear bad Lesters hand bell. Mr D made us some first class scones.
Friday, May 14th 1875
Sunday. We had the Litany and Communion this morning. The doctor reads. He is very nervous and appears to be very glad when the ordeal is over. The Doxology seems to be a favourite of his for he gives it out every Sunday, on account of the shortness I suppose. The sea is so calm and clear we can see thousands of fish beneath the surface of the water. There are also several ships in sight, becalmed like ourselves. We got our pudding and preserved meat for dinner. The captain sent Charlotte some almonds and raisins in the afternoon and several books for us to read. It is a lovely evening we can almost see to read by the light of the moon. Some are fishing but are not successful. We did not go down until ten o'clock.
Saturday, May 15th 1875
Stores doors banging. left Loose. Children Crying. Darkness prevailing, Vessel Rolling creaking &c. Oh what a dirty lot we are become. Gales blowing all day Oh you who are on Land little know the deep sea. Tins and good rolling flying every where.
Friday, May 21st 1875
Mrs Esan Gibbard lay hurt with cask of Pork rolling against by the Vessels roll Hatch up, wind on the starboard Off Cape.
Learon ? me (Sunday, May 23rd 1875)
Sabbath quiet night 1800 miles to go. Ran 224 in Lat 24 hours. Wind strong on Port side ans shure we got our Irish friend Mrs Huzzey - "B muke up our bread" and share it was very good -------------She was making it for the Cabin I ye see and shure we would have eaten it after her on land but shure we glad enough to do so at Sea. 1200 miles to go. Storms again, fears, prayers, hopes, Mores'es alternating.
Saturday, May 29th 1875
550 miles to go - Quiet we went on deck today Captn has seen land we see a 3 mast Vessel Dr Galvanised Mrs Duff.
Sabbath (Sunday, May 30th 1875)
Weather Oh smile of God Oh holy sunshine Calm and lovely cheerfulness on every face All who are not sick are up on deck. Praise God. Inspection today are told 210 miles to go.
Tuesday, June 1st 1875
Lovely sunshine. Boxes up self feeling very poorly all hoping for Pilot Head winds. 80 miles to go. 3 knots an hour. On wednesday Morning early sailors cried Land ahead we see its outlines at 8 or 9 am of            (?) Sunshine, lovely, fleecy clouds quiet rippling blue ocean peace and promise painted on sea and sky and mountain. Ships bulwark lined on either side with passengers. Arthur the Passage Cook and myself happening to be side by side - he said Well Mrs Davies I suppose we shall soon be there". Yes and then you wont have the trouble to cook for us! If the ship stays in Port I suppose we shall see you again? Oh replied the Cook. I'm going to stay in New Zealand in the mounted Police - I've been Cook in a Steamer before but not in an Emigrant Ship. Mrs D. which do you think best for Passengers and Safest "Oh a steamer by all manner of means" We have had a dangerous time in this ship Few hands bad crew sails lost through negligence Captn and first Mate green though Mr Bell is a smart little man. Passengers bore their trials with cheerful forbearance I have been greatly supported by the goodness of God in daily and hourly trials. Food has been given by God some way or other. The favourite Hymn on board was "Safe in the Arms of Jesus".
Thursday, June 3rd 1875
People up at 2am. Dropped anchor outside Harbour 3am. Everybody catching or Eating Cod fish Pilot Boat arrived about 9am anchor taken up Sunshine.
Thursday Night, June 3rd 1875 
Anchored in Port Chalmers a beautiful Harbour Lights from hundreds of cottages glimmering like stars on the hills all round & starry sky overhead. Oh how all were charmed this afternoon at the beauty of the terraced Hills as we were rapidly towed into the Harbour. Left the ship by steam tug for Port Chalmers in 15 min got out on the Pier Once more on Land Rail laid close to Pier at our feet. Went into the Station bought 4 buns for 3d Mr D bought Bread, and Cheese, am glad to eat Good bread again. Some parties had a grand ale 6d Oranges 3d each Eggs 3d Cheese 1d lb. Got to the Caversham Depot - in an hour 8 miles round the Coast winding at the foot of the hills. Depot is like a large Barrack for Soldiers is close to the Rail. Only the Emigrant Tram stop there  Capital building. Bread and tea for Breakfast and Tea Meat and Potatoes for dinner, 3 meals. Very little rooms for each family to squat down the best way they can the beds filling up the room so you cant turn round but they don't want to make the Emigrants too comfortable but desirous to shift away. A gale the first night we were in the Barracks. Thank God we were on Land. Barracks hold and we ordered about to clean and Mr D off everyday so the boy, and I had to rough it and fetch our food and water through open sweeping Corridors stand in a fearful draft at the opening, where Charity is dispensed. And as I had 3 months washing about for 5 people and to go all round the grounds in frosty weather and had no fire to go to night or day and tho I had two Irish women doing the washing I was forced to look after them and pay out the clothes and watch or lose them. One week made me ill, So I implored Mr Davies to take a 2 Roomed house which we did and I went to be immediately after moving and went through 4 consecutive ailments with two visits of Doctor Gryoipelas 2 Abseen 3 Diarhoea 4 severe colds.

So Endeth the Voyage of You 5 dears.