“Drayton’s Parish Clerk moves his family to Australia”.
My GGG grandparents, Charles HOUSE and Anne SALWAY came to Sydney with several of their children in 1855 from Drayton in Somerset. They spent a few years in Sydney before moving to Albury in New South Wales.
Charles HOUSE and his family arrived in Sydney on the Sultana on May 19, 1855. According to Migrant Ships for South Australia by Ronald Parsons, the Sultana was a 3 mast barque, built in 1849 in Durham and it made several trips to Australia.
They were preceded by his sister, Ann and her husband, Joseph WILLEY and their children who had arrived in Port Melbourne, Victoria on the Hope on 21st July 1849 with either Joseph’s brothers or cousins, Frederick and Alfred WILLEY with their families.
The family of Charles HOUSE arrived in Sydney in 1855
Charles’ brothers, John and William arrived with their families the next year on the Lloyd and I’ve been fortunate to find on the national TROVE catalogue (it isn’t just newspapers) items related to the Sultana.
I’ve been able to find diaries by a couple of people travelling on the Sultana in the 1850’s and 1860’s at different State Libraries. Then via their Copies Direct service I was able to order a copy for only $16.50 each.
The best one that I’ve found is a partial (14 pages) diary by an unknown Cornishman who left Liverpool on the Sultana on 21st December 1857; so only 18 months after my family but it’s hard work transcribing it as the original held by the State Library of Victoria is a poor copy of the original. They don’t have the original, don’t know if it exists and don’t know the name of author but they and we can deduce that he is a Cornishman (he mentions sailing from Penzance to Liverpool) and he’s obviously the son of a farmer. He did say that he’d left because he was “dissatisfied with his prospects at home” and saved 40 pounds after his father “being unwilling to part with me, he having suddenly discovered that I was useful on the farm. I found myself on the eve of starting for the Golden Land with something over Forty pounds in my pocket.”
While waiting to sail, he met “an old chum who had been to Australia twice before” who advised him to buy some provisions “in the shape of hams, potatoes, chicken, jams as he having proved by experience that the ship’s fare is anything but luxurious.” I’m afraid I don’t have a lot more detail apart from his description of the passengers including himself who were sick for many days and he noted that he “could scarcely taste anything for a fortnight” and but for the kindness of Mr. L who arranged for “arrowroot and bottled porter” he wouldn’t have recovered. In the 3rd week, he found his appetite but found it was limited. He “enjoyed the privilege of hearing the gospel preached by one of the ministers who were on board” and attended “a lecture on the country” but Rev P or B who especially made “some very good remarks on Colonial Life, the principle causes of successes and failures of those who went there.”
I’ve also purchased a copy from the National Library of Australia a transcription of Thomas Pulsford’s diary – he also travelled out to Australia in 1860 on board the Sultana before droving and doing other station work – such a change from working in Devon. It was not the original but a copy of a transcription made by a family member in 1959 and donated to the NLA. He devotes less than a page to the trip out! He mentions watching as a child was committed to the deep and another watching a sailor drowning after falling overboard. One of other comments relates to the melting of his sealing wax in his writing desk when they were in the tropics.
I’ve also ordered a copy of the transcription of the diary of Tom BIRD who came out to Queensland on the Sultana in 1862 to work for 2 years as a Shipping Agent. His diary was originally sent back to his mother and stepfather in England, transcribed in 2012 by a descendant of the stepfather in the UK who thru research found Tom’s descendants in Australia and sent them the original and transcription. They kindly donated it to the State library of Queensland. I was only able to order the transcription as the original is too fragile to copy but I am looking forward to seeing it next time I’m in Brisbane. This one has much more detailed information about each day; Tom tells us it was boring and he offered to do the captain’s accounts so he could be busy.
Last item I’ve found is a small book called “A settler’s 35 years’ experience in Victoria, Australia, and how £6 8 shillings became £8000” by Edward Hulme and published in Melbourne in 1891. I was able to find a facsimile copy on Book Depository this year. He was an artist in London in the 1850’s and decided to travel to Australia – “the land of gold with his wife, six sons and baby girl”. He devotes very little to the journey out here on the Sultana but his account of their life in Australia after their arrival in 1856 is very interesting. I should write a detailed post about that one day. He does mention that the children found the hard ship’s biscuits impossible to eat so he used his carpenter’s plane which he’d packed to shave them and with a liquid made them into puddings!