Pencil sketch of what is thought to be the Bombay
My ancestor came to Australia on the Frigate Bombay which left Plymouth on the 29th of
August 1852 with a total of 706 Government Migrants. As can be seen in the
following contemporary newspaper
article, the Bombay was thought to be carrying one of
largest quantities of migrants to leave England's shores at that time.
This may not be completely correct because there were some 900 passengers to leave on the Ticonderoga, also bound for Melbourne, at around the same time. Unfortunately for those on board the Ticonderoga there were many deaths due to infectious diseases such as Scarlatina and Typhus. It would appear that the passengers on the Bombay had a much safer passage even though there were several deaths due to Typhus.
Woolmer's Gazette 4th of September 1852;
It arrived at the mouth of Port Phillip Bay on the 11th of December, but had to wait a few days at the quarantine station until cleared to go on because there was Typhus fever on board. It was allowed to berth in Melbourne on the 14th of December with 706 passengers having sustained 24 deaths on the voyage. The following are contemporary newspaper articles;
|The Argus 14th December 1852
Copies of the Argus may be viewed
at National library of Australia - Newspapers
The Argus 15th December 1852
The Bombay followed the great circle route similar to what is shown here.
You will note that this is almost the
We are able to gain some appreciation of what the journey was like because there are two journals available. These are
The diary of Richard Moffat, transcribed by his great, great grandson Alan Flowers and Alan's mother Maisie Flowers. A copy of this journal was made available to me by the Nepean Historical Society Inc. Copies of the originals are held at the National Maritime Museum - Sydney and the Royal Historical Society of Victoria.
A journal by Archibald Gilchrist, a copy of which is held in the LaTrobe Library of Victoria. As mentioned in the above newspaper cutting, Gilchrist was a schoolmaster who had been selected to provide educational opportunities during the voyage.
The following is not a verbatim transcription, but has been consolidated
both of the above mentioned journals, with only minor adjustments to aid the
flow of the text. The first section up until the 3rd of
September is entirely Gilchrist because Moffat's diary is missing at least the first page and
begins on the 12th of September. Gilchrist has a gap between the 3rd of
September and the 2nd of October therefore there may be some 9 or 10 days
missing. The use of the word Sabbath in the diary is Moffat's, while Gilchrist uses the
Where the diarist has included personal comments I have appended their name in simple brackets like so (Moffat).
[any comments of my own are shown in italics and square brackets like this]
Thursday the 12th August - A Gilchrist left Brighton and after going to London arrived at Deptford at 4 pm. [Shadrach Pearce and family also embarked from London. The ship's list has them shown as - Shadrach 23, labourer. Emily 23, Edy 3 and Randolph 1.]
Saturday the 14th August - Left Deptford to join the "Bombay" at Blackwall
Sunday the 15th August - Sailors and carpenters hard at work. [The bunks and "kitchen" benches had to be newly built for each trip because the space "tween decks" was mostly used for cargo on the return voyage. This meant that all these "accommodations" would often be removed on arrival. Generally it was expected that the passengers had to pay for these fittings, therefore they were often taken away by them at the end of the voyage. The immigration museum in Melbourne has a reconstruction of what was provided for a typical family, however the following is from the Illustrated London News of 1844 and it probably looks less crowded than was actually the case]
Tuesday the 17th of August - The Lord Mayor of London came on board and delivered a very eloquent address to the immigrants for which he was much cheered. Left Blackwall at 2 pm drawn by two steamers, the "Rob Roy" and the "Robert Burns" and arrived at Gravesend at 6 pm.
Thursday the 19th of August - Weighed anchor at half 12 pm drawn by the "Rob Roy" which took us to the North Light and we cast anchor at 7 pm.
Friday the 20th of August - Set sail at 9 am and passed the towns of Deal and Dover and saw distinctly Dover Castle. Saw also the cliffs, but lost sight of land about Seaford.
Sunday the 22nd of August - Divine Service performed by Rev D Seddon. Came in sight of land and about 12 am passed the Plymouth Breakwater and entered the sound. There were a great many vessels lying in the Harbour and among others was a large Man of War called the "Queen". The were also the passenger ships the "Prince Alfred" and "Blackwall" both bound for Melbourne and the "Hydasper" bound for Sydney.
Monday the 23rd of August - The "Hydasper" entered the harbour about 9 pm though it left Gravesend about 5 hours previous to the "Bombay" [Gilchrist and Moffat both appeared fairly proud of the sailing speed of the Bombay and this is the first such mention]
Thursday the 26th of August - Received on board 250 Emigrants. This being Prince Albert's birth day, the canons from the battery as well as from the War Ships regularly discharged.
Friday the 27th of August - Took on board 25 sheep. During a birth took place, but mother and child are both well.
Saturday the 28th of August - Took on board 12 pigs, a cow, baskets of poultry, some fresh water, vegetables, etc. Also 8 Emigrants.
Sunday the 29th of August - Weighed Anchor and set sail at 7 am and had a pleasant sail for a few hours, but in the afternoon the sea was very rough and a great many of the Emigrants were sick. One of the Constables named Sayers lost his watch down the water closet.
Monday the 30th of August - Sickness very great; there are few person but what are sick.
Tuesday the 31st of August - Almost a calm for which we are very thankful as the sickness was greatly abated by it.
Wednesday the 1st of September - Many people are still sick. The wind is very high so that the Flying Jib was blown to pieces. During the night it was very high which caused the ship to reel a great deal.
Thursday the 2nd of September - We sailed through the Bay of Biscay with a high wind and rough sea which caused many of the Emigrants to be sick.
Friday the 3rd of September - The sea is nearly a calm. The Emigrants are well again. Music and - - -
[Unfortunately Gilchrist breaks here until the 2nd of October. Perhaps a page has gone missing.
Moffat's account begins next and they are in storms again. However the way this reads, especially the repeat of the story about the constable loosing his watch, may mean that Moffat just summarised the early part of the trip. Therefore, we possibly have a full account after all.]
- - - plunge at the very time one would have thought she was trying to stand on end, the women and children screamed and roared, they thought she was down, some of them was nearly fainted, but they got her to rights again. Then the wind rather settled down. That day the constable that wanted us to work on Sunday lost his watch, it fell down the privy into the sea. We told him it was all he could expect for making us work on the Sabbath. On Friday Saturday and Sabbath the wind fell and it was very calm. The sea was like a rolled field. A great many ships in sight and we are passing them very fast as she carries a great deal of canvass. The length of her yardarms is upwards of 100 feet and the height about as much. She has three masts. She was built for the East Indian Companies service in the year 1800 which makes her 52 years old!
[Actually she was laid down in 1808 so not quite as old as Moffat thinks, but certainly old enough]
Monday the 13th of September - We saw the Island of Madeira a little to our right. It is the first land we have seen since we left Plymouth. There was a burial today of a child 8 months old who had died yesterday. [William LeNewry? from Guernsey - possibly LeNowry as there were a William and Mary LeNowry in the disposal list however the embarkation list has the surname as Le Mowiz. I have copies of both these handwritten records, but can do no better than the above attempts to read the writing. ]
Thursday the 16th of September - There was another burial today of a one year old child. [Mary Ann Hall from Cornwall ] It is a very solemn sight to see one so small put overboard. There had been two births on board. One on the Saturday before we left Plymouth and one since embarkation. Both are doing well.
Saturday the 18th of September - Passed through the Canary Islands today and saw the "Pike" of Teneriffe standing very tall to our right.
Tuesday the 21st of September - We met an iron steamer which hove to and spoke with us. She is a government vessel coasting about in search of slave-traders. Saw another steamer a long way off and the captains spoke by hoisting the colours.
Wednesday the 22nd of September - We had another birth today but the child died. [Ship's list has the death entry for a "not named" infant male to parents named Lang from Norfolk]
Thursday the 23rd of September - We entered the tropics this morning and were sailing very well as we had the trade winds, but the gunsail boom broke her tackle and fell into the sea. In the process of righting her one of the sailors fell into the sea. Fortunately he succeeded in grasping a rope hanging by the side of the vessel and eventually pulled himself up. He was lucky as he was a long time under and could not swim.
Friday the 24th of September - Sailing well with a fine breeze and there is one sail in sight.
Saturday the 25th of September - There are great shoals of flying fish about and one was caught as it flew into a porthole, landing on a bed.
Sabbath 26th of September - Had a fine breeze on Sunday and were making 11 1/2 or 12 knots per hour, however there was another death today of a boy about 3 1/2 years old. [William Laughton aged 2 from Somerset according to the ship's list]
Monday the 27th of September - The wind picked up to gale force about 3 AM this morning and carried away the main top sail, the fore top gallant sail, a jib and one of the mizzen sails. They managed to get some of the rest taken in or they would have lost more. The gale continued all day and we made very little headway, the sea breaking over her occasionally. Our ports were all screwed down till the evening when the wind fell a little. There was another death of a child of about 20 months [see the note for the 29th] and both yesterday's and today's bodies were committed to the deep with very little ceremony owing to the state of the weather.
Tuesday the 28th of September - There is no wind today although the sea is very troubled. We can see large numbers of black fish around the ship and some are quite large.
Wednesday the 29th of September - There was another death of a child about 18 months old. The body was put overboard the same day as it died. [Possibly Francis Dobell aged between 1 and 2 from Surry. This may have been the child who died on the 27th and perhaps Moffat was mistaken in stating that both bodies were put over on the 27th. The ship's list has one entry less than Moffat and this appears the likely place for the error.] We are still becalmed and it is wearisome for the sun is getting rather warm and we still have some 7 or 8 hundred miles to reach the line.
Thursday the 30th of September - Still quite calm however the sailors and captain tried to catch a large shark with a piece of beef on a rope, but it bit through the rope and made off with the beef.
Friday the 1st of October- Still calm and there was another death today of a child about 15 months old. [Salina Goodsay? an infant aged between 1 an 2 from Somerset]
Saturday the 2nd of October - Another death today of a child of about the same age as yesterdays. [Sarah Paul an infant under one from Somerset] The doctor says that travelling is very ill on children under 2.
Sabbath the 3rd of October - The sea is very calm and the sun shining bright. There are several ships in sight, some going for the diggings just like us. Divine Service was in the young women's apartments. Towards evening it got very hazy and we made ready for a gale, but it did not come. However there were heavy showers accompanied by a moderate wind. In the evening, there was a great deal of lightning, which was followed by a heavy rain and strong breeze. Thunder and flashes of lightening appear more fearful at sea than on land.
Monday the 4th of October - Today there are about a dozen ships in sight and one was the "Aberfoil" belonging to the City of Glasgow. Another of them, the "Earl of Hardwick", came alongside and the captains had a long conversation. She was from London bound for Bombay with troops on board. They had some awful gales about Madeira and had lost a man, blown from the rigging. We had missed the worst of these gales as we went to the East of Madeira and they went down the West side. They had left the Port of London on the 27th of August, that is two days before we left Plymouth Harbour.
Tuesday the 5th of October - We are sailing a little better today, but are still some 500 miles from the line. On deck there is always a cool breeze therefore we are reasonably comfortable when we can get in the shade, however it is very warm below owing to the great number of us on board. There are a few ships still in view.
Wednesday the 6th of October - Sailing very slow and little to report. There are eight ships still in view.
Thursday the 7th of October - We have a good breeze today and spirits have lifted as a result.
Friday the 8th of October - Sailing well at 8 knots per hour. There was a serious accident as a result of two men larking about. They forced the door between the married and single men's quarters and it caught a boys head, tearing off his ear and a piece of scalp. He was taken to the hospital, where it was sewn back on, and he is better than could be expected. The boy's name was McMillan.
Saturday the 9th of October - We have had a good days sailing and there are 2 or 3 ships in sight. The captain spoke with one using the colours and it is bound for Port Phillip and Sydney. She left London two days after we left Portsmouth. On board many are learning to paint, to make hats, and various other articles. We are told that we will reach the line tomorrow. A married man named Howell was put in hospital today with fever.
Sabbath day the 10th of October - We are sailing along easy today with a head wind from the South. There is a Dutch Barque passing us as the wind is light for our ship, but it suits the Barque. Divine Service was on deck. The rope that holds up the foretop royal broke and felled a man to the deck and caused a severe shock to the brain, but he is getting better now.
Monday the 11th of October - Today is my day at the water. (Richard Moffat) It falls on me every Monday to either pump water or scrub the deck. The decks are cleaned every day for the health of the emigrants.
Tuesday the 12th of October - We crossed the line at about 2 AM this morning. [Gilchrist says 8 am] We had been told to expect it to be very hot, however I have felt it hotter in Scotland (Moffat) and it was certainly hotter when we were near the Canary Islands as it was quite calm. We have a pleasant breeze with us now even though the sun burns much the same as in Scotland in a clear sky. It is strange that the sun sets so quickly, going below the horizon in just a few minutes from almost directly overhead. Today we caught and passed the Barque as the strong wind is in our favour. There was another birth today plus the death of a girl about 5 years old. [Moffat incorrectly refers to this death as a boy. The ship's list has this child as Ann Hann, a girl aged 5 from Cornwall. The mother of this child also dies as is mentioned in the entry for the 25th of November. Gilchrist says "A girl 5 years old died. The same that fell down the main hatchway on the 28th of September." Which appears to fit in better with the other records.]
Wednesday the 13th of October - There was another death today of a 1 year old child, the sister of the one that died yesterday. [This reference of Moffat's to the child being a sister to the earlier death appears incorrect. The ship's list names this child as Julia Backwell, an infant aged under one, from Guernsey.] They were both put over today. Death is very frequent on board and very little thought of. There is a star today shining bright not far from the sun. We could see it at midday and thought it very strange.
Thursday the 14th of October - A serious incident happened this morning. The carpenters mate, Henry Beker, had been unwell and scarcely able to walk. He was last seen about 3 AM when the boatswain gave him some medicine and he lay down to sleep. He was found to be missing at 6 am in the morning and is thought to have gone out one of the portholes as he was in a delirious state and unable to go on deck without assistance. This was his first voyage and the carpenter had been rather harsh to him, perhaps he just lost heart and threw himself overboard. He leaves behind a wife and one child to lament his loss. At 12 noon, Mrs Clark of Paisley gave birth to twins today, a boy and a girl. [Mrs Clark was a woman in Moffat's mess. The ships disembarkation list names the children as William and Catherine.]
Friday the 15th of October - There is a heavy swell today and much sea-sickness. One of the sailors named Pearson was put in irons today at about 9 pm for disobeying the second mate. He refused to go with a rope to the main top. He was released after 2 or 3 hours at about 12 pm. There has been some discontent among the sailors for some days.
Saturday the 16th of October - Wind rather high, we are sailing at 9 or 10 knots per hour. We are 12 degrees south at 12 noon.
Sunday the 17th of October - Divine Service on the main deck. Wind still very high.
Monday the 18th of October - Sailing along very well in trade winds from the south-east and we covered 178 miles. The captain caught a dolphin weighing about 14 or 15 lbs. It is a pretty fish with a fin all along its' back like a mane. [A somewhat dubious description of a dolphin]
Tuesday the 19th of October - Another birth today. A newly built American ship came alongside today, but we were unable to find out what was her name as she has not been fully fitted with her colours yet. One of our emigrants bought 18 lb. of bacon from their steward at 17 pence per lb. Some of us were paying him 16 d. per lb. for cheese. Another emigrant bought a great deal of baking soda and is re-selling it for 6d. an ounce. Still another is selling cotton at 2s. 8d. per lb. Everything is very expensive.
Wednesday the 20th of October - We are getting our boxes up from the hold today to get such things as we need. There were a great deal of the clothes entirely spoiled with white mould. Silks and black clothes are the worst, plus the shoes. It mostly brushes off the shoes, but not the silks. The last time they were up there was nothing wrong with them. The captain says it is the sea air, and the lesson is that good clothes should be well secured and not opened during the voyage. It was pleasant in the morning, but in the evening a stiff breeze sprang up, which caused some of the ropes to give way and rent the flying jib.
Thursday the 21st of October - The remainder of the boxes were brought up today and they are no better. Some have escaped, but not many. There was another death on board today at about 5 pm. A girl about 10 months old. [Lucy Denmark from Middlesex] A young man named Bishop put into hospital with fever.
Friday the 22nd of October - There are now two men in hospital today with a fever, but we are not informed what kind. There are men appointed to look after them. A child was born, but it only lived a few hours being born in the seventh month.
Saturday the 23rd of October - There are another two ill with fever today. They are mostly young men. [It was not generally known at that time that Typhus fever is spread by lice. Perhaps the single men were not as diligent with their personal hygiene as they should have been.] Wind still favourable. During the night the wind was very high which caused the vessel to rock greatly.
Sabbath the 24th of October - Divine service was in the single women's apartment. Although it is the Sabbath the travellers treat the day very lightly. As soon as the Chaplain has finished his service everyone goes about their usual business and mirth. It appears that man's chief objective is fill their bellies. Christmas is spoken of simply as the day they will get their fill. (Moffat) Sailed about 242 miles.
Monday the 25th of October - Today we are told that we are at the same latitude as the Cape. Up until this time we have been sailing south and west, but now we go east. There are a great many cape pigeons flying about. They are about the same size as the common pigeon with a black head and the wings beautifully streaked. There are also sea-crows, which are like sea-gulls. Some have yellow bills. Sailed 248 miles.
Tuesday the 26th of October - We have had good winds ever since we crossed the line, but today they have failed us and we have a fine smooth sea. There is a fine bird following us called the albatross. It is something like a goose, however its' wings would measure 6 feet from tip to tip.
Wednesday the 27th of October - It has been for the past few days; much like October or November in Scotland. Nothing of any consequence happened this or the next day, but it is as cold as ever. It is what I call good weather for working (Moffat)
Friday the 29th of October - We are quite becalmed today with the sea as smooth as glass. One of the fever sufferers died this morning at 20 minutes to 5 am. [Ephraim Howell age 25 from Suffolk. He left behind a widow and 3 children.] and there are 4 or 5 more; one so ill that he is insensible and the doctors have given him up for lost. Just as they carried the body forward to the gangway and lay it on the flag in readiness for the minister to read the service, there were two sharks spotted swimming below. They had followed the ship all morning so the sailors made the effort to catch them. They used a piece of pork and eventually succeeded in bringing both on board where they were dispatched. They were about 9 feet long. The second shark had a piece of the first inside him which had been cut up and thrown overboard. It also had a piece of muslin in it's stomach that had been thrown overboard by one of the single women about a week before.
Saturday the 30th of October - We have a fine breeze today and are making about 10 knots per hour. We are in the company of many bottle nosed porpoises.
Sabbath the 31st of October - There is a great swell on the sea today and the vessel is rocking very sore. The dishes are tumbling about the deck in all directions. Near night it got worse, the people were tumbling up and down the deck at every lurch. The laughter was terrible, it was like a dance. Divine service was again in the single women's apartment.
Monday the 1st of November - About 4 o'clock this morning the wind blew fresh from the North. They took in the royals and the gallants and took a reef in the fore and maintop sails. The sea broke over her 2 or 3 times. The reason for it being so rough is, we are in a part of the ocean where three seas meet, so it will probably continue for a day or two. There are 5 young men in the hospital, all very ill.
Tuesday the 2nd of November - The sea is still very rough today and about 3 o'clock in the afternoon we had a gale, but it did no damage as we were already well prepared. The only sails spread were the Jib, Fore-topsail, Main-topsail and Mainsail. It was like drifting in a snow-storm. A female child was born.
Wednesday the 3rd of November - Still rough seas today and in the afternoon there was a terrible hail-storm. It was the worst I have ever seen (Moffat). It continued only 2 or 3 minutes, but it calmed the sea for the present. We had some fine snowballing. The captain and the mates were the first to begin. The captain lost his ring, but it was picked up by Donald McLean and the captain rewarded him with a crown.
Thursday the 4th of November - A good breeze and the weather is still cold. Two female children died. One of them was two years old and the other a month or two younger. [the ship's list has both children as between 1 and 2 and they are; Emma Hollingworth from York and Naome Lang from Norfolk] One of them belonged to the woman that gave birth the day before yesterday. So there is nothing but coming and going among us.
Friday the 5th of November - The remains of the two children were put over today.
Saturday the 6th of November - The weather is dull with a high wind and a swelling lea, which causes the vessel to roll rather badly. There was one birth today and one death. The death was was about 5 pm of a married woman who died of brain fever. [Mary Warren aged 24 from Somerset] She leaves behind a husband and three children below three years old. There was also an accident involving a young man. A few people were having some fun, for there is always plenty of that on board. He fell and some fell on top of him and put his loin out of joint. The doctor, who was not far away, soon put it to rights again, but he suffered a great deal by it. The captain's clerk informs us that we are in the same latitude as the Cape today. Also the quartermaster was drawn over the wheel at two different times due to the swelling of the sea. It continued stormy all night.
Sabbath the 7th of November - Heavy sea today. Divine Service was in the single women's apartment. At about 8 o'clock the remains of the woman were put over board after which we sang a hymn. From 12 yesterday to 12 today we have sailed 277 miles. It was also reported that our best so far is 296 miles in 24 hours.
Monday the 8th of November - The weather was rather rough today and we caught 4 cape pigeons. Heavy rain at night.
Tuesday the 9th of November - Pleasant morning, wind moderate. There was another child died this morning and it was put overboard at 8 o'clock. [Jemima James; parents from Somerset]
Wednesday the 10th of November - We are sailing along at about 7 or 8 knots 'till 3 o'clock when we had a gale. The sails were all clued up except the main top, the foretop and the mizzen top sails. Two of these had three reefs in and the other two reefs. The gale continued all night and several times the waves broke over her. She rolled fearfully through the night with boxes and dishes flying about in all directions. Some of the passengers, especially the women, were in great terror. Some never went to bed and those who did were like to be thrown out.
Thursday the 11th of November - This morning the wind is greatly fallen, but the sea is still heavy. About midday the wind became favourable so all is well again.
Friday the12th of November - We had good winds and sailed 212
miles in 24 hours. We are sailing south-east and the reason for going to the
south is to be quit of the fever which has proved effectual as there are no more
taking it and those who have it are getting better.
[It is also likely that many of the captains of that time preferred to go to the south so as to pick up the strong westerlies that blew between latitudes 40 to 50 - the roaring 40's]
Saturday the 13th of November - We are sailing with a fair breeze and have passed St. Paul's' Island. At 5 pm the single women had a tea party on the quarter deck.
Sabbath the 14th of November - Pleasant morning, but very cold. Devine Service was in the single women's quarters. Our Chaplain is of very little worth. (Moffat) He visits neither the sick or the dying. The captain and doctor are fishing for birds as there are a great many flying about.
Monday the 15th of November - We have a good breeze today until about 6 pm when it became very high and continued all night. A female child was born.
Tuesday the 16th of November - The wind is still blowing hard accompanied with rain until about midday when the storm abated. It was a beautiful afternoon with the sun shining and the ship sailing well.
Wednesday the 17th of November - Morning rather dull and cold. At about noon Mrs Moffat was delivered of a daughter. [Moffat rather cryptically states; "There is another birth today which concerns me more than any of them that has come yet." - The ships disposal list confirms that this was Moffat's own child Jessie. Unfortunately Jessie did not live very long after arriving in Australia and died 30th January 1854 aged 14 months.] There was also another female child born.
Thursday the 18th of November - Pleasant morning; a little warmer than it has been for some time back The wind was favourable and we sailed 231 miles. Early in the morning a mail child was born.
Friday the 19th of November - I saw the men in hospital today. (Moffat) They are all recovering, but very slowly.
Saturday the 20th of November - High winds and stormy all night. Midday today we were at 42 degrees 23 miles south latitude and 70 degrees east longitude.
Sabbath the 21st of November - Wind still rather high. Sunday Service as usual in the single women's quarters. This morning at 2 am there was a death of a man who had been ill for some time. He had got a very severe cold between London and Portsmouth which brought on consumption which terminated fatally. He was married and leaves a wife and 3 children. [Frederick Nelson aged 34, a bricklayer from Dorset. Gilchrist names him as Alfred Nelson aged 36. ]
Monday the 22nd of November - There are a good many of the sailors unwell today owing to their hammocks being a damp part of the vessel. They stay under the forecastle on the lower deck. It is both dark and damp and bad for health.
Tuesday the 23rd of November - This day we are sailing very well and there is nothing of any consequence to report.
Wednesday the 24th of November - We are sailing very well and there is nothing of any consequence to report.
Thursday the 25th of November - In the afternoon the wind rose very high and was followed by heavy rain at 10 pm. There was another death this morning of a woman about mid-term of her days. [Grace Hann aged 48 from Cornwall] This woman had fallen down the main hatchway from the upper to lower deck a few days after we left Portsmouth and hurt one of her legs. This injury probably helped her off this world. One of her children fell with her and died as was recorded before.[12th of October] She was mother of 8 children.
Friday the 26th of November - Pleasant morning with a fair wind and a swelling sea. There was another death today of a young man of the fever. The poor fellow had no relatives on board and I (Moffat) think he was not much lamented. He died at 10 minutes past 12 noon and was put over the side at 4 the same day. [Thomas Pendreath? aged 20, an Agricultural Labourer from Cornwall]
Saturday the 27th of November - Nothing of any consequence to report today except that we are sailing very well and coming near the shores of Australia. It is fine weather with the sun shining although a little cold.
Sabbath the 28th of November - Divine Service as usual. The Sacrament of the Lord's supper was administered at 2 pm and a good many had their children baptised. It is a very easy thing to get them baptised here as they neither ask if you a member of any church, nor do they lay any vows on the parents. They were anxious for me to get ours done, but I would not comply. (Moffat)
Monday the 29th of November - We are still sailing very well at a rate of 10 knots per hour. There was a subscription paper went round today for the constable who lost his watch down the water-closet. He was hoping to get enough for a new one, but he received not a farthing from the emigrants as her was not well liked and had little sympathy. He got £1 11s. in the cabin.
Tuesday the 30th of November - There was another subscription paper set on foot today for the widows who lost their husbands. This one met with a great deal of sympathy and almost all who could gave. There was a total of £5 collected or 50s. each.
Wednesday the 1st of December - We are sailing along easily and are getting up our boxes so that we may seem clean and comfortable when we arrive. They are not so mouldy as the last time we had them up. There were two deaths today. One was a young man of about 20 with no relations on board who died of the fever about 11 o'clock and he was put over the side at 12 noon. [He was Sampson Mitchell an Agricultural Labourer from Cornwall aged 18 from the ship's lists] The other was a young child about 2 weeks old, the last that was born. [John Barnes, parents from Somerset] For all the deaths that we have had, we hear nothing but laughter and merriment day after day.
Thursday the 2nd of December - Pleasant morning. Fair wind and sailing along well. We had up the remainder of our boxes today and they are all down again for the last time we hope.
Friday the 3rd of December - We are nearly becalmed today with fine weather and the sun shining beautifully. There are whales blowing only a short distance from us. Some of them appear to be very large as they blow a great height. At about 3 pm there was another death today of a boy about six years old. He died of a disease of the heart. [John Allan from Cornwall; actually given as age 4 in the ship's list]
Saturday the 4th of December - Wind abaft, but sailing quickly. Today the chaplain divided out all the books of the library to the children and young men. There were a great many very nice books among them plus slates, pencils and copy books among them. They are provided as a reward for attending school.
Sabbath the 5th of December - Wind still rather high, but favourable. Divine Service as usual. About 3 pm, Mr J Warren gave an address in the single men's apartment on the necessity of being prepared for death. He chose for his text the 14th chapter of Job at the 10th verse. Thomas Bishop, a young man of about 20 died of the fever today after a long illness. He had a good many friends on board and he was put over the same day. [Age given as 18 and he was an Agricultural Labourer from Oxford in the ship's list]
Monday the 6th of December -Fair wind. At half past 1 pm the chaplain, Mr Seddon, gave us a lecture on Australia, but chiefly concerning Melbourne. He advises us to proceed up the country as provisions and lodgings are very expensive in Melbourne at present. There was another death today of a boy about 2 or 3 years old [This was the first Randolph Pearce. The ship's list has him age 2 and from Oxford.] There was also another birth. All kinds of merriment is going on and they were playing the flute and drum at night. There is great anxiety among the emigrants about seeing the land. We are exactly opposite Port Adelaide at this time, but are too far south to be in sight of land.
Tuesday the 7th of December - We are sailing very slowly and any wind is right in our teeth so we have to tack back and forth. This is tea and sugar day and the captain proposes to only allow half rations as he thinks we will have landed before the week will be done. One of the sailors, and old man named Pringle fell overboard at half past 9 at night. Although the boatswain's mate got a life buoy to within 2 yards of the man it appears that he was unable to reach it as by the time the captain had the ship brought about, a boat lowered, and the man found, all signs of life were absent. Both doctors were present, but they were unable to arouse him. The captain was highly agitated and we suppose that old Pringle meant a lot to him.
Wednesday the 8th of December - Fair winds and this day we were all busy getting up the cable and righting the anchor to let down. Old Pringle was put over board today and the captain and all the sailors and officers were present. This is the only one at which the captain was present.
Thursday the 9th of December - We passed a vessel today, the Prince Albert from London. She left London on the 16th of August and Portsmouth 11 days before the Bombay. She is also bound for Port Phillip with government emigrants.
Friday the 10th of December - This morning a great many of the emigrants rose at day break in the hope of seeing land, but they were disappointed. It was about midday that land was decried from the masthead. A great many went aloft to see it. There were six vessels in sight. We passed one, the Isle of Skye with emigrants from London bound for Geelong. She had left three weeks before us. We came up alongside of land on our left and at sunset the light house was seen. It is a revolving light, very pretty, about 80 miles from Melbourne. [ I presume this to be Cape Otway as it had commenced operation with a revolving light on the 29th August 1848 ]
Saturday the 11th of December - This morning we came in sight of the mouth of the bay, it is about 1 mile in breadth. On the right is Kangaroo Island. [I think that this is incorrect as it would have been Point Nepean; although it may have been called something else at that time.] This is the place where any ship that has fever on board is quarantined. There were two vessels lying in that state. One, the Ticonderoga, we are told had 100 died on the voyage and 100 since. [actually 70 to 80 respectivly, but this is bad enough] They sailed from Liverpool [Birkenhead] and landed within 80 days. They have been here 5 weeks, but I suppose that they are getting better now. They have tents on the shore like a fair. [This problem with the Ticonderoga had forced the government of the day to take action as they could not allow so many people to disembark in Melbourne carrying diseases such as Typhus. The other ship at anchor was the Lysander, which had been set up as a hospital ship servicing the very ill as there was little more than a tent encampment on shore at Point Nepean.] We let go the anchor about 1 mile from them and the doctor came on board to examine us as we had one case of fever and one getting better. A Mr Lockwood and Daniel Dickenson. They took both away to their hospital in one of the vessels. The 4 men who brought over the doctor were emigrants from the highlands of Scotland. They said they were very healthy, but they never came on board. Some of our emigrants had friends on board their vessel and letters were exchanged. On the left of the bay is the pilot's station which has a fine situation overlooking the sea. All along the banks of the bay it is very scraggy. The shore is rather hilly and mostly covered with trees and bushes. Some places are well cleared and the bay gets a great deal wider once through the entrance. Mrs Lockwood was also to be put on shore.
The following is
from the annual report of the health officer on ships from overseas. - May
1852 to June 1853.
The Bombay, of 1279 tons, with 706 Government Emigrants, anchored off the station, reporting twenty-four deaths from various causes, and two cases of fever existing; these were transhipped into the Lysander, one of them died; but the remainder of her very large number of immigrants being generally healthy, and the ship in a clean condition, she was afforded pratique on the 12th.
Sabbath the 12th of December We lifted anchor this morning and set sail, but the doctor came on board and told us that the man Lockwood had died who they took ashore yesterday and that we would have to ride at quarantine for 48 hours more. The yellow flag was hoisted so that none dare come on board. The captain said that he would go on as it would be better to be sailing than lying here, but the doctor argued that we would just be sent back again. The widow of the man who died came back on board this night as she had gone with him to hospital. She said they were well done by with fresh meat for their breakfast, potatoes and beef for dinner and fish for supper, besides tea morning and night. There were 20 in the hospital, but no deaths for 2 days. There was one vessel came into the bay a few minutes after us. She was the Aberfoil of London and she went away up to Melbourne as she is not a migrant ship.
The following accounts are from the newspapers of the time and refer to the arrival of the Bombay. (transcripts shown below)
The Argus - 15 Dec 1852
The Bombay, ship, 1270 tons, Capt. Flamant, from London, 114 days out, with 706 Government Emigrants, anchored at the Heads on Saturday evening; from information received yesterday morning it appears that 24 deaths had occurred on the voyage; two from drowning, four from typhus fever, (one of which occurred just on entering the Heads) the others from general diseases. This vessel came up off Gellibrand's Point yesterday afternoon with the quarantine flag flying at the main, and at the time the Health Officer left Williams Town, it was supposed she would be either sent to the quarantine anchorage off Brighton, or back to the sanitary station at Point Nepean.
The Melbourne Morning Herald - 15 Dec 1852
December 14 - The Bombay was coming in the Bay last evening with the yellow flag flying. We understand that one individual, who was ill upon arrival at the Heads, was transferred to the Lysander Quarantine ship and has since died.
Monday the 13th of December - We weighed anchor today and sailed along the bay with some difficulty as there was scarcely any wind. We sailed around a rock tacking great care not to run aground, nothing occurred. We proceeded up the bay until within about 8 miles of the shore at Brighton and dropped anchor as it was rather dark to proceed with safety.
Tuesday the 14th of December - This morning we were awakened by the boatswains pipe calling all hands to lift the anchor. We wrought about 2 hours, but a gale sprang up and we let go again undoing all our work in a minute. (Moffat) In a short time the wind died down and we started the anchor up a second time. When we got under weigh, we had the wind in our face and had to tack. Because it was rather shallow we had to put about every five and ten minutes. At last we got within 6 or 8 miles of the shore and we let go the anchor again for we dare not go into the harbour as we carried the quarantine flag at the masthead. There was another birth on board today. [Randolph Hobson Pearce] The head doctor of the Board of Health came on board after we let down the anchor and reprimanded the Captain and Pilot for daring to come into the harbour with the quarantine flag flying. After he was told that there was no sickness on board, he thought it another case. He then ordered the single women up on deck and saw through the vessel. He then ordered that the flag be taken down and we cheered him three times three. Some boats came alongside but were ordered back as we had not been cleared by the commissioners then.
Wednesday the 15th of December - We had fresh beef and potatoes today. This morning the captain, the parson, one of the doctors and a cabin passenger went ashore. The parson brought 3 oranges with him when he came back which cost him 1 shilling each. They say the wages are very good, but provisions are very high. When the sailors let down one of the boats to get them on board again, by some mistake one of the ends went down and it capsized into the sea. No harm was done other than the poor sailors being wet to the skin.
Thursday the 16th of December - This morning the Harbour Master came on board and took us further up the harbour. There are so many ships lying in the harbour that I cannot count them. They are from all countries. About 4 pm the Water Police came on board and took the sailor Pearson away to prison today. He struck work about three weeks ago for ill usage.
Friday the 17th of December - This morning the sailors asked the Captain for their discharge which he refused to give them at which point they all struck. The ensign was hoisted signalling the police. At about 10 am all hands went on shore complaining of ill treatment. It took three boats to take them. They were under the care of the police, 40 in all. There was another birth today.
Saturday the 18th of December - The sailors trial was today and they gained their liberty. The captain is bound by an act of parliament to give them so much lemon juice per day which he had neglected so it was thrown against him. They have come back for 10 days to clear the ship, after which they will be paid and set at liberty. A great many boats came alongside to see their friends and give them presents. One received £20, another somewhere about the same, and another £5. They all say it is a fine country.
Sabbath the 19th of December - There was another birth on board this morning. One of the single young women therefore she will have to work to pay her passage out. [one of the conditions of government sponsorship was good character, therefore the happy event unfortunately furnished evidence to the contrary]
Monday the 20th of December - The commissioners came on board this morning and there was an awful bustle. We had to appear before them, each family by themselves. We had to tell them the names of our mothers and fathers, how we had been treated on board, and a great many other things.
Tuesday the 21st of December - The steamer came along side of us
today and took away all the young women and a great many married people, 460 in
all. Gilchrist and family included.
(Gilchrist) We went to the depot and was very glad to get soft bread and beef to eat.
(Moffat) I with the remainder was left on board until another time.
Wednesday the 22nd of December - (Moffat) All very discontented about not getting ashore. There were some engagements on board. Two young men got £70 and their bed and board for 12 months which is a very fair wage to drive a horse and cart.
Thursday the 23rd of December - The steamer came along side to take us to shore and, after we had put in all our beds and baggage and all the people were ready to go, she went and left us standing staring at one another. The captain put up another flag for a steamer, but none came so we were left without bed and blankets. The captain ordered sails to be bought from the hold for us to sleep in. Some lay on bare boards, but I got a bed from one of the sailors, a Scotsman from John O'Groats house. (Moffat) There was an awful noise 'till midnight. The reason for their leaving us was that the barge with our boxes was not ready for they were going to tow her at the same time, but they never told us that this is what they were going to do. It is the colonial way as they are very independent here.
Friday the 24th of December - We were ready to go ashore quite
early as we were afraid of what might happen if the steamer should come and we
were not. It was a long time coming, but we all got ashore and was shown to the
depot where our boxes were delivered free of expense. There we were fed like men
with plenty of beef and potatoes for dinner, tea for breakfast and supper. This
was our Christmas cheer. We can get out whenever we like after the roll is
called. The roll is called every morning to see what provisions will be
required. It is well conducted as there is both a governor and a matron. People
can come in and engage us, or we may go out engage any way we please. The young
women are strictly looked after, but after we are engaged, they care no more
about us. Plenty of us are never engaged at all and a great many went straight
to the diggings.
(Gilchrist) Some of the Ticonderoga's people came up to the depot today.
|The Argus 24th December 1852|
The Argus 31st December 1852
Saturday the 25th of December - Christmas. The remainder of the Ticonderoga's people came up to the depot today.
January the 3rd 1853 - (Gilchrist) Removed from the depot to an house in Swanston Street.
After seeing the passengers on shore, the Bombay began making preparations for the return voyage. The following are samples of typical advertisements for freight and passengers; plus a couple of other notices of interest.
|This shows an example typical of many
at the time and all generally mention the
great sailing qualities of the vessels.
Argus 3rd of January 1853
In order to make the best use of the ship
cabin accommodations were constructed.
Argus 8th January 1853
As it gets closer to the sailing date the
Argus 15th January 1853
Preparations are well underway and as
When the Bombay sailed on the 18th of February, there were a number of notable passengers as is shown in the following notice under the heading of "Cleared Out".
|The Argus 18th February 1853
The name Condell probably refers
to the Melbourne brewer who
provided the beer for the ball to
celebrate Victoria's separation
from New South Wales in 1851
(refer Georgiana's Journal Melbourne
1841-1865 Edited by Hugh McCrae)
However this journey was full of incident and the passengers were somewhat lucky to survive the trip.
The Argus June 1853
It appears that Captain Flamank
The Bombay was repaired and the final end did not come until 1870 as described in this quote from Wikipedia. "1808-1870 ARMED MERCHANTMAN: Though primarily just a trader on the China service, this 26-gun, 1228-ton sailing vessel saw action in the Malacca Straits in 1810. She ended her glorious career in Bombay in 1870."