Bound for south australia 1836 whose story week 26
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Bound for south australia 1836 whose story week 26

Bound for South Australia 1836 Whose Story? Week 26

Scene between decks dring bad weather. Edward Snell



Between February and July 1836 nine ships left Britain bound for the newly created province of South Australia. On-board the ships were passengers who over many long months braved the perils of the ocean, including some of the most treacherous seas in the world to begin a new life on the other side of the world.

This resource uses the stories from these nine ships as recorded by the passengers and crew in their personal journals.



  • Introduction

  • Journal entries

  • Inquiry Questions

  • Relevant images

  • Glossary of terms



We catch up with Stevenson on the Buffalo this week who is worried

about the 50 children who seem to be allowed to ‘run wild’ onboard.

Stevenson thinks that the children should be provided with some form

of education during the voyage. Not everyone onboard agrees with

Stevenson’s view but it is his perspective that we are able to read

about this week. How would other passengers write about the

children? Were they really ‘running wild’ and what does Stevenson

mean by this?  This week we will look at how  primary sources such

as diaries help us to find out what happened in the past through one

person’s eyes. If other people have another side of the story to tell,

how can we find out about it? How do people remember and pass on

their experiences from the past and what happens when people have

conflicting stories and memories of the same event?

Journals from settlers in south australia sunday 14 august 1836

Journals from settlers in South Australia:Sunday 14 August 1836

Captain Robert Morgan, who arrived in South Australia on board the Duke of York wrote:

I  took Miss Bear and the children on shore early

this morning and found Mr Stevens had

bing in trouble all night in the L M Pelhams crew

Sunday 14 august 1836

Sunday 14 August 1836

Samuel Stephens, who arrived in South Australia on board the Duke of York wrote:

at 7 a.m. A boat (for the 2nd time) came ashore for the purpose of taking off the L.M.P. sailors and after a mixture of persuasions and threats they were prevailed upon to depart. During the previous evening while absent on duty at a little distance my tent had been entered and plundered of some private stores (Cheese Ham and Wine) … This morning I hoisted for the first time the British Admiralty Ensign and decorated with the Company’s flag and colours a booth which I had prepared for the performance of Divine Service. In the evening a man of the name of Cooper who has been residing on the Island for 7 years and who it appears has 3 acres of land under cultivation on the Western side of the Point Marsden came round to us and after having had some lengthy conversation with him I arranged with him for the service of himself and his boat so long as I might require it… If I can get a well of fresh water

Bound for south australia 1836 whose story week 26

hereabouts I shall name this place Kingscote and it will be at no distant period a port and harbour of the very first class for ships under the burthen of 500 tons…

Monday 15 august 1836

Monday 15 August 1836

Samuel Stephens, who arrived in South Australia on board the Duke of York


… This evening spent some time in conversation with two settlers, Bates and Nathaniel Thomas, who have a little place on the N.E. corner of the Island and who have appeared among us this afternoon for the first time. I made to Bates a proposal for his services for 3 months which he is to answer in the morning. These are the two men who were commissioned by the Governor of V.D.L. [Van Diemen's Land] to take the natives who killed Captain Barker. All the settlers we have seen are free men. Most of them have native women with them who assist in catching game (which is now nearly destroyed here) and some of them have children by those women. I have to-day made several arrangements for the more effectual protection of ourselves and the Company’s property and have landed Miss Beare (my intended wife) to be near my tent, manage my domestic affairs and keep a sharp look out when I am away… Miss Beareand her

Bound for south australia 1836 whose story week 26

brother’s children are sleeping under my tent and I shall mount guard till 2 a.m. then lay down in my boat cloak.

Tuesday 15 august 1836

Tuesday 15 August 1836

Captain Robert Morgan, who arrived in South Australia on board the Duke of York wrote:

… 8 AM the John Pirie hove

in sight I took a boat and went on board and

piloted him and welcomed Captn Martin

crew and passengers to nepean bay …

Wednesday 17 august 1836

Wednesday 17 August 1836

Samuel Stephens, who arrived in South Australia on board the Duke of York wrote:

At day light (having arranged with Captain Ross that

if the sailors would not do their duty I should put

hands aboard to take her to V.D.L. sailors and all),

called all hands aft and finding that

they would do their duty if one of her mates (Mr.

Dawsea) were taken out of her, consulted with the

Captain and officers on the subject and having arranged

that it should be so…

Thursday 18 august 1836

Thursday 18 August 1836

William Light, who arrived in South Australia on board the Rapid wrote:

Made the land to the eastward of Encounter

Bay; sandy shore, exactly as described by

Flinders. At midnight, sounded in 35 fathoms.

Saturday 20 august 1836

Saturday 20 August 1836

Dr John Woodforde, who arrived in South Australia on board the Rapid wrote:

…  I started after breakfast to explore it with my gun on

my shoulder… The soil being very poor and sandy at the

mouth of the river but gradually improved as I proceeded

up so that we may expect better land in the interior. I

have had tolerable sport with my gun shooting sufficient

seafowl for the Mess Dinner tomorrow. Returned on

board at 5 p.m. and having very satisfactorily appeased

my appetite I shall now turn in.

Journals from passengers at sea sunday 14 august 1836

Journals from passengers at sea:Sunday 14 August 1836

Mary Thomas, on board the Africaine wrote:

The stars also presented a splendid appearance, and we

could now see the Southern Cross, that is, five stars in the

form of our Saviour’s cross. This is only seen in the

Southern Hemisphere. (The cross is assumed as the

Australian arms and worn by the Government officers,

the emblem being stamped on their buttons.) It likewise

frequently happened that a beautiful rainbow was seen

at sunrise, which, as it appeared on the edge of the

water, was truly magnificent.

Sunday 14 august 18361

Sunday 14 August 1836

George Stevenson, on board the Buffalo wrote:

A very good sermon today from

Mr Howard. A Sunday school established by him he has

asked one of the Miss Hindmarshes & Mr Wm Malcolm to

assist, and it is to be hoped that it will go on and prosper.

But what can fairly be expected from an hour’s

reading in a Sunday School! There are about 50 children

on board who run wild all the week. We would gladly

devote time daily to their instruction, but the chaplain

evidently considers this would be interfering with his

especial province. There seems no disposition on the part

of the Governor to promote any sort of education whatever

among them during the voyage. It is very grievous to

Bound for south australia 1836 whose story week 26

see all this, but we cannot remedy it. Broadbent

and Cock among the emigrants are not neglecting

their poor children, but their exemplary conduct has

not been generally followed, neither has it attracted

any attention or commendation from those quarters

where it ought to have found both.

Sunday 14 august 18362

Sunday 14 August 1836

Young Bingham Hutchinson, on board the Buffalo wrote:

Light winds & fine. Several sail in sight. This day

I attained the age of 30 years: therefore cease to be a young man

an awful & painful reflection, being still a bachelor, & likely to con-

tinue so for some time. Prayers & sermon by the Revd C. Howard.

Noon. DoWr. Lat. 34E24′ No. Longe 17E7′ Wt. Miles run 1186 + 59 =

1245′. P.M. DoWr. Passed all the emigrants in review for inspection.

Established classes for Sunday reading among their children.

Monday 15 august 18361

Monday 15 August 1836

Robert Gouger, on board the Africaine wrote:

We had to bewail yesterday the death of one of my Cashmere kids, a

beautiful female, and, as usual when a favorite dies, the prettiest of

the flock. It had not grown much since its arrival & gradually became

weaker until it died. The disease appeared on a post-mortem

examination to be an inflammation of the [? intestine] occasioned

most probably by confinement and change of food. Two others, a male

kid and a young ewe seem also unwell, but as they have now the

privilege of running up and down the deck in fine weather, it is

possible they may yet survive the voyage. They are fed on grain, paddy,

bran, and hay, instead of on oats & chaff as recommended by Mr Tower.

We have now but four, 2 males & 2 females…  Our other pets,the dog and

the bird are well and contented.

Monday 15 august 18362

Monday 15 August 1836

John White, on board the Tam O'Shanter wrote:

N,W ½ W       

Spoke to a french Bark named the Velea 4 Oclock

 in the morning made the Isle

of Miderea on the Cost of Portugal

the weather fine But very Light

Winds Opened the fore Hole and

Got Out 100 Bags of Bread 

One thousand and Twenty

Miles from London

Heat only 98

Tuesday 16 august 1836

Tuesday 16 August 1836

John Pirie journal writer, on board the John Pirie wrote:

________   At 9, A,M, we rounded PointMarsden, and had the pleasure of seeing two Barquesat Anchor in “Nepean Bay”, which proves to bethe “Duke of York”, and “Lady Mary Pelham’,they had arrd about 3 Weeks before us  ____In the course of an Hour, we were visited bySml Stephens Esqr, C,M, [Company Manager] who was saluted withthree times three Cheer’s, and shortly afterwards aBoat came from each of the Vessels, in one ofwhich was Capt Morgan of the “Duke of York”, whoundertook to be our Pilot, and at 3, P,M, we weresafely Anchor’d in a well shelter’dRoadstead, notmore than a Mile, distant from the Shore, and

Bound for south australia 1836 whose story week 26

right abreast, of the Company’s Tents, at the “New--Colony” of “South Australia”   _____

Thursday 18 august 18361

Thursday 18 August 1836

Robert Gouger, on board the Africaine wrote:

… During the night a slight change of wind occurred, affording us the prospect of relief from our lengthened imprisonment. This is doubly agreeable, as the Captain has more than once intimated his intention to go into the Island of Ascension instead of the Cape should this weather continue. We are near [? it] and the detention there while getting water would be much shorter than at the Cape. This is a great temptation, especially now that we have lost everyhope of making a quick passage; but it will be a source of great disappointment to me and most of the passengers, as we have prepared long lists of etceteras to be purchased at the Cape; besides which we have looked upon two or three days sojourn there as a holyday, which could hardly be enjoyed on a volcanic island where nothing can be had but water & turtle. Since the first of this month we have made no more southing than 390 miles.

Friday 19 august 1836

Friday 19 August 1836

George Stevenson, on board the Buffalo wrote:

After much deliberation it was formally

determined a few days ago to touch at StJago, one of the

Canaries, but today the Captain has cooled upon it and

his firmly fixed intention has fairly evaporated – so it

happens every day. The poor man does not know his own

mind for two hours together. This is a sad failing for one

in authority to be overpowered with.

Friday 19 august 18361

Friday 19 August 1836

William Pullen, on board the Rapid wrote:

After a pleasant passage of three months

and 19 days from the time we left the city

canal anchored in Antechamber Bay, Kang-

-aroo island.

Inquiry questions

Inquiry Questions

  • Whose point of view is represented in this week's posts?

  • Which information in this week's posts can be considered fact and which information is somebody's opinion?

  • For what purpose did this week's authors record their thoughts and experiences? Who was their audience?



Kangaroo Island. Edward Snell, 1849

Glossary of terms

Glossary of Terms


  • At or towards the stern or rear of a ship.


  • A fathom is a measure of depth in the imperial system. One fathom is equal to six feet or 1.83 metres.


  • Latitude is the distance of a point north or south of the equator as measured in degrees. The poles are at 90 degrees north and south.


  • Longitude is the distance, measured in degrees, of the meridian on which a point lies to the meridian of Greenwich. On the other side of the earth to Greenwich is a point with a longitude of both 180 degrees east and 180 degrees west.


  • Can be used to describe a fresh serving of food, a place for eating or a group of people eating together.


  • To navigate difficult stretches of water, ships took pilots on board. Pilots were coastal navigators with knowledge of their local waters and they captained the ship through the channel or harbour.

    Return to Journal Entries

Bound for south australia 1836 whose story week 26


  • Road or Roadstead: a stretch of sheltered water near land where ships may ride at anchor in all but very heavy weather

    Return to Journal Entries

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