Voyage Accounts to New Zealand

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Voyage Accounts to New Zealand

"Shipboard diaries and journals of old have slowly faded from the scene with the advent of cable and wireless, airmail and mass air travel." Ian Nicholson. 1998

Evening Post, 27 July 1911, Page 8
The R.M.S.
Ruahine, which arrived from London today is the first of the New Zealand Shipping Company's fleet to carry the Marconi wireless installation, it having been fitted in London. Frequent communication has been made throughout the voyage with ships and shore stations, just on 1000 miles with Durban being the longest working range obtained. The whole of the company's passenger steamers will be fitted with wireless apparatus.

"Diaries shed a light on the nerve of the settlers. The pioneers required courage to enable them, to step on board the sailing ships and set out on a voyage into the unknown. Some of the pioneers kept diaries, brief affairs, often no more than the state of the weather and the location of the ship, from the day they left their homes; others began and soon gave up the discipline as the boredom of slowly sailing over the limitless ocean asserted its influence. A few kept to the discipline for the whole of the journey."

"Or on the other hand, the daily task of writing a diary, etc, may have helped to relieve the boredom."

Yesteryears  - 45 accounts
Shipboard Diaries The Canterbury Museum Manuscripts Collection has nearly 200 shipboard diaries or accounts of passages to New Zealand. 137 are to Lyttelton. Transcriptions for 82 of the diaries as of 2004 are available on the shelves along with other shipping indexes and resources in the Museum's Documentary Research Centre as volunteers have progressively transcribing original shipboard diaries for 11 years. Shipboard diaries account for over 10% of all manuscript items requested by researchers. The Manuscripts Collection catalogue is on NRAM. Search under: Diary.  Look to see what shipboard diaries are held. A cross-reference in the shipboard diaries subject index indicates if it is out on the shelf in the Research Centre.
CHCH City Libraies
National Library of NZ Search Manuscripts and Archives Collection
Immigrant Diaries National Library of AUS Canterbury 1851, Lady Jocelyn, Ganges, True Briton
Official Log Books NLA
ATL tickets

Wm W Dunkerly, Surgeon superintendent, Ship "Tintern Abbey" report wayback

Sea sickness or other illness, probably prevented or discouraged some diarists from completing or even staring a voyage account. A few were understandably late with their initial entry, - until they found their sea legs. A few seemingly incomplete logs and diaries are merely the first completed volume of that particular voyage narrative, with the second, or subsequent volumes, having become separated or lost. Or indeed - the first or last few pages of a dilapidated dairy having gone astray. Ian Nicholson. 1993

Shipboard Diaries Online [58]
Vessel Arrival Port in NZ Year
Tintern Abbey image Gravesend to Christchurch 1875 notes Alfred Coley
Adamant Bluff 1875
Arethusa  Plymouth to Wellington 1879
Bagley, s.s. Wellington to London 1890 outward voyage
Bengal Merchant
Blenheim Wellington 1840
Blue Jacket link broken Auckland 1861
Bombay Nelson 1842  diary at ATL
Buckinghamshire Port Chalmers 1874
Canterbury  Lyttelton 1851  images
Cardigan Castle London to Lyttelton 1876
Charlotte Jane Plymouth to Lyttelton 1850
Clontarf   London to Lyttelton 1858  Canterbury Uni. NZ digital library
City of Glasgow Glasgow to Lyttelton 1874
Dallam Tower link broken London to Wellington 1875
Dallam Tower London to Port Chalmers  1878
Dilharrie London to Auckland 1874
Eagle Plymouth to Nelson 1854
Eden link broken  England to New Plymouth 1851
West Australian  image Edinburgh to Wellington 1864
Emulous Nova Scotia to Wellington 1868 transcribed by Keith Berry. Eaton family history
 Euterpe link broken London to Lyttleton 1875 to 1876
Gala Glasgow to Port Chalmers 1859 - 60
S.S. Great Britain Liverpool to Lyttelton 1861-1865
Hark-Away London to Auckland 1857
Hereford   Plymouth to Lyttelton 1879
Ida Zeigler Plymouth to Auckland 1863
Invercargill   broken link Liverpool to Pt Chalmers 1878
Isabella Hercus London to Lyttelton 1850-51
James Nicol Fleming Glasgow, SCT to Port Chalmers 1869
John Wickliffe & Philip Laing Greenock, SCT to Pt Chalmers  1847
Lancashire Witch  x3 diaries Gravesend to Timaru 1863
Mermaid   Liverpool to Auckland 1859
Mermaid wayback London to Lyttelton 1864
Mooltan Greenock to Pt Chalmers 1849 Purdie
New Great Britain wayback Gravesend to Bluff 1863   passenger list song
Pieades Lyttelton 1887
Poictiers London to New Plymouth 1850
Prince Edward P.E.I. to Auckland 1859   two diaries
Prince Edward P.E.I. to NZ  1859
Randolph Plymouth to Lyttelton 1850
Raven Sydney to Auckland 1854
Robert Henderson Glasgow to Bluff 1862
Rose of Sharon London to Wellington 1857  passenger list
Royal Stuart Plymouth to Lyttelton 1854
ss Soukar   Tilbury to Lyttelton 1882
Strathallan Gravesend to Timaru 1858-1859 another account another account
Strathnaver Wellington 1874
Timandra, William Bryan & Hydaspes New Plymouth 1842
Velore site wayback Scotland to Port Chalmers 1861
Victoria London to Lyttelton 1863
Wanganui Gravesend to Lyttelton 1883 partial
Western Australian    pdf Edinburgh to Wellington 1864   note unfinished diary 44 days

The hand writing varies between the start and finish of voyage, getting rougher with time!

Voyage Accounts

My family did not write anything about the voyage but I was lucky that someone else did.

Early New Zealand

It is interesting to see what happens to our ancestors things and the prices that they can fetch!

Merope diary 1874
Aotearoa New Zealand Centre at the Christchurch Central Library has an incomplete copy of the diary and there is no information about the surname of a child in the diary.

Dimensions of the Ship Merope
Width 38 feet   Length ___
Draft 20 feet
H. William Commander
1082 tons  Register Burden
built in Sutherland April 1870
Classed  __ 16 years 
____ ___ Ship ___ ___ ___

page 2 . Sunday 19th.
Light head winds & heavy rain all Saturday
night wind varying 4 points 12 ct.
in Lat 10. 11N Long 27.40 W Dist 92 miles. 2 Children Christened. The one that was Born on Board was named Elizabeth Merope the Ship's name Monday 20th 1874. Light Winds & Variable all day & night  in Lat. Tuesday 21st Light winds & heavy Showers of Rain 
The Merope Sailed from Plymouth
on Saturday June 27 1874 Bound
for Lyttelton New Zealand. Weather
very fine at 10 o'clock the wind fresh? 
and We made 12 knots an hour till the
28th that we entered the Bay of Biscay
when almost all the Passengers were
Sick Blowing fresh from the North???
Monday 29th. Strong head wind from
Back Ship till 12 ___ 10 o'clock.
Calm Wednesday July 13th Light wind
and variable Ship  P___ for ___ 
fell  __ Sunday 30th_____
and there  say had food  ___ ___ ___
when it cleared a little I  ___
Wind Friday 30 Head Wind

Most of those who did not finish their voyage diaries, did at least preserve until they met the more violent weather of the Southern Ocean. It was when ships were running their "Easting Down", in the "Roaring Forties", etc, that conditions were often crowded, cold and wet below deck - most uncomfortable and unsuitable for writing letters and diaries, and enough to deter even the most hardened sea traveller from recording such a depressing scene! Ian Nicholson. 1993

Published Material

Sailing to Australia : shipboard diaries by nineteenth-century British emigrants / Andrew Hassam. Published: Manchester ; NY: Manchester University Press, c1994.  235 p.
No privacy for writing : shipboard diaries 1852-1879 / [edited by] Andrew Hassam. Published: Carlton, Vic. : Melbourne University Press, 1995.  235 p

30 August 1768 
 "Wind still Foul, ship in violent motion, but towards Evening much more quiet: Now for the first time my Sea sickness left me, and I was sufficiently well to write."  The Endeavour Journal of Joseph Banks

New Zealand to England 1898 by Steamer

Beauchamp, Harold, Sir, 1858-1938. Beauchamp, Annie, d. 1918. A Shipboard Diary / written by Annie & Harold Beauchamp, on board RMS "Ruahine", Wellington to London, from 19 March to 5 May 1898, and sent home for their children on their arrival in England ; introduced here by Ian A. Gordon ; and with 3 interruptions by Caroline Williams. Auckland, N.Z. : Holloway Press, 1998

Otago Bound
The Otago Daily Times ran a feature, "Voyage to a New Land", to mark the 150th anniversary of organised settlement in Dunedin. Each week from 26 Nov. 1997 until March 23 1998, Otago Anniversary Day, voyage accounts from diaries by a John Wickliffe emigrant Thomas Ferens, 24, a Methodist from East Rainton, Durham, and Rev Thomas Burns, 51, a Philip Laing passenger, and Archibald McDonald, a teacher, and passenger on the Philip Laing were published.  Ferens on his arrival in Otago took up work as an assistant schoolteacher at Waikouaiti and then became a farmer, developing a merino sheep flock on Stotfield Station, Kakanui. His future wife, Margaret, also came out on John Wickliffe. The  Otago Settlers Museum has the diaries or copies of them.

Both John Wickliffe and Philip Laing, which departed from Greenock in Scotland three days later, had the misfortune to sail immediately into one of the worst storms of the year.

The John Wickliffe.

November 26, 1847 Ferens wrote:
"Set sail from Gravesend on Wednesday. Anchored at Morgate Road to wait for a fair wind; a slight breeze took us to the Downs, where we endeavoured to put out to sea; were met by a south-west wind which was directly embracing and swelled with a most tempestuous and stormy sea. A most awful night was passed, with fears of a sea shore (wreck) but fortunately we had made well out to sea, but were driven back to the Downs.

Sailed on the 28th and driven back a second time, and eventually sailed on the 4th December; a heavy gale came down and drove us to St Helen, Isle of Wight, removed from there to Mother Bank - sailed from thence on Tuesday, 14th, round the Isle of Wight, accompanied by the Bellesophon, which got to windward, and cleared away to sea.

We had hard labour through the English Channel and most of the passengers were infected by sea sickness and change of diet and air. I had the sea sickness, and very much annoyed in other ways, confined to bed for four or five days, no appetite for food, constant wretchedness of the body and mind, the latter from the want of comforts and friendly attention, and especially when in this state of debility.

Oh the pain of wind in such a fix - destined for another country - out at sea and experiencing the wants of necessary comforts and no kind hand nor soft voice to cheer, or console, but such are every emigrant's failing.

I will note that during one night's gale the 3rd mate fell overboard but fortunately seized a rope in his fall. A sailor, the name of Dick, seeing him fall was springing from the bulwarks to catch a rope to throw at him when he fell head foremost into a large tub of salt water, which, he said, "made him feel all queer"...."

December 9.
In Irish Channel. Dreadful storm commencing at 4pm and lasting till midnight.  The hurricane spread the utmost terror and consternation over all - sickness ceased to exist, terror alone found a residence in the heart. By picturing all this and say half the aforementioned number of people in bed, sick and vomiting all around, with the strong in all directions running  for empty pails and buckets, you will be led to conceive how fit such a  family is for a hurricane. Such was our state, however, when the storm  reached us and when it did commence, as I have said, terror occupied the  place of sickness, and consigned the faint and weak-hearted to their beds.

The remainder were in a sad enough plight, having to contend with water, boxes, chests, and a number of inexpressibles that, after keeping up a running fight, at last obtained a complete mastery, driving foe by foe to seek alternately refuge with the sick and wounded, the pitching and rolling of the ship along with the runaway boxes and dishes being too much for anyone, however dauntless, to contend against unless they wanted themselves to be deprived of life or limb.

Not a word or a sound was heard above the raging hurricane without; not a sound was breathed save the secret whisper or prayer of despair within. Tongues that had never uttered the name of the Almighty save in profanity now, I believe for the first time in sincerity, fervently sought His  protection. Nothing seemed to be awaiting us but the jaws of the deep and  everyone was with dread and consternation looking every minute for death.  This fearful and precarious situation continued until midnight, when the  violence of the storm began to abate.

Daylight gave a full view of the war that had been going on `midships and then all who were able commenced a search for runaways. A number were recovered but I am sorry to say a number had been captured and taken possession of as lawful prey.

December 10.
Weather calmer. Disturbances arising from the doctor still withholding the allowance of food assigned by the Company; he again assembles the emigrants  and in harsh language tells them he has them in his power and will treat them as he thinks fit. Everyone ready for blows. Women advising the men not to stand the doctor's brutality any longer. Midnight scarcely puts an end to the  excitement. Nothing again this day but the pint of gruel; sick and well get nothing else. A great number of the married men in a very excited state and all that was wanted to lead to blood and mutiny was a leader to strike the first blow. None, however, would be the first aggressor and after a wrangle till midnight they one after another betook themselves to a troubled  repose.

December 24: 
Today Mr E. B. Atkinson and I have been very busily engaged in giving out rations to the passengers. Each one received lb of flour, lb of raisins and 1oz of suet as an extra allowance for Christmas. About 3 this afternoon we passed by Port Santa (Porto Santo) - Madeira was seen in the distance in the dusk - and we passed it during the night of Christmas (which) was passed with singing many anthems and choruses.

Christmas Day: 
I rose about 6 o'clock, the sun rose about 7 o'clock, a clear sky and soft north-east breeze. Supposed to have got into the trade winds. I with nothing particular transpired, sought some amusements that the sailors had. I had some very profitable conversation with a Mr Henderson on colonisation and on a proper character that ought to go - temperate, resolute, patient, energetic now, that are capable to put their hands and minds to anything. Many were the reflections that engaged my mind on first Christmas days, how and with whom I had spent them with, but this one excelled all others for the beauty, temperature and placidity.

December 26: 
Divine Service at 10.30 - Rev Mr Nicholson, preached. Land was seen ahead, the Canary Islands, we gradually came up to them towards night, the most westward of them we came near to which was Pala, which was supposed to be between 4 to 5000 feet in height. Snow was seen very distinctly on the top of the mountains, which appeared to be barren without much vegetable substance.

December 28: 
Up at 6 o'clock and had a good airing for about half an hour on the forecastle. Nothing could be seen of the vessels of the previous day. It's just 13 days since we left the Mother bank, Portsmouth. In the forenoon there fell a heavy and refreshing shower of rain, everyone on board appeared to rejoice at the falling rain. The geese and ducks partook in the giving expression to their gladness of the boon, as much as anyone on board. Great eagerness was manifested everyone to catch the fresh water as a great gift; it was highly prized above the ship's water.

December 29 
On this morning all things were cheering, sailing at the rate of 9 and 10 knots an hour - at 12 o'clock the latitude 21 degrees 67 north of the Equator, the wind still keeping up at the same briskness.

December 30
The atmosphere was heavy and threatening rain, the wind had kept up the same rate as the previous day, and during the night, and maintained the same power in sailing along at the rate of 9 and 10 knots an hour. Today I had put into my hands an address which was to be a commencement of a periodical during our voyage, and to which I consented to become and contribute to - and to assist in drawing up as assistant editor. It was called the Otago Pioneer.

December 31
At six o'clock, on coming on deck, information was given that we were opposite, or rather alongside, the Cape-de-Verde Islands, the most western being St Autoria. It was very indistinctly seen as the haziness of the morning was great - the brisk wind had ceased, as we passed the land - but after it was passed the wind sprang up again, which threw the vessel more on her side, and the water heaved more, which made everyone feel uncomfortable. Much heaviness, and in some instances there was sickness, prevailed. As for myself I suffered much from acidity of the stomach. I got from the Doctor (Manning) a saline draught and a blue pill, which I soon vomited, as every part of food created acid which caused me very uneasy feelings. New Year's Eve was passed away in a very sickly way. Went to rest at 9pm, the atmosphere was close and heavy.

January 1
I rose this morning a little better, but still much troubled with the acid of my stomach. I took some Carbonate of Soda this morning which did me good, and which I used at other intervals during the day. During the day many of the flying fish were seen and some attempts were made to catch some of them, and other descriptions of fish. Some were caught, and except the flying fish, was boiled for a lady in a poop cabin. The North Pole and Northern Hemisphere is disappearing from our view and a quite different scenery is appearing every night to view in the Heavens. The winds have been unhealthy and thick and heavy having come from the deserts of African Sahara.

January 2
I felt something of a pleasure this morning on rising to know and feel that I was much lightsomeness and easier in the mind and body. The atmosphere and air was a great deal purer than we have had for the last two days. The sun had great power, but not so scorching as it would be on land. There are two or three passengers very sick and unwell in the main hatchway, and a ventilator has been put into it which has greatly relieved the passengers from the great oppression.

January 3
Heat was felt to be very close and sulphurous during the night; wind sails were put down the hatchways which produced a freer ventilation. The Doctor made each individual have clear and freshness of air into all the berths.  This afternoon, two vessels were seen ahead, one homeward bound, and the other outward, steering the same course as we were. It is necessary to have very light clothes on, and very little hair on the heads for several reasons. 
We ought this morning to have commenced with the school, but as usual were obliged to put off until a further period. Mr Monson was manager and I am chosen as his assistant, on account of Mr C. Bentley still remaining so unwell. Great preparations are being made amongst the sailors for shaving on the Line.

January 4.
I had a refreshing bath this morning at 5am. Numerous fishes were seen, in particular of a triangular shape, and of a light amber, or a violet colour, called by the sailors Portugese Men of war. Swallows or storm birds of a dark brown colour were seen skimming along the surface of the water. The atmosphere turned densely close and sulphurous, the heavens were charged with electricity and the lightning tonight was very vivid, with slight showers of rain. It was cool and refreshing on deck until 10pm when I retired to rest.

January 5.
Rose at 5am and had bath at 6am and had boiled barley to breakfast. Cut a number of the passengers' hair. At about 10 o'clock vessels were seen, one ahead, and the other astern. The former was homeward bound and as there was a calm so near the Line, passengers were privileged with writing letters to their respective friends at home. I wrote to my sister (Mary Ann), my prayers and thoughts ever ascended to heaven for her and hers. Dolphins were seen. A boat from the ship was launched to go to the homeward-bound vessel, which was a Dutchman. 

I had great pleasure in looking up to the heavens until midnight and saw constellations that were south to us, now taking themselves to be northern observations. The Great Bear was not to be seen at all, the North Pole was entirely out of sight. Many of the southern constellations were to be seen just above the horizon . The Magellan clouds were seen an immense cluster of stars in the Milky Way that were directly over the Magellan Straits, from which they derive their name.

January 7
The sun rose in a clear ethereal sky, the heat was intense, numbers of the passengers were quite overpowered and some very unwell; as for myself I had a heaviness of the head and acidity of the stomach (for which) I took a dose of Gregory's mixture of Carbon of Soda and water. Some of the sailors and passengers were quite enthusiastic in casting hooked lines.

January 8
I feel better this morning, but still there is that unpleasant taste arising from my stomach which creates sickness and heaviness arising. Potatoes were finished!!

January 9
It was a beautiful morning after the night rain. The cabin in which I slept in was very uncomfortable and unpleasant from an unwholesome effluvia arising from the WC adjoining it. At 12 o'clock Neptune came on board, one of the sailors , a tall athletic man dressed in flannel drawers, with a sheepskin about his loins and a bell for a sword and pistol and a light vest, with a false beard, whiskers and hair which was long and made a tow, with a made up face which added to his figure, and ferocious appearance and monster-like aspect. He leapt upon the forecastle with a speaking trumpet in his hand. After saluting the Captain at the poop, he proceeded thence to a tar barrel which was thrown overboard as a protest of his disappearing in his Chariot.

January 10
Much rainfall during the night. One of the most splendid and enrapturing skies I never before beheld than I did this morning at a rising sun, a golden horizon. Dark clouds above it and to the south; over this light cloud a dark brown, and several other coloured clouds, beautifully gilded, but that which added so much to its grandeur was the blue ethereal sky. Much cavilling and underhanded work was at work about Neptune's duty amongst the passengers etc, etc!

January 17.
At such a rate we shall soon gain our destined haven, much speculation as to the time we shall arrive at New Zealand, some two months, others 10 weeks (away). The weather keeps fair and hot but the wind breathes a coolness that makes it even agreeable. One requisite thing for those who come to sea is to be properly prepared for every change - diet, medicine, clothing and a discretionary precaution in the use of every article. The plainer and simpler the food is, the better for the body.

January 18.
At 2 o'clock, a slave vessel crossed our bow about 2 miles from us, bound for Brazil. After tea, Mr Monson and I were sitting along with Mr and Mrs Cook, who have been resident for many years at the Bay of Islands, New Zealand. Mrs C. related a very amusing anecdote; that when Mr Hobbs and his wife, a Wesleyan missionary, landed, as the custom is the natives are obliged to carry parties on their shoulders to the shore on account of the flat and mud and dirtiness of the water. One lusty fellow engaged to carry Mrs Hobbs on shore; on half-way he turned tired on account of H's weight and set her down in the sand and water, and said to her that he wanted a rest. After some remonstrance by Mrs H. she said that now as she was so wet, she would not be carried any more but that she would walk the remainder of the way to the shore herself, and she did. 

January 19. 
Mr Monson has again urged the necessity of the school being commenced (for the children on board), and now we are, him and I, engaged to make the forms and a desk for the children to sit at. From 10 to 4 we were engaged in them and finished them, out of very rough material, but they will suit our purpose.

January 20.
This evening Captain Cargill assembled all the passengers on board to give some plan or idea how cottages or huts can be more readily erected, and upon sound and good enduring principle.

 January 24.
This afternoon about 2 o'clock, a squall overtook us, we only got a small part of it, it was an attracting sight to see a storm before us and one behind, the one behind had something more striking and terrific about it. At the worst part of it a whirlwind was observed to be moving with great power, twisting and whirling the water out of the ocean with a terrible force and raising immense clouds and commotion in the air. Two or three were seen at one time, but they joined the greater and at the crises out of the dense cloud of the storm, a spout was sent forth out of the cloud to the body of water that the whirlwind was forcing up out of the sea. It fed for about 10 (minutes) or _ of an hour, and then the whirlwind gradually subsided away, and then the spout was also gradually drawn up into the cloud. It is a most pleasing sight at a distance.

January 26.
The Dutchman is ahead this morning on the lee bow and is now again on the weather bow. Telegraphic signals were exchanged for some time between the vessels, as the Captain and some of the passengers wanted to go on board. The starboard boat was let down and many of them went and spent three hours with them and they returned about 2 o'clock, with the Captain of the Dutch vessel - Minerva of Middleburgh - and two of his passengers. They dined in the poop at 6 o'clock. Mrs and Miss Cargill, Mrs Garrick and Miss Alexander with others out of the poop went on board the Dutchman. The boat returned two or three times for different things. They were treated with music from the fife and drum band and plenty of vocal music and dancing, they kept excellent time. The last of the passengers came back at 12 o'clock, most of them inebriated - oh how base and degrading to men of part and intellect.

January 27.
The heat has been very great during the night. The heat during the morning was very oppressive; many of the sailors bathed last night and this morning were over the bows of the vessel bathing and swimming.

The John Wickliffe took 129 days to reach Port Chalmers on March 23, 1848.

Homesickness added to the problems with seasickness 

January 30.
My mind has been often at [Durham] this morning ruminating upon the different beloved objects of my affections and wondering what they are engaged in. The school has also a share of my thoughts; Oh that those little ones may be led and guided with wise and pure principles to God their Sovereign and Lord.  I cannot account for the cause of my mind being so distracted as everything in and about the ship has annoyed my mind more or less - the curious and burlesque, postures and varied positions, and mode and manners, and actions: some reading, sleeping, talking, and others serious, solemn and meditating.  
We had the children collected this afternoon and catechised them a little and finished up by singing Come to Jesus . The nightly shades have come on in great wildness with darkness and clouds of threatening fury; at 8, the sternsails were all taken down as a precaution against the gales of wind in the night. It is turning cold at night now in these latitudes though it be at the height of summer.

February 2.
At 7 o'clock I beheld for the first time an albatross, the mariners bird. That piece of poetry [The Ancient Mariner ] of Coleridge's came into my mind with great force. It has a noble appearance as it gallantly towers near and round the vessel; it has kept towering round and round the vessel all day. A great many of the passengers have had their guns out firing at it from 9, and none [were] able to hit it until 4pm this afternoon when one from the stern part shot it through, and it fell fluttering on to the water; unable to raise itself up again, it swam on the tops of the waves with outstretched wings; it went with the tide.

February 3.
The albatrosses have been flying about the ship today again. Attempts have been made to catch them by the hook and line, and others have been using their shotguns. One poor creature dropped today, also in the ocean, from a gun's shot.  Two of the sailors got drunk this afternoon from breaking into a barrel of bottled ale. One them for his bad conduct was put in chains.

February 6.
The night was rather dull, but very refreshing. A number of porpoises were running ahead and it is an interesting thing to see the fish skudding under the waters. The cry was "Fish, fish, fish!!!" When a general stampede of the passengers [occurred] from all parts of the vessel to [see], one of the sailors with a harpoon descended down into the martingale, with a strong rope through a block some how or other, when he struck the fish. Those who were to have hauled in the rope through the block pulled a company and nearly pitched the youngest sailor boy and myself overboard with the rope fastened round my leg. It was work of a moment - no harm done, as all was over too soon and the harpoon broke and the fish got away, so adieu to porpoise catching after this event. 

The John Wickliffe well south of South Africa and on an eastwards heading, though Captain Daly continued to drive south to catch the stronger winds.

February 9.
I had the happiness of assisting in the skinning of an albatross, monstrous thick in the skin, their feet and legs, were also cut off. I got one and some of the others got them for tobacco fobs. I have appropriated mine for a purse, taken the bones out, and peeled the skin open, which gives it the form of a fancy silk bag. I got one of the skins, but the sailors had so damaged it that it was of no purpose; however I took the bones out of the wings and then for a bit of fun, I put my arms into the parts where I took the bones out, and put it on as a jacket, and ran up on deck where many strange and foolish conversations were made by the poop passengers. This is the 11th week since we left Gravesend, England.

February 11.
Every one is making remarks of the great change that has taken place in my appearance, the rounding of my face and the bronzed and ivory complexion.

February 13.
I feel altogether out of my elements when Sunday comes, sad and thoughtful. Mr Nicholson preached - as a man he is a decent fellow - but as for his sermons they are No Go!!

February 15.
This morning I was roused out of my berth by a great stir on deck, the sailors were all hauling, pulling and shouting, and la hooing as many of the sails again were suffering from a strong wind. During the morning the ship had been going at the rate of a shod horse through the waters, on account of the Captain being such a man for keeping the yards filled with sails and canvas.

February 17.
All night the wind was strong and carrying us through with great rapidity. At 4 this morning I awoke nearly upright, as the ship was riding through the water nearly on her broadside at 12 and 13 knots, all studding sails were kept up until 3 watch, when all were taken down. I have been busily engaged all day carrying water from the bottom of the berth. A lookout is kept for Prince Edward Island on the one hand and the Marion Islands on the other.

February 18.
At about 11 it was announced that an iceberg of large dimensions was seen at a good distance on the starboard bow. The appearance of it was a greenish white in the shade of the sun, as the day was fine and clear and refreshing. On account of the iceberg, we have altered our course to south-east to clear ourselves of it. The air became very frosty and cold, a few hails and flakes of snow fell, a whale of large dimensions spouted up the water and the noise was something resembling an engine. Its length appeared to be about the length of the vessel.

February 20.
The berth was disagreeable, the water rushed in from abominable water closet. I had very little rest what from the excitement of going so far south and being among the icebergs. I had to buckle to and carry out the water by the buckets. The sails were all double reefed, the vessel shipped strong seas, (and) we were fastened below all day as the hatchways were closed - the sea was awfully grand, rough and stormy.

February 22.
A disturbance with the Captain and Captain Cargill took place during the afternoon, about the store between decks, and Dr Manning is blamed for it and was told plainly of his (troubling) ways.

February 23.
The wind this morning has again come aft, which makes it a little more agreeable sailing, but not so rapid. The weather is damp, thick, cold and raw. Many are the (disputes) one with the other, what from provisions not being good, and not served out properly, many being embezzled, and bartered for things that have no means of comforting or benefiting the passengers, but a complete and roguish appropriation to Dr Manning and his clan. There is also a strange contrivance with him and the Captain and officers to plunder both us and the New Zealand Company - things have had their turn today in full exposure and in a way to be remembered.

February 25.
At 5pm land was seen ahead. Oh what a thought and sensation it produced in the minds and breasts of those who have not seen land for some time - Kerguelen Island - or Desolation was the land seen. The atmosphere was dense, and thick over it which greatly deceived all before we could tack about. We were within 6 or 7 miles from it, which becalmed us, and were liable to be drifted on to the shore. There is no fear; the clouds lifted themselves a little from the horizon, which (led to) a clearing away of the misty, raw state of the atmosphere.

March 1
The wind blows fresh and strong, the decks are dry, though the air is damp and keen. Tonight many are the speculations when we shall arrive at Otago. Mr Mosley took a fit [ a nightmare] this morning at 4am.

March 2:
I was this morning roused up out of my sleep by Mr Mosley, in a fit at 5am. The sky was clear and pleasant, the wind shifted on to the port quarter, which has brought a heavy, hazy atmosphere. George Jefferson, a sailor, because he was obstreperous and would not go to work aft, for some trivial altercation with the Boatswain, Captain and himself, is put in irons until we reach New Zealand. For the last two or three days large sheets of seaweed have been seen floating on the surface of the waters where probably islands may appear.

March 4
It is a most pleasant and beautiful morning, rather chill, the wind has again changed on to the port side, but the weather continues clear as we now are coming in parallel with the Australian continent, which materially alters the state of the atmosphere.

March 5 
I had a most excellent night's sleep, but during the last two or three nights I have talked much in my sleep. Strange to say from leaving East Rainton I have never so much as been disturbed, or dreamt at night of Home. Mr N. preached on the poop, a skinny affair without marrow, bones, or sinews - he never gets below skin deep. 

March 6 
The air and atmosphere is now warm and clear to what we have had. I rose this morning at a little after 5 o'clock. A singular circumstance was related to me by the chief mate, that he had seen penguins swimming alongside the ship. They are never known to do so but when land is near. No known land nearer than Australia. The ship is given to be a fortnight from New Zealand. 

March 7 
Calm, warm, heavy atmosphere. Hazy and decidedly thick tonight. 

March 8 
Mild but thick atmosphere, wind aft - a slight change to the port . 

March 9 
Thick, hazy, no observations. There has been a swell from the south since last night and the wind is changing.

March 10 
A strong wind from the south and a heavy sea, and a thick unpleasant and damp day. I was sick today from an unpleasant effluvia from a capsized water closet.

March 12 
A cold but pleasant morning. I did not attend service on the poop this morning for private reasons.

March 15
A more agreeable morning, with the wind coming aft. The day has been pleasant and refreshing after the heavy weather for the last few days. A great number of birds have been touring round and round the vessel. The Aurora Borealis is beautiful, the first I have seen since coming into the Southern Hemisphere.

March 16
Dull, cloudy morning, no sun for an observation, a good strong and heavy wind 2 points abaft the beam on the port side. Great preparations are making for our arrival.

March 19
Evening indications are apparent that land is not very far off. Dull with occasional glimpses of the sun during the forenoon, and in the afternoon the sun shone forth brightly.

March 20
A general commotion was felt throughout the ship amongst all hands as we were in sight of the Middle [South] Island early this morning. We had stood off to sea during the night, having had a strong breeze. A long chain of land could be distinctly seen with some high peaks in the interior, and as we neared it became thick and misty. A large porpoise was caught, cut up and most of it was cooked. I ate a little of it at dinner, with rice. It tasted really good, and the blubber was boiled down for oil. It rained heavily during the forenoon and did not clear off until midday, yet the haziness still did not clear off the land. Trees could be seen on the range above another [line] of hills. This afternoon we were opposite to the Molyneux  River mouth - it has a fine entrance, and a beautiful prospective view up into the land. We have had many changes of the wind and made very little progress during the day. Tonight we have again tacked off to sea to keep from coming on a lee shore. Guns were fired hoping to gain a pilot, but not a man could be discerned, [although] whalers and sailors are squatted all along the coast.

March 21
This morning at 4 o'clock when we made tack we came right opposite to the Saddle Back Hill [Saddle Hill], which much resembles a soldier's saddle. There are some very striking landmarks. We have tacked off and on during the day but have gained very little. Guns were fired but still no human being made their appearance. We endeavoured to weather the point of Cape Saunders [and], in order to do so, we stood off to sea for the night on a long tack. 
Birds of all descriptions are here: gulls, whale birds, sea pigeons, albatrosses, cormorants. The air is most delightful, a salty ethereal sky. 
Oh what restlessness and anxiety to gain the anchorage and be on shore.

March 20.
Much eagerness has been manifested by a number of the passengers early this morning to look for land. The Snares were espied at 5 o'clock am. Two small islands, a few rocks. How strange the feelings become on nearing the land you are desiring to be at!! Mr Nicholson preached - misty and dull. Occasionally the clouds lifted up the horizon in order to give the people the power to observe when the land appeared. At 5 o'clock Stewart Island was seen with a misty cloud hanging over it.

After her tacking duel with the wind up the coast, the John Wickliffe stood off the entrance to Otago Harbour.

Wednesday, March 22.
I rose this morning at 4 o'clock with the point of the harbour in view. We have kept tacking off and on to gain the entrance of the harbour. The air and sky is most beautiful and serene. A gun was fired at 6 o'clock, after which 2 boats were seen coming forth from the mouth of the harbour with Mr Kettle, the land surveyor, and Mr Driver, the pilot. Everything so far comes up to what we (hoped) - abundance of pigs, cattle and sheep, pigeons and birds of various kinds, and the anchorage at the mouth of the harbour and the harbour teemed with fish. We have anchored at the mouth of the harbour, as the wind is unfavourable.

The passage has been upon the whole an agreeable and pleasant one, most prosperous sailing 99 days from Portsmouth, and 120 days from Gravesend. No deaths, births, or marriages on board.

This afternoon Mr Monson and his son John and I went out in one of the boats with three Maoris fishing the barracouta by steering a long pole with a short piece of wood and a crooked nail at the end which is attached with a string to the pole in the water, similar to stirring. We rowed about and caught 3; they are delightful baking.

At night a boat had come alongside and a number of natives; they are very peaceful, intelligent men, and then another boat landed with some of the passengers that had gone out in the morning, with the Chief Taiaroa and his son and many others.

Thursday, March 23, 1848.
A great day, I rose about 4 o'clock by the sailors weighing up the anchor as the wind was northwest. As we entered into the harbour it is a most delightful and picturesque domestic scene; heights on either side, we saw the native village on the native reserves, and further on a small village of settlers and whalers.

The cormorants rose out of the water as we approached, by thousands. The scenery as we gained Port Chalmers, where we anchored, put me in remembrance of a great part of the Cumberland scenery, the imagination fired, and here will nature triumphant and bring the mind to rejoice and adore the divine being.

I and E. B. Atkinson with Dr Manning and Mr Levell went ashore, and at Port Chalmers Henry and John Monson joined and we went up into the bush - I was grub carrier - and we dined at 4 o'clock with 2 Maoris in the bush on fish and sweet potatoes. Thence up to the heights and rambled amongst the supplejacks - a type of cane. Underwood  numerous cabbage trees, ferns, trees, shrub plants, brambles. It was truly an enjoyable break.....

`Philip Laing'

The comfort of life on board Philip Laing, recorded Archibald McDonald, soon turned on matters of hygiene. The crowded ship was now subject to the presence of several non-paying passengers.

November 26, 1847 wrote McDonald
Having got everything on board, we were towed by a steamer to the Tail of the Bank at noon, and having cleared the harbour, gave three cheers, which were responded to by the crowd of spectators assembled on shore witnessing our departure.

December 3
Still in Lamlash Bay, all the passengers indisposed with colds. This morning children's porridge withheld by Dr Ramsay's orders. The children very weak, not agreeing with tea and hard biscuit for breakfast. Deputation sent to the doctor to try and prevail with him to allow the children porridge; were told that porridge was not good for them. Parents in great uneasiness about their feeble infants and children. Three constables appointed by Dr Ramsay, one of whom, acting up to the temper of his master, kept agoing a petty warfare over every trifling incident. Likewise they had to see that the watch in the married men's apartment (none being among the single men) was taken in rotation by heads of families, their duty being to trim and supply the lamps with oil, and to see that no improper conduct was carried on in 'midships.

December 4
This morning we were all weak from want of meat - men, women and children. Firm resolution to again apply to the doctor for more sustenance. Denied the request. At a loss to know what to do. Women upbraid the men for cowardice in allowing themselves and their children to be starved for want of that food that was laid in the ship for their support. Seamen and some of the emigrants ashore daily for fresh water since coming into the Bay. Passengers sometimes left ashore after carrying water had to pay their passage back to the ship.

December 9
In Irish Channel. Dreadful storm commencing at 4pm and lasting till midnight. Sad reflections - all expecting every minute to be launched into the deep. The hurricane spread the utmost terror and consternation over all - sickness ceased to exist, terror alone found a residence in the heart. But in order to give any just idea of an emigrant's situation in a hurricane, the reader must imagine to himself a space 50 yards by 12 yards, lined on both sides with berths or beds capable, or thought capable, of containing living souls, and this space having a bench running down the centre from top to bottom and under it the chests or boxes belonging to each berth; suspended all around, innumerable cooking and eating utensils, clothes, etc.

By picturing all this and say half the aforementioned number of people in bed, sick and vomiting all around, with the strong in all directions running for empty pails and buckets, you will be led to conceive how fit such a family is for a hurricane. Such was our state, however, when the storm reached us and when it did commence, as I have said, terror occupied the place of sickness, and consigned the faint and weak-hearted to their beds.

The remainder were in a sad enough plight, having to contend with water, boxes, chests, and a number of inexpressibles that, after keeping up a running fight, at last obtained a complete mastery, driving foe by foe to seek alternately refuge with the sick and wounded, the pitching and rolling of the ship along with the runaway boxes and dishes being too much for anyone, however dauntless, to contend against unless they wanted themselves to be deprived of life or limb.

Not a word or a sound was heard above the raging hurricane without; not a sound was breathed save the secret whisper or prayer of despair within. Tongues that had never uttered the name of the Almighty save in profanity now, I believe for the first time in sincerity, fervently sought His protection. Nothing seemed to be awaiting us but the jaws of the deep and everyone was with dread and consternation looking every minute for death. This fearful and precarious situation continued until midnight, when the violence of the storm began to abate. Daylight gave a full view of the war that had been going on `midships and then all who were able commenced a search for runaways. A number were recovered but I am sorry to say a number had been captured and taken possession of as lawful prey.

December 10
Weather calmer. Disturbances arising from the doctor still withholding the allowance of food assigned by the Company; he again assembles the emigrants and in harsh language tells them he has them in his power and will treat them as he thinks fit. Everyone ready for blows. Women advising the men not to stand the doctor's brutality any longer. Midnight scarcely puts an end to the excitement. Nothing again this day but the pint of gruel; sick and well get nothing else. A great number of the married men in a very excited state and all that was wanted to lead to blood and mutiny was a leader to strike the first blow. None, however, would be the first aggressor and after a wrangle till midnight they one after another betook themselves to a troubled repose. 

December 21 wrote McDonald.
A meeting held to see what could be done in order to prevail on the doctor to allow the children a daily allowance of porridge. A deputation was appointed, who were refused - with the exception of one of them - an audience. All assemble before the cabin, men and women, and demand an immediate answer whether or not he (the doctor) would allow the children a regular allowance of porridge. He, seeing their determined manner, grants their request, and tells them at the same time that he would grant them the full allowance of rations appointed by the Company, which is as follows: - three quarters of a pound of biscuits to each adult daily; those under 14 years of age, half this allowance; three quarts of water to each adult daily; 1 oz. butter; 12 ozs. sugar per week; 1 oz. tea per week.

December 22
Weather very stormy. Nursing mothers, who were allowed by the Company one pint of porter daily, are served with a quarter pint. Several rather severe tumblings aboard, to the effusion of blood.

December 23
Fearfully stormy weather. Man fell down centre hatch and very much bruised. Most of the immigrants sick; nothing but gruel to be got. Storm more severe at night - almost all regretting they had left their homes. 

December 25   Archibald Macdonald wrote 
This being Christmas Day the seamen, being mostly Englishmen (with the exception of the Captain and mate), thought of enjoying something extra but were disagreeably disappointed, as little of any importance was allowed them, which displeased them very much. Some of the emigrants having recruited a good deal from sickness, enjoyed a few hours of friendship in select parties at night with a glass of rum toddy. These meetings, however, were by no means general, as but few of them were allowed such a luxury as rum.

December 26 
Very pleasant weather and embracing the opportunity, the schoolmaster commenced an evening class for the children. The following day he opened a day school, setting apart a special class for the young women and unmarried men, instructed by one of their own number. These classes continued daily throughout the voyage, excepting on such days as the state of the weather prevented them from assembling. The married men had enough to attend to in providing all things necessary for their own and their children's comfort. This day for the first time, owing to the calmness of the weather, the sails were set up.

December 28
Going at the rate of seven or eight knots, with a freshening wind. In the evening a singing club or school was formed, when several excellent songs were sung, relieved by an accordion, whose soft and melodious tones tended very much to enliven drooping spirits of those around us.

January 7 recorded Archibald McDonald
Today a newspaper was started, recording the events of our passage and containing besides much of the useful and humorous. 
Vermin have made their appearance in immense numbers and all alike, high and low, rich and poor, are suffering from the dreadful infliction. Washing and cleansing cannot altogether put them away and I would strongly advise emigrants to take with them a medicine that would extirpate the pests. 
I may likewise mention what clothing is best suited to the emigrants. The lightest clothing will be found to be the best - say two white jackets, two pairs white trousers - vests I consider unnecessary - and a pair of carpet shoes to protect the feet from the sun and other things that will not fail more or less to injure them. The powerful rays of the sun completely destroy leather shoes and in a short time render them disagreeable for wear. 
I would also advise them to provide themselves with a sufficient quantity of marine soap for the voyage, and a rope to hang their wet clothes on to dry. We were only served with one pound of soap for the whole voyage - I mean for each family - which was far from being sufficient to keep clothes anything like clean.

January 8
One of the steerage passengers was seized with cramp in the stomach which nearly proved fatal, but after bleeding and bathing, the cramp was removed and he gradually got better. A dietary rarity was given today, being no less than potato soup, but after it was made ready it was found to be very unpalatable, tasting nothing better than water poured off potatoes. This caused the cook and his assistant to look rather sheepish for some time afterwards, owing to the cutting reproofs of the passengers, who failed not to retaliate all kinds of sarcastic remarks on the poor cooks for the loss of their expected luxury. But to make amends for the lack of thickening on this day, they gave it sufficiently lumpy for the next, which was devoured with an avidity almost beyond description. 

January 7 wrote Burns.
A great run - within a few miles of the Tropics and about 390 miles of the  Cape de Verde Islands. Saw yesterday and today the well-known bird the  Stormy Petrel, an interesting wanderer, with no home seemingly but the  vastness bosom of the mighty deep. The elegant little nautilus appeared in  numbers on New Year's Day, but I have looked in vain for them since.

January 8
A beautiful run of 215 miles; the last three days have carried us over 600  miles. Weather very fine but very cool for the tropics owing to the very  fresh breeze from east. No inconvenience but from the rolling of the ship  preventing me from sleeping sound at night. Mr Adams taken suddenly ill  to-day a little before one o'clock p.m. Saw the new moon last night a little  after sunset being about 30 hours old. A ship a few miles astern of us -  though we are moving so fast this ship seems to be nearing us.

January 9
About noon saw San Antonia, the largest of the Cape de Verde Islands, very  faintly, being 45 miles to the westward. Morning worship as usual, public  worship at 12.30 on deck - afraid I was not heard by numbers; preached again  at 7pm, at the close referred to the disposition manifested by some of the  emigrants, 1st to absent themselves from worship, 2nd to indulge in profane  language and 3rd, and more particularly, on the mean vice of stealing which  has manifested itself on board.

January 10
Weather hazy but dry and warm but not so warm as I had anticipated. Three or four vessels in sight; met a French vessel homeward bound. The Philip Laing saluted her by displaying her ensign, but no reply was made to it by the discourteous Frenchman.

January 15.
Between 8 and 9 this morning it began to rain and presently it rained in torrents, a great deal of rain water collected by the passengers.

Two sharks appeared at the stern of the ship. A hook and line baited with a piece of pork was put down to them, when after a little the smaller of the two, about two feet in length, was caught and hauled on deck. Immediately beneath the body of the larger one as it swam about appeared a smaller fish, about 14 or 15 inches long, that always kept its place as if it were attached to the shark's body - occasionally, however, it removed some distance from it and after a little returned to its usual position beneath the belly of the larger shark. They call it a Pilot fish.

January 16. Immediately after evening service called down to prayers at the bed-side of John Brown's child. It died the same evening, a few minutes afterwards. Heat and moisture on board produce a very close heavy air between decks - no progress almost.

January 17
Beautiful morning, sun very powerful, wind fallen away, speed 4 and a-half to 5 knots. Heat accordingly much greater. Symptoms of bad feeling on the part of some of the sailors against certain of the passengers.

January 18
Delicious climate on deck after sun-set; we linger on deck till bed-time 10 p.m. enjoying the balmy air, the fine sky, a lovely moon. Turnips and carrots for the cow and bull now quite done.

January 19
Brown's child buried, put into a tin vessel and slipped over the ship's side. Another child (Maclean's) died about 4 p.m. of bowel complaint and buried, after prayer on deck, over the ship's side. Strong apprehension on board, steaming, moist, hot pestilential weather. Went down and prayed at the two parts of the ship where the bereaved parents are instead of the usual worship, as assembling them together increased the suffocating heat and aggravated the close, heavy smell below.

February 1 wrote Burns.
The wife of Jas. Brown gave birth to a fine boy - both doing well. The sun now nearly vertical. Thermometer 84deg in the shade.

February 2
This day married Wm Jaffray and Margaret Hunter, both belonging to the parish of Mid Calder, county of Edinburgh, the proclamation of Banns having been duly made in the Parish Church there. In between the resolution to marry and go to Otago and the day fixed for the sailing of the ship, they had previously made a declaration before witnesses in Edinburgh that they were married persons. This they had done in the apprehension that the extract of the proclamation of Banns could reach them at Greenock only after the ship had sailed.

February 5
We had great deal of fine singing on deck last night amongst the steerage passengers for more than an hour before bed time at 10p.m. John Brown, one of the steerage passengers, lodged with me 78 sovereigns to take charge of for him till we reach Otago, making the sum total lodged in my hands by steerage passengers 366 and a half sovereigns.

February 6
In a brawl this morning Peter Crawford struck James Tweedale with a knife with such force in the abdomen that the knife coming against the headband of his breeches was bent double. He was confined in the fore hospital from 8 o'clock till next morning when the case was to be investigated.

March 2
James Brown's child, Philip Elles Brown, died last night and was buried almost immediately, putridity coming on.

February 21 wrote Burns.
Uncommonly lovely and delicious weather, sky pure, almost cloudless, sea unruffled and glassy smooth like a mirror, air delightfully tempered neither hot nor cold, almost a calm. The Tenobia about a mile ahead of us, the Guardian as far astern of us.

The cow is now reduced to hardship. The rain water caught at the line is now exhausted - and there being not a drop to mix with the bran and bean meal she is deprived altogether of that the best portion of her food. She accordingly has fallen off greatly both in her body and in her milk these some days past. The Captain allows an additional gallon to be drawn for her per day for the purpose of being mixed up a little of bean meal. She yesterday had given to her a bottle of ale, ginger and sugar, and she appears a little enlivened by it.

February 24
Best day's work since we came on board having sailed 216 miles. Temperature greatly reduced, so cold do I feel it that I have put off my light jacket and thin stockings and betaken myself to boots, worsted stockings, black waist coat and brown Cadrington. The thermometer stood this morning at 65 degrees before breakfast. This with the raw damp air makes the feeling a very changed one from what it was lately with the thermometer at 78 degrees and 80 degrees with a clear cloudless sunny sky, warm dry light winds.

February 27
Wind west and right aft, ship rolling disagreeably particularly felt at night whilst in bed and at table. Worship both morning and noon on deck; fine, dry, steady breeze, with bright sunshine. In the afternoon a whole flock of snow birds, said to be a sign of the neighbourhood of ice, also of a coming gale. Several albatrosses, Cape hens and stormy petrels seen. Snow bird is white on the belly and under the wings, and in their motions - these white parts being occasionally the only part of the bird that is turned towards the observer: the bird especially when a little way off appears to be snow white.

The cycle of birth, marriage and death continued on the crowded ship. 

March 2 wrote Burns
James Brown's child, Philip Elles Brown, died last night and was buried almost immediately, putridity coming on.

March 3
Mr D. found lying on the deck at the cabin door, unable to speak. Cabin passengers all raised. He says now that he was seized with cramp in the stomach to which he is liable; is better.

March 4
Gone 204 miles a tumultuous sea, no sleep all night, ship rolling terribly, strong breeze, heavy sea.

March 5
Heavy sea - excessive rolling of the ship day and night - barometer fell during the night - in consequence fearing a gale which, however, did not come, shortened sail; still by the log we made 174 miles and by observation still more. The excessive rolling of the ship was so disagreeable during the morning service that I intimated there would be no sermon at 12.30. This is the first day we have had no sermon for many weeks.

March 8
Yesterday morning the Captain counted up the number of miles we have sailed from Milford Haven when it amounted to 8833 miles - distance still to be run to Otago amounts to 5800 - making 14,633 miles in all from Milford to Otago - and from Greenock to Otago, say 15,000 miles.

March 10
Dugald Niven had a son born to him by his wife at one o'clock this morning - mother and child doing well.

March 11
No observation - heavy rain - wind west quite aft - rolling of the ship great. William Winton catched a porter cask (50 gallons) full of rain water for cow. Deadlights down in our cabin through the night. Cow got water ad libitum to drink, when she drunk five gallons at once.

March 12
Blowing hard from the west; very heavy sea - great motion in the ship. Proclamation of marriage made at 12.30 between Gavin McIntyre Park and Grace Jane Stobie, the former a native of the parish of Rutherglen, the latter of the parish of Ratho in Scotland, and both at this present time steerage passengers on board the barque Philip Laing - this for the first, second and third time.

March 13 wrote Burns.
Alexander Livingston's child died about 12.30pm, it has suffered long, cutting teeth. A vessel in sight right ahead at 6 p.m. Married Gavin Park to Jane Stobie.

March 14
Beautiful morning - wind north - mild, therm. 62*. Heard with deep regret the riot amongst the wedding party last night.

March 17
Arthur (Burns) yesterday caught an albatross with a hook and line baited with a piece of pork - it measured 4 feet from the point of the bill to the end of the tail - 10 feet from the tip of one outstretched wing to the tip of the other and weighted 20 lbs. Mr Williamson is to stuff it.

March 18
One of the seamen (Sherry) being found lying drunk yesterday morning an investigation was held by the Captain and the Doctor and myself as to the way he had got spirits.

March 21
No observation - light winds from west and north-west. Engaged all forenoon from 11 till 3 with the Captain and the Doctor investigating charges prevailing among the passengers affecting William Stevenson and George Haddock, 3rd mate, of plundering the ship's stores when below in the hold, serving them out - particularly spirits. The charges dwindled away, the worst thing being the piercing at different times of 2 casks of porter as they were bringing them up from the hold and helping themselves and those assisting them to some porter each. It has turned out that the seaman Sherry had stolen down to the spirit room in the hold at the dead of night and pierced the rum cask. 

April 2 wrote Burns
Very heavy sea, most disagreeable rocking of the ship, warm air. The cow was taken ill yesterday and died about 7pm of inflammation in the bowels. She was quite well till yesterday, eating heartily, improved in appearance. She had a beautiful bull calf - and would have calved in a fortnight: A public loss. 
Mr and Mrs Carnegie proclaimed.

April 3
Beautiful, sunny morning. Mr and Mrs Carnegie married in the cabin.

April 6
Fine morning; cloudy till after 11am, when the sun broke out. We are now 230 miles from the southernmost point of Van Dieman's Land (Tasmania) and 780 from the nearest point of New Zealand.

April 8
A very remarkable aurora appeared last night between 8 and 9pm - it covered the entire heavens with the exception of the northern and north-eastern horizon and about 30 or 40 degrees upward from that part of the horizon. In the south and southwest, it had the usual pale yellow coloured appearance that we are familiar with in the Northern Hemisphere. But in the west, in a space covering the constellation Orion and for a considerable space around it, it was of a strong, deep blood-red colour.

But by far the most remarkable and most beautiful feature was due north about 20 degrees from the zenith - the very quarter from which the wind at the time was blowing. Here the rays were concentrated with great accuracy round a centre which, as I have said, was about 20 degrees, from very much in the same way as I have often observed the clouds form themselves into the figure described as Noah's Ark in Scotland. Only the rays in this instance were of the most brilliant and striking colours, deep red or rather bright crimson interspersed with pale yellow - and dark cloudy masses. 

The centre presented the appearance frequently of a mouth (such as that of a skate or turbot) and when I first saw it the mouth was working with a perpetual changing motion whilst the rays remained stationary. Bye and bye the mouth-like appearance disappeared and the motion commenced in the rays - till the usual flashing waves of pale yellow danced from side to side with great vivacity.

Shortly after, the red-coloured aurora departed - but the yellow continued till past 11pm, with great brightness with the usual dancing motion. But the crown of the sky about 9pm presented an uncommonly striking and lovely appearance, suggesting the image of a jellyfish when cast on shore with its rays of different hues. But this radiating variegated cap crowned the whole heavens from the zenith more than halfway down to the horizon. The goat produced a male kid this morning.

April 9 wrote Burns
Beautiful day. All exhilarated by the delightful weather of these three days past and with the near prospect of reaching Otago. Deo Laus.

April 10
Distance from Otago as the crow flies, 340 miles. Beautiful day. Wind north-north-west but varying from that west and north. The first symptom of preparing for land was seen, viz. putting the anchors over the ships side. John Brown applied to me this evening through Arthur for one of the 78 sovereigns which he lodged with me on the 5th of February last. 

April 12
Last night before tea Arthur caught two of the pretty pigeons that have been following the ship for some days - white breast and belly black bill head and neck, their wings black with beautiful large white spots, short fan tail, the same black and white spots.

April 13
Thomas Cuddies' wife was delivered of a boy about midnight. Both doing well. All in hopes of seeing land.

April 14
Saw land last night a little before sunset, a sunset of most remarkable beauty, being the north-east point of Stewart Island. This morning the wind light and from north-north-west, we were off the mouth of the Clutha.

Saturday, April 15
This morning made Taiaroa Head. The pilot, Richard Driver, showing a recommendatory letter from Mr Kettle, came on board about 9am and took the ship in charge. Deo Laus.


Otago Witness
Wednesday 12 December 1900 page 37
'Passages in a Wandering Life' by Thomas Arnold, son of Dr Arnold, of Rugby, and brother of Matthew Arnold. Mr Arnold was a passenger by the John Wickliffe which left in November 1847, and Mr Arnold being then 24 years old. Mr Arnold had speculated with the New Zealand Company to the extent of two sections of 100 acres each in the Macara Valley - a peaceful forest glade some eight or town miles out of Wellington.
His allusion to Captain Cargill, the leader of the pilgrims:-
The old Captain himself, was, I should have thought, a case to which the rule of superannuation was justly applicable; yet I can well believe that, with the help of his capable son (this was John Cargill, who has long wandered New Zealand; Mr E.B. Cargill was not on board), he might succeed for a time in getting through the work that fell upon him fairly well. His glass of toddy sometimes elevated him considerably, and on such occasions he would walk about the cuddy, trolling out, with flushed features, the burden of some old Scottish song. At other times he would hold forth interminably on the distinction between Church and State - a distinction which, he used to say, an Englishman could never comprehend.

John Cargill, who was a "manly, quick-witted, good natured fellow."
Rev. John Nicholson and his wife - "If they live, may God bless them wherever they are."
Mr Cutten - "An excellent young Londoner named Cutten, who meant to go into business as an auctioneer in Otago"
When the good ship reached Otago Harbour all the baggage and goods of the passengers had to be conveyed by boat seven miles to where what is now the City of Dunedin had been laid off. While in Dunedin the Philip Laing arrived. Among the passengers was the then Rev. Mr Burns, 'a nephew of the poet, and already a grey-haired man. A pair of large dark eyes, without fire, gave him a certain resemblance to his great kinsman, but his mild bearing showed that he had never been

Mislead by Fancy's gilded ray,
By Passion driven.

Mr Arnold went on the John Wickliffe to Wellington, where he became acquainted with Governor Grey, Alfred Domett, Frederick Weld and others. He describes Mr Francis Dillon Bell, as a man of charming and delightful manners. Mr Arnold then had the pluck to walk from Wellington to Otaki for a horse which had been offered him. The country had just been cleared of Maoris, but only the road was to follow the beach for the most part. On his return to Wellington Mr Arnold sought out a solitary blacksmith's forge at "the bottom of the Horokiwi valley." "While I was waiting outside the forge an officer came up and entered into conversation. After a while he introduced himself as Captain Russell, in command of the detachment of the 58th Regiment at Pawhatanui, and invited me to dine and sleep at the Pa."

This young officer must have been the father of the present leader of the Opposition, who himself afterwards became captain in actual service in New Zealand.


If you have a voyage account which is typewritten is more than likely been written after 1873.