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"Part 2  of  Dairy"

Katherine Stewart Forbes                                                 

Sunday 21st December            

Firm, stiff breeze. Steering S.S.E.  

Sermon morning and evening.  

Monday 22nd December

The wind keeps steady and we go on merrily. Warm clothing is now necessary, as the weather feels much colder. Great preparations are making by the passengers for the approaching Xmas, 'tho the materials at our command for the purpose are scanty.            

This, as usual, was store day; our Cabin on such occasions assuming the appearance of a market. The Storeroom being abaft of our Cabin, parties getting their supplies all pass by our berths. Men, women and children for hours together pass and re-pass loaded with all sorts of necessities for the week and it is no uncommon thing to have a quantity of flour or butter, a bottle of pickles or treacle spilt about our feet.                                                   


Still favourable. Our speed since Saturday evening has averaged 8 ˝ miles per hour. We are now under stun' sails and sailing very steady. A number of the passengers are complaining of colds from the sudden change of weather. We are several degrees South of the Cape and should we have a continuation of this wind we'll weather it by the end of the week.  

We were visited by a very beautiful specimen of the Albatross, large and beautifully marked. They fly quite close to us ‘tho none have yet been caught.

Wednesday 24th  

A most disagreeable day. Nautically termed "Dirty weather." Continuous drizzling rain and thick fogs. A double lookout placed ahead. Obliged to be 'tween decks most part of the day where all were, more or less, engaged in preparing for tomorrow. The coppers will be ready for us at 6 o'clock tomorrow morning at which time all Plum Puddings and Dumplings must be forward. Music, reading and games finished up the evening.  

Thursday 25th  

There is an old saying that a good beginning has a bad ending and if we were to judge of the veracity of the statement by today’s proceedings, it's truthfulness would be placed beyond doubt. I will narrate the events of this memorable Christmas at sea as they happen to come under my observation.  

I was awoke about 6 by the voices of the two Cooks announcing at the top of our Hatchway that the coppers were boiling. "Rise up and send abaft the 'duff," etc. I was engaged last night at chess 'til 12 o'clock and had not time to get up my pudding, so I immediately rose and got one forward just in time. The day looked misty at this time but by 10 o'clock it cleared away beautifully, forming a cheery contrast to yesterday. After breakfast the passengers mustered on deck in Sunday attire where they mutually congratulated each other and passed the usual compliments of the season. We had now a fair wind, bright sunshine and all in high spirits.  

At 12 o'clock dinner was announced. It is not every day that we have Plum Pudding and Brandy Sauce so it took an extra turn to destroy our keen appetite with such fare.  

After dinner small, select parties began to muster for dessert. I joined one of the individuals, two of the young ladies from the Poop. We had a very respectable spread before us, Sherry Brandy, Claret etc. fruits, fancy cakes and confections. A couple of hours were pleasantly spent with them toasting our friends and sweethearts at home, singing etc.  

I left this party about 4pm to join a friendly party on deck to which I had received an invitation from Leut. Wood, a Poop Cabin passenger. There was 9 of us altogether. We sat 'til 6 o'clock at which hour we had coffee served up. I had at this time the misfortune to get my left hand and wrist very badly scalded with the boiling contents of one of the coffee pots.  

Previous to our having coffee the Captain had been invited to join us in a glass of wine which honour he declined. I believe his reason for doing so was to prevent his giving offence to others which he had refused and not out of disrespect to our party. Wood, however who is of rather a violent and irritable disposition, took it as an insult but little notice was taken of it at the time.  

After coffee a rather too abundant supply of wines and brandy was placed at our disposal and as night advanced several got jolly. By 10 0'clock all had withdrawn from our band, except Mr. Wood and myself. He had drunk pretty freely and by this time was a little excited. We sat together for about ˝ an hour over our cigars. He gave me a short sketch of his life. His father, he said, was an Independent Gent in England. He was his youngest son. He joined the Austrian Service some years ago and had fought the Hungarians under General Hayman. He certainly shows several marks of wounds received during engagements. He had fought duels and killed his man. He had undertaken his present trip at the request of his father who wishes to have him settle in N.Z. By all accounts he has been, and still is, a wild bird. His appearance is rather striking. He is well and rather handsomely formed, stands 6 feet 1 inch and wears a very fierce moustache and beard of a fiery red hue. He says he is only 24 but I would suppose him to be at least 32 give of a year.

About 11pm a thick, damp fog set in. I cut down our lamp and bade my friend Wood turn in, wishing him a good night. I went below. Most of the passengers by this time had gone to bed. I again returned on deck to have a few minutes walk before retiring. I found Leut. Wood, sitting at the Cuddy door, smoking.  He was shortly after joined by the Captain. They continued to converse in a friendly way for about 10 mins. during which time I kept up pacing along the deck. The style of the conversation, however, suddenly took a different turn. My attention was first drawn to it by hearing Wood calling the Captain "Liar" etc. The Captain immediately left him and went on the Quarter Deck, it being his Watch. He was quickly followed by Wood, swearing he would have the Captain apologise for insulting him. By this time he was very much the worse of drink. I followed him fearing there might be something happen.  

One other passenger came with me. (There was only one or two on deck.) Wood commenced and continued to abuse the Captain for nearly a quarter of an hour in the most foul and disgraceful language I ever listened to, all of which the Captain stood without taking any notion of it, further than requesting him to go below and not annoy him. On his oath, however, this would not do. Wood seemed determined to have a quarrel. He then planted himself before the Captain declaring that he would not permit him (the Captain) to pass. I saw that the affair looked very serious and endeavoured to prevail on Wood to let the Captain alone and settle the dispute tomorrow but it would not do. The Captain then began to wax warm and told the mad man (for he was nothing else by this time) he was acting the part of a mutineer and that if he did not instantly desist he would treat him as such.            

Reguardless of this warning, Wood raised his hand and knocked down our Commander who in his fall broke a chair which had stood by his side. Now commenced the Scene. The Captain, who's patience had been quite outworn, assumed the defensive. Seizing the remnants of the chair he drew a blow at Wood which stretched him on the deck. The passenger who stood along side of me then caught Wood to prevent further mischief while I seized hold of the now infuriated Captain who cried out, "Let me alone! I will make quick work of the villain." We succeeded in preventing further blows. The Captain then shouted in a thundering voice for the Watch. This, with other similar orders, speedily turned out the whole ship. Half naked men and women rushed on deck, terrified by the cries, and fancying the ship was going down.    

The most serious part, however of it, remained yet to be seen. It was the Watch on duty refusing to secure their prisoner. The Captain then told the passengers to stick to him if they valued their lives. The reply was, "We are ready. What shall we do”?  

The Mate and the Carpenter, alone of the crew, stood to their Captain. With their assistance Wood was lodged in his berth and the straight jacket put on him. During all this time he had continued venting forth the most foulsome language and using threatening tones such as, "Sink the ship! Buy up the men etc. etc." The Captain ordered a Watch to be placed at his (Woods’) door. It was fortunate he had done so, for he smashed the door and rushed out. He was instantly laid hold of, the Captain inflicting two severe wounds on his forehead, which bleed profusely. He was then tied down to his bed. The services of the Doctor were now in requisition. The Captain was cut on the face and severely bruised on his left leg. It is a sad affair and may go sore against Wood.  

Such has been the beginning and ending of this Christmas day. Nor is this all. Our ship which was scudding merrily along under a fair wind and heavy sea and steering S.S.E. was braced up close to the wind, for the Captain has determined to steer for the Cape where he will leave Wood.  This will cost a good 2000 miles extra sailing now. However, it will enable us to see the Cape which we otherwise would not have done, hear the news concerning the Kaffis, and get letters sent home.  

Saturday 27th December  

Firm, stiff breezes. Expect to reach Cape in 8 days.            

Our unfortunate passenger now repents of his rashness and has sent an apology to the Captain. I know not what effect it will have. To the Cape he must now go at all events. They have released him of his straight jacket and given him handcuffs instead. A strong chain and a staple is also placed across his door.  

I was requested by the Mate to sign as evidence, a declaration reguarding the assault, in his Log, which I did. I would not be surprised should a number of our crew desert us at the Cape. They know they acted wrong on Christmas night and dread the Captain's displeasure. There are 3 or 4 bad characters amongst them. The Captain has deemed it prudent to secure all the weapons which hang in the Poop Cabin, viz. pistols and cutlasses. He fears an attempt at the hand of the sailors to rescue Wood. I do not think they would try anything so rash but it is certainly right to be prepared.

Monday 29th

A lovely day. Light winds. All goes on quietly. Our Captain is confined to his room with his sore leg. It is likely to trouble him.  

Fishing for Albatross most of the day, without success. They are very wary. They fly quite close to us. There were more about us today than we have yet seen.  

Our visit to the Cape is now all our talk. I only hope we may get ashore. If there is anything done in the way of the Law, I am safe to go ashore. Meanwhile, we are preparing lists of articles for purchase.  

I have been debarred, from these few days back, from doing anything in the shape of work by my burned hand. I have remarked that any trifling sore or wound at sea takes quicker attention to effect a cure than is required on land. Our Mate is just recovering from a scratch he received from a nail.                                                                                   

Tuesday 30th

Such a day as yesterday. Light wind.
We are now booked for a long passage.  

Wednesday 31st  

My repose last night was disturbed by what I have dreaded for some time back viz. the unwelcome visit of a small colony of bugs. My neighbours have had them since we sailed and it is only a day or two ago since I had all my bedding and woodwork turned out and examined and washed down with turpentine. At daybreak this morning, I informed my terror-stricken mates of the visitation and after breakfast we had every article turned on deck and subjected to a minute inspection. I discovered and put to death about a dozen of the obnoxious insects. My three companions escaped. My bed is next to the adjoining berth, consequently I had got the benefit. We spent all the forenoon in sorting our room. Every seam and crevice we have filled with oakum steeped in tobacco juice, the whole tarred over and covered with paper. I think we have put a stopper on their further progress. Our berth now smells strong of tar and tobacco but we get accustomed to that on board ship.           

A squally night. Both our Topsails gave way by the force of the gale and it gave our Tars two hours good work to bend our new ones. Grog was served to them, after all was put to right. It still blows strong, the sea breaking over her. We are steering in the right direction so the winds may howl as fierce as they like. We feel as safe on board the old ship as if we were on land. She is a good old craft and [has] seen a deal of hard work. She has often been charted by the Government for the conveyance of Troops etc and amongst the service rendered to her country may be mentioned her trip to N.S.Wales with the Charlist Convicts "Frost, Williams and Jones."  

Thursday 1st January 1852

This joyous and congratulatory morning was ushered in with shouts of merriment, music and dancing, the ship's bell ringing the expiring year out and the new one in. A number of the passengers, not aware the reason of the noise and ringing of the bell, fancied it was another outbreak, others fancied it was fire and shouted out to that effect amidst the scene such as can only be seen on board ship [that] was the result. The Bright moonbeams shone down our Hatchway and were taken by the affrighted passengers for the glare of flames. Half naked creatures ran on deck only to become the sports of the jolly crew who had caused all the noise. The day was observed as a holiday on board but passed off quietly.  

Mr Mason, I and another Scotchman paid homage to the future day of our fathers and drank a bamper to our dear friends at home. In the evening we stood treat to a number of the passengers having prepared a very rag "bun" for the occasion. Sherry and nothing stronger was the beverage so all passed off quietly and pleasantly.


Yesterday and today have been two of the most beautiful days I have ever witnessed, warm but not scorching, the clear, bright sky forming a beautiful contrast to the deep blue rippling water. Our light barque passing onward under full sail by the breeze, danced merrily on her course like a thing of life. All our talk is now of the Cape. The Captain has consented to our visiting the shore. We expect to sight the land every minute. All is ready, the shipside washed down and the cable chain swung. I am yearning much to plant my feet again on "terra firma."  

Saturday 11th January 1852

The last week has been one of no small note with us. We had been looking eagerly forward to our visit to the Cape and had the gratification of sighting it about 4 o'clock on Sunday. By 9 we had entered the bay. The morning was beautiful and the scene grand. Before we cast anchor an Official's boat came alongside to enquire after our health etc. and direct us where to moor. About 40 sail of all nations lay at anchor, but chiefly British. Along side of us rode the Athenian from London to Australia with 208 passengers. She had put in for supplies. Out 15 weeks. We were 11.  

On casting anchor we were surrounded by boats of all shapes and sizes, some with fruit and vegetables for sale and others to convey intending passengers on shore. The Captain informed us that we might go as soon as we were ready and that we might remain for a couple of days at least. No time was lost and another hour found most of us treading the shore of Southern Africa.  

The novelty of our situation was quite exciting. Everything was strange to us, the houses, the inhabitants and the picturesque scenery before us. After passing thro' several streets we made a halt in front of the London Hotel at which house we had been recommended to stop. It is kept by an Englishman and is one of the principal Hotels in town. Here a party of us made arrangements to stop, others found their way to different Hotels and Boarding Houses with which the town is well supplied.    

I had occasion to visit most of these places of entertainment and found all of them to fall far short of the comforts and conveniences of similar establishments at home. They are poorly furnished, uncarpeted rooms (with very few exceptions) and beds, I think, of straw or hay- little better than shakedowns but the worst feature of all is the evident want of cleanliness in which I think, so far as I could learn, they are all culpable.  

The first evening I was somewhat latish in retiring. I was shown into a double-bedded room, one bed was occupied by a stranger. Not quite satisfied with the appearance of the room I thought it advisable, previous to turning in, to examine my pallet. I searched for what I did not wish to find but found more than sufficient to interrupt my repose. On throwing the light of my candle over my sleeping companion I discovered the obnoxious insects engaged in their voracious work in such quantities that quite frightened me. After a little hesitation I stretched myself on the floor on a tiger skin where I slept soundly 'til 5 o'clock next morning.

I immediately got up and was joined by other two of our party. We then sallied forth to have a view of the town. Cape Town is pleasantly situated at the head of Table Bay on a sloping plain which stretches to the foot of a range of mountains the most prominent of which are Table Mount, the Devil's Peak, the Lion's Head and the Lion's Back.

The first of these, "The Table", is a stupendous mass of naked rock rising almost perpendicular from the valley below to the height of 3582 feet above the level of the Bay and extending in length about 2 miles in a horizontal direction. Viewed from our ship it had the appearance of the ruined walls of some immense fortress.  The Devil's Peak is a rugged pile of rock, adjacent to the extremity of Table Mount, of a conical shape and rises to within 300 feet of the first mentioned mountain. The other two, which in reality form but one, lie directly at the entrance to the Bay and are the first objects which strike the strangers notice. They take their name from the resemblance they bare to the King of the Forest.  

In the centre of the plain and under shelter of these gigantic mountains stands the capital of the colony "Cape Town." It is a well-built, clean looking town. The streets, regularly formed, branch off at right angles. Numerous squares, some of them very large, intersect the town in different directions. In these squares are held the public markets. I was just in time (6am) to witness the close of the vegetable market. It opens at sunrise by which time the farmers from the neighbouring country make their appearance at the gate. The mode adopted by these farmers for the conveyance to town of their produce is very odd, at all events it appears so to the English eye. To a light Dray, which an English porter would think nothing of dragging after him for miles, the Dutch farmer yokes from 12 to 18 strong bullocks, two abreast. Almost all the vehicles which come under my observation had attached to them what seemed to be a needless expenditure of power. Probably the quantity of horses or bullocks so employed mark the station or ranks of their owners for I certainly [think] some of the turn outs are more for show than service. Fancy a private family driving home from Church (the distance not more than 1/2 a mile) in a long wagon-shaped carriage drawn by 8 horses, one Darkey holding the reins, another a huge whip like a fishing rod, while a third stands as Tiger behind.  

The town contains a population of about 30,000 of a very mixed class, English and Dutch predominating. The latter appear to agree well with the climate and are easily distinguished from the sallow faced English by their full and portly proportions. Of the coloured population the Malay, Mozambique, Africana "nigger" and Hottentot prevail. They are distinguishable by their style of wardrobe, especially the headdress. I saw few of these latter inhabitants of pleasing appearance and hundreds of them of both sexes are detestably ugly. The Europeans on the other hand (probably from the contrast) were fine looking, particularly the ladies who dress very smart and graceful.  

I was somewhat disappointed with the commercial department. The shops are very plain and the stocks paltry. There are, however, a few rather extensive warehouses, which I understand absorb the country and shipping trade. With the exception of wines and ports everything sells very dear. By all accounts the Cape seems to offer many inducements to merchant trading of limited or large Capital. A large and lucrative trade is carried on with the farmers of the interior by barter. I met with several gents so engaged who informed me that by continued perseverance for a few years a fortune was sure to be made. The present Kaffir war, however, has exerted an injurious effect on it, excursions into the country being somewhat perilous.

Having a day or two to spend on shore it was proposed to make the ascent of Table Mountain. A party of 20 to 30 was formed. And Monday morning last was fixed for the time to try our climbing powers. On making enquires as to the proper route etc. we found few could give us the necessary information as it was a task seldom attempted it being both tedious and dangerous. However, having made up our minds we were not to be deterred. Accordingly, an early breakfast was ordered for next morning. When the time arrived, the number decided on making the excursion dwindled down to 7, two ladies and 5 gentlemen. The remainder formed various excuses. Some had changed their minds and would not try it, others would courageously await our return and hear how we had succeeded.   

About 9 o'clock our little party commenced their journey up the rocky mountain. It had been arranged that each should carry their own refreshments. I made up a parcel of bread and fruits for my share and a couple of bottles (one of beer, the other Cape wine.) These I slung over my shoulder. The others were similarly supplied. Passing thro' the town towards the east we entered the Government grounds on which stands the house of Sir Harry Smith the Governor General. The gates of this house, which is a long, plain building, form the entrance to the Government Gardens a place of public resort. On the opposite side of the shady path are the Botanical Gardens. Both of these enclosed grounds are open to strangers but as we were bent on other pursuits we passed on without entering either of them.  

We soon reached the outskirts of the town. Here are a number of very neat cottages built after the English fashion with sloping slate roofs (nearly all the buildings in town are flat roofed) with gardens attached. Here I observed the grape and figs in full luxuriance. Pursuing the course directed we reached the mountain stream along whose bank we had instructions to prosecute our journey.  

Our curiosity was here much excited by groups of Malay washerwomen engaged in washing clothes in the pools of the stream. For nearly 2 miles every available spot was taken up by 2 or more of them. As we passed them they would gabber and grin at us and pointing to our bottles would cry "beer, beer," the only word of English they could make use of. They were very lightly and oddly dressed. A few yards of loose white calico wrapt carelessly round their bodies formed their chief covering. Most of them had a headdress made of a Turkey red Gingham Hky [Hanky] of Glasgow manufacture. A few wore, what appeared to me to be, cast off dresses but cut short to suit their occupation and comfort. They looked like kilts, considerably short of covering the knee in their descent.  Their mode of washing is somewhat different from that adopted at home. They first steep the clothes, trampling them with their feet, then selecting a large round or flat, smooth stone they dash the various articles upon it singly, throwing them round their head like a flail. They then give them a touch of soap and another steep then, shaking them out to the sun, keep sprinkling water on them until they become bleached.  

Before we reached the foot of the mountains it was thought advisable to procure the services of a Malay guide and it was very fortunate for us that we did so, otherwise we should never have reached the top. Happily we fixed on a very decent, obliging fellow (qualities rarely found amongst this class of people) who agreed to conduct us to the top of the mount for 3/-.  It was by this time noon, the season mid summer and the powerful rays of the sun render doubly fatiguing our toilsome ascent. About 1 pm we reached the base of the rocky pile which rose to a dizzy height above our heads. Here we made a halt and panted. At this point the stream takes its rise and as no more water could be procured further up we emptied some of the wine bottles and replenished them from the spring.  

Two of our number here gave up the journey (a lady and a gentleman). They could go no further. Leaving them to descend at their leisure we resumed our labouring task and I must say it was the most tiresome day's work I ever accomplished. The distance was nothing, had it been anything like even climbing but our way was rough and irregular. We had steep grassy inclines so slippery that it was necessary to use hands and knees. Huge clumps of rock over whose shelving side in passing we had to use the greatest caution but the severest part of the work was the long and winding channels of loose rock and sharp edged stone which continuously gave way to our passing. This was the dangerous part of the work. Before taking a step we had to make sure of some tuft of grass, sprig or rock to support our weight. In many parts of the way a slip was certain destruction. We would fain have given up the attempt to reach the summit but for our guide who with his light dress and bare feet was quite in his element at such work and kept telling us that the road would speedily get easier. As it was, we were resting every 10 or 15 yards to take our breath and wet our lips with wine but for which more than one of us would have fainted. The heat was excessive and the perspiration ran off us in streams. In this way we dragged ourselves forward despairing but still persevering on 'til at 3 o'clock we stretched our weary limbs upon the flat top of this remarkable mountain. The extensive and varied view which met our gaze richly rewarded us for our toil. At our feet in the vale, basking in the sun, stood the neat little town the Capital of the Colony with its terraced roof square and vine groves. The Bay, on whose glistening surface rode our gallant barque a mere spec in the distance, is a perfect semi circle. It's sandy border vying in whiteness with the dashing surf as it breaks over the beach. The extended view embraced on one side the unbounded waters of the South Atlantic, on the other the plains and mountain ridges of the Cape. Altogether it was the most magnificent prospect I ever beheld.  

After spending what time we could spare (being anxious to have daylight for our descent), we prepared for our downward journey. Many consider this the worst part of the task but for my own part I would certainly go twice down than once up the mount. In descending we picked up some bouquet of beautiful flowers with which our pathway was profusely spread. One of our party had brought a fowling piece with him but we had not the fortune to see game of any consequence. We however shot a few specimens of small native birds for stuffing. I killed a very handsome creature (a Lugar bird) and have preserved it's skin.

On gaining the valley we dismissed our faithful guide. We gave him more than we had promised him and he seemed very grateful and pleased. By 8pm we reached the Hotel tired enough but highly satisfied with the days exploit.  

Next day, hearing of our success, two separate parties started determined not to be behind us. We advised them to be sure to take guides with them. One of the parties belonged to our ship the other to the Australian ship Athenian. Two only of the first lot (out of 8) reached the top, the other fagging and returning when about half way. Of the Athenian's crew none reached the summit and sad to relate one of them (a nice young fellow) lost his life by falling over a precipice. After a long search his body was found frightfully mutilated. Out of respect and sympathy for the deceased several of the English vessels hoisted their Ensigns half-mast high.  

On Wednesday matters were settled with Wood and our rebel crew. The Captain not willing to detain the ship by a Trial consented to allow Wood to take his departure. Two of the sailors got 2 months imprisonment with hard labour, a third got his discharge. In lieu of this we shipped 5 fresh hands so that we are now better off than before.  

On Thursday morning I joined the ship, taking with me supplies of breadfruits and wine. We were all ready to sail but the wind setting in dead ahead prevented us. About 3pm the flukes of our anchor snapped right through which sent us drifting to the beach. Another was instantly dropt, which fortunately caught and speedily brought us up. Table Bay is very much exposed to West and N.W. gales. The wrecks of 3 vessels lay along the beach. They had been driven from their mooring. Another day was spent in finding a new Anchor during which time numbers of fruit and provision boats visited us.  

On Friday I had a delightful bath from the bows of the ship. Five gentlemen leapt in together. Others would have gone but were afraid of sharks. I was assured by people on shore that few or none infested the Bay, so that there was little danger.  

Thursday 15th January 1852  

Cleared out from Table Bay on Friday evening last, since which time we have been beating about close handed under head winds, the high rolling seas breaking over us keeping the deck constantly wet. Many of the passengers are again sick, especially the Ladies. The ship's motion is more effective now from the short stay on shore. Today we were 14 miles further from N.Z. than we were 8 days ago. It is the intention of our Captain to go pretty far south, say 50°, in order to get strong westerly winds.

Monday 19th

Since the previous date we have had beautiful sailing weather and are still going over the water at railroad speed. 5 weeks of such weather will serve us. Our course is S.E. by E. We are going before the wind with Stern sail set. They are now giving her as much canvas as she can sweat under and nearly all new, the old sails being in shreds. The sea runs high and causes our ship to roll from side to side. We have not had this motion upon such an extensive scale before and we feel it especially at night. It is difficult to retain our places in our bunks.  For the first night or two I could get no sleep. Lately I have fashioned my bed after the style of an easy chair in which the motion is not so much felt. Formerly my head and feet alternately went up and down like the beam of an engine.

Wednesday 20th January 1852

The wind still stands to us and we average a good speed. All moves on peacefully on board. The weather is now perceptibly colder, the thermometer ranging from 56° to 60°. The fine, pure air, however, is delightfully bracing and I feel much stronger now than I did in the Tropics. The Mate gave me a sight of his chart today, which was very satisfactory. This last week we have gone a good 1200 miles on our course.  

Our Captain has never recovered from the affair on Christmas night. He has been confined to his room ever since. However, we don't miss him. Our Mates are good seamen and proficient navigators.

The sprightly motion of our gallant barque as she ploughs her way thro' the foam crested billows has been the cause of numerous little accidents resulting from falls on her slippery decks. Yesterday I fell down the Hatchway. A rather serious tumble but fortunately escaped with a few slight bruises.

Thursday 22

Kept watch last night with the Mate 'till 12 o'clock and had a few hours yarning. It came on very thick and foggy which kept on 'till noon today.

Numbers of Albatross were seen today. They always take best after a fog (it seems that the mist prevents them from seeing their food) so 4 or 5 baited lines were thrown out to them. I soon had one fast but he broke the hook. Altogether I had 10 or 12 of them almost on deck but they all got off. They are such a weight the tackle would not hold them. Another party, however, succeeded in bringing a very good specimen of them on deck. He measured 10 feet from tip to tip of the wings. He was cut up and the head, feet and wings preserved.   

The passengers made complaints today (and not without reason) reguarding the butter and fish last served out. An inspection was made of them by the Doctor, who immediately ordered the butter to be substituted and the fish pitched overboard.

S. Lat.42   E. Long  41

28th January 1852

Since last date we have had changeable weather. Fair breezes, head winds, calms and squalls and wretchedly cold. A few days ago we lay panting under the fierce rays of an African sun glad to find shelter from his pernicious beams. Now we are subjected to the very opposite extreme. The sudden transition is very sore on us. All our endeavours is barely sufficient to maintain the circulation. The decks are constantly wet, the sea washing them and occasionally rushing down our Hatchway floating our Cabin furniture. When running before the wind we rock like a cradle creating such confusion as is impossible to describe. This is certainly the most disagreeable part of our trip. Today the wind is fair but blowing furious, the sea one mass of foam and the billows of prodigious height. I stood on the Forecastle for hours together gazing on the raging tempest and I think I never beheld a more gorgeous sight. Our tug Barque rose and fell with the swelling sea like a duck and went plunging forward with [a] roaring noise at the rate of 12 to 14 miles per hour and that under a very small spread of canvas (fore and reefed fore and main top sails.)  Occasionally a toppling sea would catch her amidships and come splashing over her bulwarks in torrents sending everything moveable into the lee scuppers. One visit of the treacherous elements washed our worthy Doctor off his perpendiculars, amidst the laughter of the passengers.  

At another time the Steward was caught while passing from the Cooks galley to the cabin. His legs tripped up by the force of the sea and the dishes and contents scattered in all directions but the most laughable scene of all occurred with the Cook, who when occasions require, acts butcher. At the time I allude to he was employed in depriving a pig of its life blood and had just given it the thrust when a towering billow (as if to avenge the poor porker) fell heavily on the devoted Cook. Man and beast went rolling to leeward together and it was only after repeated attempts that poor piggy was secured. The Cook was in a woeful plight, thoroughly drenched with sea and besmeared with blood.  

Having plenty of time at our disposal I and a few others have been in the habit of playing a few friendly games of Chess and Draughts and being uncertain who is entitled to wear the Champion belt we have agreed to play for the victorship after this fashion: each to play with each, one game per day until the termination of our voyage.  

 The games to be registered and the party scoring the greatest number to be declared Champion. The players at Chess are Messrs. Yates, Cawkwell and Webster. At Draughts: Messrs. Cawkwell, Mason and Webster. I consider Yates and Cawkwell to be the best players. The former is arranging a work on the game for publication.




Grand Total

* 0 - 0 These are drawn games. I will mark off a couple of pages and note the daily result of the games as we proceed.  [see table above]  

S. Lat. 47     E. Long  55

We are now far enough south of EL. We still have to make about 120 degrees. With fair winds we can easily overtake 5 per day x (x miles in a degree in the Lat. 42.)                                                                                    

Monday 2nd February 1852  

The weather is now much milder, tho' still cold. The winds continue favourable today. At noon we were in E. Long 80°. In this quarter of the globe the wind blows 9 months out of the 12 from the West. Veering off course slightly a point or two to the North or South, we now calculate on dining in Auckland on Sunday, 3 weeks. We are gaining daily on time, our course being due East. At the rate we have of late been sailing we make about 20 minutes per day. (15 degrees of longitude make 1 hour of time.)

At present we have the sun 5 ˝ hours earlier than in London. When we dined today (1pm) our friends at home would be shaking off their slumbers. Affairs on board wear a tolerably fair aspect, passengers continue to maintain a friendly footing with each other and the time passes over our heads as agreeably as circumstances will permit.

Within the last day or two I have had the good fortune to secure a few fine specimens of the Albatross bird. I tried for a long time with the common English barbed hook without success. I then got the loan of a Sail Hook from the Mate and with it soon brought on board 5 very beautiful birds measuring from 10 - 12 feet from tip to tip of the wings.  Other two gents caught one each. Great demands were made on me for the heads, feet, wings etc. the portions considered worthy of preservation. I reserved for myself the head, feet and one wing of one of them and have since been engaged in curing them.                                               

The catching of these birds affords very exciting sport. Furnished with a good strong line, tanned if possible, affix a Sail Hook and a piece of cork within a few inches of it. The cork is to preserve the line from sinking. Bait the hook firmly with the fat of pork and drop the line astern. Some tact is required in managing the line properly. It is first let out about 20 yards and then retained until it catches the eye of one of the feathery tribe as it hovers around the ship before it alights on the water. It will make several circles around the fatal hook eyeing it [warily] and at every turn, drawing nearer and nearer to the tempting bait.  

At this stage of the capture it is necessary to manoeuvre the line. As it approaches the hook the line must be slacked out and the bait allowed to float smoothly and naturally along the water. This must be repeated until the bird alights; always drawing in the slack of the line while the bird’s head is turned. As soon as the victim touches the water, which it generally does a few inches astern of the bait, all the slack of the line must be thrown to it otherwise the speed of the vessel would drag the line out of reach of the bird. The bait and hook is quickly seized. Then, watching the proper time just as the line is getting taunt, the cord is smartly jerked which either deprives the prey of it's morsel or affixes the concealed hook into it's bill. If the former the game must be played over. If the latter all that remains to be done is to land him safe on deck. So, soon as it feels itself fastened it shakes its head endeavouring to rid itself of the treacherous steel, but it won't do. Feeling itself dragged involuntarily along the surface the bird arouses all it's powers of resistance, spreads out its immense wings and web feet to the water and uses every exertion to break from its tether. During this time a steady and strong pull is making on the line, care being taken to avoid any momentary slacking or sudden jerk (the one would loosen the hold of the hook, the other break the cord).            

The greatest danger of loosing it is while lifting him from the water. Its great weight tries the quality of the tackle and the fastening of the hook. As soon as he is within arms reach his head is laid hold of and he is fairly captured. When about to be killed, his beak is tied to prevent him from biting. A cord passes round his neck and fastened to the bulwark. He is then hoisted up by the heels and a knife passed across his throat. Parties taking a trip to this region and desirous of procuring specimens of this large and beautiful bird, as well as several others, should come provided with suitable tackle, especially one or two steel, or well enough iron, sail hooks of the fashion "g." (No barb.) Also, an abundant supply of alum, arsenic etc for preserving the skins.   

Monday 9th

I now make my notes at very irregular periods. It arises partly from want of matter worthy of notice and partly from the lack of convenience for writing or want of ability (physical) to which the extreme cold weather subjects me. Often my fingers are quite incapable of wielding a pen and we have no fire to warm our hands at.  

The weather of the past week may be described as a mixture of cold, wet, raw and disagreeable, a chilling contrast to the balmy atmosphere of the tropics thro' which we have passed. However, a few days more will transport us to more genial regions.  

Our Long is now 106, close upon the West coast of Australia but considerably south.  

Having now had some experience of an Emigrant's position at sea, I will offer a few words of advice to parties who may have a sea voyage in prospect. In regard to securing a berth within the Cabin of Intermediate, make early application. If the party has an Australian passage in view be sure to select one on the starboard side of the ship and if possible that one next to the partition which separates the Intermediate from the Chief Cabin (Berth No 8 on the sketch.)  

The advantages of such a position are very numerous. You may calculate on having the driest and cleanest berth in the ship. The prevailing winds on such a voyage blow from the Larboard [Port] quarter. Consequently that side of the ship stands considerably higher than the Larboard [Port] side (the right hand side.)  

 I have seen our Cabin in a puddle while those opposite were perfectly dry and comfortable. All spills, water, rain and high seas find their way to the Lee side. Again, the passage in front of the berth, on the Starboard side, is a perfect thoroughfare for all the passengers going to and from the Water Closets, store rooms etc. Compared to our neighbours opposite, our berths bare as great a contrast as a house in a crowded city does to a retired countryseat. See also that your berth has a scuttle hole for the admission of fresh air. This is of the first importance.  

Take a quantity of shelving nails, cords etc for fixing and a bit of wax cloth or carpet for the floor.  

 In reguard to articles for culinary purposes, few are required, say a coffee pot, a tin plate, pannikin and hook pot, tea cup, a tumbler and wine glass, tablespoon, knife and fork, cork screw, a few bags for Flour, rice, barley, peas, etc. Canisters with covers for sugar, treacle, tea coffee, butter etc.


* Note drawing of sail-hook used to catch Albatross.

In clothing don't burden yourself with too much. Say a pair of stout boots or shoes for wet weather and one pair of slippers. 4 pairs of trousers: one of stout duck or canvas, one old cloth do to wear when you get a ducking with the sea or while ducks are being washed, one for a respectable turn out on Sunday and one strong warm pair for colder weather. Don't forget a good strong Pilot Monkey Jacket. I found this the most useful article brought with me.  

Regarding supplies of provender, Emigrants can use their own judgement. I would advise a few bottles of wine and whisky ('tis better than Brandy) fruits, eggs, preserved milk, baking powder etc. spices, preserves.

Thursday 12th

Light and variable winds and calm since Tuesday.                                                                 

    Monday 16th

Head winds and squalls. Loosing ground. Steering due South, our course lies East.  

Wednesday 18th February, 1852  

Yesterday at noon the wind veered round to the S.W. and set in strong which has enabled us again to shorten our distance. Our Long. is now 134° E. leaving us 40° to make.  

We are now out 124 days. Some of our provisions are getting bad. The water especially and our butter is finished. However, we don't mind much about it, being so near our destination. We all continue healthy.  

Last night, as I was preparing to retire, a very heavy sea struck us on the Starboard quarter which stove in the Mate's Cabin, flooded the Stewart's Pantry and came rushing down our Hatchway in tons. Fortunately our berths were on the weather side so we escaped this visitation. Some in the Steerage were actually washed out of their beds.  


Fine day (comparatively speaking) tho' gusty and showery. Fair wind. Long. at noon 143.

A porpoise caught yesterday. Many have been struck but this is the first one captured. It measured close on 7 feet. I had a bit of it for tea tonight. It was very savoury. I mean to have a mess of it for dinner tomorrow. Besides a large quantity of meat it yielded about 3 gallons (of) beautiful oil.  

Had a concert this afternoon in the Poop Cabin, a totally creditable performance. We played or sang usual Choruses Glees etc. Music is a source of great pleasure on Board Ship. Everything else gets tame.  

The want of butter has created great dissatisfaction amongst most of the passengers, more especially since learning that the Captain has been in the habit of selling it to the Poop passengers. The Captain has offered in lieu of it, 1 lb of flour and 1/2 lb currants which has been refused. They sent him a note to the effect that they would take 3 lbs of flour and 1/2 lb of currants and nothing less.  One or two are determined to expose the parties to blame I believe that there has been an insufficiency slip. The owners are obliged to put on board 6 months supply of everything which they have failed to do in regard to the butter.  


Beautiful mild weather again. We are now leaving the dreary South, our course now N.E.

We had a nice little (and I hope the finishing) rumpus in our Mess today, women, as usual, the cause of it. The majority of the ladies on board (I hope) are a bad sample of their sex. If not the stock is to be dreaded. I was obliged to act a rather ungallant part in the row but I came in for a lash of their "unruly member." I was pressed to tell them what I think of their conduct, as they are parties for whom I never could entertain any respect. I spurn their bad feelings.  

Monday 23rd February  

Yesterday we had service, as usual, in the Cuddy the Captain and Doctor officiating. Prayers were read in the Episcopalian fashion, a few of us forming ourselves into a choir for the singing of the Chants. These are very pleasant meetings and I hope production of good to all who attend them.  

The Roman Catholic Priest and his charge (5 Sisters of Mercy) of course do not attend our religious meetings, their devotions are all done in private. Since we left the Cape I have seen little of them. They keep themselves confined to their Cabin except on fine, settled weather when they may be seen for a short time taking a little exercise in pacing the Poop deck. To all appearance they are very happy together. They are all Irish, from Dublin. Two of them are confirmed Nuns, the other three are Novices and I have been informed, Ladies of Fortune. All appear to be about one age, 26 to 30 years. The Priest is a very reserved individual and I think I may safely give him the credit of being a simple-minded devotee.  

Today we had the butter substitute matter settled to the satisfaction of nearly all. What is worse than our want of butter, is the quality of water with which we are served. Today we have had the worst that has yet been given out. It is almost the colour of pea soup and nearly as thick. Our sugar also is getting bad. It tastes of tram oil, I presume it has been put into an old oil cask. It requires a good appetite to enjoy a meal with such materials.  

I would here advise parties going a long sea voyage to add to the stores previously mentioned Loaf sugar, good tea, and cocoa. Our coffee beans are burned instead of roasted.

Altho' we are as well off and as comfortable as we anticipated we should be on board ship, I believe we fare rather worse than the majority of Emigrant ships. The Kat. S. Forbs. is not one of the Willis (Companys) regular vessels and the Captain is unaccustomed to dealing with passengers. He is a good seaman and a skilful navigator but not quite the cut for a passenger ship.

Wednesday 25th  

Baffling wind has once more interrupted our progress. Made little or no progress all day.

8pm a ship in sight on our lee quarter but night closing in. Can't make out what she is.

The wind is veering round and I expect will be favourable in the morning.


Little rest last night. The winds blew strong and twice were all hands called on deck to shorten sail. This morning when I got up I found her riding under only 4 sails and two of these double reefed. The process of reefing topsails requires all hands and being hard work and somewhat dangerous the tars are usually allowed a glass of rum or brandy after finishing. The last portion of the work is the re-hoisting of the yards to which the sails are attached, and in doing so the sailors give vent in their loudest strains, to some of their favourite sea songs. One man takes the lead all the others joining him in the chorus, at which point the rope receives the united drag of the whole crew. Awakened from our slumbers by a pleasing melody to which the words are usually sung the sensations produced are of an agreeable and soothing nature reminding me much of the nocturnal effusion's of the Straits at home.

Before returning to rest, the Heavens which but a short time previous displays it's boundless neck of teeming worlds, suddenly becomes overcast with waffles of clouds of a dark and threatening character. The breeze just sufficient to fill our sails and fan us slowly forward on our course gradually subsides into a calm.  

All is still but the eye of the Mariner can trace the signs of the coming storm and hastens forward his preparations to meet it. The treacherous wind makes it's first approaches in light fitful gusts as if to tempt the unwary seaman into a greater spread of canvas.

 'Tis midnight. The passengers have sought their cabins and sleep has wrapt them in her oblivious mantle. Soon the floodgates of the tempest opens and pours forth their "Fury Deluge" upon the devoted Barque. Nature and Act contending gradually affects the slumber until, under mixed sensations of pleasure and fear, he regains the use of his perceptive faculties. He is soon convinced that the vessel in which he lies labours heavily in the midst of a storm. The rush of the bubbling water sweeps past his ear. The gurgling noise of the billows as they shoot thro' the scuppers and over the rails is distinctly heard. The incessant creaking of the timbers and the howling voice of the tempest, yelling at the temporary check it receives by the outstretched sails, or whistling triumphantly as it sweeps through the cordage, throws a thrill of inquietude thro' the frame.                      

It is when so situated that the lighthearted song of the watchful crew rising above the storm steals gratefully on our ear, reassuring us that "All is well."  

We may then wrap ourselves snugly in our blankets and endeavour once more to court that repose which had been so unceremoniously chased from our couch. The composition of their songs is not of brilliant character, the words being generally coined on the spot.  

The following may be taken as a specimen:  

Cheerily Men.

Oh outward boundin,' yo ho cheerily men.
Take care you don't ground her, I ho cheerily men.
Oh safely we'll round her, O ho cheerily men.
A hally I ho, cheerily men.
A randy, dandy I ho, cheerily men.
Pull for the Brandy, Oh ho cheerily men.
Oh, won't it come handy, yo ho cheerily men.
O a hally I ho, cheerily men.
Oh we are the Boys, A ho cheerily men.
The girls true toys, yo ho cherrily men.
Oh, come make a noise, O ho cheerily men.
O hally yo ho, cheerily men.            

The lively strain to which these words are sung has become a favourite, and familiar to us all.  

The Sail seen yesterday was again in sight this morning on our weather quarter. At the same time the wind shifts round favourably. As the vessel was steering the same course as ourselves we made all sail to give her a run for it. We kept abreast of each other the whole day, dashing along at a fair pace, gradually closing until about 6pm when the Whaler (for such she proved to be) crossed our bows at speaking distance. She was a beautifully rigged ship and with every stitch of canvas spread presented a truly magnificent sight. She was evidently dodging about in pursuit of whales; two men were posted as look outs on her Fore and Main topgallant yards.  


Beautiful day, but calm.  E. Lat 42   S. Long 60'  56'  


Foul wind in the morning but gradually coming round and increasing in power.

At 8pm shortly after a brilliant sunset a very sudden squall overtook us accompanied with heavy rains, lightening and thunder. It was, unquestionably, the severest puff we have yet encountered. I looked every minute for some part of her rigging to go or turn turtle (the seaman's phrase for going on her beam end.) An hour's exciting work at reefing followed, and she rode it out gallantly. The thunder pealed and the lightning flashed, literally lightening up the heavens, at intervals during most part of the night.  

Sunday 29th  

A lovely day, cloudless sky and fair wind. I calculate this will now be the last Sabbath I will spend on board the "Katharine Stewart Forbes." It is now 19 weeks since we left the Downs. We could have made the harbour of New Plymouth tonight but as we proceed to Auckland first we take plenty of sea room in order to weather the North Cape.

The minds of the passengers, as might be expected, begin now to reverse to the termination of their long voyage. Dull care, so long banished from his seat in their minds, has unmistakably once more usurped his throne. Hope, fears and anxiety are depicted in many countenances, which for the last blessed four months have only portrayed the innate feelings of mental tranquillity and independence.   

Monday & Tuesday  

Two beautiful days and fine sailing. Land will be due tomorrow should the wind hold on. I have been busy gathering in all my odds and ends and packing up.  


Worse than disappointment has been our lot since last date. We were almost within hale of land when doomed to encounter a most terrific storm, resulting in the loss of life and considerable damage to the vessel, but thanks to Providence we have weathered it out with far less loss than appearances at the time indicated. On Wednesday and Thursday we had head winds and squalls and badly lost ground. At midnight on the latter day, affairs looked worse and the fore topsail was reefed. On Friday morning when I got up it blew strong off the land with rain and at 8am the Main topsail was ordered to be reefed.  

I take the commencement of the gale from noon of this day (Friday) an unlucky day with Seamen. They say we should not have sailed from Table Bay on a Friday (which we did 2 months ago) and certainly their superstitious notions in respect to this day have been strengthened from what we have just experienced. Their ideas in respect to Sunday are not less singular, if they dread the Friday, they have a Sailors reverence for the Sabbath. They prefer doing all matters of importance on Sunday, especially that of weighing and dropping anchor. About 4pm, on aforementioned unlucky day, matters looked very threatening and all hands were again ordered to shorten sail. All sails were taken in except the Fore, Fore Top and Main Top sails. The two latter double reefed.  

The sea had risen considerably and being close-hauled we shipped a deal of water. We now rode, for the first time since sailing, under double reefed Top Sails. At this time I was tempted to sound some of the old seamen as to their opinion of matters. They assured me that it was pushing into a Gale and they only hoped the rigging of the old ship would carry her through it. From 4 'til 6 the wind steadily increased, the sea rising in proportion. It was evident from the anxious looks cast by the Captain and his Officers to windward and the nature of the orders issued by them that the brunt of the storm had not yet reached us. About ˝ past 6 all hands were for the third time this day ordered to shorten sail. "Close reef," were the words. Grog was served out in this instance previous to their going aloft, probably to empower them with courage, for at this time it blew with terrific fury. Before mounting, the Captain warned his men of their danger and hoped they would use every precaution on the yards.  

I was one of the few of the passengers who had, up to this time, kept upon deck and could distinctly observe all the movements that were going forward. It 'twas indeed a painful suspense to us the time employed on the yards. It made us dizzy to look at their perilous position. Night had set in ere the limited canvas of the Fore Top Sail was again braced round to the still increasing gale. The Main Top had yet to under go the same process. The Halyards were slackened; the reefing tackle drawn taunt and the men again mounted the riggings. They had nearly finished their dangerous work when suddenly the lee reef tackle snapped by the block, the buntings also gave way, and the huge sail, no longer confined, flapped with thunderous noise round the yards. In a few seconds the dreadful cry rose above the gale "a man overboard." Ropes, life preservers etc were instantly thrown after him but darkness, the furious blast and the tremendous sea rendered it quite impossible to save him. The sail had, after many attempts at reefing, to be furled.   

 It is impossible to describe the state of the passengers below, especially after the sad fate of poor Charlie [GLADDEN]. Men as well as women fainted. For two nights we were under battened down hatches, not withstanding which, the sea visited us in Tons, the heat almost suffocating. Today (Sunday) the hatches have been removed. On taking them off volumes of steam rose from the 'tween decks as from an oven. 'Tis a miracle the poor creatures are alive.  

The storm has now abated, but the sea runs tremendous, presenting a spectacle at once magnificent and terrific. Our vessel has suffered damage in her rigging. A considerable portion of her bulwarks, her main and quarter gunnels, have been carried away.  We have now weathered the N. Cape under a fair wind and are creeping down the east coast expecting to make Auckland tomorrow.  

Tuesday 9th March 1852  

I now close my Log having this day safely entered and anchored in harbour of Auckland. The impression made by the general appearance of the new country so far as we have seen is highly formidable. I will postpone giving particulars on this point to further letters.  

In writing notes of a Sea Voyage there of necessity occurs great sameness but it will the more truthfully serve to show the real nature of such an undertaking (a four months voyage.) There will be lots of blunders in these notes but I have neither the time, nor indeed do I consider it worth my pains, to glance them over for correction.

* Alexander Webster would be very surprised if he could have known that to celebrate the 150 year anniversary of the arrival in Auckland of my ancestors,

 I painstakingly transcribed his journal and commissioned two oil paintings depicting events herein,


The following first-class ships are intended to be continued as Regular Traders:Tons.
Maori, C.G. Petherbridge                                                        900
Joseph Fletcher, J. Foster                                                       900
Cashmere, G. Pearson                                                            900
Sir Edward Paget, A. Barclay                                                700
Cresswell, J. Williams                                                             700
Simlah, G. Robertson                                                            750
Stately, T. Ginder                                                                   700
Victory,                                                                                  700


The undersigned Agents for the above splendid Line of Vessels, are authorised to arrange with settlers here who may be desirous to bring their families in Great Britain out to this colony, and are requested either to pay passage money at once to them, or to give a satisfactory security for its payment on arrival of the vessel.


Chief Cabin                                                 40 guineas each
Fore Cabin                                                  26              
Steerage                                                      20              
Ditto, for single men only                             18               
Children under 7 years, one-third, or under 14 years, two-thirds of the above prices.
Further particulars on application to BROWN & CAMPBELL.
Auckland Dec. 18th 1852
** A guide line to prices paid on the Katherine Stewart Forbes also by H.H. WILLIS & Co.



Arrived Auckland 9th March 1852 – New Plymouth 20th April 1852
Comprehensive Passenger List Compiled from Newspapers etc.

Captain William WRIGHT
J. LABATT ( LABBATH?) Ship’s Doctor
Charles (Charlie)  GLADDEN – seaman lost overboard
**Leut. WOOD was put ashore at Cape Town,  after a fracas on Christmas Day.
CABIN. (1st Class)
George W.B. (B.W.?) JACKSON
Jane  (Agnes?) JACKSON
James McDONALD – Catholic Missionary  with 5 Irish Nuns, 2 Confirmed 3 Novices:
Sister Mary BERNARD - Angela
Sister Margaret EMMIE – Margeretta
Anna CASEY (Maria?)
Catherine Francis SANDERSON
Francis Ann SANDERSON (Fanny)
Susannah Rachel SANDERSON (Grandmother 65yrs)
John P (F?) POWELL
Charles H. POWELL
Madeline MEARNS (Miss)
Catherine COCHRANE
William  M (or W) YATES
William M. BURTON
Elizabeth B. BURTON
Margaret BYRNE
Thomas BYRNE
Richard Henry PRATT ( wife & 5 children)
Francis PRATT
Francis PRATT
William PRATT
Juliet  (Julia?) PRATT
William PRATT
Anna Mary BUTTON
George PATTERSON  (Brought entire Steam Sawmill to New Plymouth)
William PARKER
Alexander H?  WEBSTER * Wrote Diary available on internet.
Elizabeth WEBSTER
John B. STRANGE (family of 7)
Stephen N. NASH
William LEPINE
George GLEN
William BOYD (BOYATT?)
Henry REID 

Passengers who continued on from Auckland to New Plymouth
Departed April 12 – arrived April 21st 1852
POWELL                                                                                C. POWELL
R. GILMOUR                                                                         W.YATES
W.M. BURTON                                                                      Eliza BURTON
R. H. PRATT                                                                           Francis PRATT
F. PRATT                                                                                W. PRATT
Emma PRATT                                                                          Julia PRATT
R. BUTTON                                                                            D.M. BUTTON
G. PATTERSON                                                                     Eliza PATTERSON


The New Zealander

10TH March 1852

Shipping News

The barque Katherine Stewart Forbes arrived yesterday evening from London via Cape of Good Hope. She sailed from the Downs on the 21st October, arrived at the Cape on the 4th January, and sailed thence on 9th of the same month. She experienced fine weather throughout, until she arrived off the North Cape on Friday last, when she was caught in the heavy gale of that day, during which she lost one of her hands off the fore yard. The only vessel connected with these colonies spoken by her was the Robin Hood, whaler, of Hobart Town.  The passengers by the Katherine Stewart Forbes are nearly all for this port. After discharging her cargo here, she will proceed to New Plymouth, the only other port of New Zealand to which she is now destined.


The New Zealander

10TH March 1852  


It has been deemed advisable to postpone the publishing of an advertisement received late last evening from several of the Cabin passengers by the “Katherine Stewart Forbes.”


** Being so distressed by the difficulties experienced on their voyage, some passengers had wasted no time on disembarking, in immediately placing an advertisement in the newspaper to be published the following day. The  Editor thought it prudent to delay the publishing,  but the passengers were not to be denied,  and their advertisement expressing their dissatisfaction with their treatment was published on 12th March. 


The Southern Cross Newspaper

Auckland, New Zealand.

12th March 1852


 The long expected “Katherine Stewart Forbes,” Captain Wright, arrived in port from London, with 68 passengers, on Tuesday afternoon, after a tedious but prosperous passage of 140 days. She put into Table Bay, Cape of Good Hope, on the 4th January, and sailed again on 9th. She encountered the furious gale of Friday and Saturday, off the Three Kings; during which, we regret to say, one of her seamen was unfortunately knocked overboard from off the main top-sail yard into the sea, from which there was no possibility of rescuing him. The only vessel spoken by her was “Robin Hood,” Hobart Town whaler. – Ships were scarce and difficult to be had when Captain Wright sailed; but another vessel, name unknown, would sail for Auckland- to which port a much larger share of attention was being bestowed- about the middle of November. The Messrs. Willis had laid on a new 900 ton ship, the “Agra” for Wellington, and to sail about the same time.



Entered Inwards.

March 9th- Catherine Stewart Forbes, barque, 457 tons, Wm. Wright, Commander, from London, October 19th, Cape of Good Hope, January 9th.

Passengers, George Jackson, Jane Jackson, James McDonald, Mary Sweeyman, Anna Casey, Maragret Emmie, Julia Flaterery, Charles Sanderson, Fanny[Catharine] Sanderson, Fanny Sanderson, Mary Anne Sanderson, Susan Sanderson, Mary Twoney, John Powell, Charles Powell, Agnes Sinclair, Andrew Sinclair, Robert Gilmore, Thomas Cawkwell, George Cheeseman, Mary Shackell, Augustus Shackell, Arthur Shackell, Sarah Gjessing? Miss Merns, Miss Cochrane,----

William Yates, William ??? Burton, Elizabeth Burton, Richard Shalders, Eliza Shalders, Mary Byrne, Margaret Byrne, Thomas Byrne, Richard Pratt, Frances Pratt, Frances Pratt, William Pratt, Frances Pratt, William Pratt, Emma Pratt, Julia Pratt, Robert Button, Anna Mary Button, George Patterson, Elizabeth Patterson, Willliam Parker, Alexander Webster, Elizabeth Webster, Mary Chandler, Jane Reid.-

Stephen Nash, John Strange, Maria Strange, Emma Lepine, John Lepine, William Lepine, Daphne Lepine, John Mullins, George…G? John Cranshaw, John Hughes, William Boyd, Henry Reid, James Fulton.


From: The New Zealander. 13th March 1852


To The Editor of the NEW ZEALANDER.

Mr. Editor,- Will you be good enough to insert the following in your paper as an advertisement:-

The barque “Katherine Stewart Forbes,” W. WRIGHT, master, having just arrived in this port from England, the undersigned Cabin passengers in that ship wish, through the medium of your columns, to express their dissatisfaction at the treatment they have experienced during the voyage; they complain of a total absence of cleanliness, civility, and attention to their comforts, with an insufficiency of provisions, and, in many cases, those of bad quality. As our excuse, Mr. Editor, for troubling you with our complaints, we hope to prevent a recurrence of the same in future ships.

We remain, Sir,

                                                Your obedient servants,

                                                           CHARLES SANDERSON       
                                                            C.F. SANDERSON
                                                            S.R. SANDERSON
                                                            GEORGE B. W. JACKSON
                                                            A. JACKSON
                                                             S. GISSING
                                                            M. SHACKELL
                                                            JOHN F. POWELL
                                                            C.H. POWELL
Auckland.   March 9th 1852.
** Note: It is unusual for any passengers to place advertisements of this nature, or even one thanking the ships Captain for their treatment during the voyage. During my research in the early newspapers, I have only ever observed one other instance of this.


Southern Cross Newspaper (Auckland)
16th March 1852
To WILLIAM WRIGHT, Commander of the “Katherine
Stewart Forbes.”
Dear Sir,
            We, your passengers, beg to return you our most sincere thanks for the strict attention paid to the management of your ship; and also for the just, kind and gentlemanly manner in which you have treated us.
                        We remain, Sir,
                        Yours obediently,
James McDONALD C.M.                          G.H. CHEESEMAN
Sister M. BERNARD ANGELA                 Andrew SINCLAIR
         M. VINCENT                                   Robert GILMOUR
         JULIA                                               Madeline MEARNS
         MAGERETTA                                 Agnes SINCLAIR
         MARIA                                            Catherine COCHRANE
          FORE CABIN:
Henry Richard PRATT &                              William M. BARTON
    family of five.                                              Elizabeth B. BARTON
George PATTERSON                                   Robert BUTTON
Elizabeth PATTERSON                                Agnes BUTTON
William PARKER                                          Mary BURNS
W.M. YATES                                               Margaret BURNS
Hartley WEBSTER                                       Thomas BURNS
Elizabeth WEBSTER                                     Mary CHANDLER
Richard SHALDERS                                      Elisa SHALDERS
J.B. STRANGE and family                            S.N. NASH
    of seven.                                                   William BOYD
George GLEN                                              John CRAWSHAW
Auckland, New Zealand
10th March 1852


From: The “New Zealander.” 17th March 1852
“Katherine Stewart Forbes.”
                                                Auckland 9th March, 1892
            Medical Officer &c, &c, [ Ship’s Doctor.]
Dear Sir,
            We, as Passengers in the “Katherine Stewart Forbes,” wish, before separating, to tender you our thanks for your kindness during the voyage. We feel that your professional skill, attention and conduct as a gentleman are fully deserving of this expression of our opinion.
                                                We remain, Sir,
                                                            Your Friends and Well-wishers,
Charles SANDERSON                                    A.H. WEBSTER
C.F. SANDERSON                                        G. MASON
S.R. SANDERSON                                         H. WEBSTER
Geo. B. W. JACKSON                                   E. WEBSTER
Agnes JACKSON                                           M. CHANDLER
George CHEESEMAN                                    A.J. FULTON
Robert GILMOUR                                          W. PARKER
A. SHACKELL                                               G. PATTERSON
A.R. SHACKELL                                            E. PATTERSON
M. SHACKELL                                              Francis PRATT
Thomas CAWKWELL                                    Robert BUTTON
Sarah GISSING                                               Anna BUTTON
John F. POWELL                                            R. B. SHALDERS
Charles H. POWELL                                       Eliza SHALDERS
Agnes SINCLAIR                                            W. M. BURTON
Madeline MEARNS                                         Elizabeth B. BURTON
Catherine COCHRANE                                   W. W. (W. M?) YATES
Andrew SINCLAIR                                         Mary BYRNE
James McDONALD –                                     Margaret BYRNE
  R Catholic Missionary                                     Thomas BYRNE
Sister Mary BERNARD Angela                        J. B. STRANGE & family
        Mary VINCENT                                    S. N. NASH
 “       Maria                                                      George GLEN
  “      Margaret                                                  John CRAWSHAW
  “      Julia                                                     William BOYATT [BOYD]                                                                             
From:    The “Southern Cross.”  16th March 1852
  and      The “New Zealander.”   17th March 1852
To WILLIAM WRIGHT, Commander of the “Katherine Stewart Forbes.”
Dear Sir,         
We, your passengers, beg to return you our sincere thanks for the strict attention paid to the management of your ship; and also for the just, kind and gentlemanly manner in which you have treated us.
                                                We remain, Sir,
                                                            Yours obediently,
James Mc DONALD C. M.                             G.H. CHEESEMAN
Sister M. BERNARD  Angela                          Andrew SINCLAIR
      M. VINCENT                                          Robert GILMORE
     Julia                                                           Madeline MEARNS
     Margaretta                                     Agnes SINCLAIR
     Maria                                                         Catherine COCHRANE
 Fore Cabin:-
Richard Henry Pratt &                          William M. BURTON
  Family of five                                      Elizabeth B. BURTON
George PATTERSON                                     Robert BUTTON
Elizabeth PATTERSON                                   Anna BUTTON
William PARKER                                             Mary BURNS
W.M. YATES                                                  Margaret BURNS
Hartley WEBSTER                                          Thomas BURNS
Elizabeth WEBSTER                                        Mary CHANDLER
Richard SHALDERS                                        Eliza SHALDERS
J.B. STRANGE &                                           S.N. NASH
Family of seven                                                William BOYD
George GIEN                                                   John CRAWSHAW
Auckland, New Zealand.    
10th March 1852


The “New Zealander” 14th April 1852


April 12- Katherine Stewart Forbes, barque, 457 tons,
W. WRIGHT., for New Plymouth.




In the Katherine Stewart Forbes.

7 packages, C. Joslin; 1 case, 10 bales, 3 boxes, Graham & Henderson; 1 tin case, 12 cases, 25 packages, as addressed, 167 pkgs, 3 cases, 20 pkgs,1 box, 200 bags salt, 10 tons coal, Brown & Campbell; 8 cases, 3 pkgs, Connell & Ridings; 1 cask, G. Mason; 653 bars iron, 6 handles, do. 24 plates, 1 casting? John Watson; 400 packages, Gibson & Mitchell; 1 box, 3 pkgs, 11 casks, Webster & Mason; 3 boxes A.S. Webster; 1 frame? 1 box, J.C. Blackett;  5 bales, 18 casks, 5 trunks, 61 pakgs,5 casks, T. Lewis; 17 pakgs, 1 case, T.S. Forsaith; case & chest, Col. Wynyard; 8 cases, Rev. T. Buddle; 5 pkgs, H.Keesing jun. 6 cases, J. Jagger; 1 case Manager of Union Bank; 2 pkgs, D. Bowman; 1 case, R. Ward; 2 bales, 162 pkgs, S. Brown; 123 packages, C. Waitford; 6 cases R. Lusk; 3 cases, Rev. J.C. Abraham; 5 pkgs, W.S. Graham; 40 cases, Walter Brodie; 1 box, A. Asher; 1 crate, Dr. Pollen, 1 parcel, Mrs Bennett; 5 bhds? 30 cases, W. Hughes; 6 cases, R. Vidal; 1 bal. N. Barrett; 334 packages, D. Nathan; case and box, Capt. Loyd; 4 casks, J. Newman; 1 box, Capt. Parrett, 1 case, Capt. Cookcraft; 5 cases, J. Williamson; 3 trunks, 1 bale, 4 cases, 145 packages, Bevis? And Bartt; 17…….


Extract from the Journal of Viscemus Lush,

Anglican Vicar, March 1852.

He and his family were living in Ewelme Cottage, Parnell, Auckland.

12th Having heard that the Catherine Stewart Forbes with 68 passengers had come into harbour during the week, was early with all my work in order to have a clear evening for the enjoyment of the letters and papers I felt confident my dear Friends in England would send me. I sent Bridgford off with a bag for the looked for treasures and after waiting anxiously for upwards of an hour he returned with 5 letters from England-Oh what a treat- one from Auckland and 22 English papers and 2 Auckland ones.

The letter from Auckland was from Mr. Lewis apprising me of two packages- containing wine, Books and piano forte. The letters, papers, books and piano forte stood a good chance of reaching the bottom of the sea rather than our harbour, for the ship Catherine Stewart Forbes encountered a heavy gale last Saturday when off the Three Kings and was well nigh ship wrecked- one sailor, poor fellow, was washed overboard and of course perished.


Extract from “Colonial Fare”

By Jill Brewis.

In his diary Parson Lush describes the difficulties of transporting a piano from ship to shore- and the joy of the family receiving it.

March 18. Stepping out on to our front verandah just after breakfast I espied a large cargo boat sailing into our bay, and I guessed it contained some packages for me from the Catherine Stewart Forbes, so ran back to the breakfast room and announced the arrival of the long looked for Piano. The children were full of delight although little Blanny suggested that after all the boat might not be fro me, and therefore the Piano might not as yet have arrived; but I would not entertain the doubt, but sharing the hopefulness of Charlotte I put on my cassock (I wear a white Holland blouse from the time I rise till breakfast and from tea till bedtime: my cassock the rest of the day) and off I started for the beach- but ere I had gone far I met two men who, touching their hats, said “Please your Reverence, we have bought two cases for you.”

Fortunately I had three men working for me, two forming my straw rick and one heightening the parlour chimney, so calling them we put Jessie in the cart and went down to the beach. The mare wanted a deal of coaxing to face and enter the waves, but at last we reached the side of the boat, which had heeled over on to one side by the ebbing of the tide, and succeeded in placing the case containing the Piano safely on my cart: a few desperate tugs pulled us out of the soft sand and out of the water and I soon had the satisfaction of seeing the case stowed safe and sound on our garden walk. The bricklayer and I went down for the second case and then I commenced the very pleasant task of unpacking. At last it was exposed to our sight and even dear Mamma ventured from her bed room to see our new and very pretty instrument. Just now and while the covering was off and ere we could remove it from its fastenings, I felt a few drops of rain, the precursors as I thought of one of our Colonial drenchers, but by good luck we housed it safely before the flood came and Blanche was delighting us all with playing one of the tunes endeared by its association with Ewelme, when the rain was pattering down outside. Mother’s great joy was the piano, a present from her father. It was a great friend and companion for so many years.

                                                                 Annie Stuckey.


Copied from “The New Zealander”  12th March 1852

Ex. the Katherine Stewart Forbes and on sale at the stores of

H.E. Cook.

The following variety of goods of the very best quality and at remarkably lowest prices-

Very superior double napped blankets

Splendid coverlets of the newest patterns

Welsh flannels of the finest description

Lancashire dittos

Orleans clothes of the best quality

De Laine Dresses

Oregan ditto splendid pattern

Muslin dresses in great variety

Barege ditto

Scotch Ginghams

Hoyles best cambric prints

Navy blue dittos

Orange and blue dittos

Shawls of every description & newest styles

Laces in great variety


White and coloured Jacconets

Nets and edgings

Ladies and children’s gloves of every description

Ladies superior cotton hose

Children’s ditto

Gentlemen’s fine Lambs wool Hose

Cotton ditto

Ladies shoes and boots

Gentlemen’s ditto

Children’s ditto

Ladies corsets

Cambric handkerchiefs

Slendid silk and gauze ditto

Gentlemen’s Black and Coloured Satin


Ladies Tuscan bonnets

Straw ditto

Children’s ditto

Gentlemen’s ditto hats

Habit shirts

Ribbons in every variety



Tortoiseshell side,

Poll and Dressing Combs

Horn Hair, Nail and Tooth Brushes



Dress Trimmings, Sewing Silks, Cotton,




Waistcoat Pieces

Regatta, Check and Blue Serge Shirts

Trousers in great variety



Cotton and Worsted Night Caps

Navy Blue Cloth ditto

Splendid Cutlery


Confectionary, and English Wine

Biscuits in tins


Raspberry Vinegar


Lemon Syrup


Pearl Barley, Oatmeal


Marzettis Ale and Porter


Salad Oil

Yarmouth Bloaters


Knitting Needles

Ladies Silver Thimbles

Children’s ditto

Ditto Work Boxes

Ditto Small Musical Boxes

Ditto Dolls

Ditto School Books

Writing Paper


Steel Pens and Quills

Ink in Small Bottles

Sealing Wax and Wafers

Lead and Slate Pencils, Slates

Vesta and Lucifer Matches

Japan Waiters

Ditto Trays

Ditto Bread Trays

Patent Razor Strops

Finlays Coloured School Atlas

Chalmbers Ditto

Thomson’s Ditto

Galls School Ditto

Galls Cheap Ditto

Walkers Map of the World Coloured

And Mounted

Stewarts Modern Geography

Goldsmiths Geography

Bonnycastels Arithmetic

Ditto Algebra

Ditto Key to Ditto

Ditto Geometry and Measuration

Ditto Key to Ditto

Thomsons Enclid

Eton Greek Grammar

Ditto Latin Ditto

Valpys Latin Delectus

Bass Greek and English Lexicon

Kenny’s French Phrase Book

Ditto Word Book

Ditto Reader

Ditto Introduction Perrins Elements of French Conversation

Ditto French Spelling Book

Lempriere’s Classical dictionary 18 vol.

 Smiths 8 Vols:

Smiths Horace

Homers Iliad

Demosthenes Oritation

Virgils Encid

McCullochs Course of Reading

Ditto Second Ditto Ditto

Ditto Third Ditto

Kenny’s Spelling Assistant

Fenny’s Spelling Book

Lennie’s English Grammar

 Ditto Ditto with Key

Murrays English Grammar

Ditto with Exercises

Voster’s Arithmetic

Walkinghame’s Tutors Assistant

Bremer’s Guide to English History

Mangnall’s Questions

Knitting Books (Assorted)

Carpenter’s Synonymies

Children’s Books in variety etc

Drawing Room Scrap Books

Manuscript Books (assorted)

Ladies albums and Scrap Books


Pocket Bibles in plain and extra bindings

Polyglot (McPhun’s) in Morocco, Morocco Flexible, and Cape Morocco, with gilt edges

Church Services

Common Prayers

Watts Psalms and Hymns, in various


Ditto First and second Catechisms



Plain And Fancy Stationary etc

Fancy Letter and Note Paper and Envelopes

Coloured and Tissue Papers                              

Marble Papers, Spanish and Shell

Music Paper 6 and 12 staves

Students Note Cases

Ivory and Bone Paper Knives

Dutch Slate Pen

Drawing Pen and Pencils

Sable and Camel hair Brushes

Bow Pens

Indian Ink

Bristol Boards, foolscap and demy

Ebony Ruler, French polished.

      Parallel Rules

      Rodgers Penknives, best quality

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