THE VOYAGE OF THE "CHRISTIAN McAUSLAND" JUNE TO SEPTEMBER 1874

NEW: 1874 PASSENGER LIST HERE

On its arrival at Port Chalmers, the following report was published in the Otago Daily Times, 5 October 1874. It is an interesting insight into travel conditions in general, but also has incidents particular to this voyage on which the Kissell's sailed to their new life in the Colony.


Otago Daily Times 5 October 1874

ARRIVAL OF THE CHRISTIAN McAUSLAND

The seasonable change that distinguished the weather of yesterday from that of the past week was, we re very sure, no more welcome to the folks on shore than to the unfortunate immigrants who had so long been cooped up on board the Christian McAusland within tantalising distance of the shore. The change was the signal for their release from the dreary position the ship had occupied at the Heads from last Tuesday evening. She was towed in by the Geelong, and having a good bill of health, was brought well up the harbour, and anchored off Carey's Bay. As soon as practicable after the arrival of the 10 a.m. Train from Dunedin, she was boarded by Mr. Colin Allan, Immigration Commissioner; Dr Drysdale, Medical Member of the Commission, and the Customs and Health officers. Captain Duncan, who by the way, is no stranger to the Port, having been there about two and a half years ago in command of the Maria, received his visitors with all courtesy, and both Dr Eadson, the surgeon superintendent in charge, and himself gave a very satisfactory account of those they had in charge. Considered from a sanitary point of view the passage had been fortunate on the whole. No infectious disease of a serious nature had broken out, but some of the children had been affected by varicella and whooping cough, and whilst the deaths from the latter complaint were three, there remained on the convalescent list fourteen children, and one child had discovered symptoms of varicella (chicken pox) that morning, but was on deck with the others and looked but little the worse of the attack. Seven deaths had occurred amongst the children, of these the first was in the case of Harry Oak, aged three months who died of want of maternal nourishment on July 13. On August 20th, Elizabeth George, aged eleven months died of dentition diarrhoea. Then a long interval of immunity from mortality ensued until the 24th. Sept., on which day three children died of whooping cough and one of dropsy their names and ages being John P. Symons, twenty-two months; Harriet A. Osborne, seventeen months; Frank Shuffill, seventeen months; and D. J. Scofield, ages two years and seven months, of dropsy. On the per contra side of this account three births appeared, one of them however, in the case of Mrs E. Osborne, September 26th, being premature. The other related to Mrs Mitchell, who was confined of a girl on the 15th September; and Mrs Forbes, also of a girl, on the 26th September. Mrs Mitchell's was a bad case - puerperal fever and convulsions having supervened,. Her recovery was very doubtful for some time, but she eventually rallied. Whilst upon sanitary matters, we may remark that two cases of insanity - one very decided, the other somewhat incipient - had appeared in two of the passengers. The first was that of a young woman named Margaret Anne Thompson, aged 22, who, a few days after the ship left London, was found to be downright insane. She attempted to jump overboard, and was restrained by the Captain at considerable risk, as she turned upon him like a tigress. She was placed in close confinement for a time, but during the remainder of the passage was permitted to go at large under close surveillance. The condition of this unfortunate young woman appeared to be quite normal when she joined the ship, but it afterwards transpired, through her sister, who also emigrated, that she had been more or less singular all her life, and never succeeded in retaining a situation for longer than two or three weeks. She also whilst at the Emigration Barracks gave way to violent conduct, that might have been construed into amounting to aberration of intellect. She was however "passed," and permitted to bestow herself upon the colony. The other case mentioned had reference to one of the married men, who, from what we could gather about him, led to the inference that he was but slightly crazed. That he was not quite sound was, however, evident, and hence his decided unfitness for colonising purposes. The Colony is quite capable of raising its own fools and has produced a tolerably fair crop already. With these two exceptions, we can pronounce favourably of the Christian McAusland's immigrants. They all - married people, single women and single men - appear to be healthy, strong and respectable. Their demeanour was quiet and unassuming, and not the slightest taint of rowdyism is perceptible amongst the single men. Captain Duncan was loud in their praise. They had given no trouble whatever, and their behaviour whilst the ship was detained at the Heads, was marked by exemplary patience. We are, as a rule, inclined to regard the condition of the compartments of an immigrant ship as the reflex of the character of those who occupy them. A clean ship constitutes an excellent testimonial, and we were therefore highly gratified to note the extreme cleanness and neatness of the compartments of the Christian McAusland. The married people were berthed on the block system, and had plenty of space and ventilation, but too little privacy. Both the single women and single men had excellent quarters; the former were very highly spoken of by Mrs Thomson, the Matron. The ship had been well prepared for the reception of immigrants, the offices were abundantly sufficient, and a fresh water condenser, by Chaplin, was quite a prodigy in its way, the engineer affirming that it had condensed at the rate of 1000 gallons a day. The immigrants comprised 183 males and 170 females equal to 283 ½ statute adults. They are classified as follows:
62 married couples, 41 single women, 66 single men, and 112 children. Of the latter, 17 are infants - viz. 8 males and 9 females. Arranged according to their nationalities, the immigrants stand as follows: English 128 males, 112 females; Scotch, 20 males, 20 females; Irish, 27 males, 31 females;  foreigners, 8 males, 7 females. So much for the immigrants. Of the ship herself, we may observe that we are delighted to welcome the well-known Christian McAusland, one of the finest of the vessels constituting Messrs. P.  Henderson and Cos. Fleet. She has had a hurried time of it since she left here at the beginning of the year, her stay in London not exceeding 21 days. In that short time she discharged, loaded and made ready for her living freight. Captain Tilly her old commander, left her to take charge of the Invercargill, one of the Albion Company's new vessels, now on her way out here, was and succeeded by Captain Duncan. Reckoning her passage from port to port the ship has made the poor time of 98 days, but from land to land she did well, the run being made in 83 days. She was humbugged by head winds in the English Channel for six days, and has been detained outside this Port since yesterday week by the prevailing bad weather. The passage was not without its incidents. On the 2nd of August, the ship then being on the Line, a serious disturbance, amounting in fact to mutiny, occurred. It appears that four of the seamen, named respectively Andrew McKenzie, James Murphy, John McCarthy, and Claude Mann, persisted, contrary to orders, in introducing the senseless and disgusting mummeries that used to be practised when a ship crossed the Equator outward bound. The four men fantastically attired, came aft, and when ordered to go forward by Mr Strachan, the chief officer, roundly abused and then fell upon him. What we are now stating is the gist of an entry in the captain's official log. Hearing the noise, the captain rushed on deck, and seeing his officer down and two men on top of him, he pulled one of them off, and received in return a blow in the face. A serious fracas then ensued, the men using vile language and threatening to knife the captain, and avowing that they did not care for captain, doctor or the Government. Murphy and McCarthy were the worst of the four, and seeming inclined to proceed to extremities, the chief officer rushed to his cabin and procured a revolver, and then threatened to shoot the first man who attempted to use a knife. His determined attitude produced the desired effect, and the men presently went forward and quiet was restored, but not before a number of the passengers had assembled to take the side of law and order. Death carried off two of the crew during the passage. The first to meet his fate was an A.B. Named John Walterston, who, whist helping to stow the main royal at midnight lost his hold and fell overboard, striking the main rail as he fell. This happened on the 18th of August, Lat. 45 S., Long. 21.15W., blowing a strong breeze at the time, and the ship going 13 knots. The poor fellow was never seen again. The second death was that of James Day, the boatswain of the ship, and he succumbed to an attack of pneumonia on August 20th, aged 44 years. The ship commenced her passage on June 28th, and worked down Channel against a fresh westerly breeze; passed the Lizard on the 4th, and took a final departure from Scilly the same night. Next day the breeze went into the eastward, and held there moderate, gradually merging into the N.E. Trade until the Cape de Verde Islands were breasted. There it gave out on the 20th July, and was followed by some days of doldrum weather. On the 2nd August the Line was crossed in long. 20 W., and in 1 deg south the S.E. Trade met the ship, and stuck to her until she reached 22 south on the 11th. It was a poor Trade, hanging much to the southward. Thence the passage may be briefly summed up. Variable unsettled weather prevailed, being cold, while the ship ran her easting down between 47 S. And 49 S., with frequent and heavy snow storms. Winds were likewise variable and unsatisfactory. Of steady Westerlies there were none, and the ship seldom made 24 hours steady consecutive running. She crossed the meridian of Greenwich on the 22nd August, the meridian of the Cape on the 26th August, and the meridian of the Lenwin on the 15th September. At 11 p.m. On the 25th September land was sighted at the Snares, and then exceedingly thick foggy S.E. Weather came on. The coast was, however rundown, and sight of Taiaroa Head obtained on the evening of the 27th, but as it was still thick and easterly, the ship was kept off the land and dodged about until last Tuesday evening, and then ran in and anchored after Pilot Kelly had boarded her. How she was kept there by S.W. Weather and the want of an efficient steam tug to do the work of the Port we have already narrated, as also her ultimate arrival inside. We understand that the immigrants she brings will be landed to-day.


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