Showing posts from January, 2014

Colonial Thought-Lines #5: Emigrant ships

Emigrant Ships

1. The CATARAQUI Tragedy 1845

1.1 Jackson's Oxford Journal, January 1845
To sail on the 1st of March, for Port Philip, a first-class Vessel, A1, 800 tons burthen, with full poop, and every accommodation to secure the health and comfort of the passengers, and will carry an experienced surgeon.
For terms of passage apply to William Smith and Sons, Liverpool, or Wm. Hatton, Kingston, near Tetsworth.
N.B. Farm labourers, female domestic or farm servants, and shepherds, with a few smiths, carpenters and wheelwrights, masons, and bricklayers, may obtain a free passage by applying as above."
[Andrew Lemon & Marjorie Morgan, 1995, Poor souls, they perished: The CATARAQUI, Australia's Worst Shipwreck, Australian Scholarly Publishing, Collingwood VIC, p44.]

1.2 Liverpool, 20 April 1845
"The Cataraqui sailed from Liverpool for Melbourne on 20 April 1845 with 367 assisted emigrants under the care of surgeons Charles and Edward Carpenter,…

Colonial Thought-Lines #4: Aloneness


William Adeney deliberately projects an image of abject 'aloneness' from the remoteness of his draughty slab hut in the Western District. Adeney was the sole licensee squatter on Chocolyn run, 5,948 acres of fertile lunette country abutting the large land holdings of the Manifold family on Lake Purrumbete. In his letters home to his mother, father, brother Henry and sister Ann, at 16 Sackville Street, Picadilly, London, he gives an impression of isolated loneliness, entirely bereft of human companionship, silently enduring hardships that are unimaginable to those he has left behind.

7 September 1843 "I am the only person in my hut my shepherd and his wife having gone to sleep in a watchbox near the sheepfold about 1/4 mile off. During my solitary life I cannot help thinking sometimes how much I should like to walk into the dear old sitting room & have a little chat with the dear ones there, but such thoughts as these must not be encouraged so …

Colonial Thought Lines #3: High wages

High wages

In the minds of the 'hard men'of Clyde Co., labour was a cost. Looking through the lens of annual company accounts and returns on investment, labour was a cost to be carefully contained at all times and, wherever possible, to be actively reduced. For managers like George Russell of Golf Hill (also senior manager of all Clyde Co. stations), A.C. Cameron at Terinallum, Alexander Russell at Hopkins Hill, and William Lewis ( under manager at Golf Hill), the wages paid to their workers were a primary obsession.

For example, Alexander Russell assumed management of Hopkins Hill for the company in 1844. In 1843 the previous manager Captain Gibbs had estimated a forward labour cost of 28 men averaging 31 pounds per annum plus rations. This was thought far too high. The new manager's Return for Men and Wages at September 1844 showed a radical restructure of employment for Hopkins Hill was already under way. It reported 17 employees now on the station with an average annual …

Colonial Thought-Lines #2: Collected sermons

Collected Sermons

This thought-line runs parallel to the former one, and without any apparent sense of internal contradiction from the squatters' point of view. Consuming spiritually edifying literature was widespread in the region during the fifteen yearsof early European settlement. Some additional demographic information may help to situate these readers of religious texts within their historical context - in their specifically colonial social and economic setting.

In A Distant Field of Murder: Western District Frontiers, 1834-1848, Jan Critchett calculates from the Chief Protector of Aborigines field reports that there were 3,299 Indigenous inhabitants in the region during 1841. In Men of Yesterday: A Social History of the Western District of Victoria, 1834-1890, Margaret Kiddle calculates from colonial administration census results that there were 1,270 Europeans in 1841, rising to 3,476 in 1846. Kiddle notes that "eighty-nine percent of the classified population...were se…