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ARTEMISIA London to Australia 1848

From 'The Illustrated London News', August 12th, 1848 - many thanks to Tony Dalton for the transcription.

About a fortnight since we received an intimation that, in a few days, the first emigrant ship would leave the port of London for the new settlement of Moreton Bay, New South Wales, or Cooksland. There was a promise of considerable interest in the announcement, more especially at the present time, when the experiment of emigration on a large scale is occupying so prominent a share of public attention. Accordingly, we resolved to visit the vessel (the Artemisia), before her departure.

We should first explain that it is not as generally known as it should be, that the Government gives free passage (including food), to New South Wales and South Australia, to agricultural labourers, shepherds, female domestic and farm servants, and dairy maids; also, to a few blacksmiths, wheelwrights, carpenters, and other country mechanics. The vessels are first-class, and proceed every month to Sydney and Port Philip, in New South Wales, and to Port Adelaide, in South Australia. The ships sail from London and Plymouth, where dépôts are fitted up for the emigrants.

The conditions may be learned from 'The Colonisation Circular' , issued by her Majesty's Colonial Land and Emigration Commissioners, so that we need not here enter into the details. We may, however, mention that the emigrants must be of good character, and recommended for sobriety and industry. Each must provide himself with clothing and, on being accepted, must pay £1 10 shillings for every child under 14, as security that he will come forward and embark.

During the voyage they are placed under the exclusive superintendence of the surgeon, not only as their doctor, but as their sole superintendent and, on their arrival, a Government Agent gives advice as to wages, and places where they will get work. No repayment is required. The full particulars are furnished at the Government Emigration office, 9, Park Street, Westminster, or by agents in most other large towns. 'The Colonisation Circular' may be purchased for tuppence, of Mr. Knight, 90, Fleet Street; of Messrs Smith and Elder, Cornhill; or, by order, of any bookseller. The last issue (No. 8) is in its third edition; it is dated July 24th, 1848. The next circular will appear in the spring of the ensuing year. We give this circumstantial information as much for the use of persons intending to emigrate as for those who are disposed to aid such individuals, by making for them the necessary inquiries, and superintending their departure.

Saturday, July 29th, was the day fixed for the departure of the Artemisia. She lay off the stairs adjoining the Royal Dockyard at Deptford, near which, also, is the dépôt. This is a house rented by Mr. Cooper, who receives here any persons who may produce an 'Embarkation Order' for any ship chartered by the Government Commissioners. The premises are situated in Czar Street, Deptford, nearly upon the spot where Peter the Great, a century and half ago, learned practical shipbuilding. There is a fine memorial of the circumstance in a wide-spreading mulberry tree called, to this day, 'Peter the Great's tree', on the side of the street facing the dépôt. This, by the way, has more the character of a homestead than an official appearance and, viewed with the mulberry tree, is a little bit of old English scenery, though the association is soon dispelled by a direction board inscribed 'Emigration dépôt'. Here the applicants, provided they appear on the date specified in the Order, are boarded and lodged at two shillings per day, paid by the Commissioners; they are kept there until they have been examined as to the state of their health by the surgeon appointed to the ship in which they are to embark and by Lieutenant Lean, R.N., the Emigration Officer, and his assistant, Mr. Smith, as to their answering the description given of themselves as to their previous occupation. During their stay here, they are treated with kindness and attention. The above enquiries are, however, indispensable, and should the applicants appear in every respect eligible for free passage, arrangements are made for berthing and messing the passengers: a ticket with a number is a fixed to his or her berth; the bags and messing utensils are given out, and on the former is marked the number, so that each knows his or her berth, ongoing board. To each adult is also supplied bedding, which is put into the respective berths. These preliminaries usually occupy three days.

The Artemisia is a fine ship, of 558 tonnes, spick-and-span brand new; owner, Mr. A. Ridley; Captain, John Prest Ridley. On board we found Lieutenant Lean, whose obliging attention to our inquiries it is our pleasant duty to acknowledge.

The number of emigrants on board we ascertained to be as follows:
Married couples (42)
84 persons
Male children
32
Male infants (under 12 months)
4
Females (between 1 and 14)
23
Female infants (between 1 and 14)
4
Single men
42
Single women
20
Total
209

The passengers were agricultural labourers and artisans from various parts of England and Scotland, from the infant in its mother's arms to those in mid-life.

More passengers would be taken on board at Plymouth.

It is not requisite to describe the interior of the vessel - the arrangement of the ships charted by the Commissioners is generally the same. The upper deck of the Artemisia is handsomely fitted, so as to accommodate passengers of the better class. Here we tasted the provisions for the emigrants, the biscuit, beef, and pork, and found them of excellent quality.

Soon afterwards, Lord Ashley arrived on board, and made a tour of the vessel. Among the emigrants were nine from the Ragged Schools in Westminster, in the promotion of whose philanthropic object his Lordship has evinced unceasing interest. There were seven boys and two girls: the eldest of the boys had been found in the street in a wretched condition, almost without clothing - he was sent to the Ragged School of the district, where he soon showed an aptitude for learning and now enjoys the benefits of a good, plain education, fitting him for the duties of middle life. He and his companions are the first individuals from the Ragged Schools that have left in this country as colonists: they were sent out at the private expense of a Lady and two gentlemen. The Government, we learn, are about to send to one of our colonies 150 individuals from other Ragged Schools of the metropolis.

We inspected the accommodation between decks and were glad to find so many books in hand. We were happy, also, to see the officers of the Prayer Book and Homily Society distributing their publications: what hopes must they nourish, in time of peril upon the waters!

Bye-and-bye came the dinner, the meat well-cooked and of good quality; though, of course the table had not all the snugness of the cottage meal. The parties were in messes of six or eight individuals and the comfort of the voyage is much studied by berthing near each other those who come from the same part of the country, and messing as nearly as possible those who are friends. The great order maintained on board is also indicated by the 'Regulations' and 'Dietary Scales' hung up in conspicuous places between decks.

Lord Ashley quit the ship and, before his going, took leave of each of the Ragged Scholars, receiving from each a promise to write to his Lordship, and acquaint him off their fortunes. As the boat conveyed the benevolent nobleman from the ship, there was a warmth of cheering which it was delightful to hear, and an earnest expression of gratitude upon many faces which was delightful to witness.

Towards evening the Artemisia made ready to sail. She was taken in tow by a steam-tug to Gravesend: we proceeded in her a short distance and then, with heartiest wishes for a safe voyage, we bade adieu to the new ship, freighted with so many anxious souls.

Sydney Shipping Gazette, Volume 5, Number 248 (16 Dec. 1848) p. 301

The emigrant ship signalled to the southward on Saturday evening last, was the Artemisia, 558 tons, Captain Ridley, from Plymouth the 15th August, bound for Moreton Bay, with 241 emigrants, Mr. G.K. Barton, surgeon-superintendent. She hove too [sic] within three miles of the heads about 6 pm, and made the signal for a pilot, when Mr. Gibson immediately proceeded to her. Upon getting on board, however, he was informed by the captain, who was ill in bed from a disease of the liver, that it was not his intention to come into this port, and that he wished him to remain on board the ship outside the Heads during the night, while the chief officer came up to Sydney to procure a chart of Moreton Bay. This Mr. Gibson declined doing, and advised the captain to allow him to take the vessel into harbour. Captain Riddle [sic] not falling in with Mr. Gibson's suggestion, the latter quitted the vessel, and had a narrow escape of losing his own life, and those of his boat's crew, for, on the boat entering the heads, a gale commenced from the southward, and a terrific sea instantly rising, the men were unable to pull against it. On two or three occasions they were almost buried in the sea ; but fortunately, with a great deal of exertion, were enabled to run up North Harbour, where they encamped, for the night, returning to Watson's Bay on Sunday morning. The only recompense we believe Mr. Gibson received from Captain Ridley was £2.

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