Wilkinson (1840- ) Born in the UK to Thomas and Jane. Married a Mary JAAP and settled in the
Raglan area of the Victorian
William Wilkinson (1843-1866) Born in the Swan River colony of Western Australia in 1843. Probably died in Victoria in 1866.
|Notes for Thomas WILKINSON|
Arrived in Western Australia in 1841
Thomas WILKINSON, b. 1817 (UK), m. Jane WILKINSON, b. 1816 (UK).
The emigrant ship "GANGES" sailed from London and Liverpool in England. The barque was captained by Samuel C. WALKER and arrived in Fremantle in the Swan River Colony on October 15, 1841 with 123 passengers.
Cabin passenger, John Schoales, recruited many of the passengers in Ireland as indentured labourers and accompanied them on their voyage out to the Swan River Colony.
Recollections of the Voyage
Another passenger aboard during the same voyage, William Wade, recorded in later life his recollection of the voyage. Extracts from William's Reminiscences, the manuscript of which is held at Battye Library, Perth, follow:
Liverpool, the last of the sojourn - 1841
It was Saturday and as far as memory serves me the eleventh of June but I am not quite certain of the day of the month but it was the day we must take up our residence on the food barque Ganges of the port of London bound for Fremantle Western Australia. It makes my hand shake today when I recall the event and I feel as if going through it again. We looked at each other without speaking. I saw a deeper paleness on poor Father's face as the horror drew near. We must be on board.
Page 62 - The Ganges, the New Life
That Saturday night was slept in our berths on the fore-hold of the ship which was fitted up for the single male passengers. When I say slept I am wrong for no sleep visited my eyes. I felt as if transferred to a new world. There were strange sounds, strange smells, strange people who kept tramping up and down the ladder all night long. My temples ached and my stomach heaved forecasting what was to follow ere long. The morning came at last. It was ushered in by the rattling of chains and the churning of paddle wheels accustomary cries of seamen who were taking a ship out of dock and preparing for sea. On turning out and getting on deck we found a steam tug-boat along-side busily making fast to the ship by sundry chains and fastenings which I cannot describe better. We had the old Liverpool coal smoke about us and the tug gave us an extra supply. The weather had changed during the night and a drizzling rain was falling accompanied by a rather stiff breeze, cloudy of course making everything look miserable after the long spell of sunshine we had lately enjoyed.
The steam began to hiss and gurgle in the tug but the cabin passengers were not all on board. In the course of an hour they had all arrived and the movement from the dock began then in a short time we came to the gate by which the ship entered. ...we soon got out into the river again. Here another stop for it appears the Captain had not yet come on board. We saw a boat approaching and when it came along-side a little gentleman in a great coat and a tall black coat came aboard. I heard a seaman say "the Skipper's arrived", this was Captain Walker. He had a severe look but was not unhandsome, I thought a Captain would be wearing some mark of distinction about him and was disappointed. But presently appeared on the poop a dapper figure in a faded blue tight fitting jacket with brass buttons, wearing a sea cap with no lace. He looked over at the tug and muttered a few words disappearing at the same instant. This was the real Captain Walker.
The tug gave a snort and the ship a jerk, at once we were moving down the river to the sea.
Instantaneous with the ship's movement appeared on the poop a very handsome gentleman in shining blue and gold lace cap, spotless white pants, a ruddy face and black whiskers giving orders in a stern but not unmusical voice, which orders were repeated by a similar edition of himself on the quarterdeck to various seamen in various parts of the ship, which orders elicited sharp replies of "aye aye sir" from various quarters. These were the first and second mates. We saw very little of the Captain afterwards and thus we went out to sea.
There were two cooking galleys, one on the right side for the cabin and one on the left side for the immigrants of passengers. The cabin cook was an aged Scotsman with a very northern tongue, very feeble it seemed to me for an arduous billet. The other cook was a regular cockney or "varmint" with a voice and a temper like a fox terrier and would brook no second words from remonstrance. But I am getting before my subject somewhat.
We were by this time getting well out of the Mersey and beginning to see some curling waves when "breakfast" was called by the cook on the left. We went to investigate. There were three classes of passengers i.e. married couples, single women and single men and boys and we had only seen a few of the latter and had no conception of the numbers on board.
We were looking for the breakfast thinking of our eggs and bread and butter on land. We saw a sort of platform on deck on which there were two little tubs containing about a gallon each of some black liquid and a pile of what looked like dirty bits of board. There were three or four untidy, seedy, middle-aged men at the tubs and trying to break the things from the pile. Ship's biscuit they said, I took one to look at only. I thought of my butter biscuit at Belfast and shuddered. This was all covered by a bluish mould and harder than a piece of deal(?) board. I thought "if this is what we have to live on life will not be long for me".
When we had been a fortnight or three weeks at sea we passed the island of Madeira on our left hand. The aspect was of a great red mountain with patches of green up its side which I suppose were the vineyards we had heard of. I think we were about ten miles off but the weather were very clear and bright beyond anything we had ever before witnessed. It was a glimpse of fairyland coming out of our dull atmosphere. About a week later we met a deeply laden ship and were delighted to see her steering directly to us and as she approached we saw about being lowered were a number of men and an officer in the stern and they were soon climbing our sides and jumped on deck. I forgot to say that we knew the vessel was a British Merchant Ship by her flags. She was from the coast of Africa laden with palm oil bound for London. I do not remember the ship's name but they had been a good time getting their cargo and were very eager for news of home. We gave them all our newspapers and they left us a great lot of pumpkin and other vegetables and after having had some good chats with our sailors and immigrants, especially the girls, a signal from their own ship called them to attention, and so after many good wishes they bade us good-bye and proceeded on their way to the old country.
At this stage of our voyage I often of dark nights was attracted by the desire to look out on the surrounding surface of the ocean in its blackness and wonder about its depth, its immensity and its inhabitants and with a shudder attempt for a moment to realise what it would be to fall or to be thrown over-board into that dark abyss, then to reflect with thankfulness that to the present we had met with no storm or damaging weather or disaster of any kind and were now approaching the Cape of Good Hope of South Africa where we learned that the ship would call, but above all the care and mercy of God who had preserved us and carried us in safety over so many thousands of miles of ocean in answer to the prayers of our parents which we knew were continually going up for us. The thought of seeing the Cape cheered us. In gazing over the dark sea the sight was now and then relieved by a long bar of phosphorescent light in the water, sometimes rushing towards the ship and sometimes alongside.
A few days later land was announced and the Ganges head set for Table Bay. The wind was light and the ship proceeded slowly but we were quickly observed from the shore and before the anchor was down a small fleet of boats laden with vegetables, fruit, fresh bread, fish, negro women and jars of Cape wine was surrounding us. Bargaining became the order of the day, the oranges and fresh bread were eagerly bought and enjoyed. Crayfish and fresh crabs tempted many but not us. Oranges and bread suited us better than anything else and we enjoyed them to the full. The sight of Table Mountain was our next enjoyment, its grandeur filled our hearts with delight and admiration. The Captain, Mr Schoales and most of the cabin passengers prepared to go ashore but others were not permitted. The Ganges lay a long way out, at least three miles and Capetown was just barely visible. There was some grumbling about it but it was unheeded.
There were signs about that some of the Cape vintage had found its way to the ship. The poor old cabin cook was drunk and helpless, stowed away in his bunk in the forecastle. A crank the name of Tom Hardey got a skinful and was on his knees on the deck praying to our horror that God would "sink the bloody ship to the bottom of the sea". A couple of sailors were fighting in the forecastle and bleeding each others noses and swearing. There was no cooking or preparation of food on that day. The two officers were taking it easy in their cabins. Mrs King and her daughter were the only ladies in the cabin and the steward attended upon them. The return of the Captain and the rest toward evening calmed the troubled waters for the time but as the ships business took them ashore again next day we had a mild rehearsal of the day before. Only one passenger, him above-named, fell before the shrine of the Bacchus and some of the Jacks and the two cooks, especially the latter, were still nonist inventis.
The appearance of Table Mountain at night was impressive. Flashes of light like musketry fire were continually scintillating from the face of the rock as if an action was proceeding, it might have been light from a window but we were too far off to discern. The third day dawned and orders were given to get ready for sea. The weather also began to show signs of change, there was considerable excitement among the seamen and several of them were drunk, one especially, Charlie of the bucket, he was particularly nasty and wanted to fight everybody. A few stern commands and threats restored a sort of order and the anchor was got up and the ship's head put to sea.
Meantime it began to blow. In the ardour of getting away the hawse holes in the ship's bows were not stopped after the anchors had been secured. Officer's heads at fault, and the forecastle was inundated and a sick sailor was washed out of his bed. The ship was plunging bows under and the water pouring in tons through the hawse holes, along the deck and penetrated the cabin. Poor old cook was nearly drowned before he was rescued. There was a commotion and the hard sharp tones of Captain Walker like a brass trumpet rated the officers. It was "Aye, Sir" here and "Aye, Sir" there, everywhere. Like the wind tearing through the rigging the stern voice of the Chief Officer answering the Captain and swearing like a tiger in the intervals, the "ahoys, ahoys" of the sailors all contributed to make a din worthy of the Cape of Storms.
... rough weather prevailed for a week after leaving the Cape but we were comforted by the fact of the wind being in our favour and bringing us every hour nearer to our destination. My brother at this stage was complaining and looked out of sorts but I was in the very best of health and spirits. The poor old cabin cook was found to be paralysed in his legs and unfit for further duty.
He was a kindly homely old man and was very good to me during the great part of the journey at sea. He afterwards died in the hospital at Perth, WA. The damage of the forecastle killed him. A baby was born somewhere hereabouts, died and was consigned to the deep. The only case of death on the voyage. The shepherd and his two dogs, well and lively, fine weather now set in and the decks were enlivened by the married people and the girls swarming up out of their quarters and making merry.
OCTOBER 14, 1841
Towards evening we sighted Rottnest, one of the islands off Fremantle, and the ship was put about and kept in the offing during the night. By the earliest daylight her head was turned shoreward again under easy sail and we gradually drew towards some islands shining in the rising sun and presenting a most cheering aspect though the land was but rocks. As the morning advanced great excitement and activity pervaded us all and was increased by the sight of boats making towards us. Everyone put on his or her best and mounted and thronged on the ship's side, hearts beating and faces glowing with joy and anticipation. Now the pilot or harbour master's boat is alongside and the deputy harbour master steps on board ...
... There was there great shaking of hands and thousand questions never waiting to be answered about the voyage and everything imaginable. A great bubble of tongues but in our own familiar English and thus we arrived in Australian waters on the 15th day of October 1841, day ever memorable, and we cast anchor in Gages Road, Fremantle Harbour, Colony of Western Australia. Humble thanks to Almighty God for his prevailing mercy to us and bringing our voyage to a safe ending."
[Wade, William - Papers. MN 858. 949A, 1026A, 1075A. Battye Library Perth, WA]
|Name of Vessel:||
|Place of Departure:||
|Place of Arrival:||
Fremantle Western Australia
|Date of Sailing:||
20 June 1841
|Date of Arrival:||
15 October 1841
|No. of Days Voyage:||
|Superficies of Passengers Deck:||
1,560 L...(?) feet
|Number of Adults Permissible:||
|No. on Board:||
|Date of Touching:||
7 September 1841
Parts of 4 days
|Days in Quarantine:||
Not placed in Quarantine
Adults: Male 63; Female 31
Children between 14 & 7: Female 4; Male 0 Children Under 7: Male 4; Female 7
|Deaths on Voyage:||
2 Male children under 7
|Births on Voyage:||
1 Male; 2 Females
|Total Landed in Colony:||
Adults: Male 65; Female 32
Children Between 14 & 7: Males 1; Females 3 Children Under 7: Males 4; Females 5
Totals: Males 70; Females 40
|No. of Adult Labourers:||
|No. of Laborers Hired at Place of Landing:||
|No. of Agricultural Laborors:||
|No. of Shepherds:||
|No. of Domestic Servants:||
Male 2; Female 28
|No. of Merchants engaged in erecting buildings or in obtaining or preparing building materials:||
|No. of Tradesmen making or selling articles for consumption:||
|No. of other Mechanics not included in the foregoing columns:||
The Ganges seemed to be well suited for the passenger trade, being dry in bad weather & roomy 'tween decks - the accommodations were excellent. People were victualled by the ship at an average rate of 10lbs solid food & 21 quarts of water per week to each adult, the quality in general excellent, but two complaints made to the Superintendent on (?) points, both which were at once rectified.
The Surgeon was most attentive & kind, the high state of health in which the people came out is the (?) (?) of his skill. Diarrhoea prevailed when we first entered the tropics, induced by proper water drinking it yielded to simple remedies. Slight Scurvy appeared in one (?) whom it was discovered had been in the habit of bartering their fresh fruit with the Sailors for salt(?) provisions - on a rigid adherence to the dietary (?) being enforced the disease vanished.
Measures were early adopted to ensure exercise amongst the Emigrants by dancing on the Quarter Decks & swinging the females, the latter being a most favourite (?) … The people were exceedingly well conducted & every precaution taken to enforce complete separation of the unmarried persons (?) from the hour of clearing decks.
Signed Mr Schoales (?) In Charge
[ACC 36 CSR Vol. 127/214 & 215, State Records Office, Perth WA]
[Dictionary of Western Australians; Inquirer] ... Please confirm with other sourcesSouth Australian Shipping Intelligence
|Velocity||Brigantine||Master: Bogue||from Swan River||Passengers:— Mr. and Mrs. Wilkinson and two children, Mr. and Mrs. Thomson and child, Mr. and Mrs. Tait and child, Mr. Lockyer, Mr. Smith and Mr. Solby, in the cabin; Messrs Owen, Lefoy, Nicoll and Hall, and Miss Heritage in the steerage.|
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