Saturday, 4 August 2012

Time before the mast

My list of migrant ships spanning 80 years caused me to wonder how the length of the voyage had changed in that time. The journeys undertaken differ slightly in their ports of departure (Plymouth, Hamburg, London) and landfall (Rockhampton, Maryborough, Moreton Bay, Sydney) but against the length of a Europe-Australia voyage, these are minor.

The chart shows clearly the group of voyages under sail that lasted more than 100 days and those driven by steam that were completed in less than 70 days.

The Dorunda that carried 3xgreat grandmother Mary CREASE in 1882 was our family's first experience of travel in a motor-driven ship. Two years later, 2xgreat grandmother Jane and 3xgreat grandfather John DAVIES were aboard the Corona when it made the long journey under sail as it had done when carrying convicts 20 years earlier. Their trip (116 days) was more than twice as long as Mary's (52 days)

Two trips stand out by falling between these two extremes.

The Indus was originally built with steam-driven paddle wheels but her engines had been removed before she began service to the Southern Hemisphere. Nevertheless, her 1870 voyage carrying 3xgreat grandfather Henry SUDDABY and his brother John in 92 days was very fast for that period.

The 1919 sailing of the Beltana carrying great grandmother Eva Elsie and 2xgreat grandfather Frederick THORPE was the first after the owners received the ship back from military use in World War I. Uncertainty about the availability of coal would have meant very conservative use and some long refuelling stops that combined to make a very long voyage of 94 days.

If we wanted to recreate these voyages today on a passenger-carrying freighter, we would need to allow between 32 and 40 days for the trip. While that may seem no improvement on the late 1920s, it is important to note that the current cost is quoted as £3200-4000 rather than £33 in 1926.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...