March 9th 1854
Letter home from a passenger on an emigrant ship to Melbourne 1853
A letter from a resident of the town who sailed in the clipper ship, STAR OF THE EAST, from Liverpool, July 7th 1853.
“The GREAT BRITIAN looks a noble ship as she lies in the bay about half a mile from shore. She has made a good passage out, but the STAR OF THE EAST would beat her if they were both to start on the same day. It is my belief that the STAR OF THE EAST is the best sailing vessel out of England, for we never saw any vessel but she would pass it almost as it were at anchor, except one, a troop-ship from Southampton bound to the Cape of Good Hope.
Now, this vessel did hold us a tug, but she had more sail on her than we had, yet for all this we overtook and run her out of sight astern in less than 48hrs.
They carried as much sail as they could press on to keep up with us, but it was all to no purpose, for in 48hrs we beat her at least 30 miles.
Our ship was so badly stowed that it took all hands every day, from the day we left Liverpool until we arrived in Melbourne, to break out provisions and water for the passengers so that the Captain had no chance to take advantage of the winds, for there were no men to work the ship.
I’m sure if our ship had been worked as she ought to have been, and as she might have been, if there had been men to do it, instead of 75 days to Melbourne, she would have done it under 60 days. You may think this too short a time but the STAR OF THE EAST is quite capable of doing it, she would sail the GREAT BRITIAN out of sight quite easily in 24hrs. I never saw a vessel in any shape or form on the water that is fit to compete with her at all.
She has logged 348 miles in 24hrs, the GREAT BRITIAN only 317, but this was not our greatest run, for several times we could not tell how fast she was going, for she ran all the line off the reel, and that was 16 and a half knots.
Her owners may be proud of her, and they may safely take a challenge off anyone.
We had a very good passage upon the whole, we sighted the land of Madeira on the 10th day from Liverpool, crossed the line on the 27th day, and passed the small island of Trinidad and the Martin Vass rocks, in 20 degrees, south latitude. These were the only lands we saw till we reached Cape Otway light the night before we went into Melbourne.
I shall never want you to step your foot on board an emigrant ship, unless in the 1st cabin, for all the places of iniquity my eyes ever beheld, an emigrant ship is the worst, men and women packed indiscriminately together, married couples and young girls, and I am sure some of the girls will have cause to remember the STAR OF THE EAST.
Then the drinking and gambling night and day, till your heart would fairly sicken at the sight. But, my dear, I am afraid I shall tire you of theses recitals, so I will stop.
Copyright 2002 / To date