Tam O’Shanter passenger list

It is impossible to be sure of who was on board the Tam O’Shanter, and being a privately-owned vessel, there is no record of the crew beyond the name of the master. The ship was chartered by Colonial Treasurer Osmond Gilles, acting in his private role as a merchant, although much of the cargo space was taken up by builder John White.

The Tam O’Shanter carried passengers who paid their own way as well as emigrants for the Colonization Commissioners. The ‘Register of Emigrant Labourers Applying for a Free Passage to South Australia’ lists the people considering life in the new colony. Those accepted and boarding a vessel were given an embarkation number, and from the grouping of numbers the particular emigrants can generally be identified. In the case of the Tam o’Shanter, embarkation numbers were not allocated, but of the fifty adults officially carried, well over half were engaged by White and Gilles, or sent out at the request of Colonel Torrens. These people were all recorded as being on board, and in preparing A Free Passage to Paradise?, Pat Button has consulted other sources to identify the remainder.

The only record of the voyage is the diary John White maintained for about the first six weeks. In it he mentions others on board, amongst them for instance ‘thomas’ who ‘washed a Shirt Handkerchiefe and one Pair Of stockings’ and may have been an unlisted servant. Miss Catchlove would have answered to ‘Ketch Lave’, but it is impossible to recognise ‘Mr Juls’, who ‘fell down the Hatch with his wifes Child and brake her harm’. In The Life of Samuel White, John’s grandson Captain S.A. White provides a list of both cabin passengers and many of the emigrants. This must have been based on an original document as the results of John White’s phonetic spelling and illegible writing can be clearly discerned. Amongst the misspellings, Finke becomes ‘Junke’ and elsewhere ‘Fouke’, Maslin ‘Masters’, Freeth ‘Firth’, Hinross ‘Hennas’, McGlashan ‘McGaplin’, Stuckey ‘Putty’, and Nokes ‘Makes’. Messrs Robinson, Parker and Vosett also make an appearance.


Master: Whiteman Freeman


John E. Barnard

Captain Walter Bromley

Mrs Freeman

James (surgeon)

Thomas Maslin

William Finke

William Nation

William Walters

John White


Amelia Allen

Charlotte Allen

Sarah Allen

Thomas Allen

Mrs Allen & child

Thomas H. Allen

Joseph William Allen

William Allen

Inkson Bell

Mrs Bell & 4 children

Edward Binisset

Stephen Blunden

Henry Briggs

Mrs Briggs & 2 children

Charles Catchlove

Edward Catchlove

Mrs Catchlove

Harriet Catchlove

Jane Catchlove

Thomas Clark

George East

Mrs East & 2 children

Charles Forbes

Mrs Forbes & child

George Freeth

Henry Gilbert

George Guthrie

Henry Hardington

Alfred Hinross

William Hinross

Robert Jaques

Phillip Lee

Mrs Lee

Thomas Martin

John McGlashan

Henry Moseley

Joseph Nokes

G.H. Phillips

Mrs Phillips

William Phillips

Mrs Phillips & 3 children

Henry George Price

John Roberts

Fanny Rogers & 6 children

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