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Week 13 - tensions reach breaking point

[ 15th of May 1836 to 21st of May 1836 ]
[ View related 'school content': Week 13 Food for Thought ]
[ View related 'school content': Week 13 - tensions reach breaking point ]

This week we catch up with the Cygnet as it approaches the Equator. A bout of bad weather has seen many of the passengers sick and conditions below deck are foul. Boyle Travers Finniss is impatient with what he sees as the ‘apathy’ of the [tooltip color=”grey” text=”The area of between-decks occupied by steerage passengers, that is, those travelling at the cheapest rate.”] steerage [/tooltip] passengers and decides on a thorough clean up, despite the reluctance of some of the passengers. He also sets out some recommendations for future emigrant ships, a number of which are later implemented.

Tensions meanwhile boil over. Several of the passengers are drunk and aggressive. The crew is mutinous.  Everyone is unhappy with the poor quality of the supplies and Captain Lipson seems unpopular in his efforts to impose some discipline on his fellow-passengers. The Cygnet is not a happy ship!

Sketch of the Cygnet at anchorage, Port Augusta, April 1833.
Sketch of Cygnet at anchorage, Port Augusta 1833. Image courtesy State Library of Western Australia MN 586 ACC 303A/21.

Journals from passengers at sea:

Week 42: Numeracy Onboard

Over the past eight months we have read many journal entries, diaries and letters describing the experiences, thoughts, ideas and feelings of those onboard the nine ships. We have followed the authors…

[ Read the full journal extract ]


Week 25 – The demon drink

[ | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | , on board the | | | | | | | | wrote.]

On land It is one week into the grand experiment of colonisation and things are not going well at Nepean Bay. Samuel Stephens and Captains Morgan and Ross have their hands full, with both the company …

[ Read the full journal extract ]


Week 20 – infectious disease

[ | | | | | | | | | | , on board the | | | | | | wrote.]

The Duke of York is now in the Southern Ocean, making good progress. It is Captain Morgan’s wife’s birthday and he reflects endearingly on his love for her and his happiness in the married state….

[ Read the full journal extract ]


Week 14 – steady progress

[ | | | | | | | | | , on board the | | | | | wrote.]

All six ships are making steady progress, sailing south in the Atlantic. The weather is fine and conditions pleasant, but relations on board the John Pirie and the Cygnet are tense. On the John Pirie …

[ Read the full journal extract ]


Week 13 – tensions reach breaking point

[ | | | | | | | , on board the | | | | | wrote.]

This week we catch up with the Cygnet as it approaches the Equator. A bout of bad weather has seen many of the passengers sick and conditions below deck are foul. Boyle Travers Finniss is impatient with…

[ Read the full journal extract ]


Week 06 – a ‘perfect Hurricane’

[ | | | | , on board the | | | wrote.]

On 26 March the John Pirie seemed to be making progress, as it finally cleared the English Channel and struck out for the Atlantic Ocean. But just west of the Bay of Biscay the weather worsened…

[ Read the full journal extract ]


While things settle down on the Cygnet quarrels break out amongst crew members of the John Pirie. Long sea voyages were trying experiences for everyone!

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