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Week 20 - infectious disease

[ 3rd of July 1836 to 9th of July 1836 ]
[ View related 'school content': Week 20 - Superstitions ]
[ View related 'school content': Week 20 - infectious disease ]

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.

On board the Africaine Mary Thomas is not so happy, as she struggles to nurse her sick children in the confined intermediate cabin.  She remarks that she ‘was five nights without taking [her] cloathes [sic] off.’ Mary is particularly unimpressed with the ship’s doctor, who seems indifferent to her son’s illness, but perhaps this is unfair.  Scarlet fever was much feared. Recovery depended more on constant nursing and good luck than medical intervention.  The doctor may have judged that he was better avoiding contact with such an infection, lest it spread throughout the ship.

Unhappiness is also apparent on the Cygnet. Although the ship is once again underway, resentment continues to fester between Finniss and Kingston. Finniss is careful to record the mounting catalogue of Kingston’s errors.

Barque Africaine in the Indian Ocean. JM Skipper, 1836.


Next week: The Duke of York is on course for Kangaroo Island and Captain Morgan catches his first sight of land. Cabin passengers on the Africaine dine ‘sumptuously’, and the Buffalo is about to set sail.

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Image credit: The barque Africaine in the Indian Ocean, Wednesday 12 October 1836, J.M. Skipper. Image courtesy of the NLA.

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