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Week 22 - all ships underway

[ 17th of July 1836 to 23rd of July 1836 ]
[ View related 'school content': Week 22: In Good Time ]
[ View related 'school content': Week 22 - all ships underway ]

All of the fleet is finally underway, but it is by no means fair sailing.  The Buffalo sets off hopefully, after much delay, but is soon back in port ahead of an approaching storm.  This week we meet two new informants on the BuffaloGeorge Stevenson, who is secretary to Governor Hindmarsh and partner to Robert Thomas of the Africaine, and Young Bingham Hutchinson, a former naval lieutenant, who is intending to farm in South Australia. Stevenson’s lively diary is full of strong opinions about his fellow passengers.

Black and white photograph of an 1833 portrait of Robert Gouger.

Robert Gouger, 1833. Image courtesy of SLSA: B48189

On the Africaine and the John Pirie both passengers and crew are battling illness.  Harriet Gouger is in delicate health at the best of times, made worse by the fact that she is pregnant, and she suffers badly from seasickness.  At last Robert Gouger manages to have a hammock made for her, which makes her much more comfortable.  On the John Pirie both the cook and the chief mate are sick, while we are told that one of the passengers ‘has been almost a constant Customer, to the Medicine Chest’. We shouldn’t think too much about what he is taking!

Robert Gouger has more to occupy him than his wife’s sickness however.  The intermediate passengers are increasingly dissatisfied with their lot and begin to make demands, led it seems, by Robert Thomas, whom Gouger describes as the ‘agitator of the ship’. Gouger finally manages to restore calm and believes that he has set their minds at rest, although he may not have convinced everyone: Mary and Robert Thomas apparently ’preserve dignified silence’.

The Duke of York meanwhile is very close to its destination and the crew is buoyed by the sight of sperm whales in the Bight.


Next week: Land ho!  The Duke of York arrives in Nepean Bay, Kangaroo Island.

 

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