Voyage of Thomas Lyle
by Dione Coumbe
Sent to my grandfather1 who had helped Thomas Lyle to emigrate.
1 Edward Coumbe (1804-1873)
Thomas Lyle emigrated with his wife Sarah Coumbe, daughter Anne (13), sons William (11) and Henry (9). This is his account:
of a Voyage from London to Australia in the Ship Nepaul,
On Tuesday July 6th 1852 we left the East India Docks in the afternoon and reached Gravesend in the evening where we cast anchor. 7th July Wednesday went to London to Vote at the General Election and returning the same morning went on shore in the afternoon to buy two Camp stools with other little things, meeting with Mrs. Churcher a sister of Mrs. Harrison and having Anne with me we took tea with her at her lodgings.
Thursday we were visited by the Officer of Health and Emigration who inspected each of us and gave permission to proceed to sea, we were also visited by Mrs. Chisholm who requested the Emigrants to chose 12 individuals to frame Rules for the preservation of order and to see to the serving out of provisions and she then took them on thence to her Hotel that she might more privately give her advice and to reap the experience of remarks which had been sent home from the other vessels, after which lunch was ordered in and having partaken of same we went into the town to purchase what we might be in want of, and meeting at the Boat we then quitted the Soil of Old England.
Shortly after we came on board, we were addressed by a Mr. Sidney, Mrs. Chisholm then made a speech full of feeling pointing out the necessity of promoting a liberal spirit towards each other and above all to refrain from speaking ill will of another and to endeavour to seek the blessing that is sheltered beneath every apparent evil (being an allusion to complaints that had been made to some fresh beef which had become a little tainted by the excessive heat of the Sun, telling them that the same Sun was ripening at the same time the fruits of the earth for themselves and their fellow creatures and that the Beef to which some of them had turned up their noses was the best that could be got in the Market), pointing out to all the utility of pursuing order and morality.
She was listened to with great attention and at the conclusion she was rapturously cheered. Three cheers were then given for Old England and God Save the Queen having been sung, Mrs. Chisholm then wished us a prosperous voyage and left for the shore.
The steam tug having arrived we raised anchor and our noble ship proceeded on her destined course being cheered by the different vessels as we passed. When we reached the Nore Light 9th July we cast anchor until Daylight when we started and passing Margate and Ramsgate and going onto Dover we discharged the Pilot and proceeded down Channel with fair winds.
On Sunday the 11th instant we spoke to Appoline from London, an Emigrant ship, but going to call in at Plymouth. Our Captain sent on Board for a Nautical Almanack, Service was performed on the Poop in the Afternoon, but this day like all subsequent Lord's Days was absorbed in late Breakfasts preparing meals for the Cook and waiting for them, washing up etc. and which more or less engrossed the whole of the time during the voyage, we were all divided into messes of twelve in each.
Messes, then being 26 Messes in all one half being termed even, the other half odd who took their meals 1 hour before the other which obligated all to be punctual for should anyone not be there when his name was called he would have to stay until all was served. There was also a Captain of each Mess to attend to the delivery of provisions and if not there to receive them when his number was called the whole Mess would lose what was being delivered and it was very often the case that we had to wait an hour or two whilst the purser opened a fresh cask which was difficult to be got at or something or other which proved a complete nuisance. It also came hard on those with families as the Captainship lasted but one week to each Male adults, the office would fall on the single men but once in 12 weeks whereas in my Mess there were only three Male adults, the rest being women and children.
12 Males also had to sweep the ship all through 4 times a day, the same 12 the next day had to pump the cisterns and keep them full during the Day, and the next Day they were succeeded by another 12 until it went the whole round of the ship. Twice a week we had to go on our knees and scape the Berths and deck throughout and strewed over with Chloride of Lime so altogether there was a great deal to do, which I have no doubt was the best for us but widely different to what I had expected, for I was in hope of having plenty of time for reading and study, but was never more disappointed, nevertheless it brought us into port a clean and healthy ship while some of the ships had suffered severely from fever for one ship buried one for every day she was out, 3 ships that came in with us were obliged to go into Quarantine.
On Monday, July 12th. We were in Lat. 48° 54' N - Long. 6° 39' W, the morning was fine afterwards some slight showers and then a thick fog which obliged the Captain to order the fog whistle to be fixed to the pump, the water being prevented from escaping the air or water passes hearing the whistle which makes a sharp shrill sound to be heard at a long distance as a warning to other vessels that may be near. In the morning it cleared up very fine. Sea Sickness was experienced by nearly all on Board.
Myself and children were very sick but kept about pretty well with the exception of Ann who was much debilitated which attracted the notice of the Captain and ordered the Doctor to give her some chicken broth, the Captain was very kind to the passengers in giving up several of his fowls, with several Bottles of Wine for the benefit of the Women and Children, the Men, poor Souls were to be satisfied with a smell of the mug it had been in for many of them were so ill that they could not eat any thing of the ships provisions and the Doctor could not or would not find the little necessaries put on Board for that purpose but after a week or 10 days they made up for past deficiencies.
On the 20th. July the Death of Miss ROACH at the early age of 14 years of Consumption. She was buried the Same Day and from the novelty of the sight nearly all the passengers were on Deck to see her put over the Vessel's side. It was a solemn Sight to witness such a stillness pervading the whole of the Emigrants befitting such a sorrowful occasion, the night was Beautiful and the sea as calm as the Thames on a Summer Eve.
Wednesday 21st. The principal part of this Day was occupied in raising the Boxes from the Hull of the Vessel and examining the same. Our boxes being made strong and nearly Air tight we found our things in a pretty good condition with signs here and there of a little damp, but a very great many of the Boxes being weak were much broken and a great deal of injury done to things of Colour and delicate tints with the Damp, both from bad packing and the dampness of the Hull. It is a great requisite to pack on a very dry day and to air everything well, either in the Sun, or before a good fire as Merchants here can always tell the nature of the Atmosphere in England at the time the goods are packed from their appearance on arriving here although packed in the Cases.
It was with some degree of satisfaction we were able to get at the Biscuit as our appetites could not touch the Ships provisions, they then became out principal food for some time by cracking them and adding Butter and Salt so making a kind of broth which had we brought some onions would have been very nice.
Saturday, 24th. We sighted Madeira first appearing like dense masses of dark Clouds looming in the distance. As we neared The Island, the effect was more pleasing and on leaving it left an impression that we had seen some enchanting fairyland. As soon as we cleared the Island a strong breeze sprang up which lasted for about 3 days which enabled us to plough over about 700 miles.
Sunday 25, the infant Daughter of Mrs. Wood died in Convulsions I think from eating indigestible bread and pudding and was Consigned to the deep on the same day. The Christening of Mr. Smith's Son took place in the Captain's Cabin and was named by him William Neale Nepaul in commemoration of the noble Ship and worthy Captain.
We have been much amused for some days by the quantity of Porpoises playing about the Vessel.
Monday, July 26th. We reached Lat 27° 30' N and Long 19° 51' W. Nearly all the Emigrants on Board were about this time much affected with Diarhorrea. I cured many obstinate cases which was beyond the control of the Doctor with Dulcamara and Begonia. I found out that there were several believers in the Science on Board. 30th July By the 30th We reached Lat 18° 48' N Long 24° 9' W. The appearance of the Heavens about this time was exquisitely grand beyond description, the clouds assuming the most various and beautiful tints while a part of the Western Horizon was bedecked with a cloud of Pitchey Blackingness such as I had never seen before with a broad line of scarlet underneath.
The appearance of the Moon here was very large and shone with a brightness which almost prevented our looking at it without injury to our eyes. The water as it passed the Vessels side appeared full of Phosphoric Lights all having a tendency to lead the mind to the contemplation of Him who spoke all things into existence.
We experienced many wet and uncomfortable Days about this time by having no waterproof clothing. We can scarcely call it rain or rather of a pouring description. Light winds having prevailed for some time we have made but little progress.
August 7th a Shark was caught by the Captain which was accompanied by some boisterous merriment by the rushing of the passengers upon Deck amidst pouring rain at the sound of a Shark, a Shark with the sound of the Heavy Boots of the Sailors dragging it along the Deck. The fish was soon killed and being Cooked, all were eager for a taste.
9th. We had another birth on board; spoken and passed the Conqueror bound for China with three other vessels in Sight. The Captain now informed us that we had passed the line nearly 10 degrees but kept us all in ignorance up to this time because there should be some of the old usages, performed on board. We had Electioneering entertainments about this time with selections from Shakespeare and recitations after which were Sung God Save the Queen and Rule Britannia.
The Captain kindly had the lifeboats cleared away that was laying on the front of the poop in order to give the effect of a stage to act upon, we had lectures on Natural History, Poets and Poetry, Music, Songs and Songwriters with accompaniments; several Nigger Lectures in Character with Concerts and Dancing once a week, weather permitting.
August 10th. Another female was Consigned to the deep from Consumption.
22nd. Very squally with rain which carried away Misen Top and foresail.
Sunday 29th. We were in Lat 23° 52' Long 32° 55'.
Monday 30th we spoke the Choice of Jersey and offered to take letters, it was a beautiful sight to see her playing around us while we made up the parcels, and the Boat which took it on Board the sea running so high that although nearly close we often lost sight of the Boat and the wind blowing strong, from the N.W. 31st August Next Day the wind had increased and as the Day advanced it increased in violence about 11 in the morning the wind Carried away our Main Top Sail Yard, the Waves still increasing in size until it was supposed they had reached the altitude of 30 ft.
During the night the chains of the Wheel became deranged which took away all command of the vessel, and being left to the waves they struck her most fearfully, and breaking over her and poured down the Hatchways like a Cataract inundating the Cabins and the Vessel rolling most fearfully, the Cooking Galley turned over with a tremendous Crash carrying away the Water Closets and Washhouses, it was fortunate it did not fall down the fore Hatchway as it might have stove out the bottom of the vessel.
The Casks and timber were rolling about in all directions Whilst below it was an awful sight to see the water as the vessel rolled rushing in and out of the Cabins, the Boxes, Water Cans, Mess Dishes were flying around in all directions, the passengers holding tenaciously to any thing they could lay hands of.
When it was near daybreak the Captain came below to comfort us a little saying his glass was going up, and having restored the chains of the winch we felt confidence somewhat restored. All were anxious for the morning and daylight portrayed the greatest confusion.
Broken boxes, Doors, Jars, spilt Rice, Biscuits, Peas, Coffee, Pepper, Knives and Forks, Dishes, Plates etc. were strewed about in all directions, the Continual Rolling of the Vessel still making confusion more confounded; by the evening of the next day the violence of the storm having abated we soon forgot our troubles and set ourselves to work to restore to order and to make more secure our various articles of Utility.
Those who were Carpenters on Board were set to work to make new Yards and repair the Bulwarks. The engineers to repair the Galley; I would here hint to any one coming out not to chose a berth opposite the Main Hatchway as they are subject to such various temperatures and inconveniences; it is very pleasant in fine dry weather, but let the weather be wet the outside of the Berth is always wet consequently you can never keep your Berth clean and dry, and should a sea break over you it is sure to come slap down against your Door, but the worst of all is the cold that you experience, it was very Hot when we were at the north of the Line, it was rather cold on the Line and became colder as we went South so as to have chilblains on my feet and the Rheumatism in my face for about 2 Months.
Early on the 15th of Sept. The Georgianna Emigrant Ship was seen at some distance on our Starboard Bow. The Captain takes a look at the sails as is usual when he gets up in the morning and very discriminating when there is a sail ahead you will be sure his thundering voice and quick as lightning for the setting of Royals rigging and stern sails crowding all sails until he has overtaken it.
So as the Day wore on we came up to her, preparations were made for speaking but both parties perceiving they were Emigrants a Simultaneous cheer burst from both vessels and before the exhibition of feeling had subsided we passed her. We again made up to each other and order being restored we ascertained her to be Georgianna from Glasgow for of 700 Tons burden with 400 Government Emigrants for Port Philip. She followed us till night when we lost sight of her. While in her Company much good humour and cordiality were expressed. They being Scotsmen played on the Bagpipes and dancing was Carried on upon the forecastle. Whilst we had our Violins, Harp, Cornopeans and a large Potato Can for a Drum. So we spent the afternoon keeping close to each to her, but she beat us by 2 or 3 Days arriving in Port Philip.
The next Day it blew a gale from 12 until 6 the next morning, then increasing in the afternoon and carried away a boom, increasing with the Hour of the Night until it blew most terrific. Although we had but one sail set we were fearful the Masts would go.
Sunday it had subsided to a perfect calm which was almost as disagreeable as the storm in consequence of the Sea not having gone down, for the Rolling was most fearful and to give you some idea it was just like a Cradle gone beyond its equilibrium on the Rockers for you could neither lay, sit or stand and was the cause of great laughter to see individuals slipping down on the deck, the water rushing in at the Sides of the Vessel and giving them a regular Ducking, while many got nearly scalded by the Boiling Water pouring out over the tops of the Coppers. We had another birth on the 15th also on the 20th.
On the 21st We had a heavy squall about 2 in the morning lasting until about 6. The Man at the Wheel lost all power over it. Consequently the Vessel veered round, which made the sails flap and roar most terrifically, the Captain rushed out of his Cabin and on the Poop in his shirt and for some time shouting out orders to the Men.
22nd. Lat 39° 11' S Long 48° 53'.
23rd. Very high wind increasing in the night to a gale.
24th. Blew a Gale all Day still increasing towards night until it blew, to use a Nautical phrase, Great Guns. Coming events were casting their shadow before, by the Hatches being partially put down and every preparation made to make her tight and snug. The sky from the Quarter which the wind blew was dark and heavy and as the (night) neared the violence of the storm increased, the sea rising in waves more Huge dashed with Fury against her sides, breaking over her to the discomfort of all especially to those who had to be on deck, and pouring though every opening down between deck.
On the 25th the storm still raging a heavy Sea struck her with a tremendous Crash carrying away nearly the whole of the Bulwarks on one side, and breaking away the sail that covered the opening left in the Hatchway, and pouring down knocked three Men off the Ladder and completely inundating the Lower Deck, rushing in and out the cabins and up and down the Deck like a River. One of the Men that was knocked down whilst he lay on the deck and the Sea pouring upon him said it appeared to him as though the ship had parted in two and he in the depths of the Sea.
Sailors were busy above and the passengers below trying to get rid of the water. Basins, Plates and Dust Pans were put in operation for the boiling up of the Water with swabs and Mops etc. but no sooner had we got nearly all up before we should get another edition. We had also to consign to the deep the body of another young Woman of Consumption, a Sister of one we buried before during this Gale. But the most lamentable circumstance was the loss of one of the Sailors who a few hours before put a hand to put the corpse over the side of the vessel.
During the heavy seas that broke over the vessel the Scupper Holes that let off the water on Deck became choked and from the quantity of water on Deck they could not unstop them, and he, young and venturesome with heavy Water Boots and thick clothing, got over the side of the Vessel having a hold of a Rope. Another Sea Struck her and made her lurch over and remained in that position for some time, he diving off with the rope, and hold(ing) (with) all his might on it.
The Captain seeing his perilous condition begged him to hold on a little longer but before the (Captain) could render effectual assistance he was obliged to let go and passed away behind her, she going at a rapid rate. The Captain also had a massive escape for when endeavouring to save him a Sea broke over him which nearly took (him) away, suffering only the loss of his cap. He was much cut up about the Man as he was the best and most respected of them belonging to the ship. 26th September A sad gloom covered the faces of all the next morning at the news and to see the miserable plight we were all in, with the Berths and ourselves drenched and every other place Cold and wet added to the difficulty of getting any thing warm as the Cook could not get the fire to burn from the fierce wind and the sea continually making it out.
We felt that we could have given any money for a little of something warm early in the morning, but it was nearly 11 o'clock before we could get any, and that not half boiling. But amidst all we were somewhat consoled that worse things happen at Sea. As the Captain told us that once before on those seas he had the whole of what was on deck swept clean away, the Cooks Galley, pots, pans, Boats, spars, not a vestige was left, and was obliged to go without any thing warm for 3 weeks. Which made us feel somewhat more satisfied after this relation.
The Day following we had a fine day but still very cold. We passed Paul's Island which was not in sight on the Tuesday 28th being in Lat 38° 14' S Long 75° 44'.
Thursday 30th it began to blow hard again and continued until Saturday eve with the sea again pouring down the Hatchway, and begin to feel it was only to be expected and became somewhat seasoned to it.
Sunday October 3rd we reach Long 99° 11' E Lat 40° 31' S. Wind and Sea much abated but very Cold with Hailstones, many complain of Chilblains.
Monday 4th we were in Long 103° 12' Lat 40°. Death and burial of the first Child born on board the Ship and named Neale Nepaul. A pig killed and sold for 1/- per pound on board. A general looking forward and calculating when we reach Australia, Rain and Hail prevail for some days.
Friday the 8th. Long 121° 21' E. Saturday 9th. 125° 22' and very much warmer.
Monday 11th. 134°. Tuesday 12th. 138° 5', on the 13th. 142° 35' - Lat 38° 0'. Land was seen from the Mast Head which acted like Magic on the passengers, many crowded the rigging but it was scarcely perceivable but the Green appearance of the Water and Sea Weed told us it could not be very far off. In the morning the Mate mounted the Rigging and saw the revolving Light at Cape Otway. All was in anxiety and every elevated place was crowded, there was a general feeling of joy in all. It was useless to think of going to Bed for merry tongues were going all the night.
An Irishman was continually pacing up and down before the Berths during the night crying like a Match Seller. Otway Lights. 14th October Otway Lights about 4 on the Thursday morning we had passed it. The Captain got up and from the very great Brilliancy of Venus he thought he was near the Lighthouse and became somewhat alarmed, but the Officer of the Watch soon put him right on the matter the sound of the Captain's voice soon brought all both old and young about half past 4 on the Poop and so before it was daylight was able to distinctly to behold the promised Land.
We sailed along at some little distance from the shore and for the first time beheld the rising of an Australian Sun coming up in all its splendour dispelling the gloom that hung along the rocky sides; and at some little distance we could see large flocks of birds. I should think there must have been some millions in a flock. As the Sun rose higher and became warmer the Deck became covered with flies also a large quantity of Butterflies of the red description which we sometimes see in England.
Sometime in the forenoon the Wind changed and blew against us, and having to beat we made but little progress, and we experienced some little disappointment when we saw the whereabouts to the entrance of Port Philip Bay with little chance of reaching it that night. About 11 o'clock at night a squall came on which blew a perfect Hurricane which soon took away our Main topmast causing the greatest consternation by the confusion of the Ropes and being pitch dark and obliged to have lanterns to go up the rigging to lower down the Mast.
The limited space we had to tack in and the impossibility of doing so before the Ropes were set right, the shouting of the Captain telling them what to do, which the winds prevented them hearing, the unwillingness of many of the Sailors to do any thing as they wanted the Ship to go on shore that they might make their escape, and ashore we should have went had it not being that about a dozen of us turned to and done their work, the officers were looking in all directions for them and when they came, they would not half pull, for when the tackle was somewhat clear, on orders being given to boat ship it was with difficulty we could get her round, which made the Captain swear most awfully and why did they not pull such and such ropes and finding she did not come round he came down to see the cause, being so dark he could not see from the Poop.
He found us minus the sailors, trying all we could, and some more of the passengers came up which enabled us to effect it and so rescued from a watery grave. For on one of the passengers going on the forecastle he could see the Land close upon us and the Man that ought to be on the look out laying on the deck. The Captain then, his position of probably being left without a sailor,15th October he abraded them in the morning and told them that he owed the safety of his ship to the passengers.
It was not long after we got her round that the wind abated and at daylight the next morning there was not a breath stirring and the water like a pond and we were also very near the shore and rather inclined towards it so that we obliged to be continually sounding which was about 10 fathoms; we had arrived at the mouth of the Bay and could see some ship a little way up. The wind rose a little which enabled us to keep farther off, but the tide was reversing out and seeing a wreck inside we were afraid to venture. About the middle of the Day some more vessels came up and the tide running in, a pilot came out and took us in a little distance and anchored.
We had not been inside above an hour, before it blew again. Passed away the evening and we had a good view of the Country around, also the Lighthouse which is a handsome one with beautiful walks and Garden, seeing the great difference between the Cultivated and the not. The boat at the Lighthouse which is also in connection with the Pilot came off to us and brought large and beautiful nosegays and gave to us, and the Captain (a sprat to catch a Herring) and begged some flour which he gave them it being a dear article at Melbourne. He then went ashore and got some more and brought to us, and as you might expect entirely surrounded with all manner of questions put to them, and answers given quite in accordance with the wish of the party asking. It was a fine night and we stopped up late discussing all the news we had heard.
The next morning we hoped to have had the pilot to take us up, the Boatman came off with a Leg of Mutton for the Captain and said there was no Pilot down but expected one about the middle of the Day bringing down some vessels, but none came.
The next Day Sunday 17th of October a most beautiful Day but no Pilot. We begin to feel impatient. In the evening comes on to blow a Gale and being at anchor made a most fearful noise. 18th October The next morning we were alarmed at finding the vessel was drifting towards the shore, the Captain order 60 fathoms more chain to be let out but she still dragged and the Gale more fierce we then let go another anchor which put a check on her. One of the Men belonging to the Boat came off to us with the dangerous condition we were in and stayed on Board and took charge of the Ship and ordering the Yards to be put in certain positions to take the strain of the Cable as much as possible. The Gale still blowing with all its fury across the Bay. Had the wind blown outward I think the Captain would have went to Sea again for he seemed very much alarmed about the Ship at the time we were drifting.
Thursday morning, still blowing and found that the vessel had shifted her position by the tides and that the Cables had crossed and become twisted in each other. Between 9 and 10 o'clock in an instant as quick as thought the wind chopped right round blowing as hard as ever and then gradually went down. We then saw some vessels coming down which had been obliged to anchor during this gale. We then proceeded to clear the Cables by cutting one away and drawing in the other till we came to the twist and managed to get all in safe by the time of the pilot from the other vessel came on Board.
The chief part of all this was done by the passengers. The crew being sulky he gave them a regular broadside with a promise that he would have then all Ironed and sent ashore if they did not mind themselves. They then saw that is that was the case their chance of running away would be entirely cut off, stood somewhat better to their work.
The breeze gradually rising we went up in Gallant stile (sic) the other ships that came in with and after us were ordered to follow in our track, the Bay widening as we went up the forty miles and about 50 miles wide. As we neared Melbourne we began to see the fleet of ships that lay off Williams Town, a place about 9 miles from Melbourne. We lay about a Mile and a half from the shore so as to give the sailors a good swim if they went off. We had not been long at anchor before the Medical Officer came on Board and finding we had a clean Bill of Health gave us permission to go on shore when we liked. While the Officer was on Board, the Boats' crew was surrounded to gain information, besides what they had drawn from the pilot coming up the Bay, who was not very communicative, convinced a great many that the eggs they had been sucking down by the Lighthouse were all raddled. As they had been expecting that Captain Chisholm would do a great deal for them but were told to their dismay there were Hundreds of Chisholm protégées breaking stones on the Road, a general gloom pervaded the whole ship and I must confess that we had some unpleasant feelings come over us about the matter notwithstanding of my intention willingly to do that if I could get nothing better.
The sight which we had of the City of Melbourne had lost half its charm and became a sorry sight for all, the Captain went on shore at Williamstown and some of the passengers to get some fresh Beef for all, both crew and passengers. They bought a loaf or two with them at half a crown a loaf and from the enquiries they made there was too confirmatory of what we had heard before, not a Lodging to be had for any money. A very few who had tents, soon brought the Aristocratic notions of some of the fine gentlemen to a perfect stand who had plenty of show but little money and when they came to hear the charge of two Pounds per ton of 40 ft exclusion of wharf fees, which is about half as much, were terror stricken.
The next Day almost every one were trying to dispose of many things. The next Day the Captain went on shore to see Captain Chisholm in the ships boat. The steamer came along side in the morning to see if any wanted to go on shore, those that had friends or relatives went the fare, being 4/-. Some took their Carpet Bags and one his Mattress. Those who had the C. Bags had to pay 2/6 extra with 1/- Wharfage; the Man with the Mattress 4/- and 2/6 Wharfage, the Article only cost him 4/- in London. When some of them came off in the evening they had to walk to Williamstown 9 miles before they could get a boat, and then would not take them there being about 7 of 8 of them for less than 10/- each. Another smaller party had to pay a Sovereign each. A Carpenter went on shore (who was considered a fool on board and made the laughing (stock) of all, with his basket having a White Cap similar to what I wore in my work on his head. No sooner had he Landed than there was 2 or 3 after him to know if he wanted work and made an engagement for 20/- per Day and his Board and went right off to work.
I would have gladly done the same if I could, had all my tool being in the Hold the Captain would not allow any one to go down for fear of injury the Boxes of others. While the Captain was on shore, Captain Chisholm came on board and said the tents were ready for us and that when he got on shore he would arrange for a lighter to come off the next day for our luggage. Nature has been somewhat singular towards he and his wife, for he is as much like an old woman as you ever saw a Man, whilst she appears the bold daring of a Yorkshireman.
The Captain went on shore the next day after the C was landed. One of the crew with a pipe in his hand said to the officer in the Boat he just wanted to light it, he would not be a minute instantly, jumped on shore goes off as fast as he could and got clear off. That wetted the appetite of those left in the ship. Those in the Boat being apprentices except the one gone whom the Captain had a better opinion of. But while the Captain was on shore, he called on Cpt. Chisholm to know when the Lighter would be alongside of the ship as he wanted to clear out and be off again. Oh he was not going to engage any Lighter he, the Captain, or as had better do it, which promise he made to me and others outside our Cabin.
The Captain went and engaged one at once which came off the next day. On the Captain coming on board he caused all the Boats to be chained and Locked. I went up on deck between 12 and 1 at night and seemed somewhat surprised at so many Sailors being up at that time.
What I had not seen before during the voyage, for I have walked the decks all Hours of the night and my suspicions were somewhat aroused, but could not see what chance they had of escape.
I went down and turned in when about an hour afterward, I heard the Captain having a Row on Deck telling them that if they did not turn in he would arouse the passengers and have them all Ironed. One of them had a long dagger Knife and threatened to stick the Captain is he attempted to touch him. The Doctor who was with the Captain at the time went to the Cabin and brought out a Loaded Pistol and presented to the Head of the Man and threatened him that if he did not instantly give him the Knife by the Handle, he would blow his brains out. The Man, daunted, gave up the Knife.
The Captain and Officers keeping themselves well armed during the night, early the next morning a flag went to the Mast Head for the Water Police to come on board, who took away a half dozen Men, but the Man that had the knife could not be found and it was supposed that fearing the consequences he jumped overboard as he was not seen or heard of after.
After the other men were gone the Captain calls the rest on the forecastle and told them he would give them Eight Pounds per month if they would stop. The Captain of a vessel that lay next to us, shot one of his men dead that was making his escape in the Steamer that went alongside of her.
Friday 22nd the Lighter having come, were busy getting up the Luggage and worked until 3 the next morning, lay down in my clothes for 3 hours and went at it again until 6 at night. A great many went on shore and never lent a hand whilst some of them had a great deal of luggage. Others who loudly complained of such Conduct schemed it that each should get their own together as much as possible and when they had managed to get theirs up, acted the same as others and left us in the lurch.
On Sunday 24th. blew very hard, obliged to give her more cable.
Monday 25th October we came on shore in the Steamer, but blowing so hard, the Lighter could not get alongside the ship to get what few things were left. It is a pleasant ride up the Yarra Yarra which is very narrow and some places room for 2 vessels to pass. On arriving at Melbourne we went up to Chisholm's tents, we beheld those who had so shamefully left the Ship complaining of Rheumatism and that the place was swarmed with Lice, and not having my own tent on shore and not knowing when I should get it; and if I had it I should hesitate about fixing of it as the ground was very damp and another important reason was that the Bushrangers were continually coming in and pull(ing) the inmates out of them to some distance in a state of nudity while others would remain and Rob you of all that was worth having; so it became the usual thing for those who had tents to stop up half of the night with loaded guns keeping watch and continually firing them off all night; when another set would take your place and do the same and it was really alarming to hear guns going off almost every minute with the expectation of a chance shot about your head.
I left the tents in disgust and came out to Collingwood about 2 miles from Melbourne in search of a place to put our Heads in and found a place called a two roomed House, weather boarded, with no ceiling and plenty of crevices for Lights by Day and the cold wind by night, a fireplace, but no stove.
The Carpenters were working on it, on asking the rent was 25/- per week, but on asking if it would be less if I took it for a term, they could not let it that way as it was likely to be much higher in a week or two, and I must pay a week in advance. I took it and hastened back for my Wife and family and then 5 o'clock I got one or two to help me out with the bedding and before we got there I did not know the name of the place or the name of the landlord.
We pitched our things on the Common while I went to look for the place, every thing had such an altered appearance that I became quite confounded and perspiring with fear we should be obliged to go to a Police House for the night; but luckily I was Close to it and recognised it. I hastened back and found them shivering with the cold and almost given me up for lost.
I begged some sticks and a Kettle, lit fire, made tea and lay down in our shed to sleep but could not for the incessant firing of Guns. I loaded my own pistol ready for a shot if any one that came, went to the woods and got (some) firing for the next two Days.
Thursday the luggage came on shore and (we) brought it Home. Friday went to town and got down to work and went to it on the next1st November Monday morning where I am still working for 20/- per Day.
This ends the romantic History of a Voyage to Australia of Thomas S. Lyle and family.
31st. of December 1852.