Voyage to Australia 1878 – Travel Journal Entry

I came across this hand written travel journal, which was created by a Mr A.S.A. Whelen over 130 years ago.

A.Whelan was a second-class passenger aboard the iron clipper Hesperides that departed London on the 27th September 1878 sailing for Australia to arrive in Melbourne 93 days later on 28th December 1878.

Hand written travel journal

The account of the voyage is simply told.
Short entries that recount the daily events that occupied their time for three months as they sailed from the temperate climes of England, across the stifling tropics of the equator to race along the roaring forties, where they came into close contact with an iceberg – to arrive in Melbourne having sailed totally by wind power half way across the world, to their new life.

Meals, their stock provisions and how they rationed the weekly allowance to ensure sufficient food would last their journey.
A list of the crew, and the farm animals taken to be slaughtered as required en route.
Tales of card playing, taking tea with the ladies and what time he went to bed… every night!

But interspersed with the daily mundanity of occupying oneself for 93 days in the confines of “our not too spacious bedroom (12ft x 6ft) to hold 3 by the bye (the Guv’nor, Arthur and myself)”,  it’s a fascinating insight into travel at the end of the nineteenth century, where the only communication between vessels was via flags.

The joy of a travel journal transcends time

Extracts were reproduced on this blog, on the day they were written over 135 years ago to allow the tale to unfold as it occurred.

To view a sample ten journal entries that I selected as my favourites here’s a link to the sub-category Travel Journal Entries from a Voyage to Australia 1878

And if you love historical posts there’s a great group on Tom’s Travel Past 50 site 🙂

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7 thoughts on “Voyage to Australia 1878 – Travel Journal Entry

  1. It always astounds me that anyone made it out here. I have a number of convicts in my ancestry and what they had to endure for some really insignificant ‘crimes’ was amazing!

  2. Pingback: If Digital became a Dinosaur, do you have a Back-Up Plan? | Journey Jottings

    • What bothers me about the longevity of blogs is will the right platforms still exist to be able to access them?
      Its a bit like do you still have a tape recorder to hear back those huge reels of tape, or a little cassette player for those more miniature versions?
      Even with the ephemeral nature of paper – I have a feeling journals may still be the ones that will be readable for longer! 😉

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