Kiltearn folk


William Grant 1847-1917

William Grant

A DIARY OF A VOYAGE TO NEW ZEALAND on THE OTAGO
27 February 1879 - 25 June 1879


Donated by Peter Grant, 100 Doon Street, Dunedin, New Zealand, to the Ross and Cromarty Heritage Society 10.04.1984.

William Grant
This transcript is a copy of the diary William Grant wrote on his voyage from Scotland to New Zealand during a four month period in 1879. He was 31 at this stage and had a good steady job in Edinburgh, so his reasons for emigrating may have been more for adventure, or there again perhaps he was bored with his good steady job! Early on in the diary he mentions meeting Cassel and Fraser before they made their way to the ship. Maybe the plans of emigrating to the other side of the world had been hatched over a few drams one night in an Edinburgh 'establishment'. William may also have heard favourable reports from his mother's cousins, Donald and John Munro, who had been in the young colony since 1860.

William Grant was born 7th April 1847 at Evanton in the parish of Kiltearn, Ross-shire, Scotland. He was an illegitimate child, and I believe he was conceived while his mother was working as a servant in Forres, perhaps even in the house of his father, William Grant, a tailor and clothier in the town. His mother raised him on her own, and when he was six she was married to James Smith, an Evanton labourer. The family were still in Evanton at the time of the 1861 Census, but by the time the 1871 Census was taken they had shifted to the parish of Monimail in Fife-shire. William was not with them at this stage. He would then have been 24 and well into his career as a gardener. From 1875, up until the time he left for New Zealand, he was in the employ of Inverleith Nurseries of Ferry Road, Edinburgh. His reference from them appears among the following pages.

Upon arrival in Dunedin he could not obtain employment until January of 1880, when he commenced work as gardener to Hon. George McLean. He was gardener to several other prominent Dunedin businessmen over the years of his working life.

William was married to Jennie Lynn at Andersons Bay, Dunedin, in 1893, when he was 46. The couple lived at Musselburgh Rise, Andersons Bay, raising a family of two sons: William Thomas Grant, born in 1894, and Douglas James Grant, born in 1897. William died at his home in 1917 at the age of 70.


The Otago
Passenger List from the Otago Witness June 1879:
Otago - ship, 992 tons, Capt. Peebles from Glasgow. Cargill, Gibbs & Co., Agents
Passengers - Saloon - Misses Dent, Saunders, Messrs C. McKay, Lieke.
2nd Cabin - Messrs Stark, Edwards, More, Hulme, Saunders, Campbell, Dome, MacDonald
Steerage - Mr and Mrs Duncan and 5 children, Mr and Mrs Stewart, Mr and Mrs Rogers and child, Mr and Mrs Anderson. Messrs GRANT, Fraser (2), Forbes, Cullen, Cassel, Welsh, Hislop, Henderson, Shearer, Whyte

Inverleith Nurseries, Ferry Road, Edinburgh, 22nd Febry 1879

This certifies that I have known the bearer, William Grant, for the last eight years, and that he has been in my employment for half of that period, during which time he has acted as Foreman, taking charge of men in all the various departments of the Nursery business, both in lifting, planting and ornamental work, and also keeping time. He has a varied and extensive experience of Garden and Nursery work, and I can with all confidence recommend him to anyone who may be in want of an active and experienced workman.

I have always found him truthful, honest, sober, obliging and thoroughly trustworthy, and capable in every way of taking a responsible charge. He leaves me of his own accord to better himself, and although I regret very much to part with him, yet he carries with him my best wishes and I shall be glad to learn that he is successful.

D. M. Robertson

WILIAM GRANT
Practical Gardener
For many years Gardener to the Hon. G. McLean and Jas. Miller, Esq
GARDEN WORK done by the Day or by Contract
Charges moderate
Address: Anderson's Bay

[indistinct] and other Plants for Sale
Thursday 27 February 1879 - Left home for Edinburgh. Mother and Father came to the station to see me off. Mother felt a good deal at parting. I kept up wonderful, but felt sorry after the train left. Arrived in Edinburgh all safe. Went up to Frasers at night. Spent a happy evening.

Friday 28 February 1879 - Went to Earlston, felt very glad to see Mrs McMillan and Annie. Had a walk through the village at night with Sandie. Had a very pleasant conversation with Annie and her mother before going to bed. Slept well.

Saturday 1 March 1879 - Got up at half past eight. An unusual occurrence happened. A puffin came down the chimney. Mrs McSoill said it was a lucky omen for me, as I was going away. Got a present of a nice Testament from Annie and her mother. I saw Nicol at the station [blurred]. Arrived back in Edinburgh all safe. Went to Mr Oake's shop, but did not see him. Met Mr Tweedsdale the postman. He told me he was getting married.

Sunday 2 March 1879 - Wrote a few letters. Called on Mrs McGaffie and Mr Gibson. Had tea with Mr Oakes. Called on Cowie. Met Stevenson, and all. Had a walk up town. Called at 43 Melville Street Church. Met Eliza and John at St. George's.

Monday 3 March 1879 - Left Edinburgh for Glasgow. Arrived in Glasgow all safe. Paid the passage money and got the luggage down to the ship. I was rather disappointed with the berths. Had some dinner at the Great Western Coking Depot. Got the train to Millport. Had a good soft trip.

Tuesday 4 March 1879 - Meant to get to Glasgow this morning, but missed the boat. Fraser got up to catch the boat, but was too late. Got the 4 o' clock boat back from Millport. Arrived in Glasgow safe. Felt cold. Got some tea and went to the "Waverly Hille" - secured a bedroom. Went to the theatre.

Wednesday 5 March 1879 - Got up at seven. Went to the station. Met Cassel and Fraser. Had breakfast at the Great Western Coking Depot. Got to Greenock with the 10 am train. Had a glass of beer and got up to the station and got the luggage down to the tender all safe. A man wanted a berth to N.Z. for his brother - and fell over. Caused quite a laugh on board. Got on board the Otago at 12 am. Had some broth, meat and potatoes. Could not sail on account of the storm. High wind, due west, right ahead of us.

Thursday 6 March 1879 - The ship Otago left the Tail of the Bank at 7 am. Could not get the second channel for the wind left us at Lamlash Bay (Isle of Arran). Wrote a letter home to go with the post. An event took place just when we were going to bed. Some passengers came in just as the lights went out.

Friday 7 March 1879 - Left Lamlash Bay at 2 am. Trekked about Ailsa Craig the most of the day. Got away at night. First life lost at sea - cot fell overboard. Gentleman in the first cabin took an epileptic fit and that caused a little sensation amongst the passengers. Slept well this night.

Saturday 8 March 1879 - Got into the British Channel. The sea got roughish during the afternoon. Most of the passengers turned sick. The sea was rough during the night. Water came down the steerage during the night. Wrote a letter home and one to Oakes, but did not get them away. We thought the pilot was to go, but no hope of any vessel passing. Fraser kept up well but fell sick towards the evening. Only three of us were able to be at mess. I felt a little squirmish but felt a good deal better on going to bed. Slept well during the night.

Sunday 9 March 1879 - Got up this morning at 8 am. Felt a little sick. Had a wash and a little breakfast. Went on deck. Very rough weather. A steamer passed our bows. It was supposed to be a Liverpool steamer. Got to bed and had no more food during the day.

Monday 10 March 1879 - We are sailing off the west coast of Ireland. The passengers are still very sick, but I was able to take a little broth. A gentleman in the first cabin died this morning at 7 am. His name was MacKay from Edinburgh. The captain read the funeral service on MacKay at 5 pm. It was rather an affecting scene to see the body going over.

Tuesday 11 March 1879 - Sea rather calmer today. Passengers recovered a good deal from their sickness. The ship got on a proper course making little progress. A school of porpoises sported themselves around the back of the ship. We sighted land "Tory Island" off the west coast of Ireland. Peter Henderson gave us a tune on the fiddle.

Wednesday 12 March 1879 - Sea very rough. Got up on deck, but was not able to stay. I fell on deck and got myself wet. This has been the roughest day as yet. It has been a day of accidents altogether. Most of the passengers getting wet with going on deck. Miserable day altogether.

Thursday 13 March 1879 - Sea very calm. Passengers all recovered from sickness. Got some water and scrubbed out our bunks this morning. Did not sleep as well as usual. Took a pill but did not feel altogether right. Sea being so calm I stayed till late on deck. Peter Henderson gave us a tune on the fiddle.

Friday 14 March 1879 - Got up this morning and had porridge for the first time. It tasted rather salty. Had to take sugar with it instead of milk. Sea very calm. This is about the most pleasant day we have had. Wrote part of a letter home and one to Oakes, but did not get them away.

Saturday 15 March 1879 - Got up at 8 am. Had breakfast of coffee, bread and preserved meat. I was asked by the second mate to lend a hand at the pumping water to wash the decks. Sea very calm this morning. Fair wind got up about 10 am. We are entirely clear of land now. The pilot is to leave us at the first opportunity of a passing vessel. The sailors are busy cleaning the decks today. We are making good progress today, 11.5 knots an hour. The wind changed again during the night - getting very rough. It rained all of the night. Peter Henderson gave us a few tunes on the fiddle. One of the sailors also played.

Sunday 16 March 1879 - Got up this morning at 8 am. Had breakfast of porridge. Got up on deck, but got myself wet. The seas are very rough and water came on deck. Had plum duff for dinner and preserved meat. Had a great discussion with the passengers about religious principles at night, but came to nothing. Sea getting calm at night.

Monday 17 March 1879 - Got up this morning at 8 am. Had breakfast of porridge (much better today not nearly so salty as usual). The sea is rather calm today. Had a confidential conversation with Mr Whyte about horticultural matters. Towards evening we observed a whale in the distance. It was spouting, and we mistook it for a storm.

Tuesday 18 March 1879 - Got up this morning at 8 am. Had breakfast of coffee and preserved meat. Got up on deck. The sea was very calm. We are making no progress. We sighted three vessels today. About 8 pm we observed a light on our starboard side. I had a look through a glass which brought it out quite visible. The sight was fine in the dark.

Wednesday 19 March 1879 - Got up this morning at half past seven. Had a wash and went out on deck. Saw a little rough ship making about 8 knots an hour. Fair wind. We sighted a German vessel. It crossed our bows. There was great excitement on board. We thought the pilot was going with her. We asked her to report us, also our longitude. Passed another vessel.

Thursday 20 March 1879 - Got up this morning at half past seven. Had breakfast of porridge. Enjoyed it a good deal. We are making progress. There is still a fair wind - weather is a good deal warmer. We sighted a barque. Had tea at night, Mrs Rodgers making us a present of a nice cake for tea which we enjoyed immensely.

Friday 21 March 1879 - Got up this morning at half past seven. Sighted a vessel on astern. Had breakfast of porridge. Hoisted the royal yard. One of the seamen fell from the fore-top mast. A royal lifebuoy was thrown overboard but to no avail. A life-boat was launched to pick up the man but he was lost sight of. Since the sea was running high, the life-boat got smashed while taking it on board. It seemed exciting on deck, the passengers and crew assisting to bring the boat to, with the sea washing over us.

Saturday 22 March 1879 - Got up this morning at 7 am. Had breakfast of porridge. The seamen were busy washing the decks. I went forward to the forecastle and saw the seaman's trunk, they were turning out the entire, taking a note of all the articles he possessed. His effects were then packed in his trunk and then the trunk was taken to the Captain's cabin. The scene was affecting, to see every little bit of Trev, sure as which there is no doubt had been given to him by his friends at home, no doubt to be cherished by him in the new country as he wouldn't intend to be back in Scotland again, having been working his passage out to New Zealand. It brought the matter of the uncertainty of life to each and all of us. His name was Kennedy.

Sunday 23 March 1879 - Got up this morning at half past six. Had breakfast of porridge, Went on deck. I sighted a vessel in the distance. This has been the warmest day we have had yet. The passengers are all inclined to lounge about with the heat. We sighted three vessels today, one of them at night. We had psalm singing at night.

Monday 24 March 1879 - Got up this morning at half past six. Had breakfast of porridge. We sighted the island of Madeira. Each and all of the passengers were impressed with the beauty of its huge drop with here and there a waterfall coming tumbling down the rocks. It had to me the appearance of fairyland. We got around to the chief town of the island about 3 pm and signalled for to get our pilot on shore. We lay to for a few hours which enabled us to get a view of the town. A good many of the houses seemed to be built of wood and not more than one storey in height, with the exception of one or two which seemed to be public

Friday 21 March 1879 - Got up this morning at half past seven. Sighted a vessel on astern. Had breakfast of porridge. Hoisted the royal yard. One of the seamen fell from the fore-top mast. A royal lifebuoy was thrown overboard but to no avail. A life-boat was launched to pick up the man but he was lost sight of. Since the sea was running high, the life-boat got smashed while taking it on board. It seemed exciting on deck, the passengers and crew assisting to bring the boat to, with the sea washing over us.

Saturday 22 March 1879 - Got up this morning at 7 am. Had breakfast of porridge. The seamen were busy washing the decks. I went forward to the forecastle and saw the seaman's trunk, they were turning out the entire, taking a note of all the articles he possessed. His effects were then packed in his trunk and then the trunk was taken to the Captain's cabin. The scene was affecting, to see every little bit of Trev, sure as which there is no doubt had been given to him by his friends at home, no doubt to be cherished by him in the new country as he wouldn't intend to be back in Scotland again, having been working his passage out to New Zealand. It brought the matter of the uncertainty of life to each and all of us. His name was Kennedy.

Sunday 23 March 1879 - Got up this morning at half past six. Had breakfast of porridge, Went on deck. I sighted a vessel in the distance. This has been the warmest day we have had yet. The passengers are all inclined to lounge about with the heat. We sighted three vessels today, one of them at night. We had psalm singing at night.

Monday 24 March 1879 - Got up this morning at half past six. Had breakfast of porridge. We sighted the island of Madeira. Each and all of the passengers were impressed with the beauty of its huge drop with here and there a waterfall coming tumbling down the rocks. It had to me the appearance of fairyland. We got around to the chief town of the island about 3 pm and signalled for to get our pilot on shore. We lay to for a few hours which enabled us to get a view of the town. A good many of the houses seemed to be built of wood and not more than one storey in height, with the exception of one or two which seemed to be public places. We observed snow on the highest peak which is said to be 5000 feet above the level of the sea. In a short time a boat was seen to make its appearance from the shore with two of the natives and an official. The official spoke good English. We had to put one of our boats on shore with the pilot. The chief mate brought back with him some oranges, and plums too, some apples and cluster of banana fruit, all for the cabin. We got a fair wind and soon left the island far behind us. We took one look at its pleasant shore as we might not see land again until we would get to our adopted home. I sent a letter home and one to Oakes, with the pilot. We all regretted very much at not being able to get ashore.places. We observed snow on the highest peak which is said to be 5000 feet above the level of the sea. In a short time a boat was seen to make its appearance from the shore with two of the natives and an official. The official spoke good English. We had to put one of our boats on shore with the pilot. The chief mate brought back with him some oranges, and plums too, some apples and cluster of banana fruit, all for the cabin. We got a fair wind and soon left the island far behind us. We took one look at its pleasant shore as we might not see land again until we would get to our adopted home. I sent a letter home and one to Oakes, with the pilot. We all regretted very much at not being able to get ashore.

 Tuesday 25 March 1879 - Got up this morning at half past seven. Had breakfast of porridge. The sea is crashing over the ship a good deal. We sighted a steamer in the distance. The ship is making good progress - 11.5 knots an hour today. I bought an issue of the second edition of the Otago Journal. It is a paper for the use of the ship. We observed a peculiar phenomenon of the moon lying right on its back.

Wednesday 26 March 1879 - Got up this morning at half past seven. Had breakfast of porridge - I got up on deck and sighted a steamer, supposed to be French. We signalled to her by means of our flag, and the signal was returned. Today is my first day on the mess. The temperature today in the shade is 60 degrees. I stayed till late on deck, it being warm and the moon shining.

Thursday 27 March 1879 - Got up this morning at 6 am. Had breakfast of coffee and bread. The sailors were busy putting up the old sails and taking down the stronger ones. The temperature is 70 degrees in the shade - it is very warm today. I assisted the sailors in putting up the sails. One of the seamen played a few airs on the melodion at night when we were all on deck. Got the north east trade winds today.

Friday 28 March 1879 - Got up this morning at half past seven. Went on deck. We sighted two vessels and passed them. I went into the hold and got some things out of my box. We sighted a vessel at night and got rather alarmed it being quite close upon us. If we had not altered a point or two, she might have been right into us. The temperature today was 70 degrees.

Saturday 29 March 1879 - Got up this morning at 6 am. Had breakfast of porridge. The sailors were washing the decks today. I had a few games of dominoes. A few flying fish were seen today. Our first concert was held on deck which was a great success. My Whyte took the part of chairman. Mr Craig opened the concert by singing the song of "Sweet Belle, my own" accompanied by the melodion. After lasting for two hours, it broke up with the company singing "God Save the Queen". Rather an unfortunate occurrence took place afterwards, one of a number of Shetland ponies died and had to be thrown overboard, adding another death to the number.

Sunday 30 March 1879 - Got up this morning at half past seven. Had breakfast of coffee and biscuits. Went on deck - it was a beautiful morning and very warm. A general quiet prevails, owing to it being Sunday. We held a meeting in the steerage at night. Some of the seamen came down and joined us. I stayed on deck till late.

 Monday 31 March 1879 - Got up this morning at half past seven. Had breakfast of porridge. It is very warm today. Temperature 79 degrees in the shade. The passengers are getting very lazy and lying about in the shady places on deck. I saw the Southern Cross at night. It consists of five stars, only seen when near the tropics. I stayed till late on deck. Saw some flying fish.

Tuesday 1 April 1879 - Got up this morning at 6 am. Had breakfast of coffee and biscuits. It is very warm today. Temperature 85 degrees in the shade. A number of flying fish were seen today. I stayed till late on deck, then went to bed but was obliged to lie without clothing. One of the passengers got tipsy (sunstroke) today. This was the first case of the kind since leaving Glasgow.

Wednesday 2 April 1879 - Got up this morning at half past seven. Had breakfast of coffee and one slice of bread. Very poor indeed. Today finishes my day of the mess. We lost the trade winds today. I could not sleep at night for the heat. We are 4 degrees off the Equator. Some heavy rain came at night accompanied by lightning. Some more of the passengers got tipsy tonight in the steerage.

Thursday 3 April 1879 - Got up this morning at 7 am. Had breakfast of porridge. The ship is almost becalmed today. We sighted two vessels. It is very warm today. We got on the south side of the sun today. This is the end of our first month at sea. The usual practice was undergone of throwing the dead horse overboard, after getting a gun carriage and an old barrel done up as a horse. One of the seamen got mounted on the toy and sang a song while the other seamen pulled it along to the chorus. After getting the length of the cabin, it was put up for auction and was knocked down to 35 shillings which was supposed to go towards grog for the seamen. It was then pitched overboard. The usual practice is of letting it drop down from one of the masts after setting fire to it, but the night being so calm there was danger of setting fire to the ship, there being no wind to carry it away.

Friday 4 April 1879 - Got up this morning at 7 am. Had breakfast of cold rice. It rained heavily today. We were all busy collecting the rain water to wash with. I washed two shirts and a pair of drawers, some of us young men seemed rather awkward at washing. Sighted a vessel today. She hove to and signalled to us. If we wished to send any mail by her we had to signal back, but the captain thought it was not necessary as we called at Madeira. Afterwards a breeze sprang up and we soon lost sight of her. She was bound for Rio de Janiero. We are now 84 miles off the Equator. Today it is still warm and a good deal of rain has fallen. The sea being so calm today, a number of sailors took to bathing over the side. Some of them did some good feats in the way of swimming - one turning somersaults from the forecastle of the vessel. It was rather dangerous bathing as there are a good many sharks supposed to be in the tropics. But to guard against danger they had ropes over the sides. Temperature today 81 degrees in the shade.

 Saturday 5 April 1879 - Got up this morning at half past seven. Had breakfast of porridge. A heavy squall came on accompanied by rain. We are supposed to have crossed the line (Equator) about 4 am. As is usually the custom a show of crossing the line was staged today. Neptune, the god of the seas, was represented by one of the seamen, draped in a sheepskin with his face and body tattooed. His lady was a little more modestly dressed. There was also a doctor, a barber and an assistant. The procession started from the forecastle of the ship and went along the deck until it came to the first cabin. Neptune and his lady were sitting on a cart drawn by some of the sailors and guarded by two policemen. They went on the poop and saluted the captain - then they returned to the forecastle again with the sailors joining in a song for the occasion. They then proceeded shaving the first victim. It was the baker. The two policemen led him up to the top of the forecastle with his eyes blindfolded. The doctor then enquired his name - he prescribed some medicine for him. Afterwards, thinking the patient looked rather dull, the doctor gave him a bottle supposed to contain scent but the cork on the bottle was full of pins and he got his nose pricked on attempting to smell. The patient was then soaped with a composition of black and other ingredients. He was then shaved, the razor being a piece of iron about a foot long. After being shaven he was thrown into a sail filled with water. Two men held him under the water for a few seconds - the bandage was then taken off his eyes and the operation was over. They did not interfere with the passengers. As is usually the custom each of us gave the seamen a small sum of money to get some grog with. There were 18 of them shaved altogether and to finish up with they shaved one of the pigs on board. Neptune and his lady then formed a procession with a bottle of whisky each and treated the captain and some of the first class passengers. They then returned to the forecastle and drank the rest of the whisky. Some of the passengers narrowly escaped from getting a ducking. Our second concert of the season came on tonight, Mr Whyte taking the chair. Afterwards some of the seamen did some dancing on deck while one of them played the fiddle. We passed over the Equator very fast although we were becalmed that day. We caught the South-East trade winds and these saw us clear of this line.

Sunday 6 April 1879 - Got up this morning at 7 am. Had breakfast of cold pie and coffee. We are 4 degrees south of the line today. We sighted a vessel and signalled to her. She returned our signal and said she was the Scottish Chief from Brisbane and going to London. She was going to report us all well. Service was held in the evening by Mr Campbell.

Monday 7 April 1879 - Got up this morning at 7 am. Had breakfast of porridge. Went on deck. Had a few games of quoits. Sighted a few vessels today. Ship making 9 knots an hour. Had a good view of some flying fish. One came on deck. It was about a foot long. Stayed on deck until late. Beautiful weather. Our ship seems to get ahead of all the other vessels we have sighted.

Tuesday 8 April 1879 - Got up this morning at 7 am. Sighted three vessels - one of them was going to Valparaiso (Chile). Beautiful morning. Had breakfast of coffee and biscuits - very poor feeding. Very warm today. Sighted a vessel at night, she nearly came into our bow but sighted us just in time and changed her course and sailed clear. Stayed on deck until late.

 Wednesday 9 April 1879 - Got up this morning at half past seven. Had breakfast of porridge. Went on deck. Very warm today - temperature 81.5 in the shade. Sighted an American barque. She came close to us and spoke to us, asking where we were bound for and how long we were out. She was bound for Buenos Aires and she came from Portland, Maine.

Thursday 10 April 1879 - Got up this morning at half past seven. Had breakfast of coffee and one slice of bread. Sighted a vessel belonging to Aberdeen and going to East India. We kept together, and at night there were some rockets put up by both vessels, which had a grand effect at night. It reminded me of home a good deal.

Friday 11 April 1879 - Got up this morning at 7 am. Had breakfast of porridge. We left the Aberdeen vessel behind us. We seem to pass the most of the vessels that came our way. As yet this is the only vessel we have seen today. Had a few games of quoits and stayed till late on deck. Not quite so [unfinished]

Saturday 12 April 1879 - Got up this morning at half past six. Had breakfast of coffee and bread. Beautiful morning. Ship making good progress today - temperature 81 degrees. Sailors busy washing decks today. We had a theatrical act at night entitled "A Trial by Jury" - one of the cabin passengers took the part of the judge, and another with part of the crew making the counsel and witnesses. The defendant was Mr Adolphus Thin and the prosecuted was Miss Susan. The elopement was supposed to have taken place in Glasgow and afterwards they both emigrated to New Zealand in the ship Otago. The court rose at 8 pm. The [deleted] case is to come on some other day.

Sunday 13 April 1879 - Got up at 7 am. Had breakfast of porridge. Went on deck expecting to have service but this did not take place until the afternoon. Cullen read a sermon out of a service book. At night the Captain's harmonica was got out and the baker and Mr Edwards played some hymns - Skipper also played a few selections. Weather not so warm today. Today we are now getting out of the tropical weather. Sighted the Island of Tristan da Cuhna this morning. There are no inhabitants on the island as it is almost barren. It rises perpendicular out of the water. There is said to be some wild goats on it and some pigs.

Monday 14 April 1879 - Got up this morning at 7 am. Had breakfast of coffee and bread. Temperature today 81 degrees in the shade. We are out of the tropics today, but still warm. The "Trial by Jury" came off tonight after causing much laughter. The defendant's witness was called, including Mrs McLarly and several others, such as Captain Bowspirit and Mr Grogus Mixture. The case is to be continued, as the judge has to sum up. This is the most amusing thing we have had on board. The questions asked of the witness were so ridiculous, such as "What is your favourite swear word?" "I trust you were educated for a policeman?" "Had you ever had the measles?" The defendant, Adolphus Thin, had made the young lady a present of an engagement ring - the cost of which was one and three-quarter pennies. He used to treat her to a ride in the tramways, and she paid the fare.

Tuesday 15 April 1879 - Got up this morning at half past seven. Had breakfast of porridge. Sea very calm today. Ship making no progress. Caught one of a number of birds today, called a stormy petrel. The jury trial was continued tonight. The judge summed up and addressed the jury in a most eloquent style, such as they were the most drouth men he had ever had before him and at the same time he told them that they would not be required as jury men for the next 300 years.

Wednesday 16 April 1879 - Got up this morning at 7.30 am. Had breakfast of coffee and bread. Sea very calm today. Ship not moving at all. Quite becalmed - the sea is like glass. This is the greatest calm we have experienced yet. The sailors are all taking advantage of the calm and bathing over the ship's side, which is very dangerous owing to the sharks. There was some dancing at night on deck.

Thursday 17 April 1879 - Got up this morning at 7 am. Had breakfast of porridge. Sea very calm today. Ship making no progress. Quite a dead calm. Stayed till late on deck. We were deceived by some of the stars on the horizon, mistaking them for lights of ships. It is very monotonous with nothing but sea and sky to gaze at.

Friday 18 April 1879 - Got up this morning at 7 am. Had breakfast of coffee and bread. Sea is quite calm today. A light breeze came up in the afternoon which was welcome by us all. A number of porpoises were seen close to the ship. One of the seamen tried to harpoon some of them, but did not succeed. We also saw two pilot fish, they are about 9 inches long and keep going before the bows of the ship. They are always a sign that a shark is close by. It is said they are the only fish the shark does not attack.

Saturday 19 April 1879 - Got up this morning at half past six. Had breakfast of porridge. Sailors busy washing decks. A breeze came on a little stronger today and is still keeping up, for which we are all very glad. Our under-steward took a fit today - he was aware that he was going to take it and told some of them beforehand. Tonight we resumed our Court of Justice. the cases being tried tonight consisted of a few criminals such as "Arotos-of-Medicine", coming into court with his head bandaged and supposed to be the worse of liquor, which caused a good deal of amusement. It served to pass the time but was not nearly laughable a case as the "Trial by Jury".

Sunday 20 April 1879 - Got up this morning at half past seven. Had breakfast of a little porridge, which I got from the cook. Ship making good progress today. Making 9 knots an hour. We had service in the afternoon, Mr Edwards playing the harmonium and Mr Cullen reading the service. There was a good deal of lightning seen in the sky.

 Monday 21 April 1879 - Got up this morning at 7 am. Had breakfast of porridge. The wind had fallen a little and rain came on which continued all day, making it very disagreeable. Ship making 9 knots an hour. I got some things washed today but did not get them dried. The only opportunity we have of washing is when it rains.

Tuesday 22 April 1879 - Got up this morning at 7 am. Had breakfast of coffee and biscuits. It is raining a good deal but ship making good progress. Making an average of 13.5 knots. This is about the most we have had made, as yet. The weather is a good deal cooler today. We are about the latitude of the Cape.

Wednesday 23 April 1879 - Got up this morning at 7 am. Ship making good headway. A good breeze still keeping up with heavy seas. We are in latitude 36 longitude 15. If this wind keeps up we expect to be at the Cape of Good Hope in a few days. We saw today a large bird called a Molly Hawk, also an albatross. Today begins my week on the mess.

Thursday 24 April 1879 - Got up this morning at 7 am. Had breakfast of coffee and bread. Ship making 13 knots an hour. A few heavy seas came on deck which caused a little sensation. The temperature is a good deal lower today being only 65. We passed the island of Tristan da Cunha but did not go near enough to be able to see it. The sea is still high.

Friday 25 April 1879 - Got up this morning at 6 am. The sea is a great deal calmer today, the wind having fallen a good deal. A few albatrosses were caught by one of the cabin passengers. One measured 13 ft. from tip of the wing. It caused a little excitement on board as it snapped at one or two of the passengers with its bill, friskily.

Saturday 26 April 1879 - Got up this morning at half past six. Had breakfast of coffee and bread. Sailors busy washing decks. Ship not making more than 7 knots an hour. The sea is down to near a calm. A good many albatrosses flying about the ship today. A good many of the passengers are having lines out at the stern of the ship with pieces of meat attached to them but they have not been successful at getting any. There is nothing in the way of concerts or trials by jury tonight, the weather being rather cold for any amusement. And the sea being rough the rocking of the ship prevents it as well. During this last week we have done the most sailing. We covered a distance of 1434 miles. this is the greatest sailing we have done yet.

Sunday 27 April 1879 - Got up this morning at 6 am. Rather a wet morning. Got breakfast of porridge. The day was rather colder than any we have had yet. We sighted a vessel and signalled to her. She was the Cicera from London to Calcutta. She was the same number of days out as we were - 51. We lost sight of her at night.

Monday 28 April 1879 - Got up this morning at 7 am. Had breakfast of coffee and biscuits - very poor indeed. We are almost becalmed today. It is not quite so cold today. Breeze freshening up towards night. There was a model vessel raffled tonight by one of the seamen. I had a ticket but was not successful. One of the passengers bought it for a £1.

Tuesday 29 April 1879 - Got up this morning at half past six. Had breakfast of porridge. Light breeze today. We are 680 miles from the Cape of Good Hope. During the afternoon the wind died down to a calm. I had a few games at quoits and went to bed early as I felt rather tired. I slept well during the night.

Wednesday 30 April 1879 - Got up this morning at 7 am. Had breakfast of hard biscuits and coffee. Beautiful morning. Ship making little progress. We sighted a barque today but it was a good distance. A whale appeared during the afternoon, there was a general rush by us all to see him blow. It was close on our stern and we had a good view of it as it came to the surface two or three times. Temperature 55 degrees in the shade.

Thursday 1 May 1879 - Got up this morning at half past seven. Had breakfast of porridge. Ship becalmed today. We sighted three vessels today, but owing to them being such a distance away there was no signal passed between us. One of them was supposed to be the County of Haddington from Glasgow to Calcutta. She left nine days before us.

Friday 2 May 1879 - Got up this morning at 7 am. Had a small allowance of coffee and biscuits. Rather a dull day today. We are calling it a "Scotch Mist" although we are a few thousand miles away from bonny Scotland. There was a very light wind this morning but calm towards night. I had a few games at quoits and stayed late on deck, it being moonly.

Saturday 3 May 1879 - Got up this morning at half past seven. Had breakfast of porridge. Wind is almost dead against us and during midday a dead calm. Had a few games of quoits. Sailors busy washing decks. An albatross was caught today by the Captain. It was a very large one. The second mate got the two gill bones for pipe stems, and the captain skinned the breast for a collarette. I got one of the bones and I am going to make a scarf ring out of it. The bones take on a polish equal to ivory. I distributed part of the bone to some of the other passengers. The temperature is low today being only 49 degrees. The number of miles done last week being 689, being very poor sailing.

Sunday 4 May 1879 - Got up this morning at half past seven. Had breakfast of a little cold rice and tea. Sea is as smooth as glass and a thick mist is coming on. Rather a quiet day altogether - at night we had service in the steerage. There was a good meeting, all the passengers being there. We sang some of Sankey's hymns for the first time and they seemed to be appreciated by all. Cullen read.

 Monday 5 May 1879 - Got up this morning at 8 am. Had breakfast of porridge. Making little progress and the weather is very cold. We are in 43 degrees South. There was an albatross caught today by the Captain - it was 10 ft 9 inches from tip to tip of the wing. The captain preserved the skin of the beast, Fraser getting the bill.

Tuesday 6 May 1879 - Got up this morning at 8 am. Had breakfast of coffee and biscuits. Rather a wet, hazy day and disagreeable on deck. Breeze sprang up towards night and ship making 8.5 knots. Stayed till late on deck. Had a few games at dominoes in the afternoon with Mr Whyte, Mr Shearer and Mr Hislop.

Wednesday 7 May 1879 - Got up this morning at 7 am. Had breakfast of porridge. Breeze still keeping up and ship making good progress. Weather still hazy. We are abreast of the Cape of Good Hope today but miles out from it. Should the breeze continue we will be south of it by night. A shoal of porpoises were seen today. They were white striped, different from the other ones.

Thursday 8 May 1879 - This day has cast quite a gloom on us all. One of our number has gone the way of all flesh. Last night he seemed to be in good spirits, playing at dominoes and he was among our number. We all retired to bed at the usual time. I had occasion to get up this morning at half past one and the deceased was up at the same time but seemed to be ailing. He remarked to me he was afraid that something was going to happen to him. I took the saying as a joke and we both retired to our beds. Again at 5 in the morning I was awoken by two of our number speaking at the end of the berth where the deceased lay - I put my trousers on and went forward. The two men next to him were trying to check the blood but the cough seemed to get stronger and our friend did nothing but moan. The Captain came down, but there was little that could be done and an hour later he was no more. He died without a murmur, with only Mr Hislop, Cassel and myself beside him. There was no kind friend to soothe his pillow but all we could do was done for him. The rest of the passengers then awoke to be told that one of their number was no more. We then all went on deck. The morning was bitter cold. We sighted a ship, the Lochaline from Glasgow to Melbourne with passengers. She left Glasgow the same day as ourselves. There was a little excitement on board, as both vessels were going parallel to each other. They put up some more of their sails and we did the same. It reminded me of a yacht race, but it did not continue long. We left her behind us in a short time. About 4 pm out ship hove to and the body of our fellow passenger was brought up from the steerage. The Captain read the burial service and all the passengers and crew stood with their head uncovered. The union jack was drawn up half-mast high. After the body was dropped over the side, it was drawn up to the top of the mast. Immediately after, the sails were lowered and we proceeded on our course. Today was very cold and the temperature being 41 degrees in the shade. We are in longitude 23o 7' latitude 45o 9' - it looked like showers of snow today, but it kept fair. We are a few hundred miles past the Cape of Good Hope now. Deceased's name was John Welsh and he belonged to Greenock.

 Friday 9 May 1879 - Got up this morning at 8 am. Had breakfast of porridge. Quite calm today. A bird called the Cape Pigeon was seen today. It is about the size of our common pigeon but beautifully spotted on the wing. We are still in sight of the Lochlime. The temperature today is 41 degrees - the day is not so cold. A whale came alongside our ship today and gave a blow. It then passed below our ship and appeared on the other side. It was a sperm whale and was a good size.

Saturday 10 May 1879 - Got up this morning at 8 am. Had breakfast of coffee and bread. Very cold morning. Ship making 9 knots an hour. During this week we have covered 906 miles. This has not been such a good week's sailing as we have had before. We are still in sight of the Lochlime. Towards night we came a good deal nearer to her. About 9 pm she was at our stern. It is rather cold tonight with a good stiff breeze. We are taking advantage of it by keeping up as much sail as we can. Today we are in latitude 45o 9', longitude 29o 6'. A few seas came up over us today, making it rather disagreeable to walk on deck. A good many of the passengers are grumbling.

Sunday 11 May 1879 - Got up this morning at 8 am. Had breakfast of porridge. Lochlime is a bit ahead of us - we are catching up on her. Stiff breeze still keeping up. There was an exciting race between us but towards afternon we came alongside of her. We waved our hankies and they signalled to us by waving their caps and hankies. She is said to have only 14 passengers while we have 34. We kept alongside each other for some time. But we began to leave her behind and by night she was some miles behind us. We are still in latitude 46 degrees longitude 37 degrees. The breeze is still keeping up. Tonight we had service in the steerage - Mr Cullen reading a sermon.

Monday 12 May 1879 - Got up this morning at 8 am. Had breakfast of tea and bread. We are still in sight of the Lochlime - she is a good bit behind and a good deal to the leeward of us. We are in latitude 45o 47', longitude 30o 10'. The weather is still cold but the air is dry. We are going at the rate of 11 knots an hour. It is very dark tonight.

Tuesday 13 May 1879 - Got up this morning at half past seven. Had breakfast of porridge and tea. We have lost sight of the Lochlime today. The weather has changed today, being thick and misty. Temperature today 42 degrees. It is equally as cold but the decks are rather dry to walk on. I washed three shirts today and pocket hankies. Did not make [omitted].

Wednesday 14 May 1879 - Got up this morning at 9 am. Had breakfast of tea and bread. Weather not so cold today. Ship making about 9 knots an hour. We are to pass the Crozet Islands tonight but we will be a few hundred miles north of them. We are in latitude 44o 48', longitude 49o 4'. Had a few games at quoits. There has been an opposition paper started. It is to come out today. Again the Otago Journal.

Thursday 15 May 1879 - Got up this morning at 8 am. Had breakfast of porridge. Beautiful morning. Ship going at 11 knots. Fine breeze - sea smooth. We are in latitude 45o 6', longitude 54o 62'. Distance in the 24 hours = 246 miles. We passed the Crozet Islands but did not sight them. The vessel Strathmore was wrecked on them in 1875. There were 90 souls on board. Some of the passengers and crew were saved and did not get off the island for six months. A good many of their number died. While on the island they were rescued by an American vessel.

Friday 16 May 1879 - Got up this morning at half past seven. Had breakfast of tea and bread. Beautiful morning - light breeze. Sighted two vessels - one of them is supposed to be the Lochlime - it was her. There was another vessel also right ahead of us. We came upon her towards afternoon. She was the Siraku from London to New Zealand. She was out seven days before us. She had a good many passengers on board. It was supposed about 200. We came close up on her and there was great excitement among us. We waved our hankies and they did so in return. Much amusement was caused by one of our passengers getting a shirt with an umbrealla as a flagstaff, and waving it. She is a much larger vessel than ours but belongs to the same company. When a few of us were having the last look at her before it got dark a heavy sea came over us - I fell over the companion way and was nearly pitched against the side of the vessel. We all more or less got wet.

Saturday 17 May 1879 - Got up this morning at 8 am. Had breakfast of porridge. Beautiful morning. Sighted the Lochlime ahead of us. Stiff breeze keeping up. We lost sight of her towards night. Sailors busy washing down decks. Weather came up hazy towards evening. We are going fast now. We are just thinking of going to bed at 10 pm when it will just be 4 in the afternoon at home. Weather not so cold today - our Saturday amusement has fallen to the ground. It gets dark now and half past 4 in the afternoon.

Sunday 18 May 1879 - Got up this morning at 8 am. Had breakfast of tea and bread. Beautiful morning - Lochlime sighted again this morning on our weather side. There was a good deal of signalling passed between us, as they had let their chronometer run out. We had service in the steerage at night. There was a full attendance with Mr Cullen reading the service.

Monday 19 May 1879 - Got up this morning at half past seven. Had breakfast of porridge and coffee. Ship not making much progress today, with the sea being calm. A light breeze sprang up towards night. I had an attack of toothache in the afternoon and did not feel at all well. Took some medicine at night and felt a little better in the morning.

Tuesday 20 May 1879 - Got up this morning at 8 am. Slight breeze - sighted a barque in the distance and got up on her towards afternoon. We signalled to her. She was 70 days out from Workington, Cumbria, and was bound for Port Lyttelton in New Zealand. A good breeze kept up all night. Ship making from 11 to 12 knots.

Wednesday 21 May 1879 - Got up this morning at 8 am. Had breakfast of porridge. Rather cold today. Ship making good progress. Stiff breeze. We have covered 280 miles since yesterday. If the breeze continues we are expecting to be there in the course of 18 days and it is a universal wish with us all, that it will be soon.

Thursday 22 May 1879 - Got up this morning at 8 am. Had breakfast of coffee and bread. Breeze not quite so strong as yesterday. Toothache troublesome today. The second edition of the river paper was read tonight in the Carpenter's shop. A very good cartoon was in it resembling the Head Steward and his dog, Darllie. There was a tea party in the second cabin amongst the passengers.

Friday 23 May 1879 - Got up this morning at 8 am. Had breakfast of porridge, coffee and bread. Ship not making much progress. Rather a drizzly rain coming down today. Did not stay on deck once. Had toothache at night and felt rather miserable. Went to bed early. One or two of the second cabin passengers were a little tipsy today after the party they had.

Saturday 24 May 1979 - Got up this morning at 8 am. Had breakfast of coffee and bread. A fair wind. Ship rolling a good deal. Going at the rate of 12.5 knots an hour. Sailors busy scrubbing down decks. This being Queen's birthday, the seamen got a glass of grog from the Captain. It is still a fair wind and ship making good progress. It is very cold today, and with the decks being wet there is no pleasure in going on deck. Should this wind keep up we are expecting to be at our destination in the course of a fortnight. We are getting tired of our sea-life and are anxious to get to land as soon as possible.

Sunday 25 May 1879 - Got up this morning at 8 am. Had breakfast of porridge. Rather a drizzly day. Temperature 49 degrees. Passed a miserable day after dinner. Had toothache. Tried the galvanic battery to it, but did not get much benefit by it. I was not able to be at the service at night. Went to bed early and slept pretty well. Took a dose of medicine.

 Monday 26 May 1879 - Did not get up this morning until 11 am. Felt a little better but got worse towards evening. Took some medicine but did not feel at all well. Ship making good progress. We are supposed to be abreast of the coast of Australia today. We expect to get to our journey's end in the course of a fortnight now, if we do not experience headwinds.

Tuesday 27 May 1879 - Got up this morning at 8 am. Felt a relief from the toothache today. I thought I was all right but felt worse towards evening again, and very cold. I went to bed early and slept well. We are going at the rate of 14 knots an hour. The temperature today is 49 degrees.

Wednesday 28 May 1879 - Got up this morning at half past seven. Had breakfast of coffee and bread. Did not feel well at all. Felt a little better at dinner, but felt worse after tea, troubled with toothache. I may say there is no sympathy on board ship when one is ailing. Greatest miles covered as yet. Since yesterday 296 miles.

Thursday 29 May 1879 - Got up this morning at half past seven. Had breakfast of porridge. Toothache not quite so painful today. Had tea at night with the cook in the galley. Toothache very painful. Temperature today 46 degrees.

Friday 30 May 1879 - Got up this morning at half past seven. Had breakfast of tea and bread. Went on deck. Not so cold today. Turned rather colder towards night. Beautiful moonlight. Good breeze. Ship going at an average of 10 knots.

Saturday 31 May 1879 - Got up this morning at 7 am. Had breakfast of porridge, tea and bread. Ship making little progress. Had an attack of toothache in the afternoon and felt miserable. Got a little relief towards night. Beautiful moonlight. Stayed till late on deck.

Sunday 1 June 1879 - Got up this morning at half past seven. Had breakfast of tea and bread. Drizzly and rainy day. We had service at night in the steerage. Felt very ill with toothache during the service. Went to bed and felt a little better.

Monday 2 June 1879 - Got up this morning at half past seven. Had breakfast of porridge and tea. A number of black fish were seen today, a species of the whale but not nearly so large. Had a slight attack of toothache after tea.

Tuesday 3 June 1879 - Got up this morning at half past seven. Had breakfast of tea and a small piece of bread. Almost a calm today. We have gone only 30 miles today.

Wednesday 4 June 1879 - Got up this morning at half past six. Sighted a barque in the distance. Still a calm. We have only gone 40 miles today. I have finished up my week of the mess today. Beautiful weather, but a little cold.

Thursday 5 June 1879 - Got up this morning at half past seven. Had breakfast of coffee and a little bread. Still a calm. Today we have only gone 38 miles. We are beginning to get disappointed at making so little progress.

Friday 6 June 1879 - Got up this morning at half past seven. Had breakfast of porridge. Still a calm. We are getting disappointedat the state of affairs.

Saturday 7 June 1879 - Got up this morning at 8 am. Had breakfast of porridge. Beautiful morning. A little cold. No change for the better as yet. We are doing very little miles. We had a service tonight in the steerage. We are hoping it may be our last service on board. They will be getting anxious for us at home now.

Monday 9 June 1879 - Got up this morning at 8 am. Had breakfast of hard biscuits and coffee. Very poor breakfast indeed. Good breeze flowing today, but not in our favour. Two of the steerage passengers quarrelled today and resulted in a fight, but it did not last any length of time.

Tuesday 10 June 1879 - Got up this morning at 8 am. Had breakfast of porridge, tea and bread. Stiff breeze blowing today. We are nearly on our proper course.

Wednesday 11 June 1879 - Got up this morning at 8 am. Had breakfast of coffee and bread. Ship still becalmed and sea as smooth as glass. Two days good sailing would bring us to our destination.

Thursday 12 June 1879 - Got up this morning at half past seven. Had breakfast of porridge, coffee and bread. Sea still calm, but there are hopes of a breeze springing up. We are 100 days out at sea today.

Friday 13 June 1879 - Got up this morning at half past seven. Had breakfast of coffee and bread. We scrubbed out our berths today. Stayed till late on deck.

Saturday 14 June 1879 -Got up this morning at half past seven. Had breakfast of porridge, coffee and bread. Good breeze today, but not altogether in our favour. We sighted [omitted] island about 350 miles from Port Chalmers. If the wind keeps up we expect to be into port by Monday.

Sunday 15 June 1879 - Got up this morning at 8 am. Had breakfast of coffee and hard biscuits. A miserable breakfast indeed. We sighted land today, supposed to be the Middle Island of New Zealand. We sighted a barque ahead of us.

Monday 16 June 1879 - Got up this morning at half past seven. Had breakfast of porridge. We will not be into port today.

Tuesday 17 June 1879 - Got into port today. Had a view of Port Chalmers. Went ashore at night.

Wednesday 18 June 1879 - Got up to Dunedin in the morning.

Sunday 22 June 1879 - Went to church in the evening.

Monday 23 June 1879 - [omitted] came into [omitted] and did not know me. Wanted a corkscrew.

Tuesday 24 June 1879 - Put an advertisement in the paper for a situation.

Wednesday 25 June 1879 - Had a walk out to Mornington. No prospect of any work yet.

[Diary ends]


There follows a list detailing dates, latitude, longitude and miles covered. The greatest number of miles covered was on 28 May 1879 (296) and the least miles on 12 June 1879 (9).

From another page it would appear that William Grant was employed as a casual gardener from 26 July 1879 until 12 January 1880 when he "commenced work as gardener to the Hon. George McLean".

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