Report on Steerage Conditions in 1844.
Nearly everyone has read of the horror of the convict ships,
but the following ~report of steerage~ conditions in 1844 plainly shows that in
many respects ~ the
emigrant's lot was every bit as hard and revolting:
was scarcely possible to, induce the passengers to
sweep the decks after their meals or to be decent .
in respect to the
common wants of nature; in many ,cases,
in bad weather, they would not go on deck, ..
health suffered so much that their strength. was
gone, and they had not the power to help them - selves. Hence the between decks
were like a loathsome dungeon.
When hatchways were opened, under which ,
were stowed, the steam rose and the stench .
was like that
from a pen of pigs. The few beds they had were in a dreadful state, for the
straw, once wet with sea water, soon rotted, ,besides which they used the
between decks for all sorts of filthy purposes. 'Whenever vessels put back from
distress, all these miseries and sufferings were exhibited in the most
-aggravated form. In one case it appeared that; the vessel having experienced
rough weather, the people were unable to go on deck and cook their pro- visions:
the strongest maintained the upper hand over the weakest, and it was even said
that there were women who died of starvation. At that time the passengers were
expected to cook for themselves and from their being unable to do this the
greatest suffering arose. It was naturally at the commencement of the
that this system
produced its worst' effects, for the ".
were those in which the people suffered most from sea-sickness and under
the prostration of body thereby induced were wholly incapacitated from
cooking. Thus though provisions might be abundant enough, the passengers would
be half starved.
report was given before a Parliamentary Committee.
A Shipping Notice of 1845
It does not
even mention the overcrowding which took place, owing to the smallness of the
ships," which can well be realized by the following shipping
notice taken from a Liverpool newspaper of January, 6"
NEW SOUTH WALES.
despatched immediately :- For PORT PHILLIP and SYDNEY, New South Wales.
The splendid first-class English-built ship
A I at Lloyd's, 296 tons per register, copered and copper fastened, and well
known as a remarkably fast sailer . This vessel has spacious and elegant
accommodation for passengers, replete with every convenience and presents a
first rate opportunity.
For terms of freight and passage apply to
MESSRS. FAIRFIELD, SHALLCROSS & Co.