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(circa 1835 -1880’s)
 
Load up your chattels, those pots, pans & china.
Set them in crates; gather your children head for the port.
Your country needs your attentions in the new lands.
The emigrant office is sending you Antipodes bound.
Assisted passage, sailing on ships with emigrant berths.
 
Say goodbye to Ireland, Scotland, Wales & England so grand!
The months ahead you will be in a new land.
Your Sydney bound, it’s a young town.
Single ladies are welcome.
Make your fortune and meet a new man.
Ye tradesman will be needed.
 
On the voyage take your courage.
Familiarise the decks and stow your gear.
Hear about the victualling, this may include Porta called beer.
Down to the sleeping quarters, women you go forward men to the aft.
Try and keep the passage way clear, you will need the draft.
Keep yourselves orderly.
 
Captain orders the ship to sea.
Leaving behind the northern Lights.
Light winds prevail, waiting for billowing sail.
Southern sailing around the cape the tiny ones suffer,
 It starts with a cough & a splutter.
Into a storm a clap of thunder.
 
The little ones slip from life.
A burial at sea,
Infants wrapped in sail cloth shrouds.
Descend into a watery grave.
Kissed by passing clouds & moonlight on the water,
Forever they sleep.
The anger & pain on their loved one’s faces.
As they give up their children to the deep!
Crying and mourning they fall in a heap!
This mountain now seems so steep.
 
Onward they voyage sailing through 50 degrees longitude south.
Salt water spurting from the mouth.
Bow sprit Porpoising & furrowing into the water.
Sails straining, needing all the crews’ shipboard training.
Ship pitching & rolling,  water heaving into the cabins on the port side.
Passengers are freezing as they bundle the blankets,
& put on three sets of clothing.
Ice is forming, the teeth are chattering.
Ice berg ahead, it’s snowing, gather the water buckets.
Unfurl the rope of knots it’s speed the captain is needing.
 
More passengers have fallen during these nights.
Were hoping for land both day & night.
Until a passenger calls ahoy!
Albatross be at the stern!
Fish in the waters.
 
Grab the fishing lines for tonight dine and open the wine.
We’ll organise a dance and have next day a Sunday service.
Capstan covered with the flag of the Britain.
Words of sombre & those that pray.
We give hope to each and every day.
 
On the decks we do not want to stay!
Air so crisp as the winds of forty will roar, sailing her easting down.
No more water inhaling.
 
Suddenly land birds sighted surfing air currents are Gulls & Eagle.
We are nearing west Australia.
Our hopes are higher and this ship we tire!
Lives all changed we could not care if we were going to Spain.
August winds in the Bight blow.
Tuna and Sharks seen in tow.
Ship board diary by quill are nearly filled.
The quater masters victualling cupboard nigh on empty.
Captain issues orders for surgeon superintendent to keep the passage ways open & clean. 
As typhus fever & other nasties of passage will place his ship in quarantine.
  
Up the east coast of Australia two days from arrival.
The passengers make final arrangement to leave the ship.
Tending to the weak & some half dead.
There is schooling to be learned, attended by ship board master.
Ladies are sewing clothes to embark.
 
A new life in a strange land.
The ship turned heading for Port Jackson.
Captain before reaching the pilot has his duty
Up go the flags of different colours,
Quarantine is a shade of yellow!
 
Pilot on board he orders full to starboard for lay berth.
It’s to the quarantine passengers will embark.
What bad luck this place for an emigrant to be stuck.
 
Colin  -  April 2006





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