Dr John Woodforde (1810-1854) accompanied Colonel William Light to Australia in 1836 aboard the brig RAPID. He was married to Caroline Carter. He kept a diary which adds some details: after leaving on May 1, they passed Madeira on the 15th, crossed the Equator on June 8th and performed the 'usual absurd ceremony', and rounded the Cape of Good Hope on July 12th.
Dr John Woodforde remained in Australia for the rest of his life, and his descendants still live there. Researched by: Stephen Butt 2004
the Colonel, a real worthy old fellow [aged 50!] as ready to join in our jokes as any other;
Field, a fine gentlemanly fellow now settled in the Mount Barker district;
Hill, a rough good-humoured old fellow very much given to drinking deep;
Claughton, a seaman who had been in the East India Company's service, also rather addicted to grog;
Dr John Woodforde, the surgeon, ill with seasickness most of the voyage;
and young Jacob, hardly from home before, with simplicity beaming in his countenance.
Pullen recounts how he and Field shaved their heads in the heat of the tropics. Not to be outdone, half the crew shaved off their right whiskers and a narrow strip of hair over the top of their heads, the other half the left whiskers and a strip from ear to ear, and the one individual without whiskers took off a strip in both directions. All very well until it was necessary to explain the peculiar appearance of the men to a ship met in mid-ocean. Jacob was the butt of many of their jokes. On one occasion he managed to outbid his mates to acquire a preserved sea serpent, and much later learnt it was the tail of the last pig killed for eating on board.
The continuing good humour and pleasantness of the voyage was a tribute to the commander's personality, just as the progress of the ship was a tribute to his seamanship. Despite her name, there is nothing that would have led one to expect that the RAPID's direct passage of 114 days to the new colony would be the fastest of the ships of 1836.