BUCKINGHAMSHIRE 1839

She was under the command of Captain Moore. This was probably the largest ship (1469 tons) to bring migrants in the days of sailing ships and on her only voyage to South Australia, brought the largest single contingent of passengers. She was built in 1816 at Bombay Dockyards, India by Jamsetjee Bomanjee as a fully rigged ship. The BUCKINGHAMSHIRE was originally one of the Honourable East India Company's fleet and was known as an East Indianman. For many years this company held a monopoly on shipping east of the Cape of Good Hope and it was only Acts of Parliament in 1813, 1823 and 1834 which broke this hold over British shipping. Between 1831 and 1834 the East India's fleet was dispersed. Some of the ships were bought for timber and broken up. The BUCKINGHAMSHIRE was purchased for 10,500 in 1834 by Messrs Thacker and Mangell. The owners of the ship at the beginning of its voyage to South Australia were listed as Mangles and Co. and the ship was registered to the Port of London. Captain Shea was master of the ship prior to this voyage.

The BUCKINGHAMSHIRE arrived at Deal from the Thames River on Friday, December 7th 1838. The ship's master was William Moore. The boat sailed to Portsmouth arriving on Saturday, 8th December. When it finally departed for South Australia on Tuesday December 11th, it had a total of 512 passengers and 102 crew. The 512 consisted of 16 cuddy (cabin), 23 intermediate and 15 steerage passengers as well as 447 emigrants. The ship's tonnage at this stage was 1731 tons. Forty three days into the voyage, the ship was in contact with the ARGYLL at latitude 28 degrees south. When the ARGYLL arrived in Sydney, Lloyd's of London was notified of this meeting, recording the contact in its list dated September 4th 1939.

After travelling for 98 days the ship arrived in Adelaide on 22nd of March 1839. The "South Australian Gazette and Colonial Register" of Saturday, 6th April 1839, page 3, column b describes an inquest on the "body of a man which was found lying above high-water mark, on the sea-shore, about half way between the flag staff at Glenelg, and Holdfast Bay. The body was found to be that of a sailor of the name of Harding, belonging to the Buckinghamshire, who, along with the surgon, and another seaman belonging to the same ship, were drowned a day or two before, in the boat in which they were upsetting. The Jury returned a verdict of "Found drowned". The BUCKINHAMSHIRE would have been a beautiful sight sailing up the Port River to the wharf. A record of the voyage exists in the form of a diary extract written by John Channing and letters written by G Vickery, both passengers on board this voyage. Surgeon W.I. Harris drowned in a boating accident at Holdfast Bay. A watercolour painting of this sailing ship by Col. Light hangs in the Art Gallery of South Australia.

Extracts from the Diary of John Channing, one of the Steerage passengers sent out by the Commissioners to Adelaide on board the "BUCKINGHAMSHIRE".
January 3rd
1839
at Sea
Mr Heals the general Superintendent of the Emigrants is a most excellent man and one who is determined that every fraction of the articles shall be fulfilled.
I hear he is treated with great coldnefs by the Officers of the ship
January 5th Quarrels and other annoying circumstances which make one miserable on board
January 7th the Gunner discovered to be with the young women at night on pretence of putting out the light.
January 22nd disgraceful conduct of the Officers to the young women, they continue to get into their berths at night
January 23rd more disgraceful conduct of the Officers.
January 29th Emigrants feel the effects of the Salt provisions, they draw up a petition to the Doctor for the Medical comfort promised
which he refused, saying they wanted to get drunk
indecent behaviour of the Officers and consequently of the low lived Sailors to the Women.
Some of them very well but generally they are a bad set, being described by one of their own number as the rakings of Hell, Bedlam and Newgate.
January 30th the Doctor from obstinacy stops the Lime juice for the Emigrants to petition
this Lime juice was served out about nine times, but it ought to have been oftener, at least twice a week
Rum Cakes and other things given to the Young Women by the villianous mates which some refused and others accepted.
March 13th the Captain owing our Superintendant Mr Heals a grudge, wished to supervise but the Emigrants stood firm to him,
hissing and hooting the Captain who soon found his mistake and was glad to make his escape into the Cabin
March 22nd arrived in Holdfast Bay - almost every one on board had quarrelled in the Cabin and intermediate as well as Steerage.

Received 21/12/39,
E.J Wheeler Esquire,
South Australian Co.
New Broad Street, London

PRG 174/1 Angas Papers - Quarto Series - No's 1001 - 1499
Restricted, Reel 3, Working Copy - POSITIVE

transcribed by Gail Dodds:
http://members.iinet.net.au/~dodd/gail/tallships/diary.html
Extracted from an early SA paper - The "Buckinghamshire"

The Buckinghamshire was a much larger boat than others that have been recorded, her tonnage being 1,450 tons against the Buffalo's 860 and the Rapid's 160. She was probably considered a very large boat indeed by 1839 standards-the last word in a luxury liner, and very fast, too, taking a little over 14 weeks for the voyage, leaving Portsmouth on December 11, 1838 and arriving at Holdfast Bay on 22 March, 1839.

The ship was a fine old East Indian under the command of Capt. W. Moore, and had 512 passengers on board, including 180 children. Of these, 443 were migrants being sent out by the Commissioners under the care of General Superintendent Nathanel Hailes for the colonisation of South Australia.

Many of these poor people were very misinformed over the whole business, being told that it was very much the same as moving from one county to another-from Dorset to Devon. The average labouring family was very ignorant, many of them spending their whole lives within a few miles of the village in which they were born.

Migrants Misled
This new colony, described in such glowing terms by agents anxious to obtain labourers, must have been a very great surprise to many of them. Although probably after a trying journey of months in a tiny sailing ship with the roughest of food and a shortage of water, any land would be welcomed, and even if they could raise their passage money few of them would feel like facing the journey back. They had come to stay, and soon learned to adapt themselves to new conditions.

On the passenger list the Buckinghamshire one reads the names of Mr & Mrs Cook, Mr & Mrs Hailes and three children, Mr & Mrs Hezelden, Mr & Mrs Robertson, Mr & Mrs Munday and three children, Misses Shultz, Williams and Harridge, the Rev. Mr Wix, Messrs, Gilbert, Brown, Ellis, Allen, Miller, Matchel, Templar, Poulden, Harding, Handcock, Pratt, Williams, Gratwick, Bourchier, Lock, Gothardt, Salmon and Snape.

Miss Nancy Gilbert's great grandfather, Mr Joseph Gilbert arrived in the boat. Anchoring at Glenelg, the natives helped in landing the various goods and carrying them up the shelving beach. Naturally, goods of all sorts and kinds were brought, many people bringing a store of provisions as well as furniture and household goods.

Imported a House
Mr Gilbert brought with him a wooden house in sections which he set up in the part which is now called Lower Hindley street. Soon, however, he went farther afield taking up land at Gawler and then in the Baroosa Range. Later he built a homestead on the lines of his English manor home and called it Pewsey Vale after the district in Wiltshire where he was born.

South Australia was particularly fortunate in the personnel of her early colonists, so many of them being members of good old English families. The new colony of South Australia appealed to their adventurous spirits and especially to the better class, as there was no convict smirch on the colony's escutcheon, but it did loom very large.

transcribed by Ida Forsyth (courtesy Wendy Tucknott)