The Immigrant's Guide to Australia 1853


The following excerpts are taken from The Immigrant's Guide to Australia, by John Capper which was published in Liverpool, England by George Phillip & Son in 1853. According to the Guide this book contains "the full particulars relating to the recently discovered gold fields, the government regulations for gold seeking".

Page 95, para 4 Each passenger, whether steerage or intermediate, is allowed to take baggage to the extent of fifteen or twenty cubic feet, free of expense, and which is quite sufficient for most persons. The regulation regarding passengers' luggage is, that only one box or bag be allowed in each sleeping berth, sufficient to contain a fort-nights clothing, at the end of which time they have access to their chests in the hold, replacing the clothes used by clean. In this way every emigrant should be provided with two chests, one large and one small, or one canvas bag, the large chest being painted, and having their names distinctly marked on them. The above measurement allowed, includes the cabin box, which must not be more than one foot six inches long, one foot ten inches broad, and one foot two inches deep. (A carpet bag is far more useful than a box.)

Page 96, para 1 The following list of articles for an outfit for a married couple, contains as few things as they could well go with; of course, the more they can add the better, as it is not possible to wash on the voyage, unless it be a few very small things, the supply of water being limited to three quarts a day. For the wife; three cotton dresses, one pair stays, four petticoats, sixteen chemises, two flannel petticoats, twelve pairs cotton stockings, four pairs black worsted ditto, six night dresses and caps, six pocket-handkerchiefs, four handkerchiefs for the neck, six caps, two bonnets, cloak and shawl, one pair boots, two pairs shoes, and eight towels. For the husband: two fustian jackets, waistcoats, and trousers, three pairs canvas trousers, one over-coat, two felt hats, one Scotch cap, sixteen striped shirts, two Guernsey shirts, twelve pairs cotton half-hose, four pairs worsted hose, six handkerchiefs, eight towels, two pairs boots, and one pair shoes, strong but not heavy. Children in like proportion. The family will also require a flock mattress and bolster, one pair blankets, one coverlet, six pairs cotton sheets, two or three tablecloths, six pounds yellow soap, three pounds marine soap, metal wash-hand basin, knives and forks, one quart tin hookpot, one coffee-pot, comb and brush, besides a supply of string sewing materials, tape, buttons, &c. Should a little extra means be at command, let it be expended in laying in small supplies of calicoes, brown holland, camlet, fine canvas &c.; and it will always be desireable that the wife make as many of her clothes on board as possible, as the occupation serves to pass away many an otherwise idle, heavy hour.

Page 96 para 2 A superior class of emigrants,men of a few hundreds, may take the following as a sufficient list for the voyage; three dozen regatta shirts, common, to be used first; one dozen best regatta shirts; six best white shirts, for town; twelve pairs drawers, cotton thread; three dozen pairs socks, cotton or angola, six pairs worsted socks; six pairs shoes or boots, strong but not heavy; one cloth cap; one straw hat and one felt hat, as you generally lose one or two overboard;a south-wester; one pilot-cloth coat; two body coats, alpaca; six blouses; two pairs cloth trousers; three pairs alpaca ditto; ten pairs white ducks; a large canvas clothes-bag; a horse-hair or cocoa-nut fibre mattress; a pair of 40s blankets; eight pairs of sheets; a coverlet; a cabin wash-basin and table; a pair of ship chest of drawers; a looking-glass; combs, brushes, &c.; a ship cabin candle lamp, with 10Lbs. composite candles; 6Lbs. soap; some marine soap, all packed in chests or in the drawers; with tapes, buttons, sewing thread, needles &c.

Page 96 para 2 For the bush he will require, in addition: two pairs moleskin trousers, strapped inside all the way down; four pairs moleskin trousers; twelve Florentine shirts; six pairs boots, strong Wellingtons or ankle jacks; one monkey jacket; two shooting coats; one drab greatcoat, like a soldier's loose made; a pair or two of the best spurs, plated; twelve coarse silk pocket-handkerchiefs; a good head-stall snaffle bridle-the saddle had better be bought in the colony, also saddle bags.

Page 96 para 3 The above calculations are all based upon a voyage of four months;for, although the usual time occupied by good vessels is not more than ninety to ninety-five days, it would not be prudent to arrange the outfit on that scale.

Page 97 para 4 When emigrants have been accepted,and the necessary funds provided, a vessel is selected suitable to their number. So soon as the day of her sailing is fixed, the emigrants are all divided into family groups,containing twelve adults, who can take their meals together during the passage. The object of this arrangement is that friends and relatives may unite and aid each other in their common emigration, and induce a social intimacy among strangers previous to embarkation, by which means they enter the vessel as acquaintances and friends, ready to assist in those little services so conducive to happiness and comfort in a sea voyage.

Page 100 para 1 Passengers are divided into three kinds-cabin, intermediate, and steerage. The first class includes all the poop and stern cabins between decks. Such passengers take their meals with the captain and officers in the cuddy, and are provided with unlimited fresh meat, poultry, beer, wine, &c. The rate of payment varies according to the table furnished and size of the cabin, ranging from 40 to 70 each person; families being charged less.

Page 100 para 2 Intermediate passages cost from 20 to 30, according to dieting and size of ship. The accommodation for those consists fo cabins built up in a temporary manner between decks, about 8 feet by 6 feet, with four or six sleeping berths in each, though four is ample for the space. The dieting of this class is fixed according to a certain scale, consisting of beef, pork, preserved fresh meat, flour, biscuits, raisins, rice, pease, preserved potatoes, tea, coffee, sugar, butter, &c.with three quarts of water daily. Cooking and mess utemsils,and sometimes bedding, are included in the above charges.

Page 100 para 3 The steerage is the lowest class, and for these only sleeping places are put up on either side of the lower deck; though for married people separate berths are erected. Bedding is sometimes added, and always cooking and mess utensils. The scale of dietary for these differs only from the former in being a little less in quality.

Page 104 para 3 To young settlers, who are desirous of making their small capital go as far as possible-avoid the cost of cabin or even intermediate passage;engage a space between decks at the steerage price, 20 to 25 each, and employ the ship's carpenter to run up a little cabin,fitting it up with a few useful things, such as a common filter, tin wash-basin and jug, two quart hook-pots, one pint pot, tin plates and dishes, knives and forks, tea and coffee pots, small water-jug, and a ship candle-lamp. Before sailing be sure everything is well lashed down.In addition to the above, a supply of provisions will be found acceptable,as the ship's dietary may not be such as the emigrant and his wife have been accustomed to-say 1cwt.flour, 1 cwt of potatoes, a few pounds of tea, coffee, and cocoa, some candles, a hundred eggs greased and packed in salt, some suet, butter, cheese, and biscuits; a dozen or two tins of preserved provisions, a side of bacon and a couple of hams, with a little wine and some bottled beer. The whole of the above might be had for about 20,which, added to the cost of the steerage passage for a couple, say 45, will not amount to more than the cost of a single cabin passage.

Page 100 para 4 The following scale of weekly allowance for passengers going out under the arrangements and protection of the Family Colonisation Society may serve as a guide to others, and will be found, with some slight difference, to agree with the dietary of most vessels belonging to respectable shipowners:-

Biscuit,per week..............3 lb.   Tea,       ..........1 1/2oz.
Beef,    "    ".............1/2 lb    Coffee,..................2oz.
Pork,    "    "...............1 lb.   Sugar,.................3/4lb.
Preserved Meat"...............1 lb.   Treacle,...............1/2lb.
Soup &Bouillion...............1 lb.   Butter,................1/4lb.
Fish,     "   ".............1/4 lb.   Cheese,................1/4lb.
Flour,    "   "...........3 1/2 lb.   Oatmeal..................2oz.
Raisins,  "   ".............1/2 lb.   Lime Juice............1 gill
Preserved Fruit.............1/4 lb.   Pickles,..............1 gill
Suet,     "   "...............6 oz.   Mustard,..............1/2 oz.
Pease,    "   "......2/3 of a pint    Salt,...................2 oz.
Rice,     "   ".............3/4 lb.   Pepper,...............1/2 oz.
Preserved Potatoes..........1/2 lb.   Water,.....5 gallons 1 quart
Carrots,  "   ".............1/2 lb.     " each infant,1 gallon3qts
Page 101 para 1 Women receive the same rations as men. Children between one and fourteen receive one-half. Children under one, no ration, except one quart of water daily.

Page 101 para 3 Enclosed cabins are furnished to each family, of a size according to the number of individuals. Children above fourteen years of age are provided with compartments for sleeping separate from those of their parents. One enclosed cabin is allotted to seven single females, also an enclosed cabin for seven young men, in parts of the vessel appropriated by classification for those berths. The arrangement of the cabins is such as to provide for perfect order, decorum, and morality.

Page 101 para 4 In each of the ships there is a matron's committee, composed of six females of an appropriate age, which is selected. They undertake the motherly duty of seeing that all the young females are in their sleeping apartments at a proper hour, and are earnestly solicited never to retire to rest leaving any young girl on the poop or deck of the ship.

Page 101 para 5 In addition to the above, there is a general "group committee" on board each ship,to be selected by the whole body of emigrants, whose duty it is to preserve order on the lower deck, and see that deck kept clean;to attend during the issue of provisions, to see that each mess has the proper allowance;and to keep a register of the brands on the various casks of provisions, that they may know they are consuming the provisions put on board for their use. The appointment of the first committee (to act for one month only);at the end of that period the group can elect others.

Page 102 para 1 For the more effectual preservation of order and regularity, all complaints to be made to the surgeon, through the medium of the group committee, in order that he may apply to the captain, should it become necessary, with a view to remedy the cause of complaint. No smoking allowed on the poop, lower deck, or abaft the mainmast on the upper deck. Single men not to go abaft the main hatchway on the lowerdeck, except during meals. One side of the poop deck to be reserved exclusively for the captain's use and comfort, and that of his officers. The passengers to leave the poop deck at half-past eight in the evening, and lamps to be extinguished at ten o'clock, with the exception of three large ones on the lower deck, and one on the poop which will be left burning all night. No lights of any kind permitted in the cabins, and those over the tables must not be removed. No clothes will be dried in the cabins, or between decks. Any fire-arms, gunpowder, lucifer matches, or combustible material of any kind, discovered in the possession of the passengers, will be immediately taken away from them by the captain, and retained by him until the termination of the voyage.

Page 102 para 2 That there be no confusion or delay in regard to cooking meals, it is arranged that the provisions being prepared by the emigrants, and delivered as directed in the "Ship Rules and Regulations, "will be cooked by an emigrants' cook, provided to perform that duty by the group.

Page 103 para 2 With the view of promoting order and health on board passenger ships the following rules have been put in order:

Page 106 para 2 On the arrival of the vessels tents will be erected for temporary residence. By this means person of both sexes will be secured from many expenses and inconveniences too often resulting from seeking lodgings in haste. One large tent will be used as an office for the engaging of emigrants. Persons engaging will be furnished with every advice and information tending to their benefit and security, free of all charge, but no pecuniary aid can be given.

Page 106 para 3 Emigrants have to pay all expenses attending the landing of themselves and their baggage, and their conveyance from the ship to the town of their destination.

Page 106 Para 4 The best time to arrive in Australia is between the months of November and February, as during that period the sheep-farmers and stock-holders come down to the towns with their drays of wool or herds of cattle for sale, and are prepared to hire and take back with them fresh supplies of labourers with their luggage. Page 106 Para 5 Emigrants should beware of lingering in the towns, where they can do little more than waste their substance. Should there be no farmers in from the bush at the time of arrival, let the labourer start off in quest of work; if he have a family, they may be left in charge of any respectable party with other fresh settlers. He will be sure to find work at no great distance, and, at any rate, always a shelter and a meal at night, with a hearty welcome.

Page 106/107 para 6 Small capitalists intending to turn farmers cannot do better than deposit their means in one of the banks for one year, whilst they look about them, with a view to pick up information as to country, mode of life, cattle, and many other matters. Nothing should be entered upon rashly, especially the purchase of cattle, which should never be done until a run or a farm be secured.

Page 110 para 3 Advice to labourers and small farmers with an idea of the tools and other requirements of bush life. These will in most cases consist of a common Australian falling-axe forged in the colony. If the settler mean to work himself with one labourer, he will need, of course, two axes. They must be hafted and ground in the settlement. Heavy poll on at least one, each handle of different lengths; each axeman will find out his own. Morticing axe; two rather than one in all cases, for they are very apt to get spoiled. Auger, 1/2inch,1inch,1 1/2inch. Crosscut saw, six feet plate at least; seven feet better, square teeth. Files for ditto, at least half-a-dozen; and saw-set. Maul, or, as termed in some parts of England, beetle. The rings will be forged by the smith at the settlement; the labourer must be able to put them on. Each man that works at splitting requires a maul. A few small iron wedges, make the blacksmith jag the ends,so that once in the wood they will not come out again.

Page 111 para 1 Set of splitting wedges. Generally half-a-dozen go to one set; only one set is required. Broad axe. Adze.(remember all tools that require grinding may be ground at the settlement) Spades for digging post-holes-a peculiar sort, to be purchased at the company's store. Also common spades. Spud and pick; to be procured from blacksmith. Hoes; these also are a purely colonial article, twelve inches in the blade, strongly supported on the back, and with thoroughly substantial eye. The smallest settler should have at least four. With these tools and implements a crop may be got in; without then, not unless in a very blundering make-shift manner.

Page 120 Para 1 Mr.Hargreaves, in a spirit that does him infinite honour, immediately assented, and forthwith the gold fields of Australia became a fact. As we hold the primary publication to constitute the right to the discovery, so we consider Mr. Edward Hargreaves as the discover of the Australian gold fields, and we trust that his name may be associated with them in such a way that the public benefaction he has made may never be forgotten.

Page 120 Para 2 On the 30th of April 1851, Mr. Hargreaves wrote to the Colonial Secretary that the localities at which he had found gold were Summerhill Creek, Lewes Ponds, and Macquoire River, situated in the Wellington and Bathurst districts, and that he should be prepared when called upon to point out the precise places whereon he had discovered gold.

Page 120 Para 3 By the government instruction, the colonial geologist, Mr. Stutchbury, was advised of this communication, and instructed to put himself in communication with Mr Hargreaves for the purpose of deciding on the best method of procedure. Thereupon it was determined that these gentlemen should forthwith visit the spots indicated, and upon their report such steps should be taken as might be deemed advisable, in keeping with the importance of the undertaking upon which they were engaged.

Page 120 Para 5 It was not long that Mr. Hargreaves discovery lay dormant; having to employ several men to assist him while proving to Mr. Stutchbury the correctness of his statements these soon divulged the nature of their pursuits, and the gold fever broke out with such violence,that Mr. Stutchbury reports, on the 19th of May, or little more than a fortnight from the time Mr. Hargreaves informing the Government where gold was to be found, four hundred persons were busily engaged, and that many, "with merely a tin, obtained one or two ounces a day;,"and "that great confusion was likely to arise as to the way in which the claims of the diggers should be settled."

Page 120 Para 6 On the 22nd of May, it was found necessary to issue a proclamation, declaring the rights of the crown to all gold deposits within the district of New South Wales; and, furthermore, in order to assert this right, Mr. John Richard Hardy, chief magistrate of Paramatta, was appointed gold commissioner, with a staff of ten mounted policemen: he was also authorised to issue gold-digging licences, and to receive payment in gold obtained by the process of amalgamation, at the of 2,8s. per ounce, or by gold obtained simply by washing, at the rate of 3,4s.per ounce. At the same time to preserve peace and repress violence and insubordination, he was further empowered to swear in special constables and act with the local police.

Page 121 Para 2 "All persons digging or searching for alluvial gold, to take out a license, the licence fee being at the rate of 1,10s per month. All gold procured without due authority is liable to seizure, in whose possession soever it be. Persons applying for licences require to prove they are not absent from hired service. "Claims to work unoccupied ground to be marked out on the following scale:

1. Fifteen feet frontage to either side of a river or main creek.
2. Twenty feet of the bed of a tributary to a river or main creek, extending across its whole breadth.
3. Sixty feet of the bed of a ravine or watercourse.
4. Twenty feet square of table land or river flats.


Thanks to the Ballarat Gold Museum for providing a copy of this guide.