Pendle/Baldry Voyage

George Victor Chambers had in 1975 John William Baldry's hand-written diary that he kept during the families voyage from England to Australia. 'Pretty well worn and faded now', he said. The family would have consisted of John William Baldry, wife Hephzibah Pendal and son Robert John Baldry.

The diary tells the tale of emigrating from settled England to unsettled Australia leaving Gravesend the evening of October 29th 1861 and arriving in Williamstown, Australia on February 14th 1862, 106 days around the Cape of Good Hope, South Africa. They were cabin passengers on a sailing ship. It seems that sister Emma Pendal made the voyage too, but it was John Baldry who kept the diary.

Here is his record:-

"We went aboard ship in Shadwell Basin taking with us the following animals for fresh meat on the voyage: Four sheep, One sow (in pig), Several hogs, One goat with two kids and a large quantity of fowl."

Before they even left the English Channel behind they had lost a sheep, the sow and her piglets (she having "pigged" while they were tossing about in the Channel), one of the goat kids, some of the hogs and a quantity of fowls. It was so rough and the big ship rolling and pitching so heavily nearly everything aboard was capsized and thrown about and they all had to hold on to something all night to avoid being thrown out of their berths. Many were seasick and if they got up they were thrown off their feet.

During the voyage there were two or three mutinies by some of the crew, one when they were off the coast of Africa after the crew broke into some of the cargo, (Irish gin, Scotch whisky, bottled port and wines) and threatened to put the passengers and officers off on the Gold Coast of Africa, then twice after they had rounded the Cape of Good Hope when the crew threatened to murder the second mate and one of the stewards but the Captain and some of the men from the cabin passengers and the other officers got control and the ringleaders were put in irons until they reached Melbourne where they were put in jail.

This seems to have been an extremely troubled voyage THREE mutinies!

Baldry said "He also had sport catching a large shark by trolling a chunk of pork on a line from the stern. Near the Cape of Good Hope the Captain also loaned him his rifle and he shot large birds that flew over the ship with a wing spread of up to seven feet.

During the voyage the lady passengers had the run of the galley and they made tarts and pies etc. When it rained the crew stretched sails across the ship a few feet above the deck to catch fresh water. Then the passengers could do their laundry and take baths in tubs.

After landing at Williamstown in February 1862 John Baldry took up a large piece of land inland from Melbourne and started a sheep station.

This brings up another question, he must have had funds from England to do this. John Baldry was successful and became very well to do, but when he was about fifty, his horse stepped in a rabbit hole, breaking it's leg. It fell over on John crushing him to death.