JOURNAL OF A VOYAGE TO NEW ZEALAND
Published in Run 181: A History of Castlerock Station, 1993.
Reproduced by permission of the author.
Copyright remains with the author, no unauthorised reproduction permitted.
Left the tail of the bank Greenock at 1½ am, on Sunday, 23 August 1859.
The tug went with us further than was intended, and cast us off at about
7 pm, off Bathlin Island.
24 August 1859.
At 10 am we were abreast the light of Instrahull coast of Ireland where
we passed the Brig Leven of Luebec outward bound. Lowered boat to recover
lost bucket. Very calm up till noon, the ship rolling much. Most passengers
sick myself among the others. Some fishermen came alongside from Instrahull
and wanted to trade fish for tobacco but met no encouragement from Captain.
Found a stow-away in forecastle named William MacManemy who was immediately
promoted to be knife cleaner, hen feeder etc etc, light blowing winds
nearly all day, toward evening and sails began to sleep.
25 August 1859.
Fresh breeze during last night and this morning getting a fine start, going
about 8½ & 9 knots an hour. Many passengers still sick but getting better.
Last night Doctor and Allen shut out of their cabin by the fall of a trunk
jamming the door. Mr Nimmo got up to shoot gulls of which many about but
had no success. I felt still sick and unable to get on deck. Weather fine,
all sails set and going about 9 knots. Three pigs died last night from
overcrowding and rolling of the ship.
26 August 1859.
Rather better today but not out for breakfast. Mr Nimmo also in bed. Very
light breeze during night, ship rolling much. Got out of bed about 1 pm, at
2 pm saw a whale spouting, followed by a school of porpoises; going about
4 knots. A good deal of singing among the cabin passengers.
27 August 1859.
Got up after breakfast. Going about 9 knots, raining a little today, not
pleasant on deck. Irish coast seen this morning, fine breeze all day, rain
cleared off about noon and by evening clear, passed a big outward bound at
4 pm. Deck beginning to get clear; chains being put below. Mr Morton's pig,
got from Duke of Bucceugh's, killed by mistake. Three vessels seen toward
evening but too distant to say how standing.
28 August 1859.
Sunday. Ship rolling hard during night and this morning, causing Mr Nimmo's
horses to kick violently. Had worship at 11 am, conducted same as in Church
of Scotland by the Doctor and Captain. Passed ship "Deboto" outward bound
for America. During night I Morton fell through bed and nearly annihilated
Cochran who was below him. At 10 pm began to blow hard and heavy head sea
got up and continued till 8 pm on Monday at which time the wind shifted and
we became able lay our course of south-west by west. Going 10 & 10½ knots
last night. Mrs McAuley was delivered of a still born baby. All the ladies
sick and many of the gents; myself a little squeamish but able to be at the
table. At noon Lat 47-9 - Long 10-34. At 1 pm spied a ship to leeward
homeward bound and at 3½ pm made our number to the "Octavious," American
ship of Newbury Port, State of Maine, and as she showed her Ensign she will
likely report us.
30 August 1859.
Quite well today, up at 8 am. Going about 9 knots, have run from yesterday
noon till noon today, about 220 miles. At noon today off Cape Finistene,
distance about 150 miles. During the day several ships seen at a distance,
one large one ahead which we at times gain on and again lose ground as the
breeze varies. Nimmo's horse sick and had to be physicked, which was a
nasty job as he is a very viscous brute. At noon Lat 43-45 - Long 13-10.
Singing as usual and to bed at 10.
31 August 1859.
Fine day but cloudy. All passengers now well, Mrs McAuley improving. Saw a
Dutch schooner bound out of the Mediterranean.
1 September 1859.
Fine weather, all in good spirits. The ship we have chased so long we are
likely to overtake if I may believe that high authority Mr Anderson, our
2 September 1859.
Very warm during the night, slept with cabin door partly open. Passed the
ship have chased so long, but too distant for us to make out her hull, from
size of sails Mr Edmond thinks her an Indian or Australian clipper. Some
good singing last night in which Mrs Morton joined, she sings ballards,
after which Mr Edmond told the ladies fortunes creating some fun thereby.
3 September 1859.
Washed in salt water for first time and found the marine soap very nasty.
Lat 35-35 - Long 17-39. Weather still fine and getting warmer. Large ship
still in sight on port side, we are stealing away from her slowly. Abreast
of Maderia today and if we can hold this wind for a day or two it will
likely run us right into the north-east trade winds which will be fortunate.
4 September 1859.
Sunday. Beautiful day with light breeze. Had a service at 10½ am. Mrs
McAuley and most other passengers at service and some of the crew.
5 September 1859.
Got up as usual at 7 am. A delightful breeze blowing, but very warm, going
9 knots. Now feel myself quite at home. Two ships in sight, one we are fast
gaining on and expect to overtake in a short time, the other is to the
starboard but so distant that she is barely visible, we also overtook one
early this morning but soon lost sight of her owing to our going so quickly.
6 September 1859.
Put linen clothes on for first time. Going from 5 to 6 knots all day. Got
mattress and pillow out to air.
7 September 1859.
Abreast with the ship seen since yesterday evening, she is supposed to be
the "Sevilla" which left the Friday before us for Otago. In the trade winds
since yesterday but they are very light only going from 4 to 5 knots an hour.
8 September 1859.
A flying fish caught on deck this morning and had it for breakfast, it was
about six inches long. Slept badly last night having a headache. About noon
my nose bled a good deal, took some medicine in the evening from the Doctor
and went early to bed after which the others had some dancing.
9 September 1859.
Better today. Saw a school of flying fish, one would mistake them for birds
if not told. A slight shower this morning. Mrs McAuley on deck today.
Sanantonia, one of the Cape Verde Islands visible at 7 pm. All feeling a
great wish for some fruit.
10 September 1859.
Mr Edmond very kindly gave me his bed last night; being cooler (himself
sleeping on deck) with both port and door open and no covering on but night
shirt, found it impossible to keep my face dry. Had an awning put up on deck.
Mr Morton's eight sheep shorn. Five ships standing some way with ourselves.
Lat 16-15 - Long 25-38.
11 September 1859.
Sunday. Light wind and very hot on deck and in cabin. Some ships in sight
today, as yesterday but we are creeping away from them slowly. Service in
cabin very well conducted.
12 September 1859.
Very calm. At 9 am showed colours and numbers to a Dutch barque outward
bound and distant about 3 miles, she showed us her numbers but wind not
blowing her flags out, could not make them out. Had some fine oat-cake and
jelly for lunch from Mrs McAuley.
13 September 1859.
Had bath under hose and found it very pleasant, intend to continue it. Saw
a large school of porpoises at 5 pm. Heavy rain came on but only lasted an
hour. After tea we were admiring the lightening which was awfully grand
lighting the quarter part of the north-west heavens.
14 September 1859.
Made our number to the "Tigeress" of Liverpool at 8 am, she is to report us.
Very hot last night and today till after dinner when a slight breeze got up
but died away after a slight shower.
15 September 1859.
Very heavy rain this morning getting two tanks and several casks filled with
fresh water, nearly all the passengers took the opportunity of washing their
dirty clothes, in the afternoon the deck looked like a drying lift with so
many lines of clothes. Lat 10-24 - Long 23-48.
16 September 1859.
Enjoyed bath so much after the heat all night. Passed a Barque homeward
bound, exchanged no signals. Not so hot as some days we have had as the sun
was clouded, some rain in the evening.
17 September 1859.
Spoke to the "Henrietta Gertruda," a Dutch Barque, bound to Amsterdam, she
is to report us. At dinner today we had a fowl stuffed with what I never saw
before, a mixture of fruits and such eats, the same as plum pudding but not
very palatable to my taste. Wrote a letter for home expecting the
"Henriettia" would send a boat but as she did not my labour was lost.
18 September 1859.
Sunday. Occupied Mr Edmond's berth, and slept much better last night than
usual. Worship at 10½ am. Wind very light since this day last week and still
450 miles form the line.
19 September 1859.
Some rain but cattle got it to drink. Wind rather better today, at 3 pm
going 5 knots. Lat 5-65 - Long 22-04.
20 September 1859.
Heavy rain early this morning, caught about 800 gallons. Washed white
trousers and handkerchiefs but can't say they were very well done. Saw a
shark. Wind contrary, tacking all forenoon.
21 September 1859.
Stiff breeze last night and today but not favourable, tacking, going from
8 to 9 knots. Had wool of Mrs Morton's sheep washed, a great job.
23 September 1859.
Tacking again today, still 180 miles from line. Had some dancing after tea.
24 September 1859.
Saw a ship today off the course of ships homeward bound. Captain issued new
regulations for cabin, there having been too much grog given to sailors by
some of the passengers. A game at hunt the slipper after tea.
25 September 1859.
Sunday. Worship at 10½ am. Wind now favourable, saw two ships outward bound.
26 September 1859.
Wind fresher and weather a little cooler, expect to cross the line tomorrow,
and but for the baffling winds of last 10 days would have crossed it five
days ago. Lat 1-00 - Long 19-27.
27 September 1859.
Commenced teasing wool but found it could not be properly spun so we had to
desist. Crossed the long wished for line at about 4 pm. Had a good deal of
fun letting ladies see the line through telescopes which had each a hair
across the inside glass. The Captain would not allow old Neptune to come on
board, he only passed from in his carriage in the form of a burning tar
barrel. When we were admiring him pass, down came two bucketfuls of water
from the top. I escaped scatheless, Captain who had planned it did not keep
far enough away so he, Mrs and Mr Cochran got the benefit of a showerbath.
So we ended the ceremony by crossing the line, sailors allowed no grog as
they got drunk on Sunday.
28 September 1859.
Wind more favourable, going 8 to 9 knots, ten miles south of line at noon.
The sun goes down exactly at six and it gets dark immediately after.
29 September 1859.
Fine breeze, going 9 knots but more westerly than necessary. Great
quantities of flying fish seen.
30 September 1859.
Strong breeze, going 10½ to 11 knots all night and today which is fast
sailing. Not many ladies at breakfast but they recovered through the day
and were able to be at dinner. Fore Royal and flying jib were blown to
ribbons this morning and the top sail was split at 3½ pm. Lat 6-00 - Long
28- 03 at noon. Have gone since noon yesterday 230 miles.
1 October 1859.
About 400 miles from Cape St Roque. Breeze lighter than yesterday, going
7 to 8 knots. Very hot today, in the shade at 10 am the thermometer stood
at 81. Saw a vessel but at a great distance.
2 October 1859.
Sunday. Heavy breeze during night, at day break going at the rate of 13½
knots. Service as usual at 10½ am, a very good attendance. At 1 pm spoke
with the Brig "Globe" of Liverpool, homeward bound from Callao. She passed
close enough to use the speaking trumpet. Going 9 to 10 knots all day.
3 October 1859.
Fresh breeze during night, going all forenoon about 11 knots. All in good
spirits owing to such progress. Had fore and main top mast studding sails
set today, a very unusual occurrence in this quarter as wind is generally
not favourable enough.
4 October 1859.
Light breeze nearly all day, it is feared we have lost the southern trades
although we hoped to have them to the 2.5 degree. A slight shower in the
5 October 1859.
Nearly calm and very warm. Some dancing on deck after tea.
6 October 1859.
9½ am sail was descried in the distance and on approach, Captain made it
out to be a ship's long-boat. In a short time it was alongside and found to
be the boat belonging to the Brig called the "San Sabador" which foundered
ten days ago on her road from Pananbuco to Rio Janerio. Crew consisting of
two men and three boys all saved. The men were Portuguese and the boys live
Nigers. They wanted Greenwich time and some provisions. The Captain kindly
gave them a bag of biscuits and some pork, also a bag of coals, some pipes
and tobacco, and a bottle of grog for which they seemed very thankful. They
are rather more than 500 miles from Rio Janerio and will likely get there in
about a week as their boat is very strong, it is hoped she will arrive safe
It caused a good deal of excitement among us. Crossed the tropic of
Capricorn about noon.
7 October 1859.
Fine day. Cape hens and pigeons flying about ship. Doctor and Nimmo tried to
shoot them but failed in the attempt. Smart our third mate fell from
deck-house but he's not much hurt. A fine breeze, going about 11 knots.
8 October 1859.
Wind same as yesterday evening. Gents shooting from noon yesterday till noon
today. Have run 230 miles with some success, got calmed toward evening.
9 October 1859.
Sunday. Nearly calm and rather warm. Service as usual. Mr Nisbett of Glasgow
read one hundred and first psalm, second verse.
10 October 1859.
Heavy breeze during night but changed suddenly breaking fine top mast
studding sail boom. Weather changed, today being very cold on deck. Nimmo
killed 7 Cape pigeons.
11 October 1859.
Felt so cold I was obliged to put on flannel shirt. Going 11 knots at 9 am.
Lat 34-22, same as Cape of Good Hope.
12 October 1859.
Strong breeze last night and today, going about 11 knots all day. A spray
came over the poop wetting the Misses Cochran and brother who were by the
side. I had left the deck about 5 minutes.
13 October 1859.
Fine day, not so cold as yesterday. Going at about 11 knots.
14 October 1859.
Strong theeze last night and all today, going 12 to 12½ knots which is
counted very quick going. Raining all day. From noon yesterday 287 miles.
15 October 1859.
Fine squally morning and wind just as we could wish. Put on flannel drawers
today. There has been 153 pounds of cheese and 160 pounds of butter used in
cabin since we came on board and other things in proportion.
16 October 1859.
Sunday. Saw two whales closely. Service as usual. Some rain after dinner,
wind changed, going south now.
17 October 1859.
Strong breeze and heavy sea. Some of us were standing behind the wheelhouse
in the evening when Cochran who was with us, on going away fell and was
insensible for some time, giving us all a great fright, especially the
ladies but it is thought he will soon be all right.
18 October 1859.
Strong breeze and heavy sea, had two or three sprays over the poop. Going a
better course than yesterday. South-east by East. Lat 44-11 - Long 9-00.
19 October 1859.
Going more east today, had rain since noon yesterday. 260 miles going 10
20 October 1859.
Wind light and much milder than the last few days. Cape pigeons caught, the
first bird we have caught although we have been fishing for them with hook
21 October 1859.
Nearly calm today, a very unusual occurrence in this quarter of the world.
The pigeon caught yesterday was poisoned by Doctor with prussic-acid and
then prepared to be stuffed.
22 October 1859.
Calm forenoon but in evening a fine breeze got up and at 7 pm going 10
knots. Yesterday being Straven Friday and most passengers belonging to the
place it was observed on board.
23 October 1859.
Sunday. Wind changed about noon from north to south, going now south-east
by east half east which is our course, going 11 to l1½ knots. Saw Southern
Cross for first time, four stars.
24 October 1859.
Fine day. Nimmo's horse taken unwell. Lat 44-11.
25 October 1859.
Strong wind, going 13 knots. Mrs McAuley and Mrs Nimmo were sitting behind
wheelhouse after tea when the ship gave a lurch bringing them in close
contact with the deck at other side, it gave us a laugh as they were not
hurt. Nimmo's horse very ill, taken out on deck and bled twice as they
26 October 1859.
Ship rolling much, the wind being light but improved toward evening. Horse
27 October 1859.
Vely cold, a slight fall of snow in the forenoon.
28 October 1859.
Going ll½ knots in the morning but at noon the wind got very light and
ship rolling some. Have run since yesterday 240 miles.
29 October 1859.
Stiff breeze all day. Large ship sighted on starboard beam at 4½ pm. Going
14 knots. Lat 44-03 - Long 33.
30 October 1859.
Sunday. Service as usual. Blowing hard in the morning and increased in
afternoon. The top sails were double useful about 9 pm, the main top mast
stay sail was burst to ribbons, the stay gave way and the stay sail came down
on the fore top sail brace and carried it away, the fore top sail was split
in two. One of the ship's boys was knocked on the head. Campbell, a steerage
passenger fell down the ladder leading to steerage and struck his side on a
trunk, he was insensible for 20 minutes. Wind increased till it blew a gale,
we had only the main sail and fore stay sail set. I got a right ducking after
31 October 1859.
The gale was at its height at 4 this morning, nearly rolled out of bed
occasionally during the night. Cabin lamp broken. Halloween observed in grand
style in the steerage but in a quieter style in the cabin.
1 November 1859.
New yard put up at daybreak. Wind light but heavy swell. Rather more amusing
than agreeable at meals. Mrs McAuley in bed yesterday and today.
2 November 1859.
Blowing hard in afternoon, topsails double useful, going 13 knots.
3 November 1859.
Ship rolling much during the night, it blew a gale. This morning I intended to
indulge by lying in bed and was enjoying my breakfast when the ship gave a
extra roll and spilled my tea over myself and bed, so there was no alternative
but to get up and admire the sea coming over the deck and occasionally ducking
some unfortunate seaman who happened to be passing.
4 November 1859.
Wind tighter but heavy swell still. Mrs McAuley still unwell.
5 November 1859.
Yard put up but no sooner than it was found to be badly split.
6 November 1859.
Sunday, service as usual. Carpenters busy working at a new yard as a work of
necessity of course.
7 November 1859.
Light wind. Mrs McAuley still unwell but able to be up. I was in seeing her
today. New yard put up in the evening.
8 November 1859.
Beautiful morning, about noon some distant thunder was heard and a gale was
expected but we have a 10 to 11 knot breeze.
9 November 1859.
Fine breeze, going all day 11 to 12 knots. Beginning to count the days till
we arrive; some say 15, others 20, we hope the former will be correct. Mrs
McAuley at table.
10 November 1859.
Fine day with favourable wind. Lat 44-00 - Long 92-48, have run 240 miles
11 November 1859.
Squally day with southerly wind. Enjoyed a moonlight walk (alone) both last
night and tonight.
12 November 1859.
Beautiful day with favourable wind. About 6 pm a sail descried about 12 miles
ahead and to all appearance making fast on her.
13 November 1859.
Sunday. Abreast at 5 pm with the ship seen yesterday but too hazy to make her
out. Service as usual. Twelve dishes of pies and pudding as dessert and not a
bad size either so one may judge how we live after that. This was specially
provided for by some of the ladies and one or two gents who have great
appetites for pudding.
14 November 1859.
The Doctor's medicine chest called into requisition for some of our pudding
eaters. Strong wind all day, abreast Australia today.
15 November 1859.
Strong wind with heavy swell last night, several seas came on deck, two of
which came into cabin flooding Captain's room. Mr Allen came to sleep with me
but he soon abdicated owing to the water coming into my room also.
16 November 1859.
Very hazy all morning but cleared off in afternoon. Our principle amusement
in the evenings for the last two months has been uhist playing. Saw the
Magellen clouds tonight for first time.
17 November 1859.
Beautiful day with wind right; weather getting warm again. Got all my clothes
18 November 1859.
Anniversary of Mr Edmond's wedding day and observed in due form in the evening.
Abreast Adelaide today.
19 November 1859.
Mr Morton's birthday and observed like all other great events. Got my books
gathered and packed in a small box.
20 November 1859.
Sunday and the finest one we have had since we left the tropics. It has
generally been either wet or blowing hard. We are about 1000 miles off our
destination and hope to get there in the end of the week.
21 November 1859.
Very little wind both yesterday and today. Captain had a look over my clothes
and any that were a little mouldy I put out to air in the sun.
22 November 1859.
Beautiful day with breeze a little better than yesterday. Are now getting
things put in order for landing.
23 November 1859.
Got my chest up and mended, I had a great job painting it myself. Great
conjectures as to the day we'll land. The appearance of the country and so
24 November 1859.
Chains taken from below and ship being put in order this morning. Mr Morton's
horse broke his sling and turned in the box with his feet up. The side of the
box was taken down to get him out, he was nothing the worse.
25 November 1859.
Wind light in forenoon and weather hazy. I began to pack up but was obliged
to desist owing to it blowing a gale as we were near the coast of Stewart
The SS Cheviot arrived in port two days after Barnhill's journal finished on
27 November 1859.
Source: Barnhill's original journal of his journey out to New Zealand.
Transcribed by Gillian Bulling.
Converted to electronic form by Corey Woodw@rd
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