Home ° 2017 ~ 2018


Sydney, Australia 1800s.

Australia: ° Adelaide ° Brisbane ° Darwin ° Fremantle ° Hunter Islands ° Lord Howe Island ° Melbourne ° Perth ° New South Wales (Sydney) ° Norfolk Island ° Van Dieman's Land: Tasmania (Hobart Town, Port Arthur)


December 12, 1854, Daily Alta California, San Francisco, California, U.S.A.

Letter from Melbourne, Victoria

May 5, 1854

I wrote you last, per Magnolia for your port, on 15th and 29th March, and it is now with great pleasure that I can advise you of the steamer Golden Age leaving here to-day (carrying the mails for Europe and the United States) for Panama, touching at Sydney for passengers and at Tahiti for coals and provisions.

Melbourne.Melbourne and Hobson's Bay Railway.
The Melbourne and Hobson's Bay Railway
Company Pier at Sandridge (near Melbourne)

The Jeune Lucie, from the Feejess, arrived arrived a few days, since at Sydney, and reports the loss of the barque Isabella of London, from San Francisco. 21st November last, between the Feejees and Friendly Islands. She was caught in a gale, in which she started a plank near her starboard bow, and, after four days of perpetual working of the pumps, she foundered; three men were washed overboard, and two were jammed to death by the yards, while two boats, containing each nine men, were left to the mercy of the waves, one hundred miles from land. One of the boats reached the Feejees, but the one in which was the captain and eight men has not been heard of.

The Legislature was proposed last month, after a very long session. Before separating, it passed a new postage act, by which the old rates of postage are increased three hundred per cent, and a charge of one cent on each newspaper. This must appear strange to persons at a distance, as the subject of cheap postage is engaging the attention of all civilized countries; but the fact is, the Government had to provide a revenue, and as we have but a small tariff; and the gold license being reduced, they were in a fix, and accordingly put it on postage, to assist in raising money for its requirements.

The Crest of the Wave arrived here in 78 days from Liverpool, making the shortest passage ever made from port to port. By her we received English dates up to12th February. The war news has had the effect of making our provision market much firmer, as also raising the price of exchange from 3 to 5 per cent. prem.

During the last month (April) we had sixty-four foreign arrivals, aggregate tonnage, 27,202 tons, while from the colonies one hundred and four vessels arrived, with a tonnage of 26,422 tons. I mention this latter fact to show how large a colonial trade we have.

We are in receipt of advices from the Cape of Good Hope up to the 10th March, continuing the news of the discovery of Gold in that part of the world; how it will effect this country and California remains to be seen...

A new gold field has been discovered at Lake Omeo, near Port Albert in Gipps Land, laying between Port Phillip Heads and Sydney Heads, and although the wet season has set in, still there are some persons who are leaving the old placers lor the new diggings, and I see a vessel is advertised to sail from here to Port Albert.

We have had one or two arrivals since my last from China, with Celestials, and from private letters, we are advised that there are thirty thousand waiting the means of conveyance to this country and California.

December 12, 1884, Anglo American Times, London, United Kingdom

The American Exporter notices that "the Stephenson Company's cars are found almost the world over. China is one of the countries which have withstood this nineteenth century innovation. In England and Europe generally top seat cars are in high favor. In England they remind John Bull of his old coaching days. The west side of London has been almost entirely supplied with cars by the Stephenson Company. In September a hundred cars were shipped from the works to Melbourne, Australia. Adelaide has also been supplied by the company, which is now filling an order for Brisbane, Australia, another for Buenos Ayres, and still another for Santiago.

All these are "top seat" cars, though the Santiago cars are closed in front. Not long ago the company made some cars for Calcutta. The inscription on these cars was in Hindustanee. Stephenson cars are also to be found in Lima, Valparaiso and other cities in South America; and in Berlin, Brussels and nearly all the capitals in Europe. Russia has not yet been supplied, as its application called for iron bottom frames. Omnibuses are also sent to many parts of the world by the company, which is engaged on orders for grip cars for Kansas City, Chicago and Milwaukee. John Stephenson, the head of the company, a white haired, bright eyed old man, has been in the business since 1831. The company makes about 6OO cars annually. They range in price from $950 to $1,200 each." The tram-cars made by this Company as can be seen in London are singularly adapted for the work, requiring no effort to keep them clean and well ventilated.

Ad for Stephenson cars, 1879.

December 17, 1892, Evening Times, Monroe, Wisconsin, U.S.A.

The Grand Event in the Calendar of the City of Melbourne

Victoria, Australia: Inset plan of Melbourne and Port Philip 1920

Melbourne and Port Philip, 1920.

No one who has not visited Australia can have any conception of the interest which attaches to such a race as the Melbourne cup, which, with its sweepstakes from the one hundred and forty nine entries that were made in 1890, its trophy of 150 value, and its added money of 10,000, amounting altogether to $13,080, is the most important money contest in the world, says Sidney Dickinson in Scribner's Magazine. On the day of its occurrence all business is suspended by mutual consent throughout Victoria, the banks and government offices are all closed, and by twelve o'clock the streets of Melbourne are as silent and deserted as if the city were stricken with a plague.

For a week before the event, the railway trains from Sydney, to the number of seven or eight in a day, and all the inter-colonial and mail steamers from that city and Adelaide, are taxed to their utmost capacity, and the accommodations of Melbourne, as well as all the neighboring towns, are taken up by the immense concourse of visitors. The facilities for reaching Flemington are so good, however, and the course itself so spacious that even at the great race of the centennial year, when more than 140,000 persons were upon the grounds, one saw the event with perfect comfort, and was transported to and from the course without five minutes, waiting at either end of the line. The admirable temper and sobriety of the great assembly are largely responsible for such a result.

During the four days' meeting of 1888 only five arrests were made on the grounds, and none of these was for serious offenses. The crowd at an Australian race meeting is often rough in appearance, but in orderliness and good nature can hardly be excelled.

Brunel in South Wales.Brunel in South Wales:
Communications and Coal
New South Wales and Australia.
Stephen Jones

Brunel in South Wales:
Volume 3: Links with Leviathans
Brunel in South Wales.
Stephen Jones
Isambard Kingdom Brunel had strong associations with South Wales; chief engineer of the GWR at just 27, he was the same for the South Wales Railway Company, taking the railways across South Wales. This illustrated history focuses on Brunel's contribution to the maritime world, from his work on dry docks and shipping facilities to his steamships, including his 'great leviathan'.

The Fatal Shore
The Epic of Australia's Founding
Robert Hughes
Superbly researched and brilliantly written. The birth of Australia from England's brutal convict transportation system.

Charles Dickens' Australia.Charles Dickens' Australia.
Selected essays from Household Words 1850-1859
Book Two: Immigration
Margaret Mendelawitz
Starting as a court reporter, parliamentary newspaper columnist and theatre critic, he developed an instinct for injustice, humbug and charade. For 20 years he edited his own weekly journal, 'Household Words', later known as 'All the Year Round', publishing articles and stories designed to be interesting, entertaining, and educational. Dickens had a keen interest in Australia and fortuitously began publishing the periodical at a transitional moment, just before the heady days of the 1850s gold rush set the world ablaze. The discovery of gold drove a period of mass immigration, expansion into the hinterlands, and caused radical economic and social changes in an emerging nation. Of the nearly 3000 articles published in 'Household Words', some 100 related to Australia and have been collected in this anthology. Dickens saw Australia offering opportunities for England's poor and downtrodden to make a new start and a brighter future for themselves; optimism reflected in many of the articles.

A Merciless Place by Emma Christopher.A Merciless Place: The Fate of Britain's Convicts after the American RevolutionAustralia. A Merciless Place.
Emma Christopher
The fate of British convicts is a dramatic story—the saga of forgotten men and women scattered to the farthest corners of the British empire, driven by the American Revolution and the African slave trade. A Merciless Place captures the story of poverty, punishment, and transportation. The story begins with the American War of Independence which interrupted the flow of British convicts into America. Two entrepreneurs organized the criminals into military units to fight for the crown. The felon soldiers went to West Africa's slave-trading posts just as the war ended; these forts became the new destination for England's rapidly multiplying convicts. The move was a disaster. To end the scandal, the British government chose a new destination, as far away as possible: Australia.

Van Diemen's Land, New South Wales. Wyld. 1827

New South Wales. Map.

A Lady's Visit to the Gold Diggings of Australia in 1852-53. A Lady's Visit to the Gold Diggings of Australia in 1852-53A Lady's Visit to the Gold Digings of Australia in 1852-53.
Ellen Clacy
An 1853 account of a trip by Mrs Charles (Ellen) Clacy (1830-1901) to the Australian goldfields. Essentially a guide for prospective emigrants, with much practical advice within the narrative, this books sheds light on early Australian social history and hints at problems in the author's outwardly respectable life.

Among Australia's Pioneers
Chinese Indentured Pastoral Workers on the Northern Frontier 1848 to c.1880
Chinese Indentured Pastoral Workers, Australia, 1848 to 1880.
Margaret Slocomb
The almost simultaneous abolition of the slave trade and the cessation of convict transportation to the colony of New South Wales started a quest by the squatter pastoralists for alternative sources of cheap labor for their vast sheep runs. Over a period of five years, beginning from 1848, around three thousand Chinese men and boys from Fujian Province were recruited under conditions little different from the slave trade.Athor Margaret Slocomb focuses on the experiences of approximately two hundred of these Chinese laborers between 1848 and 1853.

True History of the Kelly GangTrue History of the Kelly Gang.
A Novel by Peter Carey

Winner of the 2001 Booker Prize.
Out of nineteenth-century Australia rides a hero of his people and a man for all nations, in this masterpiece by the Booker Prize-winning author of Oscar and Lucinda and Jack Maggs. Exhilarating, hilarious, panoramic, and immediately engrossing. This is Ned Kelly's true confession, in his own words and written on the run for an infant daughter he has never seen. To the authorities, this son of dirt-poor Irish immigrants was a born thief and, ultimately, a cold-blooded murderer; to most other Australians, he was a scapegoat and patriot persecuted by "English" landlords and their agents.With his brothers and two friends, Kelly eluded a massive police manhunt for twenty months, living by his wits and strong heart, supplementing his bushwhacking skills with ingenious bank robberies while enjoying the support of most everyone not in uniform.

Australia Sea Stories:
Fiction and Non-Fiction

Australian Mining Companies.
Australians: Eureka to the DiggersAusttralian Mining.
Author Thomas Keneally is a novelist, playwright, and nonfiction author who is best-known for the Booker Prize–winning novel Schindler's Ark, which was adapted into the movie Schindler's List. His other titles include the Penguin Lives biography Abraham Lincoln, American Scoundrel: The Life of the Notorious Civil War General Dan Sickles, and A Commonwealth of Thieves: The Improbable Birth of Australia.

Four Seasons of Mojo
An Herbal Guide to Natural Living
Stephanie Rose Bird
Useful ideas unrestricted by geographic borders, ethnicity, religion, or magical path. Included are recipes and concepts from the Caribbean, African American soul food, Buddhist Meditation practices, sacred Hindu rites, Old European traditions, Australian Aboriginal dreaming lessons, and Native American wisdom. "Four Seasons of Mojo" infuses ancient techniques, rituals, and methods from around the world to use each season''s inherent energies to supplement body, mind, and soul.

A Selection of Books about
Australian Mining Companies
Australian Mining Companies.

Australian Mining.
The Gold Rush
The Fever That Forever Changed Australia
Australian Mining.
David Hill
Australia's incredible gold rushes of the mid-to late-1800s produced tremendous wealth and ensured the financial survival of the struggling Australian colonies. They also tripled the country's small population, halted convict transportation, subverted the hierarchical British class system, laid the foundations of the Australian egalitarian ethos, and stimulated the democratic ideas that led to the establishment of the nation of Australia. David Hill recreates this monumental turning point in Australia's history using diaries, journals, books, letters, official reports, Parliamentary enquiries, and newspaper reports of the time, along with his own storyteller's skill of bringing the past to life from New South Wales and Victoria, up to Queensland and the Northern Territory, then down to Tasmania and across the great deserts of Western Australia.

The Project

Maritime Nations, Ships, Sea Captains, Merchants, Merchandise, Ship Passengers and VIPs sailing into San Francisco during the 1800s.



Merchant Shipping

Merchant Shipping and Ancient Commerce.  
History of Merchant Shipping and Ancient CommerceMerchant Shipping and Ancient Commerce.
W. S. Lindsay

Kindly Kindly Donate.


DALevy @


Sources: As noted on entries and through research centers including National Archives, San Bruno, California; CDNC: California Digital Newspaper Collection; San Francisco Main Library History Collection; and Maritime Museums and Collections in Australia, China, Denmark, England, Finland, Germany, Ireland, Wales, Norway, Scotland, Spain, Sweden, etc.

Please inform us if you link from your site. Please do NOT link from your site unless your site specifically relates to immigration in the 1800s, family history, maritime history, international seaports, and/or California history.