Travel Route from England to Australia based on newspaper reports
(see below for details on Map artwork)
The SS Nairnshire along with the SS Wilcannia carried the first women selected under the new assisted and protected immigration program after the previous government funded program had been discontinued in the 1870s. Martha & Kate Ellis arrived together as part of the servant girl group on the Nairnshire.
For two nights prior to leaving England on the Nairnshire, the 48 other girls would have stayed in the Westminster house. A house that had been designed to prepare them for their 6 week journey. There they learnt how to live in tight quarters and stow all their things neatly. Where they also met Miss Monk for the first time.
The cost of travelling on the SS Nairnshire varied depending on the type of accommodation sought.
The Servant girls would have been the only steerage passengers on board, a strategy employed to protect their safety, although locking them in their cabins at night does seem a little extreme, particularly if there was a fire. The cost of the travel would have been borne by the Western Australian Colony.
“The friends of these emigrant women are very conscious of the security derived from there being no other third-class passengers carried" (Notes from London.” (1899, December 14). Kalgoorlie Western Argus (WA : 1896 - 1916), p. 12. Retrieved January 30, 2016, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article32203258)
The first leg of the voyage took a week after which they docked in Las Palmas for two days, until then the weather had been quite pleasant. They had gone up on deck sang nursery rhyme songs reminiscing over childhood fancies.
However once they left Las Palmas it had been a different story. There was no more going up on deck; the weather had turned almost violent, making it too dangerous. Miss Monk tried to cheer the girls up, and gave them games and other trifles for entertainment but nothing could overcome that awful feeling that comes from sea sickness.
They must have been so relieved when we finally disembarked in Western Australia.
- SHIPPING. (1889, September 24). The West Australian (Perth, WA : 1879 - 1954), p. 3. Retrieved January 29, 2016, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article3128686
- SHIPPING REPORTS. (1889, October 29). The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 - 1957), p. 9. Retrieved January 29, 2016, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article8565779
- THE GOLDEN WEST. (1896, May 29). The Inquirer and Commercial News (Perth, WA : 1855 - 1901), p. 12. Retrieved January 29, 2016, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article66532077
- Notes from London. (1899, December 14). Kalgoorlie Western Argus (WA : 1896 - 1916), p. 12. Retrieved January 29, 2016, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article32203258
- Tooker, Elisabeth & Hesperian Press & Western Australian History Foundation (1992). The bride ships : experiences of immigrants arriving in Western Australia 1849-1889. Hesperian Press, Carlisle, W.A
- Gothard, J. (1990) Protecting labour. Carrie Hall and the master and servant act. Papers in Labour History (6). pp. 41-53.
- "World Map Template - Steampunk/Victorian Style". Accessed February 3 2016. http://floppybootstomp.deviantart.com/art/World-Map-Template-Steampunk-Victorian-Style-295299981 . Red travel line added by Andrew Palmer from Australian Local & Family History Bloggers Facebook Group.