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J.H. Watmuff Profile,
1 1859-1862 Bendigo, Dunolly, Sandy Creek (Tarnagulla), Loddon , (Mt. Hope Rush), Ararat, Chinamans Flat, Moonlight Flat, Mt William (trek with guide), Pleasent Creek (Stawell), Melbourne,
2 1859 Bendigo Melbourne 1862 Otago N.Z.
3 1863 Otago
4 1863 Otago to 1865 Melbourne
5 1865-1866 Melbourne
6 1866-1869 Melbourne
7 1869-1870 Melbourne
8 1870-1876 Melbourne
9 1879-1881 Melbourne
10 1881-1882 Dribs & Drabs
11 1884 Sydney & Misc.
12 Lusitania Voyage
13 Lusitania Voyage
14 Lusitania Voyage
15 Lusitania Voyage
16 and 17 England, letters and Journal
18 Garonne return Voyage
19 Resignations
20 (Journal 19) Mildura
21 (Genealogies)
22 (Spare)]
23 (Spare)]
24 (Spare)]
25 (Spare)]
J.H. & Bessie Watmuff's Photos
Olive Watmuff's Photos



“Lusitania S.S June 25/87 [1887-06-26 (repeated date)]

When I closed the journal I posted yesterday, we were 200 miles from Suez which we did not reach until this morning C[irca] 9am. I may state that we had a splendid run up



through the Gulf of Suez, land on both sides of us nearly all the way but such a country! it seems “cursed” as far as the eye can reach not a vestige of vegetation, nought but rocks & sand & total barrenness. We saw three wrecks on the shores, one of which occurred with loss



of over 200 lives. Suez lies at the head of the Gulf, backed on the south by a high range of mountains – in all other directions nothing but level plains of sand with no vegetation. The town is a mile from the mouth of the canal & looks a dull, dismal place the port contains a



dock parallel to the canal in which I noticed three Turkish steam yachts, & several Colliers unloading coals at the depot. On arriving in the port we were immediately surrounded by a number of boats containing Egyptians all eager to sell their wares such



as dubious looking sweetmeats, cigarettes beads & coral necklaces photographs of Egyptian scenery & canal stations Etc. Many of the passengers purchased largely – particularly those who purpose remaining at home. What amused me most was the clever tricks of a



Conjuror who did some of the most extraordinary feats I ever witnessed & by means so very simple

We remained at anchor about 2 hours and after landing the mails (which are conveyed by rail to Alexandria & thence to Brindisi) We started up the canal & after going about a mile we came



upon some wretched looking huts around which were a lot of dirty Arabs & camels the men & children rushed down to the waters edge yelling out “Backshesh” two more pertinacious than others followed the vessel over 4 miles running the whole time & picking up & carrying everything



that was thrown to them, pennies & potatoes oranges etc etc at about 8 miles from Suez we had to lay to along side of the bank with two other vessels, (One of them a large French Troop ship, from Tonquin [Tonkin] with Invalids on board - the other vessel was the



P&O Co. ship the “Rosetta” from India she formerly used to be employed in the Australian trade.) We were detained two hours, during which time no less than 5 steamers passed us, 3 of them Coal Colliers, bound for different Depots such as Suez, Aden Bombay, Diego Garcia



etc. On resuming our voyage, we passed several stations. These stations are nice comfortable looking houses with large verandahs & tiled roofs surrounded by a few trees, & some by a few huts inhabited by the natives. These places are to be seen every five miles & are like



“oases” in the desert, which surround[s] them. We also passed many places where they are deepening & widening the canal where many natives & camels are employd. The camels have two large panniers on their hump which when filled must nearly weigh 10cwt. We pulled up &



our ship was secured to the side of the canal at 7.30pm, for the night, between two high banks - about 4 miles from the town of Ismaillia [Ismailia] much to the dis- -gust of us all, for we made quite sure of staying there for the night & perhaps going



ashore. Our passengers & crew after supper went into the water & I really envied them, they seemed to enjoy the swim so much. Two other ships are moored just a little ahead of us June 26/87 [1887-06-27-Monday] Weather warm, but have felt it very



much hotter for days together in Victoria last summer. We left our berth in the canal at 4.30Am a& passed “Ismaillia” about 6am, a dismal looking place with a desert all around, with the exception of a strip of green where the fresh water canal flows - which supplies the town. Said



canal is 40 miles long & comes from the Nile. We took in some passengers here who are proceeding to Naples. They came in a steam launch on board last night. from this point to Port Said a great many natives & French are at work facing the side of the canal & widening



it. We passed several stations & several large Dredges, a great number of camels & donkeys, & Arabs at work scores of children running after the ship crying out “Backshesh” I think it must be the first word they are taught in infancy to utter. The mirage is always to be seen on the desert at this



place. On reaching Port Said, & before we were moored, hundreds of Arabs came on board in boats & with them 3 barges of Coal containing 556 tons of coal which were all taken on board in less than 3 hours & all by hand labour. The howling, shrieking & yelling, these feinds [fiends] made baffles all



description. Hell let loose could not be worse. The passengers were all glad to escape on shore to get out of the bustle & coal dust. On landing we were rushed by Arabs, Turks & Greeks all wishing to be our Guide, our party consisted of 4, & I am sure we had 20 boys



& men following us, at length, one fixed on to us - & do what we could we could not get rid of him, he was very good natured & took our abuse very serenely, offered us cigarettes & described everything to us also kept off the swarm of beggars that surrounded us & prevented those who



were inclined to buy from paying too much for their purchases, at the end of our 3 hours strool, we gave him 2/6 between us Port Said lies at the entrance to the canal on a plain of sand only about 5 or 6 ft above sea level, it contains some very imposing-looking buildings, but on a



close inspection they turn out very flimsy affairs. An Arab mosque (in course of erection) & a palace built by the prince of the Netherlands which has been purchased by the English Govt. & now used as a hospital are the only substantial buildings I could see. But how to



describe the town & its inhabitants puzzles me. It has all the characteristics of an Oriental city - dirty, badly paved, filthy shops & all thats in them the same. The people seem to live in the streets. I saw many asleep lying about in the streets or on the footways. Even the Europeans, mostly



French) bring out their chairs & tables & drink, play cards etc - no privacy at all you cannot pass a shop without being pestered to buy & the boys are a nuisance scores followed us to black our boots or to pick up our cigar ends. We went into a large “Casino”



where we found a number of people having refreshments scores of small tables & waiters flying about A large string Band plays all the afternoon & evening, consisting of about 25 young bowmen who play remarkably well (they are Austrian Girls, one of them goes round the room



after a piece has been played with a plate & collects what she can. It is amusing to stop & witness the disputes that occur in the markets & other places. The water carriers interested me, they have simply a goats skin, sewn up in which they



carry the water in. I visited an Arab school for boys & girls, & also a school for the European children. I do not think much of them the scholars were very dirty & certainly does not cost their parents much for dress. On returning on board we found everything filthy dirty & black with coal dust, & the decks like a very Babel. We left



at 6pm & are now sailing on the Mediterranean Sea & I feel in a different atmosphere to what I have been breathing the past 10 days.

[1887-06-28-Tuesday; correct date again] June 28.Lovely day - no land seen to day Two vessels passed us. June 29 Beautiful day On coming on deck this morn the Isle of Crete was in view. We sailed along its coast for hours. The land



is very high in some points I should think fully 5000 ft above sea level, but it looks very sterile & barren being of volcanic origin – not a vestige of vegetation perceptible, tho I am told the Island is very fertile in some parts. In the evening, Mr. Riley (Engineer a great friend of the Johnsons St Kilda) took a party of us down the Engine Room &



into the Refrigerating Room, we were down about an hour when he explained to us the working of & the uses of various parts of the Machinery Etc It was a very interesting visit & I was considerably enlightened by what I saw & had described.

[1887-06-30-Thursday] June 30th Lovely day sea like glass



Nothing in sight until about 1pm when very high & mountainous land appeared, the southern end of Italy. On getting nearer to it found it rocky & sterile looking After skirting this coast heading west Mount Etna (Sicily) burst on our sight like a huge great cloud about 8pm we



were abreast of a lighthouse to which we exchanged signals being dark, it was done by rockets of various colours. We entered the Straits of Messina at 9pm, fortunately it was a beautiful moonlight night, & it was perfectly enchanting to gaze upon the charming scenes we passed, particularly



the town of Messina on the Sicilian side & Reggio on the Italian [side] the lighthouses & lighted buoys & the number of small boats sailing about. I regret very much that it was not daylight when we came through the Straits for the scenery must be lovely. We left the Straits about 11pm



& soon lost sight of land until we came to “Stamboli” [Stromboli] a large volcano, it being an island, much to my disappointment, at present it is inactive occasionally I noticed flashes of light, that rose from the bowels of the crater. We expect to reach Naples about 12 to- Morrow, where I



purpose going on shore our stay there will be very short, about 3 hours so I will not have time to see Pompeii. I must now close these disjointed remarks of mine of the trip from Port Said – hoping you got those I sent you from Suez this is the last chance I have of writing to



you again before reaching England so I must once more say farewell Trusting this finds you all well & hearty & with kind love to the youngsters & all relations & remembrance to all enquiring friends believe me to be Dear Bessie Your Affec[tionate] Husband JH Watmuff. P.S. I trust you are writing regularly to me



by every mail giving me all the news Etc. JHW God bless you all



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