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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 New Zealand Essays
J.H. & Bessie Watmuff's Photos
Olive Watmuff's Photos

Journal 18 Garonne


Sept 27th. [1887-09-27-Tuesday] After breakfast I left the hotel & with my luggage got to Fenchurch St Station & took train for Tilbury Docks where I was delayed getting my luggage passed for shipment - visited the Garonne & found her a very nice clean vessel tho’ not as large as the Lusitania but very much cleaner left my things & returned to London, then took Bus & got out at Marble Arch top of Oxford St. & walked thru Marylebone & Lisson Grove to St. John Wood. Spent a



couple of hours at with the Wells, who made up a parcel for me to take out to Melb for their relative there much larger than I was pleased with, after tea I made my way back again to London & went to the Strand Theatre & heard the “Sultan of Mocha” found an old Australian being in it, Bracy — also Violet Cameron of whom so much scandle is attached to in connection with Lord Lonsdale I cared very little for the opera tho but number what pleased



me most was a pretty interpolated song by Tosti which Miss Cameron sings, she has a very nice contralto voice & she is a remarkably fine woman.

[1887-09-28-Wednesday] 28th I spent most of the day about the West End a neighbourhood I had not seen much of. I was struck with the great number of handsome houses & mansions etc for a change I went over the water & about Southwark, visited the old Borough Rd School where I used to be [a] scholar nearly 40 years ago - the



Master very kindly showed me over it. In the evening I went for an hour to the Promenade Concert at Covent Garden Theatre & heard Santley home by 11 pm very tired.

[1887-09-29-Thursday] 29th My last day in London. In the morning I made a few purchases & paid a visit to bid adieu to Mr W Wallace. I only saw his son Henry, his father having just left for Lincoln. I was entrusted with a small parcel for Miss Campbell



After dinner I took train at Fenchurch St & got on board the Garonne at 4 pm - discovered that the ship will not sail till tomorrow morning at 8 am found my berth a very comfortable one & my cabin companion, a Mr. Huntley a very decent young fellow, going out under engagement to Buckley & Nunn of Melbourne. I found the vessel is pretty full & will [be] quite so I believe before leaving Plymouth. We



are lying in the Thames just off Gravesend, & alongside the Sobraon, bound for Melb like ourselves in the morning. Spent the night partly on deck viewing the varied sights & scenes of the river.

[1887-09-30-Friday] 30th Never slept all night owing to the row made by stevedores etc getting in Cargo from Lighters, which came alongside at dark. It was a fine morning & we started at 8 am, spent on deck most of the day Passed



Dover about 2 p.m. & had a good view of the town & Barracks & Castle etc & miles of Chalk Cliffs, we could plainly see the coast of France there was a great hase on the waters & it was not a nice atmosphere for viewing the coast. Near dark we lost sight of land. I find we have many pleasent people on board & a few professionals a Mr. Tivey an Australian who is pianist to Mr [Mac]Cabe, who is on board on the way to fulfil an



engagement in the Colonies, so I anticipate a pleasent time.

[1887-10-01-Saturday] Octr 1st Lovely morning after a good salt sea bath & breakfast, got on deck, saw a bit of the coast of Devonshire arrived inside the Breakwater of Plymouth at 9 Am. Tender came alongside with passengers & luggage at 11 o/c My fellow passenger ("Lusitania") Mrs. Withers, came on board from her, I was very glad to meet her as all on board are strangers to me. We left Plymouth @ 12 sharp & were



not long in passing Eddystones Lighthouse & losing sight of the coast of old England, so once again I can say I am homeward bound, for which I am not sorryfor I must admit I am getting thoroughly homesick, at 10 pm we saw & passed Ushant Light on the coast of France. A lady, named Mrs. Devine died on board. I saw her carried from shore at Tilbury accompanied by her husband & three children the youngest a baby 7



months old, few know of her death, her complaint was consumption for which she had been advised, as a last recourse, to take a long sea voyage. Poor thing it turned out a very short one, she is to be buried early in the morning before the other passengers are up & about.

[1887-10-02-Sunday] Oct 2st I arose at 6 Am & had my bath & witnessed the funeral of the poor lady who died last night



about half a dozen who happened to be up, witnessed it. I was very much affected, the poor husband was a sad spectacle to see, alone without a soul to comfort or sympathise with him in his distress. At 10.30 we had service on board in the 1st saloon, when most of the passengers attended. Spent the rest of the day reading & yarning with each other. I find we have some very nice people on board a far superior lot to what I had to mix with on my journey to England though I must say



that the victualling arrangements &[are] nothing compared to those on board the Lusitania. Our run from Plymouth to 12 Am to day was 290 miles & every thing in favour of the ship smooth sea, wind aft, etc I am sadly afraid it means a 45 days passage to Melb.

[1887-10-03-Monday] Octr 3rd - Morning broke with a lovely sunrise, after my bath I came on deck. Cape Finistere to our left, so we got across the Bay of Biscay in smooth water & pleasent weather



at the same time, many of our passengers are very sick tho’ fortunately with regard to myself I have not felt, the slightest feeling of sickness, have a good appetite, & feel firstrate, though I am sorry to state my cough & cold do not appear to leave me, very annoying! I trust I shall lose it before long. Passed several steamers mostly cargo boats & Colliers bound for ports in Spain & the Mediterranean. About 10 o/c we passed Lisbon Rock &



lighthouse. There must be a fete or something of the sort for we could see from the vessels decks Rockets & fireworks being displayed. The night is lovely & bright moonlight. Distance gone to 12 am 309 miles.

[1887-10-04-Tuesday] Octr 4 Another fine day the voyage so far being like a pleasure trip. Passed Cape St. Vincent about 10 Am & saw a deal of the coast. The farms look very pretty, but small, but very brown & bare owing, I suppose, to the crops having been gathered in & ploughing going on etc.



Passed a large number of vessels & met many on their way home — *or England. About 9 got in sight of the two lights, the one on the N W coast of Africa & the other, Red, at Tarifa showing us the way into the Strait of Gibraltar which before retiring to rest we sighted the celebrated Rock. Distance at 12 a.m. 300 miles.

[1887-10-05-Wednesday] Octr 5 Lovely morning. On going on deck the S.E coast of Spain alongside, high land & ranges of hills, the summits of which, to my surprise,



were covered with snow, lower down nearer the waters edge we passed several small villages & houses *perch up on elevated spots or nestling in secluded little glens or valleys. About 12 we passed point [Cape] de Gata & then steered our course for the South of “Sardinia.” Nothing of import the rest of the day Distance ran to 12 Am 307 miles [1887-10-06-Thursday] [no entry]

[1887-10-07-Friday] Octr7 1887. On visiting the deck this morning a beautiful sight was in view, the southern



coast of Sardinia very rocky & wild, passed several bold headlands, on which were to be seen Watch Towers & Light houses, with a few houses up in ravines, & in some spots cultivated ground. Passed the wreck of a small Steamer, lying on a reef of rocks about a mile from the shore - noticed small sailing boats & yachts in the distance, began to lose sight of land about 12 am & now we are making for Naples



which we hope to reach in the morning. Weather getting warm, spent my time as usual, reading & card playing & joining in games on deck. We had a rehearsal in the 1st Saloon for Chants & Hyms to be sang at the Service on Sunday.

[1887-10-08-Saturday] 6 7th Octr. Arrived at the Bay of Naples at 10 am, had to wait for over an hour before we got permission to go ashore, during the time an innumerable quantity of people in boats came alongside with all sorts of things for sale, fruit,



Baskets, straw hats & work etc About a dozen divers & others went on shore with a party of ten in the Tender 2/6 engaged a guide, & visited the museum, two churches, the foreign cemetery, & wound up after a strange dinner at the Kings Palace, back on board at 4 pm set out for sea at 5 - spent the evening reading card playing etc.

[1887-10-09-Sunday] 9th Octr. Lovely day. On coming upon deck this morning found we were just entering



the north end of the Straits of Messina, with the plague- stricken city of that name on our right & the large town of Reggio on our left on the coast of Italy - the sight was something to remember for its beauty, we lost sight of Mount Etna during the afternoon & I suppose we shall not see land for a couple of days, & that will be Africa at Port Said. Being Sunday we had the usual service in the saloon., I posted a letter to my aunt from Naples.



[1887-10-10-Monday] 10th Very fine day but hot nothing but sea seen in sight day spent as usual, various little things done & purposed in way of amusement to beguile the time away. Forward the dim outline of land could be seen which proved to be the Isle of Crete. Passed the Lighthouse at the South East end about 11 pm.

[1887-10-11-Tuesday] 11th Oct/87 Very fine, but getting very hot, nothing but sea & sky in sight, with the exception of one small ship.



Spent the day & evening in a very desultory manner.

[1887-10-12-Wednesday] 12th Sighted & passed Alexandria, a few miles distant about 9 am - at 12 we entered Port Said, & to the passengers disgust discovered that we were quarantined in consequence of our vessel having called at Naples, which is an infected port. As usual we were soon surrounded by the boats from shore, but none of their occupants allowed on board, excepting those



black demons, the coalers & trimmers. Soon the deck was in disorder & confusion & the Babel of tongues frightful to listen to, we took in over 800 tons of coal & 500 tons of cargo, busy up to 12pm the night was intensely hot & so I slept, or attempted unsuccessfully to do, on deck several ditto, we had great fun, but everybody & everything terribly dirty.

[1887-10-13-Thursday] 13th Awfully hot, not a breath of wind, completed our loading by 10 am, but did



not leave Port Said till 11 am passed several steamers & saw a great number of Arabs etc at work on the canal. We camped for the night at 6 pm then about 24 miles from Said or within a few miles of Ismalia The Oroya O.S.N. Co ship passed & hearty the cheering that was exchanged, she left Melb on the l6th Sept

[1887-10-14-Friday] 14th Another hot day. Owing to the hasy atmosphere we did not leave our camp till nearly 8 am. Passed several steamers in the canal - also passed Ismailia & through



Lake Timsah & the Bitter Lakes arrived at Suez at 5 pm remained there for nearly 2 hours taking on the mails As we were quarantined no one was allowed to leave the vessel nor have any communication with those in the boat - as a proof of the strictness of the regulation I may state that at Port Said when Coaling - a poor Arab labourer had a piece of Bread thrown to him, by some foolish passenger, whereon



he the Arab, was seized by an officer & placed on board with us & conveyed from his home, & accompanied by two officers, as far as Suez where the officers left the vessel, but the poor Arab was not allowed to land so we are taking him on to Diego Garcia, where he will be left until an opportunity arises of bringing him back to his family at Port Said. It was about 6.30 when we left Suez - sat on deck



till late sailing down the Gulf of Suez.

[1887-10-15-Saturday] 15th In the Red Sea & terribly hot - nearly unbearable - everybody listless & & worn out for lack of sleep, being Sunday a service was held on the after deck I did not attend. Spent the day reading "Vanity Fair"

[1887-10-16-Sunday] 16 Another scorcher. I shall be glad when we get out of the Red Sea. Have only seen one ship this day. Spent the day



reading & the evening at whist.

[1887-10-17-Monday] 17th Still hot, & plodding away thro’ the Red Sea - nothing of interest occurring worth noting - spent day as usual.

[1887-10-18-Tuesday] 18th Again hot, glad to state had a little breeze towards evening just enough to keep us from perishing, particularly in one case when a lady slipped & sprained her ankle, being about 4 months gone in an interesting condition,it brought on a miscarriage. I am



afraid that if the weather does not get any cooler it will go very hard with her. We passed the 12 Apostles during the morning, & had land in sight the rest of the day - until we came to “Piam” [Perim] an island, on which is erected a fine lighthouse, & also barracks for company of soldiers The isle is situated at the South Entrance of the Red Sea. We signalled the place at 10.30 & passed



through Hells Gates so now we are *into in the Gulf of Aden.

[1887-10-19] 19th Wednesday Passed Aden about 10 miles off at 10 a.m. Glad to state the weather is much cooler a nice head wind blowing all day which I trust will last to the Indian Ocean.

In the evening a concert was given on the after deck by several of the passengers amongst whom was Mr. MCabe, who is



again visiting Australia to repeat his exceedingly clever entertainment. The purser Mr. Dinnis was the only singer worth listening to, he has a nice sweet tenor voice & knows how to use it. A Mr. Tivey is also a good pianist, & taken altogether we spent an enjoyable evening.

[1887-10-20] 20th Thursday Fine day pleasent breeze blowing Passed Cape Guardafui most easterly point



of Africa, by noon, saw several small Arab dhous & fishing vessels alongshore. We are now fairly in the Indian Ocean, & I begin to feel that we are now homeward bound.

[1887-10-21] 21st Oct. Friday - Still hot & smooth sea. Getting on first rate.

[1887-10-22-Saturday] 22d Weather a little cooler making good progress, I hear we are going to stop for a couple of days at D Garcia.



[1887-10-23] 23rd Sunday Divine service held on the after deck. During the afternoon the weather got overcast & rain fell in torrents — a real tropical rain – many of the passengers had to retire to their cabins, very upset.

[1887-10-24-Monday] 24th Crossed the line this morning & Old Neptune came on board & demanded his toll from those who were crossing the Line for



the first time - great fun - upward of 50 were shaved & baptised. In the afternoon a long list of sports were got thro in a satisfactory manner. In the evening a concert was got through given by the crew on the after deck - a Christie Minstrel show.

[1887-10-25-Tuesday] 25th A dull day but a very pleasent refreshing breeze blowing with occasional showers falling.



[1887-10-26-Wednesday] 26th On coming on deck this morning found the low land forming the group of Islands called Diego Garcia – in sight, where we called & anchored alongside of a coal hulk - the Orient S. S. Co intend breaking up their station here so all their vessels now call to take off or reduce their stores. As we shall remain until tomorrow several of the passengers went on shore. In the afternoon



I was invited with about twelve other gentlemen to go ashore in one of the ship boats the sea was smooth & in the distance we saw a nice sandy beech for which we made, but alas we got entangled in a reef & had both ingoing & coming to jump out of the boat & lift her over the rocks. On landing we try to penetrate into the jungle but soon retreated, & settled ourselves



down to knocking off coconuts from the trees & drinking the milk from same We wandered along the shore for an hour or two gathering shells, & bathing etc These islands are all coral & what astonished me was the profuse vegetation growing on such a soil there are about 500 souls on the Island principally negroes from the Mauritius, who work the coconut estates



they swarm the vessel as coal trimmers, yet most of them try to do a little trade in shells & corals & nuts. The weather was very hot on shore, & I got terribly sun burnt & red as a boiled lobster. Everything on board is fearfully dirty & filthy with coal dust arising from the coaling etc

[1887-10-27] 27th Thursday Another very hot day. Coaling finished about 11 pm [am] & after disbursing



about 50 tons of stores for the Islanders - we left this oasis about 12 pm [midday] & passing through the difficult but well buoyed channel we got into the open sea about 1.30 - & I now feel that I am at last homeward bound. Toward evening the wind began to rise, & after witnessing the finest sunset I have seen since leaving Australia.

[1887-10-28-Friday and-29-Saturday] 28 – 29th Ploughing throu the Indian Ocean, nothing but sea & sky & the latter



very dull looking & threatening the former rougher than we have experienced since leaving England, but to me it is as mild as a millpond, the vessel is the best sea boat I ever travelled on, our portholes as yet have never been closed nor have we had occasion to utilise the fiddles on the tables.

[1887-10-30] 30th Sunday Fine day, but rough sea. Wind ahead not making such progress as passengers would like Service as usual.



[1887-10-31-Monday] 31st Fine weather similar to yesterday.

[1887-11-01] Novr 1st Tuesday Not much wind smooth sea. At 2 pm - while all hand were comfortably settled down to read etc on deck, the awful cry of Man overboard, was raised & sure enough an old man, a steerage passenger - was seen rushing along the deck to the stern, running right through a party on the quarter deck, who were



going through a set of Quadrilles, & before he could be stopped jumped headlong into the sea the vessel was going about 13 miles an hour & it was some time before the vessel was put about so as to get again to the point of his going overboard, which was a quicker plan to adopt than pulling the boats to the spot. The boats were lowered at once & started on their search which



was kept up for over two hours - a life buoy had been thrown over by the Captain from the bridge but all efforts were vain not the slightest sign of the man was seen. The buoy was picked up, & then we started once more on our journey. The incident of course was very sad & cast a gloom over everything. I was very glad it was not an accident, but a deliberate case of suicide



No reason could be arrived at for the act, excepting that the man had stated that he had lost a lot of money in America & was on his way to Australia in a very low state of mind & body.

[1887-11-02-Wednesday] Novr 2 Wind high & the sea rougher than we have hitherto experienced. A grand fancy dress ball was given by Captain White in the evening to which I was invited I



could not get a fancy dress but fortunately I had my dress suit, & by borrowing a pair of gloves I managed to present a respectable appearance the vessel rolled a great deal but with all we managed to spend a very jolly few hours - some of the ladies had very nice costumes, & also a few of the gentlemen. We broke up at 12 pm

[1887-11-03] Thursday 3rd Novr Sea rougher than usual.



Got a little calmer toward evening. Passed the time as usual - yarning, reading & card playing.

[1887-11-04-Friday] Novr 4 Fine day. In the afternoon a good program of sports was got through by the 1st & 2nd class passengers, & great fun ensued.

[1887-11-05-Saturday] Novr 5 Saturday - A first class passenger named Wood - died this morning at 4 am & was buried at 9 am with the usual



ceremonies. Poor fellow he came on board very ill in the last stage of consumption, took to his bed the 3rd day out from which he never rose again, he lingered through the hot weather but the cold weather that has now set in carried him off. I am told he was a professor of music & that his wife & family are following him in the Ormutz & that Mrs. Wood is as far gone in



consumption as he was when he came on board – his death caused a gloom over the vessel & the sports which were to be continued from yesterday are postponed till next week. The sea is running very high & a strong wind dead ahead retards our progress.

[1887-11-06-Sunday] 6th Novr Sunday Had the usual Church service at 11 am on the deck after which a collection was made for the Seamens Hospital, which amounted



to £4-19-6. Spent the rest of the day reading & chatting with one & another.

[1887-11-07-Monday] Novr 7th Monday. Fine weather tolerably smooth sea, but a heavy swell from the south causing the vessel to roll considerably We sighted Cape Leeuwin at about 9 am & until dark we sailed along the coast, remarkable for its sterility & boldness being exceedingly rocky



& dangerous. The wind got very strong towards midnight when we signalled by rockets the lighthouse at the entrance of King Georges Sound - so our journey so far will be known in Melb tomorrow. In the afternoon we finished the sports which were postponed from last week & in the evening the prizes were distributed.

[1887-11-08-Tuesday] 8th Novr8 Wind & sea very high, shipped several large seas on deck, giving some of the passengers a ducking



[1887-11-09-Wednesday] 9th Novr Sea much smoother & wind not so strong as yesterday being I am told the average weather ships experience in the Australian Bight.

[1887-11-10-Thursday] 10th Still ploughing along Similar weather to yesterday In the evening we had a concert in the 2nd saloon given by the passengers & assisted by those in the 1st saloon. I presided & it was admitted to have been the best & pleasentest affair held on board during the




[1887-11-11-Friday] 11st Novr On coming upon deck this morning at 6 am found we were abreast of Cape Borda (Kangaroo Island) signalled our arrival to the Lighthouse, skirted the shore of the island until 12 am passing the Althorpe light, then made for Adelaide, where we arrived at 3.30 pm, that is we anchored about two miles from Glenelg, which is 9 miles from the city. It was nearly 5 pm before the tender left the ship with passengers.



I did not go ashore as I thought it would be too late to see anything or visit my Cousin Martha. I received a letter from my dear wife, all well — anxiously expecting me. I sent a Telegram to state I was well & expected to arrive in Melb on Sunday afternoon. We discharged about 400 tons of cargo into Lighters & took in 250 tons of coal or are to do so before



3 am tomorrow. Many of our passengers have returned after spending a few hours very pleasently. There is an Intercolonial Exhibition at present running in Adelaide, but was closed before their arrival, & the theatres were also closed.

[1887-11-12-Saturday] 12th Novr Got in our coals & got out our cargo & passengers about 4 am, heaved anchor & made a start at 6 am Passed through Back Stairs



Passage between Kangaroo Island & the Main Land, between 12 & 1 oclock - had a good view of the lighthouse & country - saw the spot where the Sorata” went ashore some years ago. Passed Cape Nelson light about 10 pm.

[1887-11-13-Sunday] 13th Novr Fine clear cold day. Getting along on our way. Passed Cape Bridgewater about 10 Am & a couple of steamers at



the same time - crossed the wide entrance of Portland & struck the land off Cape Otway about 5 pm Expect to arrive in Hobsons Bay during the night, the passage having taken from Plymouth 44 days to perform a long passage now a days. This is the Garonnes last trip under the O.S.N. Co. flag - not being fast enough for the trade now, the Co has entered into a new contract for the sea mails.



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19 Resignations


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