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Bucephalus, Immigrant Voyage to South Australia 1855

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The Voyage of the Immigrant ship Bucephalus to the South Australian Colony in 1855

The ship Bucephalus left Liverpool on 7 July 1855 and arrived at Port Adelaide on 13 October 1855. from the Ships List, submitted by Robert Janmaat.

A ship of 1245 tons, it's master was Captain J. Betts Thompson, and Mr. J. Baird it's surgeon-superintendent and she was carrying government immigrants to the colony.

South Australian Register (Adelaide, SA : 1839 - 1900), Thu 20 Jan 1853, Page 3, THE EMIGRANT SHIP "SHACKAMAXON."[1]
The satisfaction caused by the first announcement of this arrival was soon followed by feelings of deep regret when it was ascertained that a considerable number of deaths had occurred on the passage.
The beautiful ship Shackamaxon, 2500 tons, left Liverpool on the 4th of October, having on board 696 Government emigrants; the cabin passengers, officers, and ship's crew making a total of about 780 souls. We have the authority of the Liverpool Standard for the statement that the Shackamaxon and three other large ships bound to the Australian colonies were sent to sea sooner than their charterers would have desired, and probably at some inconvenience to them, owing to the circumstance that, under the new Emigration Act, coming into operation in October, their fittings, &c, might have had to be remodelled to comply with its require ments if they had remained longer in port. We fear that this hurry to get away may have contributed in some measure to the sad amount of mortality which all must deplore.
We have now before us lists of 57 deaths and 19 births; but as we recognise the same names in both lists, the deaths may include several of the infants, and we forbear to publish either until we can distinguish the deaths of very young children from those which have occurred among the passengers of riper years. The names of the many hundreds who have arrived will be found in our Shipping Intelligence column.
It will doubtless have been observed by many of our readers that on board several of the very large emigrant ships which have arrived latterly at Melbourne, the mortality has been very considerable; and such a succession of evil tidings will doubtless lead to serious inquiry by H.M. Commissioners in England as to the propriety and expediency of sending so large a number of families and individuals in one ship.
Here the Government and the Immigration Agent have a special duty to perform in the case of the Shackamaxon, and we have no doubt that the inquiries and examinations of Dr. Duncan will be followed by a luminous report and the requisite publicity.
Whilst the ship remained in the Mersey, her beauty of proportion and frigate-like appearance attracted universal admiration; but we fear that there may have been insufficient ventilation, or an incompleteness in the arrangements and special supplies necessary for the well-being of an unusually large body of emigrants undertaking so long a voyage.
The duration of passages from England to Australia by sailing vessels having been astonishingly lessened by the application of science, experience, and the employment of superior vessels, we cannot be reconciled to such painful disparagements as those which have recently occurred. In the case of the Fairfield, which arrived here from Liverpool with emigrants in 1849, after a voyage of six months, the only death was that of an infant born on board ; and in the case of the Trusty from Gravesend, which arrived here in 1838, there were only two deaths, although four births occurred, during a long passage of 24 weeks.

Passenger Lists

  1. 1853 'THE EMIGRANT SHIP "SHACKAMAXON."', South Australian Register (Adelaide, SA : 1839 - 1900), 20 January, p. 3. , viewed 18 Sep 2022, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article38459212

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