Mawhinney, Bethia, 1864-1943 : Diary by Bethia Cromb on board the Kaikoura

Privacy Level: Public (Green)
Date: 22 Oct 1887 to 3 Dec 1887
Surnames/tags: cromb New_Zealand_Immigration diary
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In her diary, Bethia Mawhinney (nee Cromb) - Cromb-56 - describes each day of her emigration voyage from Edinburgh, Scotland, through England to Plymouth, then on the New Zealand Shipping Company vessel S.S. Kaikoura across the world to Wellington, New Zealand, via, Madeira, Cape Town, South Africa, and Hobart, Tasmania between 22 October and 3 December 1887. Bethia travels with her widowed mother, sisters and brothers as ‘Assisted immigrants’ in steerage.

This is an excellent narrative describing the experiences Bethia and her family encountered on the journey. It will be of great interest to anyone seeking to familiarise themselves with the conditions and regimens of those times.

The diary may be accessed via a 22page .pdf file uploaded in Images or by clicking here : [1]

• Digitised by Alistair Lovat Fraser (Fraser-6140) on 1-8 May 2021 using FreeOCR software [1], transcribed from a typed copy kept by Alistair’s mother.

• This narrative has been left in its original format including the usage of a few words which some people may consider inappropriate in these more contemporary and politically correct times. However, Bethia won a first-class Queen’s Scholarship, in Edinburgh in 1882 and Alistair is sure she meant no disrespect to anyone in her writing and believes it is essential for the document to stay unaltered.

• Alistair is a great grandson of Jane (Cromb) Robertson (Cromb-32), sister to Bethia.

• Alistair would like to see Bethia’s Diary widely distributed and read, especially by members of the Cromb family and descendants.

• A record of the members of the Cromb family who undertook the voyage is kept in an online database maintained by the Hutt City Council, New Zealand [2]

• A hard copy of Bethias Diary is held at the National Library of New Zealand- donated by Trevor Ballantine in 1996 [3] Bethias Diary is also included in Miller companions by Gordon Miller published in 2000 [4]


  1. FreeOCR software
  2. Hutt City Council record of the Cromb family voyage
  3. National Library of New Zealand - record for Mawhinney, Bethia, 1864-1943 : Diary by Bethia Cromb on board the Kaikoura
  4. Miller companions


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