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Voyage of the ship Shackamaxon to South Australia in 1852/53

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Date: 4 Oct 1852 to 19 Jan 1853
Location: South Australiamap
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The voyage of the ship Shackamaxon to South Australia in 1852/53

Sailed from Liverpool on 4 October 1852; arriving in Port Adelaide on 19 January 1853.

The Ships List, submitted by Robert Janmaat
type: ship
size: 1090 - 1119 - 2500 tons (3 different reports) (990 tons in Lloyds Register 1874)
built: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
sailed: from Liverpool on 4 October 1852 with 700 emigrants.
master: Captain H.W. West
surgeon superintendent: Dr. Edward Duffin Allison
arrived: Port Adelaide on 19 January 1853.
passengers: 656 immigrants landed. (nineteen births and sixty-four deaths on the passage)

ship Shackamaxon, 1090 tons [2,500 tons?], Captain H.W. West, from Liverpool, 4th October 1852, arrived at Port Adelaide, South Australia 19th January 1853

2nd ship from England to S.A. with government passengers for 1853 ; ninteen births and sixty-four deaths on the passage, Dr. Edward Duffin Allison, surgeon-superintendent. [1]

The American ship Shackamaxon, sailed from Liverpool with almost 700 passengers. Nearly 10% of the passengers, mostly children, died from Scarlet Fever on the passage, or after arrival. There was a Court of Enquiry into the competence of the surgeon-superintendent. It appears that the results were never published.

A letter to the Editor of the South Australian Register dated January 29th 1853, by Thomas Barlow, who acted as Chief Constable aboard the Shackamaxon. Thomas Barlow was accompanied by his wife, grown children and a niece.

Sir,— It is much to be regretted that the investigation prayed for by about 100 heads of families and now going on in Port Adelaide, was not commenced on board the ship, or at least before so many of the passengers had left Adelaide for distant parts of the colony. When I attended on Friday last, with so many others, I saw several who I am sure, could very badly afford to ride or walk to and from Port Adelaide, or remain there for hours at their own expense and loss of valuable time; and the least that can reasonably be done by the Court of Enquiry is to examine the most important witnesses first instead of taking a whole day to examine a very few and comparatively unimportant cases as was done on Friday. I am going down for a second time on Monday at my own expense, but I know many of my fellow passengers who either cannot or will not be kept waiting for a protracted examination. I hope you will have no objection to let these, my sentiments appear in your paper.
I am, Sir, your humble Servant,
Thomas Barlow
late Chief Constable on board the Emigrant ship Shackamaxon
January 29, 1853

The Immigration Board brought charges against Dr. Allison M.D. - specifically, 'neglect' - with more than 24 other complaints lodged by passengers on the first days of the inquest, which did not result in charges, because the Board could not proceed quickly enough to make use of witnesses (hence Thomas Barlow's letter). Charges were also brought against Mr. James Fawsett, as Religious Instructor on board, and against Miss Elizabeth Cooper Viney, as Matron. The roles of Mr. Hardy, as Assistant Surgeon, and of Thomas Barlow, Chief Constable, were also investigated. Thomas Barlow had been denied his right to receive a gratuity (two pounds) upon arrival in Adelaide, due to the vindictiveness of the Surgeon Superintendent in not signing the gratuity list. This was due to the clash between them. The Surgeon Superintendent also tried to bring charges against Thomas Barlow. These were unsuccessful and with the report of the inquest findings being sent to the Lieutenant Governor, Thomas Barlow was given leave to appeal to the Lieutenant Governor for payment of the gratuity. Presumably, he was paid! submitted by David Barlow, great-great grandson of Thomas Barlow

A copy of the official passenger list is available on the State Records of South Australia website.[2]

This Passenger List is from the Adelaide Times of Thursday 20 January 1853.

PASSENGERS INWARDS. Passengers per Shackamaxon—Mrs West, Mr Allison (surgeon-superintendant) and wife, Mr Jas Fawcett, Miss Dixon, Miss G Dixon, and Miss M Dixon, in the cabin. Allsop (4), Attersby (1), Allen (5), Bell (7). Blackwood (5), Browne (7), Blyth (2), Beggin (5), Browne (5), Bath (6), Bar- low (2), Bronly (4) Begly (4), Cook (6), Catherall (2), Candall (3), Carter (4), Carrie (5), Camp (3 ), Craig (4), Carhie (3), Deer (4), Duncan (5), Davis (6), Derwent (12) Dawson (3), Daney (2), Dunne (6), Eastwood (2), Ewan (3), Forrest (8), Andrew (6), Ferguson, Rose, Stuckey, Spurling, Smith, Saville ( 2), Fait (2), Villes, Havers (3), Watts (2), Galt (3), Fearlove (4), Flecher (2), Frazer (5), Giltman (3), Green (6), Gray (5), Goulding (4) Graham (7), Hawkes (6), Hasty (6), Hughes (3), Harrisson (2), (Hudson (4), Hollett (2), Hardy (2), Haners (3), Izatt (8) Ican (3), Jones (3), John- son (3), Kersley (6), Kilpatrick (4), Kerr (6), Lyon (3), Laing (3), Lattrer (6), Lewis (3), Linney (7), McMillan (4), Mansfield ( 2), Mill (3), Morton (3) Marshall (4), Morgan (6), Metcalfe (5), Murry (3), Matthewson (3), Millar (2), McCannon (5). Millar (5), Morrisson (4), McFavish (6), McCarron (2), McLaughlin ( 5), McGill (4), Mapht (6) Memer (5), Mclver (2), Norris (4), Norf (5) Nicholson (2), Oram (4) Oldfield (5), Potter (3), Pennell (4), Pratt (6), Roche (8), Robertson (3), Richards (5), Richardson (2) Rown (2), Rex (2), Reid (8), Rob- son (3), Rump (3), Reynolds (4), Robinson (2), Robins (7), Studdart (5), Steele (4), Shaw (5), Sinngarr (3), Sinclair (5), Simpson (5), Speck (7) Stobk (2), Saunders (2), Spurting (6), Thomas (2), Tyres (2), Threadgould (2), Speck (5), Saville (5), Young (3), Wiley (3), Whitney (6), Whitford (5), Walter (4), West (5), Ward (2), Weston (4), Wil- liams (7), Wilkinson (5), Wenn (2), Young (4), Eastmond (2), Skelley (3), Williams (4), Adams, Adam, Brewster, Brackwite, Burbridge, Bowley (2), Bronley, Weyley (3), Crocker, Cawthorne, Dale, Edwards, Eastman, Farrey, Frayne, Graham, Gilmur, Gray, Gudge, Gul, Hall, Jones, Jenkins, Izatt, Lincoln, Linney, Millard, Martin, McCullin (3), Morgan, Mclary. McLean, McKenzie, Mas ters, Nicholson, Petts, Palmer, Robert, Rankin, Harrigan, Ellen, Hessy, Lucy, Harrison, Hall, Hawk, Keating, Kennerry, Kearsley, Kennerson, Lucas, Linney, Morgan (2), McCullin, Millar, N- cholson (2), O'Neil, Possey, Robin, Robertson (2), Scermer, Sinclair, Scanlan, Taylor, Threadmille, Saville (2), Watts, Wiley, Williams (3), Fausset, Adams, Bowley, Bitter, Bentom, Benham, Browne, Barlow, Bigh, Bingham (2), Davis, Doyle. Doots, Dunn (2), Evanson, Frazer, Gallaghan (3), Gill (3), in the steerage.

Historical event

For more information on this voyage check out this article In the Newspaper the NEWS published in April 1953. It's an Historical reproduction by John Quinn of this sad 100 year old story appeared:


  1. TheShipsList, SA Passenger Lists,1847-1886, ship Shackamaxon, 1090 tons [2,500 tons?], Captain H.W. West, from Liverpool, 4th October 1852, arrived at Port Adelaide, South Australia 19th January 1853, http://www.theshipslist.com/ships/australia/shackamaxon1853.shtml
  2. State Records of SA, https://www.archives.sa.gov.au/sites/default/files/documentstore/passengerlists/1853/GRG35_48_1_53-2_Shackamaxon.pdf
  • '"Shackamaxon (Ship) - Colonists to South Australia - 1853 a project on the GENI website at [1]
  • ship Shackamaxon, 1090 tons [2,500 tons?], Captain H.W. West, from Liverpool, 4th October 1852, arrived at Port Adelaide, South Australia 19th January 1853. Transcribed and submitted to The Ships List by Robert Janmaat. first accessed online 29th of November, 2019 at: http://www.theshipslist.com/ships/australia/shackamaxon1853.shtml
  • Lloyds Register of Shipping 1874 [2]

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