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Mrs. J. Anderson, per CHARIOT OF FAME - Mr. A. Mitchell, Uralla by Bendemere New England New South Wales not wanted on the voyage

Date: 1850s
Overall: 910 x 455 x 475 mm
Medium: Wood, paper, iron and paint
Credit Line: ANMM Collection Purchased with USA Bicentennial Gift funds
Object Name: Sea chest
Object No: 00040051

User Terms

    Travel chests were ideal for transporting belongings on long sea voyages during the 19th century. This sea chest has an iron latch, handles and an interior covered with green patterned wax paper. It is inscribed with the name of Mrs J Anderson, a passenger on board the CHARIOT OF FAME in 1867 and is marked care of Mr A Mitchell, an established citizen of Uralla. Printed on the side of the chest is 'not wanted on the voyage', indicating it was stored away during the ship's passage.
    SignificanceThis sea chest is in excellent condition and highlights the mass movement of people to Australia during the mid-19th century. The gold rush period was a time of high immigration to Australia.
    HistoryTo emigrate or remain at home was a major decision faced by many families in the 19th century. In the United Kingdom and Ireland alone, these reasons included land clearance (Scotland and Ireland), famine (Ireland), unemployment (England), the desire to get rich or the quest for political or religious freedom (Cornwall, the Midlands, Scotland and Ireland).

    During the 1850s and 1860s the discovery of gold in California and Australia instigated the movement of many people. Tens of thousands of miners criss-crossed the Pacific Ocean between Australia and America, with a £20 one-way ticket buying them a bunk and space for one trunk. The trip between Sydney and San Francisco took about six weeks. The travellers and emigrants brought their home customs with them, leaving a lasting impact on Australian society, technology, economy and lifestyle.

    Steerage accommodation was the cheapest passage that could be booked. Two passengers shared a berth that was six feet long and 3 feet wide. First class cabins were approximately six feet long and seven feet wide, fitted out with a sleeping berth that was six feet long and three feet wide. Passengers could have two canvas bags to hold their clothes for a month. This made the sea chest an important item for those travelling. It allowed passengers and sailors to store away valuable items and possessions, such as clothing and linen. Each month they were given access to their sea chests for fresh clothes.

    While the exact reason for Mrs Anderson's voyage on board the CHARIOT OF FAME in 1867 is uncertain, Mr Alexander Mitchell was a prominent citizen and builder who helped construct Uralla's first permanent school in 1870. Her chest labeled 'not wanted on the voyage' indicates that it could be stowed low in the cargo hold. On a normal voyage passengers were allowed to access their sea chests once a month.

    CHARIOT OF FAME was a medium clipper ship designed by the famous American ship builder Donald McKay. It was built at East Boston for the White Diamond packet line and launched in April 1853. In 1854 CHARIOT OF FAME was chartered by the White Star Line for the Australian trade route. It continued to be used on this route until the 1870s, operating under a number of different owners.
    Additional Titles

    Web title: CHARIOT OF FAME chest

    Primary title: Mrs. J. Anderson, per CHARIOT OF FAME - Mr. A. Mitchell, Uralla by Bendemere New England New South Wales not wanted on the voyage

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