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Reproduced courtesy Catherine Woolnough

Joseph Wrigley's diary on board CARDIGAN CASTLE

Date: 1883
Overall: 170 x 107 x 13 mm, 154.94 g
Medium: Paper, ink, pencil, cloth, board, plant specimen
Credit Line: ANMM Collection Gift from Catherine Woolnough
Object Copyright: © Catherine Woolnough
Classification:Books and journals
Object Name: Diary
Object No: 00046090

User Terms

    This diary was written by Joseph Wrigley during his journey on the CARDIGAN CASTLE as it sailed from London to Sydney. Wrigley and his wife Ann were assisted migrants who were granted work placements on arrival. In the 19th century the choice to move to the colony was a decision faced by many. Factors including land clearance, famine, unemployment, political or religious freedom and fortune seeking were strong encouragements to leave their homeland for a new future.

    SignificanceThis diary provides a snapshot of what migrating to Australia was like in the 1800s. Wrigley's account gives voice to a group of individuals who are often overlooked, as written accounts by steerage passengers and assisted immigrants are rare.
    HistoryTo emigrate or remain at home was the major decision of a lifetime faced by many families in England and Ireland during the 19th century. The reasons to emigrate were many including 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). The various Australian colonial governments also wanted immigrants to populate the new colony, support a sustainable economy and supply a labour force - even more important after the transportation of convicts stopped in 1868.

    However the cost of immigration was beyond the means of most families or individuals in England and Ireland. Many wishing to come to Australia had to rely upon the various colonial governments who, through the sale of land, offered 'assisted passages to Australia' in return for a work assignment upon arrival. Assisted Passages were granted to 'Mechanics, Labourers, Navvies, Miners and Domestic Servants' and their families if they met the selection requirements. Steerage passengers over the age of 15 who paid their own way could also be granted land upon their arrival in Australia.

    In 1883 Joseph Wrigley (34) and his wife Ann (31) migrated to New South Wales as assisted immigrants on board the immigrant ship CARDIGAN CASTLE along with their four children Edith (3), Elizabeth (6), Sarah (10) and an infant boy, Joseph.

    The vessel selected by the Officer of Immigration in London, T H Phillips, was the three-masted iron sailing ship CARDIGAN CASTLE of 1200 ton net, 1233 tons, gross and 1123 ton, underdeck tonnage. It was built under a Lloyd’s special survey in Liverpool in 1870 by the highly respected ship builders R & J Evans & Co Ltd, shipbuilders, repairers and boilermakers. The CARDIGAN CASTLE was 228 feet long, had a breadth of 35 feet 7 inches and a depth in hold of 21 feet 6 inches and on this voyage the vessel only carried assisted immigrants. It had a 43- foot long poop deck capable of housing cabin passengers.

    The CARDIGAN CASTLE arrived in Sydney on 20 August 1883 with 384 government immigrants and a mixed cargo of lead sheets, cement, salt, steel axles, steel cylinders and haberdashery. Upon arrival at Watson's Bay the immigrants and ship were inspected by the Port Health Officer before being allowed to sail up the harbour to Neutral Bay and then onto Darling Harbour. The Sydney Morning Herald of 21 August 1883 reports that the vessel was well maintained and disciplined with little sign of sickness or overcrowding and the journalists praised the surgeon-superintendent J M McDonagh, the Matron Miss Chicken and the ship's Captain David Jones. The immigrants consisted of 50 married couples, 64 single men, 82 single women, 49 girls under 12 and 18 infants. There were four deaths on the voyage, all infants. Among the immigrants were general labourers, shipsmiths, blacksmiths, carpenters, joiners, stonemasons, plasterers, sawyers, gardeners, farmers, railway porters, bakers, plumbers, gasfitters and domestic servants.

    Joseph Wrigley's diary, written in pencil in a hurried and sometimes illegible hand, describes in detail the voyage from Plymouth, including accounts of the ship accommodation, the food, life onboard, pastimes, three burials as sea, crossing the line, severe gales in the southern ocean, arriving at Watson's Bay and the presentation of a testimonial to Captain Jones from the passengers.

    According to papers held by his family Joseph Wrigley moved to Brogan Creek in the Blue Mountains where he had been assigned a job working on the railway. Family photographs show the Wrigley family standing outside their house next to the railway line at Brogan Creek. Although the Wrigley's remained in Australia, one of their granddaughters (Ann Wrigley) returned to England.

    Additional Titles

    Web title: Joseph Wrigley's diary on board CARDIGAN CASTLE

    Assigned title: Diary written by Joseph Wrigley on board the CARDIGAN CASTLE

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