13 Oct 1858. We sailed from Plymouth at 2 o’clock in the immigrant ship ‘British Empire’ commanded by Captain Hains, M. Nichol first mate, M. Storey, second and M. Babout third mate, Dr.Mackern. The Passengers numbered 206 single men, 52 single women, 41 Married Men, their wives and children numbered 113.
15 Oct. We passed the Lands end in the west.
17 Oct. We saw a large Whale, a shark and a number of porpoises.
18 Oct. Wind N.E. A rough sea, we are going into the Bay of Biscay.
19 Oct. A Hurricane commenced about 11p.m. In the forehold all the provisions were upset and sent flying about from one side of the ship to the other. Some of the Passangers were Praying. Others crying expecting every minute to go to the bottom of the sea. At midnight one of the boats was washed away from the quarter deck. It continued rough all night.
21st Oct 1858. Calm weather.
24th “ “ A great many ships in view.
2nd Nov. Passengers not receiving their proper allowance of provisions.
4th “ Fine. Very warm. In the Atlantic Sea.
14th. “ Warm, at Night much rain with thunder and lightning.
17th Nov. My Fifth Birthday we are crossing the Equator.
28th “ Night. A very strong wind and sea, very squally: one of our fore to top gallant spans broken.
5th Dec. Mrs.McCloud’s boy died 4 years old.
10th. Cold, Rough sea. We passed the Cape of Good Hope.
13th. Cold & wet. A Hurricane commenced about 6 p.m. The sea rose mountains high, the waves dashing over and through the bulwarks, and down the hatches. We had one of our yardarms broken. We all expected to go down, our bunks were filled with water. We set to bailing them out as well as we were able. We could not think of going to sleep, with the fear of being smothered with water or hit with provisions etc. The women and children were crying all night, and the men were shaking with fear. We never expected to see daylight.
14th Dec. Still a rough sea. Part of the Bulwarks were broken in by the sea and one of the water tanks was thrown about the deck.
25th. Christmas Day. Cold, rough sea. At noon we had a double allowance of flour, raisins and grog. After dinner there was climbing the greasy pole, running on foot and in bags, dipping in a tub of water for money. Cock fight and other sports.
1st January 1859. Fine with a cold wind.
7th. Warm & Calm. Mrs. Hill gave birth to a girl. Mrs. Young gave birth to a son.
19th. We see Tasmania to the N.W.
20th. Warm. We passed Cape Pillou.
21st. Mrs.Saint gave birth to a girl.
24th. We see Land to the west.
25th We see Land all day to the N.W.
27th Mrs. W. Young gave birth to a son.
30th Jan 1859. Rough sea, we see three water spouts, one came near to the ship.
1st Feb. We got up the anchor chains.
2nd. We passed the Lighthouse of Cape Moreton at noon, from which place the Pilot came on board, not having fair wind we could not get into the Harbour. We cast anchor opposite the Lighthouse at 7p.m.
3rd. Fine and warm. No change for the better.
4th. The wind in our favour, we hauled up the anchor, and we got safe to the other side of the backwater at 10a.m. where we anchored. We again hauled up the anchor, and sailed within 15 miles of Brisbane. We fired rockets as signals to the Commissioners.
5th. We hoisted the flag & fired 3 shots.
6th. Waiting for the Doctor & Commissioner to come from the Brisbane depot. No one was allowed to come on Board or go ashore.
7th. The Commissioner came on board.
8th Feb. Noon. We landed at Brisbane in the Colony of Queensland Australia.
This was probably a fairly typical journey of the time yet it must have been quite an adventure for people from the northern part of Scotland who had spent their lives in the little village of Loth and Kildonan , especially for the children.
Quoted from ‘A Fascinating Family History’ by Del Mutton. 1999.