‘It would be very satisfactory to land them all in good health’: Emigrants and their superintendents at sea

  • Robin Haines


On 6 January 1853, the 1,676-ton double-decked Beejapore arrived in Sydney after a passage of 86 days. The vessel carried 967 emigrants including 342 children, from one hemisphere to the other over the longest oceanic route in the age of sail. On this ship, chartered against the better judgement of the Colonial Land and Emigration Commissioners just three months earlier, twice the usual complement of steerage passengers were aboard. They were housed in two lower steerage decks in the belly of the ship. Hence an assistant medical officer was appointed to assist the ship’s doctor, known as the surgeon superintendent, in supervising the public health and hygiene routines on the voyage.


Motion Sickness Whooping Cough Scarlet Fever Colonial Government Large Ship 
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  1. 10.
    These and other articles on maritime mortality can be found in Shlomowitz, Mortality and Migration in the Modern World, Variorum, London, 1996.Google Scholar
  2. 11.
    Flora Tristan, Peregrinations of a Pariah (trans., ed., Jean Hawkes), Virago, 1986, first pub. 1838.Google Scholar

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© Robin Haines 2005

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  • Robin Haines

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