Sarah A. Wilkinson
The Diary of Sarah.A.Wilkinson

Transcribed by
Debbie Arseneau

May 15th

    Quiet night little sleep. First thing in morn called on deck to see Iceburg. It appeared like an immense rock in the distance. After breakfast up again & had a clearer view. Seem beautifully white & changes shape, now appear like 2 and is about 20 miles from us. While on deck see a whale. It comes very near. Have several looks during the day at Iceburg. At night have a little party, go in saloon dressed to tea. Try to dance but the vessel rolls very much. There is some flirtation going on. I and Miss G play ducks, a pleasant eve, spoiled by some.

May 16th

   Miss D not up, very poorly. Captain teases us, gone 172, coming out from lunch hear of another Iceburg. Fan and I go on deck. It seems very near not 5 miles off & an immensive size, looks like a church and steeple. The one we saw yesterday, the Captain thinks was about 2 miles long. Miss G not well. Miss Gunn not up till tea. Vessel pitches dreadfully all day.

May 17th

    Fine morn, going very slowly, had a great deal of pitching, gone 154. On deck before lunch, too cold, come down. Quite faint, some to play cards, I, Miss G, Mr. B & Captain in ladies saloon.

May 18th

   Fan and I on deck to see Iceburg 1/2 mile off. Rough night, rudder makes a great noise. Our friend is looking very bad today. I hear children read after in my own cabin till after dinner, talk till tea, Mr. B reads prayers and lessons. Singing Sunday.

May 19th

   One month today since we left Melbourne. Lat 56 s long 106, gone 82 knots all night. 203 today, Mr. Young very bad, he thinks he is going to be thrown overboard.

May 20th

    Had a dreadful night, no sleep, large Iceburg seen last night , made me cake. Change course to N today in latitude 55-0 45 S , long 105 W , gone only 20 miles today, great rocking about. Mr. Young at breakfast but still very bad. About 4 in eve while I, Mrs. MacKie, children, Fanny & Mr. B in ladies saloon. We were greatly astonished by stern window breaking, having been struck by a heavy sea, throwing us on to the floor & water pouring into cabin, children screaming. I stopped one by putting comforter in his mouth. Miss. G & Miss. D were in their berths & got a great fright. The water poured into our cabin & had to be bailed out with buckets, 10 of the panes of glass broken.

May 21th

    Lat 50 - 0 , 48 S, 106.3 W. Read and work in the morning, feel very sick. After lunch to my boxes & found everything wet, take them out but scarcely know what to do.

May 22th

   Lat 53.0, 40 S, long 104.45 W, Gone very little. Up at 1/2 past 6 rinsing in cold water all my clothes. At 10 got them hung out, they are a dreadful color, brought down again but not very dry, great fun about them on deck. Mr. Young seems better in the day but bad at night. I stay in saloon a little after tea, then to music. Someone sends up a hot & sweet glass of brandy & water. Had dreadful dreams last night, one was that Edward had broken his leg. Johns birthday & Fred's wedding day. We remember them although so far away & wish them every happiness.

May 23th

   Fine morning, but not going in right course, gents busy making arrangements for tomorrow. After dinner they come into our saloon practice singing. After tea I, Miss G, Mr. B & Captain in saloon.

May 24th

    24th Very cold indeed, her majesty's birthday. After lunch very busy decorating saloon with flag's etc. At 1/2 past 4 taken into dinner by Mr. R, Captain, Chairman, Mr. Gunn. After dinner several toasts, speeches & songs.


   W.M. Arnold Esq. Chairman proposes the Queen, his Royal Highness, the Prince of Wales. Song " Rule Britain ", Army-Mr. Blakley, Navy, Mr. Wright's proposed by Mr. Blakley. Captain song for " He's a Jolly Good Fellow ". By Mr. Gunn " The officers of the ship ". Mr. Wright's responding song " The Englishman ". By Mr. Wilkinson " Victoria & Sister Colonies ". Mr. Brown responding by Mr. Deguoy " Our fellow passengers ". Mr. Wright responding song " The Englishman " etc. Mr. Degouy and Captain have a few words. Mr. D interfers , Mr. Gunn tries to make several speeches but can not get on. After Mrs. G faints, hysteria, a great scene, she is at last taken into her cabin. Have music and then to tea. I, Miss. G stay at 1/2 past 9 we all go down, have singing from Miss. G . Mr. B, Mr. Bowman, Captain & Mr. R up til 1/2 past 11. Would have had a delightful evening had it not been for 2 disturbances.

May 25th

   Very cold morning. Sunday hear children catholicism & read. After lunch gents come in & we get great teasing, they having heard some of our remarks & opinions of the speeches of preceding evening. Mr. Blakely reads prayers & lessons, sing Rock of Ages & P come tell us join in cheerful songs.

May 26th

   Miss. A & G go to bed. D comes in practice " Her Bright Smile ".

May 27th

   Very cold, a poor little child 7 months old died in night buried at 2 today, had heavy gale yesterday & today contrary winds. The parents of child Catholics, very rough when little corpse was committed to the deep, have music in eve, not well.

May 28th

   Very rough night, wind cold, do nothing but sit in room all morning.

May 29th

   Very rough, lie down til dinner. After proverbs & games.

May 30th

    Dreadful night, no sleep, work & little games.

June 2nd

   Beautiful morning, had good night, sleep on deck.

June 3rd

   The Captain seems very low. Everyone asking " When will we get round the Horn ? "

June 4th

   Fine morning, good nights rest.

June 6th

   The Stewards had a fall while removing dishes at dinner. A good deal of rocking. In eve the seat gives way, Papa, Miss D & Mr. Deguoy fall but not hurt.

June 7th

   Out 7 weeks today.

June 10th

    Joyful news, we have passed the extremity & Cape Horn. Ship in sight, so up to see it, gents play snowballs. Pass another vessel tonight, 3 seen today.

June 11th

    Large vessel in sight, hear it is the " Sleepless " , susposed to be from California, then others during the day.

June 12th

    Snow afternoon, going very fast, at 10 o'clock do not wish to go to bed. Mrs. Rorke put out the candles we sit without them for a little fun.

June 13th

    Dreadful night, gale , no sleep til after 5, perished could not keep clothes on, fearful noise on deck, top gillant sail carried away, one man fell & hurt, 13 knots. Very cold all day. Mrs. G & Miss. D keep their beds. Vessel rolls very much.

June 14th

   14th Pretty good night, 2 or 3 heavy squalls, today very cold. Not on deck ladies stay in saloon.

June 16th

   Rain & squalls all day, one of the masts have given way, find it, is the sail that went before.

June 17th

   Very rough sea, mountainous high comes in porthole, I get a fall trying to shut it. Children frightened.

June 19th

   Two months today since we left Melbourne, bad rough night, no sleep.

June 20th

   We had intended having school on deck today, the weather so rough & showery hear children read below. Contemplating the wonders of the deep, when those words come to my mind. " God plants his footsteps on the sea & rides upon the storm." The sea seemed more beautiful than I had ever before thought, the waves rising & then breaking into snow white foam. The sea a bright blue with other a delicate bluish tint among the foam.With long white track our floating home left, as she seemed to skim the waters & occasionally dipping her stern so low that I could almost touch the water. It was indeed a time which I had never enjoyed the like of before.

June 30th

   A vessel seen, said to be " Homeward Bound " some say it is the " Sussex " others the " Sleepless " try to gain upon her get nearer. She seems to be crossing our tracks. She seems to be lost in a mist. Several storms during the day.

July 2nd

   On deck to see a ship, a spaniard. Captain says, it may be a slaver from Aftica to American coast.


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