Sarah A. Wilkinson
The Diary of Sarah.A.Wilkinson
More insight on the Life of Sarah A. Wilkinson

   I reecently received more information on Sarah's background from Evelyn Wyatt of Sydney, Australia. Here is her letter on Sarah's family:

   I happened upon your Marco Polo Project whilst researching my husband's family. I was delighted to find the diary of Sarah Ann Wilkinson. My thanks to you, Debbie Arseneau and Robert Hart.
   Sarah was a cousin of my husband's great grandmother. Her mother's parents emigrated from England to Hobart in Tasmania in 1822. A number of her (Sarah's) uncles and an aunt moved to farming properties, cattle and sheep in western Victoria and appear to have been very successful. Several of these relatives with surnames Ware and Dowling are mentioned by their Christian names in the diary.
    Sarah was the oldest of 14 children (another 4 died in infancy) and her father, John Norton Wilkinson was a chemist in Hobart. He died in 1885 after having been in business for over half a century. Sarah was born in 1834 and so would have been about 28 at the time of her trip to England in 1862. Her mother died in 1863 and so far I don't think that she married -further research may show whether this is true.
   This information was obtained from official births, deaths and marriages register for Tasmania and an obituary for her father. Perhaps there are other closer family members who might be able to add to her history. I wondered if she had to take over the running of the household when she returned from England, as her youngest sibling would have only been 4 when mother died.
    They certainly had some dangerous times on sailing ships and I believe the southern coastline of Australia has numerous wrecks. I think her mother died whilst she was in England at the beginning of February. One entry on 13th Feb noted that her mother had been very ill. As there was no Overland Telegraph in Australia then, any messages to England would have been by ship, although there was a marine cable from Java to England and this might have speeded messages. The abrupt end to her diary might have been when the received news of her mother. However, this is pure speculation.

Evelyn Wyatt,
Sydney, Australia.

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