|The report by Alexander Stewart ,MD. R.N. the Surgeon Superintendent of the ship WOODBRIDGE provides information about the voyage to Sydney from England of passengers and their children,who were mainly farm workers from the counties of Kent,Sussex and Wiltshire. It tells the story of the voyage of Abraham Andrews,30 years and his wife Sarah (nee Gibbs) 26 years and their 3 children,Jane,7 years and 5 months,Eliza,3 years and 6 months and George 7 weeks and 4 days from Cowes, Isle of Wight to Sydney Cove. Abraham commenced the voyage on Wednesday the 2nd May 1838 and arrived at Sydney Cove on Saturday the 15th September 1838 and disembarked from the ship on Tuesday the 18th September 1838,the voyage taking a total of 4 months and 16 days.
On the 22nd April 1838, I was appointed by Lord Glenelg (Secretary of State for the Colonies),as Surgeon Superintendent of the Emigrant ship "Woodbridge" bound for Sydney. Being completed with water and provisions the ship was dropped down from Deptford to Gravesend the 22nd of same (April),then the following day,76 persons were embarked and 61 more on the 24th completing the number to be taken on board in the river (Thames). They were chiefly farm labourers from the counties of Sussex and Kent and generally healthy,but a few of the children had a pustular eruption on the face,said by the parents to have taken place after vaccination. In the afternoon of the 25th we got under weigh and again anchored in the sea reach,the winds becoming unfavourable and blowing strong. 26th 4.00pm got up anchor and made sail in the evening,the wind and the tide being against us,the ship was brought up at Mole. At noon on the 27th again weighed anchor,made all sails and having a fair breeze the ship came to anchor off Cowes,Isle of Wight at 11am on the 28th April. On the 2nd May embarked 130 emigrants from Wiltshire,the greater number of these were also farm servants and married with families.The day after the last came aboard I found out that some of the children were suffering from whooping cough,but with one exception, of a mild character. No means could be adopted for the separation from the healthy and I am happy to say no serious consequences followed. Only a few cases subsequently occurred and these were very mild requiring some medical treatment. On the 7th May at 7.00am weighed and made all sail running through The Needles with a modest breeze and fine weather.
During the month of May the weather was fine with moderate breezes. The thermometer averaged at noon,63 degrees,maximum 83 degrees,in latitude 7 degrees north,minimum 50 degrees off Cowes,nine days of which rain fell,chiefly near the equator and in heavy showers of short duration. Winds were 7 days NE,1 day NEbE,1 day NNE,I day NW,I day NNW,3 days SW,1 day SSE,1 day SEbE,3 days E,1 day EbS,7 days ENE,I day EbN,3 days variable with calms. 48 cases were put on the sick list principally obstipatic and dysenteric. Many of the females suffered much from sea sickness,of whom 30 were cured and two children died,one of inanition and the other from dysentery.
June for the most part ,fine with moderate and variable winds.Thermometer averaged 77 degrees,maximum 85 degrees in a latitude 4 north,minimum 66 degrees in latitude 28 degrees south. 17 days of which rain fell in heavy transient showers with occasional thunder and lightning. Winds 1 day NE,9 days SE,3 days SSE,1 day SEbE and 13 days variable with calms. Added to the sick list 55,cured
54,two children died of dysentery,the same diseases prevailed as the last month.
July,on the 21st of this month,finding the bowel affections continuing on unabated and also with symptoms of scurvy making their appearance,I judged it necessary for the benefit of the health of the emigrants to put into some port to enable me to procure fresh provisions. Accordingly I wrote to the Master of the ship requesting him to take her to the nearest convenient harbour for that purpose. On the same day we arrived at Simmons Bay,Cape of Good Hope,where I purchased 2501 pounds of beef and mutton and half that quantity of mixed vegetables,having also taken on board 8 tons of water. No fruit was available. We proceeded on our passage on the 26th. The weather this month was more unsettled,the winds being stronger and a good deal of thick foggy atmosphere. The29th and the 30th days were particularly thick and muggy with torrents of rain and much thunder and lightning, which so injured our remaining fresh beef that a survey was held upon it and 887 pounds were thrown overboard,being unfit for use. The thermometer averaged 60 2/3 degrees,maximum 66 degrees at 29 degrees south latitude,minimum 56 degrees in the latitude 34 degrees south. Nine days of rain fell with the exception of the two days stated above in moderate passing showers. 34 were added to the sick list,32 cured and 4 died,3 children of dysentery and 1 of aptha of the mouth and fauces.
August,the weather was very unsettled and the decks were wet ,but no injurious effects to the health of the people. The sick list,remarkably diminished since the issue of fresh provisions. Thermometer averaged 53 degrees,maximum 64 degrees in latitude 39 south ,minumum 49 degrees in latitude 38 south. 19 days of rain fell in transient but heavy showers with occasional hail. The winds chiefly westerly,suddenly shifting around to the north and south,blowing strong with occasional gales and thick weather. The winds were 2 days N,2 days NNE,1 day NE,4 days NW,2 days NNW,2 days NWbW,8 days WNW,2 days WSW,3 days WbS,2 days SSW,1 day SW and 1 day variable and calm. 16 were added to the sick list,19 cured and a married female died from the debilitating effects of sea sickness.
September,on the 15th,the Woodbridge anchored in Sydney Cove and the morning of the 18th,the emigrants were disembarked. With the exception of one child,all were healthy. The weather this month was generally fine,with light and moderate breezes,no rain. The Thermometer averages 50 1/2 degrees,maximum 67 degrees in Sydney Cove,minimum 48 degrees in latitude 40 south. 2 added to sick list,29 discharged,one of whom was a married woman died of dysentery.
The Sydney Gazette dated Tuesday 18 September 1838 in the Ships News Column stated:"The emigrant ship Woodbridge is a vessel well adapted for the conveyance of settlers to our shores,her between decks,being more than seven feet in height,and very spacious. The emigrants on board appear to be in a mostly healthy state,and their berths and other accommodation do great credit to the commanding officers on board,and also the Surgeon Superintendent,Alexander Stewart,Esq.,R.N. The only deaths on board this vessel during her passage were eight young children.(In actual fact the deaths were 8 children and 2 married women). Messrs R.Campbell & Co.are her Agents.The emigrants will be landed this day,and as they are principally agricultural labourers,there will be a good opportunity for the settlers to provide themselves with such as they may require." The article went on to say the Woodbridge was due to leave Sydney Cove in about a fortnight.
Persons who died on the voyage
1 May 1838 William LAWRENCE 7 months Inanition
26 May 1838 George HOLLEY 4 years Remittent Fever
1 June 1838 Henry BARTHOLEMEW 2 1/2 years Dysentery
4 June 1838 Jane HEWITT 18 months Dysentery
9 July 1838 Diana BIFFIN 13 months Dysentery
15 July 1838 Mrs MORRIS 41 years Inanition Sea Sickness
16 July 1838 William HARWOOD 7 months Dysentery
28 July 1838 George WEBB 11 months Croup
20 August 1838 baby MORRIS 12 months Dysentery
4 September 1838 Mrs BARTHOLEMEW 29 years Dysentery
6 People died of dysentery (an infectious disease marked by the inflammation and ulceration of the lower part of the bowels),1 of remittent fever,2 of Inanition (exhaustion from the lack of nourishment-starvation caused by sea sickness), 1 of croup (inflamation of the larynx especially in children)
The sick list kept by Alexander Stewart shows that Abraham Andrews was treated on the 28th May for dysentery and cured on the 30th May. Sarah Andrews was treated on the 31st May for constipation and cured on the1st June. Jane Andrews was treated on two occasions,once on the 7th May and cured on the 20th May and again on the 29th July for a scalded shoulder and cured on the 4th August. George Andrews was treated on the 3rd May and cured on the 8th. Eliza was not treated for any sickness during the voyage. It is interesting to note that Abraham died at the age of 73 years,Sarah at 77 years,Jane at 80 years,Eliza at 38 years and George at 64 years. Thomas Biffin, who came from Wiltshire with his family on the Woodbridge, is the maternal great great great grandfather of the author Peter Andrews.
Persons born on the voyage
2nd July 1838 James LANHAM
17th August 1838 Sarah Ann STACE
28th August 1838 Sarah Jane BIFFIN
On Monday the 17th September 1838 the following two articles appeared in the Sydney Morning Herald:
1. Shipping Intelligence : From Portsmouth,same day,having sailed the 7th May,the Ship "Woodbridge",Captain Dobson with 260 government emigrants,under the superintendence of Dr. Stewart.
2. The undermentioned immigrants,with their families,who arrived on the ship "Woodbridge",on the 15 September,under the superintendence of Alexander Stewart,Esq.,R.N.,will be landed on the 19th instant,at the Immigrant Buildings,Bent
Street; and persons desirous of engaging their services are requested to apply to the
Superintendent,at the Buildings,the following day.
Agricultural Labourers 45
General Servants 3