Notable Vessels

Rockhampton was proclaimed a Town and Port of Entry in 1858. Some notable vessels were:

1860 - the first steamer - SS Tamar

1864 - the first overseas vessel - the barque Woodbine

1865 - SS Lady Young

1872 - SS Light Brigade taking wool to London

1878 - SS Scottish Bard

1879 - immigrants were brought up river from Keppel Bay on the Lady Bowen

The shipping Intelligence list of the Morning Bulletin dated 12 July 1866, announced the arrival of the 2088 ton "The Great Pacific", a ship of the Black Ball Line which sailed from Liverpool on 27 March 1866 for Keppel Bay. There were 630 immigrants on board and a large cargo/plant for the Queensland Railways for the western line from Rockhampton to Westwood. The majority of the immigrants were to be employed on this project and came from the Stoke on Trent area. They were under the charge of Surgeon-superintendent George William Paynter, late of Rockhampton.

Research into the "Great Pacific" has been very difficult and any information about this vessel came from the Queensland Archives, Queensland Maritime Museum, British National Maritime Museum, the Rockhampton Bulletin and the John Oxley museum. The Great Pacific is not mentioned in Lloyds Shipping register and there are no known photographs of her.

The 1st Immigrant Ship to sail directly from Plymouth, England 23 July 1862 to Keppel Bay, Queensland on 6 November 1862.

Rockhampton, Queensland on 11 November 1862 with 324 "hand-picked" immigrants

The immigrants were primarily of English and Scottish descent with a few from Ireland.

There had been great eagerness within the small community in Central Queensland to attract people to the area-"The arrival of a shipload of immigrants in this district would be indeed a great boon. Labour is very much in request for up-country employments, and 200 or 300 immigrants would be speedily taken up by our settlers." appeared in the first issue of the Rockhampton Bulletin, dated 29 July 1861.

The "Alexandrina" sailed from London on 29th August 1873 and arrived in Rockhampton on 7th December 1873. The Alexandrina sailed under Captain Sherar with Doctor F.M. Harricks as Surgeon Superintendent and Margaret Willes as Matron.

The 1873 voyage of the Alexandrina carried mostly young people who all needed to be absorbed into the Central Queensland work force. Passengers who didn't have a job or accommodation to go to were allowed a few nights at the immigration Depot. Many moved immediately to the west seeking employment while others stayed closer to town hoping to obtain work through the Temple's, Rockhampton Labour Mart and Fancy Repository in William Street.

The descendants of many of the following passengers are still residents in the Rockhampton District.

Arrived: Rockhampton 24 Oct 1873

Passengers from the ship Landsborough indented to Govatt and Thompson of the Barcoo

The Suffolk, 974 tons register, Messrs. Taylor, Bethell, and Roberts, London, left Gravesend on May 20 for Rockhampton, commanded by Captain Byford; surgeon-superintendent, Dr. R. T. Freeman; matron, Mrs. Gaudin. The Suffolk is the 136th vessel that has sailed under the land-order system of emigration and under the immediate direction of the Queensland Government Office, London.

The immigrants presented a very healthy appearance, and should certainly prove an acquisition to our population. When the Suffolk left England she had 460 souls on her passenger list, equal to 395 statute adults, divided as follows: — Full-paying, 22; assisted 37: free, 384; remittance, 17; and they consist principally of domestic servants, with a fair proportion of tradesmen.

Brisbane Courier (Qld. : 1864 - 1933), Tuesday 1 January 1884, page 5

The passengers of the P & O Duntrune sailed out of Firth of Tay, Dundee, Scotland, on the 1st September 1883, on her 120 day journey to Australia. The Duntrune was an iron, full rig ship of 1488 tons and had been built in 1875, so by the standards of the day she was considered to quite modern. She had previously sailed from Britain to Adelaide in Australia but this time her destination was Brisbane. The master of the Duntrune was Captain J Rolls. The passengers were mostly bounty immigrants who were brought out as labourers or servants by an employer who was paid a bounty for each immigrant he sponsored. Over the years the rules of the Bounty System changed to accommodate the labour needs of the Colony, so when dealing with the Bounty Immigration Lists it is wise to be aware of the fact that many immigrants adjusted their age, marital status and number of children, in order to conform to the Bounty conditions of the time. Frequently when families had more than the allowed number of children, some of these children were left behind with relatives to be set for at a later date. If a married couple had no children or had below the allowed number, they would sometimes bring the children of their relatives or fellow passengers under their own names. So for genealogists this can present quite a problem.

Queensland State Archives Immigration Records

Interesting notes from the diary of Benjamin Holdsworth, before and during the journey to Australia from England with his family in 1884 aboard the steamship "Quetta".

Brisbane Courier (Qld. : 1864 - 1933), Thursday 9 April 1885, page 6

Captain G. Phillips reports that the R. M. S. Merkara left Gravesend at 4 p. m. on the 10th February, and experienced foggy weather in the Channel; arrived at Malta on the 19th at 8 p.m.; left next day at 8 a.m.; arrived at Port Said on the 23rd at 8 p.m.; entered Canal next morning at 7.15; left Suez at 3.45 p.m. on the 25th; arrived at Aden at 7.20 p.m. on the 2nd March, and left at 8 a.m. on the 4th, the mails being delivered one day late; reached Batavia on the 19th March, at 9 a.m., and left at noon on the 20th, arrived at Thursday Island at 6.30 a.m. on the 29th March, and left at 2 p.m. on the 30th; reached Cooktown at 6 a.m. on the 1st April, and delivered mails to s.s. Wentworth to date; left Cooktown at noon, and arrived at Townsville at 7 a.m. on the 3rd, and left at 12.30 p.m. on the 4th; arrived at Bowen at 3 a.m. on the 5th, and left at 7 a.m.; arrived at Mackay at 6 p.m. same day, and left at 11 p.m.; arrived at Rockhampton at 8 p.m. on the 6th and left at 5.30 a.m. next day. Fine weather was experienced during the voyage out, but we were unfortunate in having head winds. The health on board was excel-lent. Several entertainments and concerts were got up, and were much appreciated by everyone. The weather along the coast and until arrival in the Bay was stormy and wet.

Morning Bulletin (Rockhampton, Qld. : 1878 - 1954), Monday 17 December 1888, page 5