Nine ships left Britain in 1836. They carried the first officials and the first immigrants to the newly created province of South Australia. Estimates of the precise number of intending settlers vary but the 1837 report of the South Australian Colonization Commission claimed 546 souls sailed that year, all hoping for a better life on the other side of the world.
Over many long months they braved the perils of the ocean. Most had never been to sea before and along with their grief at leaving home, they battled seasickness, made infinitely worse by the cramped quarters they shared with others. They were often anxious and their fears were not misplaced.
In 2011 History SA marked the 175th anniversary of those voyages by producing a blog and website and a complementary exhibition Bound for South Australia.
The project has left a rich resource. For the first time it published together the remaining logs and journals that document the voyages of 1836. It also built on those journals. Following the voyages week by week opened windows to minutiae of shipboard life. It raised questions about the experiences of passengers and crew, their relationships and conflicts, their food and pastimes, their work, their health and their hopes for the voyage.
The Bound for South Australia website tracks the voyages and uses them to explore the culture of seafarers and the experiences of passengers in the 1830s.
Visit the Bound for South Australia website.