M2346 - M2347
National Library of Australia View Catalogue Record
- SS Great Britain
- Records of the SS Great Britain (as filmed by the AJCP)
- Date Range
- 21 August 1852 - 1969
- Collection Number
- M2346 - M2347
- 68 items
- Language of Materials
- Australian Joint Copying Project
- The Australian Joint Copying Project (AJCP) online portal was created with the assistance of the Australian Public Service Modernisation Fund, 2017-2020. The National Library of Australia gratefully acknowledges the contribution of the other foundation AJCP partners, the State Library of New South Wales and The National Archives of the UK, and all other organisations which supported the work of the AJCP, the world's most extensive collaborative copying project, operating from 1948 to 1997.
Scope and Contents
The records include manuscripts, typescripts, diaries and logs kept on board SS Great Britain on voyages between England and Australia 1852-1876. They contain accounts of passengers and life on board.
Writers include Allan Gilmour, William Bray, Edward Byrd, Thomas Cawly, John Gifford, Andrew Alexander, James Walter, George Greaves, Rosamund D'Ouseley, Louise Buchan and John Campbell.
Conditions Governing Access
Available for Access.
Conditions Governing Use
Many of the records digitised as part of the AJCP are still in copyright. Readers wishing to publish or reproduce documents should seek permission, in the first instance, from the owner of the original material.
Acknowledgement of use of this material should refer to the location of the original material and to the Australian Joint Copying Project.
Items from this collection should include references to the location of the original material and to the AJCP nla.obj number, which serves as the online identifier for the digital copy.
Example: M Series: Journal of Capt. James Cook, 18 February 1770, British Library Add. MS 27885 (AJCP ref: http://nla.gov.au/nla.obj-1234)
Material selectively filmed at the SS Great Britain Project, Bristol, as part of the Australian Joint Copying Project, 1989 (AJCP Reels: M2346-2347). Original microfilm digitised as part of the AJCP Online Delivery Project, 2017-2020.
At the time of filming the papers were part of the Great Britain Project. An important part of the SS Great Britain Project was the collecting of archives concerning the ship, her passengers and crew. This index lists material gathered to date that relates to the Australian voyages and which is not already available in Australia. A complete listing of the Archive collection of the Project was available from Mr. B. Wheddon, at the SS Great Britain Project, who was always interested to learn of further material.
Existence and Location of Originals
Brunel's SS Great Britain, Great Western Dockyard, Gas Ferry Road, Bristol, England.
For more information see, SS Great Britaincollections. [https://www.ssgreatbritain.org/brunel-institute/collections]
Existence and Location of Copies
The original AJCP microfilm of the records filmed from this collection is available at the National Library of Australia [https://nla.gov.au/nla.cat-vn2298979] as well as other institutions holding AJCP microfilm.
This finding aid is a revised online version of the original finding aid prepared by the Australian Joint Copying Project (AJCP), published by the National Library of Australia in 2019. The original AJCP finding aids were unpublished typescripts or photocopies available from libraries that held copies of the original microfilm.
Dates used in this finding aid refer to the date range of the records selected for filming rather than to the date range of the Series or Files.
Alexander, Andrew; Australia; Bray, William; Buchan, Louise; Byrd, Edward; Campbell, John (purser); Cawly, Thomas; D'Ouseley, Rosamund; Emigrant voyages; Gifford, John; Gilmour, Allan; Great Britain, SS; Great Britain; Greaves, George; Java; Walter, James
Originally cited in Australian Joint Copying Project Handbook. Part 8: Miscellaneous (M) Series. Third Edition, published 1998. Entry 197, p73.
Biographical / Historical
The SS Great Britain was the second ship built by I.K. Brunel, but his first to be built of iron. She was launched at Bristol in 1843 and spent her first years on the New York passenger run. After sustaining severe damage in a grounding on Dundrum Bay, Ireland, she was sold to Gibbs, Bright and Co. in December 1850. The company converted her to carry passengers and cargo between Australia and England; her last voyage from Australia (her 44th) was in 1875-1876. After a short period as a sailing vessel carrying cargo between Liverpool and San Francisco she was hulked in the Faulkland Islands in 1886. She was finally refloated in 1970 and brought back to Bristol where she underwent restoration work and is now open to the public.
Voyage with father and brother to open Commission house in Melbourne; lack of coal meant ship had to return to St. Helena; death of chinaman; visit to Capetown, pitching tent in 'Canvas City' at Melbourne; death of father and return to London on Atrevida, icebergs. 6p.
Biographical / Historical
Allan Gilmour (1835 - 1907)
Life on board and ceremonies leaving St. Helena, dissatisfaction with conditions on board by passengers, comments on fellow passengers, visit to Capetown. Includes lines written during a storm by Mr. Hammell. 3p. (typescript).
Details of illness on board, food, deaths, ceremonies of crossing the line, stormy weather, small pox epidemic. Photocopy of manuscript 6p. and typescript 13p.
Melbourne to Liverpool voyage via Cape Horn by a passenger, 28 January 1862 - 8 April 1862 (Item D 1862 pp.1-157)
Difficulty of boarding due to rough seas, purchase of provisions for voyage, death of child, entertainments-music, cards, catching fish and birds, parson refuses to conduct services unless allowed into saloon, sighting iceberg, visit to engines, details of ship's company and livestock carried, serving of lime juice after 38 days at sea, fancy dress ball, thieving, presentations to stewards. (photocopy of manuscript)
Also gives daily latitude and longitude positions and air and water temperatures.
Also includes newspaper cutting from Gloucestershire and Avon Life, 'Ten Years Down, Ten to Go,' September 1980 which discusses the restoration of the SS Great Britain and the finding of this diary.
Departure and farewells, services on board, sighting other ships, death of child and sheep from heat, details of other passengers, crossing the line, sailors' songs, taking train to Melbourne.
Also gives latitude and longitude positions. Manuscript 48p. Typed transcript 35p.
Andrew Alexander (SS Great Britain, surgeon) (Hobeson's Bay) to [next of kin], 24 April 1866 (Item 82 L 1866)
Re death of William Wheatley, Steward, washed overboard on 9 April.
Also includes typed transcript and explanatory letter, 18 October 1982 - Leslie Hose (Stockport) to SS Great Britain Project.
Extracts from a narrative. Discusses seasickness, details of livestock, on board, ceremonies of crossing the line, concert, visit to engine room. Typescript 2p.
Sea sickness, services, details of officers, activities of sailors, playing cards and dancing, publishing of ship's paper G.B. Times, concert, death of child from scarletina, met by a cousin from South Yarra. Photocopy of typescript 10p. (blurred)
Two accounts of same recollections of undated voyage
Extracts from the Past; earliest memories, voyage round Cape of Good Hope by [Miss Graham?], 1871 (Item (a) 88 D 1871)
Describes gales around Cape of Good Hope. Photocopy of manuscript 2p. Typed 1p.
Travelling with brother Charles, sighting of porpoises and dolphins, birds, no ceremony of crossing the line, entertainments on board including masked ball, views of Port Philip and description of Warnambull, Mr. Chinnside's estate. Manuscript 12p. Typed transcript 5p
Liverpool - Melbourne and Melbourne - Liverpool, 16 December 1871 - 26 December 1872 (File Voyages 39)
Details of passengers at Liverpool, gales, deaths of children, measles epidemic, entertainments, arrival at Port Philip 21 February; 20 March embarking passengers, gales, problems of women at sea, death of woman passenger, arrival Liverpool 27 May; leaving Liverpool 26 July, details of passengers, testimonial dinner for Captain Grey, arrive Melbourne, 21 September, visits on shore; 23 October leaving Melbourne, illness on board, 26 November suicide Captain Grey, rescue of crew of American brig, arrival Liverpool 26 December 1872. Includes a print of a gentleman.
Also gives daily latitude and longitude position, weather and milage.
Photocopy of manuscript for 22 November-26 December 1872 8p. Typed transcript 31p.
London - Melbourne and Melbourne - Liverpool, 11 January 1875 - 30 January 1876 (File Voyages 43 and 44)
Boarding of warrant and steerage passengers, sea sickness, services, concert in saloon, arrival Cape Otway 19 March; leaving Melbourne 1 May, measles among children, coaling at St. Vincent, passengers drunk on shore, arrival Liverpool 10 July, sailed for London 7 August, sailed from Gravesend 26 August, health of passengers, death of Robert Bright from Typhoid fever, arrival Melbourne 20 October; passengers embarking 26 November, suicide of passenger overboard, icebergs, death of baby, arrival Liverpool 29 January 1876. Typed transcript 20p
Crew lists for voyages Liverpool / Melbourne giving: alphabetical list by surname; christian name, age, place of birth, rank or position.
Re collision with Celestia of Boston. (Pro photocopy) 3p. Typed transcript 1p.
Details of entertainment on board - playing cards, Christmas Day Concert, dancing, fancy dress ball; measles epidemic, rough weather, visit to Cape Town - 'a barren waste', landing at Hobart and trip to cider factory and cattle market; arrival at Wellington. 16p. (photocopy typescript)