By David Hastings
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Additional resources for Over the Mountains of the Sea: Life on the Migrant Ships 1870-1885
1879. 1870. 1874. 1874. 1883. 38 Commissioners’ report on Collingwood. 1877. 40 Passengers Act Amendment, 1855, 18&19 Vic. Cap. 119. XLIV Medical Inspection of Passengers and Medicines, &c. 41 See Chapter 8. 42 Ibid. 7–8. 16. 1877. 100. 318. 72. 49 Report of Charlotte Gladstone Commission of Inquiry. 1883. 1882. 1874. 1880. 2. 55 Passengers Act 1855, XXXVI. 1880. 1870. 58 The Spinners, Songs of the Tall Ships, side two, track one. 1879. 6. 61 Ibid. 155. 1883. 1879. 1880.
54 As part of the process of allocating space, families with children over the age of twelve were split, with the sons and daughters being moved to the single men’s and single women’s compartments. This meant that some families, like the Perrins on the Berar in 1875, were represented in all three segments of the steerage deck: Charles, a 38-year-old farm labourer from Kent, his wife, Sophia, 39, and four of their children aged from 10 months to 8 years, were in the married quarters. But their eldest child, Mary, seventeen, was with the single women and the next two, Charles, fifteen, and Fred, twelve, were forward with the single men.
13 Migrants developed various strategies to deal with the heat, none entirely satisfactory. Letts and Jane Findlayson, a young Scotswoman in the single women’s compartment of the Oamaru in 1876, reported that they would wear nothing but their dresses. Others went barefoot. 15 Every day the migrants scanned the horizon hoping for some sign of a breeze, some darkening of the water that might signal the first breath of the south-east trade winds. The sails flapped restlessly and the yards creaked, but the ship stayed where it was, riding the swell.