Bound for New Zealand in 1874

In 1874, Sarah and Thomas Joines of Adderbury, were emigrating to New Zealand. They had assisted passage on the Carisbrooke Castle that was sailing from London to Lyttelton, NZ. Sarah 24, and Thomas 22, had three children, Alice who was five, William three and George who was one year old. The decision was made to take the two boys with them, but to leave Alice with her grandmother, Mary Tew, who was Sarah’s mother and lived in a cottage in Back Lane, Adderbury. Sarah and Thomas were cousins, Thomas’s mother, Patience, was Mary’s sister, (My great, great grandmother, Joice Tew, was another sister. It was a very large family).

On the 30th May, the Carisbrooke Castle was to sail with 510 passengers on board, all looking for a better life as settlers in New Zealand. The ship was still at Gravesend, when a child on board developed measles. The child was sent home with all its bedding, and its berth was thoroughly cleaned, with Condy’s Fluid. (A solution of potassium permanganate and water). And the ship sailed. On 11th June, measles broke out again and affected 87 of the 178 children on board, and during the voyage 25 of them died. All were under five years old and most were two or under. One family lost two little girls, one was two years old and the other was 11 months. The two little Joines boys were not affected.

Five babies were born during the voyage and one crew member died when he fell from ‘the fore topsail yard’. After suffering gales and disputes over rations, and mischievous older children, they arrived at Lyttelton on the 3rd September, after a voyage of 93 days. Thomas and Sarah and the two little boys eventually made their way to Porter’s Pass, in the Canterbury area of the South Island, and made a home there, and had more children. According to one of their descendants, the place was extremely isolated and Thomas used a team of bullocks to clear the bush: they were real pioneers.

I do not know if Alice, who stayed in Adderbury with her gran, ever saw her parents again, but she did see one of her brothers, who visited her and Mary when he was in the army and came to England. In 1885 Mary Tew married a neighbour, John Townsend a widower, and in 1890 Alice married his grandson, William Townsend. There is more information on the internet about the ship and details of the voyage; a passenger list, and a sad and shocking list of the 25 children who died of measles. – a hundred years too soon for the MMR vaccine.

Brenda Kirkham

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