Voyage diary of emigrant Sarah Stephens from Montgomery, North Wales to South Island, New Zealand on the Cardigan Castle of Liverpool, Sep 1876 - Jan 1877.
Voyage diary of emigrant Sarah Stephens from Montgomery, North Wales to South Island, New Zealand on the Cardigan Castle of Liverpool, Sep 1876 - Jan 1877. Family history notes, part of passenger list, family tree.
Sarah Stephens from Machynlleth, Montgomeryshire (now Powys), Wales
The writer was only 26 when she emigrated on the sailing ship, Cardigan Castle built by R & J Evans of Liverpool. She sailed from Gravesend, Kent to Lyttleton, South Island, New Zealand. She travelled with her widowed mother, her four younger sisters and her brother, described as a "Sawyer" according to the Canterbury Museum records.
The diary is written in an excellent descriptive style in the form of a letter, to an unidentified relative at home, probably the writer's elder brother. The ship carried many single emigrant girls (mostly Irish), supervised by a Matron. References are made to problems with the Matron including her censoring notes sent to sailors, fighting amongst the girls and to the organisation of messes. A mutiny was reported for 13th December 1876, at which the Captain was "knocked about very much".
There are numerous references to recreations, including bathing when in quarantine and many notes on wild life. Sarah's "Uncle Davies" was already farming at Tai Tapu, near Christchurch and had named his farm "The Cyffiau", so he was waiting to welcome them and help with settling in.
The ship was affected by fever and on arrival, the passengers were quarantined for three weeks at Ripapa Island. The diary ends with a short account of Christchurch. Her brother was engaged by a local timber firm and Sarah had a job for her in the "largest shop in Christchurch".