Trove Detective: Hobart: Sailing to the ends of the Earth

Affairs of the Heart.

SLVic_SS Oonah_H92.330:14

1920. T.S.N Company’s S.S. Oonah, Built 1888, in original rig.  SLVic. H92.330/14  

Hobart is a very long way from London, but would seem the perfect place to escape your recent past and start a new life, unless of course the party you are escaping from deems no obstacle to be insurmountable. Edith Cobby arrived in Hobart in 1888 at the age of 24, en route to Sydney. What on earth would she have made of Hobart and the imposing Mount Wellington nearby? LINC Tasmania includes many old photographs of Hobart from the State Library of Tasmania that provide tantalising visual clues. On Trove, a search of the digitised newspapers finds an article and a double page sketch of Hobart Town in 1879 from the Australian Sketcher with Pen and Pencil. I love these illustrations!

Fortunately, we know that Edith sailed on the Doric to Hobart and proceeded on the Oonah to Sydney where she arrived on 24 Sept 1888. The Unassisted Immigrant Passenger Lists on the Mariners and Ships in Australian Waters for the Oonah verify that Miss E Cobby was indeed aboard. This does not appear in the State Records of New South Wales which hosts this site, or on Neither does the SS Doric, as the Tasmanian Records are not readily accessible online, although they can be found with a little patience at Linc Tasmania. We are taking the picturesque route via Trove to discover the comings and goings of the shipping arrivals and departures in Hobart during September, 1888 to find when Edith left Plymouth and Hobart.

Back on Trove, we find the Launceston Examiner detailing the SS Doric’s arrival in Hobart on 18 September, 1888 and giving an account of its voyage and departure from London on 9th August, 1888. The Hobart Mercury dated 19th September, 1888 gives an extremely detailed account of the ship’s voyage, if you wish to know more.

HOBART SHIPPING. (By Electric Telegraph.)

ARRIVED. Sept. 18-Doric, a, 4784 tone, J. W. Jennings, commander, from London.

Sept. 18-Oonah, s, 1700 tons, H. Bennison, commander, from Sydney. T.S.N. Co., agents.

Tuesday. The Doric left London on August 9, Plymouth on August 11, Teneriffe on August 16, and the Cape on the 31st; anchored to-day at 1 p.m., this being the fastest passage yet accomplished. Had fine weather almost throughout. Two deaths occurred during the voyage. Alex. Coupar, fireman, was missed on August 18, in latitude 17 deg., lmin, N., 18 deg., 20 W. No trace of him was found. Alice Marlbew, aged 6 months, the child of a steerage passenger, succumbed to injuries by scalding. The Doric lands 30 passengers for Hobart and two for Launceston. Amongst those travelling to New Zealand are General Ogilvy, an Indian officer, Mr. Dixon, M.P., for Birmingham, and a son of General Booth. The cargo for here and Launceston amounts to 500 tons. The Doric leaves to-morrow.

The Oonah didn’t come up in the search results but after trolling through the Shipping notices for the most likely days we find the Oonah in the Launceston Examiner of 22 September. After fixing some spelling it should now be fine to search.

HOBART SHIPPING. (By Electric Telegraph.)

SAILED. Sept. 21-Oonah, 1700 tones, H. Bennison, Commander, for Sydney. T.S.N. Company, agents. Passengers – Saloon : Mesdames Langworthy, Forrest (2), Lodge, Boddam, and Cambridge; Misses Rook, Colley, Brown, and James : Messrs. Rook, Ramsay, Atwood, Marks, Turnbull, and Lodge; with three in the steerage.

The Ships List is an excellent resource for all things shipping including passenger lists, details of ships, fleets and even pictures or diaries. One of their recent special projects was 1847 Famine immigrants from Ireland. It’s worth checking out if you want to know more about the Doric or the White Star Line.

Doric 1923 SLNSWa637253

Doric 1923 SLNSW a637253

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