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This website captures details of passengers and crew of the City of Adelaide and provides background and contexts of their lives - whether they were refugees from a European war; victims of the closing of the Cornish copper mines; hopeful migrants wanting to build new lives in a young country.
If you register and log in to your account, you will be able to add and edit articles too. By registering you can create a User-page and Talk-page - like Wikipedia. That can help you to contact other researchers interested in the same families and people. Being a wiki format, it is possible to collaborate with others to create a network of articles about your family and any stories that you find interesting. Please help to build the picture of the life and times of the City of Adelaide.

Featured article

Joseph Towan Nancarrow (b1855) and daughters

In the 1860s, the decline of mining in Cornwall left many miners unemployed. Many Cornishmen migrated to Moonta in South Australia where the newly-opened copper mines were booming and work was plentiful. Amongst these were 17 years old Joseph Towan Nancarrow his parents, six siblings, aunty and two young cousins, who migrated to South Australia on the City of Adelaide in 1873. Once in South Australia, Joseph and his father and brothers resumed work as miners where they found reasonably continuous work at the Yelta Copper Mine.

In 1879, Joseph built his own house and married Elizabeth Nicholls. Joseph and Elizabeth had seven children between 1880 and 1892, losing one of them at a few weeks of age. On 3rd May 1894, 39 years old Elizabeth died at her home while giving birth to her eighth child, a daughter who survived only for another three weeks. The following year Joseph Towan, 39, a widower with six children, remarried a widow with five young children of her own - Mrs Esther Potter, 30. Joseph and Esther had five more children of their own, but three died before their first birthday, and only two sons lived to adulthood.

Joseph Towan Nancarrow was a typical Cornishman or "Cousin Jack", and spoke with the rich accent of one. He was short of stature, ginger haired, with the palest of pale blue eyes, and was very witty. For a trade he knew only mining, although in his later years when work was short, he did supplement his income for short periods as a fisherman, the other age-old tradition of the Cornish.

Did you know

  • ... that superior tonnage and a greater spread of canvas provided clipper ships with higher speed. In 1876, an Ocean Race from the English Channel to Australia saw the City of Adelaide keep apace with a much larger clipper - the Bundaleer. They kept in sight of each other for almost the entire voyage.
  • ... that Devitt and Moore were consistently identified as the registered owners of the City of Adelaide, but technically they were only the managing agents in London.

Featured picture

Cyril Maude c1913
Cyril Francis Maude (24 April 1862 — 20 February 1951) was an English stage actor born in London and educated at the Charterhouse School. In 1881, he was sent to Adelaide, South Australia, on the clipper ship City of Adelaide to regain his health. He returned to England without having regained his health, but nursing the ambition to be an actor. Maude became very well known for his role as "Grumpy" a spoilt old man, who as a retired lawyer solved a crime to keep his loved ones happy. Maude took this play to Australia and toured Adelaide, Melbourne, Brisbane and Sydney where it was immensely popular.

Photo: US Library of Congress

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