Diary of Frederick A. Edelsten
The following article is comprised of extracts from a diary kept by Frederick Alexander Edelsten, a passenger on board the City of Adelaide in 1867. The diary entries are valuable as they offer detailed accounts of what life was like on board the City of Adelaide on voyages.
|Voyage to Adelaide in 1867|
|Under command of||Captain John Bruce|
|Departure date||25th July 1867|
|Arrival date||12th October 1867|
|Voyage duration||79 days|
|Port of Call|
|Port of call||Plymouth|
|Arrival||29th July 1867|
|Departure||29th July 1867|
- 1 Voyage Route
- 2 Diary extracts
- 2.1 July 1867
- 2.2 August 1867
- 2.2.1 Thursday 1st
- 2.2.2 Friday 2nd
- 2.2.3 Saturday 3rd
- 2.2.4 Sunday 4th
- 2.2.5 Monday 5th
- 2.2.6 Tuesday 6th
- 2.2.7 Wednesday 7th
- 2.2.8 Thursday 8th
- 2.2.9 Friday 9th
- 2.2.10 Saturday 10th
- 2.2.11 Sunday 11th
- 2.2.12 Monday 12th
- 2.2.13 Tuesday 13th
- 2.2.14 Wednesday 14th
- 2.2.15 Thursday 15th
- 2.2.16 Friday 16th
- 2.2.17 Saturday 17th
- 2.2.18 Sunday 18th
- 2.2.19 Monday 19th
- 2.2.20 Tuesday 20th
- 2.2.21 Wednesday 21st
- 2.2.22 Thursday 22nd
- 2.2.23 Friday 23rd
- 2.2.24 Saturday 24th
- 2.2.25 Sunday 25th
- 2.2.26 Monday 26th
- 2.2.27 Tuesday 27th
- 2.2.28 Wednesday 28th
- 2.2.29 Thursday 29th
- 2.2.30 Friday 30th
- 2.2.31 Saturday 31st
- 2.3 September 1867
- 2.3.1 Sunday 1st
- 2.3.2 Monday 2nd
- 2.3.3 Tuesday 3rd
- 2.3.4 Wednesday 4th
- 2.3.5 Thursday 5th
- 2.3.6 Friday 6th
- 2.3.7 Saturday 7th
- 2.3.8 Sunday 8th
- 2.3.9 Monday 9th
- 2.3.10 Tuesday 10th
- 2.3.11 Wednesday 11th
- 2.3.12 Thursday 12th
- 2.3.13 Friday 13th
- 2.3.14 Saturday 14th
- 2.3.15 Sunday 15th
- 2.3.16 Monday 16th
- 2.3.17 Tuesday 17th
- 2.3.18 Wednesday 18th
- 2.3.19 Thursday 19th
- 2.3.20 Friday 20th
- 2.3.21 Saturday 21st
- 2.3.22 Sunday 22nd
- 2.3.23 Monday 23rd
- 2.3.24 Tuesday 24th
- 2.3.25 Wednesday 25th
- 2.3.26 Thursday 26th
- 2.3.27 Friday 27th
- 2.3.28 Saturday 28th
- 2.3.29 Sunday 29th
- 2.3.30 Monday 30th
- 2.4 October 1867
- 3 Notes
- 4 References
Embarked in the City of Adelaide at 8.30pm... leave the basin at 5 am tomorrow.
Went on deck at 6am... vessel just started... tugging until dark... feeling rather squeemish.
Violent thunderstorm at 1.30am... the motion made me very ill and the steward had to help me into bed.
Feeling seedy... wrote a few lines to Sam... put my fishing lines out - no fish all day... have sailed only 5 3/4 miles... lights of the French coast are now in sight... have seen many vessels today among them a French Chasse-marse... we are 100 miles from Plymouth.
I am in fact getting comfortable... we have had no service, smoking and drinking is the most fashionable way to spend Sunday. At 8pm I watched the sun go down...
My birthday [19th birthday; was born 1848]. Went on shore at 12am and came aboard again to lunch... sailed to the breakwater and picked up 2 or 2 [unreadable]. Governor and girls left in at 5pm. John M. stayed till after 7pm... set sail leaving Plymouth with a fair wind and an ebb tide... Mrs Pearson got beastly drunk...
... hardly moving... Captain Bruce has just seen a young shark... have now got our places at meals fixed for us... that beggardly shark finished up taking my spinning bait... jelly fish have been floating... have seen a whale and two or three shoals of porpoises.
... sea a trifle rougher... sailing 7 knots... just in the Bay of Biscay... began some Grecian today... very hard to do anything but yawn on board ship... there is but one person on board who I really like and that is old Mr Fidge...
Awoke sick... should be all right at once if I could pull at a tankard of bitter... distance travelled since midday yesterday till noon is 217 miles Lat 45° 1' Long 10° 27'
Long 13° 19' W Lat 42° 6' - Distance 216 miles... am now on my sea legs... have spoken to three vessels today and yesterday... Yesterday we spoke the Sirocco and today two other vessels, one a Scandinavian bearing the adjoining flag... I have actually ventured to smoke...
Long 15° 16' Lat 39° 41' - Distance 171 miles... getting very fond of my cabin and shall not like to leave it... My German is getting on and I think it is not impossible but that I shall know a good deal by the time I arrive in Adelaide...
Long 16° 8' Lat 36° 45' - 192 miles... off Gibralter [sic] some 500 miles and distant from Madeira 220 miles... Service on board is solemn but at the same time ludicrous... Mr's Carey, Wells and I are determined to set the hymns next Sunday when methinks [??] shall do better... Life on board ship is true solitude... polite to all more especially to those even I most abhor, no friend with whom to chat...
Long 17° 9' Lat 33° 49' - Distance 172 miles... very close and hot today... at teatime (7pm) we sighted Madeira...
Long 17° 59' Lat 31° 30' 145 distance... Spoke to the brig Cocquette of Liverpool 13 days out bound for the River Congo... climbed into the maintop this morning... Several people had their cabins filled with water... am rather getting to like some of the people on board...
Long 19° 45' Lat 28° 29' Distance 210 miles... tried the ships tobacco today... my rifle was brought out of the hold today and placed in my cabin... by no means bad but very strong... we are now directly opposite the Canary Islands and distant from them 70 miles.
Long 22° 13' Lat 25° 46' Distance 210 n miles... slept all afternoon... not feeling quite up to the mark... some flying fish flew on board and were grabbed.. I have been inspecting them...
Long 23° 27' lat 22° 39' Distance 199 n miles... myriads of flying fish... sometimes five hundred at a time would rise... making a loud fluttering of wings... pursued by large fish (bonitos and albacore)... rise to escape them only to be seized... by the "Frigate" bird...
Long 24° 35' Lat 20° 03' Distance 169 n miles... have seen a great many bonito today...
Long 25° 35' Lat 17° 37' Distance 159 n miles... a Norwegian vessel spoke to us, asking if had a doctor on board... they sent a boat for him... he found the Captains wife seriously ill and in such a state as to require constant medical attendance... Captain Bruce promised to remain in sight 48 hours... saw Cape Verdi Islands... St Antonis the nearest...
Still signalling the Niva... Mrs Obdahl worse, doctor there all day... Four homeward bound vessels in sight... sent letters home by "[illegible]" and a letter to [illegible] by Star of Erin... Mrs Obdahl has come on board and I fear is not likely to recover... have done no German today... find it requires a great effort to do any...
... have not taken the latitude for the last day or two... close now to the "Vigia" reef... has not been seen for four years now and it is supposed has been removed by volcanic agencys...
... wind has been against us all day and yet we have made 103 knots due south... porpoises jumping within two yards of the ship... on deck until 12pm... moon never shines this brightly in England. I could read with ease the smallest print...
... have made three copies of the letter to E.K.P... a pound of my tobacco is gone mouldy... quite unfit for my use; the sailors however think it very good... Lat 10° 28' Long 24° 54'Dist.72... really sailed 138 miles but only made 72 to the south... spoke the vessel Graf van Linburn and City of Madra...
Lat 8° 55' Long 23° 30' Southing 93 miles... very damp and close and altogether unpleasant... sea is about as level as a mill pond...
9.30am 80 degrees in the shade Lat 8° 8' Long 22° 29' Southing 47 miles... spoke the Sattira from London to Bombay 20 days from Lands End... saw a lunar rainbow this evening... top of the Southern Cross is just visible...
... found my books and slippers taking a swim and water oozing in from the bathroom... Doctor gets in a flurry over rats and other fallow deer, last night I saw him standing on a camp stool and poking at them with a pair of scissors...
... have made 102 miles due southing today... ground down several fish hooks so as to be ready for the albatrosses... now sailing towards "Africa"... Mrs Carey (the Doctors wife) has been ill for two or three days and is still so...
... have been reading... Todays southing is only 23 miles and we sailed 162 knots... a short squall overtook us last night... frightening all the ladies... I have been playing whist with Mr Perry and others...
We have been expecting Mrs Obdahl's death all day...
Lat 44° Long 24° 55' Due southing 84 distance sailed 143... only way to read to advantage on shipboard is to come into the cuddy every evening after tea, reading on deck is great humbug...
Mrs Obdahl had the sacrament administered to her by Mr Prince at noon today... small service in the invalid cabin last evening... Mrs Pearson got drunk and went into Mrs Obdahl and threw herself upon her and [illegible] the poor woman till she was frightened out of her wits...
|Solar eclipse of August 29, 1867|
|Type of eclipse|
|Max. width of band||189 km|
|Saros||Solar Saros 123 (45 of 70)|
|Catalog # (SE5000)||9205|
Mr Prince is desirous of having readings every Tuesday and Friday evening... asked if I would deliver a lecture on the formation of coal....
Service under difficulties... things flying about... soup and tea were awkward...
Busy at German...
Adelaide Reading Society gave their first reading this evening... I had to write a programme and find out who could and who would help... a small barque passed us today...
... an eclipse of the sun is now taking place...
... am copying some music for Mrs Perry and generally making myself useful...
... could not hold a reading last night due to Mrs Obdahls increasing illness... Mrs Pearson has not been visible for several days owing to the effects of a fall... sea beautifully calm... sailing about 9 knots...
... sang hymns during the service... Mr Prince delivered a discourse on the mountain of sin... Southern Cross now high and lies on its side... the southern heavens are however much more striking and twice as beautiful as ours...
... Mrs Obdahl is sinking fast now and we do not expect her to be with us many hours... Lat 28° 34' Long 31° 34' Dist 141...
Mrs Obdahl died this evening while we were at tea... the funeral takes place tomorrow at 10am she will have (by her own desire) a coffin...
Mr Prince read the service... the coffin was placed on two planks... at the words "we commit her body to the deep" these were raised and the coffin slid off into the water: not however to sink: for as soon as it touched the water the lid burst open and floated away... Lat 30° 50' Long 27° 18' southing 105
... resumed our whist last night... Lat 32° 21' Long 37° 96'... we are now off Paraguay... have been trying to catch Cape Pigeons all day...
... trying to catch Cape Pigeons again... Mollyhawks and albatross are wheeling around... this afternoon we had athletic games on the poop, all sorts of racing with the Captain who pushed me over so that I fell into Mrs Price's arms...
... cold weather increases... no birds caught yet... a few were shot this afternoon from the forecastle and dropped into the water...
... had a slight contretemps this afternoon... pelting Mr Fidge with onions (rotten) when one struck Mr [illegible] on the back and burst there... my apology set this to rights... he however spoke strongly to the Doctor, in fact we had a shower of Billingsgate [coarsely abusive language]...
... had a few shots at a gull today... Wells is a very good shot and brought down a Trinidad Pheasant... The Ice Bird (also called the Whale Bird) is one of our followers... difficult to catch... weather is very cold now...
Dr [illegible] very nearly caught a large bird today... entertainment this evening passed off with great aplomb...
Nothing worth writing down except that Mrs Tuck has made a pass at the Captain and rendered herself very foolish in the eyes of all sensible passengers... Lat 41° 03' Long 6° 30'
... first Cape Pigeons were caught today... the Doctor secured three of which I got one... I have now one beautiful skin nicely preserved and the back and breast of another - the backs of the pigeons I intend to have made into muffs...
... got another cape pigeon and broke it up for Mr Prince - the back for myself... Lat 42° 11' Long 51° E Dist 195
Lat 14° 04' Long 5° 30' Dist 178... skinning pigeons all afternoon and preserving them... cape hens keep breaking our lines...
Lat 42° 52' Long 11° [illegible] 246 Distance... Awoke this morning with all the symptoms of arsenical poisoning... heavy seas keep breaking over and my cabin in swimming...
Dr Carey caught a Cape Hen today... a large slate coloured bird with dark black eyes, legs and feet are fleshy grey, from tip to tip of the wings 4 feet, from beak to tail 19 inches... Lat 43° 02' Long 15° 58' Distance 204
... the roughest and most unpleasant day we have had as yet... we are now just by the Cape... Lat 43° 07' Long 21° 15' Distance 231...
... pleasanter than yesterday but still rolling... my hands are getting into a beautifully chilblainy state... Lat 43° 28' Long 25° 58' Distance 210
Lat 43° 32' Long 31° 51' Distance 260... caught a stormy petrel today... I am the taxidermist aboard and everyone is coming to me to have their birds preserved...
Lat 43° 44' Long 37° 11' Distance 237... reading went off well and everybody seemed satisfied...
... have been playing "the horned lady" this evening amid roars of laughter from all sides... am now always late for breakfast, and sometimes do not appear until lunch time - bed being the warmest place... Lat 43° 27' Long 41° 41' Distance 198...
Very different weather from what we had this day last week... I split a few times during evening service... a rat rushed into the Cuddy and after receiving a few blows bolted into Miss Tuck's cabin and many flew in after it I among the number, we turned over everything even the bed but unsuccessfully... Lat 43° 41' Long 44° 55' Distance 140...
... skinned and stuffed an old buck rat today... Dr Carey dissected it... caught 3 more tonight and they await their fate...
Lat 44° 29' Long 51° 01' Distance 270
... have heard penguins braying but have not as seen any... A grand rat hunt tonight in the Doctor's cabin, we killed two... found that they had begun to eat his shirts in fact that they had eaten the tails off one of them...
... hauled up four Cape Pigeons tonight... no rats tonight...
... finished Dr Carey's "Cape Hen" this morning and kept breaking the tenth commandment [Thou shalt not covet] over it every five minutes... the rats last night got Mr Sandover's bird and spoiled it...
... unpleasant day and beginning to blow... Mr Perry came to my cabin this morning to prepare Captain B. testimonial
... fed the birds this afternoon and made them very tame...
Dr Carey and Cap. Bruce were in my cabin last night drinking champagne and smoking cigars until 12 pm.
Caught 4 mollyhawks today - immense birds... 7 feet from wing to wing...
... very rough today...
... still rough... the carpenter's cabin has been washed in and the bulwarks damaged last night...
... A sea, a regular whopper, came into my cabin yesterday morning wetting all my things... Lat 37° 43' Long 137° 47' Distance 244... we shall sight land about 12am tomorrow...
... land in sight... nobody much excited... Mr Foale caught two cape pigeons before breakfast... sea calm... sighted Kangaroo Island is on the starboard and Althorpes Is. on the port side... Lat 35° 44' Long 136° 30' Dist 175... Captain Bruce and Dr Carey were presented with testimonials... their health proposed by Mr Prince... As it was Mr Perry's birthday his health was proposed and very heartily drank... Mr Sandover gave us a toast to prosperity in South Australia. Mr Foale responded and Mr Pearson moved that we should thank Mr Prince for the kind manner in which he had given his time that we might have divine service... Mr Perry proposed the City of Adelaide and her officers Mr Robins, Mr Watts, Mr Bruce, who replied in due course... as a conclusion I proposed the ladies to which Mr Lange [Lang] responded and we adjourned to the poop to smoke and chat... Mrs Luck went off last into a kind of hysterical fainting fit and alarmed some of us...
Adelaide in sight... country looks pretty and seems hilly... steamer alongside, pilot came on board and we are now being tugged along and shall get over the bar tomorrow is the tide is high enough...
Left the ship and went ashore at the Semaphore Jetty. I was the first of the passengers who landed and passed the Customs easily; [illegible] into the town and found it pleasanter than I had expected.
- Some of the coordinates may be around the wrong way, the author himself admits that some are wrong during the month of October, and it seems likely that some of the others are too.
- Edelsten's coordinates and ship sightings may be compared with those published in South Australian newspapers after the City's arrival in Adelaide.
- Numerous spelling variations of the author's surname occur in records associated with the voyage but "Edelsten" is used consistently in birth, marriage, death and other official records.
- Diary of F.A. Edelsten, State Library of South Australia