Diary of my voyage to South Australia

SS Roon — 1912

Frank Leadbeater


Thursday 9 May 1912

Left Oldham [Manchester, Lancashire, England] at 11:25 pm for our journey to Australia [Adelaide, South Australia] via London, Harwich and Antwerp with three old friends [James (Jim) Andrew, Joseph (Joe) Cheetham and Herbert Clough] amidst the sorrow of our relatives but with the best wishes of all for our future welfare. We had a great send off from the station by our friends who consisted of workmates, fellow scholars from the Sunday School [St James Parish Church of England] and members from No 8 branch of ASE [their trade union, the Amalgamated Society of Engineers] which I hope never to forget. Arrived Manchester 11:50 pm. Left No 12 platform at 12:00.

Friday 10 May 1912

Arrived in London 5:40 am at St Pancras station, walked to King's Cross underground, and took the train to Liverpool Street station where we put our baggage in the Left Luggage Office. Then we just had a stroll around for a while till breakfast which we had in Lockharts. Afterwards we took the omnibus for Tower Bridge, passing on the way the street where the bother was in Houndsditch [gang murder of 3 policemen], past the Royal Mint, riding over the bridge. Then we took a motor bus for Waterloo station and walked to the Thames embankment, then on to Westminster bridge and had a look at the Houses of Parliament. Next to Whitehall and the House guards and on to Buckingham Palace to see the guards change which was a fine sight. We then went on to Hyde Park corner and Rotten Row to see the aristocrats riding out. We took the motor bus for Liverpool Street station, going through Piccadilly, Charing Cross, Mansion House, the Strand, Trafalgar Square & Nelson's Monument, the Bank of England and St Paul's Cathedral. After our dinner we went to the station and received our tickets for Harwich leaving London at 4:10 pm and arriving at Harwich at 5:50. Leaving Harwich for Antwerp at 6:35, we had tea on board and had bunks allotted to us in open berths. The sea was fairly calm and the weather nice. Instead of going below I went to sleep in the smoke room.


Saturday 11 May 1912

Waking up at about 4 am, found that we were sailing up the river Scheldt in the sight of land. Breakfast at 6:30. As we got level with the SS Roon at 9:30 am their band played the National Anthem and then their own which I thought was showing very good feeling.

SS Roon
Built 1902, 8020 t gross, 137 m, 5000 hp, 14 kt, 150 crew, 2100 passengers

Landed at Antwerp after a very pleasant voyage. After changing ships we had our cabin allotted to us and settled in at 11:30. We then went ashore to have a look around Antwerp. We bought a deck chair for 2/- for our future use and then went back for our dinner at 12:30. We made a good meal of pea soup, beef, potatoes and beans, followed by stewed fruit. After dinner we went round the principal streets where there are some fine buildings and monuments. We returned to the ship about 4:10 to pass the doctor which was nothing more than red tape. We then went to our tea which consisted of meat, potatoes and bread & butter and cheese and a cup of tea. Afterwards we took our last walk round Antwerp. We found that there were a vast number of beer houses along the street facing the dock. We arrived back at 9:45, too late for supper so we went to our bunks about 10:30 and had a good night's rest.

Sunday 12 May 1912

St James Sunday School anniversary. Woke up about 6:15. Set sail 7:30. Got up nearly too late for breakfast, having to miss porridge. Had pancakes, bread & butter & jam and coffee. Stopped off Flushing to put the pilot off. It was raining a little when we left Antwerp but turned out in a grand day. Dinner - soup, veal and potatoes, macaroons, fruit tart. Tea - sweet cakes, bread & butter & jam, coffee. We came in sight of England at 4:30 pm and France half an hour later. We passed a big liner but could not make out the name and also saw the Dover to Ostend boat. Passed Dover 6:00 pm and got a good view of the castle, the Admiralty pier and the barracks. We saw also Folkstone and Hastings but they were lit up, it being too dark to distinguish anything. We passed the Royal Sovereign lightship at about 9:30 pm and retired to bed at 10:30.

Monday 13 May 1912

Woke up at 5:30 to find that the ship was stopped in Southampton water, having anchored at 2:30. In the distance were Netley Hospital and some big liners and warships. We saw our luggage come on board at 12:00, it being brought by tender. Then another tender brought the 1st and 2nd class passengers and the mails. We left our anchorage at 1:45. I received a letter by the mail from my wife. Our pilot was put off at 3:15, just as we got to the end of the Isle of Wight. We lost sight of land at 6:00 pm. Retired to bed at 9:50, the sea beforehand having a swell on, but not disturbed during the night.

Tuesday 14 May 1912

Got up at 7:30, the sea having the same swell. I did not have any breakfast this morning, not feeling so grand. Jim was a little sick last night just before retiring to bed. One noticeable feature this morning was the colour of the sea - it changed colour three times in a short while. Notice was put up that we had travelled 287 miles up to 12:00 noon today. Nothing of importance took place today - only it rained from about 2:30 and was still raining when we retired to bed at 8:30, the sea being a bit more rough and the ship more rolling.

Wednesday 15 May 1912

Got up at 7:30, having had a good night. Jim missed having any breakfast this morning. When I went on deck afterwards I saw that we were in sight of land. I found that we had just got past the bay, the land being Cape Finnistera. The morning was fine and fresh, the sea causing the ship to roll a little. We had got 349 miles up to 12:00 noon. We left the sight of land at 1:30 and at 5:30 spoke with the German Emperor's yawl which passed us within a quarter of a mile. We came in sight of land again at 8:00. We also spoke with a German Cruiser using the morse code with flashlight. For two to three miles we saw several phosphorus fish while looking over the side of ship about 9:30 which looked very well. We retired to bed 10:00. We had a drink of tea made of our own tea, which we relished, the tea of the ship having a bad flavour.

Thursday 16 May 1912

Had a good night. Got up at 6:30 and went on deck to find that we were in sight of land again. One noticeable feature this morning as we looked over the ship's side was the reflection of the spray in the water causing a rainbow. We rounded Cape St Vincent [Portugal] this morning at 8:30. The sea was a lot calmer, the boat having very little roll. The day was a lot warmer, there not being much breeze. The boat travelled 344 miles up to 12:00 noon. Left sight of land at 2:30 and came in sight again at 4:00 pm, the Morocco coast at 5:30. I saw a flying fish which flew about 30 yards along the top of the water. We saw the signal from Gibraltar at 9:00 pm and passed into the Mediterranean at 9:30.

Friday 17 May 1912

Got up at 7:00 and found that we were sailing along the Spanish coast which we lost sight of at 12:00. Owing to the alteration of time we had missed our breakfast but had some bread & cheese at 10:00. Today the meals were prepared by an English cook and we did relish them, the food cooked by the German having a peculiar flavour. The distance travelled up to 12:00 noon today was 341 miles. This afternoon the sea turned out rough and with the wind blowing, caused it to wash over the top deck which was roped off to stop the people going on. It continued all through the night and caused the ship to roll a lot. Jim was a little sick again. We retired to bed at 8:15.


Saturday 18 May 1912

We arrived at Algiers at 5:30, it being a nice morning. The distance travelled from 12:00 noon yesterday to Algiers was 219 miles. I got up just as we landed. The ship had no sooner got settled at her mooring and the customs come aboard than there were several boats arrived with natives who came on board selling their wares - fruit, tobacco, post cards and all kinds of ornaments. After breakfast, while the ship was coaling, we went ashore which cost us a shilling each, return. We had a good look round the town which is a very large one built on a hillside. There are a lot of large buildings which are very picturesque and pretty, all of them being a light colour. The sun on all the buildings fair dazzled your eyes. Some of the natives dresses are very pretty and they look well but most of them seem a dirty lot. There are large numbers of Europeans here and they look quite a contrast to the natives. Everything seems up to date. They have drinking fountains by the roadside, incandescent lighting in the street lamps and I saw several up to date appliances. The trains run along the front of the town. They seem a bit behind the times for they have, about every 3 carriages, a kind of lookout place so that they can put the brake on if they see something that the engine men do not see. They even have their electric cars which are single deckers but some of them travel coupled together in twos or threes and there are 1st, 2nd and 3rd classes. There are some pretty streets. Some of them have palm trees all down the side that are bigger than what I have seen in England. There are one or two nice squares which are laid out in trees and flowers with a place for the band. There are several large vessels here, all foreigners, which are nearly all coaling. The policemen here are the same as at Antwerp. They carry a sword about with them. They even have their skating rink. They have a large number of houses here. They think nothing of having 4 or 5 horses to a load where we should only have two. There are also a lot of mules and donkeys but they seem different than in the old country for they are very well cared for. While we were ashore the Dunnottar Castle came into harbour and we sailed past it in the ferry boat as we were going to the Roon. It was a fine boat but not quite as large. I had 2½ hours ashore which I think were well spent.

There were a few more passengers came on board here. We left Algiers at 2:30 pm. When we had been out about 2½ hours, it came on to thunder and lightning and rain very heavy. I retired to bed after supper about 6:45.

Sunday 19 May 1912

I arose at 6:15. The sea and wind had quietened down a lot and it was more pleasant. It was a grand morning being nice and warm. We attended Divine Church of England Service at 10:00 which was well attended, close upon 200 being there. We had hymns 391, 277, 370 and 165 which were well sung. The table was covered with the red ensign. Just before the service it came on to rain mixed with hail stones. In the afternoon it lightened a time or two. The distance travelled from 2:30 yesterday was 301 miles. We attended service at 8:00 and had hymns 184, 193, 176 and 27, and for the sermon, the minister took the 22nd chapter of St Luke's Gospel, 24th & 5th verses. The service was very well attended. We retired to bed at 9:15.


Monday 20 May 1912

We landed at Genoa at about 5:15 after a run of 229 miles which was a bit rough, it being very windy which made the water come over the top. I was up at 5:30 and watched the ship come alongside the quay. About 7:30 the letters came aboard and I received a letter from our Arthur and a post card from F Warburton and later another post came with a letter from my wife. After breakfast we changed some money into Italian with a man from the Cook agents and then we went on shore and had a very good look around the town. This is a fairly large town, very similar to Algiers as you look at it from the ship. We turned to the right as we left the docks and continued along the main road on top of the cliffs for about 2 miles. We saw one of the palaces with the gendarmes stationed round the entrance and the guns in the grounds. All along the sea coast, every few hundred yards, there are sentries stationed. From the road there is a drop of a hundred feet or more in some places to the sea shore which is very rocky. We turned to our left past a fair ground and worked our way back through part of the city in which we passed and saw the principal railway station and the cathedral which are two fine buildings but that of the cathedral did not look so nice as it does on a post card. Then we worked our way up to the back of town which is on the top of the hill. On our way up we came to a very steep electric railway which reminded me of the Douglas Head [Isle of Man] railway. When arrived at the top, we looked through a pair of glasses and had a good view of surrounding hills and country and of the harbour and sea front. All along the tops of the hills there were 4 or 5 forts and the city itself seemed to have had a wall built around it at one time. We had just got to the top of the hill below the main fort when the 12:00 gun went off. We had a good view of the cemetery. There was some very fine sculptural work in white marble and it all looked very nice. As we came down from the top, there was a very nice public park [zoological garden], built round a small hill. They have made good use of the ground at their disposal. Every so far there is a cage with some kind of animal in it and there are some bust statues of men and women. There is also some rockery with water falling over it that is illuminated at night with coloured lights which must have a beautiful effect. Across from the park are some big monuments of men, especially one on horseback which is a fine work. As we were going up through the town we passed through several fine streets, one of which consisted of arcades I should think nearly a mile long with some fine shops. We got back to the ship about 3:00. After supper we walked to the opposite end of the town where the barracks are. While we were there talking, a soldier came past and eyed us all over. He stopped a few yards lower down the street and kept his eye on us until we moved away. The city itself did not look as nice as Algiers from the front but it was a much cleaner town. There are some fine buildings, but not as artistic. The majority of the streets are very narrow and the buildings very high, most of them being flats. I should not think it is very healthy. We saw orders of priests, one kind wearing the black gown and round black beaver hat and most of them seem a very dirty lot. The other order wore a brown gown, hood and sandals. They carried the cross and beads about with them.

Tuesday 21 May 1912

I arose at 7:30, not having had much sleep, for they had been loading nearly all night. During the night two more ships had drawn up alongside ours, one being of the same line as the Roon. After breakfast we had a short walk around and saw the fruit and vegetable market and the fish market and returned to the ship at 10:15.

We left Genoa at 12:00 and sailed down the coast for about 50 miles. The morning was very warm and fine but the afternoon was hazy, not being able to see the hills so well, and clouds covering the hilltops. The sea was very calm. A lot of Italians came on board here and they have turned out very dirty and miserable, some of the children having whooping cough. So a lot of the passengers, both German and British, got up a petition to send to the captain, asking him to have the Italians put together and to dine together. During the evening we passed several small islands and down the side of Corsica. After supper we had dancing and singing by some of the stewards and crew. Then I went down in the dining saloon and stopped a while at the concert. Retired to bed at 10:00.

Wednesday 22 May 1912

Arose at 7:20 having had a good night. I went up on deck and found that we were in sight of land and that it was raining, the sea being very calm. We passed several small islands on our way to Naples where we reached just before 12:00 and anchored in the harbour just on 12:00.


As we were going into harbour, two or three boats, with several lads in, came to meet us and asked us to throw money into the water. Then they dived after it. It is a fine bay and harbour and a large town but I can't see why they say "See Naples and then die". The top of Mount Vesuvius has been clouded over nearly all day but it has not done any smoking yet. We did not go ashore because they were charging 2/- a head which we thought too much. We have seen only one British ship while we have been here and that was the Saxonia of the Cunard Line. There were several warships but only one seemed to be in service and that one was being repaired. We took coal on again and some more cargo. About 9:15 we took the mails on board and the crew had a lively few minutes. We retired to bed at 10:00. We took about 80 more Italians on here and put one fellow's luggage ashore who had got locked up at Genoa and had not turned up. In conversation with another fellow who had been ashore he said it was a very busy place with plenty of traffic. It reminded him of London but he said it was very dirty.

Thursday 23 May 1912

Arose at 6:00 and had my first bath on the ship. It was a salt water one. When I went up on deck, the sea was very calm and it had turned out a very warm day. We had left Naples, having been timed to depart at 12 midnight. We passed into the Straits of Messina with very beautiful scenery on both sides of the water. Up to 12 noon we had gone 167 miles. We got a good view of Mount Etna with snow on the top at 1:45. The ship received a wireless to say that the Thames Lightermen had come out on strike. Sailing down the coast of Italy, we passed the island of Tromboli and we saw the volcano of that name smoking a little. I also saw a shark. We had a general meeting yesterday of all the passengers to select a committee for the purpose of forming sports and entertainments. We picked about 7 men, one of every nation; English, Scotch, Irish, German, Italian, Canadian and a Dane, so you see what kind of passengers there were on board this ship.

Friday 24 May 1912

I went up on deck at 9:00. It was a grand morning but the sea had a little swell which caused the ship to roll a bit. Notice was put up that anyone could be a member of the sports club on payment of a shilling. Just before dinner, some of the men passengers got a rope and practiced skipping. After dinner, laid down while supper time, 6:00. Then I paid my shilling. We had travelled 334 miles up to noon today. I attended choir practice in the 2nd class saloon and we just practiced the hymns for Sunday morning, not having service at night because we would be in port. Retired to bed.

Saturday 25 May 1912

I went up on deck at 8:00 and we seemed to be in for another warm day. At noon today we had travelled 339 miles. After dinner I had two or three games of quoits on one side of the deck and on the other side, billiards. It passed the time on champion. Everyone was getting ready for the sports starting Monday. We retired to bed at 10:30 after playing cards for about two hours.

Whit Sunday 26 May 1912

I arose at 7:00 after having a poor night, the fog signal blowing for over two hours, there being a dense fog. We narrowly missed running into another ship. Sighted land at 8:00 and we landed at Port Said at 8:30.

Port Said

We went on shore at 9:45, the charge being 3d, and 1d for the boatman. Herbert had to go through the customs with his camera, after which we got on the main street. It was not a bit like Sunday, all the shops being open, and we were pestered by the hawkers, beggars and guides. When we got to the top of the street a native driver of a carriage said he would take us round the town for 6d, which we accepted. The guides that were walking charging the same, so we had the best of them. We had plenty of fun with the driver, calling himself Ferguson from Dundee and a switchman and it was surprising what a lot of MacGregors we came across. During the drive we passed the Church of England, the new native mosque, the Roman Catholic Church, the convent for girls, the old native mosque, the Governor's house, The SubGovernor's house and through the old native arab town where I should not like to go by myself. It was the dirtiest place that I have visited, especially in the old part which is filthy. After the drive we entered what I think was the park, for the ground was laid out with trees and there was a band stand. Here, Herbert took our photos. On the stone pier entering Port Said there is a monument of the engineer of the Suez Canal, de Lesseps. We returned then to the main street and into a restaurant where we had ham and eggs which tasted right good. Up to arriving at Pt Said at 8:00 this morning, we had travelled 273 miles and we left again at 3:30, having taken on a good number of passengers.

Suez Canal

While going along the Suez there was no vegetation on one side and a bit on the other, but nothing really to look at. On this side is the railway which runs down to Suez and we saw one of the camps the workmen used. On the bankside we saw some natives preparing a meal. One of them was rolling some sort of cake out. We travelled very slowly along the canal, only going 5 or 6 miles an hour. When it became dark we had a very powerful lamp in front of the ship which lit both the sides of the canal.

We attended church service at 8 o'clock in the evening. It was not as well attended as last week, but everything went off very well. The minister took for his sermon the 24th chapter of the Acts of the Apostles, the 24th and 25th verses and he preached a good sermon. We retired to bed at 10:30.

Monday 27 May 1912

I went up on deck at 7:20 and found we had just got to the end of the canal. We arrived at our berth just outside the town of Suez at 7:45. Here, we saw the Oriana homeward bound from Brisbane and there were a good number of passengers on board. Suez was not a large town but it seemed to be clean. There were no large buildings. We did not land here for we only stopped 2 hours, leaving at 9:30. We had to sail round the large bay before entering the Gulf of Suez. Up to 12 o'clock noon we had travelled 27 miles. This afternoon the sports started, the games being bull board and quoits. I got knocked out of the quoits competition 2nd round by a lady. The time passed very quickly. It was a very nice evening and we stayed up on deck while 11:30 and our vessel spoke to two others with the flashlight.

Tuesday 28 May 1912

I went up on deck at 7:15 and found we were out of the sight of land so I supposed that we had entered the Red Sea. It was another grand day and very warm. I got knocked out of the bull board competition 1st round. Up to noon we had travelled 326 miles. We had a fair concert at 8:00 on deck and afterwards I stayed till 12:30. Just before retiring our vessel spoke to another with the flashlight.

Wednesday 29 May 1912

Arose at 7:00 and went on deck at 7:30. Another grand day but a nice breeze. Up to noon we had travelled 332 miles. At 7:30 pm our vessel spoke with another through flashlight. I went to see what the minister had to say regarding Australia and he recommended anyone to take up farming and not to crowd the towns. At 9:00 our vessel spoke with another. One thing we noticed these last two or three days was that it kept going dark sooner every night. I retired to bed at 11:00.

Thursday 30 May 1912

Arose at 7:00 and went on deck at 7:30 and everything pointed for another hot day but there was a good breeze and the sea was a little choppy. This morning there was a bath rigged up on the after deck, it being about 3 feet deep and 5 feet square. It was 85oF in the sun. We passed an island at 11:30. Up to noon we had travelled 329 miles. At 2:30 we passed some islands known as the 12 Apostles. I retired to bed at 10:30.

Friday 31 May 1912

Arose at 5:00 and had a swim in the bath rigged up on the after deck. When I had dressed, I found we were in sight of land at 5:45. The distance to Aden from 12 noon yesterday was 293 miles. We anchored in the bay at 9:45 am.


We did not land but several canoes came alongside selling tobacco, limes, oysters and fish. Much amusement was caused by one of the riggers being upset. There was not much to be seen of Aden. I saw the rock which looked like faces and there seemed to be plenty of shipping in the harbour. We discharged a little cargo but put more on and left Aden at 12:30 pm.

We saw several shoals of flying fish, some of them flying a distance of 30 yards or more. I attended choir practice and afterwards the band played on the after deck. They played some good music. It became dark soon after 7 pm. We retired to bed at 10:45, having had a glorious day, hot but with a good breeze.

Saturday 1 June 1912

Arose at 7:15, went on deck at 7:45 and saw it was going to be a grand day, the sea being calm. Up to noon we had travelled 328 miles. In the afternoon the jumping competition took place, a Scotchman winning all three events - stand jump, hop and high jump. I did not enter. In the evening there was a concert on the after deck but the ship started to pitch a bit, the sea having a swell, so I retired to bed at 9:00, not being so grand as all day.

Sunday 2 June 1912

I arose at 7:30 and washed me but I got back in bed again while dinner time, having no breakfast. The ship was pitching a lot and the minister gave out that there would be no service taking place that morning owing to a good many being sick. I had a little dinner. We had icecreams which tasted very nice. The distance travelled up to noon was 319 miles. I had a stroll round for an hour and retired to bed while tea time. After tea I sat on the after deck and while there we had service. I retired to bed at 11:00.

Monday 3 June 1912

I arose at 6:45 and went on deck at 7:15. The day was very dull but the ship was not doing as much pitching. Competition took place on the rings this morning. Herbert took our photos again on the promenade deck. Up to noon we had travelled 340 miles. It had been very dull all day and it began to rain at 4:30. The day had also been very close. In the evening we had another concert and after, the band played a few selections. I retired to bed at 11:00.

Tuesday 4 June 1912

Joe's birthday. I arose at 7:30 and when I went on deck the day was fine and bright and it was nice and fresh after the rain. But the ship continued to roll a bit. This morning we had the egg and spoon race and threading the needle for ladies. Up to noon we had travelled 331 miles. In the afternoon the gents had catch apple. In the evening the band played on the after deck and it began to rain at 9:30 and rained a lot off that were intending to sleep on deck. I retired to bed at 11:00.

Wednesday 5 June 1912

I arose at 7:00 and went up on deck at 7:30. It was very gloomy and it began to rain at 8:00. The ship was still rocking at 8:00 and it started to thunder and lightning. A few minutes after we had quite a storm and for half an hour we could not see above 10 yards over the ship's side. The storm lasted an hour, but it kept on raining on and off all day. Up to noon we had travelled 336 miles. A man came from the 2nd class to give a short lecture on farming in WA but he did not give any more information than what is in the books. At 2:30 we passed quite close to Tiger Island which looked very fertile as it seemed to have plenty of vegetation on. Also, we saw a lighthouse and smoke from some of the dwellings at about 3:15. There was some amusement caused by a number of fish jumping in and out of the water which made the passengers remark that it was like the Grand National. In the evening we had a grand dance which took place on the after deck and it was very nicely decorated with flags and coloured lights. The band of the ship supplied the music. I retired to bed at 10:00.

Thursday 6 June 1912

I arose at 7:15. It was a nice morning, the sea being fairly calm and the ship not doing quite as much rocking. Up to noon we had travelled 333 miles. We passed the Schornhorst at 2:30 this afternoon and sighted a lighthouse at 6:00. We arrived outside Colombo at 7:45 and inside the harbour at 9:00. We were soon surrounded by boats with natives selling cigars, bananas, pineapples and cocoanuts which were all very cheap. A good number also went ashore. I slept a little on deck for they were loading all night. It was 110 miles from 12:00 today to Colombo.


Friday 7 June 1912

I arose at 4:30. It was a bright morning. We went ashore at 9:00 under the guidance of a native from the British India Hotel. He took us through some nice gardens overlooking the harbour and then to the hotel. While we were having a drink he went after a carriage. On the drive we passed the English church, the Scotch church, garrison barracks, Colombo Club, temple, Victoria Gardens which were very nice, Cinnamon Gardens & museum which were closed, and the Hindu [Buddhist?] temple & museum.

In going into the museum we saw small models of the different temples, the Buddhist priests and various other objects. Here, we bought a parchment of the Buddhist religion. And on going in the temple we had to take off our boots. It was a highly decorated place, paintings all over showing the nativity and birth of the Buddha, the ascension, marriage ceremony and dancing girls. There were three models of the Buddha, one of him lying down which seemed to be over 20 feet long and cost 3,500 pounds to build. He was also sat down and another of him stood up but not as big. The priest said their religion was very similar to ours and they believed in the second coming, but Buddha was His prophet.

There were different nationalities of natives. The Cingalese [or Sinhalese] were the natives of Ceylon and you could tell them by their hair which they put up in a knob at the back and had a circular comb around the top. The other natives were called [Tamils and Moors] and their jet black hair was cut short. Most of them had only a loin cloth on and wore nothing on their heads, but the men carried an umbrella up for covering.

The tram drivers only got 1/4d a day which was equal to a rupee and the men who pulled the rickshaws about only got 1/-. But for pulling one about they charged 8d an hour so you can see someone made some profit. They ran bare footed, the roads being in good condition. There were not many horses used for carrying purposes. It was mostly done by carts which had a rush cover over the top and were pulled along by a couple of oxen or yaks. There were also plenty of motor cars and they had their electric cars.

The country that we drove through was very beautiful and greener than I expected, being in such a hot climate. There was plenty of vegetation and many flowering trees. We saw the coconuts growing but not the bananas which were very cheap. Oranges also were very cheap - 6d a dozen. The native quarters were not over clean. The native women, we were told, did not come out while about 10:00 at night. When a native had to serve a term of imprisonment his photo was taken, front and side view, and was put outside his cell with an account of his theft [or other crime]. There were several big shops but they all seemed kinds of stores and sold everything. We all saw Mr Gilford, the Governor, pass along in his carriage with his bodyguard of two Sikhs with their lances and they looked very well and he is very well liked. While walking through the streets we stopped with a man who had an animal which he called a mongoose for killing snakes with. While sitting in some gardens adjoining the governor's house we saw an animal just like our squirrel only a little less.

Saturday 8 June 1912

Arose at 7:15 and went on deck at 8:00. At 8:15 we weighed anchor and left the harbour of Colombo at 8:30. At about 9:00 we saw another rainstorm coming which completely put out of sight a ship, but we only got the edge of it. It was a fine sight watching it travel along over the island. Up to 12:00 we had travelled 43 miles. We got out of the sight of land at about 1:00. It was fairly rough and it made the ship rock a lot.

Sunday 9 June 1912

I arose at 7:30 and when I went on deck it was a nice day and the ship was not rolling as much. There was also a good breeze blowing. There was no service this morning. We had travelled 339 miles up to noon. We had service at night and collection took place for the widows and orphans of the seamen of the NDL but there was only a poor attendance. Sermon from chapter 24 of St Matthew's Gospel, verse 31. Retired at 9:00.

Monday 10 June 1912

I arose at 9:00 and when I went on deck it was a grand day, the sea almost calm but with a little swell on. A very sad occurrence had taken place earlier this morning and that was the burial of a child 5 months old at sea about 3:00 am. Up to noon we had travelled 347 miles. Wrestling and skipping competitions took place today.

Tuesday 11 June 1912

Arose at 7:15. Another grand day. This morning we had competitions for throwing the weight or sandbag and the wheelbarrow race, the wheeler being blindfolded, causing plenty of amusement. Up to noon we had gone 346 miles. At night we had a whist drive but it did not go so well.

Wednesday 12 June 1912

Stayed in bed all day as not so well, the sea being rather rough. Nothing of any interest took place today. Up to noon we had gone 333 miles. Tickets were issued for the passing of the doctor at Freemantle.

Thursday 13 June 1912

Got up to breakfast but had very little. Soon after was a little sea sick so retired to bed again. The sea was very rough and it fairly washed over the top deck. The waves seemed to be as high again as the ship. The sea washed one or two flying fish on board. Up to noon we had gone 307 miles.

Friday 14 June 1912

Got up to breakfast. A grand day, the sea having gone down a lot, but it was very breezy. Up to noon we had travelled 316 miles. A concert took place in the dining saloon in which the band played several selections. Retired to bed at 6:00, the ship having done a lot of tossing, but not as much as yesterday.

Saturday 15 June 1912

Jim's birthday. Got up to breakfast. A grand day, but the sea rough and the ship still tossing. Tug of war competitions took place this morning - the best of 3 pulls - German, Scotch and English teams taking part. The English beat the Scotch in the rounds, and the Germans in the final. There was plenty of excitement. Up to noon we had gone 323 miles. We had the final concert and presentation of prizes.

Sunday 16 June 1912

Arose at 7:15 and went on deck. It was a nice breezy morning, the sea with only a little swell on. Up to noon we had gone 340 miles. The minister took for his sermon at night, which was rather a special one on the British Empire, chapter 14 of the Book of Proverbs, verse 34. It was a very good address. Retired at 10:00.

Monday 17 June 1912

Arose at 7:15. Another grand day, the sea a little rough, the ship rocking a little. Passed the ship doctor as a preliminary to Fremantle. Got our first sight of Australia at 11:15. Up to noon we did a record number of miles for this voyage, the number being 357. We took the pilot on board at 4:45. Since dinner we have had several rainstorms with thunder and lightning.

Fremantle - Western Australia

We entered the harbour of Fremantle at 5:10 and the doctors came on board at 5:30. The distance travelled from noon today to Fremantle was 78 miles. All the crew and workers on the boat had to muster to pass the doctor beside the passengers. We passed him at 6:00. While we were in quarantine we landed at the dockside at 7:45 and went on shore half an hour later. But there was not much to see, it being dark. All the shops bar the pubs, dining room and sweet shops were closed. We had our supper ashore at the Strand restaurant and it was very good. Then we returned to the ship at 11:30 and retired to bed at 12:00. There were 163 passengers got off here and about 40 got on.

Tuesday 18 June 1912

Arose at 7:15, had breakfast and then we went ashore. The Orsova arrived, homeward bound, and the Moldavia, as we were going ashore. We had a good walk round the town. It seemed in its infancy. There were some big shops and the articles did not seem much dearer than at home. Men and women's hats and boots seemed to cost the most. There were also some very nice bungalows here but they did not seem to have any regard for town planning for they were dotted here and there. Some of them seemed to have plenty of ground to them for growing purposes. It was also a very quiet place but they had a picture palace, theatre and skating rink. There were only one or two iron workshops and they were very small. The people seemed to all make for Perth. We left Fremantle about 12:10 and about an hour after, the ship began to rock a bit. As we got further out it became worse and it was quite as bad as last Thursday but the wind was not as bad. I retired to bed at 6:30 and it was a rough night. I was wakened up several times by things tumbling down and pots smashing.

Wednesday 19 June 1912

Arose at 10:30, the sea still being rough and the ship rocking but not so bad and we were in sight of land. By noon we had gone 281 miles. We were still in sight of land up to it going dark at 6:00. Grand night but cold. A whist drive was held tonight with the money that was left over when we got to Fremantle. Retired at 8:00.

Thursday 20 June 1912

Arose at 9:00, the sea fairly calm and the ship hardly rocking. It was fairly cold sailing now. Up to noon we had gone 316 miles. We began to cross the [Great] Australian Bight this morning. Tonight a domino competition was held. Retired at 8:30.

Friday 21 June 1912

Arose at 7:15 and went on deck at 7:40 and saw the Moldavia passing us. It had set off 4 hours after us from Fremantle. The sea was only a bit rough and it was very cold this morning. Up to noon we had gone 330 miles. Another whist drive was held this evening. I retired at 8:30.

Saturday 22 June 1912

Arose at 7:30 to a cold morning, the sea rough and the ship rocking a bit. Passed the ship doctor again at 9:30 and then finished packing up ready for landing.

Adelaide - South Australia

We came in sight of some islands at 9:00, passing Kangaroo Island at 12:00. Up to noon we had gone 323 miles. We took the pilot and doctor on board at 7:15 pm and passed the doctor at 7:45. We arrived in harbour at 8:00 but did not get berthed till about 8:30. From noon up to Adelaide we did go 108 miles. We were met by A Renshaw and C Mellors and it was very late when we got through the customs, it being 10:30. We had very little trouble. I never opened my big box but he just glanced in my portmanteau. He did the same with the others. We catched the last train up to Adelaide, it being a special at 11:20, arriving in Adelaide at 11:45. We put our luggage in the left luggage office and then made our way to the Coffee Palace in Hindley Street where we put up for the night, it being too late for us to go to the lodgings found for us by our friends. We had two rooms with 3 single beds in each and it reminded me of home when I heard the dogs barking and the cats meowing. We retired to bed at 12:30.

[The diary continues with Frank's early life in South Australia.]

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