Diary kept by male Irish Catholic immigrant M.P. O'Shea, recording his voyage from Castlecomer, Ireland to Melbourne via Dublin and Liverpool, on the Black Ball Line clipper ship 'Eastern City'. He departed Castlecomer in County Kilkenny south west of Dublin on 5 May 1857. A list of personal items under the heading 'Dublin May 6/8th suggests he stopped in Dublin and then departed for Liverpool arriving on 8 May 1857. He departed for Melbourne on the 'Eastern City' on 9 May 1857 and arrived at Sandridge Pier on 10 August 1857. The diary also records his first couple of weeks in Melbourne, and lists his fellow passengers as: Anne O'Shea (sister], James Ladden and Mrs Ladden.

The 'Eastern City' was a clipper style sailing ship of 1,368 tons register, built at Boston, U.S.A. and operated by James Bairnes & Co.'s Black Ball Line of Liverpool on the Australian immigrant route. On this voyage it was captained by D.H. Johnstone, who O'Shea records as having got married the day before the ship left Liverpool. In August the following year, the 'Eastern City' met the unfortuante and unusual fate of being destroyed by fire at sea in the South Atlantic to the west of the Cape of Good Hope. Through the heroic efforts of the captain, crew and passengers all but one person were rescued and captain Johnstone was later awarded a gold medal by the Shipwreck & Humane Society of Liverpool in recognition of his actions and calmness.

The diary tells the story of a voyage of adversity, describing illness, drunken passengers, and scarcity of provisions, as well as early struggles in the new colony. It focuses on shipboard conditions, including poor and insufficient food, drunken assaults on female passengers, seasickness and subsequent summary justice, as well as attempts by O'Shea to gain compensation after the voyage.

O'Shea lodged at Butler's Castle Inn in Collingwood, unwell and desperately seeking work, aided by a local priest, Father Hoyne. He describes his court case against the ship captain for insufficient shipboard provisions but that he only received one pound in compensation. The diary concludes with O'Shea consenting to his sister's marriage and expressing his relief at having secured employment in Geelong with the priest's assistance.

Physical Description

Small pocketbook with a marbled cover and a sewn binding. Approximately 60 pages, with closely written entries in pencil.

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