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William Richards diary
Title : William Richards diary William Richards diary View More Images
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Creator : William Richards
Source : D 4718(L)/1
Date of creation : 1839-1840
Format : Manuscript
Dimensions : 315 x 195 mm (3 pages)
Contributor : State Library catalogue
Catalogue record
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Description :

William Richard's diary is part of a collection of papers of the Richards family Richards, William, 1796-1866. The journal records the voyage to South Australia from Plymouth to Adelaide aboard the Java (ship), departing Plymouth England October 28, 1839 and arriving Glenelg South Australia February 6, 1840. Click here to view catalogue record.

The journal records the voyage to South Australia from Plymouth to Adelaide aboard the Java (ship), departing Plymouth England October 28, 1839 and arriving Glenelg South Australia February 6, 1840. Click here to view catalogue record.

Formerly of Penzance, Cornwall, Richards came out to South Australia as a youth and developed the occupation of a tailor, trading out of Angaston. He later sought another occupation, joining the police force remaining in it for some years, rising to the rank of Corporal and was twice stationed in charge at Gawler. He later embarked upon his own businesses and worked in his later years as a baker. Richards was also known as an excellent violinist and organised concerts including The Admella Shipwreck and Relief Fund benefit concert of 1859 in Gawler, where he was first violinist in a performance of Handel's Messiah, consequently the first presentation of that piece in South Australia.

Also included in the family papers, is a photograph of a portrait miniature painting of William Richards (click here to view catalogue record) and various information about the Richards family in Cornwall. There are extracts from the family bible, a family tree of the South Australian Richards family, and an admission ticket to The Admella Shipwreck and Relief Fund benefit concert, 1859.

The journal itself is reasonably brief of three pages, but yields a confronting insight into life onboard emigrant ships. One of the most interesting details is the number of deaths recorded throughout the three month voyage. Richards counted 28 child deaths including his young daughter Caroline, one still born child and four adult deaths. He also explained that more children passengers perished in the weeks after landing mainly due to the effects of starvation on the voyage. After being on land for a while, Richards recorded six other ships had arrived with passengers and crew reporting fair treatment and no deaths onboard at all. One can imagine the frustration and sense of unfairness felt by those who survived the voyage on the 'horried' Java (ship).

Related names :

Java (Ship)

Richards family

Richards, William, 1796-1866

Richards, William Frederick, 1824-1893

Coverage year : 1839-1840
Period : 1836-1851
Place : South Australia
Region : Adelaide city
Further reading :

Burrows, A. Kith and Kin: Sources for family history Libraries Board of South Australia, Adelaide: 1994

Kwan, Elizabeth. Living in South Australia: a social history , Netley, S. Aust.: South Australian Government Printer, 1987

Migration Museum. From many places: the history and cultural traditions of South Australian people , Kent Town, S. Aust.: Migration Museum (History Trust of S.A.) in association with Wakefield Press, 1995

Pitt, G. Index to pioneers arriving in South Australia from overseas ports, July 1836 to December 1845 Archives Department, 1935

The Wakefield companion to South Australian history. Editor Wilfrid Prest. Kent Town, S. Aust. : Wakefield Press, 2001

Thomas, Neil That horried ship the Java 1990

Pike, Douglas. Paradise of dissent: South Australia 1829-1857. 2nd ed. Melbourne: Melbourne University Press, 1967. pp.196-220, ch. 9: 'The South Australian Company.'

Price, Archibald Grenfell. Founders & pioneers of South Australia Adelaide: Preece, 1929.

Stephens, John. The land of promise London: Smith, Elder, and Co., 1839.

Internet links :

State Library of South Australia, General Information Factsheets Online: Shipping and passenger records

SA Memory. Foundation of South Australia 1800-1851; See Java (ship) emigration poster



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