PIONEERS AND SETTLERS BOUND FOR SOUTH AUSTRALIA

COROMANDEL 1837



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The 'COROMANDEL' ship was built in Quebec in 1834, Owners "Ridgway" 662 tons, measured 133 feet 7 inches by 33 feet 3 inches x 23 feet. Port - Liverpool. Sge was a 3 masted square rigged ship with 13 foresails, 3 top sails, 3 fore topmast stay sails, 2 main sails, 3 main top sails and well found. She had one long boat and two quarter boats. Built from oak and black birch and red pine. Sheathed in yellow metal.

On the point of sailing for the new colony, the South Australian Commission gave a dinner on Saturday at Blackwell on board the "COROMANDEL' to about one hundred and fifty young married persons and thirty six children. The dinner tables were laid on a hulk alongside of which the 'COROMANDEL' was moored. The emigrants and their children took their seats at four o'clock...

A Report on the Vessel: The ship itself is nearly new, and extremely commodious, being nearly nine feet high (between the main and the upper deck). The whole of this space is devoted to the emigrants, each married couple having a distinct enclosed cabin to themselves - a plan never before attempted on similar occasion, and productive of the greatest satisfaction. The neat and compact manner in which these cabins are fitted up excited general approbation, especially among the female visitors, who exhibited no small curiosity in the inspection. A diet table, upon a liberal scale, was presented to each passenger; so that they know precisely the allowance to which they're entitled, and have a right to demand its strict observance. The women receive the same rations as the men, and the children a proportionate allowance. Many of the emigrants appeared to be persons of a superior grade, some possessing small capitals; and all, before their application to embark were granted, produced unquestionable testimonials of their good character...

The 'COROMANDEL', under the command of Captain William Chesser, left Blackwall Dock, London 1st Sept. 1836, bound for Adelaide, South Australia. She dropped down the River to Gravesend on Tuesday afternoon and officially set sail on Thursday, and reached Deal in Kent on September 9th 1836. She had trouble clearing the Goodwin Sands. (there freezing cold waters that conceal treacherous sands, which were nicknamed "the graveyard of ships"). The COROMANDEL reached the Cape of Good Hope on November 5th, Stayed and took on freshwater, fruit and vegetables. Captain Chesser gave the passengers time to improve their health with good food and water before he set sail again on November 28th.

The COROMANDEL arrived Holdfast Bay, Adelaide on January 12th 1837 with 156 passengers (124 adults and 32 children), and was the first migrant ship to arrive in South Australia, after proclamation of the province. These emigrants were all under twenty six years of age, principally labourers and some mechanics and a few Lincolnshire shepherds. Of the one hundred and fifty-six passengers, all with the exception of one survived the voyage. Two couples were married onboard after 9 days at sea.

The 'COROMANDEL' is the tenth ship that has gone out under the same auspices, and it is believed that before the close of the present year more than a thousand emigrants will be actively employed in founding the city of Adelaide. An unlikely cargo transported by the COROMANDEL on this voyage was Adelaide’s first bank and ten thousand pounds in notes. The entire plant of the bank, together with a framed banking house, iron chests and so forth, were forwarded by the ship the COROMANDEL....in March (1837) the bank commenced operations.

The COROMANDEL arrived in South Australian waters and dropped anchor at night on the 10th January 1937 in Nepean Bay of Kangaroo Island. She safely berthed the next day near to Kingscote where the South Australian Company had set up headquarters for the new colony. The ship discharged goods which it had carried out for the company and also some passengers. After a few days the ship set sail again across Backstairs Passage and up the Gulf of St. Vincent to anchor in Holdfast Bay at Glenelg. This was where other emigrants had moved to after Colonel William Light had declared it was the best location to establish a future city and that the indigenous aboriginal people named the Kaurna tribe had proved to be friendly. These earlier ships had then disembarked their passengers who were now tenting in the sandhills whilst they explored the terrain and looked for good water. Coromandel Valley takes its name from the ship Coromandel which arrived at Port Adelaide on January 12th 1837.

Ten crewmen deserted the ship and fled to the Adelaide Hills. They took refuge in the area now known as Coromandel Valley and probably camped on Chambers Creek, a tributary of the Sturt River, near Cherry Gardens. All but one of the men surrendered themselves on March 13th 1837, and they were held in custody. As there was no prosecutor at their court appearance on March 16th 1837, they were discharged.