ELGIN 1849A three-masted barque built of wood with a displacement of 548 tuns under the new measurement (Old measurement of ships based on the number of tuns or winecasks it can carry). It was built in 1847 in Maitland, Nova Scotia (Canada) and was 124 feet by 27.1 feet by 20.7 feet. At the time it made the voyage to Australia it was owned by C Walton and registered to the Port of London.
The ELGIN departed from Liverpool on May 17 1849 with Captain John Mann , to make its way around the coast to Portsmouth
from which it finally departed on May 31 1849 and arrived at the McLaren Wharf, at Port Adelaide on September 10th, 1849.
The McLaren Wharf had only been completed a few weeks before their arrival but port conditions were still very basic.
Many ships still anchored in the Port River and transferred their passengers and cargo in rowboats.
The road to Adelaide was worse than a track and it often took families 12 hours to travel the few miles into the city.
A spring cart would make the journey for 20 shillings a head, a bullock dray was an alternative at 5 shillings a head
but the dray was only marginally better than walking.
and the SA REGISTER of Sept 12th, 1849. The Ship's Surgeon was William HEWER.
The Elgin also carried 195 Female orphans from the poor-houses of Ireland. On this trip almost half of them had their period for the first time.
85 from Skibbereen, 35 from Killarney, 30 from Fermoy, 25 from Lismore, 15 from Clonmel, Total 190 (H.L.,1849,1083)
The SOUTH AUSTRALIAN REGISTER reports:
September 12,1849 "The female orphans on board the ELGIN expressed themselves highly satisfied with their treatment,
and the Captain says he has not a fault to find with the young women."
September 15th Saturday: the Office of the Children Apprenticeship Board advertised that
"The Elgin, with female orphans, arrived. Applicant desirous of availing themselves of their Services, are requested to attend, in person or by proxy,
at the Office of the Secretary, Native School, on and after Friday next, the 14th instant. It is recommended that the orphans be removed immediately
after the arrangements have been made. Signed M. MOORHOUSE, Secretary to the Board.
October 13th,1849: the Shipping Intelligence column of the REGISTER reported that the Elgin was "lying in the stream".
The October 13th Report of the Board mentioned that "... The orphans per the Elgin arrived on the 10th September last,
but are meeting with situations at a slow rate. The vessel has been nearly one month in Port, and there are at this date, 109 unhired. ..."
November 14th, 1849: the ELGIN was "loading for London".
December 29th, 1849: the ELGIN was still in Port Adelaide awaiting loading. Most of this delay was attributable to the delay in finding places for the orphans.
Cargo arriving on the Elgin: (according to the Shipping Intelligence column of the REGISTER edition of Sept. 12 1849) 15 crates, 212 tons of coal, order; 20 barrels of Fuses,
6 tierces of Hams, Younghusband and Co; 1 box wearing apparel, H. Jackson; 5 bags nails, 4 casks crucibles, 13 packages machinery, South Australian Mining Association.
Source: BAREFOOT AND PREGNANT - Irish Famine Orphans in Australia, by T. McClaughlin,, 1991, Genealogical Society of Victoria, ISBN 0 9 496722 5 4