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"Coromandel" (Ship) - Colonists to South Australia in 1836

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  • John Watts (1812 - 1895)
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The Coromandel arrived at Kingscote Kangaroo Island on the evening of January 10th or 11th 1837, moved on to Holdfast Bay (Glenelg) on January 17th 1837, and was the first migrant ship to arrive in South Australia, after proclamation of the government of the province. There were156 passengers when the ship left England, including 53 married (or in 2 cases about to be married) couples, 4 single men and 3 single women all receiving free passage as emigrant labourers, with the 31 children of the married couples, making a total of 144. There were 5 other emigrant labourers who were not eligible for free passage (4 being German nationals employed by the South Australian Company to assist their geologist JJ Menge, who was a cabin passenger on the "Coromandel"), and 7 cabin passengers, including 2 married couples (Thomas Cotter the Colonial Surgeon, Edward Stephens the manager of the Bank of South Australia for the South Australian Company, and their wives), the Cotters' son, and 2 widowers (Charles Mann who had been appointed the first Advocate General of South Australia, and the aforementioned JJ Menge).

The free passage emigrants were all supposed to be under twenty six years of age, and were described as "principally labourers and some mechanics and a few Lincolnshire shepherds."

Of the one hundred and fifty-six passengers who boarded the Coromandel in England, all but two (both children) survived the voyage. At least 3 children were born on the voyage. One adult passenger and one of the children born on the voyage died before the end of February 1837, so the figure of one death for this ship which appears in some records may be a net figure (i.e. total deaths including the two just after arrival, less total births). However 1898 reports of reminiscences by a deserter from the Coromandel refer to another child dying just before arrival at Kangaroo Island (the 2 deaths of children for which contemporaneous records have been found occurred before the "Coromandel" reached Cape Town). It has been established that 30 of the 32 children who embarked in England (the 31 children of the free passage emigrant labourers, and the Cotters' son) and the 3 children known to have been born on the voyage all survived the voyage and disembarked in South Australia, so if a 3rd child did die on the voyage he or she must have also been born on the voyage.

Two couples were married onboard after 9 days at sea.

The "Coromandel" was under the command of Captain William Chesser and left Blackwall Dock, London 1st Sept. 1836, bound for Adelaide, South Australia

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.

List Deserters...

Some Passengers:

Sources:

  • The Ships Passenger List, Menge correspondence held by State Library of South Australia, eGGSA web-site (South African newspaper notices)

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