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"Sir Charles Forbes" (Ship) Colonists to South Australia in 1839

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The Sir Charles Forbes from Liverpool arrived in South Australia on the 7th June 1939, Captain Chas Laing with 183 passengers.

This is part of the Bound for South Australia - Ships Lists Portal Project

Ships List

This is a great time to add the profile to an Occupation Project and also to the country they settled FROM, Irish ; German and Prussian ; English ; Cornish ; Scottish ; Lancastrian

If you have information on passengers or need help locating them on the tree, start a discussion here..

Some of the passengers:


OLD TIME MEMORIES - A BAND OF PIONEERS. by Simpson Newland author of "Paving the way"

1895 'The miscellang.', Adelaide Observer (SA : 1843 - 1904), 30 March, p. 33. , viewed 31 Aug 2018,

During the week of the year 1838, the good ship Sir Charles Forbes, of 400 tons burden, Captain Laing, sailed from the port of Liverpool bound for South Australia. Passengers and crew she carried upwards of 200 souls. all whose adventurous names deserve to be recorded, but the complete list is not at my command, nor indeed is it with the whole ship's company that I propose treating, but simply that portion that settled at Encounter Bay. Doubtless the others are duly set forth in the earliest archives of the colony. Among the cabin passengers were some names once well known: Dr. Miles (ship's doctor), the Rev. Ralph Drummond, Messrs. Gilpin, Creavy and Clark.

The 'Intermediate' was largely occupied by the leading members of the party of whom the Rev. Ridgeway William Newlands was the chief. The names run as follow: R W Newland, his wife, sons Watts, Ridgeway, William, Simpson and daughters Martha, Sophia, Catherine, and Sarah. Mrs. Keeling (a widow lady of advanced age - mother of Mrs. Newland) and her two unmarried daughters - Miss Keeling and Miss Catherine Keeling.

Dr. Matthew Moorehouse, his sister Miss Moorhouse, and his future brother-in-law Henry Kilnor. The doctor was engaged to Miss Kilnor before leaving England. She followed some two years later and married him in Adelaide.

The energetic and enterprising pastor also brought out in the steerage:

  • Michael Wardle (blacksmith and wheelwright), his wife Mary, son Ralph and daughter Olive;
  • Mathew Jagger (shepherd), wife Mary and two sons William and Robert.
  • Ambrose Taylor (laborer), wife Sarah and son Samuel; John Pollard and wife;
  • Abraham Salt and Thomas Murray (ploughman) - single men.

Doctor Montgomery and Messrs. Star, Pringle, Turner and Worthington were also passengers, though not members of the Newland party.

The voyage must have occupied between five and six months - quite sufficient to exhaust the patience and every temper on board, however perfect., but it certainly never exhausted the pious pastor's ever-welling spring of sermons. The termination of those weary months of discomfort and monotony might well have excited the gratitude of the passengers.

Simpson Newland's father Reverend R.W. Newland presented his Letters of Introduction from Lord Glenelg (at that time he was Secretary of State for the Colony) to the Governor Gawler. It was decided that Rev. Newland should establish his parish at Encounter Bay, and arrangements were made to trans hip the thirty odd souls to the Lord Hobart, a small vessel then lying in Port Adelaide, and she was chartered to take them to their new home. Not them alone, but the enormous amount of stores and luggage brought from England to supply the wants of the young settlement. Varied and miscellaneous they indeed were, and far too numerous to attempt to particularize.

It must have been a severe trial after so long in the confined dimensions of the Sir Charles Forbes, to be transferred to the still more limited and comfortless space of the little trader. All bundled on board and stowed away somehow, the Lord Hobart (we at least carry high-sounding titles with us) sailed away for Encounter Bay, where she duly arrived about June 20th, and cast anchor under Granite Island.

In the meantime, a cow brought from the old world, four bullocks, some sheep and goats obtained at Adelaide, were taken overland to the new settlement by three fellows guided by two blackfellows. These adventurous trampers reached the beach near the Bluff three days before the vessel, in a considerably starved condition having only fish to eat, cooked by the natives.

The landing was the first thing Simpson Newland remembered. The blacks lined the beach, to the great apprehension of the women and children. Days were occupied in discharging the cargo. In the meantime a site had been chosen on a rise, for an encampment later known as Keeling's section. Here a circular clearing was made in the trees, and tents were pitched, and then the bough chapel.

Arrangements were made for the women and children to be conveyed from the shore (where Port Victor now strands), in a bullock dray to the encampment. Progress was slow due to the heavy load and the difficult track. The teamster (driver) apparently got lost, and whilst desperately trying to find his way as darkness set in, a wheel came off. The non-appearance of the load with its load of precious cargo caused search parties to go out with firesticks and much shouting. At length the searchers came to near that there could be no doubt, and a chorus of feminine voices rang out and the lost were found. It is not recorded bow-the future home was reached, but safely we know, and I have no doubt in time for the pious chief to improve the occasion before retiring to rest. Such was the first night on Australia's shores for many of the contingent who formed the pioneer settlement at Encounter Bay in the year of grace 1839.

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