Dairy OFVoyage to Tasmania 1927
By Leslie aged 15
Friday July 22nd 1927
Up early this morning felt very excited, spent the time bidding farewell the houseful of relatives & friends.
Went up to the station & found it crowded with people wishing to give us a good send off. I had a long talk with my school chums.
The train departed at 9am & the railway side right through the village was crowded with waving well wishers , had the last glimpse of gran & grandfather in the garden at Deri , aunt Susannah came to see us & her brother, returning to London came see our carriage. When Bargoed was reached Mrs Evans who travelled so far with us said good bye & Aunt Sarah, cousin Dolly came to see us.
The next stop was Pengam my old school village, my school chums came & shook hands with me. I now settled down & enjoyed the scenery but it was found that I had left my attaché case behind & was told it was being sent on, Newport was soon reached ,after a short stay we boarded the London Express.
The journey was delightful; the countryside looked beautiful, some parts of the railway embankment was yellow with Primroses. At Swindon we had a short halt & refreshments. The engine yards were visible from the train; there were hundreds of engines there .Had a glimpse of Windsor Castle & also Sutton’s Garden which were magnificent. Late in the afternoon we reached Paddington Station, we boarded a general coach & were soon in Gower Street where our hotel was situated.
We all freshened ourselves up & had tea, Cynthia & I afterwards going for a walk down the street, we saw the university which was not a tall building but very stately.
Went to Paddington Station a few times with dad to see if my case had arrived.
It was rather late when we got to bed, while I bed we had 2 visitors Lena Way & another young lady whose name I cannot remember.
Saturday July 23rd
Up early this morning as our train was due to early, we walked to St Pancras Station, which we found in the immense place. There hundreds of other people waiting for the same train, we met some Welsh people & got in their carriage, the train left at 8am. It was a very uninteresting journey to Tilbury. Where the Docks where.
What a hurry & bustle we found, hundreds of intended passengers jostling one and other, porters rushing everywhere with luggage, children crying ect.
But anyhow we boarded the tender safely & were soon steaming over to our floating home & my word she did look lovely, all so clean & white. We climbed up the gangway & were aboard. Now the fun began finding our way around, it was a long time before we found our cabins, eventually we did & there our luggage was deposited.
Cynthia & I afterwards watched the other passengers arriving, walked around the ship finding our way about,
But when we decided to return to the cabin, lo, we found that we were lost our way, all the cabins were alike,
Alleyways alike, we wandered around & around, it seemed hours before we again found our objective.
The Orama sailed about 11am but I was too occupied looking over the ship to watch the scenes as we sailed along.
Our first meal was great fun, the bell rang & there was stampede to the dining room, we were too late so had to wait until the next sitting.
In the evening we had a view of the White Cliffs of Dover.
Went to bed late, it was great fun climbing up to my bunk which was near the port hole & level with the sea, so the floor of the cabin was below the water level. The bunk I found very comfortable & I was soon in the land of nod, so came to the end of the most eventful day of my life & also the most pleasant.
Sunday July 24th
Awoke early this morning & found the ship was stopped, on looking through the porthole I found that we were anchored in a bay which I found later was Tor Bay. There were six battle ships also anchored. The voyage was continued at 9.30 am. I spent the day wandering about & playing quoits etc. There was no divine service today, everyone too busy I expect.
Monday July 25th
Still in the English Channel, lost sight of land foe a few hours ,later saw the French coast & entered the Bay of Biscay, the sea was choppier than in the channel but was
Not as rough as I expected it to be, sighted the coast of Portugal Saw shoals of dolphins playing follow the leader!
Tuesday July 26th
The Portuguese coast in sight all the time passed the Burling Isles, very tiny & rocky. Again saw shoals of dolphins. Passed Cape of St Vincent, the cliffs were hundreds of feet high, there was a lighthouse on the summit, I went down the cabin for my camera but when I got back the cliffs were too far away to snap.
Wednesday 27th July
Passed Cape Tarifa & after a few hours came insight of Gibraltar. The first of Britain’s overseas countries & the key to the Mediterranean.
The Orama anchored in the bay a good distance from shore. The rock is very majestic & the city nestling at its foot. Dad & I went ashore & had a most enjoyable time. Saw many interesting sights on this my first glimpse of the east coast a Moorish fortress, frowning over the city
Was the most conspicuous thing .The streets are very narrow & crowded with vendors of beautiful fruit & souvenirs .We walked right through the town & visited some bazaars & the cathedral a very plain building. Saw Spanish ladies wearing there mantillas & moors with their quaint turbans, slippers, knickerbockers & capes. The chief articles of sale were fruit, leather goods
Antiques & beautiful Spanish shawls. I bought a Spanish sombrero; it will come in handy as a sun hat.
When the ship was anchored it was surrounded with vendors of fruit in their small boats. We continued the voyage late in the evening & entered the blue Mediterranean. The rock is very steep on this side.
The weather is getting warm.
Thursday July 28th
Passed Cape De Gata & Cape San Antonio, also passed the Balearic Islands which where too far distance to see.
Friday July 29th
Reached Toulon early this morning, it is a very picturesque place with its red roofed houses. The mountains behind it were rather high, but rocky & barren. Anchored in the harbour. The French warships were also anchored there, as Toulon is a French Naval Base mother & dad went ashore, Cynthia & I stayed aboard, the fare to the city being too expensive to justify us all going, we were disappointed but managed to find something to pass the time away, mother told us how interesting it was & that it had some very narrow cobbled streets. French,
Belgium & Lithuanian passengers came aboard. Stayed I Toulon Harbour all night.
Saturday July 30th
Continued voyage very early this morning, still in sight of the French Coast but later lost sight of it.
We are now on the way to Naples. Passed the Island of Giralgia, a very rocky & mountainous Island, sailed through the straights of Bonifacio.
Sunday 31st July
Up early this morning & sighted Mount Vesurius rearing its steep & smoking summit to the clouds. Entered the world famous Bay of Naples about 9 am passing the beautiful Island of Capri. Naples looked wonderful on the shores of the beautiful bay, the sun glistering its buildings & enveloping Vesuruis in a hazy mist. We anchored right at the quay, there were many other ships anchored including a Soviet. On the way we noticed two men in uniforms they were policemen, one a fascistic. After breakfast we all went ashore & after changing some money into Italian currency we went sightseeing. Naples is a large city & has some fine buildings & wide roads. The back streets were vile: the houses tall, the streets narrow, washing hanging across from house to house, & open drains. We had an amusing experience, having spent our Italian money, tried to buy some fruit with some English money, but the tradesmen would not
Accept it, it was gesticulating & talking so loud a crowd soon gathered: no one could understand our language & we could not understand theirs, we were in a fix until a policeman came up, he understood English so explains everything to the tradesmen & we went on our way back to the ship with our fruit. Mails & stores were taken aboard & Italian & Maltese passengers embarked. We left late in the afternoon, about midnight passed the Volcanic Island of Strombols, the night was dark & it was a fine night to see the sparks arising from the crater.
Monday August 1st
Nothing seen today, we sailed through the straights of Messina about 1 am.
Tuesday August 2nd
We are now on our way to Port Said, passed Gards Island about 6.30 am, practice for sports at 10 am. Weather getting very warm.
Wednesday August 3rd
Uneventful day, weather very warm.
Thursday August 4th
About 8 am the Egyptian shore became visible, very flat at the entrance to the Suez Canal, Port Said at 9.15 am.
As soon as the ship anchored it was surrounded by small, their occupants selling fruit & curios etc.Did not go ashore it was too frightfully hot, watched other
Passengers go ashore going ashore. The Egyptian policemen & soldiers paraded the bank wearing their funny little hats called feyes & boys diving for coins which were thrown overboard to them.
Port Said seems to be a fair size city with lots of European buildings. The British Consulate however is built in Eastern style. Port Said was said goodbye at 5pm; we continued our voyage through the canal. The country on either side is very flat & sandy, saw some Egyptian sailing boats with their peculiarly shaped sails, passed several villages & saw people astride camels, also passed another ship proceeding to Port Said; it however soon became too dark to see anything so I went to bed.
Friday August 5th
Came out of the Canal at 5.30 am, stopped 20 mins at Suez, has some very nice buildings & handsome War Memorial which stands on a sandy peninsula. Passed Shadwan at 6am & entered the Red Sea, the barren coast of Arabia & Egypt on either side. The sky & sea are very blue & the sun scorching hot although the decks are shaded by canvas awnings they are almost too hot to sit on, I perspired terribly & only wear a thin shirt & trousers & no stockings .Late in the evening Mt Sinai was pointed out to me.
Children’s sports were held today I won the boys skipping championship, skipped 646, second boy 269.
We are now on the way to Colombo, I have been sleeping on deck all the week as the heat is unbearable in the cabin. One night we were caught in the tropical storm
Which came very suddenly & left almost as sudden, but
It did rain.
Saturday August 6th
Still in the Red Sea, lost sight of land, sea a bit choppy but the weather still very hot. Passed Jebel Tier at 11am & Perim at 5pm.
Sunday August 7th
Passed Aden at 6pm, too far away to see anything; entered the Arabian Sea, weather very hot, had divine service on deck at 10.30am conducted by the purser, a religious meeting at 7pm by some Hindu Salvation Army Officers.
Monday August 8th
Passed Cape Guardafui which is the extreme eastern point of Africa at 4pm. About 2pm the weather began to get stormy, very strong wind which has cooled the atmosphere. The decks are not so crowded now! Waves 15 & 20 ft high are breaking over the ship & she is rolling like a cork, began to feel a bit queer in the evening. Passed Soctra a small British Island off the coast of Africa during the night.
Tuesday August 9th
Storm still raging, am feeling sick & poor Cynthia is in a terrible way, mother is also sick but dad is
Quiet alright, have hardly eaten any food today, the
Dining salon seems very deserted; & the tables have raised edges to prevent the crockery rolling off.
A few waves splashed over the top deck today. The decks are in a terrible mess & almost deserted, a few people there are keeping on the move.
Wednesday August 10th
Still stormy, nearly everyone aboard is sick. We are now in the Indian Ocean & will reach Colombo on the 13th.I am feeling better today.
Thursday August 11th
Still stormy, I have almost recovered now. It is getting monotonous now, will be glad when we see land again. Had a very interesting evening, a cinema show on the games deck at 8.45pm, Cynthia & I sat with our Hindu friend Deva Dasen.
Friday August 12th
Uneventful day saw some flying fish. The storm has ended & things are getting normal again.
Saturday August 13th
Sailed into Colombo harbour about 6 am & anchored a little distance from shore. I looked through the port hole & saw the palm on the shore swaying in the morning breeze. Went ashore at 9.30 am, a heavy shower came just as we reached shore. We engaged a Hindu guide ( a Christian and charming man) Colombo was a beautiful city with wide streets, fine shops, large public buildings & tramcars, we saw women sweeping the roads, visited the native quarter & found it very dirty & unfit to live in. Saw many girls not more than 12 years of age who were mothers.
Afterwards we visited a Hindu temple, a beautiful sculptured building, we were no allowed inside, so viewed the interior from the steps, and the priest came out & spoke to us & gave me a garland of flowers from off the neck of the idol. The interior was heavily draped & idols stood everywhere, the atmosphere reeked with incense at the extreme end behind a thin curtain, the principal god could be seen, a huge brass image something like pictures I have seen of Buddha. From the Temple we went to
Mohammed Mosque & watched the worshippers washing their feet in a holy well before entering
The building. We next went to a Ceylonese worshipping place & saw people praying, a laying gifts of flowers at the feet of the gods. After we had finished sightseeing we met the members of the amusement committee (dad being one) & visited the shops choosing prinyes for the sports & fancy dress carnival. We afterwards went by car to the Globe Hotel where we had lunch, being waited on by barefooted Ceylonese men. After lunch we returned to the wharf in rickshaws; small vehicles drawn by almost naked men. I did not see one horse, all the wagons being drawn by small Oxen.
I enjoyed myself here immensely & was sorry to leave. A lot of natives were aboard all day loading
Merchandise, they were all chewing betal nut & their lips & teeth were stained red. Left Colombo at 10 pm & are now on the way to Freemantle. Our friends the Hindu Salvationists disembarked here, I will miss them especially Deva Dasen.
Sunday August 14th
Nothing seen today, we had a divine service at 10 am & a religious meeting at 7pm.
Monday August 15th
Crossed the Equator at 8am, saw flying fish & sea pigs this morning.
Tuesday August 16th
Weather getting cooler as we are nearing Australia.
Had a cinema show this evening.
Wednesday August 17th
A very important day; a children’s fancy dress parade took place at 2.30 & it was a great success. A boy dressed as Lord Nelson had first prize, another boy as John Bull had 2nd prize, and I received a consolation prize. At 4pm we had a special tea given by the captain & afterwards we were given a gift, the sports & fancy dress prizes were presented, I was given a fountain pen for my fancy dress & an ebony elephant for the skipping champion. In the evening the adults had a fancy dress ball, the decks were lit by hundreds of Chinese lanterns, it looked very pretty & the evening was perfect, stayed up late watching the
Thursday August 18th
Weather is nice & cool, Passed keeling & Cocos Islands at 5are.
Sea a bit choppy today. A whist drive took place at 8pm & the first class passengers had a fancy dress ball. I watched them from the boat deck.
Saturday August 20th
Nothing unusual took place or was seen today
Sunday August 21st
Quiet day, Divine service at 10.30 & Evangelic service at 7pm.
Monday August 22nd
Quiet day, about 3pm we saw three whales spouting a little distance from the ship, one of them rolled right over & oh what a splash it made, nearly all the passengers aboard rushed to the side to get a good view.
Tuesday August 23rd
Arrived at Freemantle at 6am, saw two sharks swimming about near the ship. When the ship docked, the dockside was thronged with people waiting to welcome their friends & relatives who were aboard. After lunch we went ashore & wandered through the town & suburbs, it was very nice to be in an English speaking town again. Fremantle is a very new looking town, but what struck me most was the absent of high buildings; the majority of them were one or two stories; I was amused to see buildings roofed with corrugated iron & not slate. Although it is autumn, the sun is very hot, hotter than some of the England’s summer days. When the ship was ready to continue her voyage, the dockside was again thronged with people wishing us goodbye, amongst them being the passengers who had just disembarked. It was a sight to see the streamers waving in the breeze as the ship slowly moved away.
We sailed at 7.30pm.
Wednesday August 24th
In sight of Australian coast at Cape Leewin today, the sea is rather rough & a very cold wind is
Blowing so I’m writing this on my bunk with a few blankets over me.
Thursday August 25th
Sea very rough & a cold wind are still blowing. Lost sight of land ; we are now crossing the Great Australian Bight on the way to Adelaide, an Albatross is following us, it is a fine bird.
Friday August 26th
Sea still rough. We are still in the Blight.
Saturday August 27th
Off Cape Borda 7am arrived at Adelaide about 9am, it is a well planned city possessing beautiful parks, handsome shops & fine buildings. St Peter’s cathedral is very nice with lovely surrounding gardens. We enjoyed ourselves here immensely spending most of our time on the beach & in the amusement park at Port Adelaide. Dad & I went for a walk & saw a Pelican & gathered coral & beautiful shells on the beach. We left Adelaide at 5pm & sailed back through Backstairs passage at 10pm.
Sunday August 31st
Uneventful day. We are now on the way to Melbourne, our last port of call on the Orama. Off Cape Otway 10 am.
Monday August 29th
Landed at Port Melbourne about 7am, many passengers disembarked here. Spent most of the day looking around the shops & on the beach. The P & O liner Maloja was berthed on the other side of the wharf.
Sunday August 30th
Soon after lunch we bid farewell to our friends & left our floating home. The customs examined our luggage. We caught a train & went to Flinders Street station. From the station we went down to the river wharves & deposited our luggage on the S.S Loongana.
Melbourne made us feel at home it is such an English looking city. Went to our hotel in Bourke Street “The Melbourne Coffee Palace”, had a clean up 7 some refreshments, afterwards went to a theatre. We retired about 7pm as we were frightfully tired.
Wednesday August 31st
Soon after breakfast we went sightseeing, Melbourne we found to be a very fine city, having large shops & fine public buildings & spacious parks. Cynthia & I walked up to Parliament House at the top of Bourke St, also saw the Burke & Wills monument. We met mother & dad & visited the shops, St Paul’s Cathedral & the Alexander Gardens which has beautiful flower beds & also two handsome statues, one of Queen Victoria & one of King Edward. After lunch we went down to the wharf & boarded the “Lagoona” which sailed to Launceston, Tasmania at 2pm.
Thursday September 1st
We found the “Lagoona” very cramped after the spaciousness of the “Orama” spent the time very quietly & the crossing was very calm. In the early hours of the morning we had our first glimpse of our adopted country, sailed up the Tamar River, the scenery on either side being very pretty. We reached Launceston about 8.15 am, spent some time interviewing various officials re our luggage etc, got aboard the trains about 9.10 am.
The Tasmanian engine with cow-catcher & large lights on the front I thought very strange after the
British ones. The train departed almost immediately so we had no opportunity of seeing the city. The journey was very tedious but tremendously interesting being right through the Tasmanian bush. WE saw many strange trees (mostly gums) flowers & birds, glorious scenery surrounded us all along the journey; tree clad hills, towering cliffs, snow clad mountains, beautiful homesteads and orchards. We stopped at Parattah about half way to Hobart for refreshments. Our first view of the river Derwent was at Bridgewater where we crossed it, I thought it was a Lake it looked such a large expanse of water. At a suburb of Hobart called Moonah some of our friends welcomed us & rode with us to the city where the rest of our friends were. Hobart was reached about 4pm; it is situated on the Derwent River at the foot of Mount Wellington which was snow-clad. We took a tram to our friend’s home where we were made very welcome, the house being decorated with flowers & a lovely tea prepared. The evening was spent getting introduced to various people, about 11pm we went to a kind friend’s home where we sleeping accommodation were prepared for us.
Friday 2nd September
Early this morning we drove out to our new home at Kingston, it was a very pretty drive: the road was very twisty & followed the River Derwent. The farm is very pretty, situated on a hill in the bush in full view of Mt Wellington & the river. I wandered around among strange trees & flowers; the wattle trees were in full bloom & strange birds were flying about, a very common one being a kind of parrot.
So ended our travels.