Tuesday, 22 May 2007

747s, blue skies and sailing ships

The standard passenger load of a Boeing 747 is 374 people. The standard passenger load of a migrant ship sailing from Hamburg to Australia in the 1800s was 350 plus about 40 crew members. Think of it. An entire airliner’s worth of people unloading in Moreton Bay, ready to settle into a new country. At that time, proportionate to the population, this would have been a significant increase. Most of the passengers were able to start working straight away. You can see why the colony of Queensland was so eager to recruit migrants and willing to invest in having agents in Germany.

I’ve been reading about different ships and trying to decide how the Jaeckels will travel. The options are:
1. An actual ship on an actual journey.
2. An actual ship on a fictional journey.
3. A fictional ship on a fictional journey.

Why the dilemma? Well, as far as I can see there was a ship in 1866 (the Beausite), then the Reichstag arrived in 1870/1871 and again in 1872. 1872 -1877 there weren’t any ships making the trip to Queensland. Most went to Adelaide or Sydney in this period. If I want to use an actual ship, I would probably need to put the Jaeckels on the Beausite. However, she left Hamburg in May 1866. Had the Prussians taken over Marburg by that time or did it happen later in 1866? Clearly I have decisions to make.

In reading about the Beausite, I noticed that she left Hamburg on May 18, 1866 and arrived in Moreton Bay on August 20 of that year. I know that conditions in Germany are hot and dry this year but I imagine that May in Germany did not have the same clarity and intensity of light as Queensland. I’ve included a photo taken this morning (May 22) of the high, blue skies above the Rosewood Scrub.

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