Thursday, 31 May 2007

Shipping news

One of the best sources of information on migrant ships arriving in Queensland is the Brisbane Courier. This newspaper carried reports of arrivals from the moment of their sighting at Cape Moreton to the unloading of passengers and a tally of cargo. Any business arising from the voyage such as passenger complaints that were officially investigated were also reported.

A lot of this information has been collated by the Queensland Family History Society and bound in books organised by year of arrival which makes it very easy for a researcher.

As a media historian it confirms for me the importance of contemporary reports. In general, in newspaper reports you don’t get in-depth analysis which requires the passage of time and assessment of importance. The aspect of raw information aside, it is fascinating to see what was considered important. The content, the way of telling the story and the language chosen by the writer, are all vital to building up a picture of the time.

What I want to do now is build up a picture in my mind of ship voyages: what was encountered, the weather, typical dangers and experiences.

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