On 20 October 1852, the barque Duke of Richmond sailed from Birkenhead, England bound for Portland Bay, Victoria, Australia. Among the 236 passengers on board were two couples, each from different parts of England and one with small children. They were my great, great, great grandparents James and Susan Harman and William and Margaret Diwell. William and Margaret, from Kent, and two daughters under five. Another daughter had passed away before the journey. James and Susan were from Cambridgeshire and been married only two months.
One of the passengers, Ann Maria Taylor wrote in a letter home,
The weather was then so hot that people could not sleep on their berths. They were lying on the open deck…the captain who has been such for thirteen years, said he never experienced such weather. Indeed I never expected to see land again. Two nights were awful…lamps smashed…barrels of water capsized. (State Library of Victoria, Letter, Taylor, Ann Maria, 7 March 1853, MS 13313, http://search.slv.vic.gov.au )
After around 140 days, Captain Thomas Barclay sailed the Duke of Richmond into Portland Bay on 4 March 1853.
The Portland Herald reported on 11 March 1853, that Captain Barclay and Dr Webbers, the Surgeon Superintendent, had attempted to make sure all immigrants were comfortable and happy in an almost competitive way. However, the voyage was also reported as arduous with much illness and over twenty deaths. Measles claimed many of those that died.
The Diwell family disembarked and stayed in Portland for another five years before moving to the Casterton area. William was a bricklayer and left the ship on his own account. James Harman was engaged by Mr Robertson at Boodcarra near Port Fairy for six months with wages of £50.
It is doubtful the two families came together again until 1945 when my grandparents, William Gamble and Linda Hadden were married in Hamilton.
I have done some extra research on the other passengers aboard the Duke of Richmond. A number moved to the Byaduk area. Some of the family names include Clarke, Everett, Gibbons, Looker, McIntyre, Merry, Patman and Spong. There were several families from Cambridgeshire. If anyone had family on the Duke of Richmond, it would be great to hear from you.