My PYCROFT family arrived on the WAITANGI at Lyttelton on Sunday, 13th October, 1878
after departing Plymouth, England on 17 July, 1878.
My Great-Grandfather, Edward Ernest was just 16 months old when he boarded the WAITANGI. His mother, Rebecca, was pregnant with her 8th child when she embarked with Edward and her 6 older children and husband, James. Together they shared family accomodation. They set out on the 5th voyage of a splendid N.Z Company Ship for a journey that would deliver many unique experiences.
One of those experiences would be giving birth to a 8th child while still 30 or so days from disemabarking. Additionally, giving birth to a new immigrant while a storm was brewing, which was followed by a rough night and at dawn, a heavy sea that flooded the ship would have been an un-nerving experience. Especially since the storm seas broke sky lights over the married quarters, with new born infants, toddlers and all. The ship was extensively flooded.
This is the picture told by David HAWKE in his diary. On page 11 he tells of being comfortable as they rounded Cape of Good Hope, running before a good breeze til Tuesday 10th September. David mentions the birth on that date, and on page 29, details the families that added to the passenger list. My cousin, Matilda Jane PYCROFT was that infant born immediately before that very wettening storm.
The turbulent seas on the 11th caused water to come through a broken skylight onto David where he was lying in bed but "not half so much as flooded the married quarters" where Rebecca and Matilda were. Boots, shoes and stockings and hats were "floating about in various directions".
On page 29 of David HAWKE's diary, he writes,
Births which we hade on board.
On August 4th. the wife of Daniel MacKEARNEY of a son.
August 12th. the wife of Mr Isaac HOARE of a son.
August 20th. the wife of Edwin BUTTON of a daughter.
Sept 10th. the wife of Mr James PYCROFT of a daughter.
Sept 26th. the wife of Mr William RUNDLE, Saloon passenger of Roche, Cornwall, of a daughter.
I am indebted to Mr Wilson HAWKE of Richmond, Nelson, grandson of David HAWKE, for making available copies of the pages of David's diary that pertain to the birth of my cousin. The pages 11 to 14 make enlightening reading while telling of life on board an immigrant ship, of food and comfort and a very trying experience.
|Image of Page 12 from the diary of David HAWKE, passenger.||Transcript.|
The quality of the copy is better than this image depicts.
This page 12 covers the date of 10th September and the birth of Matilda Jane PYCROFT.
The transcript endeavours to record the spelling, punctuation and grammar pretty much as David HAWKE wrote it. Some symbols are not accurate.
Breakfast at 8 o clock Dinner at 1 Tea at 5 ÷ We have as many hard biscuits as we like but they don't suit any one that have got bad teeth because they are so very hard. ÷ We had a good breese up till the ÷ 10 ÷ of september and we went a considerable distance and we hade another birth on board and at night it was very rough ÷ And on wednesday the • 11 • of sept it was a day very much remberd to us we hade a very heavy gale and about 6 O clock in the morning avery heavy sea struck our ship and completely filling the
... The young men hade there skylight washed away and the water came down
I acknowledge gratefully the provision of these papers in November 2000 by Wilson HAWKE of Richmond, Nelson, grandson of passenger, David HAWKE.
Readers who might have some interest in David's descendants and their families or of the ship Waitangi or are welcome to contact Wilson HAWKE, 5 Kew Place, Richmond Nelson, or via my email address below.
Note there are many articles pertianing to this ship and it passengers at the Canterbury Museum, Rolleston Ave, Christchurch, including the original of David's diary.
Source for this page
If you desire to cite or refer to this page as a source for your notes or genealogy program; Drag your mouse over box on the right to highlight it, Right-Click COPY, then paste it to where you want.
Media:- Electronic Website
Author:- Barry PYCROFT
Life aboard the Sailing ship WAITANGI as interpreted and edited from photocopies of pages 11 & 12 from the 1878 Voyage diary of David HAWKE covering a birth and severe storm.
Visited:- day month year.
Copyright © 2001 - B.E PYCROFT. This page updated 16-02-2001 . - Previous update 16-02-2001