North Street, Newry, County Down

North Street, Newry, County Down
North Street, Newry, County Down

Monday, 18 June 2018

Sarah Nesbitt Biddulph [1814-1888], Vicarstown, Queen’s County

According to Burkes Landed Gentry of Ireland, 1912, Sarah Nesbitt Biddulph was born on the 11th of  December 1814, the eighth daughter and eleventh child of Francis Harrison Biddulph [1774-1827] of Vicarstown, Queen’s County, Registrar of the Court of Exchequer, Dublin, and his wife Mary Marsh. It was recorded in Burkes that she went to Australia, information presumably supplied by a family member.
This birth date may, however, be incorrect.  Records in Australia suggest that Sarah’s birth date was later, possibly as late as 1824, or even 1830, though inaccuracies and variations in other records make it impossible to be sure.
What is certain is that Sarah emigrated to Australia in 1854 on the STAR OF THE EAST, a Clipper Ship sailing from Liverpool to Melbourne, as an unassisted passenger.  Her name on the passenger list was spelt Beddalph, her age was given as 24, and her estimated birth date was 1830. It seems likely from checking other names on the passenger list that she travelled with a group of friends, among them James Waller, Ralph Gore and Rachel Purefoy.
Until the early 1860s most emigrants left Liverpool on a sailing ship, and the voyage to
Australia would take about 3-4 months…Emigrating in a sailing ship could be unpleasant, particularly during a storm; it was only better in degree in the early days of steamships! [1]
However an article in the Illustrated Sydney News of 22 October 1853 describes the STAR OF THE EAST. ‘As a specimen of modern naval architecture, she is one of the finest vessels that has ever arrived in this port.’
On the other hand, a passenger travelling the same route in the same year, 1853, wrote:
I shall never want you to step your foot on board an emigrant ship, unless in the 1st cabin, for all the places of iniquity my eyes ever beheld, an emigrant ship is the worst, men and women packed indiscriminately together, married couples and young girls, and I am sure  some of the girls will have cause  to remember the STAR OF THE EAST. Then the drinking and gambling, night and day, till your heart would fairly sicken at the sight.[2]
Sarah married William Day, a miner, from New York, on the 10th of February, 1856, in Yackandandah, Victoria.  Gold had been discovered in Yackandandah four years earlier, in 1852, resulting in a gold rush which attracted many prospectors eager to make their fortunes.  For a time Yackandandah became a busy place. Although the gold rush ended a long time ago, it is still possible to obtain a prospector’s license and to pan for gold in Yackandandah.
They had two children, William b. 1857 and Sarah b. 1858. Their daughter, Sarah Day, married Francis Davidson in Sydney in 1880. A son, Francis Biddulph Davidson, was born in 1881.
Sarah Nesbitt Biddulph died in Raglan, New South Wales, in 1888.


No comments:

Post a Comment