'Brief Sketches of Life onboard a Steam Vessel'

Detail of diary, 16 November
Extract from Ally Heathcote's diary: Monday, November 16th 1874.
Source: Museum Victoria

Extract from transcript of Ally Heathcote's diary:
Monday, November 16th 1874

Welcome Tidings. Land at last. Though first I will just mention that all day yesterday, especially at service time, we could not stand on deck without holding to something, and last night just at bed time, the vessel went as still and steady, Ma said it awoke her coming steady all on a sudden and she lit the lamp and sat up, eating some cakes and raisins Maggie had had sent her. I suppose we had got in a calmer sea.

This morning a little after three o'clock, one of the passengers came down and called out land and lighthouse ahead, but he called out don't get up - What an idea, to tell us to lay in bed when Australian shores were in sight, you may imagine with what light hearts we quickly dressed and went up on deck. Ma and I were the only females on deck, it was so early.

[..] About ½ past 4 we saw the first Australian sunrise, first thing the sky was bathed in one mass of bright red and then changed to green and an endless variety of magnificent tints, presently the sun just appeared above the edge of the water but rapidly rose to its full compass, the sky is beautifully clear and pure, far different than in the manufacturing towns in Lancashire. It is Cape Otway we have sighted, all are up and bustling about by this time seven o'clock.