The Orphan’s Life on Board Ship

By Averil Staunton

The Medical Officer on board would have been busy caring for the girls. They would have experienced stress, trauma and emotional turmoil from years of poor diet and loss of family members. Some, whose menstrual cycle had been suppressed due to their dire circumstances, started menstruating for the first time.

As the girls and sailors were in such close proximity on board ship, Matron and her team would have needed eyes at the back of their heads to keep them apart. If the girls had all behaved themselves during the day, in the evening when the lanterns were lit around the deck, they would have enjoyed a pleasant interlude before bedtime. One might hear the sound of laughter, singing, dancing, playing games and gossiping among themselves as they remembered the families and friends they would have left at home in  the Workhouse

After sailing for 100 days from Plymouth on October the 6th it dropped anchor at Sydney on Saturday, January 12th, 1850, without calling at any other port.


Course: Remembering our Heritage – Ballinrobe Workhouse

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