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They Came By Sea - Queensland Maritime Museum

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by Alison Muirhead (subscribe)
Doting grandmother and grey nomad who should join Volunteers Anonymous and is greatly in favour of a ten day week. So much to do, so little time.
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Over the seas to Queensland, the land of dreams?

My husband has an illustrious set of ancestors. One of them, William Standley, was a marine on the flagship "Sirius" which brought Captain Arthur Phillip to New South Wales, so he can rightly call himself a First Fleeter.

Flagship HMS Sirius,/captain Arthur Phillip,first fleet,1788
HMS Sirius

Then there was Mary Reibey, convicted horse thief and one of the founders of the Bank of New South Wales. His great-great grandfather was Sir Gilbert Eliott, the Queensland Parliament's first speaker. All came to Australia by sea, there being no other option.

Mary Reibey,bank of new south wales,convict, horse thief
Mary Reibey

Sir Gilbert Eliott,first speaker of the Queensland Parliament,Brisbane
Sir Gilbert Eliott

They may not be as illustrious, but my family too set off from England to the promised land by ship. I am equally proud of them. For a family of five as unassisted passengers, the cost of their ticket was one hundred and fifty pounds, no mean sum in 1922. No ten pound Poms were they! Most of their belongings were sold to fund their trip including, according to Mum's memoirs, "a black ebony china cabinet….and a lovely velvet lounge suite".

Brisbane Pickard family,Dorothy Pickard,Leonard Pickard,Annie Pickard,Alice Pickard,Irene Pickard
The Pickard Family upon Arrival

Nana did not want to leave England, her relatives and her beautiful belongings. To add insult to injury, she "was seasick for the entire trip (of six weeks) and was just skin and bone as she couldn't keep any food down". That was not the end of her travails as you will learn if you view the current immigration display at the Maritime Museum at Southbank. And the voracious mosquitoes were the least of her woes.

Pickard family memorabilia 1922,passport,ticket for Largs Bay steamer,Queensland maritime Museum
Pickard family memorabilia

From the end of the nineteenth century, Queensland was encouraging migrants from all over the world. There was a huge influx post-war. Ships were built specifically for immigrants, but tourists also took advantage of them.

Bay Liners,migration to Queensland
The Bay Liners

The new exhibition showing at the Queensland Maritime Museum until February 2020, looks at the waves of immigrants who settled our great State, from the first free British settlers, to those fleeing war-torn Europe. You will learn about the ships, the personal journeys, and see some artefacts and images from the Museum and personal collections.

Commonwealth Steamship Largs Bay,Queensland Maritime Museum Brisbane Southbank
Bringing the Pickards to Queensland

Many of you will be familiar with the luggage restrictions on aeroplanes, but did you know that those on the early sailing ships to Queensland had similar restrictions? No need to figure out what you should pack. You were told! As for the menu…how about a steady diet of tapioca pudding and the like?

If this display gets your family history juices flowing, the Queensland State Archives have a search program on TV in the gallery with the photo of the Largs Bay. Who knows what you will discover about your family's past. To help in your research, the QMM has a special prize for the lucky person drawn from those who fill in the QMM visitors feedback form. The winner will be presented with an Ancestry DNA test Kit (value AUD$129) and an Ancestry 12-month UK Heritage Plus membership (value AUD$249.99), allowing the winner to trace their family's story in all of the records from Australia, New Zealand, Ireland and the UK.

This magnificent thought-provoking display is a joint presentation by the Maritime Museum Volunteer Display Group with the assistance of the Queensland Museum. Don't miss it! Look for the Queensland Maritime Museum beneath the Goodwill Bridge in the Southbank Parklands.

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Why? To understand immigration by sea to Queensland in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries
When: Monday to Sunday 9.30am to 4.30pm
Phone: 07 3844 5361
Where: Queensland Maritime Museum, Cnr Stanley and Sidon Sts, South Brisbane
Cost: $7 to $16 and $38 for a family of five
Your Comment
This is so important. Australia is such a multi-cultural country but I'm not sure too many people realise this is not a recent thing. My husband and I have visited the Immigration Museum in Melbourne and the Bonegilla Migrant Camp museum in north east Victoria and both were captivating.
by Gayle Beveridge (score: 3|7956) 314 days ago
I'm currently researching my family history so this was very inspiring. thank you Alison
by Gillian Ching (score: 3|1144) 314 days ago
Your image of Mary Reibey is not Mary Reibey, but her daughter Eliza
by gunth (score: 0|2) 293 days ago
Qld. was attracting migrants in the mid to late 1800's when my ancestors arrived as well as the early 1900's when my husbands ancestors arrived.
All from England, some reluctant some looking for a better life, some to spread the Gospel. All happy with what they found.
by nande (score: 1|12) 313 days ago
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