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Diary of Michael Cook's Voyage to Lyttelton, New Zealand on the "Carisbrooke Castle" in 1874

Diary of Michael Cook's
voyage to Lyttelton, New Zealand
on the
'Carisbrooke Castle' in 1874

Voyage account and Surgeon's Report [opens in another window]

Michael Cook, at age 37, from Laceby, a farm foreman for several years on Francis Sowerby's farm at Aylesby and his wife Ellen and five children sailed for Canterbury, New Zealand on 29 May 1874 as steerage passengers.  "At a Laceby meeting brief speeches were given by three heads of families who were to emigrate with the next week or two. One of these was Michael COOK, 37 years of age." Ref: "The Farthest Promised Land". Two of their toddler girls, Emma and Sarah, died on the voyage due to measles. They left northern Lincolnshire, England because of the Agricultural Reforms that were going on.  Aylesby is still a small village and a parish just north of Laceby. Population of Laceby in 1871 was 1,025.  The family settled for a while in Waihi Bush (now known as Woodbury), near Geraldine then Cricklewood, five miles south of Fairlie. He seemed to have fared reasonably well; he owned a large amount of land.

Michael COOK b: 1837 - Great Limber, Aylesby, Lincolnshire, England
Christened: 22 Jan 1837 - Great Limber, Aylesby, Lincolnshire, England
Died: 5 Jun 1916 - Cricklewood, New Zealand
Buried: 7 Jun 1916 - Fairlie Cemetery. Age: 79
Spouse: Ellen HOODLESS b: 1844 - Middle Rasen, Lincolnshire, England
Marriage: 1860 Lincolnshire
Died: 2 Jul 1927 - Cricklewood, New Zealand. Age: 83
1. John COOK b: 1863 - Great Limber, Aylesby, Lincolnshire, England
Died: 18 Sep 1926 - Timaru Hospital. Age 26.  Buried: 21 Sep 1926 - Timaru Cemetery
Spouse: Elizabeth DAVEY (1846-1917)  Marr. Date: 16 Nov 1887 - Geraldine Registrar's Office
2. Edwin COOK b: 16 Feb 1867 - Great Limber, Aylesby, Lincolnshire, England
Died: 19 Jun 1928 - Christchurch, New Zealand   Buried: 21 Jun 1928 - Sydenham Cemetery
Spouse: Sarah Eleanor Warne (1875- ) Marr. Date: 13 Jul 1891 - Ashburton
3. Alfred COOK b: 1870 - Aylesby, Lincolnshire, England
Died: 25 April 1892 - Woodbury. Age 22.  Buried: - Woodbury Cemetery
4. Emma COOK b: 1872. Died: 31 July 1874 - On board ship "Carisbrooke Castle" Cause of Death: Measles. Buried: - At Sea. Age 2 years.
5. Sarah COOK b. 1874. Died: 19 July 1874 - On board ship "Carisbrooke Castle Cause of Death: Measles  Buried: - At Sea. Age 10months.
6. William COOK born: 1874 - Waihi Bush, New Zealand
7. Clara Ellen COOK b. 1876 - Waihi Bush, New Zealand
Died: 7 Feb 1948 - Albury, South Canterbury  Buried: - Albury Cemetery. Age: 70
Spouse: Robert PRICE (1865-1935) Marr. Date: 1915
8. Lucy Jane COOK born: 1883 - Waihi Bush, New Zealand
Buried: 1959 - Ellesmere Public Cemetery.  Age: 76
Spouse: George Leonard Barnaby RAPLEY (1884-1969)  Marr. Date: 1912

Michelle found reference to the diary in the book by Rollo Arnold The Farthest Promised Land page 154  [index]  "He kept a diary of the voyage for his old friends at Pyewipe Farm, Aylesby, and this found its way to the union newspaper, which published it in two parts in January 1875." He also wrote letters that were published in the newspaper. We do not have any idea where the original diary is located. The spelling is as found. The diary transcription below is courtesy of Michelle Cook. Michelle's husband's Great Grandfather was Michael Cook. Posted 2 October 2005.

The Labourer, January 16th, 1875 

Left Laceby Branch of Labour League, sailed May, 1874,by ship “Carisbrooke Castle,” transmitted to John Grant, Aylesby.
Waihi Bush, September 23rd, 1874
[this is the date diary was sent to John Grant was a friend of Michael's still living in Aylesby, Lincolnshire.]

This is a diary of our voyage to New Zealand. 

May 27th. Went on board, at 5 o’clock at night. Much throng, Slept well 
28th. Fine. Going out at half-past 9 in morning as far as Gravesend. 
29th. Ship inspected, one family has the measles, sent ashore, the bed thrown overboard. 
30th. Started from Gravesend at 10 o’clock passed Dover at 9 o’clock at night. All well. 
31st. Nearly calm; wind ahead. A few sick, we are all well. 
1st June. A good strong wind but rather ahead. Nearly all sick, myself a little. 
2nd. All but Ellen & Alfred. 
3rd. Ship rocks a great deal, wind ahead. 
4th. Not much wind, but ahead, that we cannot go. Nearly all well again. 
5th. Very still. We saw many porpoise pigs and some wrecks come floating by, tried to catch it, but could not get it. 
6th. Strong wind today. We are in the Bay of Biscay, rather rough, going on well, about 12 miles an hour, all well. 
7th. Strong wind. We are now in the Atlantic Ocean, rather rough, but we are going fast. Saw a ship, passed her. The doctor read the prayers at 11 this morning, but it was only 10 by my time. We have gained an hour sine we left England. 
8th. Fine day, going on nicely, concert at night, no delight for me. 
9th. Fine day, sea calm, now in the sea of Madeira, wind behind, only low, rather warmer here. 
10th. Fine, going on nicely, we had our boxes up today, it has been throng, you must suppose when we have 550 souls on board. 
11th. Ship in sight this morning, passed her at eleven o’clock, she was going to Aden, sea calm, getting very hot. 
12th. Very still, not going very fast, sea like a pond. 
13th. Not much wind, very hot at noon, days getting shorter, sun sets at half-past seven. 
14th. Fine day, sea like glass, doctor read prayers this morning, we had a good prayer meeting at night, I spoke a few words from John, 6th chapter, 20th verse. The Lord was with us; we have got the measles on board. 
15th. Little more wind. Edwin got the measles. (Son) 
16th. Fine day, splendid to look on the water. Child died today at 10 o’clock, buried at four, never been well. (Emma Curdy, age 2 years, pneumonia) 
17th. Fine day. Saw some flying fish, just entering the tropics, getting very hot. 
18th. Fine day, ten miles an hour, days are short, so that it is not so hot as when they are long. 
19th. Fine day, many flying fishes to see, prayer meeting tonight. 
20th. Very hot, nearly calm, that we cannot go very fast, we caught 2 sharks tonight, 9 o’clock, fine and moonlight. 
21st. Nearly calm today, prayer meeting tonight, I spoke a few words from Matt. 14 and 23 verse, it is so hot that we want no clothes on much. 
22nd. Fine day, very hot, child died today, buried at night. (Charles Dewars, 11 mths, measles)
24th. Hot today, a shower of rain, the first since we left England, for two hours it came faster than ever you saw in England. 
25th. Fine day, head wind we had to tack about. 
26th. Head wind, scores of sharks in sight, caught two. Edwin ill 
27th. Fine day, child died, buried at night, Storm arose. Edwin worse. ( Thomas ?, 9 mths, measles) 
28th. Sea rough, many sick, waves wash over deck, wind ahead. 
29th. Strong wind, heavy sea, Edwin bad, no hopes.  
30th. Child died today. We crossed the line tonight at 10 o’clock, it is a little cooler. 
1st July. Fine day. Strong wind, going quickly. Child buried this morning. (James ?, 15 mths, measles) 
2nd. Fine day. Child died today. Edwin worse. (Patrick ?, 5 years, ?) 
3rd. Fine day, strong wind, going quickly. Alfred and Emma has the measles, sun sets at 6 o’clock. 
4th. Fine day, good side wind; going 12 miles an hour, heavy sea. Prayer meeting at night.  
5th. Strong wind. Some sick, meeting at night. 
6th. Fine day, good wind, 280 miles in 24 hours, not so hot. 
7th. Showering all day, baby died today, we went between two rocks, one is called Trinidad, the other Martin’s Bay, it was a fine sight. ( Ann Curtain, 15 mths, measles) 
8th. Fine day, nearly calm. We had our boxes up today, very throng, our family a little better. 

 Continued from last week 
The Labourer, January 23rd, 1875 

9th July. Fine day, sea like glass. 
10th. Fine day, too still, we cannot go. 
11th. Fine day, more wind, eight miles an hour. 
12th. Fine day. Saw some sea birds, called Cape Pigeons, pretty birds; 1,500 miles from the Cape yet. 
13th. Wet, rough day, rain all day, so we have had to stay in the house. 10 miles an hour. 
14th. Heavy showers, and heavy sea, going 15 miles an hour. 
15th. Fine day, good wind, 14 miles an hour, child died. Rather rough, shook some tea things off the tables. ( Catherine ?, 5 mths, Bron)
16th. Rough day. We are where it is very cold, dark at 4 o’clock at night. 
17th. Fine day. Our child worse. (Daughter Sarah). Edwin better. 
18th. Fine day, not much wind, very cold. 
19th. Fine day. Two children died today, one is our baby (daughter Sarah), the other is better. 
20th. Fine day. Emma (daughter) not so well, got the measles. 
21st. Wet day, strong wind, 12 miles an hour; Emma worse.  
22nd. Fine day. Going 13 miles an hour. 
23rd. Fine day, not much wind. Child died today. 
24th. Fine day, sea calm. Child died, one born. 
25th. Fine day, good wind. Child died today. 
26th. Fine day, cold, now in the Pacific Ocean. 
27th. Wet day, cold, 11 miles an hour. 
28th. Wet, cold, frost and snow all night. 
29th. Rough, snow and very cold. 
30th. Fine, but cold; Emma worse. 
31st. Good wind. We lost our dear little Emma today; that is two we have lost of the measles. 
1st Aug. Fine day. A child died today. 
2nd. Strong wind, hail, rain, sea rough, the waves came over the vessel, but not to rough to get on: We ran nearly 2,000 miles this week. 
3rd. Very cold. We cannot keep warm: Saw a ship tonight, not seen one in 13 days; baby died. 
4th. Not so much wind; Child died. 
5th. Fine day. Child died; a sailor fell from the mast, nearly 100 feet high, at 8 o’clock, and died at 11 at night.
 6th. Fine, buried the sailor this morning 
7th. Strong wind. Child born today. 
8th. Fine day. Child died today. 
9th. Rough waves came over the vessel; warmer. 
10th. A storm arose this morning, such as you never saw in England, waves as high as a barn, but our noble ship rode over most of them, some of them came right over her, tons of water in one wave. 
11th. Storm severe, all the women kept below: the hatchway made up fast, men could get through a skylight. 
12th. The storm has settled a great deal; baby died today; another ill. 
13th. Finer; The sailors say so bad a storm, has not been in this part, for a long time. One of the emigrants got two large tin bottles tied under his arms to swim. I saw no danger, but he was not a God fearing man, and all such stood the storm worst. Baby died today. 
14th. Fine day, good wind, going nicely, sea still rough. 
15th. Strong wind, going 13 miles an hour. 
16th. Good wind, going fast, very cold. My feet very sore with the frost; another baby died, and no wonder, it is cold: September is the best time to start from England. 
17th. Cold today, going on nicely, another baby died today. 
18th. Warmer today, going 12 miles an hour; wind has got in the north, south wind is cold, sun goes the other way round here, another baby died today; five families lost two each, 26 children died. 
19th. Fine day, and warmer. 
20th. Fine. Ay, we had our boxes up today, has made us throng; a baby born. 
21st. Fine day, a baby died. 
22nd. Strong wind, going 13 miles an hour; a women gave birth to twins, girls; all doing well. 
23rd. Strong wind; we ran 308 miles in 24 hours. 
24th. Strong wind ahead, we cannot go; about 100 miles from Steward’s Island. 
25th. Settled to a calm, we cannot go. 
26th. Very still, wind at night. 
27th. Only going 4 miles an hour. 
28th. Still morning, wind at night. 
29th. Not much wind. 
30th. We stand now in front of port, waiting for wind, land in sight. 
31st. Still standing out for want of wind. 
1st Sept. Wind wrong, cannot get in. 
2nd. Fine day, we are going in nicely: a beautiful sight to see the rocks on each side; the best sight was the beef, bread, and potatoes; Christchurch barracks was full; three other ships got in before us; tomorrow we are going 120 miles by steam boat, and 12 by coach, to a place called Tesnuca [sic ? Temuka] , where our families are kept by Government; We and three more walked 29 miles up country to the bush; I have bought 1 acre of good land for £20, and I am building a good house, two sleeping rooms; the houses here are all wood. 

Read this to B. Davy, W. Hopkin, Pawson, G. Grant, J. Lusby, (Dales) and all old friends. 
From M. and E. Cook, Wiahi [sic] Bush, New Zealand.



Snippets from the Star, a Christchurch newspaper
and the Timaru Herald.

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