Article from the Central Queensland

Family History Association

 

The passengers of the P & O Duntrune sailed out of Firth of Tay, Dundee, Scotland, on the 1st September 1883, on her 120 day journey to Australia. The Duntrune was an iron, full rig ship of 1488 tons and had been built in 1875, so by the standards of the day she was considered to quite modern. She had previously sailed from Britain to Adelaide in Australia but this time her destination was Brisbane. The master of the Duntrune was Captain J. Rollo. The passengers were mostly bounty immigrants who were brought out as labourers or servants by an employer who was paid a bounty for each immigrant he sponsored. Over the years the rules of the Bounty System changed to accommodate the labour needs of the Colony, so when dealing with the Bounty Immigration Lists it is wise to be aware of the fact that many immigrants adjusted their age, marital status and number of children, in order to conform to the Bounty conditions of the time. Frequently when families had more than the allowed number of children, some of these children were left behind with relatives to be set for at a later date. If a married couple had no children or had below the allowed number, they would sometimes bring the children of their relatives or fellow passengers under their own names. So for genealogists this can present quite a problem.

The 1883 voyage of the Duntrune was a melting pot of the British races with 152 English, 213 Scots and 82 Irish Immigrants embarking. The Matron, Mrs Spinks had her hands full with the usual health problems of such a long journey plus the extra burden of attending to three births and nineteen deaths.

By Christmas Day they were nearing their destination and no doubt the day was filled with a multitude of thoughts. There would be those who had lost loved ones on the voyage, wishing they had never set foot on this "damned" ship. Some who remembered many a White Christmas with family and friends, would now be wiping the tropical perspiration form their home-sick faces, then there would be the adventurous one looking forward to a new life in this strange upside down country with great plans, excitement and perhaps a little anxiety as well.

The passengers of the Duntrune disembarked in Brisbane on 29th December 1883 and those who did not have specific employment waiting for them, were transported to the Immigration Depot, where they were taken care of for a short time. They were usually given a few days in which to find accommodation and work for themselves. Sometimes their sponsors let them down, having found employees elsewhere and so the immigrants were left to their own devices.

By 1883 Brisbane was a bustling little metropolis - a far cry from the convict settlement of the early thirties. The streets of Brisbane were busy with crowds going about their daily business, while the Salvation Army stood on the street corners distributed their newly published newspaper, "War Cry". A group of passengers from the Duntrune were very impressed to over-hear three very rough looking colonial men discussing Mozart. However their admiration quickly turned to a shake of their heads when it was explained that the Mozart referred to in the conversation was indeed the hero of the moment, being the racehorse who had just won the recent Brisbane Cup.

Nevertheless the political news in Brisbane was very encouraging with Sir Arthur Hunter Palmer having succeeded Sir Arthur Edward Kennedy as Governor of Queensland and Samuel Walter Griffith had just become Premier of Queensland. The local excitement and anticipation of a bright future for Queensland was very infectious, with the passengers of the Duntrune soon caught up in the enthusiasm. For these new immigrants, it looked like a great New Year with a great new future in this great new land.

 

We would like to thank John Long,Sydney, Australia for sending this article, James Hoog's Duntrune Diary and theState Government Shipping List.

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