Wednesday, 19 August 2015

Sarah McCallum part 2

 In the 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks project Sarah McCallum was Ancestor 25. When writing that post I had no information about Sarah's life before she came to Australia except that she was born in Glasgow in Scotland.

Recently Kathleen, who is also researching this branch of the family, sent me copies of records showing the immigration of Sarah and her family to Australia. The papers held by the State Records of New South Wales record that the family arrived in Sydney aboard the ship, William Miles, on 16 January 1855.

On this list of immigrants aboard the William Miles in Sydney on 16 January 1855, Sarah appears in the list of single women whose occupation was listed as House servant. She was aged 15, Native Place and County was Glasgow, religion was listed as Presbyterian and Neither was in the column Read or Write.

Also on the list was John McCallum, aged 49, who was a labourer from Argyleshire. His religion was Presbyterian and he could read and write. His wife, Anne, was 43 and Argyleshire was also listed as her Native Place or County. She could also read and write and was Presbyterian as were the other two children listed with their parents. Dougul was 13 and was from Glasgow. He could read and write but Catherine, his nine year old sister, also from Glasgow, could only read.

The State Records of New South Wales has digitised some of the shipping records on microfilm including Passenger Lists of the Family Colonization Loan Society 1854-1855. The Family Colonization Loan Society was a project founded by Caroline Chishom in the 1850s to assist families, particularly from Ireland and Scotland where there were employment problems, to migrate to Australia.

The South Australian Register 26 July 1851 published the following article about the visit of Caroline Chisholm's husband to the colonies to promote the project:
We have much pleasure in calling the attention of the public in general, and the industrious classes in particular, to the arrival of Captain A. Chisholm, of the Madras army, and husband of Mrs. Caroline Chisholm, whose benevolent exertions in the cause of free and particular female Emigrants, both in the Australian colonies and in England, for so many years, are so well known. The object of Captain Chisholm's visit to these colonies is purely benevolent: in order to aid in carrying out the Family Colonization Loan Society originated by Mrs. Chisholm, the principal object of which is to promote the reunion of the separated members of families. Amongst the members of the Central Committee of the Society in London we find the well-known benevolent names of Lord Ashley, and the Right Honourable Sydney Herbert. Parties wishing to send for their relations in England will have an opportunity of consulting Captain Chisholm, either personally or by letter, post-paid, at the office of the Society in King William- street, near the Southern Cross, Adelaide. Persons expecting relations out, may see at the office a list of the names of parties coming out here by the Society's next ship. We understand that Captain Chisholm intends in the course of next month to proceed to Port Phillip for the promotion of similar objects.
The Illustrated London News 28 February 1852  provides an article about a meeting of the society attended by more than 2,500 people. The article includes information about the operation of the society. Those deciding to emigrate to Australia paid part of the fare in advance and borrowed money from the Society to cover the rest of the fare. The money borrowed was to be paid back within two years of arriving in Australia. The website of the Caroline Chisholm Society also includes information about the Society.

The William Miles was only passing through Sydney as Queensland State Archives has records showing the passenger list of the William Miles arriving in Moreton Bay on 19 January 1855. The McCallum family are on the list in the Register of Passengers on Immigrant Ships Arriving in Queensland.
Sarah was listed as a Domestic on this list.
Argyle is listed as the place of origin for the family.

We know from reports in Australian newspapers digitised in Trove that the ship, William Miles, left Liverpool with emigrants for Morton Bay on 15 October 1854. (Maitland Mecury and Hunter River General Advertiser 10 January 1855)

The Ships List Emigrant Ships to Australia and New Zealand 1854-1856 shows that 406 people were aboard the ship when it left England on 16 October and two male passengers died during the three month voyage to Australia. Any child over 14 was classed as an adult. There were 210 male passengers and 101 female passengers plus 95 children - 50 boys and 45 girls.

In January 1905 advertisements were placed in local papers regarding the 50th anniversary of the arrival of the William Miles in Brisbane.
Ship William Miles Fiftieth Anniversary
Those persons who arrived in Queensland by the ship William Miles, in 1855, are invited, by advertisement, to attend a meeting at Eschenhagen's cafe, on Friday night, to celebrate the fiftieth anniversary of this event. (The Telegraph 17 January 1905)
After the reunion there were a number of long articles describing the event including reminiscences of the voyage and first impressions of Brisbane. Reunion of old Colonists. Celebration of 'William Miles' Immigrants was the title of an article in the Courier Mail 21 January 1905. Immigrants' Jubilee. Arrivals by ship William Miles was the title of an article in The Week 27 January 1905.

According to the memory of  former passengers:
The ship "brought some 400 immigrants, chiefly Scottish, people. All the male immigrants were armed with muskets and cutlasses, fearing the possibility of attack by the Russian warships, the Crimean war then being in progress. Although the immigrants were brought out under Government immigrant regulations, every man of them paid his full passage money."
and once in the colony
"The vessel sailed from Liverpool on October 10, 1854, and her passengers arrived at the Queen's wharf just 50 years, ago that day. Brisbane was a very small place in those days. He remembered a man who was in what now is Queen street asking in which direction the town lay (Laughter). There were not a dozen houses to be seen in Brisbane at that time." (both quotes from article in The Week)

So from the information provided in one set of documents I was then able to use a range of resources to add to the information about the journey of Sarah and her family to Australia. However the search produced one more bonus. An immigration search in Ancestry produced further details about McCallum family in the New South Wales Australia Assisted Immigrant Passenger Lists 1828-1896. Although the details were basically the same as in other listings there was an additional column - Parents names and, if alive, their residence. For John McCallum the names in this column are Dugald and Sarah (dead) while for Ann the information given is Ronald and Mary Campbell. Her mother is listed as dead and I cannot read the placename for her father.


  1. Great blog post - very informative. In case it is still of use to you, I had a look at the county (it is only ever a county) where Ronald Campbell is listed as living, comparing it to a list of counties in Scotland on Wikipedia. I think it says Argylesh, so Argyllshire. Adam

  2. Adam, Thank you for adding to the information about Ronald.