Family Names

Tuesday, 26 January 2016

SS Nairnshire

Figure 1 Photographer unknown, S.S. NAIRNSHIRE, ca. 1900, digital image,  David Little collection of steamships, SLV.(This work is out of copyright)

Her First Journey

Nairnshire, s.s. sailed on the 21st August 1889. According to the newspapers,
“just escaping a strike that has taken place by the dock labourers, stevedores, &c, which for the present has completely paralysed the loading of all vessels on the berth. ... The strike is assuming ranch larger proportions than was at first anticipated and has now .spread to the carters. Several manufacturers are, I hear, expecting their men to go out to-morrow. There are at present between 40,000 and 50,000 men on strike."[1]

The price of the fare to Australia

In 1889 the ticket fare was 35 guineas for the saloon or for steerage ticket began at 14 guineas.[2] The 48 servant girls travelling in steerage all under the supervision of Miss Monk were government sponsored immigrants.

The 1889 Passenger List

Unfortunately, Miss Monks journal of the trip does not although I understand there is a copy of the diary for the Nairnshire’s voyage to WA between May and July 1895.

The following is a transcription of the third page of the Shipping Manifest for the SS Nairnshire arriving in Fremantle on the 9th October 1889 (with additional notes, see below for more detail)

- Passengers -
**Miss J Castle (for Adelaide) [Julia] 10. Miss A Wright 38. Miss K Bennett
*J Ellison, (for Sydney) [Dr John]  11. Miss E Marcham 39. Miss A Smith
*G. F. Moore (for Fremantle) 12. Miss S Pepworth 40. Miss H Pearce
*Miss Davies [Davis] 13. Miss J Whitehead 41. Miss S Jackman
*M De Nerny 14. Miss J Barnett 42. Miss C Aitkens
*Miss Agnes De Nerny [Mrs. De Nerny]  15. Miss R Reaves 43. Miss E Cowl
*E. G. Price [Mr] 16. Miss A Valvemt 44. Miss B Harper
*J. Mc Donald [Miss Jean MacDonald] 17. Miss M Burt 45. Miss E Rowles
*Mis D Moore [Dora] 18. Miss M Wild 46. Miss M Mowett
*E. P. Logan [Miss Jean for Melbourne] [Mr] 19. Miss M Yorman 47. Miss E Hall
*Miss Goodwin 20. Miss R McNamara 48. Miss S Jackson
*Mrs. Lovegrove 21. Miss A Symon 49. Miss M Williams
Miss Lovegrove 22. Miss S Waller
C Lovegrove 23. Miss A Lovegrove [note- Miss A Lovegrove is probably not a servant girl but travelling with her mother & family]
E Lovegrove 24. Miss E Moris
P Lovegrove 25. Miss M Nibes
*T. W. Fladgate [Mr] 26. Miss R Wright
*S. Smith [Mr. S.F. Smith] 27. Miss M Ellis
*Miss Monk Steerage - 48 female domestic servants, in charge of Miss Monk, matron 28. Miss K Ellis
1. Miss E A Chadwick 29. Miss H Westroll
2. Miss E Allison(s) 30. Miss E Hasleby
3. Miss E James 31. Miss M.A Hasleby
4. Miss C Hedges 32. Miss Marion Hayward
5. Miss A Wilson 33. Miss A Turner
6. Miss Amy Blanks 34. Miss C Owens
7. Miss M Wilson 35. Miss R Randle
8. Miss L Glover 36. Miss A Tullis
9. Miss E Hancroft 37. Miss A Williams

I do declare that the above Content is a true Account of all the goods shipped or intended to be shipped on board the above-named ship, and correct in all other particulars
Custom House Freemantle.
Signed and declared this 9 day of Octr 1889  Wallace Master Wallce before me S Woresley Clifton Collector.[3]

Legend for Passenger List for information in addition to that found of the passenger list:=
* Anon, 'The S.S Nairnshire.', The West Australian, 24 September 1889, p. 3, Col.1, [, viewed 09 Feb 2017]
** Anon, 'ENGLISH SHIPPING NEWS.', Western Mail, 28 September 1889, p. 22, Col.3, [, viewed 09 Feb 2017]

Where I have managed to find information about any of the girls under Mrs Monks care I have linked it to their names.  Note my main research interest in the passengers is Martha Ellis and her sister Kate Elllis.

Further Reading

See below for more details about the ship's design.
To read more about the Travelling on the SS Nairnshire in 1889 click here

SS Nairnshire beginnings 

Launched in 1889, “from the well-known building-yard of R. and W. Hawthorn, Leslie and Co., New-castle-on-Tyne.”, the S.S. NAIRNSHIRE was classed as 100 A1 at Lloyd's.” [4] (The ‘Lloyd's Register’ classification - “ship hulls were graded by a lettered scale (A being the best), and ship's fittings (masts, rigging, and other equipment) were graded by number (1 being the best).”) [5]

Her mechanical design

She was “a new steel screw vessel, ..., her dimensions are as follows:- Length, 360ft 5in; beam, 47ft. 7in.; and depth of hold, 24 ft. 21a. This gives her a gross measurement of 3,720 tons. The net register is 2,428 tons. The hull is partitioned off as usual by watertight bulkheads, and the bottom is also cellular, so as to admit of the use of water ballast. The lines of the vessel are shapely, and the great beam denotes extensive carrying capacity. ... The Nairnshire has a straight stem and an elliptic stern, and she is schooner rigged. She is engined on the triple expansion principle, and the cylinders are 27in., 44in., and 71in. in diameter. The piston stroke is 48in. The machinery can drive the vessel 11 knots on a moderate consumption of fuel. The engines work on a boiler pressure of 160lb., and they are of 2,200 - horse power effective. The boilers are of steel, are double ended, and are fitted with Brown's patent furnaces. The engines are complete in all respects, and are thoroughly well finished as to workmanship. The refrigerating machinery is Lightfoot's patent, manufactured by Siebe, Gorman, and Co. There are two engines, as in the case of the steamship Star of England, which was here recently. The engines are powerful and effective, and the patent has given satisfaction wherever It has been tried. The Nairnshire is fully equipped otherwise with steam appliances for steering the vessel, working the windlass, winches, &c., and in so far as fittings are concerned she is complete. The electric light which is installed on board is Woodside's system”[6]

“This steamer has been specially constructed for the frozen meat trade from New Zealand, and has refrigerating chambers capable of bringing home an immense number of sheep each trip.”[7]

Her Interior

“This vessel has exceptionally good passenger accommodation, ... , has a smoking room on deck, and her accommodation generally is similar to that of a first class mail steamer.” [8] “There is a large saloon aft, ... richly decorated with polished Hungarian ash, oak, mahogany, and other woods of price. The saloon Is a spacious apartment, and there is berthing accommodation for 36 passengers, The saloon when lit up with the electric light shows to great effect.”[9]


[1] Anon, 'ENGLISH SHIPPING NEWS.', The West Australian, 24 September 1889, p. 3., Col.1. [, viewed 09 Feb 2017]
[2] Anon,  'SHIPPING', The West Australian, 4 September 1889, p. 2. Col.9. [, viewed 09 Feb 2017]
[3] Shipping Records for the ‘Nairnshire’, Page 3 Passenger listing, 8 Oct 1889; Passenger and Crew Lists; Shipping Records for the ‘Nairnshire’; State Records Office, Western Australia
[4] Anon, 'SHIPPING NOTES.', The West Australian, 10 October 1889, p. 3, Col.1. [, viewed 09 Feb 2017; Anon, 'SHIPPING.', The West Australian, 14 August 1889, p. 2. Col.6.  [, viewed 09 Feb 2017]
[5] Wikipedia, ‘Lloyd's Register’,'s_Register. Accessed 9 February 2017.
[6] Anon, 'SHIPPING REPORTS.', The Argus, 29 October 1889, p. 9, Col.8. [, viewed 09 Feb 2017]
[7] Anon, 'SHIPPING.', The Daily News, 24 September 1889, p. 2., Col.5, [, viewed 09 Feb 2017]
[8] Anon, 'ENGLISH SHIPPING NEWS.', Western Mail, 14 September 1889, p. 19. Col.3. [, viewed 09 Feb 2017]
[9] Anon, 'SHIPPING REPORTS.', The Argus, 29 October 1889, p. 9, Col.8. [, viewed 09 Feb 2017]

Edit History

Originally posted on the 26 January 2016
Updated and revised on 7 February 2017
Updated and revised on 10 February 2017

Tuesday, 5 January 2016

Mrs Lucy Henry vs Mrs Martha Todman Prahran Police Court

The Prahran Police & Court House, corner of Greville Street and Macquarie Street where the cases of Mrs Lucy Henry and Mrs Martha Todman were heard in 1901.

“Prahran Court House and Police Station” photographed by Sandra Williamson 2/01/2016

Mrs Henry & family lived at 576 Chapel St, South Yarra next door to the Todman family who occupied the 578 & 580.
Mrs Lucy Henry appeared 3 times in the Prahran Police court. 
Mrs Henry was fined 20 /-and 21/-costs after her first appearance in court  regarding the City Inspector’s charge of having filthy premises.  Martha Todman appeared twice, each time in response to Mrs Henry charges against her.  Martha responded by counter suing, all of the four cases were dismissed without charges.

Details of the Court Cases

Cases heard on the 10th January 1901

Two court cases were held on Thursday 10th January 1901.
The first was regarding an inspection by the Prahran City Inspector Mr Rider on New Year’s Eve, Monday 31st December 1900, of the Henry family property at 576 Chapel St, South Yarra. 
The second case held before the same judges on the same day was brought by Mrs Lucy Henry who charged Mrs Martha Todman of assault.  In return Mrs Martha Todman counter sued Mrs Henry with assault.  Both cases were dismissed.


When the Fruit shop next door had closed down in late 1901 next door the Henry family had moved in[i].  The Todmans had complained to the authorities that “of the premises being dirty”[ii]  According to the inspector “There was a lot of clothes in a tub of soapsuds which gave out a smell sufficient to knock you down.”[iv] 
When City Inspector Rider visited the Henrys on the 31st December, he told them that the inspection was due a neighbours complaint.. 
The Henry’s felt that the inspect was a result of the Todman’s spite.
On the same day, possibly after the City Inspector Rider had visited the Henry household, the Henry children had thrown “a paper full of rubbish” [iii] into the Todman’s yard.  Martha went next door to complain, but Mrs Henry would not listen.  The two women then argued, it appears that Martha slapped Mrs Henry across the face and in retaliation Mrs Henry struck Martha with her broom.  Mrs Henry also threw a mallet during the argument.

Case heard on the 17th January 1901

On Thursday 17th January 1901 both Mrs Henry and Mrs Todman were before the courts again, the case being bought by Mrs Henry regarding an incident on Friday 11th January.  The incident began after “the third time on that day her rubbish tin had been turned over and threw dirt at some clothes on her line..”[v]  “Mrs Lucy Henry charged Mrs Martha Todman with assaulting her (Mrs Henry's) boy "Joey." 6 years of age.”[vi]  Both cases were dismissed without costs.


This was the second case brought by Mrs Henry against Mrs Todman.  Mrs Todman appeared to have difficulty withstanding the nervous strain of appearing in court[vii]  The second case was before the court with a week of the first case being heard, both cases referred to separate incidents.

From Martha’s perspective - Washing Day

Martha would always rise early on a Monday morning.  Monday was washing day.  She always hoped for a fine day otherwise there would be wet linen strung up all over the house. She needed to get the sheets dry before the evening as they were the only ones they had. 

She hated Mondays.  If she got up early enough she could have the fire going under the copper and have the water ready to commence the wash straight after breakfast.  She would strip the beds as soon as everyone was up.  The sheets were made of heavy calico, rough to the touch.  It was hot sticky work with the steam rising as she stirred the clothes as they boiled. She used the washing stick to help her pull them out of the copper as they were far too hot to touch.  By the end of the day her back would be sore and her hands raw from scrubbing the clothes on the washing board.  Once they had been put through the wringer they would be ready to hang. 

Walter had strung up the line up in the narrow yard. She hoped it wouldn’t fall as sometimes the wooden pole would be blown over by the wind or knocked by the children during their play.  If they fell she would have to repeat the whole process over again.  After all this the copper would then have to emptied, the fire cleaned away.  And finally the washing after it had dried needed to be put away.

It was no wonder that she had slapped Mrs Henry across the face after her kids had thrown dirt at her newly washed sheets! 


  1. DIRTY PREMISES. (1901, January 12). Prahran Chronicle (Vic. : 1894 - 1906; 1914 - 1918), p. 3. Retrieved December 3, 2015, from
  2. Prahran Police Court. (1901, January 12). Prahran Chronicle (Vic. : 1894 - 1906; 1914 - 1918), p. 4. Retrieved December 2, 2015, from
  3. Prahran Police Court. (1901, January 12). Prahran Chronicle (Vic. : 1894 - 1906; 1914 - 1918), p. 4. Retrieved December 2, 2015, from
  4. PRAHRAN POLICE COURT. (1901, January 12). The Prahran Telegraph (Vic. : 1889 - 1930), p. 5. Retrieved October 5, 2015, from
  5. THURSDAY, JANUARY 17. (1901, January 19). The Prahran Telegraph (Vic. : 1889 - 1930), p. 3. Retrieved October 5, 2015, from
  6. No title. (1901, January 19). Prahran Chronicle (Vic. : 1894 - 1906; 1914 - 1918), p. 2. Retrieved October 5, 2015, from 

Background References

THE HOUSEHOLD. (1907, September 28). Leader (Melbourne, Vic. : 1862 - 1918), p. 47. Retrieved December 4, 2015, from

[i] DIRTY PREMISES. (1901, January 12). Prahran Chronicle (Vic. : 1894 - 1906; 1914 - 1918), p. 3. Retrieved December 3, 2015, from
[ii] DIRTY PREMISES. (1901, January 12). Prahran Chronicle (Vic. : 1894 - 1906; 1914 - 1918), p. 3. Retrieved December 3, 2015, from
[iii] Prahran Police Court. (1901, January 12). Prahran Chronicle (Vic. : 1894 - 1906; 1914 - 1918), p. 4. Retrieved December 2, 2015, from
[iv] DIRTY PREMISES. (1901, January 12). Prahran Chronicle (Vic. : 1894 - 1906; 1914 - 1918), p. 3. Retrieved December 3, 2015, from
[v] THURSDAY, JANUARY 17. (1901, January 19). The Prahran Telegraph (Vic. : 1889 - 1930), p. 3. Retrieved October 5, 2015, from
[vi] No title. (1901, January 19). Prahran Chronicle (Vic. : 1894 - 1906; 1914 - 1918), p. 2. Retrieved October 5, 2015, from
[vii] No title. (1901, January 19). Prahran Chronicle (Vic. : 1894 - 1906; 1914 - 1918), p. 2. Retrieved October 5, 2015, from