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


  1. It would be lovely to know where all the descendants of these girls are now. It wouldn't surprise me to see some great success stories there.

    1. Thanks for dropping by. Two of the girls on board are related to me Martha Sarah Ellis who married Walter Todman in Victoria, Australia and Kate Ellis who stayed in Western Australia. Another girl Sarah Jackson got into a spot of bother with Martha and both girls ended up in court. Not sure what happened to Sarah after all the excitement. Kate Ellen Ellis married Mr Andrew Thomas Wardle and Martha married Walter Todman. I often wonder if the 48 girls kept in much contact after they arrived in Australia


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