Montmorency was a full rigged ship 812 tons of James Baines & Co’s Black Ball Line of Liverpool. “Passenger Log” of voyage to Melbourne 1857 said to be held in Davies cutting No. 3 pp 52,58,66, John Oxley Library Brisbane. Ditto as immigrant ship to Queensland. First three voyages, 1860, 1862, 1863 to Moreton Bay, and 4th passage to Bowen. Brief accounts of voyages and Passenger and Crew lists published in 19th Century Voyages to Queensland Vol. 1 Montmorency (Record Series B by Genealogical Society of Queensland 1985) and based on Queensland State Archives, Moreton Bay Courier etc. 28.03.1867 ship totally destroyed by fire in Napier, NZ. No lives lost.
“ Montmorency”
Port of Embarkation – Liverpool
Date – 15th April, 1863
Port of Arrival – Brisbane
Date of Arrival 15th July, 1863
Passage 92 days

Charles Clarke 39 years of age
Mary Clarke 35 years of age
Janet Clarke 17 years of age
Mary Clarke 15 years of age
Margaret Clarke 11 years of age
John 7 years of age
James 5 years of age
William infant
Embarked 381. Deaths 16 Births 4 Total landed 369

Historical notes on ‘Montmorency’(19th Century Voyages to Queensland Vol 1. Record Series B Genealogical Society of Queensland, published 1985)

The ‘Montmorency’ did not, strictly speaking, bring the first people out to the new state of Queensland. The 400 ton Aberdeen clipper ship ‘Leonidas’, which arrived in Moreton Bay from London on 22nd March 1860 had a Mr. Pepper on board as a passenger. Furthermore, one group of emigrants were all set to leave Plymouth, but the Emigration Commissioners could not bring themselves to use pre-separation money on passages to the new state of Queensland without further direction, and so put the would-be Queenslanders on the ‘Tudor’ which was bound for Sydney instead. Presumably, they eventually made their way north.

The original notice of the first emigrant ship proper implied that the Emigration Commissioners were commissioning a new ship ‘Planet’, but by the time the Moreton Bay Courier’s shipping intelligence had more news, this had changed to the ‘Montmorency’.

The ‘Montmorency’, a wooden ship variously quoted as 751 tons or 668 tons, or in Lloyd’s Register as 812 tons, was launched in Quebec in 1854, having been specially built for the Australasian trade to the order of James Baines & Co. of Liverpool. This was the Black Ball Line which brought the bulk of the States’s 1860’s immigrants, the ‘Montmorency’ herself making four voyages to Queensland and accounting for nearly 1400 new settlers.

Her first voyage left Plymouth on 7th July, 1860 and arrived in Moreton Bay on 16th October, 1860, some 102 days during which one baby was born and not only three passengers died, but the second mate died of consumption. In those days, the larger ships did not come right up river to the Brisbane wharves, so the pilot, Scholl, brought the ‘Montmorency’ up to the ‘bar’. After being found by the Health Officer to be free from all infectious and contagious diseases, the ship was admitted to pratique, and the 298 immigrants were brought up to Brisbane in the steamer ‘Bremer’, to where the Police Establishment had been vacated for them. The ‘large number of people’ who had gathered at McCabe’s wharf were glad to see them in excellent health and spirits. This group of immigrants came from all over the British Isles, with 113 from England, 11 from Wales, 67 from Scotland and 99 from Ireland.

The Moreton Bay Courier was pleased to judge the new arrivals to be of a useful class, and the adults among them were advertised as offered ‘for hire’ at the Depot on 22nd October. The majority found work quickly, though two families and six single men would need to make the further (free) trip to Rockhampton before starting their jobs. These probably included Owen O’Reilly and Edward Lee, both with wife and children, also Mark Swinnerton and Reece Rees, named in letters.

While the immigrants were waiting to get their future settled, the single women were housed separately in the ‘ladies ward’. This caused problems to one immigrant who, having negotiated a situation for himself, was ‘anxious to tender in behalf of a fair creature with whom he had exchanged civilities during the passage’, and promptly found himself ‘apprehended for coolly and illegally intruding himself into the said ‘ladies ward’ when he wanted to talk to her.’ After later voyages, the single women seem to be put into a depot on the opposite side of the river, presumably to forestall any repetition. The offender was admonished and discharged.

As with most immigrant ships, the ‘Montmorency’ brought cargo as well as passengers to Brisbane. In 1860, her manifest showed as part of a total of 300 tons lading.

A rather sad finish to this historic voyage was the death of the ‘Montmorency’s master, Captain David Matthews Bridges. This left the former chief mate, Mr. Mitchell, in charge to sail back to England via Newcastle and Hong Kong, assisted by Mr. Bridges – son of the late captain – acting as chief mate.

The ‘Montmorency’s second arrival at Moreton Bay was on 8th April, 1862 after a voyage from Plymouth of 91 days, this time captained by John Joseph Sowerby. She had experienced variable weather, light baffling winds interspersed with strong gales driving her off the usual course, and even being driven back southwards a considerable distance when off Sydney Heads. The passenger list has been lost, presumably in the nineteenth century floods. This leaves the Moreton Bay Courier as a main source of information, with names given for Saloon and Second Cabin passengers only, and no hint of occupation or place of origin. The dropping of the ship’s anchor was the signal for six seamen to be brought to the central lock-up and charged with broaching cargo on board ship – the liquid cargo possibly. Or as the newspaper put it ‘as is usually the case, the arrival of the (vessel) in this port was the signal for the breaking out of subordination amongst the (crew).

The passengers who chose to go to England on the ‘Montmorency’ on her return voyage with a cargo of wool bales probably wished that they had stayed in Queensland. Icebergs, gales of unparalleled ferocity and blinding snowstorms accompanied them near Cape Horn. The ship lost in succession the foresail, mainsail and three topsails, followed by the three topgallant masts lost overboard, the ship’s boats smashed and the water casks washed away. Daylight found ten feet of water in the hold and both crew and passengers manning the pumps. At the end of four days of this treatment, the captain and crew had to persuade a ship under bare poles to change tack to stay clear of the rocks on Cape Ramirez. It really is a wonder that the ‘Montmorency’ survived to return in the following year.

From the point of view of deaths on board, the 1863 voyage from Liverpool to Moreton Bay was the worst of the ‘Montmorency’s four visits to Queensland. Firstly measles broke out early in the passage, causing five deaths among the children, and probably weakening others, because ten more children died during the wet and cold weather from the Cape of Good Hope to Tasmania, whilst the majority of the immigrants were suffering from ‘colds, croup and other catarrhal maladies’. To balance this somewhat, there were four births, so that 369 souls arrived in Moreton Bay on July 17th. Again a seaman found himself in the lock-up at Brisbane, this time charged with stabbing the chief officer of the ship. However, although Captain Maxwell produced the alleged weapon in court, the allegedly stabbed chief officer was too busy with the immigrants to attend himself.

The ‘Montmorency’s passengers, with the exception of the surgeon’s wife (the sole saloon passenger, who later complained of the quality of the food) were destined for Maryborough. They therefore embarked from the ship into the steamer ‘Queensland’ in the Bay and proceeded onto Harvey’s Bay without actually visiting Brisbane. Several of them were still living in the Maryborough area seventy years later, when Joseph Hill (himself a Montmorency passenger) organised a reunion for David McIver and Montmorency survivors. The men attending the reunion can be identified with the young children of the passenger list, and one of them aged four at the time, remembered the fracas with the sailor who was then put in irons.

The final voyage of the ‘Montmorency’ to Queensland was in 1865. She left the Downs in England on 3rd August and arrived in Bowen on 22nd December, a prolonged passage of 119 days because of some light winds. The 214 immigrants were mostly English and the six deaths of infants were counterbalanced by five births. The only other death was of a steerage passenger lost overboard who drowned before a boat could reach him. Captain James Cooper and his officers had a nightmare of a voyage. Only by adopting stern measures such as keeping a loaded revolver at hand night and day was a mutiny avoided.

After the ‘Montmorency’ returned to London, with a cargo of wool bales, she again loaded with emigrants but this time for Napier, New Zealand. They all landed safely in March 1867, but before the ship was ready to leave harbour again a fire broke out on board and the ‘Montmorency’ burnt to the waterline.



Immigrants per Ship ‘Montmorency’ (Extract from Moreton Bay Courier Sat. 20th Oct. 1860)

The following is a classified summary of the general immigrants per ‘Montmorency’ who will be offered for hire, at the Depot, on Monday next, the 22nd October, at 10 a.m.

No engagements entered into previous to the day of hiring here notified, will be recognised at this office, not will any person be allowed to visit the establishment for the purpose of hiring surreptitiously.

Married Men Single Men

Laborers and Farm Servants 30 Laborers and Farm Servants 52
Ploughmen 3
Painter 1
Slaters 2
Plasterer 1
Mason 1 Masons 2
Saddler 1
Bricklayer 1
Blacksmiths 2 Blacksmiths 2
Baker 1 Constable 1
Brickmaker 1
Total 43 Quarryman 2
Shepherds 5
Gardener 1

Total 66
Single Women

General Servants 51
Dressmaker 1
Schoolmistress 1
Housekeeper 1

Total 54