The journey begins

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In Issue 15, in an article on Nicholas and Nancy Stentiford entitled Australia Bound, we printed a letter from The Exeter Flying Post allegedly written to members of another family in Dawlish. It told of a tranquil journey in fair winds, a prompt and successful start to prosperity and a happy ever after life in Adelaide.

Through family connections. Roy Hayter heard of a very different tale - a tale that is corroborated by others who sailed to the same destination. His connection to the Chegwidden family is personal but their true and tragic story was researched and put into book form by Maurine E. Work, an unconnected Chegwidden family member, in 1986.

Roy has quoted brief extracts from the book which, at least in Devon, is still in the West Country Studies Library catalogue. It is called  Constantine, Cornwall to Adelaide, South Australia and its ISBN is 0951103903 should you wish to read the whole of their story.


From The Falmouth Express

6 Jul 1839


Mr Duckham has this day received permission of His Majesty's Commissioners to engage a considerable number of emigrants to be despatched from Falmouth with the least possible delay. All persons who are inclined to emigrate by this opportunity need scarcely be advised to apply immediately for terms, regulations and certificates at his office.


Falmouth 17 Jun 1839

By the 1830s, the Colonization Commission had appointed emigration agents in many towns in Devon and Cornwall. They advised on the availability  of Crown land  in the Colonies and what settlers could expect when they arrived.

They also administered the Assisted Passage scheme available to help those unable to afford a passage but who were thought likely to become good colonists.



The Chegwidden family applied to Mr. Duckham, completed the necessary application forms and were accepted as emigrants. Two hundred miles away and completely unknown to them, Londoner Michael Brooker,  his wife and nine children  also applied for passage at the same time to the same destination.

It was to be a tragic decision for both families and for many of their fellow travellers.


Alexander Chegwidden, husbandman

Elizabeth Chegwidden, wife

Alexander Chegwidden (19)

Charles Chegwidden (17)

Susannah Hughes Chegwidden (16)

Josiah Chegwidden (13)

Henry Chegwidden (11)

Elizabeth Chegwidden (8)

Peter Chegwidden (7)

John Chegwidden (5)

William Chegwidden (3)

Daniel Chegwidden (2)

Frederick Chegwidden (6 months)


The City of Adelaide

The ship engaged by the Commissioners, on which they sailed, was the Cleveland, a barque of some four hundred tons, launched in 1825. She sailed from Falmouth on 25 Jul 1839 for Plymouth. From there, she sailed on 8 Aug 1839 up to The Downs to pick up other emigrants (including the Brooker family) from the London area. The Cleveland finally set sail carrying 189 passengers, landing at Port Adelaide on 18 Dec 1839.

The City of Adelaide

An emigrant vessel dating from the 1860s

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