Log of Jack Hewett

Upon the SS Soukar, 8 October 1882 to 13 January 1883

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Fifty emigrants joined the 'SOUKAR' at Tilbury in England bound for Lyttelton, near Christchurch, New Zealand. They included William and Elizabeth Hewett, their son Samuel and nephew Jack, together with their daughter Elizabeth, her husband Robert Gainsford, and their six children Robert (8), Charles (7), Eleanor (Nell) (6), Henry (Harry) (4), Arthur (2) and Walter (7 months).

You should read this together with the poem by Samuel Hewett.

Sunday 8 October 1882 Left the docks at quarter to ten stopping at Gravesend at quarter to one where friends of the passengers left us, started again at half past one. At 7 o'clock we could see the lights of the French coast. Not very rough in the Straits of Dover. Had no service on board so Uncle gave us a sermon. Passed Margate at 8 o'clock.
Monday 9 October 1882 Anchored at 2 o'clock this morning off Deal, where the river pilot left us. We were all ordered off the poop today. Very calm.
Tuesday 10 October 1882 Still off Deal. Put on our week's rations today. Was up the rigging with a sailor passenger when a sailor came and lashed me there. Had to pay my footing.
Wednesday 11 October 1882 Not moved yet. Wet day. Cleared up this evening. Had dancing.
Thursday 12 October 1882 Set sail at 12. This morning passed Dover about 3 o'clock. Tacking this evening.
Friday 13 October 1882 Now in the channel but not in sight of land. Had our rules read to us this morning by the skipper. Sam killed a pig for him.
Saturday 14 October 1882 Sighted Portland this morning. Nice wind and fine day. Pilot left us here.
Sunday 15 October 1882 Wet this morning. Rolling very much. Had no service today. Uncle was again giving us a sermon when he was taken queer. Passed the Lizard Point at 7 o'clock - last sight of Old England.
Monday 16 October 1882 Had a heavy gale today. Sea mountains high. Everybody bad. Two of middys washed from one end of vessel to another, by a sea that struck her. They say she is a very bad sailor.
Tuesday 17 October 1882 This morning much calmer, all the invalids are on deck in their beds. I have been putting Condy's Fluid in their berths. Uncle is very bad. We are in the Bay of Biscay.
Wednesday 18 October 1882 Early this morning a man was washed overboard, but got in again. Had a tremendous storm today. Had to take in sails. I kept on deck all day holding on, but still I was washed along the deck once. It was a sight to see the sailors up the rigging. A man was washed over again this evening, but caught a rope as he went and was pulled in.
Thursday 19 October 1882 A squall struck her today but did not stop her progress.
Friday 20 October 1882 Fine day going about 5 knots an hour.
Saturday 21 October 1882 Lily taken very bad today, baby taken from her and she was removed to the saloon. Been spitting blood.
Sunday 22 October 1882 Now in the middle of the Bay of Biscay. Had service for first time in saloon.
Monday 23 October 1882 Lily much better this morning but on deck.
Tuesday 24 October 1882 Had splendid day making 8 knots an hour.
Wednesday 25 October 1882 We made 20.4 miles today. Splendid moonlight evening.
Thursday 26 October 1882 At 4 pm sighted a steamer and spoke with her by means of flags. Splendid day.
Friday 27 October 1882 At 4 pm sighted Madeira. Becalmed.
Saturday 28 October 1882 Splendid morning. Getting very hot. Had my hair cut this morning. We are now in the NE Trades.
Sunday 29 October 1882 Had service on deck in morning and in cabin in evening. Sam played his organ on both occasions.
Monday 30 October 1882 Changed the sails this morning. This evening the captain had a light put on deck. We had dancing and singing and sleep on deck.
Tuesday 31 October 1882 Saw the comet this morning. Very large. Entered the tropic today.
Wednesday 1 November 1882 Not at all like a Nov morning. Sam & I cleaned the ships lanterns this afternoon for a concert held this evening which passed off well. Collection made afterwards for seaman's widow's fund.
Thursday 2 November 1882 Condensing water today. Tastes very nice.
Friday 3 November 1882 Had a very fine day but very hot.
Saturday 4 November 1882 Five sharks passed astern today. Caught none.
Sunday 5 November 1882 Service morning & evening. The bell tolls for each service. Passed a vessel on Lee bow going same way.
Monday 6 November 1882 Shoal of flying fish round the vessel & about a hundred porpoises. Pretty sight.
Tuesday 7 November 1882 Squall struck the ship about 9 pm. Forked lightning.
Wednesday 8 November 1882 In the Doldrums. Squally weather. Good wind.
Thursday 9 November 1882 Fight between two passengers. Caught a shark. Eat well. Becalmed.
Friday 10 November 1882 Neptune came on board today. Saw a waterspout a few miles off.
Saturday 11 November 1882 Shaving took place today. Sam and I were victims. First came the policeman, then Neptune & wife, his barber and Dr, etc. After being shaved, were thrown into a sail of water.
Sunday 12 November 1882 Tremendous rain. Church only in the evening.
Monday 13 November 1882 Cross the line (equator) at 8 am. In the SE trades.
Tuesday 14 November 1882 Passed homeward bound vessel. Too far away to send letters.
Wednesday 15 November 1882 This evening the watch shouted "Red light Starboard Bow". It was only the moon setting.
Thursday 16 November 1882 Have been doing 10 knots an hour since we have been in the trades.
Friday 17 November 1882 Passed Homeward Bound vessel this morning about 2 miles off.
Saturday 18 November 1882 Had an auction sale this afternoon. We bought a ham and fowl for tomorrow's dinner.
Sunday 19 November 1882 Slackened speed about 9. Service morning & evening on deck.
Monday 20 November 1882 Harpooning porpoises today. Not successful.
Tuesday 21 November 1882 Out of the tropics today. Good progress, only 12 hours becalmed.
Wednesday 22 November 1882 All ferrets dead, 63 in all. Main hatch opened to get at our boxes. Battened down for rest of voyage.
Thursday 23 November 1882 Changed the sails today. Games in the evenings on deck.
Friday 24 November 1882 Squall struck her about 9 am. Grand sunset this evening.
Saturday 25 November 1882 Sighted a ship this morning 2 miles off.
Sunday 26 November 1882 One of the young ladies who has made herself very disagreeable all the way as yet, asked the Captain if he would discontinue the organ of a Sunday. He has complied with her request. We saw a meteor tonight, very grand like a rocket going along the sky dropping sparks.
Monday 27 November 1882 Shooting birds - Albatross, Cape Pigeon, etc. Catch Mother Carey's chickens by a piece of cotton which gets entangled in their wings.
Tuesday 28 November 1882 Off the Cape of Good Hope today. Harpooning porpoises.
Wednesday 29 November 1882 Gale today. Raining. 13 knots an hour.
Thursday 30 November 1882 Splendid day. Plenty of birds to shoot.
Friday 1 December 1882 About a dozen whales were seen this afternoon. One came about a hundred yards from the ship. Tremendous size.
Saturday 2 December 1882 Two vessels in sight. All men called downstairs by captain. Someone entered the store room last night which leads out of our cabin, & stole a 3 dozen case of beer. Our cabins were searched & it was found in a passengers. The Captain will say nothing at all about it if nothing else turns up.
Sunday 3 December 1882 No service in morning. Evening in saloon.
Monday 4 December 1882 Very cold now. Fine day.
Tuesday 5 December 1882 Wet this morning. Vessel in sight. All called down again. It seems the bottom Hold was entered and a case of Crosse and Blackwell's goods was opened and emptied. Will put the flag up for the police and give us all in charge when we arrive in Lyttelton.
Wednesday 6 December 1882 Pair of handcuffs put on the door for us to look at.
Thursday 7 December 1882 Strong wind fine day.
Friday 8 December 1882 Gale struck her at 12 o'clock. Drove her 16 knots an hour.
Saturday 9 December 1882 Strong wind went down in evening.
Sunday 10 December 1882 Nearly a calm. Service this evening. Breeze sprang up tonight.
Monday 11 December 1882 Very rough and foggy. Good strong wind. Fog horn used.
Tuesday 12 December 1882 Storm this evening. Fork lightning.
Wednesday 13 December 1882 Very wet and foggy. Strong wind.
Thursday 14 December 1882 Splendid day. Fog cleared up.
Friday 15 December 1882 Today we entered the Indian Ocean.
Saturday 16 December 1882 Ship rolling very much today. Could get no rest.
Sunday 17 December 1882 Splendid day. More like being in the tropics so warm. Becalmed.
Monday 18 December 1882 Very wet day & windy.
Tuesday 19 December 1882 Series of squalls today. Could see them coming upon us in the distance.
Wednesday 20 December 1882 The passenger who took things out of the hold, today picked up an iron belay pin to strike 2nd mate who knocked him down (the passenger) & blacked his 2 eyes for him. He has been saying indecent things about the young ladies.
Thursday 21 December 1882 Killed 2 pigs today for Xmas Dinner. Very wet.
Friday 22 December 1882 Fine day. Wind right aft which makes her roll.
Saturday 23 December 1882 Today the children were all invited into the saloon for tea where they had cake & jam etc. In the evening they went into the saloon again & had snapdragon. About 11 pm the captain treated all the men to 3 glasses of rum apiece.
Sunday 24 December 1882 At 11 pm this evening the Captain brought his telescope out & showed us the moon. We could see the mountains on it quite plainly. Directly 12 pm had struck we & the crew sang carols. After which we went into the saloon & had cake & wine while the crew had rum served out.
Monday 25 December 1882 Xmas Day. Pork for dinner. Captain treated us to wine & spirits & lemonade for the children in the afternoon. The crew had grog 3 or 4 times today. At 12 pm wine & cakes in the saloon. The weather was splendid. Ship as steady as possible.
Tuesday 26 December 1882 Boxing Day. Had games in afternoon and evening. Splendid day.
Wednesday 27 December 1882 Going at 10 knots an hour today. Splendid sunset.
Thursday 28 December 1882 Wind gone down but a splendid day.
Friday 29 December 1882 Now about 500 miles from Australian coast.
Saturday 30 December 1882 Splendid day, good wind. Only 2000 more miles.
Sunday 31 December 1882 New Years Eve. Everyone on deck to see the Old year out. A dozen of us who had previously been in the saloon & loaded the rifles, at 12 pm came out in single file & let them off singly. A large whale was snorting & blowing alongside. Fine Day.
Monday 1 January 1883 Crew had another holiday. Dancing in the evening.
Tuesday 2 January 1883 Splendid day. Good strong wind.
Wednesday and Thursday 3 & 4 January 1883 Fine days, good wind but rather foggy.
Friday 5 January 1883 Baby was nearly choked at dinner time by a bone getting in his throat.
Saturday 6 January 1883 Splendid strong wind. Saw them heave the log at 10 pm. Going 12 1/2 knots.
Sunday 7 January 1883 Service in evening. Fine day.
Monday 8 January 1883 Broke the harpoon in a porpoise but soon made another. Plenty about.
Tuesday 9 January 1883 Passed the Snares at 6 pm. These are 2 lots of rocks about 2 miles apart. They stand 470 feet above the level of the sea.
Wednesday 10 January 1883 Caught a very large albatross with a fish hook & piece of pork. Passed Stewart Island at 1 am.
Thursday 11 January 1883 Sighted New Zealand this morning. Looks like a deserted country. At 6 pm sighted Port Chalmers.
Friday 12 January 1883 Out of sight of land today but sighted it this evening.
Saturday 13 January 1883 Anchored in Port Lyttelton 11 am. Mr Gainsford came off in the tug with Dr and Custom House officer. Captain went ashore & brought off the police, the two men given in charge. Went to Christchurch in the evening while there we went to Tattersalls to see the horses. Very cheap.
Sunday 14 January 1883 Lily & the children went ashore to the new house. Aunt & Uncle following in the evening.
Monday 15 January 1883 Fetched our cabing luggage this morning. Very hot day. We have heat as much as 120. I am quite sunburnt. Fruit is very dear but good. Meat is cheap 2d a lb.
Tuesday 16 January 1883  
Wednesday 17 January 1883 Made arrangements to go to Timaru tomorrow 8 am express 114 miles up the country. They are giving 1/- an hour and food, promising 3 month's work. They have never known such a crop before.

The following is the number of crew, officers, etc - Captain, 3 mates, 4 middys, 14 able seamen, 2 ordinary, 2 stewards, cook and boy.

From photocopy of handwritten document, held by R L Hewett, Cheviot.

Updated: 11 November 2006
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