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Blog 187 - Emigrating to Australia,1967 35 days at sea aboard the SS Fairsky, a Retrospective Look

Updated: Dec 9, 2022

Created by KeefH Web Designs, December 2nd, 2022, 17.31 PM

A KeefH Web Designs Travel Blog

Genealogy Trip No 1 & Not the Motorhome trip No 20: July 7th, 1967 – August 10th, 1967


This is a very retrospective blog, during the winter months of November and December 2022 I decided to translate the many of the handwritten diaries we hold in our Family Tree data to supplement our Genealogy info featured here under the Family tab, good website design, backing up audiobooks, videos and slideshow with text.


  1. Diary

  2. Audiobook

  3. Video with audiobook overlay showing relevant ships, voyages, and images from places visited, created via Clipchamp by KeefH Web Designs

  4. Trailer


Blog 187 will tell the story of Annie's family travels to Oz
Blog 187 will tell the story of Annie's family travels to Oz

Diary of sea voyage to Australia 1967, 7th July to 10th August, by the Jones family written by Jean Jones, with some contributions by Wilfrid which have been highlighted when it is his piece. I have added some 2022 observations to translate where necessary on odd occasions, the world has moved on.

2022 Summary of ports and journey at sea. Southampton 6th July 1967, 5 days at sea, Las Palmas, Gran Canaria 10th July 1967 , 11 days at sea, Cape Town , South Africa 21st July 1967, 13 days at sea, Fremantle (Freo), Western Australia, 3rd August 1967, 4 days at sea across the Great Australian Bight, Melbourne, Victoria, 8th August 1967, 1 day at sea, Bass Straits, Sydney, New South Wales, 10th August 1967, 35 days on the Fairsky in total, distance being from Southampton to Sydney is 10631 miles / 17108.94 km / 9238.08 nautical miles , so in ship terms that is an average of approximately 260 nautical miles travelled per day.

For many days it sounded like a tale of continuous sea sickness, do hope others didn’t feel that way?

Wednesday 5th July 1967 Taxi from sister house to station. 12.36 train from Preston to Euston, all luggage aboard, I hope. The train arrived at Euston at 4 p.m. We stayed at Steve’s hotel which was a very poor place , its address was 23 Lower Marsh, Waterloo, London Southeast 1, and its phone number was Waterloo 3534

Wilfrid wrote this bit in the diary. The Fair sky is 500 feet long, 75 feet wide. It was built in 1942 as an aircraft carrier and rebuilt in 1954 as a passenger carrier.

Jean then wrote this. Thursday 6th July 1967. We departed Waterloo hotel at 8.47 a.m. and arrived at Southampton at 11 am. There were long queues which was exhausting. After going through emigration, we boarded the Fair sky at Southampton docks. We were in cabins 178 and 180 on A deck. We were allocated deckchairs B234 and B34 (2022 whatever that means?) It was very sad to see all the relatives dock side that were left behind, many weeping. Lots of streamers were thrown and departure music played very loudly. It was all very moving. The weather was bright. All crew members seemed to be Italian as witnessed by many people asking “where is it?” and getting the response “sorry I no speak English”. It was a very clean ship. I saw the ships pilot transfer and waved to him, all very exciting. The ship sailed late at 2.50 p.m. There was a mistake by Bonners (2022 presumably the agent the tickets were booked with?) and we had to pay an extra £32. We found there was no luggage in the cabins , absolute chaos everywhere. We then had to queue for table bookings, everyone was tired and had sore feet. There seemed to be a total lack of organisation. There were telegrams and letters of good wishes for us. Lunch in the dining room was soup followed by steak and vegetables and ice cream for pudding. From the deck there were lovely views of Southampton, the water and then the Isle of Wight and the Needles. Goodbye England. Dinner in the evening was excellent, soup, fish, chicken wing, spinach, sponge pudding and sauce.

Friday 7th July 1967. Woke at 5 am and started writing this diary. The ship had more movement now, we were in the Bay of Biscay, but thankfully no one was seasick yet. The children and I are in a 4-berth cabin and Wilfrid is with 3 other men, leaving all his clothes here in our cabin. There are 4 hanging cupboards, 4 chest of drawers, 4 wash basins which were all very clean, 2 blankets and coverlets on each bed. Our steward was Italian and could not speak English. Meals today on table 29 and then table 9 Brian had booked early. Breakfast was from 7-9 am, Luncheon 10.30-11.30 am, Tea 3.30-4.30 pm and finally dinner 5.30-6.30 pm. Some of what we had was cheese & biscuits and apple and coffee. (2022 it is not clear from the diary which meal but guess dinner?). I was feeling better today but my leg was still painful and swollen. Wilfrid and I went to the cinema in the evening to see Colour, we didn’t see it through. We did more searches for luggage, by 10 pm everything was now here. Some things were smashed but the goods were safe thank goodness. So, to the details of meals. Breakfast juice, poached egg. I was sick slightly, 10 minutes earlier. So, we all took a sea sickness pill at 10 am. We walked around deck and focused on the horizon. Brian looked at ships through his telescope. It was fairly bright today weather wise, but the sea became choppier. Lunch Anne missed this as felt sick. It was soup, Russian salad with mayonnaise, beef burgers, cauliflower, potatoes then ice cream with nuts, fruit in jelly and cheese if you wanted it. We then rested in our bunks. There was a fire drill at 4.40 pm. 7 short blasts followed by 1 long blast on the whistle. Initially instructed in Dining room A and then assembly by lifeboats 10-14a. All very exciting. Man overboard is 1 long blast. Fire on board is 2 long blasts. We then changed into thinner dresses and went to the lounge and rested. Wrote postcards and listened to a very dull quartet. Shades of Max Jaffa. Dinner was a very grand sounding menu. Soup, chicken, cod fish with potatoes, Pork , apple, carrots, peas, potatoes followed by cheese and biscuits. Strawberry tart with ice cream. Cinema in the evening, which children were not allowed at was a comedy, we then went to bed early.

Saturday 8th July 1967. Facts by Wilfrid, the clocks were retarded by 1/2 an hour. The distance from the Needles was now 323 miles in 18 hours (6.46 longitude) We get news sheets each day which show the activities of the day. The clock going back ½ hour will happen frequently on a Saturday night. Saturday’s speed was 17.5 knots. 1st day travel 340 miles, 2nd 432 miles, 3rd 435 miles more to follow hopefully.

Woken at 7 am by Wilfrid, I had been awake earlier at 3 and 5. We booked the deck chairs after breakfast and the Las Palmas tour. More queues, it cost 25 shillings each (equivalent in 2022 would be £18.20 each i.e., £91 for the whole family). Deck chairs were £1 each for the whole trip, not bad. We secured 2 deck chairs. Meeting at 10 am, briefing by female members of the crew, there were 3 of them the only name I caught was Mrs. Cooper. Lunch was excellent as usual. Afternoon we used the deck chairs, it turned very warm, then had a bath and changed for dinner. The children bathed in the pool, had showers, and changed. We saw a ship on route to New York all lit up. Dance in the evening, we watched for a while. The lounge was decorated with soft lighting.

Sunday 9th July 1967. Breakfast 7.15 am, then writing in the room. For dining always queues if as late as 8.30 am. We have avoided this so far. Our deck chairs are near the swimming pool which is good for children but tending to get smuts (2022 presumably from ships funnel?) so we moved our chairs, but the Steward was after us. Now in the lounge for lunch. Had dinner then went to the pictures, the children are not allowed, although for the second time I went “Frankie” Stephen Boyd to bed, they don’t make the arrangements clear. (2022 will assume some form of rhyming slang for getting annoyed but don’t know what).

Monday 10th July 1967. Las Palmas, Spanish city, and capital of Gran Canaria. 6am. Rose at 5 am, dressed quickly and went on deck, it was dark, but Las Palmas was all lit up. The lighthouse to guide us in was flashing. All very exciting. At breakfast had a chat with an aussie from Brisbane. He said that we were going to the best place of the lot to live in i.e., Sydney. The next bit was written by Wilfrid. The ship tied up at 7.03 am and we left on the conducted tour at 7.40 am. £1 5 shillings each. It was in a Commer van (2022 hopefully not the current day white van man variety). The quay side was 1 mile long. In Las Palmas there were cave dwellers. The ground was dry everywhere, boulders and gravel. All gardens need constant watering. Palm trees and flowering shrubs, lots of geraniums. Saw the cathedral, dark dismal grey stone. Most buildings were khaki coloured. Saw some nice flats. Bought bed spread £5 (2022 would now be a price of £73). Our tour guide could speak English. Bought 4 post cards, saw small brooch plus a lovely painting , oil on water of the bay, plus one of the roads done in oil. Got back to the ship at 11.10 am. Cheap shacks all along the quay selling unusual items including binoculars and bedspreads, some interesting transactions. Saw several ships coming into the harbour. Very busy roads. Left Las Palmas at 4.30 pm. The hooter frightened us as we were on the top deck. The sea became rough after leaving Las Palmas , no sun and overcast all the time. Now back to Jean’s words. “Música” we were piped on in great style. Saw captain on the bridge , ordering gang plank up. Jean’s next words are about the visit to Las Palmas, just written in a different order. A girl in national costume presented me with a carnation, to be paid for naturally! There was a large hotel with attractive gardens with palms and brightly coloured flowers. Lots of cottage industry shops. We saw the museum. Columbus and ancient mariners’ instruments. Many courtyards with interesting views, 2 parrots, old well that Columbus is reputed to have drunk from, models of ships, manuscripts, etc. Lovely flowers on the island, lots of geraniums, hibiscus. Now text switches back to being on the ship having left Las Palmas. Sat in lounge, had Australian wine, horse racing game soon, Anne and Margaret played cards, we listened to the music, then retired to bed, the sea was fairly rough.

Tuesday 11th July 1967 Breakfast 7am, porridge, bacon, and egg for me. Talked with woman who was going out to Queensland. She described the lovely, coloured birds and the noisy Kookaburras in the morning. I hung the washing out on the last available line. Enrolled Brian at school on B deck. None were available for the girls. Wilfrid filled in more forms and had them checked. Documents of identity and to let us know we will be in the State queue at Sydney. Sitting on the deck with all the bare bodies, mine only partially. Had lunch. More sunning , washed my hair and the children’s, ironed, hung up more washing in the cabin then played deck quoits. Dinner was soup, fish, chicken etc (the usual) apple pie, cheese, and biscuits. Wilfrid played shuffleboard with the children. Went to the Beethoven concert at 9.30 pm. I heard that some washing had been stolen. Now off the coast of Africa, gold coast. (2022 now Ghana)

Thursday 13th July 1967 After breakfast Anne went to bed because she was feeling slightly sick. I felt heavy too and the weather was oppressive. Had a game of hoop-la with Margaret and Wilfrid. I did rather well. Still off the Gold Coast of Africa, the air feels steamy hot. Treasure hunt at 4 pm. But I felt rather poorly and tired so lay on my bunk and dozed off. Not too well at dinner either. Took sickness pills and recovered a little. At 9 pm we walked round the deck. So warm no cardigans needed. Deck officer doing his rounds again. Took Anne and Margaret to the lido bar where a teenage dance to hi-fi music was on (2022 you ravers you , ha-ha clubbing at a tender age). Watched for a short time, the music was so loud. I peeped in at the pirate’s dance. All decorated very nicely, people dressed up in pirates gear, very picturesque. The people who had found keys had to try and open the chests with the doubloons in. The winner found carrots, cabbage, and a bottle of rum. Ships officers all standing at the back. Very handsome well-built chaps (2022 naughty, naughty ha-ha). Talked to old lady of 70 (2022 70 is the new 21 #fact) from Newcastle going to Sydney to stay with her married daughter. She said it was lovely out there. We have been making slow progress because of the fairy strong winds coming towards us. Commentary by Wilfrid. South easterlies only did 411 miles today because of winds and current. 17 knots, 150 miles off the African coast.

Friday 14th July 1967 Newssheet. Brian goes to school at 9.15 am. The girls, Wilfrid, and I on the sun deck. Very strong winds today made things unpleasant so didn’t stay long. Also, very cloudy. Felt much better today. Ironer 2 sheets after lunch. Had a game of cheat with Anne, Margaret, and Wilfrid in the main lounge. Snoozed a bit then had tea and biscuits in the dining room. Lifeboat drill at 4.40 pm. Which was the same as before (2022 repetition makes perfect!) in dining room A. Brian had been playing bingo in the cinema. 404 miles so far today. We then went and sat on the sun deck. Girls went to see the same film as us tonight, an Australian film, we sat in the lounge, then table tennis just before dinner, so had to rush to get dressed.

Saturday 15th July 1967 Breakfast then games deck, had a game of table tennis. Our waiter is Franco Castanio who comes from Northern Italy. Very handsome, pleasant and we are lucky as some are a little surly. Sat on the sundeck after lunch, very hot but windy. Wilfrid’s legs got over cooked. Children saw “Crossing the Line” ceremony. Wilfrid and I “rested”. We crossed the equator at 5 am. Marvellous dinner, lobster, turkey, Alaska cake bought in procession in darkness all lit up (2022 a process still enacted on cruises to this day). We all applauded then the chief chef and his staff marched around to further applause. The Alaska cake was light sponge with ice cream and meringue on top, we also had Italian wine. We all got certificates, proving we had crossed the line. We had travelled 408 miles today upto 12 noon. (2022 so probably a good length travelled by the end of the day, maybe a record?) Boeing-Boeing at the cinema, mildly amusing. Dressed up in lace dress and a good thing too as the photographer took us all sitting at the table. We looked in at the dance, rather hot and crowded so we went to bed.

Sunday 16th July 1967 Woke feeling rather poorly, had breakfast but still no better, shivery and headache. Either lobster or too much sun the day before. Went to bed after breakfast but got up, as we had booked to go on the bridge. A nice young officer spent 30 minutes showing us all the instruments. Most interesting. The radar was not working as there was perfect visibility today. Next bit by Wilfrid. Mostly British instruments, Decca, and Marconi. (2022 learnt something today, I had naively assumed they were Italian) Saw control of fire doors and inclinometer, 20-degree roll in the Australian Bight last year apparently. There was a chart table with 100 flags for signals. Next bit is by Jean. The quarter master was at the wheel. All senior officers do 4 hours on, 4 hours off in charge of the bridge. The young man apologised for his English. We assured him it was excellent. I again felt very poorly after lunch so had a sleep after washing, ironing and hair washing. I had some nice new nail varnish, crystalline oyster pink. Had dinner, very little, stormy at sea, saw the sun setting, lovely pinks until obliterated by the black clouds. Wanted to see the film at 9.30 pm but too poorly, head aches and shivers.

Monday 17th July 1967 401 miles up to mid-day. Felt better, but severe back ache first thing. Breakfast 7.15 am , early as usual. Then games deck after ironing done. Watched a game of shuffleboard in a tournament. Wilfrid asked to take score. Showed Brian’s friend Ronald Mitchell (2022 do you remember him, Brian?) my coins. He showed me his as well. His father is a farmer in Queensland, mainly bananas, we then swapped coins which was to his advantage value wise. We 3 played cards then more boys arrived, so broke it up as it was getting noisy. After dinner saw and Australian film on the steel town of Newcastle. Some shots of radiant migrants in lovely homes who had made good. Then a film on decimal currency and trains right across Australia (2022 Annie has now travelled both the Ghan & Indian Pacific, well parts of their journey at least). Then to bed

Tuesday 18th July 1967 Felt heavy on awakening but first reasonable sleep of voyage, so cold outside that everyone was in the lounge playing cards, draughts (2022 somewhat appropriate ha-ha) and chess. A few brave souls out competing in shuffleboard, hoopla and deck quoits. A blast of cold air every time the door to the deck quoits was opened. Sewed my dress after lunch, shortened it. In the morning had a very interesting talk with an elderly couple who have lived in Sydney for 16 years. They say it is the land of opportunity and very beautiful. They didn’t enjoy their holiday in England, he caught flu. In the evening it was a French film with Jean Seberg and Stanley Baker etc. (2022 In the French Style, a romance). I rather liked it; Wilfrid thought it slow.

Wednesday 19th July 1967 Games deck, Wilfrid didn’t feel like taking part in a team. Lunch then bath and rest. Reading in the bunk. Brian won a prize at bingo, well done, then dinner. It was a rather dull day, very blowy and the deck was cold. In the evening there was a film on Melbourne and one called “the way we live”. Most interesting showing how immigrant families from rent to their own homes, with all the gadgets. No details on finance or lists of housing, naturally! French’s Forest too.

Thursday 20th July 1967 Felt very tired and not too well so Anne, Margaret and I stayed in bed and regretted it later as felt rather sick. Weather and sea quite rough. Had lunch and retired to bed again, slight diarrhoea (2022 sorry I’m just a transcriber here #smile) not sea sickness. The girls bathed and sat on the sun deck for 20 minutes. Saw 2 albatross gliding in the slip stream. A fine night, their flight is supposed to be unlucky! Strangely enough Wilfrid had heard of a death on board. Wilfrid slept until 4.30 . I felt much better after a good blow. The sea looked very silvery with the sun shining on it, but a storm quickly blew up and it rained a little, our first. Sat in the lounge in the evening and played cards. Wilfrid saw a film again. I stayed in so that the girls could see the horse race. A man sitting next to us won 7 shillings, but it cost 2 shillings to enter. (2022 so todays equivalent would be £5 winnings, £2 to enter, not cheap). Had lemon drink as felt poorly and so tired. Went to bed but still rough so little sleep.

Friday 21st July 1967 Woke at 7 am not feeling too grand, rather washed out. Toast and tea for breakfast. After lunch we went on the sun deck and had a marvellous view of the mountains as we approached Cape Town. Most spectacular. Table mountain seen very clearly as there was no mist. Queues to get off, packed like sardines, not for us, not again. We waited and had hot lemon drink. Eventually got off at 3.50 pm. Not too far to the shops from docks. Black Africans sitting around the docks waiting for work. No smiles. Across railway line, no crossing. Black children selling newspapers with bare feet. (2022 sadly probably evidence of this to this day) Cape Town nestles under the mountains. Very sheltered and surprisingly clean, with splendid wide streets and pavements and fine buildings. Good shops, every luxury here. All the whites look prosperous, and we are amazed at the large number of expensive cars. Traffic was very fast, and you have to watch you don’t get run over. Went in a cheap store but only bought sweets, cotton reels and post cards. As we had picked up a map and been told of the Botanical Gardens at the top of the street, I sent back Brian to collect Wilfrid, who said he couldn’t walk, to tell him to struggle on a bit further and rest in the park. We had left him behind beforehand. Light failing already so we had to speed up and find him. Lovely afternoon, warm sunshine and this is their winter. Flowers blooming and a very pleasant park. Very tame grey squirrels who went right up to the children. Gorgeous orchids and lilies in the hot house. Statue of Smuts and a large cannon. (2022 Jan Smuts, significant South African who served in the Boer War & was a British General in World War 1). Parliament house, museums and art galleries were near the park. Pity we didn’t have time to take the mountain lift up to table mountain as perfect visibility. 4 pm had a roll and Danish pastry and pot of tea at the Harlequin restaurant. Half the ship turned up too. Only grand restaurants for 6 course dinners were open which we and many others did not want. Nice to have a pot of tea after the terrible ship tea. Always with dried milk or something. Restaurant used tea bags of course but very good. Gentleman opposite had huge helping of steak and salad, so he offered some to Anne and Brian, which they reluctantly took. He aired his views on Apartheid , naturally I disagreed. He said he respected the British, asked why we were going to Australia when South Africa could do with “people like us”, I said I couldn’t live in a country where even the air is permeated with Apartheid. He then said that the British didn’t understand things and that the coloureds are happy and a lot was being done for them, He was a Boer with a typical accent. I didn’t ram all my views home much as I would have liked. When strolling around later , accosted by an elderly black woman with sad story, I said sorry we are also poor. Little black boys playing in the street, rushing to direct cars into spaces, hoping for tips (2022 sod sad , well-done Jean for standing up to the Boer, luckily things have moved on a bit nowadays, but one can always argue not enough). 4 fierce Alsatians inside new cars. Leaping up ferociously as each black person passed and taunted them. Too tired to do more so back to the ship. Marvellous to see Cape Town lit up at night. A beautiful sight. Strange to see the car lights going up the mountain side. Notes. Bus conductors look like army men. Uniforms apparently military style to impress the blacks. 1 rand is roughly 10 shillings (2022 value would be £7.50p) Wilfrid went up at 1 am to see the ship leave. Very cold in the evening after a warm bright day. Envious glances at my warm nylon coat. The Morecambe lady had bought chiefly thin things.

Saturday 22nd July 1967 Last of Africa 10.30 am, very mountainous. Margaret has loose tooth. Sea getting very rough and cold. Everyone with warm clothes on. I have caught Anne’s cold and sore throat. Sat on games deck in the afternoon and played shuffleboard but not feeling good. Film in the evening billed as comedy!!! About the trials and tribulations of young love and parents’ marital problems. Perhaps educational to Anne and Margaret (2022 was it ladies? #smile )

Sunday 23rd July 1967 A very rough night up at 2 and 4 am. Couldn’t face breakfast. Rolls bought down for me and then bought up, Joke!!! Ship rolling and pitching quite severely. Ate biscuits in the afternoon, felt very ill, could keep nothing down. Felt deathly and worse acute back ache. I had nothing to eat all day. Lots of people on the ship were ill. All entertainment was postponed. Some doors to the decks were locked due to the strong winds. A bad bad day. Know what it feels like to feel like death. Children washed some clothes as I felt too ill.

Monday 24th July 1967 Felt very week and poorly. Ate piece of toast which tasted leathery and ghastly but felt must make some effort. Anne and Margaret did a little ironing. We all sat on deck; it was blustery but not quite as cold. Felt a shade better in the air. Had a lemon drink as did Anne & Margaret. Salt all over the decks from the spray. Ate a very small lunch, sat in the lounge. Young woman behaving very oddly, she had been tested mental in England whilst on holiday (2022 wonder what this means, maybe Epileptic and / or psychotic not sure we will know as not there, wonder if you siblings remember?). Anne’s cold very severe, Margaret has tummy ache, half or more of the passengers have suffered from bouts of diarrhoea (2022 observation, maybe food poisoning?). Lots of people looking vey ill and wan, so I was not alone in my sufferings. Back ached terribly. Hope it isn’t my kidneys. Frightening thought. Hemmed up the girls’ dresses but felt coma like so retired to the cabin and had a nap. Went up to dinner. Still no appetite but ate a little to keep up my strength. Walked up and down with Wilfrid in the evening. Very few ere out as it was dark and blustery. However, felt better for the air and exercise. Turned out of lounge as being decorated for a dance. Wrote diary until Australian films , about Melbourne, come on at 9.30 pm. Eyes very heavy but feeling a bit better. Hope I can sleep. Everything shakes and rattles all night. People wishing the voyage was over. Until Thursday we have been on the seas 3 weeks with 2 more still to go, it is 4900 miles from Cape Town to Freemantle. (2022 i.e., by Thursday 27th July at sea 3 weeks) Glad it seems not quite so cold and miserable. Amazed at such conditions when we were near the equator.

Tuesday 25th July 1967 Joined ship’s library. A good night for me!!! Sat out on a seat until the lounge opens at 10 am. Rather cold and blustery. Played lexicon with Brian, Ron, and Michael. Felt more like myself. Went up to the games deck. Just started raining. On the way back down my skirt went up like an umbrella, much to the delight of 3 sailors on the boat deck who broke into song. Had tea with pleasant lady from Queensland, and a clergyman in mufti, as I learnt later. Went to slides on hostels afternoon at 4 PM. Arizona raiders in the evening.

Wednesday 26th July 1967 Felt rotten, missed breakfast , fed little. Very poor night, hardly slept at all, mainly a digestive upset, had hot lemon drink and felt a bit better. Sat on deck and the air revived me a little but felt very fragile. Met Mr & Mrs Mitchell (banana growers from before) in the foyer. Washed hairs, cut fringes and curled girl’s hair (2022 bet you enjoyed that ladies #smile ships pudding basins maybe?) They both looked much better. Margaret and Anne did the ironing, I had a bath. We went to the Australian films, very good. Investments in New South Wales also showed the shores and Bondi beach lifesavers. The cinema was packed. We are now 450 miles south of Madagascar.

Thursday 27th July 1967 Now been at sea 3 weeks. Slept from 12 midnight to 5 am. Breakfasted at 7 am with young person from Melbourne. Had interesting conversation. He had been staying at the St Augustine’s college in Canterbury. Wrote letters to Mr W and Hilda (2022, do we know who they were?) Margaret and Wilfrid also joined the library. Cost was 10 shillings which was refundable (2022 £7.50 in todays money). Very rough outside, doors locked on one deck, as sea spray blown right across. Lunch was fun with plates and glasses all over the place. One or two crashes. Lounge again reading, it’s the smoothest place on the ship. Then washed and ironed. Now south of Mauritius island , a British possession, by mid-day. Dinner still sliding about. Good thing we have a high ridge edge on our tables. The Roman night was cancelled due to rough weather.

Friday 28th July 1967 Missed breakfast as had a poor night. Had a good blow on deck after changing library book. Vicar spoke to me. Children’s fancy dress party. Marvellous costumes, Brian as Sir Francis Chichester.

Saturday 29th July 1967 Brian had present at 9 am, a toy rifle. Slept in afternoon. Film in the evening on Hobart, fishing and cars. Looked in on Roman entertainment, couldn’t see properly as so crowded. Some of the costumes were very good. Had hot lemon then to bed.

Sunday 30th July 1967 Felt better, but weather very cold. Boiled egg for breakfast, not hot as usual. Talked to young man again who was going to Sydney. Not quite windy outside but chilly, wore fur coat. Played shuffleboard with Wilfrid and changed our books. Lunch, we didn’t like the olives (2022 shame one of our favourites) Afternoon read books, Wilfrid wrote letters for Sherrard’s news. Reverend Hatton spoke to us again, he made a point of seeing us. Are we interesting or souls to be saved? Had to fill in our customs forms. Spoke to Bournemouth couple and lady who lived in Johannesburg . Couple from Inn at Worplesdon (2022 village just north of Guildford Surrey) , yarned about Mayford (2022 village near Woking) and inhabitants, a small world! Then talk and slides on Adelaide and Canberra.

Monday 31st July 1967 Seas comparatively smooth today, 12.30pm noisy children in the next cabin banging and screaming. Filled in customs forms. Told about excess baggage charges, £4 10 shillings and scooter £15 7 shillings and 6 pence to be paid in Sydney (2022 a grand total in today’s money of about £310 , ouch!). Medical arms to be looked at on Wednesday. Fine of £10 for nonattendance with no good reason given , we will attend. (2022 £150 in today’s money). Looked for toolboxes, 2 more in hold, they have J on them (for Jones). 2 to 2.30 pm talk on baggage procedure in the baggage room. Needed for disembarkation. Film, the spy who came in from the cold, Richard Burton, I couldn‘t keep wake, too slow paced. Australian film on “Queensland and a spoonful of sugar” , Wilfrid went. Children in cabin next door kicking up, 12.30 pm still at it , again, I could shoot the parents.

Tuesday 1st August 1967 Poor night’s sleep, no breakfast, changed library book, rough seas. Had hair washed. Landfall and roaring 20s party cancelled due to rough seas. Woman fell off chair in the dining room. Glasses and plates hurling around. No dinner for me. Wednesday 2nd August 1967 Slept most of the morning. Ships photos reduced to 1 shilling from 3 shillings and 6 pence (2020 42% mark down, now £15 in today’s money from over £50, a bit steep in anyone’s book). Medical inspection today, only arms and hands. Lovely weather after lunch. Sat for an hour or so on deck. Fine blue skies but rained late in the day.

Thursday 3rd August 1967 Margaret felt sick and had to leave the dining room table, sadly diarrhoea. We all felt poorly after a very rough night so dozed again. Woke at 10.30 am when the ships engines wee reducing speed. A marvellous sight to see AUSTRALIA. A bright clear day, and good visibility. Saw tug leaving after dropping immigration officials and mail. Had lunch then we had our documents checked by the officials. We soon got through it as there were several men dealing with it. Fremantle, Western Australia. (2022 Connor’s landing) Waited on deck near gang plank. Wonderfully exciting and moving to see the large crowds waiting on the quay. Waving, calling and flag flying. Two gang planks moved in by cranes, very efficient. A fine ship terminal, clean and smart and very well organised. We changed some money and set off to see Fremantle. Left at 12.45 pm, ship is sailing at 5 pm (2022 so you didn’t get long, it’s such a lovely place). Didn’t go to Perth as time limited. We were agreeably surprised to find Fremantle clean with good wide pavements and pleasant shops. Two elegant churches, looking so English. The sun shone continuously but there was a chilly wind, just like a splendid spring day at home. I noticed the wide variety of fish in the shops. The large gum trees (eucalyptus) a fine tree with blossom still on it. Seats by fountain, and in the shopping precincts. Coles an excellent clean store, better than Woolworths. Had tea with real milk and in teapots! Also scones and Wilfrid had an apple pie. Very good and reasonable. Noticed a real bush type with the Aussie hat, also a very bandy tall man. Must have been riding all his life. Pleasant girls in shops. The Woolworth’s girls asked us where we were going. Said her mother had sponsored two British families. Felt very tired but such an enjoyable and interesting outing. Toilets cost 5 cents. Got back to the terminal at 16.40 pm. Loudspeakers were asking us all to return to the ship. Streamers thrown, crowds again waving and cheering. Two people missed the boat. We leave punctually to catch the tideway. Heard the ships music again. All very, very splendid. We were immensely cheered to find Australia at our first glimpse to be friendly and pleasant. We all stayed on the top deck to get a last look at the land. Went to pictures with Anne. First men on the moon film, ideal for children.

Friday 4th August 1967 Woke early as boat rocking violently. Turned the southernmost point of Australia at 4 am. (2022 Albany and into the Great Australian Bight) Crockery rolling about at breakfast. Had to hang onto table to prevent chairs going over. Very rough seas. Sat in reading room, changed library books. My diarrhoea worse! Feel and look very groggy. Dozed and read all afternoon and evening, no dinner for me.

Saturday 5th August 1967 Quieter night, toilet at 3 am but slept a bit better. Brian given certificate for satisfactory attendance at school. Still had porridge for breakfast but no lunch. I look ghastly. Black shadows under my eyes. Children did some ironing. I let “Fred” Antonio do the cabin then crawled back into bed again. I feel poor, headache and wrote diary in the afternoon. Went to dinner then to bed. Our waiter is Italian, Franco Castanio. Sunday 6th August 1967 Breakfast 7.30 am. Sat on deck, changed book. Talked to Australian in the lounge from Brisbane. Learned a lot from him. He is in the railways. Lunch learnt that the mental young woman was in the sick bay. Packed some clothes, what a rotten job. Hung wet clothes in Wilfrid’s cabin. Farewell dinner, turkey etc, wines, singalong, poor show! Bed , read

Monday 7th August 1967 Breakfast. Should arrive in Melbourne, 2.30 am. On the 8th Changed money, got a map. Commonwealth band, Mr Ryan very helpful and pleasant. Very dark and stormy today, rough seas. Visibility very bad. Glad of my fur coat. Played cards, bed. Couldn’t sleep, Noisy neighbours, shouting for Mrs McFee at 2.30 am over the tannoy, a relative on the quay. Doors banging , luggage being lifted by cranes. What a night!

Tuesday 8th August 1967 Melbourne docking at 2.30 am. Telegram received from Mr Hume & Mr Moon to say temporary address at Manly. Breakfast 7.15 am. Frisked for fruit. Dingy terminal at Melbourne compared to Fremantle. Port Melbourne station, Victorian trains, thick mist, cold, old fashioned main station, walked to the city centre (2022 Station Pier Melbourne Port is now classed as Heritage and Flinders Street station in the centre of Melbourne is definitely that, I suspect Melbourne has come on quite a way since we were there in 1960 and Annie’s family in 1967). We walked to the city centre, saw daffodils in flower and strawberries in the shops. Toilets 3 cents. Good shops and very busy. Not an attractive city in our opinion, not very clean. Had scones and a cup of tea. Good post office, modern, sent telegram. Walked over bridge above the River Yarra, looked rather muddy. Very fine park, but cold and miserable. Open concert hall being painted. Saw Government house. Had tram back to the centre , 49 cents for 2 stops (2022 £4.15 in today’s money). Good museum, gorgeous butterflies, interesting Australian animals, birds, snakes, aboriginal spears etc. More tea and sandwiches, Coles store well in evidence, better than Woolworths. Next bit by Wilfrid re Melbourne. We saw the Greek quarter, bought a waltzing Matilda cloth, very tired, rousing send off, large crowds, Jean chatted to a bank man on the top deck, he was apparently very nice.

Wednesday 9th August 1967 Had a reasonably good sleep, felt better, packed clothes, ironed everything, labelling, then lunch. New people joined the ship, approximately 250 from Melbourne. (2022 Presumably either going to Sydney or Brisbane or back to UK? Who knows) Viewed coast of Victoria, bright, excellent visibility, island, lighthouse (2022 wither King Island, Flinders Island or Tassie, but I doubt it was Tassie, its huge, just not sure where the Fairsky went around the coast, but definitely past Mallacoota.) Miles of deserted beaches and forest apparently! Washed everyone’s hair. Dinner, a woman was weeping. Cola colas. Early to bed, early to rise, we hope, should arrive in Sydney 7.30 am. Pilot point 5.30 am.

Thursday 10th August Hurray, final destination. Customs, Interview, and baggage check. Should meet Mr Hume & Mr Moon at 9 am. Magnificent view of Sydney and the heads , we were all up at dawn. The harbour looked magnificent, coloured roofs, houses decked on hill tops, a glorious technicolour world.




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Keef Hellinger
Keef Hellinger
02 dic 2022

needs indentation sorting

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