I was assigned to write this last year as a History project. It's revised (sorta) and is based on the H.M.S. Buffalo.
July 22nd, Friday 1836
My name is Evalyn Ida Cooper. I am 14 years old and have grown up in London with my father who is an accountant. My mother died when I was two years old. Last year, father heard about the great voyages that take Free-Settlers to this wonderful place called the Great Southern Land. Father decided to take me to this place in hope of a happy life in the country.
Last night was my last night spent in London. I am glad to leave the crowded, dirty streets and harsh conditions that make up the cities of England. This morning, after a long, bumpy carriage ride, my father arrived at Plymouth, a docking station for the ships for the great voyages. Before boarding the massive hulk of the H.M.S Buffalo, my father went into the market and paid 4 shillings for a leather-bound journal and ink and pen so that I can record my journey to the Great Southern Land. We have been promised a cultivated land, free of convicts, poor and the sickly.
Last year, the Africaneset sail for the Great Southern Land, and it was a highly successful voyage. Father and I hope that this voyage is as wonderful as that one.
We have been allocated bunks below the waterline and it is disgusting. The rotten smell of the stinking hull of the ship almost made me faint! It is extremely crowded, because there are 173 other souls on this boat, ready to start a new life. I have heard that while we are crowded in a rotting hulk under the water, Captain John Hindmarsh have boarded with his wife into a luxurious cabin. At the moment, I can hear the cows and the pigs bustling about in their pens, and the stench is horrid, but I had better get used to it, for this is my home for the next 100 days. We are due to set sail tomorrow morning. It is exciting, starting a new life.
August 16th, Tuesday 1836
It is very crowded here on the Buffalo. There are one-hundred and seventy-eight other souls on board. The voyage has been very uneventful, apart from on the 28th of July, three couples were married on this boat! It was very exciting because I have never been to a wedding before.
A few weeks ago, I met this lovely young girl named Mary Johnson who has a bunk near to mine. We spend most of our free time talking about our families, likes and dislikes and hopes for when we reach the Great Southern Land, to keep our minds off the horrible conditions that we have to endure day after day. Mary wants to open a dress shop for the ladies of the town. I promised to visit that shop after father and I have found a house. All we have to eat is salted meat and weevilly biscuits. At night, water drips down from the wooden boards above our heads. The worst thing is hearing t young children cough every night due to whooping cough. It is horrible listening to them. Yesterday, a three year old boy died of whooping cough.
I pray that we reach the Great Southern Land safely, and we begin our new life confident, and with a smile. Help us over these great white-capped waves until this great storm is over.
September 24th Saturday 1836
I am scared. More people are dying, some people were thrown overboard when we passed through a hurricane near the equator called the 'Roaring Forties', and more cases of whooping cough and tuberculosis have been confirmed. Father isn't managing well. He has a continuing fever and constant nose-bleeds. Mary and I believe he has ague. Last night, I had a cough and rattly breathing. I hope it's just a cold; father can't afford to take in any more bad news.
help my father recover,
help us get to the Great Southern Land safely,
help Mary Johnson open her dress shop and give her good fortune
October 15th, Saturday 1836
It has happened. Just over a week ago, it was confirmed that I have tuberculosis. There is not much chance of surviving, even if I was in intensive care. Father doesn't know, the shock would kill him. So it is only Mary and I now, and she promises to stay by my side until the worst is over.
help me through my suffering
help my father get to the Great Southern Land safely
help me live through this treacherous voyage
give us hope
November 2nd, Wednesday 1836
It was my birthday yesterday. I turned 15. It is a shame that I don't get to celebrate with my father, but Mary gave me a new pot of ink to write with, for the one father bought me was running low. Being in the hospital ward all the time, I don't know of any events that have happened in the past two and a half months.
Four months into this journey and I feel cheated. The conditions are no way near as nice as they advertised, and I could have had a wonderful life back home with father. Now I'll never see him again.
I had better go; the doctor is coming to check my condition.
November 18th, Friday 1836
I know I am dying. The doctors won't say anything, apart from ordering me to keep to bed. I shall never see the Great Southern Land and never live to be older than 15. Mary is by my side day and night, through my moaning, coughing and wheezing. She is the best friend I could ever have.
It is a hard blow to take, knowing that I am going to die, but I seem calmer than I would have thought. I don't feel particularly sad; it's like a dream that I will never wake up from. Everything is hazy and days go by in a blur. This is it.
If I can't write again,
Evalyn Cooper- signing off
November 19th, Saturday 1836
This is Mary Johnson. Evalyn asked me to finish her journal for her after she died. She died in her sleep, and I will miss her terribly after we reach the Great Southern Land. After reading previous entries, I realized that Evalyn never wrote about what she wanted to do after she reached the Great Southern Land. She wanted to be a doctor. It is a cruel twist of fate that took her away.
She was such a lovely girl, always thinking of her poor father.
The sun is setting over the dark waters. We reach the Great Southern Land in about a month, where we will start our new lives. I will work hard there as a tribute to my dear friend.
The poor girl.
December 28th, Wednesday 1836
The buffalo has finally reached the Great Southern Land. 158 days of travelling for this? It is only swamp land, and the 'city' is no more than a few tents. It was not worth Evalyn dying for. As we waded through the swampland, our clothes and shoes got so muddy, that I could feel the squelching between my toes. But I will work my fair share to ensure that this city of Adelaide is successful, and I do get to open my dress shop. With that, I complete the journal of my friend about the voyage of the H.M.S Buffalo