A Voyage to Australia: Private Journal of James Bell

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Media: BOOK - paperback, 222 pages
Author: J. Bell
Year: (1838-1839) 2011
ISBN: 9781742377957
Other: bibliog
Publisher: Allen & Unwin

On 19 November 1838 James Bell, then aged 21, set out in the sailing vessel the "Planter" from St Katharine Docks in London to travel to Adelaide, an infant colony half a world away and not yet two years old. He left behind family, good friends, and the mysterious "C.P.", a young woman with whom he hoped one day to be reunited.

The journey usually took 130 days, but due to the incompetence of the captain and the many misadventures encountered the "Planter" took almost six months to reach its destination (25 November 1838 to 15 May 1839). Along the way it lost crew, several passengers, and much livestock; it gained a new crew and at least one extra passenger.

The drunken brawls and licentious couplings on board James Bell who, to while away the time, penned a detailed account of all the comings and goings for the eyes of "C.P." only, sternly advising her that 'it must neve be read by a third party'.

Sustained by his sense of adventure, love of poetry, faith in his Presbyterianism God, nostalgic memories of rural Scotland and particularly by his affection for "C.P." , James Bell maintainted a vivid and astute record of his historic journey. His voice travels down to us, more than a century and a half later, and reminds us of the dangers and joys of such an adventurous leap into the unknown.

A note to the reader
Private journal of a voyage to Australia
Planter 1839 Passenger and Crew List

2 Reviews
  • Private Journal of James Bell - A Voyage to Australia

    Posted by Margaret Yates on 28th Jul 2021

    An enjoyable read, informative of the navigation of a slow vessel with a captain, crew and passengers who no doubt learnt a lot on this voyage, not just about others but about themselves. Also for me the font size made it more enjoyable.

  • An unbelievable journey

    Posted by Lee on 3rd Jun 2021

    Couldnt believe it was all true. Even if my relatives had not been on board I would have found it interesting.

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A Voyage to Australia: Private Journal of James Bell


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