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Melhuish & Co., reg. Liverpool.



The Tyranny of Distance “The voyage of the Ann Holzberg as recounted in the Letters of Joseph Metcalf.” (Aboard were Edward Price Stretton, his sister Elizabeth and his mother's relatives Joseph and Elizabeth Storer).... The long voyage from England to Australia began at half past the hour of four in the afternoon, on Wednesday 4th May 1853 at the port city of Liverpool. It would end a little over three months later at 6 o’clock in the afternoon of 15th August 1853 at Port Adelaide, South Australia. The Ann Holzberg was taken out of Liverpool harbor by tug after a church service where all prayed for a safe passage. Twenty miles out of port the tug and emigrant ship parted company. By the end of the following day the Ann Holzberg, aided by a slight breeze sailed beyond Cape Clear, on the southern tip of Ireland. The seas were kind for the first few days of the voyage but as they sailed into the open seas off the Bay of Biscay the sea rolls became very heavy and many passengers succumbed to sea-sickness. Monday saw the ship sailing beyond Cape Finisterre on the northern Spanish coast. Up until then she had been sailing under full sail but on Thursday reports began to filter down to the passengers that the crew were reefing sails in expectation of a gale heading their way. The seas grew in size during the night and became rough but the night passed without incident. By Sunday the weather had turned pleasant, if a little hot, and the passengers gazed on the splendid heights of Tenerife as they sailed past the Canary Islands off Africa’s North-West Coast. The passengers and crew spent the following week sailing down the coast of Africa in oppressive heat that reached 130 degree Fahrenheit. For many, the highlight of that week was their first glimpse of flying fish and porpoises. Sunday saw the Ann Holzberg sail beyond the Cape Verde Islands, off the coast of Senegal. On Monday the weather changed for the worse and that night it poured with rain and lightning streaked across the black night sky as the crew ran about the deck shouting amidst claps of heavy thunder. Incredibly, for the next few days they were becalmed in oppressive heat and were forced to tack. They were now three hundred miles north of the Equator. On Thursday a seven foot shark was caught and was eaten for dinner by some of the passengers. Also that day they passed a German ship that had been dismasted. The following day was spent in company with the “Catherine Glen” from Glasgow. They did not make contact but singing could be heard coming from the Scottish ship. Another week passed in the stifling heat of the day, but the coolness of the nights gave the passengers some respite. Then on Tuesday the weather began to turn. It poured with rain for an hour then stopped, followed by another downpour, it continued like that for most of the day. The next day the Ann Holzberg finally crossed the line. A sailor dressed as Neptune with a long beard and wig appeared on deck accompanied by another dressed as his wife in a bonnet and another dressed for all intents and purposes as an elephant. A cask of burning tar was cast into the sea while the troop strolled around the deck. By Saturday they were making good progress and everybody’s mood improved. Far to the west they could see the coastline of Brazil and were buoyed by the thought that soon they would be approaching the Cape of Good Hope. That night the seas became very rough and at one stage it appeared that the ship was certain to roll over but luckily she righted herself. For the next two days the ship was battered by ferocious seas. The ship was traveling at a good rate now and they passed two American ships from the East Indies and another English ship. The water on board the ship was starting to go bad and had to be put through a filter before it was fit to drink. The weather was starting to turn colder and by Wednesday they calculated that they were about 300 miles from the Cape. On Sunday the ship recorded a christening, a little girl who was named Ann Holzberg Smith. Two days later the first death of the voyage occurred, a two year old died at noon and was buried at seven that afternoon. The sailors all dressed up and the flag was lowered to half-mast as the tiny body was committed to the deep. On Wednesday the ship was becalmed, the crew caught a shark and the passengers marveled at the sight of their first whale spouting water. Monday saw the seas becoming rough and a number of passengers tumbled about. It turned cold and violent winds and rough seas battered the ship. The wild weather continued for a week and tragically on the Wednesday a sailor fell from the main-top mast and although alive he was in a very bad way. Sunday saw the Ann Holzberg rounding the Cape, six hundred miles out to sea with enormous rolling waves. By Thursday they had well and truly passed the Cape and were traveling at about 15 knots. Friday. The sailor who fell from the mast died from his injuries. He never spoke and was buried at four in the afternoon; the Captain was extremely upset. The next day it began to hail and snow, the seas reached enormous heights but no damage was sustained. The first few days of the week were relatively calm but on Thursday night the passengers and crew endured their roughest night of the voyage. The passengers heard a tremendous crash and there were some who may have thought they were doomed, but they survived the night relatively unscathed. The next Thursday as the ship was nearing the end of its journey in the southern ocean off the coast of South Australia it recorded its third death, a woman dying during childbirth, leaving a husband and seven children; all on board. The next days were spent on the lookout for land. Suddenly rocks appeared and the Captain turned the ship sharply out to sea again. Land was spotted on Saturday but the ship had to tack away. On Monday afternoon at 6p.m. the ship cast anchor 2 miles off shore from Port Adelaide. Edward Price Stretton and his sister Elizabeth stepped ashore with all the aspirations and hopes of the young in a brave new world.

my relatives also arrived in South Australia aboard the Ann Holzberg. They were listed as 6 people named Backerfield (it should be Buckerfield). A child was born during the voyage and the family named him Harris Holzberg Buckerfield after the ship and it's captain (Harris)

Interesting read I am a great great great grandson of George Payne who lost his wife Elizabeth in child birth.

Edited extracts from the book ‘The Paynes in Australia’ contributed by G. Keith Payne, one of George Payne’s Great, Great, Grandsons. George Payne, his wife Elizabeth (Annie) and their seven children - Frederick John (Fred), George Arthur (Arthur), Anne Marie, Joseph Henry, Jane Susannah (Susan), Charles Edwin and Alfred Edward, boarded the barque "Ann Holzberg’ in 1853 to journey to Australia. The voyage from England to Australia took several months; however, while at sea a tragedy struck the family. ‘Annie’ became ill and died when they were within sight of Kangaroo Island, off the coast of South Australia, not far from their destination. She was apparently in late pregnancy and died during childbirth. It must have been a bitter blow for George and his family to lose his wife and their mother at the start of their new life. George and seven children aged between two and eighteen arrived on 15th August 1853, with all the agricultural implements and furniture deemed necessary to establish and develop their new property. George took up residence on his 80 acre block south of North Rhine (now Keyneton), which was to be his home until his death in 1889. By 1865 the land is described as "pasture, vineyard and house". Although the Keyneton area was good land, the holdings were small and the area was well developed by the 1860's, tightly held and expensive as a consequence. The prospects for George’s sons were not good if they were to farm on their own account, so Frederick and George the younger took up their first tentative lease on the Murray Plains around Rhine Villa (now Cambrai). Charles leased a large scrub block and a small "home" block in the Hundred of Bagot, later to be purchased. Alfred took up land further south in the Hundred of Angas. Both Anne Marie and Jane Susannah had married and left Keyneton by this time. Joseph Henry died of typhoid at the age of 24, unmarried. Until they became established, the sons rode out to the scrub blocks on the Plains, camping from Monday to Saturday, and according to family tradition, probably followed a track along Pine Hut Creek to the plains. Here they laboured at the extremely difficult task of clearing the mallee scrub sufficiently to enable some pasture growth for grazing as a first stage of its development. Eventually, they were successful farmers in the area for many years. The many descendants of George Payne are now scattered far and wide, but most pay tribute to ancestor George for his decision to emigrate to Australia.

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