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Black Ball Line

The "Eagle" was a wooden 3 masted square rigged sailing ship, of 1065 tons, built in 1851 in St.John, New Brunswick, Canada. In the Lloyd's Register for 1861 the owners were Gibbs & Co. and the master was Captain M. Murphy. The ship was not large: Length 175ft x Beam 35ft x Draught 22ft (53m x 10m x 6.7m).

There is a painting of the "Eagle" by David Michael H. Little in the State Library of Victoria and the flag flying on the mast at the time looks like that of the Eagle Line. This accords with the references to the ship in "The Colonial Clippers" - Basil Lubbock. She sailed from Liverpool with the Allott family on 23 July 1856.The relevant parts of the passenger list of the voyage can be seen here and here.

The flags on this page represent the main players in the transport of emigrants in the days of the gold-rush. As the rush waned they became more competitive. Over time Gibbs & Co (Eagle Line) became Gibbs, Bright & Co which merged with the Black Ball Line. James Baines' Black Ball Line merged with the White Star Line. The White Star flag finally disappeared in 1947 after merging with Cunard. There is a history of White Star here.

There is a long passage in "The Colonial Clippers" - Basil Lubbock, 1948 headed "Rules and Customs aboard the "Eagle" in 1853" which describes the accommodation arrangements on the ship as well as the daily routine that was required to be adhered to during the passage. At the time these would have represented very good conditions. Some items in summary are:

Hours:  Lights out at 10pm, turn out at 6am.

Liquors: "Ale and porter are sold to the 'tween deck passengers from 10 to 12am. Passengers must obtain an order from the captain to obtain wine or spirits. Provisions or groceries can be purchased at any hour of the day."

Other matters covered include Washing Days, Provisions, Cooking, Cleaning the Berths, Ventilation, Luggage, Clothing and so on till the Menu as shown below, which probably was the fare partaken of by Thomas Allott and his family:

Eagle Line

Gibbs Bright & Co

White Star Line


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