Victorian Bride Ships – further notes

Further Female Migration Research to Perth Australia 1800’s

I am still investigating where exactly in Fremantle the cotton girls would of arrived at after embarking at the old harbour.

‘Reception homes and depots were only intended as a temporary shelter, a transition between the passage out and colonial employment. The process of overseeing the reception of single women and their passage into domestic service was taken on eagerly by colonial women, and under female care, some of those temporary shelters became more welcoming , but they were not designed to encourage new arrivals to linger.’

‘The Fremantle depot was an old and rather decrepit building frequently targeted by vandals. In the 1800’s it was still customary to have a policeman stationed outside, night and day, although whether his task was to keep people in or out is not entirely clear.’

‘Regulations issued for the Perth Immigration Depot in the 1870’s when a full programme of immigration was in operation, detail the strict segregation of the single women from all other immigrants and families, under a government-appointed matron. They also stipulate other aspects of depot life. The food supplied was fairly standard institutional fare in its range and quantity:

18 ounces of bread, 12 ounces of meat and a pound of potatoes daily;  tea, sugar, treacle and salt, and a weekly half pound of soap. Immigrants were roused at 5.30 each summer’s morning, an hour earlier than in winter, to clean the depot and air their bedding. Men and women alike were permitted to leave the depot but had to be available between 7am and 1pm to meet prospective employers, and they had to attend roll call four times a day. Single women had to be back at the depot by 6pm; an extra hour and a half liberty was permitted the others. Swearing, indecent conversation and gambling were strictly prohibited, and conduct was to be ‘orderly and submissive.’

Notes from Blue China – Jan Gothard


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