Voyage of the "Atalanta"


The diary of Edward Allchurch from Plymouth to Adelaide in 1866

ISBN 0-9538716-0-6


Return to history page

Return to Otmoor 

Return to Index 


Edward's family had built ships at Deptford Creek in Kent, England, from about 1630.  Most were shipwrights and caulkers and were very prosperous until the coming of ironclad ships.  Edward originally trained as a caulker but there was little work in the mid 19th century.  His father died when he was a child and he moved to Brighton on the south coast and became a policeman. He married in Brighton to Anne Pont, a coastguard's daughter.  In 1866 they decided to emigrate to Australia and sailed on the sailing ship "Atalanta", from Plymouth to Glenelg, South Australia Colony.

On the voyage he kept a diary that provides a vivid account of the three-month voyage, written in the dialect of the time. The diary brings to life the social history and describes the births and deaths on board and the shocking need for passengers to shed their Victorian clothing in the heat of the tropics.  Edward was appointed the ship's constable and was also responsible to the welfare of the single women.


The diary brings out the tensions between passengers, describes the food and how the passengers survived the storm, heat and cold.


Anne Allchurch gave birth to a daughter on the voyage who was named after the ship. She later came to be the first white woman to live in Alice Springs.


Copies of the dairy are being reproduced using the original spelling and grammar, for members of the family and any others that are interested in reading this fascinating diary. Copies can be obtained from:


Paddock Cottage






Price UK Pounds 12.99 add UK pounds 60p postage in the UK and 2.50 pounds overseas. Cheques in UK, USA, Canada, Australia, New Zealand or any other main currency accepted. Cheques payable to "T T Hallchurch".


Also included is a full list of the passengers and their trades.