My husband's family are very fortunate as his great grandfather travelled back to Germany from Armidale, NSW from May to September 1885. While visiting family he sent many letters back to Australia and kept a diary of his time overseas. I'll post his letters on the day they were written. These letters can be seen at the University of New England (UNE) Archive in Armidale, NSW, Australia. Biographical Entry
John Elder Aden
John Elder Aden
the 8 June 1885
My Dear Wife and Children
I am having the chance now to let you know how I am getting on since I left Adelaide where I sent my last letter from. First my health and appetite is very good and in general I am well placed with the eating on the ship board as we have always fresh meat and potatoes the bread is even new and of first class quality Now I am going to let you now about the progress we made and the sights we have seen. Adelaide is a very nice Town but a good deal smaller then Melbourne it has a splendid Botanical Garden but the harbour where we laid on was the open sea We stopped one day at Adelaide and left on the 18 May in the evening on the 19 we saw the last of South Australia the 23 saw the last land of Australia and on the 24 passed Cape Luewin the 2 June stopped at Diego Garcia for 4 hours but only a few of us were allowed to go on land the Islands look splendid with palms a very forest of them but the inhabitants are either to lazy or too stupid to make the best use of them as they brought not a single thing to us for sale on the 5 June passed the Equator the 7 sighted the Norternnmost Cape of Africa and lost sight of it this morning this night we will be in Aden which is in Asia our voyage is on the whole a bad one as we have always headwind and very rough weather we only used the sail 4 days since we left Sydney a distance of over 7 000 miles we had some concerts and negro minstrel amusements when the weather permitted it we are over 200 passenger on board amongst them 9 Germans which are representing Germany from Austria to Holstein our population is of ages from a few days to over 70 years old. there is great difference in a steamer and a sailing ship in bad weather it is only childs play on a steamer.
Your loving Husband and Father
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