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From Hirta to Port Phillip: The St. Kilda Emigration to Australia in 1852 Paperback – 23 Mar 2010


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Product details

  • Paperback
  • Publisher: The Islands Book Trust (23 Mar. 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1907443053
  • ISBN-13: 978-1907443053
  • Product Dimensions: 14.9 x 0.3 x 20.5 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,126,493 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Format: Paperback
From Hitra to Port Phillip, The story of the ill-fated emigration from St Kilda to Australia in 1852, by Eric Richards. Published by the Islands Book Trust.

At the Kist of Emigrants book launch during the late Hamefarin [in Shetland] we were told the story of the Eunson family's nineteenth century move to America, and the tragedy that unfolded. Emigration and good fortune are by no means synonymous. In From Hirta to Port Phillip Eric Richards, a longtime writer on the Victorian Highlands and Islands, illuminates an ill-fated emigration of 36 people from St Kilda to Australia in 1852. It's a fascinating story told over 36 pages, and sad though -- half the islanders died on the way.

Government regulation of the passage from Britain to Australia had made a long sea journey safe in Victorian terms, safer than the much shorter but unregulated, passage across the Atlantic. Perhaps the St Kildans, on the Priscilla, had unluckily found a ship with a poor regime, but while they were 12 % of the passengers, they accounted for 45% of the deaths. 75% of the St Kildans died from measles and like diseases. The survivors dispersed into the colony, and after some difficulties became productive Australians. One "California Gillies" was a famous wanderer, and returned to the island for a short time. There was little other emigration.

Eric Richards has given the St Kilda demographics careful thought. They were unusual, and it was never a community that faced population pressure. Life for a St Kildan began with a mix of fulmar oil and dung being rubbed on an umbilical cord stump. A ferocious and poorly understood death rate resulted. Even by the 1860's 70% of babies died.
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By G.I.Forbes on 8 Jun. 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This fascinating slim volume(36 pages) tells of the first migration of St.Kilda residents in 1852 just on 80 years before the final migration in 1930
In 1852 thirty six residents migrated on the clipper ship Priscilla to Port Phillip near Malbourne unfortunarely 19 d1ed on the voyage mainly due to measles to which they had no resistance.
The author gives a fascinating glimpse of life on St.Kilda in the 1840s and 50s particularly the terrible infanf mortality due to tetanus neonatorum due to using bird droppings on infants umbilical chord givig a death rate of 90% plus.The author is to be congratulated on giving a moving and well researched account of this migration.The name St.Kilda lives on in many placesin Australia
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