This small wooden trunk was brought onboard the Saldanha by my Great Great Grandmother Mary Eliza Kent, for a voyage to Australia in 1856.
This rough-hewn but sturdy wooden item is cracked in places but is reinforced with black metal on its corners and sides and has black metal carrying handles at each end. Its big old lock is missing.
It was probably packed with changes of clothing for the voyage: a cloak, hat and extra boots for cold weather as well as some toiletries. Mary would have also packed writing materials, perhaps a diary and certainly books and embroidery for the leisure time she would have enjoyed as a cabin passenger for months at sea.
This loved trunk is now in my care and will eventually be passed on to another of Mary’s descendants. However, most importantly for me, it represents the courage and hopes of all my sixteen Great Great Grandparents as they made the uncertain voyage to a land on the other side of the world.
by Meryl Ritche