Thursday, 5 July 2012

From the Past

Trip From Australia to Canada
July 1 - August 3, 1898
Minnie Avery, Age 14
For any interested, this is the text of a, "What I did over the summer" composition written by my grandmother upon her return to class in September of 1898. Her father was a rep for McClary stoves and had been transferred from Canada to Australia some years before. This is the account of their return trip. The original is still in our family and it is interesting to see it in the handwriting of a 14-year-old girl by someone I only ever knew as my grandmother. She died in 1983 in her 100th year.

We had a very pleasant trip over. the weather was uncommonly good and the sea was very calm most of the time.
We left Melbourne on the Arawatha, which had the name of being the best boat, but it turned out to be a very slow one, and landed us in Sidney just as the other boat was sailing and Father had to jump off before the boat was tied up and run to the other warf (sic) to see the captain of the San Francisco boat who promised to wait 15 minutes for us as it was then just the time to sail. We all managed to get on board but left our largest box behind and it was five months before we got it.

The officers on board the Mariposa were a splendid lot of men. We were very comfortable and every possible care was taken of the passengers. There was not much to see on the voyage - a few porpoises near Sydney, some sea gulls following us most of the time and flying fish which look like small white birds at a distance but are really thin fish about 5 inches long with fins. They rise up like a flock of birds but as soon as their fins get dry they fall back into the water which makes their flights very short..

The fifth day from Sydney we stopped at Auckland for 24 hours. I had a walk through the city with Father but I did not think it was as nice as Melbourne.

In 10 days we reached Apia where we stayed about 8 hours. The natives came out in their canoes with a great many native ornaments and coral to sell. They also dove for money. The sea was very hot and we did not leave the boat but we saw the wreck of the German warship which was capsized a few years ago.

On the 14th day we met the transport ship, "Rio de Janiero" with American troops going to Manila. They stopped and sent a boat to us and gave us some papers about the war. [Spanish-American War - JK]

On the 16th day we reached Honolulu where we stayed 24 hours and had a walk through the town. Father said it had greatly improved since he saw it 12 years ago. The place was all decorated with American flags as it had just been annexed by the Americans.

The streets were narrow and crooked but there were beautiful flowers everywhere you looked. We saw the late Queen's palace but it was not as large nor as nice as Government House in Melbourne.

We sailed through the Golden Gate at San Francisco on the 23rd day and after the health officer came on board and examined all of us we were permitted to land. Mother and Father were pleased to be on land again but I preferred to travel on water. San Francisco is a very busy city. It is very compact. There are no vacant spots and a great many of the buildings are very high - 8 or 10 stories. One newspaper office, "The Call" is 15 stories. I did not like the arrangement of the stores as well as those in Melbourne. We left "San Fran" the evening of the same day and started on the train to Brantford.
When we came to the Sacramento River the train was divided into two parts. The scenery was very different. Every minute there was something new - mountains, rivers, valleys and bridges. It kept me running from one side of the train to the other. The cars here are like large rooms with windows all around with doors at each end - not the little boxes as in Australia.
On the second day we came to some mineral springs where the train stopped to let us get some water to drink. A little way out of Portland on the third day we came to the "Bridal Veil Falls" where the train stopped a short time. It was a very pretty and grand sight to see so many streams flowing over the rocks, some very high. The water did not reach the ground but went up again in spray and mist. In a short time we came in sight of Mount Hood which you told us about in school being always covered with snow. Mount Hood was south of us. On the north side was the Columbia River. We were close to its banks for a long way and we saw the nets set for catching salmon. The nets were fastened to boats anchored in the river. Fishermen came around once or twice a day to empty the nets.
Our next stop was at Spokane, Washington. Then at Bonners Ferry in the northwest corner of Montana almost into British Columbia. From there we went almost directly east and crossed the Rocky Mountains at Bear Creek. We crossed the Mississippi at Minneapolis on a very large stone arch bridge. Then to Chicago and around the end of Lake Michigan in view of the largest flouring mills in the world. At Port Huron we crossed into Canada and were soon home to Brantford.
Just thought it was interesting.

Take Care

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