Thy grace on ever flowing tide : everyday life on the voyage out in the shipboard accounts of migrant women to Canterbury, c. 1850-1885.

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Theses / Dissertations
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Bachelor of Arts (Hons)
University of Canterbury
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Rosevear, Emily

This dissertation examines the experiences of migrant women on the voyage out to Canterbury between 1850 and 1885. The experiences of these women have not been explored in great depth. It is only recently that scholars have begun to consider their migration experiences independent to those of men. Moreover, the role of religion in migrant woman’s lives has been largely ignored by historians who have mostly viewed New Zealand as a secular colony. This study focuses on migrants arriving in Canterbury and uses a number of shipboard accounts to address these silences in the historiography and to make audible the voices of the women themselves. Particular attention is paid to their everyday lives at sea, their daily and weekly routine, as well as issues relating to food, leisure and the impact of class. As this dissertation shows, religion was an important aspect of daily life, providing women with an outlet for their fears and comfort in times of distress. Everyday life on board migrant ships was challenging and uncomfortable, yet these women demonstrated great resilience adapting to the challenges of rough weather, intense heat, and limited space for the three to five months it took for them to make the journey to Canterbury.

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