J. F. HOBKIRK encounter with ship "Rajah of Sarawak" in October 1851.

We had a very fine passage. One morning when we were in the longitude of the Leeuwin we descried a barque a short distance from us she had British colours. The captain of our vessel, Mr. Weetman and myself got into the boat which was lowered with the purpose of boarding her;it was a beautiful morning,and after half a miles pull we boarded.  She proved to be the "Rajah of Sarawak" a British barque, bound from Melbourne to Singapore; she was in ballast. The captain told us of the discovery of gold at Port Phillip, and informed us that there was great excitement at Melbourn and that he had the greatest difficulty in getting away, as ships were lying idle in Hobson's bay for the want of hands the crews having nearly all gone to the gold diggings. He managed to pick up about three-quarters of the number he wanted, and got away. We left the ship said "good-bye" and returned to the "Heinrich".  Mr. Weetman, the captain and myself then consulted as to the advisability of changing our port of destination, as the probability would be that our cargo, Viz; flour would sell better in Melbourne than Sydney. We, however decided to call at Adelaide. As Mr. Weetman and I trudged along a very sandy road, it was very hot and the flies were something awful and as we found out after every other person in Adelaide and its environs had desease of the eyes I said to Mr. Weetman "We have jumped out of the frying pan into the fire as regards heat". The heat was of a different kind to Rio heat being very dry Rio heat is moist. We sailed onto Melbourne and there were a large number of vessels in Hobson's Bay but nearly all of them had lost most of their crew. Some of the crew had taken French leave and gone off to the diggings and some the captains of the vessels had given Leave to go provided that when they returned they.would go on board the same vessel. Melbourne was mad. Men would sell their property for a trifle to get money to get to the diggings.  Clerks in banks left as also in the  merchant's office. Successful diggers drove about in cabs, throwing sovereigns about, lighting cigars and pipes with bank notes: in fact the whole town of Melbourne was beside itself.

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