The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #126347   Message #2814669
Posted By: John Minear
17-Jan-10 - 09:55 PM
Thread Name: From SF to Sydney - 1853 Shanties Sung?
Subject: RE: From SF to Sydney - 1853 Shanties Sung?
On the third voyage of the "Julia Ann" to Sydney, when she was anchored in the harbor there, she was hit by a "buster". Here is some explanation of this weather phenomenon:

It blew the "Julia Ann" across the harbor, dragging two anchors and slammed her into the rocky shore. This caused a leak that was to plague her on her return voyage to San Francisco, as well as on her fourth voyage out to Sydney. Pond says that she was never the same ship after that event.

The leak was steady but consistent on the return trip to San Francisco, but it did force Pond to stop at Honolulu. There was a lot of pumping on this return voyage. He was carrying a heavy cargo of coal. But once this coal was unloaded, partly in Honolulu and completely in San Francisco, the ship stopped leaking. It was checked out but the source of the leak could not be determined.

To put her up in dry dock would have meant a thirty day delay, so Pond loaded her up with flour and barley and headed out for his fourth voyage to Sydney. He didn't tell the crew they were sailing on a "leaky ship" until they were at sea and they were not happy about that! The leak had returned and they literally had to pump there way across the Pacific.

They made it to Sydney and there discovered that "when the vessel was caught on the rocks in sydney harbor, the previous voyage, her wood ends had been started from the stern post so that one could run the hand between, and nothing but the copper sheathing remaining unbroken kept the vessel from going down stern foremost." (Pond's Memoirs) This damage was repaired before the beginning of the final return voyage to San Francisco.

In other words, there was a lot of pumping going on back and forth across the Pacific on board the "Julia Ann" in these last voyages. Surely pumping shanties were being sung. Perhaps "Mary Ann", and probably "Lowlands" and "Stormalong" (found in the repertoires of both Pattison and Forbes), and perhaps "Fire Down Below" (sung by Pattison). It may well be that "South Australia" was used. What others do you think were sung?