The ''Exact's'' voyage to Melbourne

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The voyage of the Exact from Jersey to Australia with 80 emigrants was little short of disastrous. The 204-ton brig was owned by George Deslandes and Son of Jersey and under the command of Capt Thomas de Gruchy (1822-1879). [1]

He was the first master to sail direct from Jersey to Australia, with passengers eager to take part in the gold rush. He made three voyages, one in the Exact and then two in the Jane, owned by Joshua Deslandes and Company.

On the first voyage Exact left Jersey on 3 July 1852, bound for Port Philip, near Melbourne


When the ship reached Bahia in Brazil at the end of the first leg of the voyage, there had been so many complaints about the food and water on board and the provision of a qualified doctor that many of the passengers signed a petition to the British Consul in Bahia, and when the vessel eventually set sail for Melbourne, ten passengers refused to continue and three others were left behind.

In a file of correspondence between the Foreign Office in London and the British Consul in Bahia, for 1852 is a letter relating the events surrounding the call at Bahia of the Exact on an emigrant voyage form Jersey to Port Philip, Australia.

There were complaints by passengers about the food, and particularly the water on board, and there were certain discrepancies regarding the onboard doctor (Dr Paumier, a Frenchman travelling with his wife) and some crew members in contravention of British shipping law. The circumstances were investigated (not very professionally, it turned out) by the British Consul, a Mr Morgan.


The Exact sailed for Australia on 9 September, after shipping a new supply of fresh water and leaving some passengers behind. A petition to the Consul was signed by the following passengers : Philip Payn (who organised it) Esther Ahier, George Atkinson and family, James Benyon, Thomas Binet, George Chevalier, Charlotte Collas and child, Henry Copp, James and Catherine Denithson, Esther, John, Robert, Catherine and Elizabeth Freeman, R B Goldstone, Abraham Grant, Robert Harvey and his wife, William Larbalestier, Alfred Philippe and Joseph Le Boutillier, William Le Brocq, Josiah Le Gros, Joshua Le Sueur and his wife and family, Joaquim Lopez, Jean Lozach, François Luce and family, Philip Lyonet, Philippe Mahier, John Nicolle and his wife, François Philippe and C J Pirouet, Charles Philip Romeril, H Shackthwaite, George Touzel, Philippe Vautier and William Woodcock.

The following ten refused to sail and were sent back by the Consul to Swansea on the British barque Asia: Philip Vautier (24), a clerk, of 11 Le Geyt Street, St Helier; Philip Syvret (24) a mariner, of 13 Regent Street, St Helier; Alfred Philip Le Boutillier (22), an assistant draper, of New Street, St Helier; Abraham Grant (35) a farmer of St Saviour; George Robert Chevalier (20); George Touzel (30) a mariner of Pier Road, St Helier; William Le Brocq (30), a mariner of St Brelade; John Nicolle (31) a mariner; Henry Coppp (24) a cabinet maker of Mont au Prêtre, St Helier; William Woodcock (20) , from the Isle of Man, a chemist, of 12 Grove Place, St Helier

The Exact sailed without three other passengers who did not arrive at the ship in time for its departure. Although it returned to cruise outside the harbour, the passengers could not obtain quickly enough the necessary papers to join a ship which had already cleared customs and other formalities: George Atkinson (41), from Halifax Yorkshire, of L'Abri Villa, Clearview Street, St Helier, had his wife and two children on board; Philip Payn (50) a bookseller of 7 Library Place; and Havilland John de Carteret

The Exact arrived in Melbourne on 15 November 1852. The voyage may have been organised by the Colonial Land and Emigration Office.

Thomas de Gruchy's subsequent voyages in command of the Jane took place in 1854 and 1855.

Notes and references

  1. Thomas married Fanny Sebire
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