Aboard The Princess Louise

My Buring ancestors came to South Australia aboard the Princess Louise from Hamburg, Germany in 1849. They were part of the Berlin Emigration Society who chartered the ship. Carl Linger, music director, composer and teacher, was also aboard with his wife Minna. Below is an excerpt of a letter home which he wrote. It outlines the journey aboard ship.

We left Hamburg on 23rd March 1849 and were at sea next day. The first few days on board are the worst: you haven’t settled down; you can’t get used to the available space and there is much disorder. The food and other things are strange but all this changes after you have been at sea a while. On 27th March, at 4 o’ clock in the afternoon, my wife happily gave birth to a healthy girl. It was in the North Sea near the Island of Texel, latitude 53 – 50 North and longitude 5 – 4 East of Greenwich, whilst the seas were running high. The small creature was received with three hearty cheers by the passengers and crew, whilst the ship the “Princess Louise ” had to be festively flagged.


Without anything-noteworthy happening, we reached the South American coast on the day before Whit- Sunday, and towards evening, we entered the Harbour of Rio de Janeiro. I shall not embark on a description of the noble beauty and attraction of this spot, otherwise my letter might become many pages in length. Here we, passengers for the most part, left the ship. For ourselves, I rented a rural dwelling on the hills, from where I could overlook the city and the splendid Harbour with its bay. Here we lived for 10 days in the enjoyment of nature and went on short excursions into the hills. Up to now our journey had been rather
slow but from this point on, things moved all the faster and a strong wind carried us quite close to the tip of Africa. The Cape of Good Hope was doubled during a moderate storm. Without untoward occurrences, we sailed past Kangaroo Island and entered Port Adelaide on 7th. August. Ours was an exceptionally long voyage, for which the blame lay partly with the captain’s carelessness and partly with the quarrel between him and the helmsman. Other ships after us often made the journey in 90 days and even in 78 – 82 days from England.


Carl writes in a very matter of fact style, especially about his daughter’s birth. I feel sorry for his wife as she “happily gave birth” on a ship. I haven’t written much about the famous Carl Linger because I’m more interested in his account of the journey from Germany to South Australia. I had no idea that the passengers stayed in Rio for 10 days. It must have been a welcome break from ship board life. My 2x great grandfather, Heinrich Franz Rudolph Buring, and his brothers would have loved the time ashore so that they could run around and play.