Wilcox, Sidney

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The cabin that George and Annie Wilcox had on the first voyage of the ship to Adelaide in 1864 is not known.

Cabin No. 2 at aft was occupied by Geo. and Annie Wilcox with children, Edith, Sidney and Nellie, on voyage to England which began September 1872, round Cape Horn. The passage taking 140 days to Plymouth.

The ship was to have gone by way of Good Hope, but the winds would not allow of it, and the ship having drifted so far South, the Captain decided to go by Cape Horn.

George Wilcox, the second son, was born in Cabin No.2 on 30th January, 1873, just off the Scilly Isles.

On this voyage Geo. Wilcox had hired Cabins 4 and 6, which he had fitted with cages for thousands of Shell Parrotts, Spotted Love Birds, Blue and Red Finches, Galahs and White and Yellow Crested Cockatoos. Two tons of seeds were loaded to feed them on, and special provision had to be made for drinking water for them.

I do remember, though I was only 6-1/4 - 6-1/2 years old, helping to feed and water the birds, and clean the cages. A quantity of sand had also been placed on board to keep the cages decently clean.

When we arrived off Land's End father decided, with others, to leave the ship and land at Penzance in Cornwall, by the Pilot boat, taking train to London in order to sell his birds before the ship arrived at the Dock - he took me with him.

In those days it was 48 hours to London and another 6 or 7 hours to St. Neots, where his family lived - anyway about 3 nights on the way - and little "Jimmy" was pretty grimed and black by the time he got to grandmother in St. Neots. She shoved him into a hot bath and soaped him - in a moment or two she rushed out calling "Joe, Joe, the child is as white as our own - not the little native we expected".

That saved the other kids, Ede, Nell and George, from being dubbed the same - "Australian natives".

Well, carrying the story along, father had very few friends left in England it was too cold to him, ugly cold and dreary to us children, all crying out for sunshine.

It was decided mother and the four children should return to Adelaide in the ship 'City of Adelaide' at the end of May 1874. The ship was stranded on the coast at Kirkaldy Beach, now called Henley Beach, on the night of 24th August, 1874. Passengers were taken off after 48 hours by tender.

Father had earlier arrived by P&O Mail and was on the beach at 10 a.m. 25th August 1874, but of course could not help.


Story as told by Sidney Wilcox (Eldest Son) to Alan Wilcox (his nephew), May 1938


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