Friday, December 19, 2014

Voyage to Australia: the ship 'Omega'

It was winter in London, 17 January 1855, when the ship Omega sailed down the Thames bound for Victoria, Australia. The Captain was Samuel Potter and the Surgeon Superintendent was William Arthur. After calling in and departing from the port of Southampton on the 30 January the ship had 334 passengers on board. The majority were 'assisted' migrants because the government of Victoria had sponsored their passage.

The voyage lasted for 94 days and appears to have been without major incident. Only two female adults died during the voyage. It arrived at Hobsons Bay (Williamstown), Melbourne on 4 May 1855.

On board were John Painter and his second wife Frances (Fanny), and his children George aged 14, Richard aged 11, Sarah aged 9 and Eleanor aged 17. Eleanor was with her new husband Charles Stokes aged 24. John was an agricultural labourer and the family had been living at Iwerne Courtney in Dorset.

Geelong Advertiser and Intelligencer 4 May 1855
Cornwall Chronicle (Tasmania) 9 May 1855
The ship also carried cargo and in the following week or so several advertisements appeared in newspapers.

The Argus, 5 May1855
The Argus, 18 May 1855
There was also a notice to prospective employers that the immigrants would be taken to the Immigration Depot.

The Argus 8 May 1855
John Painter (or Paynter as he was known in Victoria) was employed by Mr Arundel Wright of 'Beaudesart' station at Box Hill or Nunawading at 80 pounds for six months. His son George Painter, aged 14, was employed by George Dunbar of Dandenong at 20 pounds for 3 months and his son-in-law, Charles Stokes, was employed by John Affleck of Boroondara (Kew) at 60 pounds for 12 months with rations. All of these places are now suburbs east of Melbourne. None of the family stayed in Melbourne - within a few years they had moved north of the city to select land, but that's a story for another day.

The Omega sailed at the end of May with cargo and mail, bound for Point de Galle in Ceylon (Sri Lanka).


  1. Loved the PAINTER, STOKES bits. Am following this family as I "believe" that Charles STOKES and Phoebe ALFORD (STOKES) were my wife's great-grandmother's half siblings. Do you have a connection to the STOKES family? Ellenor STOKES (PAYNTER) was present at the birth of Dot's grandfather, Edward VAN EVERY at Homebush, Victoria. John Wynd:

  2. Hi John. Yes, Ellenor was a sister of my husband's ancestor Sarah so we have relatives in common.

  3. Good morning. My ancestors also came to Australia on the Omega. Wondering how you came about the information on their employment on arrival? Would be happy for you to let me know via kylie DOT j DOT veale @

  4. Also on Board were Robert Ellis of Diss,Norfolk,England and his wife Eliza Pike of Palgrave,Norfolk,England and their Daughter Emma.
    His occupation in England was a Carpenter and Tobacco dealer.
    He is my 4th great Uncle, happy to share further information , my family tree is on Ancestry

  5. Hello and thank you for making this site.
    My 4th Great Uncle Robert Ellis born August 1827 Diss, Norfolk,England the son of James Ellis and Susan Long was on board The Omega along with his Wife Eliza Pike and their young daughter Emma Ellis.
    He was a Cabinetmaker/carpenter and Tobacco dealer.
    Landing at Hobsons Bay Williamstown, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia 4th May 1855.
    Happy to share my Ancestry tree : Twiglets

  6. My maternal Great Grandfather, Henry Smith, Blacksmith was a passnger on the Omega. His wife Rebecca Selina nee Pinchin was one of the females who died. Just 10 days out from Melbourne she succumbed to purpueral fever during childbirth.

  7. My Maternal Great Grandfather Henry Smith was on board and lost his wife Rebecca Sabena nee Pinchin in childbirth just 10 days out from Melbourne.


I love to read your comments. Thankyou for your interest.



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