Adam's Family History
The Kent family originally from England!
Welcome to my page. I have put this page to together in an
effort to find more people interested in researching the following
page is a work in progress. I will add more stories as I come across
them. Unfortunately not a lot is known about this line at this time.
of George Kents diary describing his families voyage aboard RMS
Rimutaka in 1894 from England to Wellington New Zealand.
Transcribed by Adam Jenkins from a copy. The original diary I
believe is held in the New Zealand National archives in Wellington.
Dairy of Charles Kent passenger on R.M.S Rimutaka, which left
London 15 November 1894 ,bound for New Zealand.
Left docks 15 Nov 2pm and half
steamed half floated to Gravesend where anchored for abt 5 hours
stearing gear not working properly & Pilot ordered ship to wait.
Had smooth night around the coast.
16 Nov. Fine Mg . high
wind, sky clear, passed Beachey Head and close in round Isle of
Wight, then stood out to sea , vessel now pitching a bit &
reached Plymouth in the night, all ill but Pa Ma and George. Very
comfortable ship and decent passengers & grub good, drinks too
dear, 6d. for small bottle of beer is high.
Stty 17 Nov.
Woke up in Plymouth Harbour, fine strong cold wind ,I with a
few other fellows went ashore before bkft in a watermans boat &
and bought some things at P’mouth & posted several letters. Ship
sailed at 3 aft against a strong head wind steering for the Bay of
Biscay.In the night much rolling and various articles shifting about
in the cabin. Dolly ill all day & can eat nothing. Willie does
sickness in a business like fashion, knows it must be & does not
humbug about it, the boys sit down to table at meals but dare not
stop to eat anything on account of rumblings below and at Supper
time not half of the passengers were present, E & self do not
shirk and my appetite is prodigious. Had very little sleep at night,
all kinds of noises about and a shoot for ashes runs slanting along
one side of our cabin, with a rattle in it as if coals being shot.
Sunday 18th Nov.
Fine & bright, less wind &
warmer, cannot keep our footing and are fairly in the Biscay swell,
a few had breakfast, George, E & self, Frank sat down but soon
rose & did not touch anything, Percy opened an egg then at once
left it and his seat. In morning engines were stopped half an hour
on account of some heavy luggage below rolling over, our piano being
a chief offender, how will it reach NZ I wonder. The gale has blown
itself out and left a heavy swell, in which I have been writing but
it will be pleasant if the sea is not worse than this at any part.
Again I have found how useful a supply of fruit would be, I bought
some apples oranges & lemons at P’mouth, the children will eat
the former when they can nothing else. I wish I had kept out some
better clothing my old waterproof is coming unseamed & I have
only a very light overcoat. At the dinner table today there were low
wooden box trays placed for each person to contain his plates,
otherwise they would all have fallen off the table during the ships
rolling. Coming from dinner E had a bad fall and & bruised her
arm, having to lie up for the rest of the day. A clear starlight
night much warmer but so much noise with boxes shifting about, doors
slamming and the unrest of being rolled from side to side of by
berth that I had no sleep.
Monday 19 Novr.
Off the N
coast of Spain, not in sight of land. Quite a transformation and not
48 hours from Plymouth, a warm breeze and sunshine ,enabled to sit
on deck with light clothing, ladies no hats or cloaks. All recovered
& a full dinner table, leaving the Bay of Biscay which has after
all not behaved so badly as one expected, ship still rolling, and
very little sleep.
Tuesday 20 Nov.
Weather as before,
warm and sunny, very close in cabin, cannot open the port, sea might
invade & did so yesterday, bedding getting wetted. Passengers on
mutually chatty terms each on glad to impart the latest item of news
or gossip picked up, a German on board, ill till until now, is a
skilled pianist. Few games Whist in the evg no luck. Lights out in
Saloon 11 every night but left on all night in cabins. Bright starry
Wed. 21. Nov.
still warmer and a grand sunset
at night, lightning after.
Thurs 22 Nov.
Sighted Teneriffe arrived there at 2 & left at 10, coaling &
watering, most passengers went ashore. Very picturesque place, an
Island of steep sided cliffs & peaks with a few patches of
Vegetation, boats came off with delicious oranges 25 for 6d. figs,
bananas grapes cigars & wicker chairs. Ship boarded by about 60
or 70 swarthy piratical and cut throat looking Spaniards or
Canarites who carried the coal to ships bunkers. Boys went ashore in
small boats 1/- each both ways, Natives take Eng. Money & glad
of it. More lightning at night, & stars vividly bright. Coaled
800 tons in 8 hours.
Friday 23 Nov.
inclined to lie about & do nothing. 2nd cl. Passrs invited to
small concert and dance by the 1st class, not much enjoyed, latter
rather stiff & ceremonious, thing fell flat, no refmts.
Same weather, some clouds and slight rain,
boat very steady, no swell since last Tuesday, Committee chosen to
arrange for entertainments, music, songs, recits &c.
Very warm, enjoy a cold sea bath very
much. Service for some of the crew & steerage passrs held by the
Captain in 1st saloon at 11, also Service for children by Rev
Windsor one of our passrs, in aft. Sharks and Porpoises seen, ships
very rarely, muster and inspection of all the crew engineers &
c. Sighted Cape Verdi in Africa.
tropics & very hot, but not unpleasant except at night, very
calm and light NE trade winds, lightning almost ever night. Splendid
Sea like glass, with gentle swell numbers of
flying fish around, everyone very languid, Willie ill slight sun
stroke had Doctor. Concert in the evg, I read out a piece from 3 men
in a boat, singing not much account, some good Violin & Piano
playing. Few tried to sleep on deck and in saloon at night, cabins
stifling hot, we all sleep well in my cabin. Ship is kept extremely
clean & tidy, just a few cockroaches in smoke room which is near
the kitchen, none yet seen in the cabins.
Pleasant breeze all day, with a scorching sun, crossed the
line without any ceremony. Rimutaka Record newspaper issued today,
usual amateur rubbish. Lightning again at night.
Steaming hot below, hot sun, days getting much
longer, daylight to 6 PM. Got headache, 3 drinks at night too much
in Tropics. Strong head wind agst us.
some wind, no sea. I laid in berth all aft & in cold sea water
bath for half an hour which improved me. Dance given by 1st class,
ours invited, Mrs K played for some of the dances. On deck till 12,
some slept in smoke room for air. Cricket on 1st deck, nets spread
over balwarks. Journey getting rather tame and uneventful, no land
& not a sail seen for past 5 days. Read everything readable,
much sameness in dinners, meat sent up coarsely cut & usually
overdone. The fare is for Bkfast always Porridge to commence, chops
or steaks, or bacon (dried up) & eggs , prunes & rice,
coffee & rolls , marmalade always quite Scotch fare. Dinner very
poor soup a joint and entrée, pudding & tarts, sometimes beans
or cabbage, kept cold. Tea supper at 6, cold meat, preserves &
buns. At 9 bread, biscuits , cheese butter. The milk butter &
water are all iced in hot weather. Half the passrs are Scotch,
several children and young men, deck more like a steam launch up
Thames on a large scale, with the youths and girls in light flannels
gaming & romping. Only 2 men in our saloon of Colonial grit
& fibre – Walker a Manager of Gold Mines at Wairi (Waihi) &
Gardiner, sheep farmer. 3 young chaps from Sligo. O’Burne by name ,
2 brothers Fall, very nice fellows. Veats a consumptive Journalist,
Bailey a Bank clerk lungs wrong, Meares a land owner & Planter,
a travelled man of the World, Revd. A. P. Windsor a chatty and
agreeable man (calls me brother) & his son going to an Agric.
College at Christchurch, H. F. Smith a great oddity, incoherent in
speech, slightly crazy, made fun of by all of us. Romanes, a bit of
a swell and trifle stuck up, Remington a cornet Player 4 years at
Ramsgate Marina going to try his chance in NZ. Mr & Mrs Bourne
& child , Pinscler a young German very good Pianist, these are
Decr in London! What a contrast to
this. Here sunshine & pure air, there everything else. Heat is
diminishing as we get away from the Tropics, sea still slight.
Sun 2 Dec.
Some clouds & rain today, obliged to
see the Doctor about my arm, sea water irritation caused pain, gave
me some ointment to relieve. Amusing cricket match bet. 1st Saloon
& Officers, score 14 former agst 31. Time hangs wearily when
nothing fresh can be found to read or when no amusements are on. The
number of children on board is too many for comfort.
4 Dec. A capital concert provided by the Steerage,
Captain as Chairman, performance better than the 1st or 2nd Saloon
made. Mrs K had Bronchitis & saw Doctor.
5. 6. 7. Dec
No events of note, fine weather & slight seas, head
Sat 8 Dec.
Put into Table Bay 9.0 a.m.
& & anchored off Mole at Cape Town, cloudy & rainy, soon
after cleared up to fine. Nearly all passengers went ashore in a Tug
1/- each way. Some good stone buildings in Cape Town, pleasant
suburbs, houses of one story of bungalow style, Table Mountain abt
3000 feet immediately behind the town was shrouded in clouds all
day. A large & handsome Public Library, Parliament House costing
200,000 pounds, shops quite Eng looking, macadam roads &
flagstone pavements. Dutch & Kaffir quarter cobblestones. Went
with Frank George and another to the skirt of the Table Mt but could
not have ascended under a full day, then got a good view from a
small hill. At midday a hurricane of wind sprang up, called here a
Southerly Buster, never felt such a wind, blew sand & gravel
like small shot, most uncomfortable. Left by Tug at 3 for ship in a
surfy sea, got a wetting, all had to be hauled over gangway from Tug
to our ship, rough sea & rolling afterwards. Things cost about
twice Eng price. Early summer here at the Cape. 8 Decr.
Losing the warm weather, good swell on, few people at
service, sitting throughout all ports closed tight, some sea came
aboard. One passenger left behind at Cape, Kemp, got stupidly drunk
and was said to have been locked up.
sports on after deck, potato races, cock fighting, chalking the
deck, cold strong wind. Less sea, boat steadier.
Really bad day, rain, rough sea cold, misty, deck deserted,
shipped seas now & then, much rolling & rattling, but life
on board goes on as usual, no one ill, only passrs are confined to
their cabins or the saloon, cards & music most of day. This day
makes 4 weeks out from London and is the first unpleasant one
experienced we are still going South and into colder regions, it is
said we might sight an iceberg or two.
as y’day, cold, foggy, rough sea, decks wet, vessel rolling, in
smoke room most of day. Dolly ill & sleeping, low fever.
Change to bright & sunny, all able to go
on deck & get exercise, not a calm though by any means, played
at Nap. For some hours, Bailey Warburton & Billing.
Cold rough & stormy with rain, no
deck, high wind. Since leaving Cape on 8th ships course has been
Easterly by South & towards Antarctic regions. Capt says
Icebergs may be seen tomorrow.
sea & half a gale from N.W., the crests of the waves blown into
flakes which whiten all of the ocean, can scarcely stand on deck,
some sails carried away, steerage hands called to assist crew. Below
all as usual and only for Main deck being awash with water and rapid
revolutions of engine when vessels stern is lifted in air nothing to
denote the extra turbulence. The wind & rollers are following us
or if we were parallel with them the ship would roll dangerously. At
6.30 PM another sail was blown to ribbons, and the huge billows
seemed ready to engulf the ship. Several seas broke over the
bulwarks, one over the poop deck knocked down a solitary passenger,
cutting and bruising him badly. In evg a sea made its way through
the Engine room airways on the upper and flooded several of the
cabins adjoining ours. Captain said that the sea was as high as it
had ever been in his experience, Mrs K much alarmed.
Fine & high sea. Ship made her best days run in the gale
doing 328 miles.
Wed to Saty.
Mostly cold wet &
stormy & very little deck. A child in our saloon having chicken
Pox we are quarantined off from the rest of the ship, each class
keeping to itself. Arrangements had been made for a Fancy Dress Ball
& c on Xmas eve, to take place in 1st Saloon, suspended in
consequence. Some Albatroses & Cape hens which have followed the
ship for last fortnight left today, probably cannot eat any more.
The movement of these birds is wonderful for they seem to never use
Wet & cold. Our clergyman
Rev. Windsor held a short service in our saloon.
Cold & wet. Playing Nap most of the day. Being Xmas Eve
several of our young men get very fresh and were up all night.
Xmas Day. First pleasant day since we left
Cape. Excellent dinner of 6 courses, a tasteful menu for which they
wanted 2/6 each written by one of the stewards called Jim the
Penman, some games for the children in evg and small dance after.
Calm & smooth.
Entered the estuary leading to Hobart abt 4 am. First view
of bush, abt 50 miles from the Heads to Hobart which appeared
exceedingly pretty from the ship. Terraces of hills covered with the
usual one story wooden bungalows, in the centre some broad &
clean streets with a few Public buildings well situated, and
immediately at the back of the town Mount Wellington 4600 feet, not
unlike Table Mountain at the Cape. The Harbour is well sheltered,
with deep water to the jetties abutting from the shore alongside one
of which we moored, put out & took in some passrs & cargo
and 350 tons of coal. With the wife & children I went on each of
the 3 Electric Tram routes viz to Newton, the Vascades and Sandy Bay
latter the best, 3d. a journey, speed fast. Villa bungalows are
perched on the side of the hills, at a slope thus (mark on paper
about 30 degree slope)) and the roadway between is covered in grass,
they are surrounded with flowers common in England & bushes
growing luxuriantly. The style of the shops is that of a Country
town in Eng and the dress & speech is very English, not Scotch
or Irish, moreover there are not as at Capetown a number of hideous
Blacks disfiguring the place. We had a cheap & good dinner of 3
courses & etceteras for 1/- and felt very hot & sleepy, went
into Reading room of library, a poor place after that at the Cape.
Found plenty of flies at Hobart, now in the midst of summer. Str
left at 8 for Wellington.
28 & 29
& rainy. A few passrs ill after last 3 days calm and stoppage
Windy & wet
sports concluded & prizes given, nearly all to 2nd class, Benny
gets one for winning his race. At 12 midnt the ships watch bell rang
a few tinkles and some of the more lively boys were singing the New
Notes From Back of Diary
Pilot Monkey Jack 1.18.0
Pilot Vest 13.6
2 prs Tweed
trous 18/6 1.17.0
2 suits duck trou & jacket 2.0.0
flannel shirts 8/6 1.5.6
4 Oxford Shirts 1.6.0
1 under Vest
1 gauze 2.6
4 stout ½ hose 8.0
2 Merino 3.0
Canvas Leggings 7.6
* Waterproof overcoat 1.15.0
25/- £ 12.2.0
1 felt Hat 3.0
Ask F H about knives 9/- 7/-
Ask F H about boots
May go to £20 to £21
from Whiteleys books to £8.10.0 not over do. Packing cases & get
Whitely to send down
Will go on Tus to the vessel
On Saty my
to arrange to go on Tuesday
FORD 3 Gransden Rd
Holland River Pilot
(?) Ruby’s Uncle
Milk St. Ald?
King W James
Dunedin friends of Mr Beamish ( Wrights)
Letter to E R
New Zealand Insurance Co
Wairi Gold Mine (Waihi?)
Mrs Lovegroves Uncle
buried at Wellington Nathaniel Fountane look for his tomb
Wrote from Plymouth to Hodson, Woolley, Lovegrove.
Tenereiff to Harriet
Hairdresser in 2 Saloon Bath
to 12.45 & 2.30 to 4 pm
Sydney to Hobart in 42 hrs ¾ qrs
a record passage by Union str Rotomahana 26/12/94
Lufra left London 10 Sept arvd Hobart 26 Decr, arrived in yacht like
order, spotlessly clean spoke only 3 vessels on the voyage.