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Castle Eden - Immigrants Farewell 

Before an emigrant ship sailed, the roll call was called on the poop deck- this deck during the voyage was generally reserved for use by first-class passengers SRC: Illustrated London News - July 7, 1859 During the voyage, cabin passengers were given free access to the poop deck - the stern area of the ship above the first class cabins. Steerage passengers were only allowed to roam in various areas of the main deck, so nothing was more guaranteed to annoy a cabin passenger than a steerage passenger on the poop deck - the trespassers often were unceremoniously chased off! Passengers were required to restrict their movements to certain parts of the ship depending on their class.

The immigrant, having made the difficult decision to move from one country to another, next faced a huge set of obstacles - the task of applying for identity papers, references and medical documents for himself and his family. It was necessary to plan the route and arrange transportation to the designated ship's departure port - a decision often faced with only second-hand information from often unreliable sources. The first obstacle was the cost to finance this journey - the emigrant often would need sell all his property. Emigrants needed to plan carefully when deciding what to bring with them. With very limited space available on their voyage, there was only room to take the bare necessities - for many, this often consisted of clothes, tools, a family Bible or other valuable family heirlooms, and basic provisions for the trip.  Luggage unable to be carried, would be packed in make-shift boxes and bundles - he might also have to borrow money which he might not be able to pay back until he had established himself in his new country.

The most difficult task was making the final goodbyes as they left their families, friends,  everything familiar and to face the fact that they would never see their loved ones or homes again as they set off towards the unknown in search of a better life.

At the port there was a hubbub of activity - man-handling of trunks and the emigrants had to pass a compulsory examination to ensure a certain level of health before embarking - done to prevent the spread of disease while on board as well as to prevent diseases from being carried to their destination country. With departure eminent, all the emigrants were marshalled on the poop deck for a roll call  and  examined by the ship’s doctor as they came down onto the main deck.

On board, they came to terms with the reality of their primitive living conditions where space and privacy were hard to come by as they organised their sleeping area. The ship Castle Eden left the London dock to sail down to Gravesend to pick up the remaining passengers. The next morning following, some, distressed by their departure were unable to be comforted,  depression would have set in, shedding tears and wondering if they had made the correct decision to set out on this voyage to the new promised land on the other side of the world.

As the ship moved down stream to the open sea all the passengers were on deck craning their necks to catch a last view of their friends on a coastline they were unlikely to ever see again and as they passed other vessels in the harbour channel there would be cheering and finally just before they left the main stream for the vast open sea, there would have been an final inspection by the Customs Officers.

Eye Witness Account: There are a large number of spectators at the dock gates to witness the final departure of the noble ship, with it's large freight of human beings. It is and interesting and impressive sight and the most callous and indifferent can scarcely fail, at such a moment to form cordial wishes for the pleasant voyage and safe arrival of the immigrants, and for their future prosperity in their new homes. As the ship is towed, hats are raised, handkerchiefs are waved, and a loud and long-continued  shout of farewell is raised from the shore, and cordially responded to from the ship. May all prosperity attend her living freight!

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