William Jolly Bridge, Brisbane, Queensland, Aus.

Monday, April 27, 2009


Sunday 23rd January 1949

Up at 7:00 am and the sun is shining. Terrific wind but a good job as the sun is scorching. The wind seems to beat the sun into your skin but keeps one cool enough and refreshing.
There are services on board and Sunday school. Delicious cool salad for lunch. Duck with trimmings. Saw beautiful high rocky islands. Monastery on top of one.

Monday 24th January 1949

Up at 5:30am, still dark. All on deck at 6:00 am to watch beautiful islands with the sun rising behind and rays like a fan shedding light over the craggy, barren, pale mauve, rocks. Approached Aden and could see the white buildings.

Flags went up as signals, pilot came aboard and we stopped in the harbour about 7:00 am. We weren't allowed to go on shore as there were disturbances in the Middle East. Bum boats were around in a jiffy and people began bargaining and buying immediately. Rich coloured carpets and mats about 50/-. Head scarves in lovely colours 8/-. Fags, tea, nylons, baskets etc. Got 8 ½ pound blocks of milk chocolate and sweets. Black boys dived for money. Exciting but tiring in the hot sun.

(David and I loved watching the boys diving for money. I remember their black shining skin in contrast with the yellow sand, which you could see on the bottom of the harbour. I remember watching the silver coins being tossed over the side and the boys would follow the coins rolling and glinting in the sun through the water. The boys mostly grabbed the coins before they sank to the bottom. Then they would surface and store the coins in their mouth.)
We weren't allowed to go on shore as there were disturbances in the Middle East.

 All hands on deck signal, and we drew anchor at 4:00 pm and off again. Watched the land disappear and played cards.

Tuesday 25th January 1949

Sunbathed for only one hour as the sun is baking. Temp 108 degrees. Came out of Gulf of Aden and saw Somaliland in the distance. This is the last land we will see for 14 days. We saw Dolphins and sharks.
 Treasure hunt for children. (Robbie) Burns night. Scots had a party. Piped in the haggis around the decks.
David got temperature. Dr saw him and gave him medicine to bring temp down. Hospital full up.


  1. I can just almost hear these bagpipes on the boat over that mass of water. Beautiful.

  2. I have never ever seen such immaculate documentation for one person to leave for posterity! Again, I am so enjoying this! THank you for sharing this truly remarkable treasure with us all !

  3. Hi Diane

    Welcome from Manly Beach! Not surfing weather I can assure you. You would have loved the Killara G.Club "Slaughter" on 5th Avenue!!!
    Can hardly wait to give a briefing of the whole affair. Had great time in the Hunter and didn't have to water those 100 ( now 97 ) trees. Rain to the rescue.
    See you and the Swiss "Ace" in a few weeks!
    Huggibear (HB)
    Next stop Young - and the temp. is 0 - 12. I'll be blue with the cold.

  4. Hi Diane,

    The Diary of your late mother is a fascinating find and a real treasure. I did enjoy reading all your posts started from the Part 1. Old photos that you have posted are also beautiful and very precious and great addition to these interesting posts of yours. You were a sweet little girl and your mother was a slim young woman, healthy and strong. In 1949 my mother was a 10 little girl whose father was killed in the WWII. I found it interesting to compare the lives of two families at the same period of time from which one family lived in one corner of the world and the other across the ocean, in the other corner of the world. Thanks for sharing this Diary with us. :-)

  5. Dear Mum,
    This is so interesting. I am thoroughly enjoying reading this. I've just realized that I am currently the same age as Grandma was when she did this trip, almost exactly 60 years ago. How different our lives have been. Her a nurse living through war and rationing, and setting off to a far away land to start a new life. How brave and adventurous she was.
    Thank you for doing this blog Mum, it's brilliant!
    Love You

  6. I think it's neat that she had all those pictures. What a photographic history along with the diary. Wouldn't blogging have come in handy at so many times in our histories?

  7. Thanks again for sharing. I love the photo of the young man in the kilt.

  8. Thank you everyone for your interest.
    Carol, you are the same age and you have travelled back there in 2 days on a jet! How times have changed. You may also realise why I find it difficult to understand why any of our family would want to return there to live.(including my brother)but I guess it just shows how much England has changed since then.

  9. Yes, and it shows the difference a two day journey makes compared to months at sea. We don't think of ourselves as 'living' in London...I guess because we can come home relatively quickly. Whereas Grandma and Granddad probably felt that they would never see England again when they left?

  10. Although your trip took much longer, you also left around the same time we did, and did the reverse of us, probably going from mid winter to mid summer, and a hot one at that, it must have been quite a surprise.

  11. I love the Scotsman piping in the haggis. Guess that could not be forgotten even if on board ship :-) Diane