Story: The voyage out

Life in steerage

Life in steerage

Most accounts of the voyage from Britain to New Zealand by steerage passengers record the crowded conditions, poor food, damp bedding and other trials of travelling in the low-ceilinged space below the main deck. John Pearse made this sketch of the sleeping arrangements on board the Duke of Portland, bound for Canterbury, New Zealand, in 1851. At the time leaks from the deck above were so bad that the beds had to be shifted.

Using this item

Alexander Turnbull Library
Reference: E-455-f-010-11
Ink and wash drawing by John Pearse

Permission of the Alexander Turnbull Library, National Library of New Zealand, Te Puna Mātauranga o Aotearoa, must be obtained before any re-use of this image.

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How to cite this page:

John Wilson, 'The voyage out - Cabin and steerage', Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, http://www.TeAra.govt.nz/en/artwork/2588/life-in-steerage (accessed 26 September 2021)

Story by John Wilson, published 8 Feb 2005