Sailing to a New Life

It was with some degree of trepidation and much excitement that young Mary Ann Bampton boarded the ship “NORTHAMPTON” at Plymouth on 17 September 1880. She was emigrating to Australia to join her fiancé, David Leake in Sydney. Only recently had she left her employment as a servant, working for a large household on the outskirts of Birmingham.


Although she had to share with other single women, her accommodation on board was spacious, and clean. Early in the morning of September 19th, as she watched the southernmost coast of Cornwall, the Lizard, disappear from view she felt a great sadness come over her, knowing that she may never see her parents William and Emma again.


Despite the voyage taking longer than expected, Mary Ann’s time on board was harmonious and comfortable. As the ship was towed into Neutral Bay in the evening of Friday 24 December, Mary Ann was delighted at the prospect of joining her older brother, James and fiancé David for their first Christmas Day together in Australia. However, she was soon to be disappointed when the Captain was advised that because of the public holiday, landing would be delayed until the following Tuesday.


Following her marriage to David on 15 January at the Wesleyan Parsonage in The Rocks, Mary Ann posed for her portrait at photographic studios of Albert Lomer near the Central Railway. She wore her best gingham dress trimmed around the neck and sleeves with lace and proudly displayed her shiny new wedding ring.Mary

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