Like many of us, I am often curious as to who we are and where we came from. So its probably no surprise that I have often wondered…why is Glen Huntly called Glen Huntly?.
Glen Huntly is the suburb in which I live. For years I have walked up and down Glen Huntly Road for whatever reason; walking kids in prams, taking them to school, going to the shops, the station etc. On most of these occasions I have walked past the local supermarket with the big metal ship covered in pigeon poo on the wall and the big steel anchor lying on its side up on the corner of Grange Road.
…. I guess I knew our suburbs name had something to do with a ship, but that was about it. I was ignorant and oblivious to the history of our suburbs name.
Glen Huntly was a barque sailing vessel; an emigrant bounty ship that departed Greenock Scotland in December 1839 on her maiden voyage. It arrived four and a half months later in Melbourne on the 17th April 1840.
The ship departed Scotland with 157 passengers; some were self-funded, others were sponsored by early settlers already living in the colony. These emigrants were seeking to escape a life of poverty and to reestablish themselves in this 'new' nation where they and their skills would be of value to those intent on building a city on the banks of the Yarra. John Batman and his party had only made a claim upon this land five years earlier. Prior to, and at this time, aboriginal people occupied this area. The city we now know as Melbourne barely existed.
The journey, however, was frought with illness. It is thought that Typhus and Small pox spread throughout the ship causing the deaths of ten people during the voyage.
As the ship entered Hobsons bay it flew the yellow flag at its mast, declaring itself to be a 'fever ship'. As a result the ship was ordered to land at Little Red Bluff, St.Kilda, now known as Point Ormond, where a makeshift quarantine station was set up. This area had not been settled by colonial settlers at this stage and so it was at a sufficient distance from the growing city of Melbourne to prevent further spread of disease.
All passengers were quarantined until June 1840. Two camps were set up; one for the healthy and the other for those suffering from 'Fever'. A further three deaths occurred here, making a total of thirteen for the voyage.
Glen Huntly was only one of the thousands of emigrant ships to make such a journey during the mid 1800's. One can only barely imagine now, how arduous these journeys must have been for their passengers and crew. Overcrowded ships, poor quality of food, confined women and poor medical attention; the constant threat of illness, death and even shipwreck out in the middle of nowhere.
The high hopes and expectations of these new settlers must surely have been challenged throughout the trip and I can only speculate that a certain level of personal courage and fortitude sustained all those on board.
If my calculations are correct it will be 175 years in April 2015 since Glen Huntly sailed into Little Red Bluff thereby forging the roots of our suburb, or village, as it is now known, of Glen Huntly.
There were a couple of varying figures regarding the number of passengers and the number of deaths (thirteen) aboard the Glen Huntly. The ones I have stated are the ones that seem to be the most accurate and are those that are written into the N.S.W. shipping records.