Friday, April 17, 2009

Friday Mystery From 1846 -The Stuffed Bird in The Box

December 1846 and some enterprising lass was determined to make her way from the wilds of Tassie to the wilds genteel town of Port Phillip *cough cough* to spend Christmas.

The ship Shamrock was about to scoop up her skirts and sally forth into the Strait of Bass from Launceston when a late parcel was delivered upon her decks;  a 4 foot x 2.5 foot case, supposedly fragile and needing to be handled with care as it was full of stuffed birds.
Stuffed bird is right -except this little mockingbird was not of the feathered variety.
When the ship docked at Port Phillip the following day the case was found busted open with one or two clues to tattle as to what, or rather whom, had travelled in the box - a bit of bread, a bottle and a lady's comb.
The Melbourne Town gossips were hard at speculating and spreading the good word but at the time of publication, January 2, 1847, none had solved the mystery of the stuffed bird in the box.


  1. That's nothing compared to what the Shamrock carried the following year. According to the New Zealander of 17 April 1847, the husband of a convict named Nancy Robinson Roberts was brought up on charges after her putrefying remains was found on board, stuffed into a trunk in the after-hold. The smell gave the game away. Husband said he was secreting his wife from Van Dieman's Land when she must have suffocated. Eventually, the husband was released on his own recognisance.

  2. Remind me never to travel on a ship called Shamrock. It sounds dangerous.

  3. A bit of bread, a bottle and a ladies comb...what we have here is obviously a vain and slightly drunk dodo.

  4. I'm kind of glad she got away with it. Much better than suffocating.

  5. That rates for a bit more than an "oops" I think, Lisa lol.

    The Shamrock was probably a little easier on the dental plan than the Good Ship Lollipop, Marita :P

    Zombie Dodo, Brian?

    Well, sounds like she was having a right old party in that box, River lol.

  6. Essential reading for prospective refugees arriving in Australia.

  7. PMSL, Andrew!
    I can think of a dozen lines to say to that one but I shall keep myself nice, as Mother always told me ;)

  8. Before the advent of budget airlines I think that would probably have been a viable option *sigh*

    A friend of mine ran away to the mainland by hiding in the boot of her boyfriends car on the Spirit of Tassie..