Friday, October 23, 2009

Emigrants' death voyage recalled

This photo and the quotes below are from BBC News

This is an interesting little corner of Highland emigration history. I've read about the emigration to Canada and the US, but I had not read of this. St. Kilda is a small, remote island, the westernmost of the Outer Hebrides. Today it is no longer inhabited by anyone.

""The deaths of 18 islanders on a voyage to Australia was a factor in ending large-scale emigration from the Highlands," historian Eric Richards, professor of history at Flinders University in Adelaide, has said. ...

""The 36 who went represented a third of the population of St Kilda. On the course of their journey to Australia half of them were to die not from smallpox, or influenza but measles.""

"The St Kildans were so badly affected by measles because their remote island life meant they had not previously been exposed and built up any immunity to it.

The survivors, many of them orphaned children, were quarantined on arrival in Port Phillip. Prof Richards said the authorities were also frustrated that most only spoke Gaelic and no English."

For the rest of this article: Click Here

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