William, Mary (Ann) and Ellen Ryan arrived in Australia (Newcastle) as assisted migrants aboard the Ellenborough, which sailed from England on 14 July 1854 and arrived in Newcastle on 31 October 1854.
Lloyds Register (1854) records that the Ellenborough was a sailing ship of 926 tons built in 1842, length 154 feet, width 31 feet and depth 22 feet, based in the Port of London. Two images of the ship have been found and are reproduced below.
The image below is a by the artist Frederick Garling (1806-1873).
The following two newspaper accounts have been found which provide some details of the departure of the Ellenborough from England and its arrival in Newcastle. The two articles vary slightly in the details of the ship and its passengers, but the ship carried just over 400 passengers and crew, including up to 100 emigrants who were to be engaged in the construction of the Hunter River Railway. The ship's cargo included "iron for the Railway Company".
It is not known if William Ryan was one of the railway workers although it is known that the Ryans spent some time in New South Wales before moving to Victoria.
The following was published in the London Times of July 14, 1854.
Australian Emigration.--Southampton, Thursday, July 13.--The splendid East India ship Ellenborough, Captain Thornbill, left the docks this afternoon, and will sail on Friday (this day) for Port Newcastle, New South Wales, taking out about 370 souls, equal to 330 statute adult emigrants, which have been shipped from the Government emigration depot in the Southampton Docks. The Ellenborough has also a full general cargo for the Australian markets, and a portion of her emigrant passengers comprises 50 labourers, who are to be engaged upon the construction of the Hunter River Railway. The Ellenborough is a noble-looking frigate-built ship of 1,200 tons, and has attracted considerable attention while lying alongside the wharf in the inner dock.
The following was published in the Maitland Mercury of 4 November 1854.
NEWCASTLE. Arrival. October 31. Ellenborough, ship, 1084 tons, Captain Thornhill, from Southampton July 14. Passengers Mr. James H. Atkinson, Dr. Stolworthy, Surgeon Superintendent, and 399 immigrants. The Ellenborough has had rather a long passage of 107 days from Southampton, which has been occasioned by her being very deep, having encountered most dreadful weather, and losing a number of her spars on the passage. She brings 399 immigrants, principally English, and all in good health, 100 of whom are for the Railway Company, the remainder are chiefly agricultural labourers. There have been 7 deaths and 2 births on board during the voyage. We believe the immigrants speak in high terms of the kindness and attention shown them by Dr. Stolworthy. The cargo of the Ellenborough consists principally of iron for the Railway Company. The following vessels have been spoken during the voyage, viz.: The Lord Raglan, and Alice Maud, off the Cape of Good Hope, from London, bound to Adelaide, and the Glenbervie, from London, bound to Hobart Town.
The following information was found on the Geneology web site, RootsWeb.com (since shut down). It appears that the Ellenborough docked in Newcastle because it was carrying workers for the Hunter River Railway:
From: Mark Lambert
Subject: The Ship "Ellenborough"
Date: Sun, 15 Aug 1999 12:23:04 +1000
Some time ago someone was enquiring about the ship "Ellenborough" and I thought the following might be of interest to them and others with a connection to the ship. It is part of an article by Norm Barney in his Times Past series, which appeared in the Newcastle Herald on Saturday, Feb 13. of this year. It reads (in part):
"....On November 1, 1854, William Hislop (the manager of the Bank of Australasia in Newcastle, wrote to his London headquarters that:.... "The 'Ellenborough' arrived last night with 69 Government immigrants for the Hunter River Railway Company to commence the line from Newcastle to Maitland". The 'Ellenborough' was one of five ships which brought unskilled workers direct from England to Newcastle to work on the railway line. Many of them deserted to the goldfields as soon as they arrived, leading the company to offer between 15 and 25 shillings a day to those who stayed, a princely sum for the period, but a wage dictated by the shortage of labour."