April 17-27 1990 marks the 150th anniversary of the arrival and disembarkment of the emigrant ship Glen Huntly which was the first vessel to enter Port Phillip with fever patients on board.

The Glen Huntly was a 3 masted barque of 420/550 tonnage built in 1839 by James Bremner, Pultney Town and registered at Greenock, Scotland, one of the Glen fleet.

The Glen Huntly sailed from Greenock, Scotland under the command of Captain Buchanan on 14th December 1839 and after what might be called a horror voyage, arrived in Hobson’s Bay, Williamstown on 17th April, 1840. There were more than 150 emigrants on board. When it became known that twelve people had died from fever of a typhoid character during the four month voyage Captain Buchanan was ordered to cross the Bay to Point Ormond-The Bluff.

Two quarantine camps, one for the sick and one for the healthy, were established, forming Victoria’s first quarantine station.

Three more passengers – James Mathers, John Craig and George Armstrong- died during the next few weeks and were buried at The Bluff. Their graves, enclosed by a picket fence, remained until 1898 when the remains were reburied, with some ceremony, in the St Kilda Cemetery. Mrs. Bowman of Caulfield, a daughter of James Craig, was present on the occasion.

Subsequently, a public appeal raised sufficient money to establish a suitable memorial at the grave in the St. Kilda Cemetery. In 1985, through the efforts of the St Kilda Historical Society and the Elwood Lions Club, a cairn was erected at Point Ormond.

These two memorials, together with Glen Huntly Road, a main thoroughfare and the Caulfield suburb of Glen Huntly serve as reminders of the arrival and tragedy of the fever ship so soon after the founding of the Colony.

A Committee of the descendants of the various passengers on the ship Glen Huntly, the St Kilda Historical Society, and other interested bodies are arranging a Dinner on Saturday April 21st and a Family Picnic Lunch at Point Ormond on Sunday 22nd. In addition there will be a Historical Display at the St Kilda Town Hall at 3.30pm on this Sunday (22nd).

Caulfield Historical Society Newsletters No 15 and No 22
Scotch Link February 1990
Migrant Ships for S.A 1836-1850 (Ronald Parsons)

Written by R. Sims and published in the Caulfield Historical Society Newsletter in April 1990