INDIAN SAILORS COLD AND TREATED BADLY

INDIAN SAILORS COLD AND TREATED BADLY

Lascars on board Dunera. Courtesy of National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, London, UK.

Lascars on board Dunera. Courtesy of National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, London, UK.

© Len Kenna and Crystal Jordan 2014

Have you ever wondered how Indian Sailors were treated while sailing on trading vessels that visited Australia in the early days of Settlement?

When the “Shar of Hormus” landed in Sydney, in the 1790’s convicts who came in contact with the Indian Sailors on board the vessel felt sorry for them because they were extremely cold and had lacked adequate clothing during their voyage to Australia, which took them south of Tasmania. Even after landing in Sydney they had insufficient clothing and blankets to keep them warm, so the convicts gave to the Indian sailors some of their own clothes and blankets. The convicts were later punished.

Indian Sailors sailing on English ships including those that visited Australia were paid one sixth of the salary of English Sailors and at least one (Indian) sailor per mast had to be aloft at all times. This was not the case for English sailors. The Indian sailors had to tie themselves to the mast at night so that they could sleep at other times they slept on mats on the deck. They were fed a diet of rice and dried fish.

The number of ships that set sail for Sydney from India from 1793 to 1820 was 129 one sixth of these ships perished at sea. Almost 1,000 Indian sailors died in these wrecks. In all approximately 5,000, Indian sailors sailed for Australia this is far more than from any other country.

One can’t even imagine the collective suffering these men endured.

The Sydney Cove - Pen Sketch by Crystal Jordan

The Sydney Cove – Pen Sketch by Crystal Jordan

lenkenna-crystaljordanAre Indians An Ethnic Minority? Vols 1-5

© Len Kenna and Crystal Jordan 2014