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Asker Church

Hans HERMANSEN, the son of Herman GABRIELSEN, was born about 1814 at Asker, Østre Bærum, Norway. He was a blacksmith when he married Inger HALVORSDATTER, daughter of Halvor HENRIKSEN at Asker. In 1865 he was living at Kollethaugen vestre farm, at Asker, as a coal-worker with some land. Hans and Inger had the following children: Birte Maria (Bertha Marie), Herman, Martine and Engelbret.

The older daughter, Bertha, was born at Bærum Agerhuus, Norway. She left Hamburg on the Alardus in November 1872, bound for Australia. This was one of the "hell voyages" to Australia. The Alardus was a sluggish vessel, which wallowed along at a slow rate of knots. Not one single porthole or opening in the sides and stern made conditions worse for the passengers, who mostly had to stay below deck. The ship was licensed to carry 193 adults, but left Hamburg with 297 on board. The captain was a drunkard, who disappeared overboard 9 days out of Melbourne while the First Mate joined the ship ill, never did a day's work, and died at Melbourne from consumption. So the Second Mate took charge of the ship. The ship was only provisioned to last for 150 days. The water, however, was loaded into drums that had previously been used to transport petroleum, so soon became foul. Needing new water, the ship put in to Brazil, but of course the fresh water was loaded into the same drums, so soon became just as bad. This detour to Brazil added considerably to the length of the voyage, as the ship was then becalmed in a hot, tropical climate for some weeks. Typhus, consumption and probably cholera appear to have been prevalent.

The Alardus arrived in Melbourne on April 26th, after 6 months at sea. Around 30 people had died, 22 under the age of 5. In Melbourne the ship was quarantined because of all the illness on board. Also hatches were added or enlarged, to aid ventilation. Eventually the ship headed north again, bound for Brisbane, but when they arrived there, that settlement was deemed to already have too many immigrants, so the ship continued to Fraser Island. There the passengers were checked for plague, and then transferred to the steamer Queensland, on which they continued to Maryborough, Queensland. They finally berthed on June 14th 1873, 8 months after leaving Hamburg.

Under such appalling conditions on board the Alardus, Bertha gave birth to a son. She married William Farmer 5 months after arriving in Australia.