It was on John Nicol's narrative that Sian Rees based her book "The
Floating Brothel", Hodder 2001.
There is a good deal in the book on John and Sarah.
"Sarah Whitelam had done well in the colony. She had left Sydney Cove on
31 August aboard the Surprize, bound for Norfolk Island with Sarah
Dorset and her other shipmates.
Her new husband, John Coen Walsh, had remained in Sydney Cove for
several months, earning money to set up his family on Norfolk shortly
He joined her in 1791. They had two sons together.
When Walsh was pardoned, Sarah became a free woman in an automatic
recalculation of her status according to that of her husband.
Their Norfolk farm was prosperous, and six years after their wedding
they paid passage for themselves and the three boys aboard the Marquis
Cornwallis, which left Sydney Cove for Bombay in June 1796.
This was how she got away from the colony."
"When John Nicol dictated his memoirs to an Edinburgh bookbinder in
1822, he was living pathetically off scraps and charity on the streets,
an old man whose memory of dates, names and the sequence of events was
growing cloudy, but whose memory of Sarah Whitelam was glowing and
tender. 'old as I am', he said, `my heart is still unchanged.'
He never forgot the elusive convict lover he left in Sydney Cove."
From: John Harland [mailto:email@example.com]
Sent: Saturday, 1 November 2003 9:07 AM
Subject: [PJ] Sarah Whitlam/John Nicol
*The Life and Adventures of John Nicol, Mariner* was originally
published in Edinburgh in 1822, and reprinted in 1936. Nicol served
as steward aboard the transport Lady Juliana, which arrived at Port
Jackson in 1790. During the voyage he established a relationship with
one of the passengers, Sarah Whitlam, and states that a son was born
to her during the passage out. There are many references to his
efforts to rejoin her, but in the end these were fruitless, and they
were never united. Nicol was subsequently impressed into the Royal
Navy, and fought at two of the major fleet actions of the Napoleonic
Wars, the Battles of Cape St Vincent and Aboukir.
Is anything known of the subsequent fate of Sarah Whitlam?
John H Harland
Kelowna B C
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