The Starritt Family
Robert Starritt left Liverpool on 23rd April and arrived in Melbourne on 26th July, 1864 on the "Morning Light" which was a ship of 2377 tons under the Captaincy of Master Gillies. The ship's log says it took 140 days to reach Melbourne however, this doesn't correspond with the dates on the same log. There were 450 passengers on board consisting of 101 from the U.K., 58 from Scotland, 246 from Ireland and others not specified. Robert was aged 20 and was classed, either by himself or by the authorities, as a labourer.
It must have been a long and lonely trip for a young man of 20 not knowing what lay ahead of him in a strange country. Knowing that John, his brother, was already in Victoria, as was apparently the family of William Sterritt who came out in 1884, (living at Bungaree 6 miles east of Ballarat on Leigh Creek) at this time must have been a big help.
Robert's movements from his time of landing till 1870, when he was married in Creswick, are very hard to trace. We know that William Sterritt's sister, Jane Amelia, who married Andrew Wade, lived at Bungaree and that there are still descendants living there. John, Robert's brother, was a carrier in Ballarat in 1870 and was later to have farmed at "GlenPark", Bungaree. In the Victorian directory, dated 1870, there is also a Thomas Starritt listed as a labourer at Ascot which is near Ballarat, so from this information it is reasonable to assume that Robert headed for the Ballarat area where the other Starritts and also the Gregg family were situated.
We do know that Robert worked for a time as a farm labourer for 15 shillings per week probably around the Bungaree area where the other Starritts were situated. Labour was plentiful at the time and there was obviously not much future for him in labouring so he somehow managed to buy a team of horses and a dray and began carting timber for the mines. The days of the small digger were disappearing on the Ballarat goldfields as the alluvial gold had nearly all been found by the thousands who flocked there when gold was first discovered and so the successful miner now had to go well underground in search of the gold bearing leads. Robert, seeing the need for timber for these mines went into the carrying business and this was to give him his first real start in the new colony.
Robert was later to go carrying or teaming as they called it as far afield as Horsham. His work with horse teams in this period must have developed his interest in them as he was later to become known as an excellent judge and breeder of Clydesdale horses. In June 1869 Robert was to hear of the death of his younger brother, George, who was aged 22. I don't not know the reasons for this premature death, which occurred in Ireland.