State Library and Tasmanian Archives Blog

Tasmania Reads: Reading an entry from the Log of the Whaling Ship Chance (Part One: The Challenge)

A row of old Ledger books on a shelf
Image credit: Tasmanian Archives.

The State Library and Archive Service is issuing a challenge to Tasmanians to read five different examples of nineteenth-century handwriting from our Heritage Collections, each featuring a different set of records held in the State Archives.

The scripts are selected to give you insights into some of the key strengths of our collection and we hope they will pique your interest to explore further.

This is our third challenge.

Your Transcription Challenge

Today’s challenge is from the log of the whaling ship Chance. Our collection of whaling related material is significant – we hold logs, general records, published material on the topic, an amazing collection of scrimshaw created by sailors, and more.

A Ships log from the barque named chance. It reads: On a whaling voyage October 1869 Begins with a light breeze and fine clear weather from the “NE” Ships heading “E S E” Daylight made moderate sail the crew employed seriously and as most required saw a strange sail the Cooper Febring at 7.50 A M saw Sperm Whales at 830 lowered the boats and gave chase got a good chance in the waist boat and missed with both irons Foblow the chase up and got along side in the bow boat and missed with both irons Follow the Chase up and got alongside in the boat and missed with both irons followed the chase up without success at 4pm boats returned to the ship the whales in sight but going fast to the NW sun set shortened sail to the lower tops sail ship to the NW Midnight moderate Emmanuel Francis Sick
Crowther Library, State Library of Tasmania: Log – Chance (barque), [Southern Ocean?] – capt Scott [C2395] (1869-70), CRO82/1/9 p.7.

The Answer …

will be published in our blog this afternoon. Stay tuned!


  • Alex is a Librarian with the State Library of Tasmania and Tasmanian Archives

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