Ellen G. White: The Australian Years: 1891-1900 (vol. 4)


Off to Australia

About twenty-five friends of Ellen White, W. C. White, [W. C. White was a widower, his wife, mary, having died in 1890. Anticipating that the stay in australia would be limited to two years and that much of this would be in travel, he left his two motherless daughters, ella and mabel, in battle creek, living in his home in the care of miss mary mortensen.] and the three assistants who traveled with them, were at the wharf in San Francisco Thursday afternoon, November 12, 1891, to bid them farewell as they embarked on the S.S. Alameda for Australia. The three assistants were May Walling, Fannie Bolton, and Emily Campbell. Ellen White readily chose Emily to be her cabin mate. She was energetic, outgoing, even-tempered, a schoolteacher with whom she became acquainted in Michigan. Mrs. White felt she would make a valuable member of her staff, even though she had to learn to type on shipboard. 4BIO 18.4

George B. Starr and his wife, Nellie, who in the initial planning were to be a part of the group, had gone on to Honolulu a few weeks before, when it was seen that Ellen White would be somewhat delayed. 4BIO 18.5

In the baggage were trunks holding copies of the E. G. White manuscripts and letters, letter books, E. G. White books, reference books, and other working materials that would be needed in setting up an office in Australia. The letter-size manuscript documents were folded in half and placed in oilcloth bags made for the purpose. Ellen White, of course, had writing materials readily at hand so that she could work as she traveled. 4BIO 19.1

After one day of rough weather the sailing was pleasant, the captain remarking that he could hardly remember having so pleasant a voyage. Ellen White describes the ship and the journey: 4BIO 19.2

Our vessel, though comparatively small, and not so elegant as many of the Atlantic boats, was thoroughly comfortable, convenient, and safe. The officers were kind and gentlemanly. We had about eighty cabin passengers, and forty in the steerage. Among the former were about eight ministers, several of whom were returning home from the great Methodist Conference in Washington. Religious services were held in the social hall twice each Sunday, and occasionally on deck for the steerage passengers.—The Review and Herald, February 9, 1892. 4BIO 19.3

She also reported that she had an excellent stateroom, and that “no one could have better attention than we have had.”—Letter 32a, 1891. The women placed their chairs on the deck in front of her room. Her hip troubled her some, but with soft mattresses in her deck chair she was quite comfortable. 4BIO 19.4