The young Selwood family, James aged 25, Helena aged 20, and young Henry aged 2, said goodbye to the Selwoods of Buscot, and to their Campbell sponsoring family in September 1876. They travelled to Greenock, on the Clyde, in Scotland, to board their sailing ship the Oamaru for their journey to a new life in a new world.
In 1876 this was not a simple journey to Scotland. There were, of course, no planes, buses or cars, but there were horse-drawn coaches and rail services. It is probable that the Selwoods travelled by local train to London’s Euston station to catch the London to Glasgow train. In those days the train service was operated by the London and North Western Railway as far as Carlisle, near the Scottish border, and then the Caledonian Railway from Carlisle to Glasgow. It was a direct and relatively quick service that took 12.5 hours for the 400-mile (640 km) journey. From Glasgow it was a local railway service to the port of Greenock. We will take a close look at the Selwood family’s 84-day non-stop sea journey to New Zealand but first we examine the ship they sailed on to New Zealand, the Oamaru, and the typical emigrant ship processes at that time.