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The Emigration Depot at Baltic Wharf.
From ‘The Western Daily Mercury’- 22nd September 1870
Sir, - Having a friend emigrating to Australia, whom I have not seen for several years, and understanding from that person that Wednesday, 21st. inst, was set apart for visitors between the hours of 10 and 4. I went to the depot at Baltic Wharf, but was refused admittance as only fathers, mothers, brothers, and sisters could obtain that favour. Of course, I was very dissatisfied, and left a note with a lady, her sister, to give her. You may guess my astonishment and surprise when she called on me and said she was refused admission by the warder at the gate, on the ground that only fathers and mothers would be admitted, although he previously said to me that brothers and sisters would be admitted as well as fathers and mothers to see their relations.
In fact, the Emigrants Depot at the Baltic Wharf is simply a prison, because they (the emigrants) are not allowed either in or out; in fact, it is worse, because they are not allowed to see any one. The reason I have given publicity to this episode of civilized life is because there ought to be, at least in my opinion, some restriction of the unlimited power the depot master, Mr. Watson, now possesses, and some alteration of this rigorous behaviour to emigrants and emigrants’ friends.
I understand that the ship does not sail until Saturday, 24th inst., and the emigrants had received orders to be at the depot by 12 p.m. on the previous Monday; so you see there was nearly a week’s imprisonment for them. The day set apart for visitors resolved itself into a day for fathers and mothers.
Hoping you will insert this letter in your valuable columns, so that things may be altered for the better.
I am, Sir, yours,
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