The Rajah Quilt

The Rajah Quilt

Sunday, April 15, 2012


The Rajah was a barque - a sailing ship with 3 masts, which weighed 352 tons, built at Whitby in 1835.  This is the style of ship that she was:

The Rajah was a commercial ship - from 1838 to 1851 her Master was Captain Charles Ferguson, a Scot, who was only 25 at the start of his association with the Rajah.  Working between Britain, India and Australia the Rajah carried passengers and merchandise.

At the end of 1840 she was fitted out for convict transport.  The journey which began on 5th April 1841 was her only voyage as a convict ship.  On board for this journey was Miss Kezia Hayter, who was part of the group formed by Elizabeth Fry, hoping to provide female prisoners with skills for a better life.  Captain Ferguson and Miss Hayter became engaged in Hobart at the conclusion of the voyage. 

After the Rajah arrived in Hobart on 19th July 1841, the prison fittings were dismantled.  They formed part of a Government auction, advertised on the 3rd of August 1841, just 2 weeks after arrival.   The Rajah returned to commercial business, leaving Hobart on the 22nd of August bound for India, with passengers and freight. 

Kezia stayed behind while her beau travelled off, he didn't return until the 23rd June 1843.  On the 1st of July 1843 they were married, at St Andrew's Presbyterian Church, Hobart.

A quote often seen on websites, where people are writing about the Rajah Quilt:

'the patchwork only lasted 2/3 of the voyage and that the women talked as they sewed, and that the conversation was obscene'

This quote, while memorable, can't be about the Rajah Quilt - since it's source is quoted as from a Select Committee Report into Transportation - in 1838. 



  1. Hi Bernadette,
    You have written glorious.

    Thanks !

  2. Thank you Merlen, I am glad you enjoyed it :)

  3. Hello Bernadette,
    Usually I do not read article on blogs, but I would like to say that this write-up very pressured me to check out and do it! Your writing taste has been surprised me. Thank you, quite nice article.