So I am in quarantine. My lovely NZ Cruise was ended early by the COVID-19 global pandemic and today we received notice that there were cases aboard the ship. So now instead of a preemptive quarantine, I am a close contactee. I am fortunate in that work is setting me up to work from home and for the moment I feel well (if a little paranoid), but the situation did remind me that I am certainly not the first of my family to be quarantined after a ship board outbreak.
Charles Robert Muffett, alias Robert Moffitt (c. 1811- 23/11/1890) was one of the unlucky souls aboard the Bussorah Merchant in 1828, the first ship quarantined at what would become the North Head Quarantine Station. I do not know whether he was one of those with small pox or whooping cough or if he, like me, was one of the relatively healthy ones.
My journey was however a much more delightful one than that of my ancestor, a voluntary one that included 3 course meals and scenic tours of New Zealand. Robert’s was the result of sticky fingers and taking off with a clock and 2 silver spoons.