To gather more information about the operations of ships, establish their identity, just as you would for a person, and about the company which operated them. With ships, just like people, there can be more than one with the same name. You might search for the shipbuilder, the Master's name, the company who operated the ship, or the owner's name. All might yield different results, depending on what information was in the original documents.
One possible line of inquiry is suggested by this posting from the RootsWeb Mailing list CORNISH-GEN-L, a transcription from the West Briton Friday 25th February, 1853:
LIVERPOOL "GOLDEN" LINE OF PACKETS TO AUSTRALIA. For Melbourne. MILES
BARTON (new ship) 995 tons reg. 1,50 tons bur. To sail early in March.
MARTABAN (new ship) 850 tons reg. 1,300 tons bur. To follow.
IVANHOE 1,050 tons reg. 1,500 tons bur. To follow.
For Melbourne, Port Phillip, the splendid new clipper-built ship MILES
BARTON, William KELLY, Commander; A1 at Lloyds, 1,500 tons burthen.
This superb ship has been built, regardless of expense, expressly for
the Australian trade, by the well-known builders of the celebrated
ship "Constance." She is expected to prove the fastest vessel afloat.
Her cabins are fitted up in a most superior manner. The between-decks
are extremely lofty, and ventilated on the most improved principles.
The "Miles Barton" is a single-decked ship, and has an unusually clear
upper deck for the passengers to take exercise on, and which has been
proved to be absolutely essential to health on so long a voyage. The
fittings will be found to be of a novel and superior description, and
baths are provided on deck for the passengers. The dietary is
extremely liberal and great care will be used in the selection of the
provisions. She will carry an experienced Surgeon. Apply to MILLERS
and THOMPSON, 4 Tower Buildings West, Liverpool. The Steam-ship
"Antelope," will sail on the 5th of March, in connexion with the above
If this references the same ships Constance and Antelope then it is possible that the Golden Line operated both, and research about the Golden Line ships in general might yield more information about the lengths of the voyages.
There was another inquiry about the Golden Line on the RootsWeb Mailing list MARINERS-L from a user who was researching the Miles Barton:
Does sks have any information about the Liverpool "Golden Line" of
Australian packets, as noted below in the sample classified ads from
the London Times for 1854 & 1856? Were Pilkington & Wilson, who were,
I believe, the principals behind the start-up of the White Star Line,
the owners of the Golden Line in 1854?
(SKS = 'some kind soul')
No one replied to his query, but in his post he gave his source for the newspaper listings as the Thomson Gale Digital Times database. His link is broken -- this appears to be the current location for the London Times Archive at Gale.
Other sources for ship list information include:
- ‘ANTELOPE’ Built 1845. Wood Auxiliary screw steamer of 778 Tons. Built at Liverpool, England. Master: Captain Keen. Owned by Miller and
Co. She ran from Liverpool to Australia.
- ‘ANTELOPE’ Built 1856. Wood extreme clipper ship that was built as an Auxiliary dual funnel vessel in America. She was used in the
colonial passenger service bringing settlers to Australia and New
- ‘ANTELOPE’ Built 1873. Iron ship of 1306 Tons. Length: 198.3 ft. Breadth: 37.3 ft. Depth: 24 ft. Built at Belfast for Thomas
Peabody.[Passenger and General Carrier]
If the Antelope which arrived in December 1854 is one of these three, then it must be the first one (since the other two haven't been built yet). This seems to be the steamer which is referenced on the Ozships site. However, there is at least one other ship on OzShips with the same name, so it's not safe to assume that any listing of the ship Antelope is this one.
To quote again the passage from the history book:
The Antelope ... left from Liverpool on June 6 1854,
and arrived in Adelaide on December 21, 1854.
It is a good question to ask whether there is an arrival for The Antelope in Adelaide on 21 Dec 1854 and whether it actually left Liverpool on 6 June 1854. If you can find a passenger list, a brute-force walk-through might find evidence that is useful to you, e.g. lined-out entries that indicated your family intended to sail on this voyage but didn't actually board.
Also, this may be less common for travel to Australia, but on the Trans-Atlantic routes, it was common for families to travel back and forth several times. The information which came down in my family listed both ships but the arrival dates were not accurate. Is it possible that some member of the family had more than one arrival, either before or after this voyage of the Constance, and the Antelope was involved?
The Public Record Office Victoria has a searchable Index to Outward Passengers to Interstate, UK, NZ and Foreign Ports 1852-1923; searching for the Antelope and Dec 1854 results in 122 records matched with passengers bound for Liverpool. See their guide for links to other digitised records and online indexes.
Many sites or record collections do not list interstate or intrastate departures, so your best bet may lie in searching newspaper archives e.g. on Trove.
Another approach would be to study the operations of Melbourne as a port, to see if people commonly transferred from one ship to another. This overview of the history of shipping in Melbourne, published by School of Historical Studies, Department of History, The University of Melbourne, gives context and includes some information about transit times.
At the time of this writing, these sites yielded no results, but the links are included for future reference:
- The Gjenvick-Gjønvik Archives has an index to Steamship Lines which includes some shipping in the Pacific, but there is no entry for the Golden Line.
- South Australian Passenger Lists (Barry Leadbeater) "Passenger lists for 1,323 ship voyages with 32,600 emigrant families arriving in SA (usually Port Adelaide) from Germany (Prussia) up to 1855 and UK & Ireland to 1850" -- a search of 'ship arrivals' for the ship "Antelope" yielded no results, but there are links to other resources and a bibliography there. See his page South Australian Shipping & Migration Directory for resources for Adelaide arrivals.
Disambiguation: see the section on ships in the article Antelope (disambiguation) which includes many other ships, including the Antelope of Boston -- none of the ships in that article are the ship Antelope you are looking for, nor does it appear to have the three ships listed at Warren's blog. A search of the ISTG will turn up these other ships, especially the earlier packet ship Antelope which was lost in 1794.