Passengers & Crew


Like most other clipper ships of the period, the Flying Cloud carried paying passengers on her voyages.  Early in her career the passengers were housed in cabins under the poop deck.  Later, after the ship had been converted to carry emigrants between England and Australia, passengers were also housed in the upper hold under the main deck.


Lyon and Reynolds say twice in their book on the Flying CloudÕs first passengers that there were 12 passengers[1] on the first voyage, then they provide a list of 19 people as passengers in an appendix.[2] I have not found any other sources to resolve the discrepancy.

Sara Bowman, one of these first passengers, reported in a letter that the total number of people on the Flying Cloud on the initial voyage was 78.[3]  Subtracting the 12 passengers, gives 66 for the number of crew (which is the same number as reported on page 70).  This is a bit out of sync with the crew list in the same book that includes 63[4] names, but it gives the basic idea of the number of people on that voyage.


The Flying Cloud had cabins for the officers and passengers under the poop deck.  These were described by Duncan McLean as follows:

"In the front of the poop is a small portico, which protects the entrance to the cabins, of which she has three. The first contains the pantry and state-rooms for the officers, and the second, or great cabin, is beautifully wainscotted with satin wood, mahogany and rose wood, set off with enameled pilasters, cornices, gilt work, etc. The panels are of satin wood, gothic in their form, and are set in mahogany frames edged with rose wood. The after cabin is small, and is fitted in the same beautiful style. It contains two useful apartments, and is otherwise neatly arranged."[5]


Fitting the passengers, even if there were only 12, as well as the shipÕs officers, in these cabins must have made for a cozy environment. Bruce M. Lane, an engineer who studied the Flying Cloud for many years and wrote an unpublished manuscript about the ship, provided Lyons and Reynolds with a diagram showing a possible arrangement of the cabins to support 12 passengers.[6]  The plan is not consistent with the McLean description nor is it compatible with the Boucher deck arrangement, but the diagram provides an interesting hypothesis and shows that 12 passengers could fit, if some of them liked each other.


Between 1862 and 1870 the Flying Cloud made a number of voyages between England and Australia to transport immigrants, there were a lot more passengers on these voyages than on the early voyages between New York, San Francisco and Hong Kong.  For example, on the first Australian voyage the Flying Cloud carried 519 passengers consisting of 367 adults and 130 children under 12 and 22 infants.  This was the largest number of passengers carried by any of the Flying CloudÕs Australian voyages, the other voyages having carried between 126 and 482 passengers each.  These voyages are documented in Tall Ships on the River: Flying Cloud: Queensland Voyages 1862-1870 by Kay F. Gassan.

[1] Margaret Lyon & Flora Elizabeth Reynolds, The Flying Cloud and her first Passengers, 1992, pages 6 & 32

[2] The Flying Cloud and her first Passengers, Appendix I (page 120)

[3] The Flying Cloud and her first Passengers, page 39

[4] The Flying Cloud and her first Passengers, Appendix IV, page 125, this number is the same as crew description of the crew on page 22

[5] Duncan McLean, The New Clipper Ship Flying Cloud, Boston Daily Atlas, 1851

[6] The Flying Cloud and her first Passengers, page 25