- Meet Mathias Jacobsen, one of the many passengers that travelled to Australia on the SS Great Britain. This photograph was taken just before he left his home in Denmark on 26 September 1870 to move to New Zealand.
- In the photograph, Mathias appears ready to travel. He is posing next to his packed bag and carrying both a smaller bag across his body and a warm coat over his arm.
- This photograph is a reproduction (copy). Mathias’ family kindly allowed the SS Great Britain Trust to copy the original photograph that the family still looks after.
- Mathias travelled on the SS Great Britain to Melbourne, Australia in October 1870. He then boarded another ship to continue onwards from Australia to New Zealand.
- Mathias bought passenger ticket number 1107. Despite actually being from Denmark, he was described on the ship’s passenger list as being 27 years old, and a single (unmarried) English man. Matthias travelled in Steerage and was one of three Danish people travelling on the ship on this voyage.
Mathias Jacobsen travelled on the SS Great Britain as part of a longer journey to New Zealand. He hoped to be reunited with his brother Rasmus whom he had not seen for 8 years. Rasmus was working as a gold prospector (someone who searches for gold) in New Zealand.
Mathias travelled from Denmark to Liverpool, England with two friends. On boarding the SS Great Britain, they become separated; his friends were travelling in the second class cabins, whilst Mathias’ ticket was for Steerage. He writes that his first evening on the ship “wasn’t all bad” however, as three Englishmen shared their bacon, cheese and bread with him.
The ship departed for Australia on 6 October 1870. Mathias describes the first week as lively, with people laughing, playing cards, and entertaining each other with comedy and music. Later in the journey the atmosphere became quieter as boredom set in, and Mathias wrote often about missing his family and home back in Denmark. 59 days later, the SS Great Britain arrived in Melbourne on 4 December 1870. Mathias then boarded another ship and travelled to New Zealand.
Mathias arrived in Rosstown, New Zealand in early 1871. He was reunited with his brother and worked as a prospector for four years. Life was hard and his search for gold was not as successful as he had hoped. In 1875 Mathias returned home, travelling first to Melbourne, where he boarded the London-bound SS Somersetshire in August, before travelling onwards to Denmark. In 1891 he finally achieved his dream of buying a farm where he lived with his wife and seven children and became a member of the parish council.