Women in nineteenth century sealer’s camps

Well, I’ve become a bit intrigued by the Elizabeth Farr story, not that I’ve got very far tracing her.

What I have found is that no one really knows much about sealer’s camps – there seems to be an assumption that they consisted of a group of gnarly and probably fetid men that went around clubbing seals, skinning them and rendering the remains.

If the sealers were local the men were usually dropped off early in the season by the seal boat which returned later to pick them up. Obviously if they were from further afield – America for example – they anchored their boat securely while working onshore.

But it does seem that sometimes there were women present in the camps.

James Clark Ross, on his 1840 expedition to Antarctica stopped off on Campbell Island and in his account of the voyage wrote:

Screenshot 2021-03-25 111436

This of course asks as many questions as it answers. Elizabeth Farr was clearly not a French woman, and it’s not clear from Ross’s account how recent the grave was, or indeed he had confused the grave with another.

However, it does seem to suggest that women were present on occasions in sealer’s camps ….

About dgm

Former IT professional, previously a digital archiving and repository person, ex research psychologist, blogger, twitterer, and amateur classical medieval and nineteenth century historian ...
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1 Response to Women in nineteenth century sealer’s camps

  1. Pingback: Sealers, whalers, and Antarctic discovery | stuff 'n other stuff

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