Alfred William Martin (1844-1928) was born in Clarence Plains, Tasmania, first son of William Martin (1805/6-1878), a convict transported to Tasmania, and Hannah Braim (1825/6-1860). Alfred William Martin was educated at Kettering Grammar School in Northamptonshire while his parents were revisiting England. Returning to Tasmania, Martin became a seaman, despite his good education, firstly on the ship Gem sailing out of Hobart and then, while still in his teens, on a whaler, Southern Cross, Capt. Mansfield, sailing out of Hobart to whaling grounds off New Zealand, NSW, and the New Hebrides. He then sailed on the Thomas Brown, Capt T.H. Brown, a freighter working between Melbourne and Adelaide. Subsequently Martin sailed a schooner, Jeannie Darling, 80 tons, owner Darling formerly a boat builder in Hobart, carrying timber and other goods between Melbourne and Schnapper Point (Mornington).
In Melbourne Martin joined the crew of a Brigantine, El Zéfiro (300 tons, Callao), Capt Manuel Diaz Garcias of Peru, smuggling opium to the China trade via Gilolo Island, Surigao and Manila; smoking bêche-de-mer at Ponape; trading in the Marshalls, the Gilbert and Ellice Islands, Niue, Samoa, Tonga and Fiji; trading for sandalwood in the New Hebrides; sailing onwards through the Banks Islands, Santa Cruz, San Christobal, Malaita, Guadalcanal, Bougainville, and back to Manila via the Moluccas and Celebes. El Zéfiro then sailed for Bougainville, reinforced with Bougainville warriors carried out a blackbirding raid in Aoba (Ambae) in the New Hebrides (Vanuatu), then sailed on to South America, touching at the Marquesas and Galapagos Islands, selling the New Hebridean slaves at Mollendo in Peru.
Alfred William Martin gave the manuscript to his granddaughter, Clara Ella Simm (b.1897), who he had brought up as a child after her father, William Simm (1855-1901), died in a flu epidemic in Launceston. When Dr Macnicol received the manuscript from his mother, via his sister, it was in a bundle tied with string. Dr Macnicol passed the manuscript to a conservator who repaired torn and fragmented pages. Dr Macnicol top-numbered the pages consecutively in pencil and transcribed the manuscript. He passed the transcript to Rafael Pintos-Lopez of Michelago, near Canberra, who submitted the transcript to Professor Brij Lal for assessment.
Untitled incomplete manuscript written by Alfred William Martin of Tasmania, written possibly in the 1890s relating his Pacific voyages and adventures in the 1860s, Ms. (gaps), re-paginated, pp.1-202; together with transcript of the manuscript made by Dr Peter Macnicol, Ts., pp.1-251.
See Finding aids for details.