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History of Tongaat Hulett Sugar South Africa

The Beginnings

One of the steerage class passengers, 19 year old James Liege Hulett, decided to pass the time by fishing. Another passenger, a Mrs. Schultz, had been impressed with the neat appearance of young Liege Hulett and had asked permission from the Captain for him to come up occasionally to the first class to talk to them, and this had been allowed.

She decided to play a practical joke on the young fisherman and, obtaining a salted herring from the galley, reached through a porthole, wound up Liege's line and tied on the herring. She gave the line a tug and Liege reeled in with great joy, only to find that he had been hoaxed. He was not amused!

There is no record of what young Liege Hulett thought about on the 114-day voyage while the 'Lady Shelbourne' kicked and bucked incessantly on the high seas.

However, some of the other passengers are reported to have found "continual movement underfoot very trying!"

During those long days, Liege Hulett must have wondered whether he had made the right decision, with his 19th birthday still 14 weeks away when he boarded the vessel on 7 February, 1857 with 25 pounds sterling borrowed from his uncle, in his pocket. The fare ate up 20 pounds, leaving him with 5 pounds when he landed in Durban almost four months later.