The story of how seven Cornishmen sailed to Australia in their 37ft long, 16 ton lugger, the Mystery, in 1854/5 has been recounted elsewhere.1 Ocean sailor Pete Goss even re-created their voyage in Spirit of the Mystery in 2008.2 However, no one seems to have found (or published) this entry from the National Archives3 which we tripped over while researching other Penzance vessels.
Legislation at the time required any ship sailing to a foreign port to submit a copy of its crew list so that the government could identify men suitable for potential naval service in the event of war. The crew of the Mystery had to follow the same process, simply writing ‘Melbourne’ as their destination port. There cannot have been many vessels leaving Penzance with such ambitions: most of the other entries we came across that year are for places like Cork, Venice or, the most, New York.
The seven men were:
Lewis and Matthews remained in Australia but the other five eventually returned to Cornwall. The Mystery remained in Australia, eventually being wrecked.
Fortunately, a picture of Melbourne harbour of around 1862 shows the Mystery under full sail (look in the bottom left hand corner)