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White Wings Vol I. Fifty Years Of Sail In The New Zealand Trade, 1850 TO 1900

The Lady Jocelyn

page 40

The Lady Jocelyn.

An Old East Indiaman—Trooper and Emigrant Ship—Vesey Stewart Settlers—Visit to Tauranga.

the Lady Jocelyn was originally built for the East India trade, and was fitted with auxiliary steam engines, but when the Suez Canal was opened the engines were dispensed with, and under sail in her early days she made some very fast passages to Australia. the Lady Jocelyn, in addition to having one of those musical names that cling to the memory, was notable for other, reasons. Up to the year 1878, when she sailed for the second time into the Waitemata, she was the biggest immigrant ship trading to these shores, and she was also the
the Lady Jocelyn At Port Chalmers.

the Lady Jocelyn At Port Chalmers.

boat that brought out a large number of the Katikati and Te Puke settlers—two of the special settlements organised by Mr. Vesey Stewart. The Vesey Stewart settlers were men and women in prosperous circumstances, and their arrival was regarded as a distinct forward step in the settlement of the colony.

"Tickle the land with a hoe and it will laugh a harvest," was one of the catch-phrases used by the lecturer that went round the old Britain telling of the golden future that awaited anyone deciding to make a home in the new Britain of the South. A hoe! It would have needed a steam tractor in those days to extract even a smile from the dismal spot in which these disillusioned people found themselves. Old Katikati people will tell you even to-day of the bitter things that were thought and said, and that there were even threats of shooting somebody. But those days are long ago and far away, and though the Katikati stock has by no means stuck to the shores of Tauranga harbour, those that remained have found that New Zealand isn't such a bad place after all, and they won't hear a word against "Kattykat," which to-day is a happy and prosperous settlement.

From North Of Ireland.

The first of the Katikati settlers came out in a ship called the Carisbrooke Castle, 1415 tons, Captain Freebody, which arrived in Auckland on September 8, 1875, after a passage of 92 days. She was from Liverpool and Belfast, and brought 363 people, including 122 "healthy-looking, clear-complexioned Irish lasses," who seem to have taken the eye of the reporter of thepage 41"Auckland Star" that recorded the ship's arrival. There were a large number of North of Ireland people (mostly Orangemen) in the party. A public welcome was given to the new-comers in the Choral Hall, and they were afterwards taken down by the Northern Company's steamer Rowena to Tauranga en route for Katikati, which is at the northern end of the Tauranga Harbour.

In addition to Katikati there was also to be a settlement at Te Puke, which to-day is a flourishing centre of the fertile Bay of Plenty, but forty-one years ago the original settlers had to wait in Tauranga for about three weeks because the road to their new home, then being put in from Maketu, had not been completed.

the Lady Jocelyn, with the second party of settlers, arrived at Auckland on August 17, 1878, after a good voyage from Belfast of 88 days. She sailed from Belfast on May 20, and reached Auckland on August 17, bringing out 451 people under the command of Captain Jenkins. According to the newspaper account the voyage was a very happy one. There was one exception, however. Two cases of mild smallpox occurred, and great praise was given to Dr. Ginders, who isolated himself with the patients and nursed them back to health. Dr. Ginders subsequently settled at Rotorua and Auckland.

The James Wishart arrived in Auckland in 1879, having on board a number of passengers for the Vesey Stewart settlement.

To Tauranga Direct.

the Lady Jocelyn brought out another large batch of settlers in 1881, and proceeded direct to Tauranga. It was the day after New Year's Day that the Lady Jocelyn arrived off Tauranga, 95 days out from Gravesend, and as the wind was not favourable for making port, she tacked between Mayor Island and the Mount (the high headland at the entrance to Tauranga harbour). She made a magnificent sight standing across the bay, and there was quite a flutter in the rather sleepy little township, particularly among the Maoris, who were much more numerous in this district forty years ago than they are to-day. the Lady Jocelyn was the first immigrant ship to make a call at Tauranga, and seeing that in addition to the rarity of the occasion she was also a vessel of 2138 tons, it is no wonder that those who saw her standing on and off remembered it as one of the sights of their lives.

Tough Tow.

On January 3 the Northern Company's steamer Glenelg (Captain Farquhar) attempted to tow the big ship in, and got into much trouble. the Glenelg was a very small boat indeed beside the two thousand tonner, and what with things carrying away on the steamer (the tow rope making a clean sweep of her stern bulwarks, there was much language, but Captain Farquhar was not the man to strike his colours. He held on grimly in spite of the weight of the tow and the head wind that was blowing, and he got the ship nearly as far as the end of the reef outside the Mount. It was getting late in the day and the pilot evidently did not care to
Captain Jenkins.

Captain Jenkins.

risk coming in—probably owing to the state of the tide—so he ordered the tow line to be cast off, and sails were set on the ship to take her off the land.

Next morning at five o'clock the steamer Waitaki went out from the harbour and after an hour's bargaining agreed to tow the ship in for £40. Although some cleats and other fixtures carried away, she at last got the ship inside the Mount, where the tow rope parted, and the ship had to come to a hurried anchor. It was a nasty spot for such a mishap to occur. The tide sweeps round the foot of the Mount at a considerable pace, as more than one vessel has found to its cost, and it requiredpage 42quick thinking to bring the big sailer up safely. Eventually the Waitaki completed her £40 job, and at 11 a.m. the Lady Jocelyn was snugly anchored up the harbour.

New Chums Welcomed.

There was a warm welcome for the Lady Jocelyn's passengers from a committee formed by the townspeople, and contemporary accounts tell how some of the immigrants, "fraternised boisterously with the Maoris." Captain Jenkins, the master of the Lady Jocelyn, was duly feted, and the passengers (with whom he was decidedly popular) presented him with an address. A luncheon and other festivities took place and the ship was visited by everyone for miles round. Her stay at Tauranga
the Lady Jocelyn in a storm in the English Channel. The ship put back to Plymouth to refit on this occasion.

the Lady Jocelyn in a storm in the English Channel. The ship put back to Plymouth to refit on this occasion.

was very brief, as on January 6th she arrived at Auckland for which port she had some passengers and a large cargo. Here again her size, and fine fittings made her a much admired ship.

A Popular Ship.

the Lady Jocelyn was built in 1852 by Mare, of London. Some years later she was bought by the Shaw, Savill Company, and under their well-known flag—which by the way was originally the design for the national flag of New Zealand—she made several successful voyages to Auckland, Wellington, Lyttelton, and Port Chalmers. She was one of the most comfortable passenger ships in the run, and was always very popular with the travelling public. Captain Jenkins was in command for about seventeen years, from the early sixties until the end of 1881, when he was succeeded by Captain Watt, who was formerly in command of the Wanganui. When the frozen meat trade between the Dominion and the Old Country was being developed, the Lady Jocelyn was fitted with refrigerating machinery and carried cargoes between this country and London. For some years past the Lady Jocelyn has been owned in London by the Shipping Federation (a ship owners' organisation), and used by them as a strike-breaking vessel. When a dock strike happens, if the Federation takes action, they engage free labourers, put them on board the Jocelyn, tow the ship to the affected port, and the free labourers do the work of the strikers, living and feeding on board. Thus they escape molestation. The Jocelyn has London as her home port, and now is a hulk at the West India Docks. Owing to her sturdy construction, she may serve this purpose for many years to come.

When She Was Trooping.

Very few people will remember that the Jocelyn's first visit to Auckland was paid in the sixties, and that she was one of the fleet of vessels that brought troops to Auckland when the Maori War broke out. It was on December 10, 1863, that the Lady Jocelyn, under command of Captain Robert W. Kerr, Lieutenant, R.N.R., dropped anchor in the Waite-page 43mata. At this date she was an auxiliary ship chartered by the English Government to bring troops from Calcutta to take part in the Maori War. She brought over the headquarters of the 43rd Regiment Light Infantry, in command of Colonel Henry Booth. Her passengers included 21 officers, 646 rank and file, 48 women, 93 children, and a band numbering 25.

The vessel left Calcutta on October 8, and experienced a continuance of heavy head winds. As she was in very light trim she became very cranky, and made but little headway for several days. Captain Kerr considered the ship unsafe, so he called at Mauritius on November 1 and took in ballast. The next day she resumed her passage, encountered head winds during the first week, after which she had a splendid run to New Zealand, her average speed being 250 miles a day. She passed the Three Kings on December 9. Seven deaths and nine births occurred during the voyage. the Lady Jocelyn brought 600,000 rounds of rifle ammunition, store and tent equipage, etc.

In Heavy Weather.

The "Jocelyn" on two or three occasions encountered some severe storms. In 1884, on her voyage out to Auckland, after crossing the Equator, she struck the tail of a perfect cyclone, and again between Tasmania and the Three Kings she met with heavy weather, and lost many of her sails. The most severe buffeting she received was in a hurricane in the English Channel, when she sustained serious damage, and returned to Plymouth for repairs.

During the seventies the Lady Jocelyn made some rapid passages from the English Channel to Melbourne. In 1877 she is credited with having made the passage in 67 days, the best day's run being 358 miles. She is also credited with having in 1889 made the passage from Lyttelton to London in 78 days.

A Dandy Pilot.

Mr. W. E. Morton, of Auckland, tells of an interesting trip he had in the Lady Jocelyn from Auckland to Melbourne in 1878, and gives an amusing description of the garb of the pilot that came aboard. "The pilot," he writes, "was a tall man in his prime. He was elegantly clothed in frock coat, silver-grey trousers, fawn overcoat, and wore a belltopper, kid gloves, and patent leather shoes." Mr. Morton says that Captain Jenkins was found dead in his cabin on a trip to Wellington. "What a fine end for such a noble navigator and such a gentleman," says Mr. Morton.

Here follow the record of passages made to New Zealand ports:—

To Auckland.
Sailed. Arrived. Captain. Days.
May 20 Aug. 17, '78 Jenkins 88
*Sep. 27, '80 Jan. 6, '81 Jenkins 95
Sep. 25, '84 Dec. 26, '84 Watt 90
Nov. 11, '85 Feb. 20, '86 Watt 99
Nov. 26, '86 Mar. 16, '87 Watt 108
April 16, '89 Aug. 7, '89 Watt 112
To Wellington.
Sep. 13, '82 Dec. 21, '82 Boorman 99
Aug. 29, '83 Jan. 1, '84 Watt 94
To Lyttelton.
Aug. 2 Nov. 11, '72 Jenkins 99
Nov. 3,'74 Jan. 21, '75 Jenkins 80
Aug. 23 Dec. 8, '79 Jenkins 107
Sep. 1 Dec. 9, '81 Jenkins 99
To Dunedin.
Aug. 1, '73 Nov. 6, '73 Jenkins 96
Jan. 6, '88 Apr. 15, '88 Watt 88

The above records do not include the first arrival of the Lady Jocelyn at Auckland in 1863, with troops from Calcutta.

Clipper Ships.

"O Clipper Ships! where are, where are ye now?
I cry the long degrees thro' foul and fair!
The Trade Winds sigh, 'We speed no clipper bow';
The hollow-roaring Forties echo, 'Where?'"

* Via Tauranga.