White Wings Vol I. Fifty Years Of Sail In The New Zealand Trade, 1850 TO 1900
Although she only made two trips to New Zealand, both being to Auckland, under Captain Thomas Funnell, the ship Ganges is worthy of mention in these columns owing to the fact that on each occasion she brought a large number of immigrants. On her first trip she left Start Point on July 1, 1863, and arrived at Auckland on October 12, having on board 270 souls. She experienced an uneventful passage of 103 days, and, coming south, about the first land sighted after leaving England was Banks Peninsula, Canterbury. Among the passengers, the majority of whom belonged to the Pollock Shaw Settlement, was Mr. Henry Atkinson, who donated the park at Titirangi to the people of Auckland. The welcome of the passengers to the land of their adoption was somewhat of a surprise, as after the vessel had been passed by the health officer, the next to arrive was a military gentleman, who took the names of all the able-bodied men for the purpose of enrolling them in the militia. This was due to the Waikato war having broken out. Auckland was surrounded by blockhouses, and while the single men had to go to the front, those who were married performed patrol duty at night around Auckland in case of attack by the Maoris. On the fiftieth anniversary of their arrival the passengers by the Ganges on this occasion held a reunion at St. James' Hall, Wellington Street.
Two years later the Ganges paid another visit to Auckland, when she brought 422 Government immigrants from Ireland. The voyage was unfortunate in more ways than one. The ship cleared Queenstown on November 14, 1864, crossed the Line 24 days later, and arrived at Auckland on February 14, 1865. Nothing eventful occurred until January 7, two days after the ship had passed the Three Kings, when, during a heavy south-east gale, two of the crew fell from the main yard into the sea, and were never seen again. During the voyage there were 56 deaths from bronchitis and whooping-cough, all but two being children, while there were sixteen births. The passage occupied 92 days.
the Ganges was a fine vessel of 1211 tons, built at Boston in 1856 by the celebrated shipbuilder D. McKay, and was originally a Boston packet ship. She was chartered by Shaw, Savill and Co. for the two voyages made to Auckland.