White Wings Vol I. Fifty Years Of Sail In The New Zealand Trade, 1850 TO 1900
The Queen Bee
The Queen Bee.
Wrecked at Nelson.
"The "Queen Bee," a full-rigged ship of 726 tons, was one of the earliest vessels to bring out immigrants to New Zealand. Her first port of call was Dunedin, where she arrived in 1866. She was a fine roomy vessel, with accommodation superior to many of the ships carrying passengers in the sixties. She made several passages direct to the four leading ports, and also visited Napier and Nelson. In 1877 she sailed from London direct for the latter port, and all went well until August 6. The voyage was just about completed and the ship was a little ahead of the Spit light, Cape Farewell, when suddenly she struck on a sunken reef, and continued to bump heavily; so much so that the passengers and crew could scarcely stand on their feet. A heavy sea was running at the time and it was a difficult task to launch boats. The deck of the ship was soon awash, and the passengers became alarmed. With the heavy seas breaking over her it was felt that she might go to pieces at any moment. Among the passengers were several old residents who were returning from a trip to the Homeland.
A boat was successfully launched, but as she was overloaded it was feared she would swamp. The captain urged some to remain until a raft could be made, but he could not control the excited passengers. The boat fortunately drifted through the French Pass, where the passengers were rescued by the little Aurora. The captain, crew, and some passengers had a more exciting adventure. As the vessel was apparently breaking up they got on to a raft, which had been put together on board, and they had a most trying experience. A small boat was fastened to the raft, as it was thought that this would guide and steady it. Terrific seas were breaking over the raft and boat, which were eventually driven on shore. The boat, however, capsized, and one man, the carpenter, was drowned, while a passenger had his feet smashed. For several days they were without food and water; but some of the party eventually found water, although they had landed on a small strip of land, only a few yards in extent.
Laid Down to Die.
Later the mate succeeded in lighting a fire with a burning glass. As the poor castaways were starving, they, in desperation, set fire to some bushes, and this attracted the attention of the little steamer Manawatu, which came to their rescue and conveyed them safely to port, after being without food, and with very little clothing, for three days. They were unable to catch fish or birds; and when rescued the cook had given up hope and had lain down to die.
When an inquiry was held into the wreck, the captain's certificate was suspended for three years, and the second mate's for two years.
In the early days many of the ships had to wait for months before securing a cargo for Home. In 1874 the Queen Bee arrived at Napier on October 16. A month later she sailed for Poverty Bay, and took in part cargo of wool. She returned to Napier on December 26, and remained there until February 14 the following year, when she sailed for England.
the Queen Bee was at Napier again early in 1875, having sailed from Lyttelton after discharging cargo and passengers there. She took in some wool at Napier and sailed for Madras under Captain Loftus.
Captain Thomas L. Burch, who sailed the Queen Bee from 1873 until 1875, took over the command of the ship Adamant in 1875. He died on board that vessel when on a voyage from the United Kingdom to the Bluff.
The following is the record of the Queen Bee's passage from London:—
|Oct. 1, '68||Jan. 8, '69||Leslie||98|
|Oct. 22, '70'||Feb. 8, '71||Dent||108|
|July 18||Oct. 29, '72||Williams||100|
|Sep. 18, '71||Jan. 10, '72||Dent||114|
|July 29||Nov. 14, '73||T. L. Burch||108|
|Aug. 8||Dec. 6, '75||Loftus||120|
|To Port Chalmers.|
|June 26||Oct. 11, '66||Leslie||106|
|Sep. 13, '69||Jan. 16, '70||Leslie||108|
|June 20||Oct. 16, '74||Burch||115|
|—||Jan. 4, '68||Leslie||98|
|—||Aug. 6, '77|