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

The Dunedin

page 148

The Dunedin.

First Ship to Carry Frozen Meat—Missing in 1890.

the Dunedin was one of Duncan's beautiful iron ships, built to the order of Patrick Henderson in 1874. She was a vessel of 1250 tons, and was specially designed for the carrying of immigrants. She traded mainly to Dunedin, completing twelve voyages to Port Chalmers, also three to Auckland, and two to Lyttelton; and none of her runs out exceeded 100 days. Her last visit to the Dominion was in 1889, and after discharging her outward cargo she sailed on March 19, 1890, for London with frozen meat and wool, but never reached
the Dunedin At Port Chalmers.

the Dunedin At Port Chalmers.

her destination. She was then barque rigged, and when sailing from Oamaru had a crew of thirty-four, with Captain Roberts in command. The ship was spoken once before reaching Cape Horn, and was never heard of afterwards. She was supposed to have foundered during a storm or have been sunk by icebergs, so frequently met with in the vicinity of Cape Horn.

Captain Whitson brought the Dunedin out on her maiden voyage to Lyttelton, making a good run of 88 days—port to port. The following year he brought the ship to Auckland in 94 days. Captain Whitson was a skilled and popular sailor. He commanded the Dunedin from 1874 until 1886, when he was succeeded by Captain Roberts.

the Dunedin had the distinction of being the first ship to carry frozen meat from New Zealand to London. This was in February, 1882, when the ship was owned by the Shaw, Savill and Albion Company. She was chartered by the New Zealand and Australian Land Company for the purpose of sending a trial shipment to Britain. The ship was fitted with a freezing plant, there being no refrigerating plant works then in the colony, and the meat was frozen on board. Matters did not work very smoothly at first, as the freezing plant was thrown out of action through the crank shaft breaking, and loading operations had to be suspended while a new shaft was made at Dunedin. At the time 1500 carcases were on board, and these had to be sold locally, so it fell to Dunedin residents to be the first consumers of New Zealand frozen meat. After repairs were effected the vessel resumed loading, and altogether she shipped 4311 carcases of mutton, 598 of lamb, some pigs and 2200 sheep tongues, which were divided among five shippers, of which the New Zealand andpage 149 Australian Land Company was the principal.

the Dunedin finally sailed from Port Chalmers on February 15, 1882, and reported off the Lizard on May 18. The cargo arrived in London in excellent condition, mainly, it was stated, owing to the care and attention given by Captain Whitson. The New Zealand Land Company chartered the Dunedin for nine other voyages, making ten consecutive passages in all. The ship practically died in harness, being lost in 1890 and no trace of her ever being found.

The rate of freight on frozen cargoes in 1882 was 2½d per 1b, which included the freezing of carcases on board ship. This process was necessary until freezing works were established in the colony. The result of the sale in London was considered most satisfactory, the mutton averaging 6½d a pound.

Here follow the record of passages to New Zealand:—

To Auckland.
Sailed. Arrived. Captain. Days.
Feb. 13 May 18, '75 Whitson 94
Nov. 18, '87 Feb. 8, '88 Roberts 81
Oct. 7, '88 Jan. 5, '89 Roberts 90
To Lyttelton.
Apr. 6 JUlY 3, '74 Whitson 88
Oct. 23, '86 Jan. 14, '87 Roberts 83
To Dunedin.
Sailed. Arrived. Captain. Days.
Aug. 27 Nov. 19, '76 Whitson 82
July 30 Nov. 1, '77 Whitson 93
Aug. 23 Nov. 16, '78 Whitson 86
Aug. 29 Dec. 6, '79 Whitson 90
Land to land 79
Aug. 26 Nov. 25, '80 Whitson 89
Aug. 24 Nov. 27, '81 Whitson 95
Aug. 23 Nov. 11, '82 Whitson 79
Land to land 75
June 11 Aug. 30, '83 Whitson 80
Land to land 75
Mar. 9 June 14, '84 Whitson 97
Jan. 13 Apr. 3, '85 Whitson 80
Nov. 26, '85 Mar. 1, '86 Whitson 94
Sep. 27 Dec. 31, '89 Roberts 95

Another smart vessel bearing the same name traded to New Zealand in the fifties. She was a small barque of 208 tons. She made her first voyage to Port Chalmers in 1856, under the command of Captain McNeur. The vessel arrived on January 23 after a remarkable passage for so small a vessel, of 84 days, port to port, bringing 25 passengers and a general cargo. This was the fastest passage made by any ship from England at that date. The following year the Dunedin arrived at Dunedin on April 18, the passage occupying 97 days.