White Wings Vol II. Founding Of The Provinces And Old-Time Shipping. Passenger Ships From 1840 To 1885
Chapter VIII. — Vessels Of The 70's And Later
Vessels Of The 70's And Later.
First Direct Boat To Wanganui.
The fine little clipper Malay, a barque of 328 tons, was the first merchant vessel direct from London to enter Wanganui River, and the occasion was marked by great rejoicing by the residents of the young township. She was built at Montrose in 1862, and at the time she put Wanganui on the overseas trade map she was in command of Captain D. Peters. Sailing from Gravesend on October 10, 1871, she had a fair run to within four days of the Equator, when she was detained by light, baffling winds. The Line was crossed on November 24, and on December 1 she rounded the Cape, whence she was favoured with fine steady winds until she passed Tasmania on December 27. The weather then became stormy, and continued so until the barque made Cape Farewell on January 4, 1872. The following day she anchored off the entrance to Wanganui River, having made a smart passage of 86 days from Gravesend.
It was not considered advisable for the vessel to enter the river at that stage of the tide, and so she remained at anchor in the roadstead until the 8th, when she was safely towed in by the Government steamer Luna, commanded by Captain Fairchild, who was afterwards so well known in the Hinemoa and Tutanekai. A good number of citizens went out in the Luna, and the greatest interest was taken in the momentous event. Going down to the heads, Captain Fairchild took soundings all the way, and found the average depth was 12 feet.
When the Luna made fast to the barque the Wanganui-ites on the steamer had some anxious moments, as the fate of their river as an overseas port was about to be decided. The suspense, however, was soon over, the bar was safely crossed, and when passing the cliff under the Blockhouse those on the Luna and the barque gave a hearty cheer, which was responded to by a large number of people who had ridden out and watched the entry from the cliff top.
When well up the river the barque was anchored, and the following morning was made fast to the Government wharf. This important event, which had far-reaching effects on the trade of the port, was witnessed by hundreds of townspeople, and was marked by a salvo of five guns and a modest salute from Taylor and Watts' wharf. In the evening Captain Peters was entertained at a banquet, at which success to the port was drunk with enthusiasm. After discharge, the Malay took on board a cargo of wool, tallow, and pumice, and sailed for London.page 178
Another visit was paid to Wanganui by the Malay in the same year, but on this occasion she was under Captain Richard Todd, who later commanded the St. Leonards and the Northumberland. Announcing her arrival, the "Herald" said: "Her passage Home and back has been exceptionally good. She left Wanganui on March 24, making a splendid run Home; sailed again from Gravesend on July 20, and arrived at Wellington on October 25, thus being only seven months and one day making the round journey. After discharging part cargo, the Malay proceeded to Wanganui, and was brought in by Pilot McLaren. The wind being favourable, a straight run was made, the barque rounding the Narrows and coming into the river at nearly full sail. A large number of excursionists went out in the s.s. Tongariro to accompany the barque up the river, and as the Malay approached the little steamer wore round her, the crowd of passengers giving three hearty cheers. The barque went sailing away at a spanking pace, leaving the Tongariro puffing away far behind."
In the following year, 1873, the Malay made another voyage to Wanganui, coming this time via Nelson. She sailed from Gravesend on June 18. After rounding the Cape on September 2, she experienced strong westerly gales until the 25th, when she struck a furious storm from the north. One specially big sea which broke on board washed the long-boat off the chocks, and smashed it. Another boat was also damaged, the main hatch was stove in, the bolts being drawn out of the deck, and the bulwarks on the starboard side from the fore-rigging to the after-part of the main-rigging were carried away. The barque made Cape Farewell on October 6, but light baffling winds delayed her for seven days in Blind Bay, and Nelson was not reached until the 15th. She arrived at Wanganui on November 8, and after discharge of cargo, she was purchased by Messrs. Beck and Tonks, of Wellington, who later sent her on several voyages to Newcastle in charge of Captain Linklater.
The Malay had previous to 1873 made two voyages to Nelson under Captain Peters. In 1867 she arrived there on April 13, having made the voyage in 103 days; and in 1869 she arrived on February 14, after a passage of 116 days.
Since the memorable first visit of the Malay to Wanganui in 1872, the river has been greatly improved as a port by the erection of moles and by dredging. At high water spring tides there is a depth of 26 to 27 feet, and ships drawing 20 feet can enter at any state of the tide. The deepest draught vessel to visit Wanganui was the Margaret Stirling, a four-masted American schooner. On July 26, 1926, when she was drawing 20 feet, she entered the river at dead mean tide.
When a comparatively new ship, the Woodlark was chartered by the Shaw, Savill Co. for three voyages to New Zealand. She was a fine clipper of 867 tons, built in 1870, and owned by A. Stephens and Son, Dundee. She came out to Auckland under Captain T.page 179
Wood, in 1873, with 125 Government immigrants, arriving in port, on the 31st May.
During a storm on the 2nd May, a boy named Goodman, while leaning over the bulwarks, lost his balance and fell overboard. Life buoys were thrown and the ship's lifeboat manned and lowered, but after an unavailing search for an hour returned. The boat had great difficulty in getting alongside the ship, as a high and confused sea was running.
The following year the Woodlark, in command of Captain Largie, visited Wellington, and when she entered port was flying the yellow flag, scarlet fever having broken out on the 24th December. She sailed from London on December 14, 1873, having on board 256 Government immigrants, and arrived on the 24th March, 1874. On Christmas Eve, ten days after leaving England, scarlet fever broke out, and from this date until the 12th March, the doctor treated no less than 39 cases, 18 of which proved fatal. There were also ten deaths from other causes. On the arrival of the ship at Wellington she was placed in quarantine.
In 1875 the Woodlark made a smart passage to Otago. She sailed on the 2nd May with a Small complement of passengers, under Captain Largie. Otago Heads were reached on the 3rd August, and port made the same day—85 days land to land.
Punjaub's Long Death-Roll.
Twenty-eight deaths were reported when the barque Punjaub reached Lyttelton from London on September 20th, 1873, and eight more deaths occurred after the passengers were sent into quarantine at Ripa Island. A vessel of 570 tons, commanded by Captain Renaut, she had on board 340 immigrants, 200 being British and 112 Danish. Typhus, measles, and other complaints took off 21 of the Danes and seven of the English passengers, and typhoid was still rife when port was reached, hence the health authorities had no option but to send the ship into quarantine. The eight deaths that occurred on the island brought the total to 36, which was a very high figure, even for those days, when ships were so crowded and sanitation was not well understood.
The Punjaub had a fine weather passage as far as Cape Leeuwin, up to which point she made quite good time, but within 300 miles of New Zealand she struck a severe gale, which delayed her. It was the same gale which blew the steamer Claud Hamilton and other vessels off the New Zealand coast and did considerable damage.
The City Of Vienna (Dunscore).
The City of Vienna, a fine iron ship of 1,000 tons, built by Connell, of Glasgow, in 1866, and owned by G. Smith and Sons, Glasgow, had been eight years launched when she was chartered by the Shaw, Savill Co. for a voyage to New Zealand, and made the passage from London to Port Chalmers in 89 days, or 82 land to land. She sailed on the 5th November, 1874, under the commandpage 180 of Captain Crocet, and the passage was essentially a fine weather one. Her best day's run was 312 miles, and she frequently logged from 280 to 300 miles. Port Chalmers was reached on the 3rd February, 1875.
Later the ship was sold to Macdonald, Hood and Co., of Glasgow, and under her new name of Dunscore she was again chartered for a voyage to New Zealand, making a remarkably fast passage to Port Chalmers of 77 days, land to land, or 89 port to port. Captain Young brought the vessel out. The ship sailed from Gravesend on the 22nd December, 1881, crossed the equator on the 15th January, only 22 days from the Lizard, and rounded the Cape on February 7th. She passed the westward point of Tasmania on March 7th, sighted the Snares on the 12th, and arrived at Port Chalmers on March 18th, 1882.
Two more voyages were made to the Dominion. In 1883 she sailed from London on March 4th, and arrived at Lyttelton on May 27th, in command of Captain Hind, making the passage in 84 days. In 1884, under the same command, she sailed from London on the 30th December, and arrived at Wellington on the 1st April, 1885, making the run in 92 days, port to port.
The Mairi Bhan.
One of the handsomest ships sent out to New Zealand by the Patrick Henderson Company was the Mairi Bhan, an iron clipper of 1315 tons, built by Barclay and Curle, of Glasgow, for Captain P.J. McIntyre, of London. She was a well-appointed, full-rigged ship, with the usual double topsail yards and unusual double top-gallant yards at the fore and main, and carried an immense spread of canvas. The "Otago Daily Times," referring to her arrival at Port Chalmers, stated: "Her performances during this her maiden trip entitled her to take rank amongst high-class clippers, as she made the run out in between 75 and 76 days from Glasgow. She was off Otago Heads three days previous to entering port, and the captain obtained bearings of what he considered was the entrance to Otago Harbour. The ship was then nearly due south of the Heads, and distant about 20 miles. That placed the time of the run out at 73 to 74 days from Glasgow. The ship, however, did not leave the Tail of the Bank until late on May 7th, so that the passage was made between 71 and 72 days, and the Snares in 70 days. The passage from Glasgow to port really occupied 80 days." The voyage, which commenced on May 5th, 1874, was destitute of incidents. The Mairi Bhan was commanded by Captain J. Massen, and landed at Port Chalmers 394 passengers, all in good health.
Sixteen years later the Mairi Bhan visited Auckland, in command of Captain D. McIntyre. She sailed from London Docks on September 5th, and arrived on December 6th, 1890, making a good passage of 92 days, and 86 land to land. The vessel on this occasion came out under charter to the N.Z. Shipping Company.
The name of the Mairi Bhan is the Gaelic for "Bonny Mary."
Some of the early immigrant ships were crowded, to say the least of it. There were 502 people on board the Ballochmyle when she left London on February 25th, 1874, under charter to the New Zealand Shipping Company, her destination being Lyttelton. She was a fine ship of 1,438 tons, under the command of Captain Lunden. The emigrants came aboard at Plymouth, and the ship took her final departure from Start Point on March 4th. The Cape was rounded on March 18th, and the Snares were passed on May 27th, the ship having taken 84 days from Plymouth. Port was reached on June 1st. There were five deaths and three births during the voyage. The Ballochmyle was the first vessel to berth at the breastwork, now known as Gladstone Pier. When she was taking her departure from Lyttelton, being towed out by the steamer Beautiful Star, the line parted and kicked back viciously. The end of the line struck Captain Hart, of the Beautiful Star, breaking both legs. Captain Hart was carried on to Dunedin, where the steamer was bound, but died before reaching port. A Southern paper, in noticing the death of Mr. Thomas Carter, the old pilot, in 1926, said it was Captain Lunden, of the Ballochmyle, who met with the accident, but the victim was Captain Hart.
The James Wishart.
Four voyages were made to New Zealand by the James Wishart, a fine iron barque of 775 tons. She came first to Auckland under Captain Groundwater in 1874, bringing out 274 passengers. Chartered by the New Zealand Shipping Company, she sailed from Gravesend on the 20th, and Plymouth on the 25th March, and made a very pleasant and uneventful voyage of 106 days. There were eight deaths on the voyage (seven infants), and four births.
The barque arrived at Auckland on her second voyage under Captain Burns, on the 12th January, 1879, after another pleasant passage of 98 days, having sailed from Gravesend on the 5th October, 1878. She brought a large number of passenger, including some of the Vesey Stewart settlers for Katikati and Te Puke.
In 1878 the James Wishart made a voyage to Lyttelton, and on this occasion was sent out by the Shaw, Savill Co. She sailed from Gravesend on the 13th November, 1877, under Captain Mitchell, and arrived on the 25th February, 1878, the passage occupying 103 days.
In 1884 she sailed from Glasgow for Port Chalmers, under Captain Ewart, and was not so fortunate in the weather, as she encountered several severe gales. She arrived at Port Chalmers on the 12th February, 1884, making the passage in 113 days. After discharging a portion of her cargo and passengers, she sailed for Lyttelton, arriving on the 14th March.
A remarkable passage was made by the fine iron clipper Cathcart to Lyttelton in 1874. A ship of 1,387 tons, built four years previously by Robert Steel, of Greenock, she sailed from London with 481 Government immigrants on the 11th June, and from the Downs three days later, making the passage in 70 days 12 hours to the Snares, and arriving at Lyttelton on the 29th August, 76 days from the Downs to port. The equator was crossed on the 21st day out. On the 28th July she made a run of 304 miles, and the following day 293.
Four of the crew of the Cathcart having during the voyage broken into the fore-hold, broached cargo and secured drink; one of them was brought aft and placed in irons; another, having attempted to rescue him, was also taken in charge, but while being secured the first prisoner escaped to the forecastle. Captain Crawford and the officers going forward to recapture him, were prevented from doing so by several of the crew, who made use of threatening language. The captain, finding that the mutineers would not listen to reason, returned to his cabin, and after deliberation with his officers, armed himself and went forward the second time. Finding the doors of the forecastle closed, he demanded admission. Previous to this, part of the crew had left the mutineers. Those within refused to open the doors, threatened the Captain, and said that they meant shortly to be masters of the ship. Argument was useless, and the door on the starboard side of the forecastle was, in spite of much resistance, partly forced open with hand spikes, and the Captain, again warning the mutineers, fired three times amongst them, three of them being wounded. An entrance was effected and the mutiny quelled, the ringleaders and others being placed in irons. On the arrival of the ship at Lyttelton the men were brought before a magistrate and charged with endeavouring to make a revolt. Four were sentenced to twelve weeks' imprisonment with hard labour, and two to one month additional for assaulting the Captain.
The Lauderdale, a fine barque of 857 tons, in command of Captain True, brought out 124 passengers to Auckland in 1874. She sailed from London on the 17th October, 1873, and shortly after leaving, when off Dungeness, came into collision with the brigantine Messenger. Both vessels suffered considerable damage, and had to put into Ramsgate, where repairs were effected to the bulwarks and rigging of the Lauderdale. She set sail again on the 24th October, crossed the equator on the 22nd November, passed the Cape on the 18th December, and sighted the Three Kings on the 25th January, 1874. Five days later the barque entered port, after a pleasant run of 90 days, land to land.
The Lauderdale again suffered considerable damage when unloading at the Queen Street wharf. On the 7th February, 1874, Auckland was visited by a most destructive hurricane. When the gale started the wind was S.W., and suddenly, after a lull, camepage 183 down with intensified violence from exactly the opposite direction, namely, N.E. The change produced was most extraordinary and alarming. The shipping, which had been mostly under shelter while the wind blew from the south, was now fully exposed to the fury of the gale, and disastrous results followed too quickly for any remedial measures to be taken. Never before had so much damage been done to shipping in Auckland in so short a space of time. The following morning it was awful to gaze upon the work of destruction perpetrated in the neighbourhood of Queen Street Wharf. Craft from a 1,000-ton ship to the little 1-ton yacht were huddled into an awful confusion, and thousands of pounds of damage was done. Boats that had not been sunk had been in collision, bulwarks and spars were carried away, sterns and bows were stove in, and the scene was one of desolation.
The damage was not confined to the vessels alone—the wharf in many places showed signs of violent collisions.
Early in the evening of the day of the storm the barque Beatrice, moored in the stream, broke away and fouled the ship Sydney and the Chile. Just at the same time as the Beatrice broke loose the headlines of the Lauderdale gave way, and she canted round with her stern fast to the wharf, her bow coming in contact with the T in front of the A.S.P. Company's office. Here the barque remained fixed, the cut-water gradually forcing its way till the stem of the vessel was nearly half-way through the wharf. No less than seven or eight cutters and schooners were lying submerged on the eastern side of the wharf. During the storm considerable damage was done to the buildings on shore.
A very fast passage was made to Otago in 1874 by the barque Candidate, 765 tons, built by Dobie, at Glasgow, in 1868, and owned by J. Gambles, of Liverpool. Under Captain J. Wright, she left London with passengers and general cargo on the 6th November, 1874, and took her final departure from Cape Ushant Light three days later. The equator was crossed in 27 days from Gravesend, and the Snares made on the 25th January, 1875, the vessel accomplishing the voyage in 81 days, and 76 land to land.
Ten years later she was chartered by the Shaw, Savill Co., and under Captain Laurenson sailed for Auckland from Gravesend on the 11th September, 1883, passing the Lizard on the 14th. The equator was crossed on the 22nd October, the Cape was passed on the 22nd November, Tasmania on the 24th December, the Three Kings on the 31st December, and on the 2nd January, 1884, she anchored in Auckland.
The Candidate made a voyage, to Wellington in 1886. She sailed from Liverpool on the 10th November, 1885, and arrived on the 1st March), Captain Curry being in command.
The Howrah was ten years from the stocks when first chartered for three voyages to New Zealand. She was an iron ship of 1,098 tons, built at Sunderland in 1864 by Pile. She sailed from London on her first voyage to the colony on the 26th August, 1874, with 380 immigrants, and during the voyage encountered some very rough weather. She made the passage in 96 days, arriving at Wellington on the 30th November. During the voyage ten deaths occurred.
The following year, 1875, the Howrah made her second voyage to Wellington, sailing from London with 260 immigrants on the 30th July, and arriving at her destination on the 9th November, the passage occupying 92 days. During the passage a passenger was caught stabbing a cat, and the Captain ordered it to be thrown overboard. Up to this the ship had been favoured with good winds, but shortly after the cat incident she met with rough weather and contrary winds. In accordance with a nautical superstition, the passengers attributed the succession of unfavourable winds to the killing and throwing overboard of the cat.
In 1876 the Howrah sailed from London on the 29th July, with 286 immigrants, for Nelson and Wellington. She arrived at Nelson on the 9th November, and landed 200 of her passengers, and then proceeded to Wellington, where she arrived on the 18th November, and landed the remainder of her immigrants, 86 souls. Captain Greeves commanded the ship on the three voyages, and was still in charge in 1878.
The Rodney, a beautifully modelled iron clipper ship of 1447 tons, in command of Captain A. Louttit, made a remarkably fine passage to Wellington in 1875. She was owned by Messrs. Davitt and Moore, of London, who had her constructed with a view of allowing passengers every comfort, most of the cabins being ten feet square. The cabins were each fixed with a lavatory, and supplied with fresh water—then a rarity. The Rodney also had a piano on board, and the tables were constructed so that they could be unshipped and the saloon cleared for dancing. There was also a smoking room leading from the saloon to the deck, and the 'tween decks for second and steerage passengers were all that could be desired. There was as much room on deck as on many of the modern passenger steamers trading to New Zealand to-day, the break of the Rodney's poop coming nearly to her mainmast.
On her visit to Wellington the Rodney brought out 23 saloon and 487 steerage passengers. She sailed from the Downs on the 7th, and the Lizard on the 10th June, 1875, and experienced unfavourable light winds to the Line, which was crossed on the 23rd July. Thence she had a fine run to the New Zealand coast, Cape Farewell being sighted on the 27th August, 77 days from the Lizard. She was off Cape Terawhiti the following day, but was compelled to wait for a pilot until the 29th August, 1875,page 185 when she anchored in Wellington Harbour, 82 days port to port. There were ten deaths during the voyage, mostly children, and six births; also one wedding.
After her one voyage to New Zealand, the Rodney was engaged, in the Sydney and Melbourne trade for many years, and was always a favourite with passengers. Mr. Basil Lubbock, in "Colonial Clippers," states: "The Rodney's best passage was to Sydney in 1887, when under Captain Harwood Barrett. On this occasion she ran from the Lizard to Sydney in 67 days, and 68 days from pilot to Sydney. Her best passage Home was 77 days from Sydney to London; her best run to Melbourne was 71 days in 1882, and to Adelaide 74 days in 1880." In 1897 the Rodney was sold to a French firm and converted into a barque. A few years later, in December, 1901, she was wrecked on the Cornish coast, the crew being saved. Captain Louttit sailed the Rodney for 13 years, after which he held a position in Melbourne, where, I am informed, he died some years ago.
One of the early charters of the New Zealand Shipping Company, before it had a fleet of its own, was the fine ship Alumbagh, a vessel of 1138 tons, which in 1875 brought out over 40 passengers to Auckland. Sailing from London on May 9th, in command of Captain Lowe, she crossed the Equator on the 10th June, rounded the Cape on the 16th July, sighted the Three Kings on the 13th, and arrived at Auckland on the 17th August. Two severe gales were encountered during the passage—the first on the 27th May, when the ship suffered considerable damage. The second occurred shortly after rounding the Cape, and heavy weather continued until the New Zealand coast was sighted on the 13th August.
The immigrants arriving by the Alumbagh consisted of 283 English, 109 Irish, 13 Scotch, and 9 of Welsh nationality. During the voyage there were 16 deaths, mostly children. On the 24th June the Alumbagh passed an abandoned ship, that had evidently been burnt out, as her name was illegible.
Atrato's Unlucky Voyage.
Although I am dealing with the pre-steam days, I think it only right that an exception should be made in the case of a vessel called the Atrato, which made a passage which caused much comment at the time, and is no doubt familiar to the descendants of the people that came out in her. The Atrato was one of the first steamers to make the voyage to New Zealand. She reached Port Chalmers on June 8th, 1874, after having encountered a series of misadventures. Although she was a vessel of only 360 feet overall, she had no less than 762 immigrants on board, and of that number 280 were children. There was much sickness on board, and before New Zealand was reached there were 33 deaths, all being childrenpage 186 with one exception. Croup was the cause of 17 deaths, and measles were very bad, 180 out of the 280 children being down at one time or another.
The Atrato was a slow boat—though in 1874 her 350 h.p. nominal power engines were described as "magnificent"—doing only ten knots, or twelve to thirteen when she had her sails set and the wind was favourable; still the 64 days she took from Plymouth to New Zealand was a good trip for fifty years ago. The most striking feature about the voyage, apart from the large mortality among the children, was the fact that some of the passengers were nearly five months aboard ship from the time they embarked at London. After leaving the Thames the steamer met with bad luck and sustained damage in some way that is not related in the reports of her arrival at Port Chalmers—probably she was in collision in the Channel. She put into Plymouth for repairs, and must have spent several weeks refitting. Most of her passengers were shipped at London, but a few joined at Plymouth, and it was these people that brought the measles on board. Plymouth was in those days an unlucky one for several of the ships that came out to New Zealand—"the port of ill-omen to immigrants" is the way the "Otago Daily Times" described it.
Two years before she came to New Zealand the Atrato was in Melbourne, and that passage seems to have been quite as eventful as the New Zealand voyage. She was the first steamer to make the passage from the Old Country to Melbourne, and her arrival caused much excitement. I came across the following account of that memorable voyage:—"The Atrato, which was converted from a paddle-wheeler to a screw steamer for her long voyage, met trouble soon after leaving Plymouth, and when her propeller blades were ripped off by some floating wreckage she was compelled to put back under canvas. On her second start she got as far as Madeira, but was again forced to return to Plymouth owing to a broken propeller shaft. On the third attempt everything went well until the Canary Islands had been passed. Then the main topmast carried away, the coupling of the propeller shaft broke, and a number of the crew mutinied. Eventually the steamer made Table Bay, and the remainder of the voyage to Australia was made without incident."
A vessel of 912 tons, built at Sunderland in 1861, the India was chartered in 1875 for a voyage to Auckland. She sailed from London on November 26, 1874, under Captain McPhail, with 163 passengers, 15 of whom were for the settlement of Katikati, Bay of Plenty, and made a good run of 97 days port to port, arriving on the 3rd March, 1875. When running down her easting she passed very close to several large icebergs, and for two days Captain McPhail and the officers had an anxious time. Two deaths and three births occurred during the voyage.
On Christmas Day three of the sailors were found drunk, very abusive, and quite out of hand. The Captain found it necessary to place them in irons in the sail-room. Later, some of their matespage 187 released them, but they were recaptured by the ship's officers and confined in the hospital. On arrival at Auckland they were brought before the Magistrate, and each sentenced to twelve weeks' imprisonment with hard labour, the value of the cargo broached being deducted from their wages.
Another most unusual incident is worth recording. On the 10th March a week after the ship's arrival, Captain Alexander McPhail was charged at the Police Court with a breach of the Marine Act, 1867, by using abusive and insulting language towards Captain Burgess, the harbour pilot. The evidence showed that immediately the pilot took charge of the vessel, Captain McPhail interfered with him, and nearly caused the wreck of the ship. When in Court, Captain McPhail apologised and the charge was withdrawn. To the further charge of wilful interference with the pilot, the Captain pleaded guilty, and was fined £5 and costs, the Bench remarking upon the importance of captains of vessels realising that the pilots had absolute control over ships while in their charge.
An antiquated-looking craft was the Carmarthenshire, 872 tons, chartered by the New Zealand Shipping Co., to carry passengers and cargo to New Zealand. Built in 1865, she was a wooden vessel of full lines, suggestive of the old-fashioned school of draughting. Her previous career had been chiefly confined to the India and China trade. When she arrived in Port Chalmers in 1875, she looked anything but a clipper. She was certainly unfortunate in winds at the commencement, and towards the end of the passage, ten days being lost in the Channel through persistent westerlies, and then towards the end she had to work in against easterly winds from the 141st meridian. Sailing from London on August 10th, she made her first landfall at the Solanders on November 30th, and arrived at Port Chalmers on December 4th, 1875. Captain Thomas was in command.
Passengers and crew of the barque Dunmore, a vessel of close upon 500 tons, had a trying experience on the long voyage she made to Nelson in 1875. The vessel sailed from London on the 26th January, and landed the pilot off Deal on the following day. During hazy weather on the 28th, she went ashore in Pevensey Bay, and was refloated the following tide; but as she was making about an inch of water per hour, Captain Hastings, who was in command, decided to return to London for repairs. These were effected, and the vessel made another start on the 28th February, and soon struck a severe gale, which resulted in some damage. Heavy weather continued until close on to the equator. After rounding the Cape, terrible gales were met with. The seas had strained the barque very much, and she had sunk in the waist several inches, while several of the deck beams were broken. The 2nd June saw an improvement in the weather, and from this on comparatively tine weather was experienced. The Dunmore arrived at Nelson on the 30th June, 121 days from the day die sailed the second time from London.
The Wiltshire, one of George Marshall and Son's fleet, a ship of 1,461 tons, built in 1869 by Barclay, of Glasgow, was chartered for two voyages to New Zealand. The first was made to Otago, with passengers and general cargo, under the command of Captain J. Davidson. Sailing from London on the 29th September, 1875, she reached Port Chalmers on the 12th January, 1876.
The Wiltshire made a good run home, and sailed again the same year from London under Captain E. P. Ellis, for Lyttelton. She left Gravesend on the 12th, and the Lizard on the 15th November; the Snares were sighted on the 8th February, 1877, 85 days from the Lizard, and Port Chalmers was made on the 17th February, 1877, 97 days from Gravesend. On this occasion the Wiltshire brought out 260 passengers.
The Michael Angelo.
The Michael Angelo, which made a fast passage of 81 days to Nelson in 1875, was a fine ship of 1,174 tons, in command, of Captain Mackenzie Lackie. The vessel sailed from London with 244 Government immigrants. During the voyage several children were born, and there were eight deaths. Three days before the arrival of the ship at Nelson on the 21st January, 1875, Captain Lackie was found dead in his cabin, and his body was brought on and interred in the new cemetery.
In 1873 the Michael Angelo had made a good passage to Port Chalmers, under Captain Lackie, and brought out 197 passengers. The ship sailed from Gravesend on the 2nd March, crossed the equator on the 1st April, rounded the Cape on April 27th, arrived at Otago Heads on the 27th May, and made port the following day, the passage occupying 88 days.
The White Rose Makes Lengthy Passage.
An adventurous passage was made in 1875 by the ship White Rose, 1,556 tons, a sister ship to the Tintern Abbey. She was a new vessel, under charter to the Shaw, Savill Company. Sailing from London on February 14th, she went round to Plymouth to pick up her 166 passengers, and Failed on the 21st. She had in her hold a lot of railway material, and during some heavy weather a lot of it began to shift, giving the crew no end of trouble trying to square it up. The trouble began on May 4th, and after things had been straightened up somewhat, more severe weather came on, and a squall carried away the fore upper topsail yard. Then the fid of the main topmast bent, and the mast began to settle down. To cap everything, the trouble with the railway material, in the hold began again, and it was decided to put into St. Louis, Mauritius, to put matters right. Some little time before this, just after passing the equator, Captain T. G. Thorpe, the commander, had been found dead in his bunk, and the chief officer, Mr. C. W. Best, had assumed command. The ship was from May 22nd until June 10th effecting repairs at St. Louis. More bad weather was struck in the Southernpage 189 Indian Ocean, and on July 9th a fire broke out in the lower forehold among the cargo, but fortunately it was soon suppressed. Eventually the ship arrived at Lyttelton on July 21st, 137 days from the Thames, or 130 from Plymouth. On the run across from Mauritius a man died from "fever and plague."
An exceptionally stormy passage was made by the Broomhall in 1877, London to Wellington. She was a handsome ship of 1,380 tons. Gravesend was left on March 26. Soon after entering the region of the "brave westerlies," the ship was beset by a hard S.W. gale, and in dipping her bows under suffered considerable damage forward. The decks were almost continually awash, and passengers and crew had a most unenviable experience. Further unfavourable weather was experienced after the Cape had been rounded. Owing to the heavy seas which continually came on board, the saloon passengers had to be battened down, and the inconvenience thus caused can be well imagined. Again on June 6 the sailer was caught in a howling hurricane, which whisked away the lower fore and main topsails. When running before the storm she was pooped on several occasions, the sea each time filling the decks to the top of the taffrail. Fortunately the ship stood the test gallantly, and always shook herself free before the following sea broke upon her. During the blow Captain Bate had considerable fears for the safety of his ship and those on board, but she behaved excellently, and, with the exception of the loss of sails and a length of the topgallant bulwarks, came through without further damage. The spare mast on deck later broke adrift, but was secured before it could do any serious damage. The ship experienced the last real blow of the trip some few days before arrival at Wellington. In the midst of terrible seas she rolled fearfully, and once again quantities of water found their way into the passengers' quarters. The vessel's luck held, however, and she weathered the blow without serious damage, and arrived at Wellington with her 28 passengers on June 30th, making the passage in 85 days. The Broomhall was built at Sunderland by Doxford, in 1874.
A vessel of 1,289 tons, owned by Messrs. T. and O. Hunter, the Mellowdale was mainly employed in the East India trade. She made two voyages only to the Dominion, on each occasion carrying passengers and general cargo.
On September 5th, 1878, nine years after the vessel was built, she sailed, under Captain Dorman from Greenock, for Lyttelton, and took her final departure from Start Point on September 10th, arriving at Lyttelton on the 14th December, 90 days from Start Point, and 99 days anchorage to anchorage. Until the Cape was passed the royals were never taken off the ship.
In 1880, the Mellowdale had another favourable passage to Port Chalmers. She sailed from London under the same command on April 13th, and arrived on July 10th, after a smart run of 88 days port to port, landing 51 passengers, all in good health.
The third four-masted ship to visit Otago up till 1879 was the Benares, a very handsome vessel of 1,646 tons, possessing a clipper entrance and a dean run. She was built at Glasgow in 1877, by Messrs. H. Murray and Co., under the personal supervision of her commander, Captain D. B. Inglis, formerly of the Asterope, and other vessels trading to New Zealand, and was owned by Watson Bros., of Glasgow.
The Benares, on her maiden voyage, went out to Calcutta in 67 days, and upon her return Home was chartered by the New Zealand Shipping Co. to carry passengers and cargo to Otago. She made an exceptionally long passage for such a fine ship—97 days—which was accounted for by the light winds and calms met with between the equator and the Cape, which she did not round until she had been 70 days at sea. The easting was run down between 47 deg. and 48 deg. S., and she experienced a succession of fresh breezes and very fine weather, the royals never having been taken in throughout the run. The Snares were made on the 10th, Otago Heads on the 13th, and port on the 14th March, 1878. When entering the port the ship, drawing 20 feet of water, touched the ground, but did not sustain any damage, as the steamer Koputai immediately ranged alongside and brought her to an anchor.
A newspaper, the "Benares Ocean Chronicle," was published weekly during the voyage, the editor being Mr. Terry. Several of the pages were illustrated with considerable taste by Mr. West, an artist of no mean repute.
The City Of Quebec.
One of the first iron ships built for the Quebec trade, the City of Quebec, was 25 years off the stocks when she made her first visit to New Zealand in 1879, and, considering her age, she made a very good passage of 91 days. She sailed from London on December 3, 1878, under charter to the Shaw, Savill Company, and reached Lyttelton on March 5th, 1879, Captain Falconer being in command. She encountered one heavy gale, during which a big sea broke aboard and did considerable damage to the bulwarks, boats, etc. Among her cargo on this occasion were four 5-ton and 7-ton guns for the Lyttelton harbour defences. On the passage Home the ship had a rough time going round the Horn, heavy seas carrying away part of her bulwarks and doing other damage.
The following year, 1880, the City of Quebec, under the same command, arrived at Auckland after a good passage of 105 days from the Downs. Mr. J. Murray, of Northcote, Auckland, who was a passenger by this ship, writes:—
"We left the Docks on December 31st, 1879, just as the bells were ringing in the New Year, and anchored at Gravesend until January 3rd, taking in powder. We experienced a very pleasant passage, having avoided any rough weather all the way out. The first land sighted after leaving the French coast was the Three Kings. We brought out only 30 passengers." The ship arrived on April 18th, 1880.
This fine clipper ship, one of the last of the sailing vessels to bring a large number of passengers to New Zealand, was comparatively a new vessel, having been launched at Greenock from the yards of Steele in 1876 for Messrs. J. and W. Stewart. She was a vessel of 1,256 tons. Commanded by Captain Minns, she sailed from Gravesend on the 1st, and Falmouth on the 5th December, 1879. The Line was crossed on the 26th day out, and the Cape rounded on the 23rd January, 1880. Tasmania was passed on February 19th, and the Snares sighted on the 24th. The following day she anchored at Port Chalmers, 84 days from Falmouth. She brought out 168 passengers.
The Padishah made another voyage to Port Chalmers in 1881. She sailed from London on the 29th June, and cleared the Lizard on July 3rd. The equator was crossed on the 24th day out, the Cape rounded on August 16th, Tasmania passed on September 13th, and the Snares on September 16th, the vessel arriving in port on the 20th September, 82 days anchor to anchor, and 75 land to land. On this voyage she brought out only 20 passengers.
The Earl Derby.
The voyage of the barque Earl Derby from London to Wellington in 1885 was marred by a melancholy accident which involved the loss of the lives of six seamen. The vessel left London on April 11, under the command of Captain Kerr. For several days after rounding the Cape of Good Hope she experienced very heavy weather, and on June 20 an exceptionally heavy gale was encountered. At 8 a.m., when the crew were engaged in hauling on the port braces, a tremendous sea swept aboard and flooded the deck and saloon. When the water had subsided it was discovered that six men had been swept overboard. No one saw the men being carried away, and owing to the tremendous seas running at the time it was impossible to lower one of the boats, as it would never have lived. Further heavy weather was experienced during the voyage, and the barque arrived at Wellington on July 23.
A ship of 879 tons, built at Glasgow in 1868, the Guinevere nearly came to grief on a voyage from London to Wellington in 1886. She sailed on April 5th, and all went well until the 15th June, when she shipped a tremendous sea, which smashed two boats and caused other damage. On the following day another sea broke on board, smashing two more boats. The cut-water also carried away as far as the metal, together with the figurehead, and the water found its way into the hold. The heavy gales continued, and three days later, on the 18th June, the rudder carried away, and a jury rudder suffered the same fate. A Dutch ship hove in sight and offered assistance, which Captain Ford declined. By the 1st of July another jury rudder had been rigged, the ship having been rudderless for thirteen days. Captain Ford then decided to make for Mauritius, which was reached seventeen days later. An examin-page 192ation was made by divers, and it was decided to place her in dry dock for repairs. A large portion of the cargo was removed, and found to be considerably damaged. Another start was made for Wellington on the 14th November, and without further mishap she reached her destination on the 20th December of the same year, 269 days from London. After discharging cargo, the Guinevere sailed for Dunedin, and arrived on January 19th, 1887.
When the New Zealand Shipping Company decided to enter into competition with the Shaw Savill Company, it chartered a number of vessels to run to New Zealand before it purchased or built the beautiful fleet of ships and barques which afterwards flew the well-known house-flag of St. George's Cross with the letters "N.Z.S.C." in the corner. Among these chartered vessels were the Invererne, the Inverallan, the Inverness, Inverdruie, and the Inverurie. The first four were in the passenger trade. The Inverurie, which came later than the others, was on a cargo charter only, but I have included her in this list owing to the unusual circumstances under which she made her appearance in New Zealand waters.
"Yellow Jack" was raging in Brazil at the time, so it is not surprising that when the Inverurie, flying the yellow flag, arrived in Napier roadstead from Santos on January 7th, 1892, she was under suspicion, and the health officer even refused to go on board. She had come across in ballast. Leaving Santos on November 5th, 1891, she made for Otago Heads for orders, and there got instructions to go on to Napier, where she arrived on January 7th, as mentioned. When the health officer saw the yellow flag and found that the vessel was from a fever stricken port, he hailed the deck and asked for particulars. The chief officer, who was then in command, reported that the second mate had been left ashore at Santos, and that the captain had died at sea on the 11th of November. Four men had been down with intermittent fever for a few days after leaving port, but the last case of sickness, erysipelas of the leg, had happened six weeks before the ship reached Napier.
The port health officer was not satisfied that it would be safe to grant the ship pratique, and he recommended the authorities to order her to Wellington for thorough fumigation and the discharge of the ballast which had been taken on board at Santos.
The chief officer was the only man on board with a certificate, and he refused to go without assistance. He also said he had no coastal charts, and as a matter of fact he had brought the ship all the way from Santos with only a general chart of the Southern Ocean—no mean feat of navigation. Eventually another officer was sent off to the ship, and she proceeded to Wellington, where she arrived on January 22nd. She was placed in quarantine, though everyone on board looked quite healthy, and then she was thoroughly fumigated, cleaned, and painted, after which she returned to Napier, where she loaded wool for London. She sailed towards the end of March, with the chief officer who had brought her over from Santos now in command, and made a good run Home.page break page 193
Yellow fever was a dreadful curse some years ago, but modern medical science has robbed it of much of its terrors. In 1891 Santos was considered the most unhealthy port in the world. The harbour was undergoing alterations, and dredges were scooping up the vile mud that had been flowing into the harbour for ages past. The scourge of yellow fever was so great that some ships lost nearly the whole of their crews. Things were so bad that incoming ships from abroad were met immediately on arrival by a launch, and the whole crew, from captain to cabin boy, were taken ashore and sent straight up to the mountains. When the ship was discharged and ready for sea again, the crew were brought back and the ship at once towed to sea.
The Invererne was a vessel of about 900 tons. Under Captain Foreman, she sailed from Falmouth on October 30th, 1874, and arrived at Auckland on January 29th, 1875, having made the voyage in the good time of 90 days. Under the same commander, she sailed from London on November 21st, 1873, for Napier, where she arrived on March 8th, 1874. In 1875 she made a voyage to Lyttelton, sailing from London on November 23rd, and arriving on February 22nd, 1876, a good passage of 91 days. On this last-mentioned passage she had exceptionally good weather, Captain Foreman reporting that he was able to carry the royals practically the whole way. Full details of the voyages made by this vessel will be found in Vol. I. of "White Wings."
The Inverallan was a full-rigged ship. In 1876 she made a very good passage to Auckland, sailing from Gravesend under Captain McCann on March 19th, and arriving on June 30th. Fine weather with very light winds was experienced until the equator was crossed on the thirtieth day out. After passing the Cape the ship encountered severe gales with high seas until reaching the meridian of Tasmania on June 19th. Thence to the New Zealand coast she had fierce squalls with a high cross sea, which stove in the bulwarks and carried away a portion of a deck-house. In 1874 the Inverallan visited Wellington, making the voyage from Land's End in 96 days. She sailed from London on February 14th, and arrived on May 28th.
The Inverness, a barque of 725 tons, built in 1869, made two voyages to Napier. Sailing from London on August 21st, 1875, she arrived on November 28th, 99 days port to port, and landed 105 passengers. The following year she again visited the port, leaving London on July 21st, and reaching Napier on October 29th.
The barque Inverdruie, 591 tons, built in 1867, made a voyage to Lyttelton under Captain Wootton. Sailing from Portland on December 29th, 1875, she arrived on April 10th, 1876.