Other formats

    TEI XML file   ePub eBook file  


    mail icontwitter iconBlogspot iconrss icon

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


the Margaret Galbraith (or the old "Maggie," as she was familiarly called), one of Duncan's ships, sailed under the Shaw, Savill flag, and made 21 voyages to the several ports of New Zealand between 1873 and 1900, bringing a very large number of immigrants from London and Glasgow. She was a comparatively small iron vessel of 841 tons. In 1880, in command of Captain Fergusson, she ran out to Port Chalmers in 87 days, or 75 land to land. She left Greenock on October 23, 1879, had a smart run of 19 days to the Equator, passed the Cape on the fiftieth day out, and the Snares on January 5, arriving in port on January 7. The following year Captain Fergusson brought the ship to Auckland in 85 days from London Docks.

On her last voyage to Auckland in 1882 the Margaret Galbraith brought out the plant of the Devonport Water Works. After discharging, the ship sailed from Auckland for Timaru. When about ten miles off Lyttelton she was caught in a very severe S.E. gale. She had on board 100 tons of pig iron, which shifted during the gale, and the vessel was thrown on her beam ends and had a narrow escape of foundering. Mr. Claude Fenwick, of Auckland, was a passenger by the ship on this occasion. the Margaret Galbraith was towed into Lyttelton by a passing steamer. In the Old Colonists' Museum, Auckland, may be seen a photo. of the Margaret Galbraith inside of the Calliope Dock unloading the pipes for Devonport.

the Margaret Galbraith, on the passage to Napier in 1895, met with a succession of gales and light winds prior to crossing the Equator, 44 days out from London. When in latitude 44 south and longitude 25 east the ship was surrounded by icebergs for six days.

Captain Renaut, who brought the ship out in 1899, reported a most trying passage. He said: "The vessel rolled out, rather than sailed out," occupying 114 days from London to Port Chalmers. All the ships arriving during the latter part of 1899 made long passages, owing to terrific gales met with in the Southern Ocean, and all were more or less seriously damaged, including such clippers as the Canterbury, Oamaru, Waitangi, Turakina, and others—the Turakina making the best run of the season—93 days.

page 55

From the coast of New Zealand to Cape Horn sailing ships were generally given a good start on the long sail home. All day and every day the good breeze blew anywhere from south-west to north-west, and often as not the wind was piping anything from a half-gale up to a full gale; but what matter, it was blowing the old hooker home! Remarkable runs were often made on this stretch across the South Pacific, but it was always an anxious time for captain and crew, because there was always the possibility of meeting ice. You never knew what you were going to meet in that long run over the stormy Southern seas.

Who can tell how many tragedies those seas hide under their long grey rollers that break in a smoke of spray? Good ships, well-found, well-manned, and in command of skilful navigators, have started out on this long sail and have never been heard of again, and in the many speculations as to their fate
This iceberg, so like Castle Rock, near Coromandel, Auckland, was another of the strange shapes passed by the ship Margaret Galbraith. It was about ten miles long and some 500 feet high, with what looked like a pillar of basaltic rock sticking out of the top.—From a photograph and painting by H. N. Burgess.

"Castle Rock" In Ice.

the dreaded iceberg has always loomed large and grim.