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

The Monarch

page 314

The Monarch.

The Monarch, at one time a fine frigate-built ship of 1450 tons, was launched from Green's yard at Blackwall in 1844, and at that time was owned by R. Green. She was in the Australian trade for many years. Early in the 'sixties she was purchased by Mr. Savill, and was one of the first Ships owned by the Shaw, Savill. The Monarch made two voyages only to New Zealand. She came to Auckland in 1866, in command of Captain Macey, arriving on July 26, to the great relief of friends of passengers and consignees, after an eventful passage of 151 days.

On this voyage the Monarch was not a dry craft in more senses than one, as before a fortnight had elapsed some brandy was broached. She was decidedly leaky, and this meant pumping once a watch, or in other words once every four hours. Towards the end of March the crew, who had been showing signs of unrest, flatly refused duty, saying it was unsafe to proceed further on the voyage in such a vessel.

The Navy Takes a Hand.

On the 31st, the ship then being off the coast of South America about the latitude of Pernambuco, she fell in with H.M.S. Stromboli, the captain of which decided that there was no necessity for abandoning the voyage to New Zealand, but he recommended that the ship be headed for Rio de Janeiro in order that a proper examination might be made, and also that a second pump might be obtained.

Eventually, after further trouble, on April 10 land was sighted. Three days later the leaky old craft was safely anchored at the discharging ground in Rio, and at that time she was making an inch of water an hour. Again the Navy came to the rescue. The captain of H.M.s. Megaera, that happened to be lying in the harbour, ordered an examination of the Monarch's hull, the trouble was located in the forefoot and before it could be rectified the ship had to be lightened in order that some of the copper might be stripped off and some recaulking done.

While the ship was in Rio there was much trouble with the crew, and at one time a guard from the Megaera was ordered aboard. It was not until the end of April that the ship was once more nosing her way to New Zealand, but her troubles were not all over yet.

The cargo seemed to have an irresistible attraction for the crew, and on May 30 we find the skipper mustering the whole crew, announcing that one of the bulk-heads had been broken open, and threatening that if it were tampered with after the carpenter had made all safe he would prosecute the whole lot of them when the ship reached Auckland.

Passengers at the Brandy.

Yet once more we find a little cargo-broaching incident. This time it is two passengers who are the culprits. Cutting a hole through the deck in their quarters they got at some spirits and other cargo, and of the success of their foraging there was ample evidence in their boxes—bottles of brandy, boots, sardines and clothes being among the articles recovered. Both men were made prisoners by the simple process of locking them up in a cabin. Another passenger was added to the number on a charge of being an accessory to the cutting of the hole in the deck. A strict watch was kept on the prisoners, as they threatened to set fire to the ship if they got a chance. Before Auckland was reached on July 26 this thrice unlucky vessel met with more heavy weather, and it is quite safe to say that no logbook kept by the early visitors to New Zealand contained such a record of strange happenings as that of the Monarch.

In 1870 the Monarch, commanded by Captain John Paddle, for many years sailing the barque Strathallan, arrived at Lyttelton on September 6, after a very fine passage of 104 days, or 89 land to land. The weather during the voyage was unusually fine, a few ordinary gales only having been experienced in running down the easting. On this occasion there was no trouble with the crew, and the 200 immigrants arriving by the vessel spoke in high praise of the treatment they had received during the voyage.

In 1876 the old Monarch sailed from Bombay to Rangoon, and was never heard of again.

Another vessel of 450 tons bearing the name Monarch arrived at Auckland, via Wellington, in command of Captain Smale, on June 20, 1850. She came again under Captain Dixon, arriving at Auckland on September 4, 1854