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

Turned Into Hulk

Turned Into Hulk.

When steam gradually ousted sail from the trade with the Far East, Heap and Sons parted with the Antiope, and the next definite information we have about her is that she was flying the Russian flag and that she was the largest vessel captured by the Japanese from Russians during the Russo-Japanese war. She was sold as a prize to J. R. Matheson, of Ladysmith, British Columbia, for the lumber trade, in which she remained for some twelve years, and then she was sold to the Paparoa Coal Co., of New Zealand, for use as a hulk. She was dismantled in Wellington, where she lay until the year 1915 saw the remarkable revival in sail, the war making it imperative that anything thatpage 333 could carry cargo should be pressed into the service. Bought by the Otago Iron Rolling Mills, the one-time clipper was rigged once more, and at the mature age of 49 she made a fresh start in life, much to the surprise of the most sanguine admirer of the old sailing ships and sailing ship days.

In 1916, when on the voyage from Tasmania to Port Chalmers with scrap-iron and hardwood, she was so storm-beaten that off the Bluff she had to show distress signals. A tug came out, and managed to get a line aboard, though it was too rough to transfer a pilot. Coming up the channel a squall caught the ship and swung her out of the channel, and she stranded on the rocks inside the harbour. After remaining hard and fast for many months the Antiope was at length refloated and towed to Port Chalmers, where repairs were effected, and at the very respectable age of 51 she once more breasted the ocean wave.

This successful salving of the Antiope was by no means the first of its kind at the Bluff. In 1856 the barque William Hyde lay ashore for two years before she could be salvaged. In 1864 the ship New Great Britain was ashore for several months, and in 1886 the Government schooner Kekeno had a similar experience. Efforts to salvage the Scotia, a steamer wrecked at the Bluff in 1864, on her maiden trip from Home, were continued for over a year, but without success, as her decks buckled by the pressure exerted by the compressed air bags used in the attempt. In 1874 an ex-slave trader, the brig Carl, was successfully refloated, but her sides caved in when she was beached, and she became a total loss.

When the Antiope came out of Port Chalmers dry dock—that was in March, 1917—Captain Campbell took command. He sailed in ballast to Newcastle, where he loaded a cargo of coal for Chili, whence he took nitrates to San Francisco. At the Californian port he loaded case oil for Auckland, and made two more voyages to San Francisco and back, the average passage being 52 days, which was not fast, but the old craft never did herself justice after being rigged as a barque.