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 Adamant

page 152

The Adamant.

Collision Narrowly Averted.

the Adamant, Captain Bowling's first ship as master, was an old vessel when bringing immigrants to New Zealand. She was an iron barque of 815 tons, built in 1858, and later purchased by the Shaw, Savill Co. She made nine voyages to New Zealand, coming out first to Lyttelton in 1873, fifteen years after she was built.

the Adamant made one rather fast passage when bound for Nelson in 1874, having rounded Tasmania on the 79th day out, which was considered very good for this old ship. Here she met with strong easterly winds until nearing the New Zealand coast and did not reach Nelson until twelve days later. This was the record passage for the Adamant. She brought out 340 Government immigrants on this occasion, far too many for the accommodation provided. During the voyage there were twelve deaths. In 1878 the barque, on her passage out to Nelson with a large number of immigrants on board, very nearly came to grief when running down the Southern Ocean. During the night a huge iceberg loomed up right ahead of the ship, and a collision was narrowly averted.

On the passage out to Auckland in 1879 the Adamant had on board all the Christmas goods for the Auckland merchants. She arrived the day after Christmas and the cargo was not delivered until the New Year. Owing to the long passage made by the ship some anxiety was felt by friends for her safety. Captain Bowling reported the Adamant left Gravesend on the 27th August and was detained in the Channel nine days, anchored at the Downs and Deal. The ship also encountered a series of very heavy gales in the Southern Ocean. After discharging, at the end of January, 1880, the Adamant sailed for Napier and loaded up with wool and produce for London.

Mr. Robert Jordon was a passenger by the Adamant on this voyage. He has resided at Auckland, mainly in the Tauranga district, over 40 years, with the exception of one year, 1910, which he spent in Ireland. He sailed on another visit to the Old Country, leaving Auckland in February, 1924. Other passengers by the Adamant were Mr. Walter Buchanan, now residing at Takapuna; Mr. J. A. Beale, solicitor, and his wife; and the family of the late Judge Laughlan O'Brien. All of these were returning from a voyage to the Homeland. The ship, in addition to the above saloon passengers, brought out 150 passengers who had been assisted in seeking fresh pastures by trade unions in England. Mr. Tom Bowling's younger brother Alfred was third officer of the ship.

The most remarkable and eventful passage out by the Adamant was in 1875. She sailed from Gravesend on July 14 in command of Captain Burch. The report published in the Invercargill paper stated that Captain Burch was much given to drink. He kept the ship sailing about the coast of Brazil for three weeks, and on September 17, at 10 o'clock, ran her on a sandbank within hail of the shore, so close that the natives waded out and conversed with those on board. The barque was refloated within a couple of hours. Eventually the chief officer, Mr. Tupman Highman, took over command. About six weeks before the vessel arrived at the Bluff Captain Burch died, and was buried at sea. After her long passage of 144 days the provisions were almost exhausted. the Adamant landed 271 immigrants at the Bluff.

Another account of this remarkable passage is supplied by a member of Mr. Nathaniel Ayling's family, who was a passenger by the Adamant on this occasion. Mr. Ayling settled at Invercargill with his family of eight in 1875, and in 1915 removed to Dunedin, where he died in 1919. Mr. Ayling's daughter gives the following version of the stranding of the ship: "After crossing the Line the Adamant lost the trade winds, and for weeks no headway was made, and finally the vessel grounded on the Brazilian coast. After the vessel was floated off, the Line was recrossed and the trade winds picked up, and from that time good progress was made. Mrs. Ayling died a week before the captain."

On August 8, 1924, at Westport, about one hundred pioneers and their descendants celebrated the 50th anniversary of their arrival at Nelson in the Adamant. Many of the passengers by the ship on this occasion were destined for Westport and other parts of the West Coast. The Mayor presided, and gave the pioneers a hearty welcome, while Mr. J. Scanlon spoke on behalf of the citizens of West-page 153port. Among the pioneers present were:—Mesdames Roberts, Bowden, Taylor, Damms, Hansen, Allen, Lineham, McCullum, Ferguson, Clark and Messrs. S. Young, Clark, W. Scarlett, G. Welch, Solomon, and C. Lineham.

Following is the record of passages outwards:—

To Auckland.
Sailed. Arrived. Captain. Days.
Sep. 25 Dec. 26, '79 Tom Bowling 92
To Wellington.
Nov. 6, '76 Feb. 22, '77 Bowling 107
To Lyttelton.
July 16 Oct. 17, '73 Grant 93
To Nelson.
Sailed. Arrived. Captain. Days.
May 7 Aug. 6, '74 Grant 91
Oct. 3, '77 Jan. 9, '78 Bowling 98
To Napier.
Sep. 20, '79 Jan. 11, '80 Bowling 113
To New Plymouth.
*Nov. 19, '80 Apr. 7, '81 Bowling 139
To Bluff.
July 14 Dec. 4, '75 Highman 144
Feb. 17 June 15 '82 Tonkin 118