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White Wings Vol II. Founding Of The Provinces And Old-Time Shipping. Passenger Ships From 1840 To 1885

From London Direct

From London Direct.

Upon searching the available records I have come to the conclusion that the first direct vessel from London to Napier was the barque Rangoon, 374 tons, Captain Pearman, which anchored in Napier Roadstead on July 24, 1864. Leaving the East India Docks on November 26, 1863, the Rangoon had to remain at Gravesend until December 4, waiting for dispatches. After she started on her voyage she was fouled by the barque Lord Maidstone, and had her bows stove in, besides suffering other damage. To avoid going down the captain slipped his anchor and chain and called for assistance, being eventually towed to Ramsgate, where she remained until January 13, 1864, undergoing repairs. She at length sailed from the Downs on the 24th, crossed the Equator on the 24th of the following month, and the meridian of the Cape 45 days from Start Point. Off the south coast of Tasmania she had very severe weather until June 2, when she put into Sydney for supplies, of which she was badly in need. There was one death and three births on board.

On July 4 the barque left Sydney in charge of Captain Harwood, sighted the Three Kings on the 10th, and all went well until off the Bay of Plenty, where she was struck on the port beam by a terrific sea during a very heavy gale she encountered. An incredible amount of damage was done, everything moveable being washed overboard, and several boats and deck-houses being stove in. Eventually she rounded Portland Island on the 23rd. Pilot Murray boarded her ten miles off the land, and after an adventurous voyage she anchored off the Napier roadstead on Sunday, July 24, as mentioned above.

Complaints were made by a number of the immigrants as to bad treatment during the voyage. Twenty-four of the passengers signed and presented a testimonial to the ship's surgeon, Dr. Alex Todd, so apparently the trouble was in other quarters. The fact that the barque changed captains in Sydney seems to suggest that everything was not all correct.

The next vessel direct was the barque Strathallan, a vessel of 550 tons. She sailed from London on July 21, 1864, and arrived on November 24 the same year in command of Captain Paddle. Shortly after sailing, when off Beachy Head, the barque collided with the ship Ann. The Strathallan suffered much damage and put into Portsmouth for repairs and resumed the voyage on August 6. She had a rough passage out, and during a heavy gale on August 21 laboured heavily and shipped large quantities of water. During this storm the foretopmast, trussel trees and topgallant mast, bulwarks, also carried away. She made a good run of 109 days from Portsmouth.

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The Strathallan made two more voyages to Napier. She sailed from London on August 30, and arrived on December 17, 1865. The night of arrival the third officer and two of the crew made off with the lifeboat, with oars, sails, provisions, and ship's compass taken from the binnacle. They were never heard of again.

The third visit of the Strathallan was in 1866. She sailed on August 18 and arrived on December 2, 105 days out. Captain Paddle was in command on the three voyages.

The next vessel was the ship Montmorency, Captain Mackenzie. She sailed on December 7, 1866, and arrived on March 24, 1867. Four days after arrival she was totally destroyed by fire.

Only two other ships arrived at Napier direct from London in the 'sixties—the Henry Miller in 1868 and the R. T. Turnbull in 1869, but a large number came out in the 'seventies and 'eighties. These will all be dcalt with in separate articles to follow.