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

The Rodney

The Rodney.

The Rodney, a beautifully modelled iron clipper ship of 1447 tons, in command of Captain A. Louttit, made a remarkably fine passage to Wellington in 1875. She was owned by Messrs. Davitt and Moore, of London, who had her constructed with a view of allowing passengers every comfort, most of the cabins being ten feet square. The cabins were each fixed with a lavatory, and supplied with fresh water—then a rarity. The Rodney also had a piano on board, and the tables were constructed so that they could be unshipped and the saloon cleared for dancing. There was also a smoking room leading from the saloon to the deck, and the 'tween decks for second and steerage passengers were all that could be desired. There was as much room on deck as on many of the modern passenger steamers trading to New Zealand to-day, the break of the Rodney's poop coming nearly to her mainmast.

On her visit to Wellington the Rodney brought out 23 saloon and 487 steerage passengers. She sailed from the Downs on the 7th, and the Lizard on the 10th June, 1875, and experienced unfavourable light winds to the Line, which was crossed on the 23rd July. Thence she had a fine run to the New Zealand coast, Cape Farewell being sighted on the 27th August, 77 days from the Lizard. She was off Cape Terawhiti the following day, but was compelled to wait for a pilot until the 29th August, 1875,page 185 when she anchored in Wellington Harbour, 82 days port to port. There were ten deaths during the voyage, mostly children, and six births; also one wedding.

After her one voyage to New Zealand, the Rodney was engaged, in the Sydney and Melbourne trade for many years, and was always a favourite with passengers. Mr. Basil Lubbock, in "Colonial Clippers," states: "The Rodney's best passage was to Sydney in 1887, when under Captain Harwood Barrett. On this occasion she ran from the Lizard to Sydney in 67 days, and 68 days from pilot to Sydney. Her best passage Home was 77 days from Sydney to London; her best run to Melbourne was 71 days in 1882, and to Adelaide 74 days in 1880." In 1897 the Rodney was sold to a French firm and converted into a barque. A few years later, in December, 1901, she was wrecked on the Cornish coast, the crew being saved. Captain Louttit sailed the Rodney for 13 years, after which he held a position in Melbourne, where, I am informed, he died some years ago.