White Wings Vol II. Founding Of The Provinces And Old-Time Shipping. Passenger Ships From 1840 To 1885
When the New Zealand Shipping Company decided to enter into competition with the Shaw Savill Company, it chartered a number of vessels to run to New Zealand before it purchased or built the beautiful fleet of ships and barques which afterwards flew the well-known house-flag of St. George's Cross with the letters "N.Z.S.C." in the corner. Among these chartered vessels were the Invererne, the Inverallan, the Inverness, Inverdruie, and the Inverurie. The first four were in the passenger trade. The Inverurie, which came later than the others, was on a cargo charter only, but I have included her in this list owing to the unusual circumstances under which she made her appearance in New Zealand waters.
"Yellow Jack" was raging in Brazil at the time, so it is not surprising that when the Inverurie, flying the yellow flag, arrived in Napier roadstead from Santos on January 7th, 1892, she was under suspicion, and the health officer even refused to go on board. She had come across in ballast. Leaving Santos on November 5th, 1891, she made for Otago Heads for orders, and there got instructions to go on to Napier, where she arrived on January 7th, as mentioned. When the health officer saw the yellow flag and found that the vessel was from a fever stricken port, he hailed the deck and asked for particulars. The chief officer, who was then in command, reported that the second mate had been left ashore at Santos, and that the captain had died at sea on the 11th of November. Four men had been down with intermittent fever for a few days after leaving port, but the last case of sickness, erysipelas of the leg, had happened six weeks before the ship reached Napier.
The port health officer was not satisfied that it would be safe to grant the ship pratique, and he recommended the authorities to order her to Wellington for thorough fumigation and the discharge of the ballast which had been taken on board at Santos.
The chief officer was the only man on board with a certificate, and he refused to go without assistance. He also said he had no coastal charts, and as a matter of fact he had brought the ship all the way from Santos with only a general chart of the Southern Ocean—no mean feat of navigation. Eventually another officer was sent off to the ship, and she proceeded to Wellington, where she arrived on January 22nd. She was placed in quarantine, though everyone on board looked quite healthy, and then she was thoroughly fumigated, cleaned, and painted, after which she returned to Napier, where she loaded wool for London. She sailed towards the end of March, with the chief officer who had brought her over from Santos now in command, and made a good run Home.page break page 193
Yellow fever was a dreadful curse some years ago, but modern medical science has robbed it of much of its terrors. In 1891 Santos was considered the most unhealthy port in the world. The harbour was undergoing alterations, and dredges were scooping up the vile mud that had been flowing into the harbour for ages past. The scourge of yellow fever was so great that some ships lost nearly the whole of their crews. Things were so bad that incoming ships from abroad were met immediately on arrival by a launch, and the whole crew, from captain to cabin boy, were taken ashore and sent straight up to the mountains. When the ship was discharged and ready for sea again, the crew were brought back and the ship at once towed to sea.
The Invererne was a vessel of about 900 tons. Under Captain Foreman, she sailed from Falmouth on October 30th, 1874, and arrived at Auckland on January 29th, 1875, having made the voyage in the good time of 90 days. Under the same commander, she sailed from London on November 21st, 1873, for Napier, where she arrived on March 8th, 1874. In 1875 she made a voyage to Lyttelton, sailing from London on November 23rd, and arriving on February 22nd, 1876, a good passage of 91 days. On this last-mentioned passage she had exceptionally good weather, Captain Foreman reporting that he was able to carry the royals practically the whole way. Full details of the voyages made by this vessel will be found in Vol. I. of "White Wings."
The Inverallan was a full-rigged ship. In 1876 she made a very good passage to Auckland, sailing from Gravesend under Captain McCann on March 19th, and arriving on June 30th. Fine weather with very light winds was experienced until the equator was crossed on the thirtieth day out. After passing the Cape the ship encountered severe gales with high seas until reaching the meridian of Tasmania on June 19th. Thence to the New Zealand coast she had fierce squalls with a high cross sea, which stove in the bulwarks and carried away a portion of a deck-house. In 1874 the Inverallan visited Wellington, making the voyage from Land's End in 96 days. She sailed from London on February 14th, and arrived on May 28th.
The Inverness, a barque of 725 tons, built in 1869, made two voyages to Napier. Sailing from London on August 21st, 1875, she arrived on November 28th, 99 days port to port, and landed 105 passengers. The following year she again visited the port, leaving London on July 21st, and reaching Napier on October 29th.
The barque Inverdruie, 591 tons, built in 1867, made a voyage to Lyttelton under Captain Wootton. Sailing from Portland on December 29th, 1875, she arrived on April 10th, 1876.