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Voyage to NZ on the steamship Gothic

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In 1897 Ernest Edwin RUSHBROOKE, his wife Ellen Sarah WRIGHT and their six children migrated to New Zealand on the steamship Gothic. Mary Alice Wright and James Wright, Ellen's sister and brother, traveled to New Zealand with the family.

This page provides some details of the Gothic and the 1897 voyage.

The Gothic

The steam ship "Gothic" was built in 1893 by Harland & Wolff Ltd. in Belfast. She had a tonnage of 7,755 tons gross, 6,644 under deck and 4,975 net. Poop 58 feet long and Forecastle 61 feet. She had one funnel, 4 masts, 3 decks, was fitted with electric light and refrigerating machinery. Water ballast. She had twin screws and triple expansion engines with 6 cylinders of 26, 42 1/2 & 70 inches diameter each pair and stroke 51 inches. The engines delivered 700 nominal horsepower which gave the ship a speed of 14 knots. The engines were built by Harland & Wolff. She was launched on 28th Jun 1893, for the White Star Line's New Zealand service. There was accommodation for 104 1st and 114 3rd class passengers. She sailed on her maiden voyage from London to Capetown and Wellington on 28th Dec 1893.

The steamship "Gothic" in Port Chalmers, Dunedin.
The steamship "Gothic" in Port Chalmers, Dunedin.
Photograph by David Alexander De Maus.
Image from De Maus Collection, Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, NZ

The Voyage

The passenger list for the 1897 voyage shows that the Rushbrooke family embarked on the "Gothic" in London on 29 October 1897 bound for Wellington New Zealand via Cape Town and Hobart. There were 288 adult and 35 children on board as passengers for the voyage. The "Gothic" was operated by Shaw, Savill & Albion Company (Limited) and Captain William H. Kidley was master for the voyage.

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The shipping column of the Evening Post newspaper in Wellington had the following reports of the voyage (date of publication and report).

30 Oct 1897 - BY TELEGRAPH - LONDON, 30th October. Sailed - Gothic, for Wellington.

4 Nov 1897 - A cable message received by local agents (Messrs W and G Turnbull and Co) states that the Gothic left Plymouth on 30th October for Wellington via Teneriffe, Capetown, and Hobart. She is due at this port on 13th December.

22 Nov 1897 - According to a cable message received by the local agents, the Gothic left Catetown on Saturday. [20 Nov]

9 Dec 1897 - ARRIVAL OF THE GOTHIC AT HOBART. HOBART, 8th December - The Shaw, Savill, and Albion Co's White Star liner Gothic arrived from London via Pljmonth, Teneriffe, and Capetown at 5 pm. She leaves for Wellington at 4 am to-morrow. She has 101 passengers for Australia and 241 for New Zealand. The Gothic may be looked for in Wellington on Monday. [13 Dec]

13 Dec 1897 - GOTHIC, FROM LONDON. At 5.45 this morning the favourite White Star liner Gothic, Captain Kidley, from London via Plymouth, Teneriffe, Capetown, and Hobart, dropped anchor in the stream. The examination of the Health Officer (Dr. James) was satisfactory, and the big vessel was snugly berthed at No 1, Queen's Wharf, by Captain Johnston, Harbour Pilot. From Mr. Inman, purser, to whom we are indebted for late files we learn that the vessel left Plymouth at 4.20 pm on the 30th October. Had moderate SE to NW winds to anchorage off Santa Cruz at 7.58am on 4th November. A supply of coal was taken on board, and the steamer re­sumed her voyage at 6.40 pm same day. Encountered SE trades in 5deg north, and from thence to Capetown strong SE winds, with high sea at times. Arrived in Table Bay 3.35 pm 19th, landed 108 passengers and embarked 83, and proceeded on her voyage to Hobart at 10.50 am on 20th. Carried SW winds to 40deg east longitude, thence to arrival at Hobart, at 4 pm on 8th December, light north to NNW winds and fine weather. Discharged cargo and landed passengers, and proceeded on voyage at 4.17 am on 9th, and met with SW to ENE winds and calm, fine weather until arrival in harbour as above. The usual entertainments, sports, &c, were much enjoyed, also golf, which was tried for the first time, and found most successful and interesting. The voyage throughout was a most phenomenally smooth one, with hardly a day's bad weather, which was most fortunate, as the ship had a greater complement of passengers than on any previous voyage.

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The Auckland Star reported on 13 December 1897 that the Rushbrooke family was amongst passengers from the Gothic travelling to Auckland on the Union Steamship Company's S.S. Te Anau. The same newspaper reported that the S.S. Te Anau arrived in Auckland at 1 p.m. on 16 December 1897, having left Wellington on the 13th, Napier on the 14th, and Gisborne on the 15th December. It was noted that fine weather was experienced right up the coast.