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PS to auxiliary SS Atrato Sailed from London via Plymouth leaving there on April 5th 1874 and reached Port Chalmers on 8th June 1874 after having encountered a series of misadventures. Then she sailed up the coast to Lyttelton arrived at Lyttelton 20th June 1874. Had 762 immigrants on board and of that number 280 were children. There was much sickness on board and before New Zealand was reached there were 33 deaths, all being children with one exception. She was one of the first steamers to come out to New Zealand. Built in 1853 as a paddle steamer of 3184 tons by Caird & Co, at Greenock for the Royal Mail Steam Packet Company. She was the first iron ship built for that company, in whose South American service she ran for 17 years. After her sale in 1870 she was converted into a single-screw vessel and fitted with new compound engines and three double-ended boilers. She was then owned by John Morrison & Co London. In 1870 was converted into a single-screw vessel and fitted with new engines and boilers. She had come out to Melbourne on her maiden voyage in Australia Sept. 1872 and had called into Table Bay for coal. There were at least four vessels with this name.
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Passenger list off site
Timaru Herald Friday 26 June 1874
Arrived June 24
Port of Timaru - Beautiful Star, s.s., 146 tons, Hart, from Lyttelton.
"To Captain Hart, master s.s. Beautiful Star. We the undersigned passengers ex s.s. Atrato, transferred to the s.s. Beautiful Star from Port of Lyttelton to Timaru, beg to certify that we have been amply provided for in every respect by the captain and officers, and wish to return them our hearty thanks: -
W. Morris and wife
J. Pye and wife
G. Smart and wife
Timaru Herald 24th
Thursday number of immigrants by the Atrato would arrive at Timaru today by the Beautiful Star, comprising eleven families, thirty single men, and eleven single women; also that all the single women were domestic servants.
Voyage account below from Papers
Past Images online.
Otago Witness Saturday 13 June 1874 page 16.
Port Chalmers Arrivals
Atrato, s.s., 2051 tons, Husband, from Plymouth, April 5th. Dalgety, Nichols. and Co., agents.
Passengers: 159 free and nominated immigrants.
The following is the list of her saloon passengers:-From London - Bickerton Mr and Mrs and 3 children Kerle Mr and Mrs Manly Mr and Mrs and 2 children Watkins Mr and Mrs Winterinkton Mrs and child Ellis Mrs Patterson Mr Maxwell Mr Mason Mr Seares Mr Turner Mr Lagdon Mr Collmore Mr Grey MrFrom the Cape of Good Hope - Hewison Mrs Hadd Miss Drummond Miss Rankin Mr Daniell Mr Anderson Mr Colman Mr Brooks Mr
ARRIVAL of the ATRATO
At last, and after her several misadventures, the s.s. Atrato has arrived and, as was apprehended from the fact of her having touched at the port of ill omen to immigrants-Plymouth-she brings a foul bill of health with her. Her condition, however, in this respect is not so serious by far as was that of the other vessels which came from Plymouth, the dominant complaint in her case being a mild form of measles. The Atrato was signalled early in the forenoon on Monday, and then followed the signal of there being measles on board. She soon after appeared between the Heads, and in due course steamed up to the Quarantine Ground, and anchored there. The Health and Immigration officers, with Dr O'Donoghue, medical adviser of the Board of Health, immediately, proceeded alongside in the steamer Peninsula, something besides measles being anticipated from the fact of so much having been admitted. Happily, however these fears proved groundless. The report of Dr James Ellis, the surgeon-superintendent, was reassuring-for although 33 deaths had occurred on the passage the victims were, with one exception, infants. Of these fatal cases 17 were attributed to croup and congestion of the lungs supervening upon measles, six were from teething convulsions, nine from mysenteric consumption, one from erysipelas, The last case of measles appeared Sunday, and there were five or six still under treatment. In reply to the questions of the Health Officer, Dr Ellis positively affirmed that no one really serious case of illness had occurred amongst the adults, and that the immigrants were in a good state of health generally, and had been so throughout the passage. he also said that the measles came on board with the few immigrants who were shipped at Plymouth. The total number of immigrants on board was stated at 762, of whom 150 only are for Otago the great majority being on their way to Canterbury. The proportion of the children was usually large, the number of the little people being given at 280. Of these, 180 had had the measles. From what we could see of the immigrants, who thronged the bulwarks of the steamer, we estimated them as an average lot, neither better nor worse than the several consignments which have arrived during the last months. Of course we did not board the ship, and therefore can only report on a very casual inspection of those who appeared underneath the gangway.
The report we have to give of the ship's run out is also necessarily brief for the same reason. It was supplied by Captain Husband, and states that the Atrato left Plymouth on the 5th April; experienced variable winds and weather to Madeira, which was passed on the 10th, the steamer keeping close into the Funchal Roads, and made her number, and asked to be reported. On the following day she passed close to Santa Cruz, the chief town of Palma, one of the Canaries, and thence to the Equator, which was crossed on the 19th April, in long. 9.47 west, pleasant weather was experienced. The S.E. Trades hung much to the southward, making it a dead head wind for the steamer, and in consequence she made but indifferent progress, burned a great deal of coal, and had to run into Table Bay to obtain a further supply. She anchored in the Bay on the 4th May. Coal being very scare there, five days were occupied in coaling, and the quantity obtained was less than 200 tons than what was required. The stock of fresh water was also replenished, and the Atrato resumed her voyage on the afternoon of the 9th. The passage from the Cape was marked by heavy weather, and as the ship was short of fuel, advantage was taken of favourable winds to knock along under canvas, with the propeller disconnected. The report fails to state when land was made. However, the steamer arrived early yesterday morning, and will we trust be soon out of limbo, for before the Peninsula shoved off the Health Officer ordered that ominous rag, the yellow flag, to be hoisted at the main.
The Atrato brings 500 tons of cargo for this port, and we presume that that will be at once discharged into lighter and quarantined in them, if such a course should be considered expedient, in order that the Atrato may not be exposed to unnecessary detention, but be despatched as soon as practicable to her next port of call, Lyttelton. There is ample accommodation at the Quarantine Island for the few immigrants she has for Otago, and we daresay the Board of health will see fit to order their removal there at once. The Atrato is not a very taking vessel to the eye. Her lines are too straight-so straight as to convey an impression of a droop at the ends. She does not look so large as her tonnage makes her out to be. She is a fine old-fashioned boat, though, and looks as if she had been raised upon. She is lightly rigged as a barque. That she can travel will be evidenced by her run of 64 days from Plymouth, including five days detention at the Cape, and then she is said to have lost quite four days whilst running her easting down through having to strictly economise her fuel. Several bags of mails from the Cape arrived for New Zealand. The Australian portion was forwarded in the afternoon by the s.s. Tararua. We have to thank Captain Husband for the files of Cape Town papers. We may remark, in conclusion, that the great majority of the Atrato's immigrants were shipped in London, and that when she put back to Plymouth to repair damages, the number was completed by a few shipped from the depot there. We would suggest the temporary abandonment of the Plymouth depot whilst it is submitted to the disinfesting and cleansing process it is evidently so much in need of.
At a meeting if the Board of Health held on Tuesday, it was decided to release the Atrato from Quarantine, the recommendation of Dr O'Donoghue, Medical Officer of the Board, being to that effect. His opinion was supported by that of Dr Harris, who visited the ship with him. They both concur in regarding the attack of measles as very light, and that the disease is unlikely to spread ashore. We, of course, differ in some degree to this ruling, but at the same time we are pleased to hear that the Otago contingent of the Atrato's immigrants are to be landed at the Quarantine Island, but at the same time are admitted to pratique there. The island is open to visitors, of whom, however, we hope that very few will take advantage of the privilege until a few days have elapsed, so that in the meantime the immigrants may have had the opportunity of purifying themselves from the stains of so long a residence in an unhealthy vessel. It would perhaps have been better if the Board of Health had seen fit to absolutely quarantine the immigrants for a short period in order that their healthiness might have been thoroughly assured.
The mandate of the Board of Health received effect yesterday, when Captain Thomson, Health Officer; Mr Monson, Emigration Officer; Mr Colin Allan, Emigration Agent; and Drs O'Donghue and Harris, proceeded to the Atrato, and after ascertaining that no fresh cases had occurred, went on board her, and ordered a yellow flag to be struck. This was done amidst much clapping of hands and cries of exultation on the part of the immigrants who literally swarmed her decks. "We thought we should never get clear of her," remarked they." and no wonder, seeing that the great majority of them had been on board four months. After the usual courtesies had passed between Captain Husband and Dr Ellis on the one side, and the visitors on the other a tour of inspection, headed by Dr Ellis, was made through the ship. The single women's compartment was first visited, and as usual, was aftermost. It was occupied by 82 women, who were under the immediate control of the matron, Mrs Crowe. The compartment was situated on the main deck, and appeared to be tolerably clean and fairly lit and ventilated. The compartment was clean and tidy. The larger section found quarters on the main deck, which being pierced for side scuttles at short distances apart, and was admirably ventilated, and had plenty of light. The place however was very warm, being in juxtaposition to the engine room. It was as clean as could be expected, but the berthing was, as usual, villainously promiscuous. The poor creatures were huddled together cheek by jowl, married couple alongside married couple, with but a thin plank, and open at that, between them. The single men's compartment was in the throes of packing up, and was, in consequence, all higgledy piggledy. It was anything but clean, less clean even than it might have been, the above circumstances of both considered. The immigrants looked healthy on the whole, but wore evidently of mixed character, and it was clear, had been taken as they presented themselves, without any questions being asked by their selectors, or rather, acceptors, the sub-emigration agents.
We thought a certain remark, passed by Captain Husband, was rather significant. The remark was made, not so much deprecatingly, as in support of the ship's interests. It was led up to by a conversation which took place upon the validity or otherwise of immigrants who had shipped for Canterbury to land at Otago. Several of the immigrants had expressed a desire to forgo the privilege of proceeding to Canterbury preferring to take Otago for it. On being appealed to for an opinion as to whether such a course of proceeding would be strictly legal, Mr Colin Allan said that the Otago Government would have no objection to receive the immigrants, but at the same time would not undertake to guarantee the ship from loss of passage money. The ship might land the immigrants, but it would be at the ships' risk, and breaking the charter party, which specified for the conveyance of the immigrants to Canterbury. "But what," responded Captain Husband, "am I to do if the people desert?" and then followed the remark about the clothes. That the immigrants have arrived here as healthy as they are redounds to the credit of Dr Ellis, who must have exercised very good care indeed in the maintenance of good sanitary arrangements. We heard no complaints on board, the immigrants expressed satisfaction at the manner in which they had been treated, and praised the captain and doctor. The ship was well founded with hospitals, bathrooms, and other officers, and an admirable cooking range.
In our report of the ship yesterday, we observed that she was a taking vessel to the eye. We have now to remark that she improves upon acquaintance, and is, without doubt, a splendid vessel at all points, and admirably appointed. She looks her size on deck, and is a larger vessel than the Mikado, her dimensions being, length over all 360 feet, on the keel 336 feet, beam 43 feet, depth of hold 36 feet. She is but lightly rigged as a barque, and hence her go lies in her engine-a magnificent compound of 350 horse-power, nominal, built by Boulton and Watt, of Birmingham. The diameters of the cylinders are 90 inches the low pressure, and 57 inches the high. The size of the screw-shaft is 12 � inches, and the diameter of the propeller 18 feet.
Decidedly, the principal feature of the Atrato is her saloon accommodation. In its arrangement, it closely resembles that of the steamer Mikado, the saloon itself occupying the whole width of the vessel forwards of the sleeping cabins; with which it has no connection. The cabins are built in double tiers in each side a wide passage amidships, and are reached by the usual lateral passages. The outside tier of cabins is the best, their, size being much above average. All the cabins are well furnished, whilst the saloon is elaborately so, and has a very good piano besides. 82 passengers can be comfortably accommodated in the saloon. Mr Cranston is the chief steward, and has three stewards, an officers' servant, and pantry man under him. The staff de cuisine comprises first and second cook and baker, besides of course, the usual understrappers. There were two immigrants' cooks.
Touching her appointments we may observe that the captain and his officers are berthed in the deck house, that she has eight boats, a steam winch, and is steered by the old-fashioned tiller and tackle arrangements. She carries a double wheel aft, and another with preventer steering gear on the bridge amidships. She has a very roomy upper deck. Her crew number 82 all told, Captain Husband being commander; and Messrs Anderson and Long first and second officers. There are also third and fourth officers, boatswain, and carpenter. Mr Lawson is at the head of the engineers and twenty firemen. We omitted to mention that the engines derive steam from three boilers, of coal for an average speed of 10 knots is about 22 tons. This is under steam only; aided by her canvas the Atrato can do 12 and 13 knots easily. She is built in four decks; viz., the upper or spar deck, main deck, 'tween deck, and the lower or orlop deck. She is also built with six water-tight compartments.
The Times, Saturday, Mar 07, 1874; pg. 5
PLYMOUTH, March 6.-The steamship Atrato
The Atrato belongs to John Morrison, London, and is chartered by Shaw, Saville, and Co., to convey emigrants to New Zealand for the New Zealand Government. She left London on the 10th ult., with a large number of emigrants and crew and all numbering over 900. On February 19, in lat. 25 22 N long. 19 29 W, her lower pressure piston broke, and the cylinders cracked, and she had to make her way back to port by means of one engine and her sails. She embarked 43 sacks mails at Southampton and 21 here at Plymouth.
From a write up in the Auckland Star March 1940 on her 90th birthday.
'Elizabeth DRUMMOND born in Paisley, Scotland, in 1850. When she was eight years old her Mother died, and on leaving Scotland for Cape Town she was brought up in the home of Captain Samson, port health officer. At the age of 23 years she left for New Zealand in the Atrato, the first steamer to make the trip from England to New Zealand. The voyage, which was a memorable one, occupied about six months, owing to a breakdown in the engine near the Cape of Good Hope, after which the vessel put back to Plymouth under sail for repairs.'
Elizabeth married Richard P. SPRY August 14 1875 in Wanganui. He was at that time a constable. They had a family of eight children. Richard died 24th April 1916 and Elizabeth died 29 July 1942 in Auckland.
Information courtesy of Joan Davison. Joan has been told that Elizabeth came to New Zealand because she had a brother here, Daniel, but this has not been verified. Posted 3 April 2002.
Timaru Herald. On Anzac Day, 1925, there passed away at Nelson another of South Canterbury's pioneers in the person of Mrs William Howes, age 74 years. The late Mrs Howes, left Plymouth in December 1874 in the sailing vessel 'Atrato,' the largest sailing vessel to have left for New Zealand up to that time. She left with 1000 immigrants aboard. So great was the crowd that she had to be doubled-officed. Mr and Mrs Howes losing their first born in sight of New Zealand. Twenty-two children died. On 21 June 1875, they landed in surf-boats at Timaru after a rough voyage lasting six months. Mr and Mrs Howes found employment with the late Mr Barker at Orari, afterwards going to Pleasant Point, and from there to Te Moana, then known as Rhubarb Flat. After 25 years at Te Moana, the family took up a sheep run at Takaka, Nelson, returning to Tahuna, Nelson. The deceased lady is survived by her husband and family. The latter consists of three sons and four daughters. Those residing in South Canterbury being
Mr Victor Howes, Chamberlain, Albury
Mr Chris Howes, Sherwood Downs, Fairlie
and Mrs Rowan also of Fairlie
George GRAY F.C.S
BY MARGARET TODD
My great-grandfather, George GRAY, was born in Eling, New Forest, Hampshire, England in 1849. He attended the Hartley Institution, Southampton, where he became a teacher of chemistry before immigrating to New Zealand. George and his wife, Mary, left England in 1874 on the ship ATRATO as George had been appointed assistant to Professor Alexander Bickerton, lecturer on Chemistry and Physics, at Canterbury Agricultural College.
In 1883 George was appointed lecturer on chemistry at Lincoln College, a position he held until his retirement in 1915. George was a man of small stature with an unusual gait. His students nicknamed him 'Paddler'. He was referred to as the 'Mr Chips of Lincoln College' by students because of his punctuality, regularity and predictable attire of bowler hat, 'claw hammer' coat, and umbrella over his arm.
George, Mary, and their three children lived in a cottage at Lincoln College.
My grandfather, Robin, their second son, spoke of catching the train into Christchurch to attend Boys High School. His brother, Henry, attended Christ's College, and Daisy, their daughter, was schooled at home. She lived with her parents as she never married. Daisy became well known in Lincoln and played the organ at St Stephens Church She lived until she was 94. Robin farmed at Tripp Settlement near Woodbury.
George was a Fellow of the Chemical Society. It is written that his name will always be linked with the first New Zealand endeavours in agricultural chemistry. In addition to his duties as a lecturer he carried out analyses for farmers, and was Meteorological Observer at Lincoln College. He used the name 'Nightcap' to describe the bank of cloud which formed at night over Banks Peninsula.
His research work included 'The Feeding Value of Root Crops'. Henry "Harry", George's son, owned a dairy farm at Tai Tapu near Whangarei and after leaving Tai Tapu, had a family of ten children, all of whom lived in the North Island. George experimented with milking the cows three times a day for a season to test his theories. It is written that a profit was made.
Lime was another research subject. He wrote papers on the importance of lime in addition to manure. His quote was: 'Lime and lime without manure make both farm and farmer poor.'
Another interest was the artesian waters of Canterbury. This research carried on after his retirement.
George wrote many papers which appeared in the New Zealand Country Journal. These included 'Chemistry of Manures', 'Chemistry and Physiology of Farm Crops' and 'Chemistry of the Dairy.'
On 6th May 1915 George GRAY retired from Lincoln College. During his 32 years as chemistry lecturer George endeared himself to the many students who attended his lectures. I feel this extract from his farewell speech says it all:
"It has given me much pleasure to assist, as I was able, the succession of students who have passed through the College. I have seen the College grow, just as a tree grows. In this case the students are the branches, and it was my duty as one of the gardeners, to provide the nourishment. I was proud to act as a gardener in such an institution, as the tree has now attained considerable growth, but it has not even yet reached the zenith of its power."
George and Mary GRAY retired to the township of Lincoln and enjoyed many years there before George died in 1934. He is buried in the Springston cemetery.
Margaret adds: I am thankful for my genealogy leanings, which have shown my family the importance of my great-grandfather's contribution to the farming sector of New Zealand. George was a saloon passenger on the 'Atrato.' See Peter's list. Posted South Canterbury NZSG Newsletter July / August 2006 Vol.10 No.4
William George and Mary Ann Wood emigrated to New Zealand from England in 1874
on board the SS Atrato, with their children William Samuel (7), Mary
Ann (4) and Edward Thomas (2 months). William George Wood was born in Epping,
Essex, and his father was from the nearby hamlet of Theydon Garnon, where the
Wood family had lived since at least the early 16th Century. William moved to
Edmonton, on the outskirts of London, where he worked as a platelayer on the
railways, and married Mary Ann Robinson in 1866. The family moved to Norfolk
shortly before emigrating.
Also on board the SS Atrato were Thomas and Mary Ann (Annie) Gardiner (nee Souter), and their children Henry (13), Louisa (11), Annie (7), Jane (5), Elizabeth Jane (3) and James (3 months). The Gardiner family was from Birchington, Kent, and Thomas also worked as a platelayer on the railways. It is not known if the two families knew each other in England, although it is possible that William Wood and Thomas Gardiner had worked together at some time. Certainly by the time they disembarked in New Zealand the two families were friends. Both settled in the Christchurch suburb of Phillipstown, the Wood family living on St Asaph Street east. George Henry Wood was born in 1877, and the Gardiner family were present at his christening, which took place at St Saviour's Church in Sydenham, Christchurch.
Both William and Thomas found work on the Christchurch railways in their first couple of years in New Zealand. After 2 years Thomas and his family followed the railway south, spending 2 years in Timaru, 5 at Otaio, 1 at Makikihi, 2 at Cave (where Thomas was also the local postmaster), 2 at Waimate, 4 back in Timaru, before returning to Waimate. At the time the Gardiner family moved south, the Wood family moved to Cust, northwest of Christchurch. William continued working briefly on the railway, before becoming a labourer. William and his wife Mary are buried in the Cust Cemetery. Their children went to the Cust school, and later their sons were involved with the local Oddfellows Lodge. Two of their sons, Edward and George, married sisters from the well-known local farming family, the Pawsey's (Martha and Sarah Ann, respectively). His other son, William Samuel Wood, moved to Waimate, where in 1895 he married Elizabeth Jane Gardiner, with whom he had emigrated on the Atrato 21 years prior.
William and Elizabeth had 2 sons, Albert and William, and lived in Timaru for many years before returning to Waimate. William died in 1925, but Elizabeth lived for many years after. The following was published in the Christchurch Press, 20 July 1961:
“A well-known resident of Waimate, Mrs Elizabeth Jane Wood, celebrated her ninetieth birthday recently. Born in Birchington, Kent, England, on July 17 1871, Mrs Wood came to New Zealand with her parents, Mr and Mrs Tom Gardner, in the ship Otrato [sic]. They landed on June 21, 1874, after a voyage lasting four months. The family walked over the Bridal Path from Lyttelton and lived first at Phillipstown. Mr Gardner worked on the railways and was for a time at Morven. He died at the age of 97. Mrs Wood's mother lived to 95 years. Mrs Wood attended Otaio School and at the school's recent jubilee she was the oldest surviving female pupil present. Mrs Wood worked in the Waimate Hospital in the early days when the institution consisted of three rooms and with the matron carried on the running of the hospital for three months before additional help was secured. Mrs Wood married in St. Augustine's Church in 1895 and from the records it appears that Mr and Mrs Wood were the forty-second couple married in the church. She had become a resident of Waimate four years before the Waikakahi block was cut up.”
1) Elizabeth Jane Gardiner working at Waimate Hospital, c.1894
2) Thomas Gardiner working on the railway near Studholme, South Canterbury, c.1897
Information and photos courtesy of Jamie Wood. Please contact Jamie if you have any information to share or would like additional information. Posted 1st April 2011
Lawrence, Alfred, 1844-1922. Alfred's diary, 1874 : chronicle of a voyage from Plymouth to New Zealand beginning April 5th, 1874. Christchurch : Griffin Press, 1974. 47pp
Pentelow, William New Zealand bound 1874 published in Cambridgeshire FHS journal 9:3, Aug. 1993 Copy at the Genealogical Society of Victoria, AUS library
Ship names are repeated often, with replacement ships taking the same name as on older retired ship in the same shipping line.