Otago Witness, 30 November 1899, Page 1 supplement
Being a chronological record of the chief wrecks which have occurred in New Zealand waters from the year 1795 to Nov. 1899, together with the most interesting events in connection with them. Complied Fabin Bell for the Otago Daily Times and Witness Christmas Annual, 1899.
This is a true story a story of the price of Empire ; of the toll that the sea demands in life and limb, in blood and treasure, from all those who would reap of her harvest. Others have written the Story of the Flag, the great deeds that have been wrought by British soldiers and sailors in the battle fields of the world ; but I, looking over the great Pacific rollers as they break upon our island shores, am moved to tell of other victories not less noble, which are fought without tuck of drum and blare of trumpet, and all the pomp and majesty of war.
For everything under the sun there is a price, and that price must be paid. Here in "the utmost limits of the world," where the ocean is our only highway and means of communication with other men, that ocean demands a heavy toll.
" What a dismal subject for a Christmas Annual," you say. Not so. Rather what a noble, inspiring subject this record of quiet conquest, of calm endurance, of unwritten heroism, of selfless devotion to duty which are as marked characteristics of the merchant seaman of to-day as they were of the bold adventurers in the time of Elizabeth or the great captains of Nelson. The story of British pluck and endurance, of the determination which never confesses itself beaten, of the national conscience which will not let the weak suffer when the strong are by to help this is a story which, however inadequately it may be told, always sends the blood thrilling and dancing through our veins and makes us proud of our heritage a Britons. And it is well to record the fact that here "in our islet I beyond the main "we" of the blood" are born sea-kings and Vikings, and glory in the fact.
But to do this we must tell of the storm and stress of tortured humanity ; of ships that have foundered in the wild war of the elements; of ships "that have gone down at sea when heaven was all tranquility." of ships that have perished at the moment of success within sight of "the haven where they would be." just when all anxiety and trouble seemed at an end and the desired prize within the grasp ; of ships that have been burned or wrecked in harbour, after long and perilous journeys, storm tossed, buffeted, triumphant ; and yet all doomed to pay the inexorable toll of the sea from which the bravest and strongest are not exempt. And looking out over the sea itself, at once the most alluring, the most awful, the most human of all inanimate things ; ever changing and yet ever changeless ; the same from countless ages and yet differing every hour ; at one moment giving all with lavish hands, at the next exacting every penny of its toll, sometimes in punishment for the breaking of well-known laws, but often, as it would seem, by the mere caprice of its own restless nature, I shudder as I enter on this chronicle of the price of Empire in our Southern Seas.
With respect to the hard facts herein contained, they have been taken from any and every source available. "The Otago Daily Times," "The Otago Witness," "The North Otago Times," &c, "The Official Records of New Zealand Shipping," Brett's and other histories of New Zealand, together with private sources of all kinds, have been made to pay toll. From the mass of material thus collected I give to my readers the best and most accurate selection that I have been able to make, bespeaking beforehand their indulgence for the errors which a lack of official documents renders only too probable.
In this compilation the plainest facts have been told in the simplest language. Nothing has been exaggerated. Nothing has been " written up." But let not those who read fail to note in its unvarnished pathos the patient endurance of the silent heroes who, unconsciously and ungrudgingly, have paid, and are still paying, the Toll of the Sea.
Ship ENDEAVOUR, Dusky Bay, September, 1795. This vessel bound for India left Sydney on September 18th, purposing to call at New Zealand. She had 50 persons on board whose term of transportation had expired, and nearly as many more secreted themselves as stowaways. When she got to New Zealand she proved to be in such a leaky and unseaworthy condition that she had to be scuttled. Her passengers remained in Dusky Bay for more than a year, living chiefly on birds and seals. Thirty-five of them were taken to Norfolk Island, and most of the remainder returned to New South. Wales in a vessel built from the long boat of the Endeavour. Captain Fairchild visited the wreck in the Hinemoa in 1878, and reported : " She lies in a little nook or pocket so small that it is impossible for her to have sailed in. She must have been hauled in by ropes made fast to the trees. She is built of one third English oak and two thirds Indian teak. She was known by the whalers to have been there 65 years ago, and was an old boat then. In the early days the whalers used to chop her away for firewood, and they have chopped her to the water's edge, so that she only shows a little above the water at low spring tide, but she is clearly visible in the calm water. She is quite clear of the ocean swell in a perfect snug little harbour, and must have been taken there on purpose to be condemned." This is absolutely the first wreck in New Zealand waters of which we have any certain and reliable information, though we have some legends of whaling boats having been cast away and their occupants, ,eaten ; but these stories cannot be substantiated. Some persons have thought that the Endeavour scuttled in Dusky Bay was one of Captain Cook's vessels, but such was not the case. She was a provision boat bound to .Bombay, commanded by Captain Bampton.
Ship BOYD, Whangaroa, December, 1809. From Sydney, with , Europeans and several Maoris on board. She put into Whangaroa to load with spars. The natives attacked her in great force and killed and ate all her European passengers except four two little girls, a boy of 15, and a woman who died soon after. The natives plundered the vessel and burnt her to the water's edge. The reasons given for this crime vary very much, but it would appear that one of the Maoris on board was severely punished by the captain, and the destruction of the ship was the consequence. The survivors were rescued by Messrs Berry and Russell of the ship City of Edinburgh. They were in a terrible state of emaciation, and seemed to have suffered very much, especially the infant daughter of Mr Commissary Broughton, who, when brought to the rescuers, cried out in a feeble tone: " Mamma ! my mamma !" This child afterwards grew up and became Mrs Charles Throsby. Mrs Morley died on the way Home, and her baby when grown to womanhood kept a school in Sydney. The boy Davis was sent to England, whence he returned to New South Wales, where he was drowned at Shoal Haven in 1822. The Maoris have always insisted that there were several boxes of silver and gold in the hull of the Boyd, and if so the treasure may still lie in Whangaroa Harbour. Nicholas in 1815 saw dollars that had been taken out of the Boyd suspended round the necks of children.
Ship BETSY, North-East Coast, October 29th, 1815. Encountered a terrible gale on a sealing voyage to Macquarie Island. Her sails were rent to pieces, and the crew were not able to repair damages. She also sprang a leak, and as she was about to sink two boats were repaired and the crew got into them. Of these two boat one only reached New Zealand, bringing eight out of the 19 person on board the vessel, two of whom died shortly afterwards.
Schooner COSSACK, Bay of Islands, June, 1823. Was totally wrecked. The crew received great kindness from the natives, who gave them their " best food " and their " best houses," and supplied them with provisions and an escort of 25 men to take them to Kororareka (Russell).
Ship BRAMPTON, Bay of Islands, August 19th, 1823. On the way from the Bay of Islands to Port Jackson. Total wreck. No lives lost.
Schooner ELIZABETH HENRIETTA, Ruapuke, February 25th, 1824. She was a valuable vessel, and great efforts were made to get her off, the rocks, but as this could not be done, she was burnt to save the ironwork.
Brig ENTERPRISE, Hokianga, April, 1828. She was built and launched at Hokianga, and wrecked a few miles to the north of the river's mouth. Every soul on board perished, and it was too .evident that they had been murdered after reaching the shore, though it was impossible to discover how or by whom.
Schooner HERALD, Hokianga Bar, May 6th, 1828. Wind fell when crossing the bar, and she was carried upon the rocks. The wreck was plundered by the Maoris, who did much wanton mischief . She was the first missionary schooner belonging to New Zealand.
Barque HARRIET, Okahu River, Taranaki, April 29th, 1834. This is one of the first wrecks of which we have any record, and no particulars have been handed down. But in January, 1891, Mr John Ross, while walking along this beach discovered a 121b gun and a bronze coin, date 1824, in good preservation. These relics were supposed by him to belong to the Harriet, and were presented to the Taranaki Town Board.
H.M.S. BUFFALO, Mercury Bay, August, 1840. The vessel was driven on shore during a tremendous gale, but being beached at low tide all the crew escaped, and the ship's stores were afterwards got out.
Ship PRINCE RUPERT, Cape of Good Hope, September 4th, 1841. From Gravesend to New Zealand, having on board H.M. Commissioners and a staff of surveyors. Totally wrecked. Passengers and crew saved, but the cargo, including much valuable property belonging to the passengers, was lost or irretrievably damaged. Among these were the valuable drawings and books of reference of Mr Swainson, F.R.S., the eminent naturalist. The emigrants 60 in number remained at the Cape, and the first-class passengers were brought to New Zealand in the brig Antilla.
1842. Mr. George Dodson, Spring Creek, Marlborough, writes : " The first emigrant ship; FIFESHIRE, in which I came to Nelson, was wrecked in going out, the harbour in 1842. Shortly afterwards the schooner POENIX was lost with all hands, near, French Pass. Then the MARCHIONESS, in Queen Charlotte Sound, and a Sydney trader ; afterwards the DELAWARE, an American vessel, on Nelson Boulder Bank, where the celebrated Julia Martin, a Maori chieftainess, of Whakapuaka, saved the lives of the crew save one man. A Swedish ship was burned in Cloudy, Bay ; and not many years ago the L'STINGHAM was wrecked near Pelorus Channel, the captain and his wife being lost, and six passengers dropping from the bowsprit on to land, all the rest being drowned.
Cutter THE BROTHERS, Akaroa, November, 1842. Suddenly upset by a squall, and sank in deep water, taking with her the maps, books, journals, and valuable instruments of Captain Smith, R.A., who was making reports and sketches of the principal ports and rivers for the New Zealand Government.
Brig H.M.S. OSPREY, Herekino. This vessel having paid a visit to Hokianga in the time of the Hone Heke war, and there taken on board a recruit, thought to pay the port a second visit, but her captain mistook the little river Herekino, 14 miles north of Hokianga, for the latter port, and headed directly for the beach. The natives on shore were a little surprised, but making sure that an attack was intended, hoisted an ensign to show that they were loyal Queen natives.
Ship INCONSTANT, Te Aro Beach, August 19th, 1850. Totally wrecked after a violent gale. In the picture John Plimmer, "Father of Wellington," is seen standing in the foreground.
Whaling Schooner AMAZON, Bluff Harbour, August, 1852. The first wreck in historic times (i.e., within the reign of newspapers) is thus lightly referred to in the Otago Witness of August 23, 1852: "We regret to report the loss of the whaling schooner Amazon to the southward. From what we can learn of the matter it appears that the Amazon had been whaling off the coast and was extremely successful, having filled her casks with oil and her blubber room with blubber. She was returning to port with the object of obtaining more casks, when, on endeavouring to enter the Bluff Harbour, she ran aground, and became a total wreck. No lives were lost, but 50 tons of oil and all the bone were lost."
Cutter ENDEAVOUR, Molyneux Bar, January 17th, 1857. This boat long the chief means of communication between Dunedin and the Clutha district, while attempting to cross the bar struck on a sandbank, and became a total wreck. The loss was entirely due to the carelessness and drunken habits of the captain (G. Abbinett), who was fatally wounded in a drunken brawl a few months later.
JULIA, THE GRACE DARLING OF NEW ZEALAND On Friday morning, September 4, 1863, the brigantine DELAWARE, 241 tons, was wrecked in a gale on an extremely rocky coast, between Pepin's Island and the mainland, near Wakapuaka. The crew appeared to be out of sight and out of hearing of all human assisted, but the mate, Henry Squirrel, who was an excellent swimmer - and remarkably brave man, tied a line round his waist in the vain hope that he could swim through the rocky surf to the shore. He lowered himself , into the water by climbing down the martingale of the ship, but he was immediately dashed by the rough sea on to the rocks and rendered insensible, apparently dead. He was hauled on board by the rope round his body, and laid in one of the bunks in the forecastle. Just as this had been done, and all possibility of rescue seemed cut off, five Maoris four men and a woman appeared on the beach, and, led by the woman, they bravely dashed into the surf and swam to a rock near enough to the ship for the lead line to be thrown to the rock. This line they took on shore, and dragged a rescuing line after it, which two of them held so as to prevent it being broken by any motion of the ship, whilst the other three, including the woman, swam out again and arranged themselves so as to steady the less capable Europeans in their dangerous attempts to reach the shore. In this way the crew and the one passenger were all saved, except the disabled mate, who was supposed to be dead. The captain was, as he should be, the last to land, and, as soon as he was landed, the line parted, having probably been fastened on shore. The brave mate soon afterwards recovered consciousness, and appeared on deck, but nothing' could be done for him, and, in a few minutes he was washed overboard. His body came on shore next day, and upon it an inquest was held, at which all witnesses agreed that, but for the Maoris, not a soul could have been saved, even with the line, as the Maoris " rushed into the surf and dragged each man on shore as he came stupified from the wreck through the surf." Had Julia's heroic work been done in Great Britain, she would probably have figured as high in the world's history as Grace Darling herself, and with her quiet, gentle, modest manner, she is still regarded as lovingly by. the settlers of Nelson. On the recommendation of the jury, the General Government gave £50 each to Julia, to her husband Martin, and to her brother Robert, and £10 each to the other two Maoris. The settlers of Nelson gave them each a gold watch and a complimentary address. The address to Julia, whose portrait appears elsewhere in this issue, ranked her with Grace Darling, and concluded in these words : " That deed made Grace Darling a heroine ; her fame spread throughout Europe, and her memory is still fondly cherished wherever the English language is spoken. And like her, Julia, your name and deed will find a place in local history. Your brave act is one of which a queen might be proud. We present you with a watch whereon your children and their successors may read with pleasure an inscription which testifies to the esteem in which you are held by the settlers of Nelson." Julia's husband made a neat reply in Maori, which was translated by Mr Mackay, in the course of which he said that "none of the Maoris had the least idea of receiving any reward for saving the lives of their shipwrecked European friends, and only did what they could out of a desire to save life." From Alfred Saunders's "History of New Zealand."
page 27 Photo by De Maus.]
Ship HENBURY, Port Chalmers, August 22nd, 1857. Was burned at Port Chalmers wharf within a few hours of her arrival from England. She was safely anchored by the pilot on Saturday evening, August 20th, and the captain and seven or eight passengers went up to Dunedin in the tug Victoria with the object of entering the ship at the customs early on Monday morning. During Sunday the crew got hold of a lot of grog, and their conduct became so quarrelsome and menacing that the passengers left the 'ship and took refuge, some on board the Avondale and others on shore. About 3 a.m. on Monday the mate was roused by a strong smell of fire, and discovered that the sails and stores were on fire in the sail room. All efforts to extinguish the flames were unavailing, and it was determined to scuttle the ship, which proved ineffectual, as she was allowed to drift into shallow water. The passengers lost everything, and a subscription was got up to help the poorer ones. The blackened hull lay for years on the beach.
Barque REVIVAL, Otago Heads, December, 1858, or January, 1859. This vessel may be said to be the first wreck within the port of Otago. Her captain and first mate had been first and second mate respectively in an American whaler, which was wrecked, and they joined the Revival at Hobart. The first and second mate refused to obey orders, and the captain put into Otago Heads for assistance, but the vessel went ashore at the North Head. Her hull was purchased by Mr John Hanbury and others, who built a cutter out of part of it. Portion is still to be seen where the vessel wus wrecked.
S.s. ROYAL CHARTER, Moelfra, Anglesea, October 26th, 1859 Left Melbourne August 25th, with gold valued at £7,000,000 to £8,000,000 (most of which has since been recovered). She had a good and quick passage to Queenstown, which she reached October 24th. Encountered a violent storm off the Welsh coast, lost control of ship, and she dragged her anchors. Rockets and blue lights were fired, and finally she drove on shore about 3.30 a.m. When she touched, the sea struck her very heavily, so that she went on the sand broadside with violent impact. The sea then made a clean breach over the starboard side as if it had been a breakwater. She was dragged along and struck a rock. Joseph Rogers, a Maltese, swam ashore, carrying a hawser with him. A bo'suns chair was made fast to the hawser, and a few passengers got ashore by that means. The ship was now fast breaking up, she parted at the main hatchway first and then lengthways. Most of the passengers remained in the saloon until 7, by which time the ship was in two parts, and no boat could possibly have lived in the sea. The storm was described by old sailors as the worst they had ever seen. The Royal Charter was 2719 tons register ; she carried a crew of 103, and she had 324 passengers. Only a few of the passengers were saved not a single woman. Personal narratives condensed : Mr Russell, a passenger, was below in his berth when the ship struck. He had with him his wife and two children (ages 10 and 2). He was roused by a heavy concussion on deck and a voice crying, " Oh, Mr Russell, we are all lost we are drifting ashore." On reaching the deck his worst fears were confirmed, as it appeared evident that little if any hope of rescue existed. The sea was breaking over the ship with terrific fury, and the persons on board were frantically running about the deck in a state of despair. Having brought his family from below he held them together as they stood on the deck, with the waves surging over them every moment. A heavy wave carried off his wife and children, and he saw them no more. He himself was then washed off the deck towards the shore, but the receding wave brought him back again. Another sea then struck him, and he was driven forward on the beach. He had seen two gentlemen holding on to the binnacle, and heard one say to the other : " Oh, Watson, all is gone !" A lady named Markes was jammed in near the place where the vegetables were kept, and her husband in vainly trying to release her tore all her clothes to rags. One gentleman tied two black canvas bags full of gold round his waist. He was lost. Several others fastened money round their necks, and all were lost. When the . vessel " broke "an awful shriek, the death cry of hundreds," was heard above the storm. The captain exerted himself till he was exhausted. Time after time he was knocked down by waves and spars, and had to hold on by a rope. He was seen giving orders on deck with a spar lashed to him so that he might be prepared to float. He was again seen struggling in the water trying to hold on to the yard arm, which was continually being washed from his grip. On recovering his spar by a determined effort, he on two occasions cried out cheerfully, " There is hope yet !" Once, while he lay on deck exhausted, he saw the sea steal a child from its mother's arms and fling it on deck, and he cried to the chief officer to give a hand and lash the child by a rope. J. Judge, a steerage passenger of herculean size and strength, stated that he was in the fo'castle waiting the time for action, when the ship snapped asunder, and he was washed out on the weather side. He saw hundreds of people struggling and sinking around, but he was enabled to catch a spar and work his way to shore. Another man jumped into the waves with a belt containing £500. It was too heavy, so, to save his life, he let it go. James Dean compared the parting of the vessel to "the snapping of a tobacco pipe." He had a cheque for a large sum, and saved it in a waterproof belt round the waist. Captain Withers, one of the passengers, was returning from Australia, having lost his ship, the Virginia, in the South Pacific, and endured great privations in an open boat. He was drowned. Mr Bell had three sons in Australia and another fine young fellow at Home. The latter was drowned early in 1859, and on the loss of their brother becoming known to the sons in Australia, they cast lots as to which should go Home and comfort his mother. He upon whom the lot fell took his passage in the Royal Charter, and was heard of no more.
Stevens, the chief officer, was a very manly fellow, and a thorough seaman. It is stated that his body was found nearly severed in two. This was probably done while cutting away the masts. On the morning after the wreck his sister was married in Liverpool, and the dreadful tidings were communicated at the wedding breakfast. On the very eve of the disaster the passengers, believing their voyage to be at an end, had presented Captain Taylor with a piece of plate as a testimony of their appreciation of his ability and kindness.
Moelfra, the scene of the wreck, is about nine miles from Beaumaris. The coast is rocky and bold. It was upon this rugged coast that after the wreck relics of all kinds were cast up, and here might be seen from morning to night distracted men and women searching for the remains of relatives or friends who had perished. "At every step one was met by sorrowful persons with eyes bent on the ground, who would sometimes stop you and ask with trembling lips : ' Have you seen any trace of my husband brother father his name was ? ' Or: 'Have you found anything with the name of ? She was my child.' It was a heartrending thing to go near the beach and see these mourners and meet the carts carrying the mangled corpses, or the coffins in which they were to be interred. A poor young woman was searching along the beach endeavouring to find some trace of her husband, whose fate was still uncertain ; she saw a waistcoat which had just been washed in and hung up for identification. She rushed to it and frantically pulled it down. It was her husband's ! Her grief was most heartrending, and some of the bystanders, in an attempt to comfort her, suggested that she might be mistaken. ' Oh, no,' she cried, ' here is my own work upon it. My husband ! my husband ! God look down upon me !' "
A letter from a young New Zealander who was one of the victims:
The Royal Charter, off Queenstown, Oct. 24th, 1859.
Dear Father, Mother, and Sister, I am writing this from Cork, but we shall not be in Liverpool for 24 hours, and then I shall write you again. I shall have to remain in Liverpool one day to purchase some things, and will start in the morning, so I shall get to Maryport at night. Isabella, you must make a good apple cake, and should you have any strangers staying in the house you must contrive to let father, mother, yourself, and me have tea in a place by ourselves. Don't tell anyone I'm coming not even a relation until I have seen you all. And, Isabella, you must come down to meet the night train, Mid stand in front of the lady's waiting room. In order that you may know me, for I am much altered, I will call out the name Brown.
In the parish church of Llanallgo, within two miles of the scene of the wreck, a monument has been raised commemorative of those who lost their lives in the catastrophe and are buried in that churchyard. The stone is in the form of a quadrangular obelisk, cut from the rock on which the Royal Charter struck. Most of the gold carried by the Royal Charter has been recovered, the coins being wonderfully preserved by the sand, and looking as if newly minted.
From the painting of Mr. E B. Flayward
Schooner OAMARU LASS, Oamaru, October l2th, 1860 This was the first shipwreck at Oamaru. The Lass was a very small schooner, and had been built at Waikawa for the owner, Captain Dwight. She drifted on shore near the mouth of the Oamaru Creek. She was afterwards hauled off, not having received any serious damage, and renamed The Nora, as her first name wag thought to have proved unlucky.
S.s. ADA, Clutha Bar, January 12th, 1861. Owing to a heavy sea and a strong tide she was anchored for some hours near the Nuggets. At half an hour past high tide she took the bar, a strong fresh current setting out and a tremendous sea behind her. She became unmanageable, and struck on a rock ; the water immediately rushed in, filling the forehold and putting out the fires. The vessel soon after broached to, and the sea made a clean sweep over her. It was found impossible to lower a boat until low water, when passengers and mails were landed, but very little of the cargo was saved.
S.s. VICTORY, Wickliffe Bay, July 3rd. 1861. From Lyttelton to Port Chalmers. Went ashore on a sandy beach, being driven up so high that there was only four feet of water at low tide, and so firmly imbedded to an average depth of eight feet that it was impossible to get her off. Crew and passengers all saved. Had she struck half a mile to either side she must nave been dashed to pieces on the rocks. Accident attributed to the drunkenness of the chief officer, who received three months' imprisonment and a severe reprimand. The examination showed an extraordinary lack of discipline throughout the ship, owing to the fact that the providore and second steward supplied drink to the passengers and crew unchecked by the captain, the drink being the property of the providore. These officers, together with the captain and chief engineer, were all severely censured by the court.
S.s. OBERON, Bluff Harbour, July 23rd, 1861. She struck on a sunken rock, nearly mid-channel, the morning being so still that the customary ripple was absent. The screw became disabled, and it was found expedient to run her farther on the rocks lest she should fill and sink. It was hoped that she would be floated off at high water, but instead of this the rocks made a further breach and she began to grind on them. The forehold and compartments filled one after another, and the vessel soon became a total wreck. This reef, lying in the very centre of the fairway, was called Hell's Gates, and has since been removed.
Schooner WELLINGTON, Oamaru, March 6th, 1862. Totally wrecked while at anchor, the force of the sea breaking her chains and driving her upon the beach. She carried a cargo of timber, which » as scattered far and wide over a considerable distance.
Brigantine ROBERT AND BETSY, Oamaru, April 5th, 1862. Went on shore in a heavy sea, and became a total wreck.
Ship WHITE SWAN, Castle Point, Wellington, June 28th, 1862. The ship went on a rock and was found to be rapidly filling with water. The captain ran her on shore and beached her. A good landing place was found, and the crew and passengers, numbering 65, including the Superintendent of Auckland, Chief Justice Arney, and other noted persons, were safely landed and treated with great kindness by Mr Moore, the nearest resident. The Storm Bird was at once sent from Wellington to their rescue, and all expenses paid by the Government.
Ship FLYING MIST, Bluff, August 31st, 1862. From Glasgow, with 20 passengers and a number of Leicester sheep. She was anchored outside the harbour, but rather close inshore ; during the night she broke her sheer, and swung round on a rock. The captain finding four feet of water in the hold, slipped his cable and ran ashore. Captain M'Lean, of the s.s. Aldinga, seeing his predicament, got up steam and went to the rescue. He succeeded in getting off all the passengers and most of the sheep. The Flying Mist went to pieces in a very short time, and the Aldinga was herself much damaged.
S.s. GUIDING STAR, New River, September 27, 1862. Totally wrecked in very heavy weather. Struck on an unknown rock or a lost anchor, filled rapidly, and was immediately beached. Passengers and cargo saved.
Schooner TAMAR, Otago Heads, November 8th, 1862. A tug having been signalled for in the usual way, the Samson went down. After being detained a long time she returned loaded with a motley group of men, women, and children, clothed in so extraordinary a fashion as to show them to be the victims of some sudden calamity. Such indeed proved to be the case, as they had just been rescued with difficulty and danger from the Tamar. The Tamar left Hobart on October 22nd, heavily laden with building stone, &c. She encountered severe weather, and had a difficult passage. In trying to beat through the Otago Heads she missed stays, and a heavy squall coming on she became unmanageable _ and went stem on the rocks below the pilot station. The crew and passengers had just time to scramble on to the bare rock before the vessel filled and went down. As this happened between 5 and 6 in the morning, the majority of the passengers were in bed and had no time to get clothes or necessaries. They were found by the pilot shivering and half-naked on the bare rock in the teeth of a bitterly cold wind. They were kindly received at the pilot station, and furnished with all the clothing that could be obtained. A subscription was afterwards got up for them.
H.M.S. ORPHEUS, Manukau Bar, February 7th, 1863. Details of the wreck of the troop ship Orpheus, from the pen of the paymaster, Mr Amphlett: "The ship struck on the bar and immediately began to leak. At 1.30, just after the ship struck, we observed the s.s. Wonga Wonga coming out of Manukau. This set all hands rejoicing, but instead of coming at once to our relief she steamed slowly down the south channel out to sea. Eventually she returned, but even then, instead of coining direct to the ship by the main channel, she went round again to the south and towards the heads. Here our boats met her at 5 o'clock ; thus three hours of valuable time were lost, the ship all the time breaking up among the rollers with assistance in sight. The Wonga Wonga took the pilot on board, and towing the boat behind her proceeded to the wreck, which she reached at 6 o'clock. By this time all the crew had taken to the masts above the tops, as the waves were washing clean over the decks and half way up the rigging. The boats could only venture into the smooth, deep water ahead of the ship, and kept hailing to the men to jump and swim for their lives. At this time if we could have got out the life boat numbers might have been saved, but the pilot reported that it would take 12 men a couple of days to launch her, and even then it was doubtful if she would float. At 7 the flood tide made, and the ship soon began to feel its effects. The commodore and all the. young officers were in the mizzen top, the commander and all the ward room officers in the maintop, surrounded by the men encouraging each other. This was an affecting and heartrending scene. The boats were in the meantime busy picking up those few who jumped overboard. About 20 were saved by this means. As the rollers became more furious the boats had to return to the Wonga Wonga, and very soon the masts, which were now almost the only parts of the vessel out of the water, fell, owing to the deck breaking up. A spar must have hit the commodore, for he only rose once and made no effort to save himself. The few who fell clear of the ship, the under-currents, and the eddies around her, swam easily to the boats. The moon now shone out beautifully clear and bright. Fragments of the wreck were swept past the boats by the flood, and the poor fellows clinging to these were rescued. One man who could not swim was picked off a spar inside Manukau Harbour. The steamer and boats remained by the wreck till morning. At daybreak nothing could be seen of the ill-fated and unfortunate Orpheus but the stump of a mast and a few bare ribs."
It is stated in the Witness of April 24th that this was the first wreck in New Zealand waters accompanied by serious loss of life.
The Orpheus was a new boat, 1700 tons register, commanded by Captain Burnett. There were 70 lives saved, and it is supposed that about 190 perished.
S.s. PLANET, Taieri Bar, March 21st, 1863. This vessel was wrecked at the mouth of the Taieri River early on the morning of March 21st, 1863. The water answered for crossing the bar at 4.20 a.m., but it was then too dark to see the coast, and the heavy cross sea and stiff breeze made it impossible for her to remain long outside. She had to take the bar or run ashore, and chose the former course as soon as it was light enough to see. She stuck in the fairway, and afterwards became a total wreck.
Cutter FLY, Riverton, April 26th, 1863. She was bound from Stewart Island with timber. She signalled for a pilot, and Aldred, the pilot master, went on board. As the sea was so rough that it was impossible to cross the bar, he put out to sea. After a time the cutter became unmanageable, and all hands (eight) took to the pilot boat. About three or four hours after this a heavy sea struck the boat and turned it completely over, throwing all hands into the water. Aldred and Zall (captain of the cutter), with two of the pilot crew, managed to cling to the boat for about five minutes, when they were washed off. Zall and three of the pilot crew swam to shore, about 200 yards. Aldred and the three men of the cutter were drowned. The position of the vessel and the danger of the pilot boat were seen from shore. The anxiety and distress of the watchers can easily be imagined. The boat was drawn ashore, but the cutter became a total wreck. Aldred lost his life in the effort to save the others.
PILOT BOAT, Lower Harbour, Dunedin, April 27th, 1863. The pilot boat containing Captain Gunn and four Maoris was wrecked while endeavouring to board the Mary and Edith. The vessel entered with too much sail up, and did not shorten sail to receive the pilot, whose boat capsized and he and his crew were drowned. At the inquiry which was afterwards held the captain of the Mary and Edith was fined £50 and reprimanded, but his conduct was considered to be the result of a mistake, not wilful. As the result of this accident . a new boat was bought for pilot service, the old one being considered unseaworthy in rough weather.
S.s. PRIDE OF THE YARRA, Dunedin Harbour, July 6th, 1863. This terrible disaster, one of the saddest that has ever occurred in our colony, was the result of a collision between the steamers Pride of the Yarra and Favourite, and resulted in the total and immediate destruction of the former with most of those on board, which was all the more grievous as it immediately followed a happy and prosperous voyage over half the world and came at a moment when all danger seemed over.
"About 5 or 6 on the evening of July 6th, 1863, when it was already dark, the Pride of the Yarra took on board at Port Chalmers 50 passengers for Dunedin, most of whom had just arrived by the ship Motoaka, from London, and the others by the s.s. William Miskin, from Invercargill. Chief among the passengers was the Rev. Mr Campbell, newly appointed rector of the Boys' High School, Dunedin, with his wife and five children. Mr and Mrs Campbell had already visited their new home, and expressed themselves delighted with it, as also with their recent prosperous and uneventful voyage. They had returned to the port for their children, two maids, and some light luggage. The night being cold, damp, and foggy, all the Campbell family and some of the other passengers sought refuge in the cabin of the little steamer, and were still there when the fatal catastrophe occurred. The other female passengers who could not get shelter in the cabin protected themselves in the hold and steerage, most of the men remaining on deck. Captain Spence was personally in charge, and the wheel was in the hands of an expert."
When the Pride of the Yarra was opposite to Sawyers Bay the light* of the Favourite, on her way from Dunedin, were seen, and she appeared to be bearing full upon them. The Pride immediately altered her course and her engines were reversed. Too late. This only served to lessen her momentum, for down came the Favourite, all steam ahead, and appeared to throw herself upon the other vessel. The Favourite, a strong paddle boat, principally employed in towing, was on her way from Dunedin in charge of Captain Adams and a competent steersman. Both were on the bridge, where the wheel was. situated, and both declared that no lights from the approaching steamer could be seen until she was nearly under their bow, when two light suddenly flashed forth, and at the same moment the puffing of her high-pressure engines became audible. Before the danger was recognised it was upon them.
A few persons on the doomed steamer saw the danger, but he majority were in the cabins, and there was no time to warn them others could not believe "that those gay, bright lights were the signals of the approach of a terrible death, and the mental shock attending the realisation of their position was not less than the physical one." On the Favourite there was equal astonishment and horror at the sudden appearance of the Pride.
The two vessels touched with violent impact, and for a few seconds appeared to cling together, and as the water rushed into the hold of the stricken boat all who were on deck or could by any means reach it rushed to the point of contact and endeavoured to climb on board the Favourite. No doubt the additional weight thus thrown on the weakest point hastened the catastrophe, but it was also the only chance of escape from the doomed vessel. In the darkness and gloom the drowning persons seized the bulwarks of the Favourite and clung on for dear life, and all possible help was given to them by those on board her. In a very short time the water in the sinking boat was breast high, and she turned over on her side.
Up to this time the people in the cabin scarcely knew what had happened. Those nearest the door were dragged out by Captain Spence, but 12 persons, including Mr Campbell and his whole family, remained unconscious to the last ; they, no doubt, happy in the thought that their long journey was over, were clustered together in the farther end of the cabin, and must have been immediately pressed down and suffocated in the rush of cold, choking water. "No time for thought, for last words or embraces, for the drowning man's hope of escape. So thorough the surprise, so sudden the sealing of their fate that no single cry rose from the lips of the doomed family. In a moment the Pride and all within her dead or dying went down. Only a few dark objects some say swags,-others think men floated over the scene of the disaster. Afar off came the cry " Help ! oh, help !" as the body of a man floated past the Favourite. Lines were flung, but he was too weak to catch them." The Favourite altered her course, and her crew peered anxiously into the dark water, in vain. Another faint but strangled cry came sobbingly over the water, and another victim was added to the long Toll of the Sea.
Twelve bodies of the victims of this terrible disaster were ultimately rescued by the combined efforts of the Harbour department and the police aided by the services of two expert divers. The scene of the catastrophe was indicated by the deck of the submerged vessel floating doubled up attached to the mast, which in its turn was attached to the hull, which lay hidden from sight in four fathoms of water. At slack tide one of the divers went down to examine the wreck and its vicinity, the other remained above to assist him, and the moment of Watson's disappearance was one of intense and prolonged agony to the watchers who thronged the many boats clustered around the spot. " Soon the motion of the surface water bubbling hither and thither showed that he had reached the cabin, and a few minutes later a nervous twitch at the rope and spare line attached told the watchers what to expect, and the first body rose to the surface. It was that of Mrs Campbell, the features placid and little changed, the hands clasped on the bosom. Then followed the body of a handsome young woman (Mrs Henderson), even more life-like ; and next the broader figure of an aged and bearded man. As this rose to sight the piteous cry "My father!" burst from the lips of a young man, who fell fainting on the bridge of the steamer. Next appeared the body of a young girl one of a large family who had come out in the Motoaka, and who had acted as nurse to Mrs Campbell's children and her two charges. All these so fair, so young, so absolutely life-like, that it was difficult to believe that they were not as full of vitality as they appeared to be. None of them had struggled or apparently suffered any fear or premonition of evil. Their cruel fate had overwhelmed them so swiftly that there had been absolutely no time for thought. But with the head of the family it was different his arms were outstretched as if in the instinct of defence or protection, and the expression of his face showed the passionate desire to ensure the safety of his beloved ones."
Captain Wilson, of the William Miskin, who was a passenger in the Pride at the moment of the collision, did his best to rescue the people on board, and when those in the cabin rushed to and blocked up, the narrow doorway, he went among them and persuaded them to be calm, pointing out that the" could only pass singly. His impression was that almost all had left the cabin ere he himself did so ; but probably the Campbell family, grouped at the far end, failed to notice him or to heed his warning. He himself was afterwards in great danger as he could not swim, and had much difficulty in keeping himself afloat, but was rescued by his steward, a capital swimmer. "I spotted you by your hat," said the steward subsequently. At the moment of the collision Pilot Allardyce, who was on board the Favourite, went to the bows and by a happy expedient assisted in rescuing many. Reaching one of his legs over the side it was immediately seized by a person in the water, and as he climbed up those on board assisted him. Clinging to the first man was another, and yet another. Eight were saved in this way. Mr Ross, of Ross and Glendining, was one of the passengers. He soon got to the bow of the Favourite, and as he hung there was literally walked over by such a number of others that his clothes were torn to ribbons.
As usual the supreme moment showed the different stuff of which men are made, and tried it to the uttermost, for while some thought only of how they could help and serve others, a few only a few thought but of their own safety, and concerned themselves with the rescue of their swags. One, indeed, clung so tenaciously to two cases of jewellery that his would-be rescuer left him to his fate.
A public funeral was accorded to the victims of this tragedy. It was attended by about 2000 persons, nearly the whole adult population of the then little settlement, and when the twelve coffins were placed at the foot of the altar men covered their faces and women sobbed aloud. A monument was erected over the grave on a pleasant slope from which one can look down on the waters of the harbour and almost see the spot where the catastrophe occurred. An exhaustive inquiry was afterwards held, and a verdict of manslaughter was brought in against Captain Adams, of the Favourite, and his mate. And Captain Spence was censured for going at excessive speed.
S.s. T. S. MORT, Tasman Sea, July 20th, 1863. From Sydney to New Zealand. Encountered heavy gales and sprang a leak, became- waterlogged, and was finally abandoned by her crew, who reached New Zealand in safety.
Barque ACACIA, Hokianga, July 29th, 1863. Wrecked off the South Heads, Hokianga, while trying to enter the harbour. No lives lost.
Schooner EARL OF WINDSOR, Corner Inlet, October 12th, 1863. Bound from Otago to Welshpool. Totally wrecked on the Middle Bank of Corner Inlet. All on board saved.
Brig GRAFTON, Auckland Islands, January 2nd, 1864: Was in a storm. Captain Musgrave and four men took to their boat, and with great difficulty landed on the Auckland Islands. After a year's hoping and waiting Musgrave and two men resolved to try and reach New Zealand. The brig's dingey had been saved, also a few tools. The little boat was patched and enlarged, and on July 19th, 1865, Musgrave and two men left the island ; the boat could not hold more with safety. On the sixth day out she reached Port Adventure, Stewart Island, and there the captain of a small cutter, Flying Scud, received them on board and conveyed them to Invercargill. A public subscription was got up, and the cutter, with Captain Musgrave on board, returned to the island and rescued the other men. Captain Musgrave on his return stated that at one time he saw smoke, "or what he took to be smoke," on the other side of the island, which he could not reach because of the rocky nature of the soil and the want of boots ; and it was afterwards found that soon after the wreck of the Grafton and while her castaways were still on the island another vessel, the Invercauld, was wrecked, and another party of homeless mariners was camped within a few miles of the Grafton's men. In consequence of Musgrave's statement the s.s. Victoria was despatched at the joint cost of the colonies of Victoria, New South Wales, and Queensland, and the Southland was sent by the New Zealand Government to bring relief to shipwrecked men and to erect depots of stores and tools for their use, putting up notices at various points stating where these stores were to be found.
S.s. AUGUSTA, Cave Island, February 10th, 1864. From Lyttelton to Sydney. Total wreck, no lives lost.
Schooner INVERCAULD, Auckland Islands, May 10th, 1864. From Melbourne to New Zealand. Was driven out of her course by a heavy gale, and forced by wind and tide between two enormous cliffs, " not less than 2000 ft high." Of the 25 men on board, Captain Dalgarno and 18 others were washed ashore. They were on the island one year and 12 days, and during that time 16 of their number died from cold and privation. The rescuing ship was the Julian, a Peruvian vessel which sprang a leak when in sight of the Aucklands, and sent a boat ashore to ask for assistance. Instead of finding what she expected, her crew found Dalgarno and the two other survivors, " tottering and mumming," reduced almost to skeletons. These unfortunates were rescued on May 22nd, 1865, and carried to Callao, whence they found their way home as best they could. It will thus be seen that the crew of the Invercauld were wrecked on the same island as the crew of the Grafton, but a few months later, and they were rescued a few months earlier.
S.s. SCOTIA, Bluff, June 3rd, 1864. On her way from Melbourne to the Bluff. As she approached the latter harbour a dense fog came on, and the captain decided to lay off ; but when the weather cleared, full steam was made for the land, and she struck the beach with great force at Sterling Point. The passengers were all in their bunks, as it was about 11 p.m. Shock after shock followed in quick succession. The officers of the ship at once engaged in attempting to lower the boats, but before this could be done the pilot was alongside, and it was 20 minutes after the vessel struck before the boats were in readiness to receive the passengers. By this time the cabins were full of water and the vessel sinking rapidly. It was a piercingly cold night, and none of the passengers were properly clothed, though some of the women were wrapped in blankets They were safely conveyed to the pilot station, where they received every kindness. An inquiry was held, and the master severely censured.
Ship LONDON, Bay of Biscay, January 11th, 1865. Left London for Melbourne with some New Zealand passengers on board, notably the first wife, two sons, and a daughter of the late Judge Chapman. The vessel was badly found in every respect, and totally unfit for the work. After a series of misfortunes and disasters of one kind or another, Captain Martin resolved to put back to Plymouth ; but it was then too late. The unfortunate vessel was in the teeth of a gale ; heavy seas broke ever her, and she rolled tremendously. Desperate attempts were made to keep her clear of water, but they failed. The boat were then ordered out, but with one exception they were all stove in. The fortunate boat belonged to the engineers, and with a keen sense of justice Captain Martin insisted that they alone should use it. Accordingly 16 of the engineers and crew entered it, and they afterwards rescued three passengers. These were all who were saved out of 239 persons. On the doomed ship the greatest heroism was observed. All the passengers worked willingly at the pumps, greatly encouraged by the example of the Revs. Dr Woolley and Mr Ken, the famous actor Brooke, and others ; while the ladies encouraged and helped them in every possible way, never giving way to tears or repining, cool and resolute to the last. Soon after the boat left, and while she was still lingering near, the London went down head foremost, and the boat was nearly drawn into the vortex ; then she bore sadly away, and after beating about for 20 days, while her crew endured the greatest privations, she was picked up by an Italian barque and safely conveyed to Plymouth. The wreck of the London was an instance of the oft-told tale of the sacrifice of life to money-grubbing. Her character was well known, but what was everyone's business was no one's business. The Melbourne Age said : " Had she been built with the intention of sending her to the bottom the design could not have been better carried out. She was never sea-worthy. In order to offer as little resistance as possible to the wind and sea, she had peculiarly built bows. She was destitute of the usual bulwarks. She had a plain stem, such as is common in river steamers, and there was a total absence of those curves which break the force of cross seas striking the ship forward, and which help to lift her above the crests. To complete her malformation, she had an enormous foremast which was stepped far towards the bows, giving
her the appearance of depression by the head. When caught in the fatal storm her naked bows were exposed to the full shock, and by and-bye the enormous ill-placed spars gave way. Her foremast and jibboom went, and the crew could not get the wreckage cleared away." She was doomed from the outset, and the sea, which has no pity on man's folly and ignorance, took its toll. Extract from a letter written by one of Judge Chapman's sons : "Mr Wilson (one of the passengers saved) told me that my mother took a light out of his hands and told him to work if he were wanted, and she would hold it ; and she was cheering the men to the last. John King, who steered the boat, told me that just before he went away either my mother or Kitty gave him a railway wrapper to keep him warm. Harry and Watty were working at the pumps till the last, and so they all went to God like brave Christians."
Mr G. V. Brooke encouraged his companions by voice and action, and sent cheerful messages Home by the crew of the little boat that was so marvellously preserved.
Barque GAZEHOUND, Oamaru, March 13th, 1865. Was totally wrecked in a heavy gale. No lives lost.
Ship FIERY CROSS, N.E. of New Zealand, April 11, 1865. Black Ball liner from Brisbane to London, caught fire when about 400 miles from Chatham Isles, and burned till May 12, when 18 of her people were rescued by the Dauntless and brought back to Auckland.
P.S. CITY OF DUNEDIN, Cook Strait, May, 1865. 0n her way from Wellington to Hokitika. Left Wellington May 20, and was never heard of again. Besides the ordinary crew she carried 15 passengers, nine of whom were residents of Dunedin. The loss of this vessel caused the greatest excitement and distress throughout the colony, the more so as her fate was never really ascertained, though some Maoris declared that they had seen a vessel answering to her description turning round and round as if in distress near the entrance to Palliser Bay. A report was spread that she had come disabled into Waikouaiti Bay, and the Samson was sent to search, but the report was unfounded, and this seacrh like others proved unavailing. The public excitement increased to a painful pitch until at last a quantity of wreckage was found on the shores of Palliser Bay, which was identified as belonging to the City of Dunedin, and there could no longer be any doubt that the unfortunate vessel and her entire company had perished in the seething waters of the dangerous strait, j/όblic meetings of sympathy were held all over the colony, and a large sum of money was subscribed to alleviate the distress of those whose dearest relatives had been thus suddenly taken from them, leaving them to struggle alone in the battle of life.
LADY FRANKLIN, MARY ANN AVERY, and BLUE BELL, June 1865. Wrecked off Canterbury. No further particulars.
Barque ALABAMA, Chatham Islands, June 14, 1865. Whaling vessel ; wrecked at anchor in a violent gale.
The year 1865 was particularly disastrous to the West Coast shipping The following vessels were all Wrecked while crossing the bar at Hokitika, or in the immediate neighbourhood : Brig CRAIGIEVAR, May 10; brigantine OAK, May 12; s.s. RUBY, June 25; s.s. TITANIA, July 18 ; schooner ROSETTA, August 1 ; schooner MARY VAN EVERY, August 1; s.s. NEW ZEALAND, August 7; p.s. tug SAMSON, and schooner JOHN BULLOCK, September 29 ; schooners DOLPHIN and SARAH, November 3; s.s. MAID OF THE YARRA, December 20. The wrecks were more or less complete as regards the vessels, but fortunately there was very little loss of life, only one death being recorded, and that occurred in the wreck of the Sarah.
Mr W. H. S. Roberts, of Oamaru, writes about some early wrecks as follows: One of the very early shipwrecks is mentioned by Edward Shortland, in his " Southern Districts of New Zealand," page 143. Mr Jones (late John Jones, of Dunedin), wished to see the position of the wreck of the brig LUNAR, which had, a short time previously, run ashore on a fine night, as was supposed, through extreme carelessness. She lay on a sandy beach, which extended for many miles to the west. In that direction also the coast was low, as far as could be seen ; but scarcely half a mile to the eastward of her were rocks and lofty precipices, rising from the water's edge, so as to offer no chance of escape for the crew of a vessel should it go ashore there. This spot was between Waikawa Harbour and Otara, eastward of the reef on which the s.s. Tararua was wrecked, perhaps at Black Point. On page 129 Shortland mentions the wreck of the LYNX in 1838, a vessel of 500 tons, at the mouth of the New River, when loaded with whale oil. The LUNAR was wrecked in 1843. '
S.S. LORD WORSLEY, August 31, 1862, wrecked off Taranaki. The Lord Worsley was the first direct steamer to Otago from London in 1858, and her remains still lie on the Taranaki Reef.
Ship GENERAL GRANT, Auckland Islands, May 13th, 1866. The General Grant, 1005 tons, Captain Loughlin, sailed from Melbourne, May 4th, 1866, with 71 persons, crew and passengers, on board, and & full cargo of wool and gold. Nothing special occurred until the 13th, when land was sighted, which proved to be the Auckland Islands. The course of the vessel was altered, but the wind being light, with a nasty choppy sea, she had not steerage way, and could not be got off the land. At about 11.30 p.m. she struck against high perpendicular cliffs and carried away her jibooom ; she then dropped astern about half a mile, and was finally set into a cave or depression between two rocks fully 250 ft deep. The foretopmast coming in contact with the roof of this cave, it was carried away close to the deck, and other mischief was done. The ship lay helpless until daylight, striking heavily forward all the time, but having 25 fathoms of water under her stern As soon as it was light men were set to clear away her bows, and a boom was got over the stern with the necessary tackle for lowering the boats, and two boats were got out of the cave. Up to this time the tide seemed to be falling, and there was no immediate danger, but now the maintopmast came down, and the ship forged further into the cave, and the heel of the mast having started a leak, she began to settle down very fast. The tide made rapidly, wind and sea rose, and the work of rescue was hurried forward. Mrs Jewell, the stewardess (the only woman rescued) was secured in a slip, but she fell into the sea, and her husband jumped in after her, caught her. and succeeded in getting her into the boat. The sea now began to I sweep over the wreck and the boats were in such danger that they put out of the cave. The long boat, with about 40 persons in her, was dashed against the rocks, and only three of her crew saved. The captain was now seen for the last time on the mizzen top waving his hand one man was by his side ; they had scarcely been observed when the ship disappeared from sight. The two boats outside lay to for a time, hoping to save some lives, but it soon became evident that all who were not on board these had perished. The shipwrecked party were 12 in number. For nearly 15 months ( they lived principally on seals and mussels, which produced dysentery, fl of which one died. Later on they caught some pigs and goats, whose flesh , proved a great luxury. Their time was chiefly employed in hunting for food and in making and mending their sealskin clothes. At last, on November 21st, 1867, the Amherst was sighted. She made for the island, and took the castaways on board, and brought them into Invercargill, where their advent caused great excitement, There were 10 men and one woman. Mr James Teer, one of the passengers, succeeded in keeping a sort j of diary of the chief events of this miserable time, which was after- ; wards published in the Otago Witness of June 25th, 1868. It was ' written on sealskin parchment with a bit of charcoal. The whole is well worth reading. We quote a few items : "While outside, deliberating what could be done, I had an opportunity of seeing the whole of the cave. The rocks around it were overhanging and about 400 ft high. The ship was in beneath these about two lengths of herself. The coast, so far as we could see, was of huge perpendicular rocks, which allowed no possibility of landing." (In a recent survey of these islands it was found impossible to identify this cave, but when the length of time and the violence of the seas are taken into consideration that need not surprise us ; the roof of the , cave might easily have been undermined and fallen in, when further inroads of the ocean would soon make it impossible to identify the pot.) ' "We had neither shoes, stockings, coats, nor hats, and only four or five knives among us. Our only cooking utensils were a few empty soup tins. We roasted the seal on the fire and made some of the l«th into broth, but we suffered much from the want of salt, for though there was plenty of sea water, it was some time before we learned to condense it. " Found a few matches, a great treasure ; struck one and it lit, feat having no dry grass or bush in readiness, it quickly went out. ' Could only get one of the remaining matches to light ; from that we obtained a fire, which by constant care we never allowed to go out. We made shoes and garments of sealskin, and needles from albatross bones, but they were not very good. . . . Found Musgrave's huts on July 11, but nothing of value save an old boiler and a few papers. . . . Caught three kids and tied them up, hoping to catch the mothers. This plan succeeded. . . . Nearly all Mr time was spent in mending our clothes. ... At night we crawled into our beds of greasy sealskins, huddling close to one another to keep warm. The nights were bitterly cold. For a long ; tune we could not cure the sealskins ; they were like boards. But at last we learned to scrape them to the roots of the hair ; they were ( then soft and pliable, and by perseverance and practice we made good ; clothes. . . . Once a boat was seen and a fire lit and sail hoisted to attract attention ; but she passed on and left us behind. . . . In the spring we got sea fowls eggs, and quite a number of fish, which | formed a welcome change of diet. . . . We had no difficulty in catching and salting seal, but having no weapons we found it very difficult to catch and kill pigs or goats, though there were plenty in the islands. I at last proposed trying a hook. I got a £in bolt and pointed it, bent it as well .as I could in shape of a hook, and then making a flax line fastened one end to the hook and the other to a post. A few days later we saw pigs on the beach, tried the hook, and found it a great success. I was lucky enough to catch a fine sow with a litter of piglings. Afterwards we all made hooks and caught quite a number of pigs., killing the large ones and securing the young ones in a yard." After a time the shipwrecked party divided. Half remained at the original landing place, and the others took possession of the hut built by Musgrave. When rescued, the former were dressed entirely in sealskin Goats, vest, pants, but the latter had repaired their clothes with old sails which they found in the hut. Curiously enough each of these parties on the same day found an axe, which was of the greatest use. j They then began to repair and fit up their old boat, hoping to make [ the passage to New Zealand in her. This boat was finished, provisioned, and started with a crew of three men under first officer Brown on July 22nd, 1867. This boat was never afterwards heard of, having neither masts, charts, compass, nor nautical instruments. After her departure the castaways made no further effort at escape, and possessed their souls in patience until the arrival of the Amherst put an end to their long imprisonment. To the memory of the 68 persons who perished in the wreck of the General Grant slate tablets were erected on the island, and such as died there found a lonely grave amid the wild tussocks and stones of that waste land. Ere the rescued party quitted the island, the captain of the Amherst left at their request a soldered tin containing a. knife, a box of matches, ,a number of fish hooks,, and some twine. Mr Teer's services were afterwards specially recognised, and he was presented with a handsome watch and chain by ,his fellow sufferers in token of their appreciation of his courage and helpfulness. He seems to have been the Mark Tapley of this expedition, and his conduct shows how the energy of one man may uplift and sustain a number.
It seems strange that the survivors of the General Grant did not see the notices or find the stores left by the Victoria and Southland a few months before, after the rescue of Captain Musgrave and his party. After this third shipwreck on nearly the same spot it was decided to try and ensure a yearly visit from a Government steamer to the Auckland and all other outlying islands. This has since been done, and depots are established at proper intervals, of the existence of which the captains of vessels are duly informed.
Barque MARY LAWSON, Howe Island, July 10th, 1866. From Port Jackson to Shanghai. All went well until she struck suddenly on a coral reef near Howe Island. The sea got up so terribly that two boats were smashed and the third capsized, drowning two of the crew. But one man reached the shore in safety, and a line was thrown to him. The mate then went to his assistance, and by the efforts of these two men two more of the crew reached the reef in safety in a basket. The captain's wife then attempted the line, but the basket got entangled in a bend ; the captain jumped overboard to assist her, but was drowned in the attempt. She was drawn back to the vessel in a greatly exhausted condition. None of the crew would then venture to try the ; basket, preferring to take their chance on the ship. The men on shore succeeded in righting one of the boats, and got into it, hoping to rescue some more people from the barque, but the sea making they were driven to leeward of the reef, and when night came on they found themselves in broken water, and could not get clear of it. On the following day they saw nothing more of the barque, and thought it better to steer for the south. After four days of terrible privation they reached the mouth of the Clarence River, where they found kinds hearts, food, and shelter. Of the 15 souls on board, only three were saved.
Brig AMHERST, Stewart Island, July 10th, 1866. She was a whaling brig, and when cruising off the Solanders was struck by a heavy sea, which caused her to take in water very fast. Her captain tried to make Preservation Inlet, but failed, owing to the bad weather. He then made for Stewart Island, where she filled and sank. All hands saved.
Brig CALYPSO, Stewart Island, July 10th, 1866. Was wrecked at the same time and nearly in the same place. Having encountered rough weather in Foveaux Straits, she ran into Stewart Island for repairs, and when these had been partially effected she struck heavily on an uncharted rock, and was navigated to the south side of the island, pumps going all the time. The sea gained so fast that the water was level with the water ways amidship. Her head was turned in shore ; she touched the bottom and almost immediately sank. One of the crew was killed, the others were all saved.
Schooner WILD WAVE, Chathams, July 17th, 1866. Left Waitangi for Kangaroa, with a cargo of provisions, &c, and £1128. When she entered the Cuba Channel the wind fell light and the weather became hazy, and she was driven by the current on to an uncharted rock. A boat was lowered with difficulty, and the crew got into her just in time. The master, at great personal risk, succeeded in saving the vessel's cash box. The crew lay-to on their oars for half an hour, and heard the vessel breaking up ; then seeing no possibility of saving anything, they put back to Waitangi, a distance of 16 miles. Here they were kindly received by Lieutenant Tooke, who was in charge of the soldiers and prisoners on the island.
WHALE BOAT, Waitangi, August 9th, 1866. Conveying sheep under the charge of five persons four men and one woman. Foundered in sight of land and in smooth sea. None saved. Cause of disaster unknown, but the general opinion was that the boat was unseaworthy and went to pieces under them. An article bearing this date says that 60 persons lost their lives on the coast of the Chathams during the previous 25 years. A heavy toll to be paid by one small group.
Schooner STATELY, Oamaru, March 14th, 1867. Schooner VIXEN, same day. Driven on shore in a violent gale. The Stately was a topsail schooner of 86 tons. She became a total wreck. The Vixen was got off, but was wrecked later in the same year on Ninety Mile Beach.
Ship MONTGOMERY, Hawke's Bay, March 27th, 1867. This fine ship, which had arrived on the 23rd with emigrants, was totally destroyed by fire while lying at anchor in Hawke's Bay. The fire was discerned by the man on the watch soon after midnight on the 27th. The captain was on shore, but the officers and crew did all they could to extinguish the flames. In vain, their hold was too great ; and in a short time they had caught the spars on the upper deck, and were running along the deck to the foc'sle. The boats were lowered and part of the crew placed in them, and the carpenter tried to scuttle the ship, but found himself unable to do so on account of the swell. In half an hour the flames had reached the poop, and the remainder of the crew were ordered into the boats. The whole of the rigging burst into flames, and though many rockets had been fired, now for the first time the alarm seemed to reach the land, and boats were put 6ff. But nothing could be done to save ship or cargo. Some of the latter was of an inflammable nature, and the whole burned for two days and two nights.
Photo, by Burton Bron.
S.s. SOUTH AUSTRALIA, Taieri Mouth, April 2nd, 1867. From Port Chalmers to Melbourne. The weather was perfectly calm and she was an exceptionally fine and swift boat ; but she had not left Port Chalmers many hours when she ran straight on the rocks with such force as to "knock her bottom in," and in ten minutes the water was rushing into the engine room and over the cylinders, and in 20 it was over the crank shaft. The night was very dark, though fine, and the ship was thumping and rolling heavily. There were a number of passengers on board, but no confusion or disorder. Five boats were lowered, and the women and children put in the first two. Up to this time the officers had supposed themselves on the Nuggets, and they now discovered that they were at the mouth of the Taieri River, and within a few miles of the port they had left a few hours before. The s.s. Geelong was at once sent to the rescue, and aided the officers and men in saving the cargo, luggage, &c. At low tide the South Australia seemed but little damaged; but she was seated on a pivot of rock as nearly amidships as possible, and ground round and round like the needle of a compass her seams opening and shutting as she did so. She ultimately broke in two. Although no lives were lost at the time of the wreck, four men subsequently lost their lives while engaged in removing the wreckage.
Brigantine VISTULA, Oamaru, July 31st, 1867. Totally wrecked on the Oamaru beach during one of the worst gales which ever devastated the coast of this island.
Schooner BANSHEE, Oamaru, August 14th, 1867. Was driven on shore during a continuation of the same gale, and completely wrecked. Her hull was sold, and her new possessor succeeded in repairing and relaunching her and taking her to Port Chalmers to be refitted.
Schooner MARY ANN CHRISTINA, Ninety Mile Beach, August 31st, 1867. Tried to run before the gale, but failed to make way, and was finally, to save the lives of her crew, run on the Ninety Mile Beach.
Brig HIGHLANDER, Oamaru, November 22nd, 1867. Drove ashore on the rocks about 200 yards south-east from the Oamaru jetty in a savvy north-east gale, and became a total wreck.
Schooner CAROLINE, Oamaru, November 24th, 1867. Wrecked during a terrific gale which devastated the whole east coast, and was especially violent at Oamaru. The Caroline was loading in port when the gale came on, and her captain tried to put to sea, but before this could be accomplished most of her sails were split and there was nothing left but to run for Oamaru. She anchored there, and when the gale increased the harbour master signalled " All vessels put to sea." The Caroline could not move, and rode heavily at her anchor for hours, seas breaking over her. At last, when the cables would no longer hold, she was beached, the sea dashing her broadside on. The captain and crew were saved with difficulty, and during the night the schooner was actually ground to pieces, and not a single spar or bit of timber left. In the same gale Mr M'Leod was washed off the pier at Oamaru, and drowned before the eves of his friends, who did a their utmost to save him.
Photo, by De Maus.
Barque DRIVER, Unknown, December, 1867. From Newcastle for Port Chalmers. Supposed to have foundered with all hands (12)
BRIG, Greymouth, January 3rd, 1868. Name unknown. Wrecked at the mouth of the Ahaura River, Greymouth. Of 16 persons on board, three two men and one woman were drowned.
Schooner Victoria, Wakatipu, January 4th, 1868. From Kingston to Queenstown with the Southland mail. Capsized in a squall, and sank in the lake about a mile from Queenstown. Three men on board ; one clung to the wreck and was saved, two struck out for the shore ; one reached it much exhausted, the other sank. The mails could not be recovered.
Clipper STAR OF TASMANIA, ship WATER NYMPH, schooner OTAGO, Oamaru, February
3rd, 1868. During a terrible gale which occurred early in February, 1868, and
did much damage all down the east coast of the South Island the Star of Tasmania
went on shore at Oamaru, and falling seaward two sailors and three children
(passengers) were drowned, and the remainder of the crew saved.
An hour afterwards the Water Nymph also went on shore ; but all hands were
On the same occasion the Oamaru jetty became a total wreck, and all the surf
boats were smashed. The Otago was wrecked 10 miles farther south, the crew
barely escaping with their lives. The schooner was afterwards washed up on the
Oamaru beach in pieces.
S.s. WILLIAM MISKIN, Timaru, February 3rd, 1868. Totally wrecked in the same storm. One of the crew lost his life, and the others narrowly escaped the same fate by clinging to the iron hull while she was being slowly ground to pieces.
Schooner IONA, yacht LADY FENWICK, Lyttelton Harbour, February 3rd, 1868. Totally wrecked in the same storm (one of the worst that has ever devastated our coast). The shipping in every port was more ;or less severely injured. Nine men were drowned at Totara station, near Oamaru. Many lives were also lost at Hokitika, Nelson, Christchurch, &c. , by floods or boating accidents.
Brig ESPERANZA, Bird Island, February 16th, 1868. Foundered , during a heavy south-east gale. Ten hands out of eleven lost.
CUTTER, Hokitika Bar, March 2nd, 1868. Boat upset while crossing the bar. Two men drowned ; two others saved by s. s. Favourite.
S.s. CLEOPATRA, Cape Palliser, April 6th, 1868. From Nelson to Wellington. Total wreck. No lives lost.
Schooner DESPATCH, Timaru, June 3rd, 1868. Driven on' shore during a heavy gale. Her captain was killed by the bridge falling upon him ; rest of the crew saved
Brig PRINCE EDWARD, South of Bluff Harbour, July 30th, 1868. Collier from Newcastle to the Bluff. Foundered 70 miles south of the Bluff. She encountered a terrific gale on July za, and was gradually knocked to pieces, heaw seas carrying off bowsprit, jibboom, and all gear, bulwarks, stanchions, boats, and galley, tearing the tarpaulins off the hatches and knocking all the wood work to pieces. She leaked in every direction, plunged and laboured terribly, and on the 30th, when she was sinking fast, the crew got into the long boat, and half an hour later the Prince Edward went down head first. The boat was kept head to sea by a drag made out of an old sail until the gale moderated, and a mast was made out of two oars lashed together, and a course shaped for the Bluff. The boat was picked up on August 2 by the s.s. Airedale. The men suffered much; their feet were in a terrible condition. When landed they could not walk.
S.s. TARANAKI, Picton, August 19th, 1868 ; The Taranaki struck on Boat Harbour rock in Tory Channel, 20 miles from Picton. She struck amidships, and dragged over the rocks, carrying away her propeller. She had a number of passengers on board, transhipped from the Panama. The Bishop of Lichfield was one of the passengers, and he displayed great energy and coolness. Two vessels were sent to the help of the Taranaki, and they rescued the passengers and mails. The Taranaki was raised about a year later, and we insert a condensed account: The work commenced on August 7, 1869. The scene was most exciting and the anxiety intense. There were six boats and about 90 men at work. The pumps worked in silence for hours, but at last air bubbles were seen rising to the surface, and a cry rose and was taken up by every man on the pontoons : " She's coming !" After a few minutes the rising of all the pontoons was perceptible. The silence became intense, each man pumping as for his life. After several delays and accidents she was raised perpendicularly 4ft and driven ahead 60ft the first day. The water afterwards progressed at the rate of about 3ft a day. She was raised and towed into Wellington on October 1, 1869, looking much better than was expected. When raised her deck was covered with marine crustations. The action of the " teredo navalis " had reduced the wood work to the consistency of sponge, the whole substance being quite soft. A part of the hard wood wheel exhibited the same decay, but where there was a good coating of paint on the wood work it was encrusted, not decayed.
BOAT ACCIDENTS, Otago Harbour, Nov. 30th, 1868. Two serious boat accidents occurred on this day, which was a general holiday. Two young men, John Taylor and William Macintosh, hired a boat, which soon began to leak, and capsized. They clung to it for a time, and then struck out for the shore. Taylor was drowned. Later on the same day a party of six young men started from Dunedin for Portobello. Their boat was struck by a squall and a heavy sea, filled, and sank, rising bottom upwards. Four of the party stuck to the boat, and were afterwards rescued. Mr J. Kempthone and Mr Pidwell struck out for shore, taking an oar each. They were drowned.
Cutter FLY, Oamaru, November 24th, 1868. She was at anchor in Oamaru Harbour, inside the inner moorings, when she suddenly began to drag her anchor, and, though the sea was calm, was driven violently on shore. The next day she broke up, and it then became evident that her timbers were in a very rotten condition
Ship BLUE JACKET, Auckland Islands, March 9th, 1869. From Lyttelton to London, with a cargo of wool and 15 boxes of gold. Was totally destroyed by fire off the Auckland Islands. The captain, chief officer, six of the crew, and all passengers embarked in the cutter, while the remainder of the crew took the two lifeboats. The cutter was picked up by a barque, but nothing was heard of the fate of the two life boats, which no doubt foundered with all hands. The people in the cutter endured most terrible privations, and their allowance of food was reduced to two tablespoonfuls of water and one of soup per day. The rescuing barque, Pyremont, was not prepared for so large an addition to her crew, but she gladly gave them of her best, and just as her supply of fresh water was giving out the Blackball liner Yorkshire hove in sight. Captain Anderson immediately supplied the Pyremont with 6000 gal of water and a quantity of stores, and his passengers contributed largely to the help of the shipwrecked men. The fire was supposed to have originated in damp wool. Captain White said : " At 1.30 p.m. flames were observed coming from the forehatch. Started both engines with the help of crew and passengers. Finding all efforts useless, we got out the boats and provisioned them, hoping to remain on board until the morning, but the flames increased so much that the men .could not endure the intense heat, and we took to the boats at 10 p.m. Half an hour later the foremast went over the ride, and being of iron the fire rushed through the tube, making it red hot, and burning everything forward. The flames then rushed op the mainstays, setting everything on the mast alight as if by electricity. Our boats were lying close by, all the passengers being with me in the cutter. The life boats had strict orders to keep company, and did so for two days. On the third they came up as usual, and Mr Bell, third officer, asked if they could take two men out ot his boat, as she was leaking. I told him I could not, as I had already 37 persons in my boat, but ordered him to remain near. He ran to leeward. The third boat then joined him, and they were running fair and free. We lost sight of them before sunset, and then ran back to see if we could sight them. We also' .sent up rockets, but there was no response. Nothing was seen of the boats after. In the cutter we endured great privations, and during five of the seven days that we were on board a strong westerly gale prevailed and the sea ran very high." A passenger wrote: "The last we saw of the Blue Jacket was a bright speck on the evening of the second day. On the morning of the third day it was decided to appoint some person to fill the disagreeable task of serving out rations. Mr Williams, first officer, accepted the responsibility, and his conduct is deserving of the highest praise. His unflinching courage and calm behaviour were the admiration of all ; during six weary days and seven nights he was constantly cheering us and hoping for the best, and always ready to help, both by word and deed. A small silver cup was used for serving out the water, and a mark cut in it to measure the daily allowance. This, when afterwards measured, proved two small tablespoonfuls. One tin of preserved meat or soup was shared daily among the 37. The biscuit was all spoiled by sea water. We were never dry the whole time. Our thirst was intolerable. We had no room to move or change our positions. Where all behaved well I must specially name Mrs R. D. Campbell. Her conduct during the whole time was noble, cheering, and lively, encouraging the others and setting a good example to men and women alike. The most pitiful sight of all was that of the poor children vainly crying for a drop of water. No rain fell, though we were' drenched with sea water, and we had therefore no opportunity of renewing our ¦tock. Our feet were swollen to twice their usual size from sitting always in water and having no exercise. Mrs Campbell's feet were very bad, but she never complained. To add to our troubles, three of our crew were dying (they died of exhaustion soon after the rescue), and one was delirious. On the seventh day a sail was seen bearing down upon us, and help came. It proved a difficult task to get us out of the boat, as we had lost the use of our limbs, and could not help ourselves. After the rescue we suffered frightfully, our hands and feet breaking out into large boils and blisters. Here . again 'Mr Williams was a great helper, and but for the assistance we received from him many more would have died." The figurehead of the Blue Jacket was found at Rottennest Island in 1872, and brought by the Tarawera to Lyttelton.
Painting by E. B. Hayward. Photo, by De Maus.
Ketch PEARL, Grey River, September 8th,
1869. Was wrecked on the bar of Grey River. While on the bar a series of
tremendous seas rolled in. The ketch tried to run before them. Came broadside to
the sea. Another roller struck her, throwing her over, and the water flying up
from her sides lodged in her sails, which held it like bags. The weight capsized
the boat, and the next sea rolled her over bottom up. The master came up and
then disappeared. The two men forming her crew were caught in the rigging, and
struggled awhile for their lives, but were dashed to pieces in the surf.
BOAT ACCIDENT at Timaru, December 18, 1869. A surf boat with the captain of the Maori on board was put off for the s.s. Maori, and having come to grief in the surf- the crew were rescued by a boat from the steamer. The latter, however, in its turn was struck by a heavy sea and capsized, when close to the steamer. Ten of the 12 drowning men were saved, but the other two were drowned. Miss Sullivan, the stewardess, acted like a heroine throughout the trying scene, assisting greatly in the rescue and afterwards attending to the comfort of the rescued. Mr Balfour, chief engineer of the Marine Department, was one of those drowned, and a searching inquiry was held into the cause of his death and the fact of the s.s. Maori being badly supplied with lifesaving apparatus.
Barque LAUGHING WATER, Paihi Point, January 14th, 1870. The Laughing Water, 411 tons, Captain Gibson, left Newcastle for Otago on January 5th. Experienced fine weather till the 11th, when she encountered a gale which increased to a hurricane, with thick weather and heavy rain, the seas making a clean breach fore and aft. "At 3 a.m. she shipped a heavy sea, which filled the decks, carrying away the rails and part of the bulwarks, staving in the cabin skylights and filling the cabins, and washing spars and the anchor adrift ; at the same time the fore and main topsails carried away." After this she soon became unmanageable. The second mate, while saving another man, was washed overboard and drowned. The vessel was then hove to for 24 hours, the wind veering to every point of the compass. The weather then moderating, a little plain sail was set on her, and on the 14th land was sighted ; but the poor disabled vessel struck violently on a sunken rock, which stove in the whole of her bow at one blow. She immediately began to sink, and the watch below rushed out of ".the forecastle saying that the water was upon them. The ship sank so fast that only one small boat could be lowered, and there was barely time to get all hands into her before the vessel disappeared. Fifteen in all entered the boat, including the captain's wife and child four years of age. The boat having no rudder, and leaking, had to be steered with a piece of board and constantly baled. After 17 hours of hard work and four attempts to land, the crew succeeded in getting ashore on a sandy beach near Paihi Point. They were treated with the utmost kindness, fed and clothed, and a subscription got up for their benefit. From Painting
S.s. WAINUI, Port Chalmers, January 22nd, 1870. Sunk in the harbour. No lives lost.
Brig MATOAHA, Unknown, 1870. The Matoaha left Lyttelton on May 13th, 1869, and was never afterwards heard of. On May 13th, 1870, a deputation of gentlemen interested in her fate waited on the Premier (Mr Fox) to see if the Government would institute a search for the missing vessel. A strong north-east gale springing up soon after her departure, it was thought that she might have been wrecked on one or other of the Bounty Islands. No further information.
STAR OF THE SOUTH, Napier, June 23rd, 1870. This vessel went ashore in a dense fog four miles south of Napier bluff. Her back was broken. All hands and cargo saved. The vessel became a total wreck.
Schooner JANE, Chamberlain Island, July 1st, 1870. From Bay of Islands to Thames. Foundered off Chamberlain Island. One man lost.
Schooner QUEEN OF THE ISLES, Apia, July 20th, 1870. Lost at Apia when on a recruiting voyage from Auckland. Report of the rescuing party under Captain John Rees, schooner Spunkie: "We manned two boats, and after a pull of 15 miles along the coast we found the wrecked schooner lying on a reef about 15yds from the beach, and having boarded her found that the natives had completely stripped her of everything but her masts and span. Leaving one boat at the wreck, I proceeded to search for the crew, and seeing a sail spread on the beach about a mile from the wreck, pulled in and found the master, Captain Daniel Sinclair, and eight. other white men, encamped with 22 islanders, the others 99 in all having run away. These islanders they had armed with muskets, belaying pins, &c, and placed round the tent. About 500 Apia men surrounded them and threatened their lives. On seeing me approach with the boat they rushed to meet me, begging me to take them off, as their lives were in danger. The night before the natives had killed and eaten two of the coloured men. I took them all safely on board the Spunkie."
BOAT ACCIDENT off Shag Point, July 20th, 1870. A boat containing three men put off to the cutter Hope, lying outside. A furious sea broke right over the boat, washing two out and hurling the third man under the stern sheets. The people on shore were much distressed, and tried to launch a boat, but failed. Two of the men who could swim held on to the boat for a time, but were washed off and drowned. The third man (William Green), who could not swim, clung to an oar, and drifted in among the rocks and kelp, being rescued exhausted and nearly senseless. The rescuers showed extraordinary courage. They formed a line, and finding that would not do, two of them named Cruickshanks and Smith plunged into the water and swam to the rescue in the midst of a boiling surf. They were nearly as much exhausted as the man they went to save.
Brig CAROLINE, Tasman Sea, January 28th, 1871. Foundered at sea, 50 miles from Sydney, on her voyage from Sydney to Hokianga. One man lost.
S.s. AIREDALE, New Plymouth, February 15th, 1871. Went on shore at the mouth of the Waitara River, New Plymouth. Mails and all hands saved. At the time the Airedale sank she was under full steam with both her topsails set. So severe was the shock that a large hole was at once made in her bottom, and in less than three minutes the passengers in the saloon were up to their waists in water. The mails were much damaged, four bags proving nothing more than masses of pulp. The Airedale left Taranaki with a number of passengers, mails, and a full cargo. The passengers were all saved, chiefly by the efforts of the captain (Worsp) and crew of the Phoebe.
Schooner THE BANSHEE, February 20th, 1871. Wrecked off Dancer Reef, Shag Point. She struck Danger Reef in a dense fog at .15 p.m., and soon began to fill- "We got the boats out, but while doing so a heavy sea struck the ship, filled the boats, and sent us all floundering in the water. I got hold of something, which proved to be one of the main hatches. Another man was with me. We saw a boat come up bottom upwards, and got on to her. We coo-eed many times and received no answer. My companion hung on for about two hours, then he let go and vanished. The boat was capsized several times during the night, but I always managed to right her again, and finally with much difficulty reached the shore in the vicinity of Jones's Head about 4 a.m. I set out to walk to Waikouaiti, arriving there in tatters and much exhausted. All hands perished with the exception of Captain Echoff.
Brig HINDU, from Foo Chou to Cape Sondberg, March 27th, 1871. Ran ashore on the Riverton Beach at 3 a.m. All hands (15) saved by Maoris at low water, with personal effects and stores. The vessel lay embedded in the sand about 150 yards from the shore at low water. In the darkness the proximity of the land was unseen, and the first sign of danger was the line of breakers. After she struck she was driven' farther up on the beach by the sea. She was a new ship and very strong. "All hands remained on board till daylight, with the seas constantly breaking over. Then our perilous position .was seen by the Maoris and halfcastes at the Kaik, seven or eight miles off, who put off to the rescue. At low water it is possible to wade to the ship, but dangerous." The Hindu was floated off, but while waiting for a steamer to tow her to a place of safety, a gale arose and again drove her on the beach where she became a total? wreck. She was a tea ship ; the tea was taken out of her, much of it soaked with salt water. A drying apparatus was rigged up, and under the supervision of Mr Jabez Hay, engineer, Invercargill, drying went on for a long time, night and day, by steam power, and large quantities of this tea afterwards found their way into the markets in the form of "blends."
Schooner WATERMAN, Hokitika, July 20th, 1871. Totally wrecked four miles north of Hokitika in a terrific gale, which drove her on shore. Lives and cargo saved.
Barque PREMIER, Oamaru, July 31st, 1871. Went on shore during the night in a heavy gale, and was wrecked, on the rocks near the jetty. Crew all saved.
S.s. AHURIRI, Waikouaiti, November 22, 1871. A fine steamer of 131 tons. Soon after leaving Oamaru she struck on a sunken and uncharted rock about a mile and a-half from Jones's Head, Waikouaiti, and in about two minutes she began to fill. The boats were lowered and passengers and mails put into them. Ten minutes after she struck the sea made a clean breach over her. An hour later she listed to port and fell over, and at daybreak next morning not a vestige of her. was to be seen. There were 90 passengers and crew all told, and the boats containing them were swamped several times before reaching the shore. However, they all effected a landing on a beach of slippery boulders, backed by precipitous cliffs. They had to walk four miles and a-half over this beach before they could climb up to the open land. They were received with great kindness and hospitality by Mrs F. Jones.
BOAT ACCIDENT, Macandrew's Bay, December 25, 1871. Seven young men went off on a pleasure excursion, and not one survived to tell the story of the accident or its cause. The boat was capsized between 3 and 4 p.m. The s.s. Maori on her way to town passed the submerged boat and reported the occurrence. Others saw the boat tacking, and one said he saw it sink, and the men strike out ; but before he could get his own boat and go to the rescue they had all sunk. The bodies were recovered within the space of 20 square yards.
Barque LINDUS, Tasman Sea, February 13th, 1872. On a voyage from Newcastle to Dunedin sprang a leak and went down -100 miles off the Dromedary. Crew saved in boats. , Four sailors, who had refused to proceed to sea in her prior to her departure, alleging that she was unseaworthy, were sentenced to eight weeks' imprisonment in Maitland gaol.
Schooner ONEHUNGA, Oamaru, February 24th, 1872.
She missed stays twice, striking the beach with her keel/three times, and
stood out to sea amid the admiration of a crowd of spectators. When near the
Cape, however, she again missed stays, the wind having no power on her sails, as
she was under the shelter of the land. The anchor was let go, but failed to
hold, and the vessel drifted helplessly in, settling fast upon the rocks. The
cause of the disaster was the nasty cross sea running and the chopping of the
wind. She struck heavily and soon went to pieces. Crew and cargo saved.
Whaler ADVENTURE, Auckland, March 17th, 1872. On her voyage from Sydney to Auckland put into the latter port in a sinking condition. When off the Island of Espiritu Santo, New Hebrides, Captain Pearce sent a boat's crew ashore under the command of the mate, Mr Turnbull. It was attacked by the natives, who split the mate's head open ; then they threw a flight of spears, which wounded three men, the others returning to the ship with difficulty. The wreck of a large vessel was seen on another of the islands, and a white woman and child slaves, probably two of her passengers. After leaving the islands a fearful hurricane was encountered, and the vessel entered port in a sinking condition, with all pumps going.
Schooner HUNTRESS, Cape Brett, April 1st, 1872. Totally wrecked at Cape Brett, Bay of Islands. Crew saved themselves with great difficulty by climbing the cliff.
Schooner MAHIA, Wairoa, April 3rd, 1872. She grounded on the bar of the river on her voyage from Napier to Wairoa. It was expected that she would be floated off, but a storm drove her on to the beach, and she became a total wreck. Her crew and passengers were saved, but her cargo was lost.
Barque BENGAL, Port Stephens, May 5th, 1872. This vessel, under the command of Captain Rogers, foundered on her voyage from Newcastle to Dunedin. " When about 60 miles north-east of Port Stephens she sprang a leak. The pumps being sounded, 6ft of water was found in the well. Pumps going all night. Stood in for land, and began to throw coal overboard. Water gaining. All hands at the pumps. Gale increased. Headed for land, intending to run ashore, all hands being exhausted. Fell in with the Alice Cameron, and abandoned the Bengal with 10ft of water in her hold."
Schooner OCEAN BIRD, Lyttelton, May 6th, 1872. The wreck of this vessel was towed in on the night of the 6th. She had lost her masts and run on the bar, where she became a total wreck. No bodies were found on board.
Brig OUR HOPE, Oamaru, July 19th, 1872. Tried to put to sea in a violent storm, but could not beat out. She then dragged her anchors, and went ashore. Crew saved with rocket apparatus, which worked well. They were landed on the breakwater, then in course of construction. (This was the first time the rocket apparatus was used on our coast.)
Barque HYDRA, West Coast, July 24th, 1872. From Newcastle. Encountered heavy gale and sea, and sprang a leak. Sighted the Ottawa, and hoisted signals of distress, and asked her to keep company. Gale increased, got into boats with all hands and papers, and reached the Ottawa in safety. Hydra sank soon after.
Barque CITY OF NEWCASTLE, Tory Channel, November 14th, 1872. Wrecked at Wellington Head, Tory Channel, near Picton. She went ashore in a sudden' squall about 4. a.m., bows on to the high, precipitous cliffs. The first boat swamped in lowering. The next two containing women and children were blown out to sea and never seen or heard of again. The fourth boat, very leaky, ran through Tory Channel with a blanket for a sail, and was picked up by the schooner Canterbury, the boat sinking immediately afterwards. Of the six men left on the wreck one was drowned ; the others got safely to shore owing to the heroic efforts of Hamill, the mate, who, while hanging on the cliff, had his front teeth pulled out in holding on to the rope in the endeavour to rescue his mates, who owed their lives to him. The Bhip parted at the main hatch. All her boats were in bad order and leaky. Captain censured and certificate cancelled.
Cutter MARGARET, Tolonga Bay, January 6th, 1873. From Auckland to Napier. Overtaken by a violent storm, and capsized. Master and mate being below at the time, and exhausted with their efforts, were drowned. The two men who formed her crew were on deck, and succeeded in reaching the shore.
Schooner DAYSPRING, Aneiteum Harbour, January 6th, 1873. On the 4th of January the sky became overcast, and the barometer
Passengers by the GENERAL GRANT, wrecked on the Auckland Isles, May 14th, 1866, a week after leaving Melbourne. The castaways lived on the island one year and a-half until relieved by the brig Amhurst, of Invercargill, November 21st, 1867. fell. The wind increased at noon, when it was blowing very hard. On the next day it blew a hurricane, and on the 6th it was blowing and raining in torrents, the water all round being white with foam. At 2 a.m. the wind suddenly veered round and blew with terrific force. The port boat was lifted out of the davits and lost. At daylight the vessel dragged both anchors, and struck on a reef at the entrance to the harbour. The next sea threw the vessel on to the rocks, and she became a total wreck. Mr Underwood, the missionary, came alongside and took off the native teacher, with the ship's instruments and papers, and shortly afterwards the captain and crew left the Dayspring, which speedily broke up." (Photos, by D. Ross, Invercargill kindly lent by Wm. R. F. Fraser, Esq., Wyndham.)
Brig MOA, Allday Bay, May 7th, 1873. Parted her cable while at anchor in a heavy north-east gale, and drove ashore. She was an old vessel, built at Auckland, and speedily went to pieces.
Schooner MARGARET CAMPBELL, Oamaru, May 10th, 1873. In consequence of a
heavy south-east swell and no wind, dragged her anchor from the outer anchorage,
and stranded on the 1 Oamaru Beach. She soon began to break up, her three masts
going by the board, and she was sold the same day for £590.
Brig AUSTRAL, Cape Campbell, May 25th, 1873. Terrific gale in Cook Strait. The Austral and Scotsman ran through together. The Scotsman broached to and was pooped by a heavy sea and much damage was done. When the bustle was over the Austral was lost sight of, but later on a green light was seen, supposed to be hers. Next morning, when rounding Cape Campbell, wreckage was reported on the lee bow. It proved to be part of the Austral, all on board (11) having perished.
Schooner METEOR, Wanganui, July 15th, 1873. Stood too near into land in a gale, became unmanageable, and was driven on shore.
Schooner BEN NEVIS, Kaikoura, July 30th, 1873. Total wreck. No lives lost.
S.s. RANGITOTO, Queen Charlotte Sound, July 31st, 1873. Totally wrecked on Jackson's Head, Queen Charlotte Sound. No lives lost.
Brig EMILE, Oamaru, August 27th, 1873. A strong E.N.E. gale was blowing right into Oamaru Bay, when the Emile slipped her cable and tried to run to sea; but the schooner Jane Anderson, in her attempt to work out, collided with the Emile, carrying away the latter's jibboom, which disabled the Emile, and she drifted on to the beach. The crew consisting of eight men and the captain were saved by the help of the Rocket Brigade. In the morning the Emile was nothing but a mass of broken timber.
Brig SCOTSMAN, Oamaru, August 28th, 1873. Was driven ashore near the Oamaru Lagoon by the same strong E.N.E. gale. Her crew were safely rescued about 3 a.m. She was broken up by the heavy sea, and her wreckage scattered along the beach from the lagoon to the landing place.
Schooner FAIRY QUEEN, schooner DUKE
OF EDINBURGH, Timaru, August 28th, 1873. Totally wrecked in a violent gale.
No lives lost.
Ketch REDCLIFFE, Allday Bay. December 20th, 1873. Her cable parted in a gale whilst riding at anchor, and she was hurled on a reef of rocks. Captain Halford and one of his men swam ashore, but the third man, who could not swim, was drowned, the only boat having been stove in. The Redcliffe quickly went to pieces.
Ship SURAT, Catlins River, December 31, 1873. Early on January 9th (Friday), the news reached Dunedin of the stranding of the emigrant vessel Surat near Catlins River. The commander of the Vere, a French man-o'-war, at once placed his vessel at the disposal of the Government, and the Vere, which was then in the Port Chalmers dock, was speedily launched out and steam got up at once, so that she was able to start the same evening for Catlins River. She arrived at the scene of the disaster by daylight on the 10th, and found the Surat on the beach, stem on, with all her masts standing, and some of her sails flying loosely in the wind. The steamers Wanganui and Wallabi were seen approaching from the south to the assistance of the stranded vessel, and the Wallabi came over the bar at high water. The Vere was too large a vessel to do this, and as owing to the surf it would have taken quite a couple of days to transfer the passengers to her from the Surat, the passengers were taken by boats to the Wallabi and transferred by her to the Vere. The greater part of the Surat's passengers were found on shore at the sawmills of Messrs Guthrie and Larnach and Mr G. F. Reid, where they had been received with the utmost kindness and sympathy, as well as in all the cottages and huts of the neighbourhood, many of which had been entirely given up to their convenience. These people, to the number of 307, were collected together, and by using all available boats were soon placed on board the Wallabi, and conveyed to the Vere. All the emigrants appeared in gallant spirits except one poor woman, who had been confined on Christmas Day. She was still in a very weak state when the Surat struck on December 31, and the anxiety, fatigue, and exposure she had since undergone had completely prostrated her. Dr Tighe, the surgeon of the Surat, thought that it would be dangerous to move this woman, who was accordingly left at one of the mills, where she was most tenderly cared for.
The position of the Surat was at this time quite even. She was slightly embedded in the sand about two cable lengths from the shore. Her masts and yards were apparently uninjured. The vessel to all appearances was but litt.e damaged, the sea only breaking over her slightly, though the waves were running high, and it would have been impossible for a small boat to go alongside at high water. She was, however, completely water-logged, and lay in such an exposed position that she was liable to break up at any moment. The Surat was a comparatively new iron ship of 1000 tons, chartered by the New Zealand Shipping Company, Captain Johnson, with a valuable cargo of machinery, dredging plant, &c, in addition to her human freight of 307 souls. Captain Johnson stated: "On Monday, December 31, about 10 p.m., the Surat struck the rocks by Chasland's Mistake, and after a severe bumping she got off. She was very leaky, and we hove to all night, all hands being at the pumps. On January 1 the vessel was anchored in a little bay near Catlins River, and some of the passengers were landed ; soon after it was found that the ship was sinking, and the cables were slipped and the ship run on shore in Catlins River. The remainder of the passengers were then landed, together with the crew, with the exception of the mate and two men. Nothing was saved but a little bedding. About 100 people w&re landed first, and among them were some women who were weak and not able to travel ; these were afterwards brought to Catlins River by the boat, those that were strong enough walking through the bush, until they were distributed in the manner above described." The account of how the ship struck, how she came to be so close in shore and the subsequent events on board are most conflicting. The ship struck on the Brothers and got off. The pumps were sounded, and gave only 4in of water for the first hour, but it quickly increased to 4ft, and the ship was run in for the shore. The passengers suffered much. Very few of them managed to get on shore with more than the clothes they had on, and the majority were in bed, and had therefore but few garments on them. In landing some ran a great risk of losing their lives, and all were cold, wet, and miserable. Of course when the Surat struck considerable excitement prevailed, and it was impossible to get two accounts wnich tallied. One of the passengers said that when she was bumping on the rocks a constant shock was felt and a noise could be heard like the clashing of a lot of iron tanks being moved about. Nearly all the statements are to the effect that after the -vessel struck and before she was beached great confusion prevailed, revolvers were produced, and violence threatened. Crew and passengers all worked at the pumps, men, women, and girls. When it was determined to beach the Surat and the boats were lowered, the men behaved splendidly. The women, children, and old men were put into the boats first, and except in the case of one woman who sprained her ankle, no accident happened. Pilot Haywood, who was then harbour master at Port Molyneux, was of great assistance in pointing out the best place to beach the vessel, and in landing the passengers and in keeping them together. There was no moonlight, and rain was falling nearly all the time. The Surat's passengers were brought to Port Chalmers by the Vere, and the scene on board was a curious one, the decks of the man-o'-war being crowded with men, women, and children, who all bore palpable marks of the hardships they had gone through. They were dressed in anything that would keep them warm, and some of the youngsters had strips of grey flannel blanket wrapped round them, many of the girls had no covering for their heads, and some of the men had nothing on but oilskins. They were well fed on board the Vere, and the women and children accommodated below ; but the men had to remain on deck. The shipwrecked people did not seem so downhearted- as might have been expected, since not one of them had saved anything ; and the children all looked well and jolly, and were intensely amused by the antics of "Roberte." " Roberte " was a fine sheep originally taken on board with the intention of being turned into mutton, but who showed himself so intelligent that he escaped the butcher's knife and became the pet of officers and men. This wonderful creature drank brandy and curacoa before breakfast, and smacked his lips over it, and actually learnt to chew tobacco.
The s.s. Wanganui passed within a mile and a-half of the Surat immediately after she struck. One of the passengers wished to signal to her, but the master, revolver in hand, forbade it. From that time everything was in confusion ; boats were lowered without orders, and an incompetent person put to steer the ship. A long and exhaustive inquiry was held, and a criminal information was served on Edwin Joseph Johnson for that he on January 1, 1874, while master of the Surat, did unlawfully and by reason of drunkenness refuse to ask assistance for his sinking ship from the Wanganui, then within speaking distance. His certificate was cancelled, and he received two months' imprisonment. The first and second mates were severely censured. The certificate of the first was cancelled, and that of the second suspended for two years.
Cutter FLORA MACDONALD, Auckland, February 2nd, 1874. When crossing the bar at Manukau Heads she became unmanageable, and kept broaching to as if the steering gear was wrong, and then suddenly capsized and sank immediately. All on board captain, crew, and six passengers perished. She was said to have been utterly unseaworthy, and an agitation followed for Government inspection of vessels.
Ship WELLINGTON, Wellington, March 7th, 1874. Totally wrecked in a terrific gale. Two lives lost. Others saved in the boats.
Barque SIRUS, Wellington, March 7th, 1874. Was wrecked in the same gale between Lyell Bay and Sinclair Head. Five lives were lost a woman, two children, and two men. The woman and children were crushed to death by the falling of the deck house just as the captain was making an effort to get them on to the rocks. He had ordered two men to try and reach the shore so as to pass a rope. The attempt failed, and the men -were drowned. The first mate and another ultimately got on the rocks, where they remained four hours. The water ran very rapidly round the rocks, but at last one of the men went to the head of the current and got safely on shore. Procured a line from a farm house, fixed one end to a stone, and flung it on to the deck. Thus the others got on shore. All this time the gale was like a hurricane, and the sea a sheet of foam. The men left on the vessel had abandoned hope, and were about to strike out for the shore when the long boat, which had been standing keel up on the deck house, floated past, and feeling the ship go from under them, they made a rush for the boat, which they reached just at the critical moment.
Brig SILVER LINING, Kakanui, March 9th, 1874. Missed stays when going towards the river ; struck on the North Reef, and settled down about half a cable's length from the shore. The s.s. Wallabi tried to tow her off, but failed, and she was dismantled and sold.
Schooner HELEN BURNS, Lyttelton Harbour, March 10th, 1874. Capsized and sank. Crew saved.
Brigantine HERCULES, Auckland, March 27th, 1874. Went ashore on Kaipara Heads, and became a total wreck. Crew and cargo saved.
Schooner OCEAN WAVE, Oamaru, May 2nd, 1874. Very heavy rollers without a breath of wind rolled into Oamaru roadstead. The three-masted schooner Ocean Wave parted her cable, dragged her second anchor, and stranded on the beach near St. 'Paul's Church. She soon became a total wreck.
Brigantine EMULOUS, Oamaru, May 4th, 1874. Dragged her anchors and stranded on the beach. After several unsuccessful attempts she was relaunched, but while at anchor in the out anchorage she parted her cables and was driven by a violent gale on to the beach near the Boundary Creek, and became a total wreck.
Cutter AGNES, Auckland, May 20th, 1874. Supposed to have foundered with all hands (three) in a heavy gale. Portions of the wreckage were picked up two days later.
Barque ELEANOR, Tasman Sea, July 26, 1874. From Sydney to New Zealand. Supposed to have foundered with all hands (12).
Schooner UNITED BROTHERS, Pukeuri Point, October 3rd, 1874. This schooner had received considerable damage during previous heavy weather, and was leaking seriously. She was beached on Pukeuri Point, near Oamaru. Her timbers were found to be very rotten. She was condemned and broken up.
COSPATRICK, Cape of Good Hope, November 19th, 1874. News reached Dunedin of the wreck of the Cospatrick (1199 tons, Captain Elmslie), from London to Auckland, on September 8. Four hundred and twenty-four Government emigrants and five private passengers were on board. On November 19, when off the Cape, she was burnt. Origin of fire unknown. One hour after the flames broke out she was completely gutted. Hundreds who preferred death by drowning flung themselves over board and perished in the sea. Two boats, each containing 30 persons, in charge of the first and second mates, left the ship. One was never heard of again, the other met with a fate even more sad ; many of its passengers died raving, mad. The survivors (only three in number) supported life by living on the bodies of their dead comrades. The boat had drifted 10 days when picked up by the British Sceptre. The captain and doctor stayed by the vessel until the last, and then jumping overboard were drowned. Owners of vessel and Lord Mayor, etc., subscribed for the survivors. Personal narrative of the second mate : " About quarter before midnight all was well and deponent went below. He was roused by cry of 'Fire' an hour later. He jumped on deck undressed and meeting the captain in his shirt, saw dense smoke from forecabin. In a few minutes flames came from foc'sle. The foresail was hauled up, and the vessel came up head to wind, which drew the smoke aft ; the flames burst from the fore-hatches." The foremast boat by this time had caught fire. The mate sent men to clear away the boats from the side. The starboard quarter boat was lowered, but scarcely seemed to touch the water before it turned over and all on board were drowned. Hencoops, etc., were thrown overboard, but none availed to save life. "An attempt was then made to lower the long boat, but in the confusion she caught fire, and the effort was abandoned. There was then a rush for the port lifeboat, and from 30 to 40 people got in her, deponent being one. At daylight the starboard lifeboat was found full of people. Shouts were heard from the officer on board to come and take charge of her. The gear was then divided between the two boats, deponent's getting one sound oar and a broken one. The two boats kept near the ship till the afternoon of the 19th, when she sank. The boats then kept company until 21st November, when it began to blow, and they were separated. They were without provisions, water, mast, or sail. The wind being south, they -managed with the help of the footlines to rig a sail with one of the girls' petticoats and keep the boat on her course. By the 25th 'they were reduced to eight in number, of whom three were out of their minds. On 26th a barque passed, which they hailed, but were unseen. On 27th they were picked up by the s.s. British Sceptre, of Liverpool. The five then alive were treated with every kindness, but two soon died of exhaustion." The two other rescued men also gave evidence. "In the boat after leaving the ship there was very little talk. The biggest, fattest, and healthiest of us went off first. It was not from them that blood was obtained, but from other men." "I never __ but twice, but I drank whenever a vein was opened. It was very cold at night and hot in the day, the people having escaped with barely clothes to cover them."
Brig PATERSON, Waipara, December, 1874. Early in December, 1874, the Paterson was wrecked on the bar of the Waipara River. She blocked up the fairway, doing great injury to the river and harbour. An action at law followed, to recover damages and decide whose duty it was to remove the obstruction.
Barque COMET, February, 1875. Left Dunedin for Hobart. Never heard of again.
Schooner EUPHROSYNE, East Coast, March 16th, 1875. Sailed from Dunedin to Oamaru with a cargo of coals and woolpacks, but never arrived at her destination. Captain Edie, of s.s. Samson, saw her off Shag Point on 16th, but she was never seen again. On 25th the yacht Jessie Nicoll, under command of Pilot Stevens, was sent out to look for her, but without success. She must have foundered with all hands.
BOAT ACCIDENT, Orepuki, March 20th, 1875. At Orepuki three men lost their lives in a boat accident in the bay. The boat was washed whore, also the bodies of two men. Seven miners determined to make a, further search for the missing body, and on April 6 obtained the use of the Government whaleboat for that purpose. The mailman next morning reported having seen the boat in a damaged condition on the beach at Waka-pitu. Further search being made, the bodies of six of the seven men were found. The boat had been declared unsafe by ¦everal seafaring men, called, indeed, "the Government coffin." A submerged reef extends for nearly two miles from the land, over which the sea runs quite smoothly in fine weather. At the turn of the tide, however, breakers spring up without any warning, which would capsize anything in the nature of a boat. Assuming that the object of the poor fellows was to search among the rocks, they made a short cut across the reef, and paid the penalty with their lives.
Schooner ELDERSLIE, Oamaru, May 8th, 1875. Missed stays when trying to work out of the harbour. The anchor was let go, but failed to hold, and the Elderslie drove stem on till she took the ground about half-way between the breakwater and the old landing place. When the tide flowed she bulged and filled. On the 10th she was thrown high and dry on the rocks, a complete wreck.
Brig PRINCESS ATJCE and brig OYRENE, Timaru, May 10th, 1875. Went on shore in a gale. No lives lost. Totally wrecked.
Schooner PACIFIC, Auckland, June 3rd, 1875. Sailed from Auckland, and was never heard of again. Seven of a crew and one passenger.
Lyttelton Harbour, June 5th, 1875. Six men belonging to the barque Cyrene were
caught by a heavy squall, and a rope thrown to them from another boat was
unfortunately missed. The boat then headed for shore, striking the rock off
Sticking Point. One man was thrown out and eventually washed on the rocks. The
boat was found in Collan's Bay smashed to pieces:
Schooner SUCCESS. Long Beach, June 5th, 1875. From Timaru to Auckland. Wrecked during a terrific gale. Crew and passengers all lost. No information. Parts of the wreck and three bodies were found by a farmer in the neighbourhood.
Schooner ELIBANK CASTLE and schooner WILD WAVE, Ninety Mile Beach, June 8th, 1875. Totally wrecked. No lives lost.
Schooner DAUNTLESS, Moeraki, August 11th, 1875. For Wellington. Lost at sea. No news. Captain and crew of five missing.
Schooner TARAWERA, Sandy Bay, September 16th, 1875. When on her road to Lyttelton. Captain and all hands lost.
Cutter BLONDE, Auckland, October 16th, 1875. This boat was picked up as a derelict, having apparently been abandoned by her crew, of whom nothing more was ever heard.
S.s. BRUCE, Taiaroa Heads, October 23rd, 1875. A short time after leaving Timaru the weather, became thick, intensely dark after midnight. The captain thinking that- the Bruce had run her distance, the engines were stopped and a cast of the lead taken. Finding 17 fathoms of water, he decided to run three miles farther and then heave to for daylight. Within three minutes, however, she struck on a rock, and the unfortunate boat began to heel over until her decks were nearly perpendicular with the water. The passengers were safely taken on shore and made comfortable by the wife of the pilot. A quantity of wreckage was afterwards washed on shore, and also a part of the cargo.
Cutter WILL WASH, Stewart Island, November 22nd, 1875. Was struck by a heavy "buster," knocking her on to her beam ends, and filling her immediately. This occurred at dusk, and the men dung on to the wreck until 7 in the morning, when they managed to right the dingey and headed for Chalky Inlet. Here the boat was entirely wrecked by striking the rocks, and the unfortunate men were washed ashore. There they found a letter enclosed in a pickle bottle, written by Captain Fairchild a few months before. They stayed on that spot subsisting on shell fish for two days and nights, without fire or clothes except the wet ones they had on. On the third day they divided, two going towards the mountain and the other remaining by the coast, promising that whoever reached succor first should send help to the others. The man who stayed by the seaboard (M'Lean) camped at Chalky Inlet for two nights, then he made a raft of drift timber and crossed to the east side of Preservation Harbour. On December 7he succeeded in finding a hut, built by workmen who had been making a lighthouse, where he found matches, a tin of beef, some rice, biscuits and sugar. He then lighted a fire and dried his clothes, the rain having been incessant since leaving the cutter. Two days after a boat belonging to Riverton called in, and after a fortnight he reached that town. Before leaving a thorough search was made amongst the ranges, and signal fires were lighted for several days in order to attract the attention of the other two men, but without success. They were never heard of again.
LADY OF THE LAKE, Port Molyneux, December 29th, 1875. This steamer went on
shore owing to dense fog. She was commanded by the first mate, the captain being
detained on shore. The burning of the boat on the rocks was the first intimation
of danger. Immediately after the water broke into the engine room, the engineer
and fireman narrowly escaping with their lives. Fearing the boat would founder,
they immediately lowered the lifeboat, into which all got, including one lady
passenger, who stimulated the men in their efforts to save life. After six hours
of knocking about they succeeded in making land to leeward of False Island. The
steamer lay with her head in shore, the whole of her cabins, deck, wheel,
bulwarks, sails, and mainmast gone, hatches and iron bulwarks burst fore and
aft, cargo and timber washing in and out of the hold. A perfect wreck.
Schooner KATE MONAGHAN, Foxton, January 7th, 1876.Became a total wreck, having been abandoned in a dense fog.
Cutter KATE YOUNG, Raratonga, February 11th, 1876. Totally wrecked. No lives lost.
Schooner FLORENCE, Banks Peninsula, March 19th, 1876. Totally wrecked. Struck by a squall. One man lost. Fifteen minutes after striking the vessel went down. Captain and crew took to the boats, were driven 40 miles from land. Having no oars, they lashed pieces of the boat's lining together, used their shirts for sails, and so reached Lyttelton. The 1 cook, when endeavouring to get an oar, did not hear the captain call, and so was washed down with the boat.
Ship STRATHMORE, Crozet Islands, July 2nd, 1875. Captain Macdonald, 1472 tons, from London to Otago with emigrants. Sailed from London 17th April, 1875. All went well up to the 1st of July. In June the weather was so foggy they could not see the length of the ship, and the captain thought they would pass south of Crozet Islands. At 4 a.m. on July 1 the ship struck, and was wedged between two rocks. She swung by the fore part of the stern, leaning over submerged in deep water. It was intensely dark and thick. The captain called out to the passengers : " Good-bye ; it is all over. Save yourselves by the boats at once. By daylight the whole of the vessel was under water with the exception of the foc'sle head. Several people were on the roof of the deck house, and others in the rigging. The second mate and several others got the gig and dingey off the deck house, the captain and first mate having been washed overboard. George Crombie writes: "We launched the gig and made towards the rocks towering in front. One sugar loaf rock in particular was 70ft high. The gig returned late in the afternoon and took off five more passengers. Four rowers made up the boat's complement. The others remained on the wreck all night in misery and terror. At daylight the gig returned again, but the dingey did not return. This time she took off 11, which much overcrowded her ; but we lay in the bottom. The sea was calmer. A mile from where we struck we landed, finding the dingey and her passengers in safety. We had taken a few blankets and some sailor clothing. That night (July 2) the ship canted over and entirely disappeared. The life boat arrived with 19 passengers, so our total number was 49 souls out of 400. We found ourselves in a most desolate place, rocks piled on rocks, grass, and a few weeds. There were plenty of albatrosses, which we could at first easily knock down with a stick. They and the other sea birds were not in the least afraid of us. The island we were on was one of the 12 rocks called the Twelve Apostles ; the nearest island of any size was six miles off, but as our boats were washed away we had no means of visiting it. We found out afterwards that all these islands were uninhabited. We saved from the wreck, while floating about, two barrels of gunpowder, one cask of port wine, two cases rum, one brandy, two gin, one of preserves, one of boots,- eight tins of sweets (these tins afterwards made our pots). We also saved a passenger's box, which supplied us with blankets, knives, and spoons. Many of us had matches, and with the pieces of wood which we secured we made fires till all was burned up. Afterwards we burned the skins of birds, which answered well. The two first nights we had no shelter, the third night we had rigged up a leanto, made with stones and turf, which held the whole 48 (one of our number having died of exhaustion on the first day). We afterwards rigged up other shelters and divided ourselves into six messes, each doing its own cooking. Seabirds' eggs and boiled grass formed our sole menu. We found a spring of good water that was our great good fortune. By December our number was reduced to 44, at which it remained till our rescue on January 21, 1876, by the Young Phoenix.
During our weary stay we sighted four vessels, but they did not recognise us, though one came within two miles and must certainly have seen us." (This supposition was afterwards proved to be correct, as some of the passengers of the White Eagle, from London to Auckland, declared they saw signals of distress from the island near which they had been driven by stress of weather ; but the officers pooh-poohed the matter, and no information was given on arrival of the vessel in port). Other details say that the boats were all lost because there was no beach on the island, and though they were moored in smooth water, the first sea smashed them to pieces. This was a great misfortune, as the castaways were unable to get drift timber to mend them What they got by crossing the island and examining all corners was only enough to last them for firing for a month. They were successful in find ing a herb with tops like a carrot, which they ate. Those who died died chiefly of insufficient nourishment and frost bite, the cold being intense especially before the shelter was put up. It was remarked that tb« corpses never stiffened, and were quite pliable when buried.
The only woman saved was a Mrs Wordsworth, who was accompanied by her son. For these two a separate shelter was made at a distance from the others, and she was always treated by the other unfortunates with special care and attention. The conduct of the castaways throughout was uniformly good, though there was no recognised leader, and it was "every man for himself," yet the stronger were found in most cases willing to share the proceeds of their hunting expeditions with their weaker brethren. From the. first a sharp watch was kept. All the party took turns to watch the signal, a mast and blanket erected on the summit of a high rock. This was, however, felt to be insufficient to attract attention, so they determined to erect a tower 16ft wide and 25ft high on which to place the flag. They, however, only succeeded in getting up to the height of 18ft. owing to the roughness of the weather.
This signal was at last sighted by the American whaler Young Phoenix, which lowered two boats and agreed to take the castaways of but not that night, as it was getting dark. However, the captain took Mrs Wordsworth and her son and two or three others, and left bread and pork for the remainder. The next day as early as possible boats were sent ashore for the rest of the castaways. "We took crosses to plant at the head of the grave of our shipmates ; also a sealed bottle in which was a short account of the vessel, our wreck and hardships, which we planted underneath one of the. crosses." We were treated with the greatest kindness, being supplied with warm baths and new clothes, also with tobacco, which was a great treat after a six months abstinence. The captain of the Phoenix could not keep the 44 on board, and meeting the Sierra Morena on January 26, transhipped 20. The latter boat was bound for Currachee, and put into Galle, fearing shortness of water and provisions, and left the rescued men there. The Young Phoenix was bound for Mauritius, whither she carried the remainder of the castaways. Personal notes : "The most useful thing we had were the penguins. Their flesh and eggs we ate, the skin, after taking off most of the fat, we used for fuel, also for caps, shoes, trousers, and door screens ; bags to preserve the fat in and to carry water. We killed and preserved the fat of thousands for winter consumption and to burn in the lamps. The skins we kept to burn, as they burned best in a state of decay." " There was a sort of green tuber growing in a creeping form on the island, the stalk resembling a geranium. A handful of this and some raw fat was considered a luxury." The reason why these poor people suffered so much from frost bite was that their boots being worn out by the sharp rocks, they had to wrap their feet in young albatross skins, the fleshy side in. These raised large blisters, which, breaking, formed severe frost-bitten sores. "The case of boots found only contained ladies' boots, which we formed into 'lash ups,' in which our feet were always wet and uncomfortable."
On April 5th the survivors of the Strathmore were landed at Southampton and forwarded to their respective destinations. They spoke most highly of Mrs Wordsworth's heroic spirit under her privations. She was saved with only a nightdress and petticoat, which costume was afterwards supplemented with a pair of sailor's trousers and a pea jacket. Quartermaster Bill showed a peculiar kind of heroism by testing all the plants found, in his own person, before giving them as food to his companions. Extracts from Mr Wordsworth's narrative :
"The boats were lost in consequence of a gale blowing through a tunnel running through the island, and were found on the other side all smashed up. The first night my mother had a few planks to lie upon, but her legs were nearly broken by the number of people crowding in under the canvas. For the two following nights we slept in a sort of open cave, and though covered with frost and icicles hanging over our heads, we preferred it to our first experience. After this we got up a little shanty for ourselves. The food we chiefly lived on was albatross ; the young gave more eating than the old, being larger and heavier. Another bird we used we at first supposed to be mollymauk, but afterwards discovered them to be ' stink pots. ' They were very large birds, with strong beaks. I remember getting a bite from one which hurt through a pair of Wellington boots, trousers and drawers. We caught them by chasing them into rough places where they could not easily rise, and killed them with clubs. Our favourite vegetable was a sort of moss with long, spreading roots ; but we were often so hungry that we ate dirt and all. Owing to the season of the year the nights were very long (15 hours), which we tried to spend in sleep. Our dreams were generally of food in some shape, but there was always a feeling in the background which spoiled the dream feast. When my mother came on shore she was wet through and starving with cold. One of the sailors took the shirt off his back and gave it to her ; she also got a pair of trousers and men's drawers, a pair of stockings, and an overcoat and other odds and ends, all given by the sailors. The coarse, Tank flesh disagreed with her, and she suffered constantly from low fever and a dreadful bowel complaint. She was reduced to a perfect skeleton, and was so weak that I had to turn her round in the night when a change of position was needed. Although very subject to rheumatism, she was never troubled with it while on the island. Our clothes were seldom quite dry, and we often lay in downright slush, with the rain coming down on our faces ; but we none of us took cold, owing to the ammonia in the guano. Nearly all suffered from diarrhoea, &c, and the wine and spirits were invaluable. A small saltcellar full of wine or spirits and water was served out nightly till finished, except a bottle of wine and one of rum buried for the use of the sick. Two dishes I prepared for my mother: brains of birds fried, and the heart and liver minced with moss. We had no salt, and flavoured our dishes with gunpowder and sea water. At last the firewood was all finished except a few sticks we kept for cleaning birds ; we tried to keep the fire going with a piece of turf, but it only smouldered slowly. Luckily someone threw a skin on the fire, and to the delight and surprise of everyone it burned pretty well. To save our few matches we scraped the fat off the skins and melted it into oil. We seldom could clean ourselves ; the dirt was too fast on to permit of cold water taking it off. We had a mode of cleaning our faces by means of the bird skins, rubbing ourselves with the greasy side first, thereby softening the dirt, and afterwards removing it with the feathers. At one time we were very hard up for food, having only two birds remaining. We were very weak and low-spirited, when going to the other side of the island we saw a number of large mud nests, and looking down beheld a number of beautiful white birds (mollymauks). These were so tame they flocked down at our feet. We killed about 100. Such a feast of tails we had! This appendage was cut of close to the back, the long feathers pulled out, and the tail being burned for a time in the fire was considered a great delicacy, and the perquisite of the hunter. Also another real delicacy came at this time : mutton birds, and other similar birds, likewise burrowers ; and later on we got some eggs."
Brigantine WALTER GLENDINNING, Caroline Islands, March 30th, 1876. The weather was northerly and squally. The vessel missed stays and drifted on the beach, and all efforts to get her off proved unavailing. By morning she was high and dry, but became a total wreck during the day. The master was exonerated from all blame. There was little or no cargo. No lives lost.
Brigantine HELEN, East Coast, May 11th, 1876. Totally wrecked. No lives lost.
Schooner ELIZA M'PHEE, Kapiti Island, June 10th, 1876. The weather setting in she stood on and off the island, and endeavoured to anchor, but the chain parted. There was 2ft of water in the hold, and as it was still gaining, it was determined to beach the vessel. She struck on a ledge of rock, and the crew and captain landed in a boat. The vessel became a total wreck, and the accident was accounted for by the starting of a leak in her bottom.
Barque CZAREWITCH, Jackson's Bay, June 24th, 1876. She left the Bluff June 8th, leaking at the rate of an inch an hour. On the 10th she was leaking at the rate of two, the weather being fine, with a light easterly wind. On the 11th the wind increased to a gale, and the pumps had to be kept going every two hours. Luckily it was found practicable to connect with the donkey engine, so that the heaviest part of the work was done by steam ; but this failing to keep the leak under, the crew protested against any further attempt being made to go westward. She was then 520 miles from the port to which she was bound. The captain went below to the forepeak, and could .hear the water rushing in and noticed all the port bow in motion, leaving the stem at every pitch she made. There was then fully 3ft of water in the hold, and the coal was nearly exhausted, and they had to use green timber (part of the cargo). The pumps, too, were frequently choked with gravel, which the ship had formerly carried as cargo. To cap the unfortunate boat's trials, the engines broke down, and became quite useless. Fagged out and dispirited, the crew begged the captain to make the nearest port to save their lives. The barque was accordingly headed for Jackson's Bay, the leak meantime increasing at a dangerous rate, the water rushing in at the stern as well as forward The crew wished to take to the boats and abandon her, but the persuaded them to remain, and she was anchored in Jackson's Bay. The captain went on shore for help, but found only two men. The crew positively refused to remain in the vessel all night, so they landed and erected a tent. In the morning she was full of water up to the beams. On the 30th the poor old Czarewitch was completely broken up. The crew saved nothing but a few sails and running gear. The character of the boat had long been bad, and she had found great difficulty in shipping men for her last trip.
Schooner AGNES, Chatham Islands, June, 1876. Captain, seven of
a crew, and 17 passengers, including two chief runholders on the island, lost
their lives. The schooner became a total wreck. No further information.
Barque LADY FRANKLIN, Kaipaxa, July 25th, 1876. Totally wrecked in port during the absence of the master and mate, whose certificates were suspended for a month.
Schooner DAGMAR, Nuggets, August 10th, 1876. It was blowing very fresh when she left Catlin's River, and there was a nasty roll on the bar, in crossing which the Dagmar plunged and struck the ground heavily forward. The shock was very severe, and fearing damage the captain (Connor) told one of the men to try the pump. Finding it would not work he reported " all right." Sail was then made. In 20 minutes the pumps were again tried, and water came immediately. The captain then told the mate to go down and lift the afterpeak scuttle and see if water were visible in her run. For the first time since leaving the slide of the cabin companion was opened, and water was seen running over the floor. She was immediately headed for the Nuggets, from which she was a mile distant. A squall striking her when half the distance from shore she went over on her starboard beam ends. As she was going over the crew cut the lashing of the boat, which was unfortunately swamped. The crew (four in number) then clambered on to the weather side, holding on to the rigging and chain plates. The sea was very high, breaking over them incessantly. Twice the captain and mate were washed off, but luckily got hold of some of the gear and scrambled back again. They were saved in the nick of time by the crew of the cutter Jane, which was in company, and thus prevented from adding another to those mournful tragedies of the sea of which one never hears the result.
Schooner FLYING CLOUD, Charleston, August, 1876. Totally wrecked. All hands lost. A little wreckage picked up. From New Zealand to New York.
Schooner STRATHNAVER, Kaipara Harbour, October 3rd, 1876. She 'capsized suddenly, drove ashore, and became a total wreck. The mate lost his life.
Schooner ORITI, Queen Charlotte Sound, October 28th, 1876. The weather was nearly a perfect calm. As the ebb tide set in the ship lost steerage way, and drifted helplessly broadside on to the rocks and soon became a total wreck, the beach being strewn with wreckage for miles.
Steamer OTAGO, Chasland's Mistake, December 4th, 1876. Captain Calder, 640
tons, 87 passengers, from Dunedin to Melbourne.
" She left Port Chalmers a grand steamer at all points, ably commanded and
officered, well manned and appointed, and going a road she had often travelled.
One scarcely knew whether to be more surprised or shocked at the news of her
total wreck within so short a distance
of her starting place." It was her seventy-ninth trip between Melbourne and New
Zealand. Everything was going well when the captain went to his berth at 1.30,
leaving the second officer in charge, with instructions to call him should the
weather become thick or hazy, it being then perfectly clear. At 2.30, though
there was a slight fog at times, he was roused by hearing the second officer
shout " Starboard !"
He then hurried on deck, and the first thing he saw was a .huge cliff towering
over his head. The next instant the steamer struck and ran between the ledges of
rock. The water quickly rose and extinguished the fires. The boats were cleared
away, and at daylight
the passengers, with some of the luggage, were landed on the sandy beach a
little to the north of the wreck. There was no confusion on board, the
passengers helping the seamen to clear away the boats. The ladies and children
were taken first. A tent was erected on the beach, and a fire lit and
refreshments served round. A signal of distress was hoisted at the mizzen peak
and signal fires were kept burning all day on the cliffs, which were very steep
and covered by dense bush growing to the very edge of the sea. Several journeys
were made to the steamer, though the sea was very rough, the boat being capsized
twice, one man nearly drowned. However, a large quantity of luggage and other
things was brought on shore. The castaways spent a most miserable night,
passengers and crew being huddled together, and suffering much from the attacks
of sandflies. Next day the wreck was so shaky that the stay of the men on board
was of the shortest. Great was the joy of all when a steamer the Express was
sighted, for immediately after landing the passengers Captain Calder had
despatched a boat commanded by the chief officer to Waikawa with instructions to
send telegrams to the Bluff and Dunedin. This was responded to by the despatch
of the Express from Port Chalmers, which called at Waikawa for the boat and
crew. When the rescuers appeared the ladies rushed down to meet them,
enthusiastically cheering Messrs Donaldson, Melrose, and the crew. All deserved
great praise for their courage and coolness, " especially the stewardess Mrs
Funnell. She thought not of herself, but bestowed all her help upon the others,
and though she lost everything but what she stood in, she during the day
sacrificed a portion of that to others who needed it more." The Express dropped
anchor within three or four hundred yards of the sandy beach where the
shipwrecked people were encamped. They were immediately taken on board. No
casualty of any kind occurred, though all the passengers were more or less
drenched by the surf, and a nasty sea was running. The Express arrived in
Dunedin the same evening, amid general excitement. The ladies looked very worn
and fatigued, and the scanty and impoverished toilets of several were suggestive
of haste and disaster, one poor soul being wrapped in a blanket. The behaviour
of Captain Calder was so admirable throughout as to merit, and receive, the
greatest admiration from all. He had a courteous and reassuring answer for every
one who applied to him. His coolneίί and absence of flurry did more than
anything else to avert a panic, and every passenger owed him a debt of gratitude
for misfortune avoided and many lives spared. They practically acknowledged this
by presenting him with a suitable testimonial. The second mate was censured, and
his certificate suspended for two years. The boilers of the s.s. Otago are still
visible, as shown in our illustration, which is copied from a photo taken in the
beginning of tbia year (1899) by Mr W. R. F. Fraser, of Wyndham, assisted by Mr
Hunt, of Chasland's State farm. It was taken at great risk and under most
unfavourable circumstances, and is probably the only view ever obtained of these
curious relics. It was taken from a narrow
ledge less than a foot wide and probably 80ft or more sheer up from the gulch ;
and to obtain it the artist had to stand on the shoulders of his guide, who in
his turn stood on a narrow ledge, some 12ft or 14ft above the rocks. Mr Fraser
was also obliged to hold tightly to a bunch of grass with his" right hand to
steady himself, doing all the work of the camera with his left hand J and
holding it in position on the ledge with his left elbow. . Which may certainly
be described as photography under difficulties. ".The dark streaks at the back
are the kelp tangles at the base of the steep rocky cliff."
Barque WILLIAM ACKERS, Waipapa Point, December 12, 1876. Totally wrecked. Captain and seven men drowned, three saved.
Schooner HANNAH BARRETT, Tory Channel, January 16th, 1877. At 11.30 p.m. she missed Tory Channel and went into a false bay. Both anchors were dropped, and next morning the crew tried to warp her out. Both warps broke, and she drifted on the rocks. The captain decided to abandon her, and ensure the safety of the crew.
S.s. HALCYON, Orepuki, February 15th, 1877. A1l went well till after leaving Centre Island, when a very heavy sea was encountered. Finding it impossible to make Orepuki Bay, the captain returned to the lee of Centre Island, and remained there at anchor all night. A start was made next morning at 5, after some difficulty with the engines. From this point, as a precautionary measure, the vessel steamed very slowly back into the bay at the rate of a mile and a-half an hour. There it was found that ' a heavy sea was rolling in. After consultation with the crew, Captain Deuchras decided on making the attempt to land passengers and cargo. Two female passengers and some children were safely landed, but the wind rising no cargo was attempted. The boat then steamed very slowly out of the bay. Shortly after starting the fan of the screw got foul of a rock. She was stopped and the screw cleared, but she slowly drifted towards the rocks, the swell lifting her clean upon them, and she became a total wreck.
Ship OCEAN MAIL, Chatham Islands, March 19th, 1877. Bound from Wellington to London with wool. Vessel a total wreck. All hands saved. She struck on a rock called the French Rock on - the north-west side of the island. Passengers and crew, 60 in all.
Barque ISABELLA RIDLEY, Timaru, April 19th, 1877. There was a heavy sea, but no wind. The captain tried to beat out, but had no wind. He then headed for the beach, flying a signal of distress. , A rocket was thrown, and the crew were safely landed. About a thousand persons witnessed the affair, it being a calm, lovely, sunny day. The barque crushed all her lower timbers, and soon went to pieces. No fewer than five other boats were drifted in on the same day, but they were not seriously damaged.
Barque FERONIA, Kaipara Heads, May 15th, 181 7. Totally wrecked. No lives lost.
Schooner KAIKOURA, West Coast, June, 1877. Totally wrecked, No further information. All lives lost.
Cutter DANTE, between Raglan and Waikara Heads, July 9th, 1877. Mr Bradly, owner of the cutter, searched the beach and found utensils, spars, candles, and a bull dog, but no trace was ever found of the boat or crew. Supposed to have foundered with all hands.
Schooner MERA, Hokianga, July 16th, 1877. After crossing the bar the wind fell. The captain let fall his anchors. Heavy rollers set in, and the masts were cut away in hopes of saving the ship. The anchors parted during the night, and the boat went on shore and became a total wreck.
Schooner BENCLEUGH, Marcquarie Islands, August sth, 1877. From Dunedin. Was driven ashore in a heavy gale, and became a total wreck. No lives lost.
Basque ROBINA DUNLOP, Turakina River, August 14th, 1877. Totally wrecked. Crew saved.
Schooner KIUMA, near Raglan, August 15th, 1877. Lost with all hands. Quantity of wreckage found.
S.s. LIONEL, Wangape, August 21st, 1877. Totally wrecked on the bar. Captain and three men drowned. Fifty persons witnessed the accident, but none could help.
Barque QUEEN OF THE SOUTH, Acton Reef, November 13th 1877. Total wreck. Crew and passengers saved ; cargo lost.
Cutter DIDO, Totaranui, November 23rd, 1877. Missed stays and ran on the rocks, becoming a total wreck. No lives lost.
QUEEN BEE, Spit, Nelson, August 9th, 1877. A1l went well till the boat came ahead of the Spit light. She then bumped so heavily on a sunken reef that the men could not stand, and the water began to break over her, and she was quickly submerged. She carried a number of passengers, among them several well known persons. These were placed in a boat against the wish of the captain, who thought she was overloaded, and wanted some to remain on board until he could construct a raft ; but they persisted, and the boat drifted into French Pass, where her crew was rescued by the Aurora. The captain and crew built a raft, to which they fastened a small boat to guide and steady it. The sea was tremendous, and they were washed on land, the boat capsizing, drowning the carpenter and smashing the feet of a passenger. They were for some days with nothing to eat or drink. They afterwards found water, and the mate ignited a fire with a burning glass ; but there was still nothing to eat, for they were on a small strip of land only a few yards in extent. In desperation they set fire to some bushes, and so attracted the attention of the Manawatu. They were on this miserable place three days, and were in a terrible state of exhaustion, not being able to catch fish or birds, and when found the cook had given up hope and lain himself down to die. They were, however, all ultimately saved, and the people in the boat (which was for some time supposed to be lost) took the adventure in good part, and seem rather to have enjoyed it, all being well that ends well. Inquiry held, and captain's certificate suspended for three years ; second mate's for six months.
Schooner NELLIE, near Tauranga, January 14th, 1878. She ran ashore and became a complete wreck. All hands and stores saved.
Schooner EXCELSIOR, near Oamaru, January 20th, 1878. Missing. Supposed to have foundered in a heavy storm, being ballasted with shingles. Captain and five men lost.
Schooner RAVEN, near Picton, January 21st, 1878. Missing. Was searched for by the Hinemoa, but nothing found.
Barque WILLIAM GIFFORD, Mataura, May 10th, 1878. Wrecked in consequence of injuries received from a tidal wave.
Schooner HELEN, Whangarura, June, 1878.
Abandoned. No further information.
Barque KEDAH, Cook Island, June, 1878. She sprang a leak in a hurricane, and notwithstanding all efforts became water-logged. For 48 days the crew remained on the ship, living on what they could fish up from the hold, and water from a condenser which they made out of an old oil can. The sea beginning to wash over her, the crew made a raft and floated on shore. Two men were drowned, and one afterwards died on the island. The survivors, who suffered terribly from thirst, were rescued by the crew of the schooner Laetitia.
Schooner MERLIN, Stevens Island, August 15th, 1878. Totally wrecked. Crew saved.
Barque MELROSE, Timaru, September 3rd, 1878. Went on shore in a heavy gale. Captain was washed overboard while attempting to seize a rocket line ; another man was lost, rest of the crew saved. Totally wrecked, not a splinter remaining. At the inquiry it was , proved that she was utterly unseaworthy, portions of her beams being "so spongy that you could put your finger clean through." It was only sheer recklessness that induced her owners to send her into an open roadstead like Timaru.
Ketch FANNY. Lost at same time and place, when three other boats were seriously injured.
Barque FELIX STOWE, Otaki, October 28th, 1878. Totally lost on the beach, which was strewn with wreckage. Captain Pigot was missing, and never found, though a body found six months later, completely buried in the sand, was at first supposed to be his, but was otherwise identified.
Schooner ELIZABETH, Nelson, October 30th, 1878. Abandoned and broken up.
Schooner ROSE OF EDEN, Wellington, January 27th, 1879. Struck on a rock in Tory Channel, and became a total wreck. No lives lost.
Brig WOLVERINE, Bird Island, January 30th, 1879. Total wreck, No lives lost.
Schooner CLYDE, Ninty Mile Beach, February Ist, 1879. Abandoned and afterwards washed on shore. The crew, consisting of captain, six men, and one passenger, were never heard of. Supposed to have taken to the boat, and so perished in a gale.
Ship HYDERABAD, Wellington, February 10th, 1879. This ship went on to a reef. Passengers and crew were saved, and most of her cargo discharged. She was got off, but when outside the harbour she sprang a bad leak. Sank in deep water, and was abandoned.
S.s. TAUPO, Tauranga Harbour, February 18th, 1879. After leaving Auckland, she had a good run in fine weather down the coast. On rounding Tauranga Heads she was met by a strong ebb tide, which carried her out of her bearings. The ship struck heavily, and canted shorewards. The engine room filled rapidly, and the machinery became useless. Boats were lowered, and all passengers safely put on shore. They were called hastily out of their cabins, and had hardly time to dress, the captain fearing that the ship would be completely submerged. Captain's certificate suspended for six months, with costs of inquiry. After the expenditure of two years' energy and much capital, she was raised and attached to the Wellington by four warps at 5 p.m., May sth, 1881. A man stood by with an axe the whole time, ready to cut the lines at an instant's notice. All went well till between 8 and 9, when it was found that she had a leak. The greatest efforts were made to pump her dry, but ineffectually. The men beat a precipitate retreat in the boat, leaving three on board to haul in the warps. These left the ship at 8.30, but she did not sink until an hour later. The sight then presented was such as to make the blood run cold. Men who had spent a lifetime on the sea said they wished never to witness such a sight again. She began slowly settling down aft, until she stood right on end, 40ft above the water, and the keel plainly visible then there came a frightful screaming of wind through the ventilators and hatches and a crash of timber as if the decks were breaking up. The bursting of the boilers and escape of steam added to the ghastliness of the occasion. When finally she went down there was heard a most unearthly sound like a shriek, which struck terror to the hearts of all who heard it."
P.s. GEELONG, Wangape Heads, March 14th, 1879. She crossed the outer bar in safety, struck on the spit inside, and broke up almost at once. All hands saved, with the exception of two Maoris, man and woman. Two ladies caught hold of a cask, and drifted four miles before they reached the shore.
Schooner SHEPHERDESS, Kaikoura, May 30. Parted her mooring during a heavy gale. Was driven on the rocks, and broke up immediately.
Cutter PHOENIX, Takitu, June 18th, 1879. Stranded, and afterwards blown on shore, where she became a total wreck.
Cutter ANNIE, Wanganui Heads, June Ist, 1879. Totally wrecked. No lives lost. Cargo could not be saved.
Cutter HERO, Queen Charlotte Sound, May, 1880. Lost. No further information. Supposed to have foundered with all hands.
Ketch ANNA, Bluff, May 21st, 1880. Totally wrecked off the outer sandspit. All hands lost (three).
Ketch FANNY THORNTON, South Head, Wellington, May 24th, 1880. Total wreck. Crew saved.
Schooner MERLIN, Steven's Island, June, 1880. Missing. Wreckage discovered, but no further information.
Ship CALYPSO, Mouth of Thames, April 14th, 1880. From Dunedin for London. Run into while at anchor by a small steamer, the Hawk. It was a fine clear night, and the ship and her lights could be plainly seen. All lives were saved, though crew and passengers lost all their effects. Captain exonerated from blame.
Schooner ARCADIA, unknown, April, 1880. She left Hawke's Bay for Auckland, March 9th, 1880, with crew of five and three passengers, and has never been heard of since.
Schooner COLLEEN BAWN, Cook Strait, May 6th, 1880. She left Wellington for Havelock on May Ist, 1880, four of a crew and three passengers, and was never heard of again. She is supposed to have foundered in a heavy gale on May 6th. She was an old boat in bad condition.
Schooner PONEKE, unknown, June, 1880. She left Onehunga for Picton, June 11th, 1880. Was seen off Greymouth, and has never been heard of since.
Cutter THREE BROTHERS, unknown, July, 1880. She left Great Barrier Island for Auckland on July 2, 1880, with crew of three, and has never since been heard of.
Schooner JANE HANNAH, Akaroa Harbour, July 3rd, 1880. Supposed to have been driven on shore in a heavy gale. All hands (four) lost.
Ketch SARAH AND MARY, Queen Charlotte Sound, August 9th, 1880. Total wreck. No lives lost. Cable parted owing to carelessness of master, who was censured, and had to pay costs of inquiry.
Schooner SOUTHERN QUEEN, Amuri, Bluff, August 26th, 1880. Cable parted in a storm, which drove the vessel on to a reef. All hands (two) lost.
Cutter STAFFA, Tonga Harbour, August 31st, 1880. Total wreck No lives lost.
Schooner KAURI, Waiheke Island, September 1st, 1880. Total wreck. No lives lost.
S.s. RANGATIRA, Waitara, September 7th, 1880. Totally wrecked. No lives lost. Owing to carelessness. Master reprimanded, chief suspended for six months.
Brigantine HANNAH BROOMFIELD, Pencarrow Head, October 4th, 1880. Total wreck. No lives lost.
Brigantine JAMES A. STEWART, North Spit, October 7th, 1880. Wind dropped and vessel drifted on to the breakers. All hands (seven) lost.
.Schooner HETTIE, Great Barrier Island, December, 1880. Vessel driven on rocks while getting under way. Total wreck. No lives lost.
S.s. PIAKO, Whangarei Harbour, January 1st, 1881. She struck on a sunken rock and sank in Whangarei Harbour. A week later she was' raised. Soon after she struck again and- was abandoned.
Schooner. LADY DON, Waipu River, January 2nd, 1881. Total wreck. No lives lost.
Brigantine ACTIVE, Samoa, January 18th, 1881. Drifted ashore in a calm and became a total wreck. Crew, passengers, and part of cargo saved.
Brig CLEMATIS, Banks Peninsula, February 21st, 1881. Stranded. Total wreck. No lives lost.
Schooner ISABELLA PKATT, Auckland, February 22nd, 1881. Collided with the screw steamer Albion. The schooner sank immediately. All hands saved. The schooner's lights could not be seen until too late. After the collision some of the rigging became entangled in the steamer's boom, enabling the six men on board to scramble on to her deck. The hole made in the Albion about a foot and a-half was stuffed up with bedding, and she was towed into port in that condition.
Barque JANUS, Awanui Heads, March 22nd, 1881. Master mistook Awanui Port for Mongonui, and drove his ship on the rocks, where she soon became a total wreck. No lives lost.
S.s. TARARUA, Waipapa Point, April 30th, 1881. In fine weather, with a considerable number of passengers and a~ large cargo, the s.s. Tararua, a good and tried boat, 563 tons, left Port Chalmers for the Bluff on her way to Hobart and Melbourne, April 28th, 1881. On the following day, no news having reached town of her arrival at the Bluff, considerable anxiety was felt especially as the weather was hazy. Late in the afternoon the news arrived that the vessel had gone ashore near Waipapapa Point. At 5 the s.s. Hawea was despatched to the scene of the disaster. On the way down she picked up one of the Tararua' s lifeboats, with second officer, six men, and one passenger on board. On reaching the scene of the disaster nothing was visible of the ill-fated boat except the tops of the masts ; the waters were strewn with wreckage, and nothing was to be seen of her living freight. For miles round the waves were strewn with wreckage of all kinds, and floating among these, tied on to a pillow, was a fair child, apparently asleep. The rescuer 's caught at the little body, exclaiming, " Oh, we have saved a child !" But the little one was too soundly asleep to waken at their call, and the body was reverently laid on the deck of the steamer. The passenger already referred to was called on to identify it, and with a scream of horror fell senseless. It was his own child. Those who heard that cry said that it rang in their ears for weeks. There were 120 souls on board when the Tararua left Dunedin, and of these only 12 were saved of the crew and eight passengers. Mr Hill (father of the child), told the following story: "The ship struck about 5 a.m. on the 29th. The night was still, very dark, and there was a thick haze over everything. I went to look for my wife and child, and found her washing about the deck with the child in her arms. The vessel was breaking heavily on the rocks, and the sea washing over her. All was confusion, women and children screaming. I told my wife to hold on to a stanchion, and I went to see if there was any means of getting a boat. One boat was stove in ; the next was lowered, the captain putting the second mate in charge, and any men who could swim, so that they might carry news to the land. This boat got close in shore, and a man swam from it and landed safely. It then returned to the ship, and took six passengers, who were cautioned not to go unless they could swim. Only three of these were successful in gaining the shore. The captain said he would not risk sending any more that way, and told me to take my wife and child into the smoking room, as it would be safer there. Seeing hat looked like a smoother place amid the reef I begged the captain to let some of us go and try if we could not effect a landing there. He did so, but on coming there we found it so rough that it was impossible to approach. We returned to the ship, but could not get on board owing to the high seas. We then went to meet the Hawea, having kept near the Tararua until 2.30 p.m."
The cook said: "The chief mate's boat was sent out in charge of Mr Lindsay, crew, and two passengers. This ooat was swamped, but eight out of the nine men it contained were saved. I assisted to take the passengers out of the saloon and place them in the smoking cabin There were five ladies and several children. When the tide had gone down a little Captain Garrard asked me to go down and cook some meat, which I did, and served it out along with coffee. The steward to.d me to get meat, bread, and coffee ready for landing, which I did. My galley afterwards filling with water I went on deck. At 2 p.m. the ship was fast breaking up, and drifted further on shore. The captain then ordered all the women to the foc'sle head. He carried many of them himself on to the bridge, saying ; " I have done all I can ; I have no boats available. The tide will be out in another half hour, and I will try to do the best I can.' The ship was shortly afterwards struck by a heavy sea, the rail was carried away, and I and 16 others were washed into the sea. I kept a young lady afloat for a few minutes, when she was washed from my hold. I then made for the shore, and found a lot of wreckage floating about, which I got clear of with great difficulty, and was so exhausted on reaching the shore that I had to be dragged in. At 5 I saw a lot of people hanging in the rigging, the captain among them. The engineers were on the foc'sle head. One had had his leg broken earlier in the day."
The crew behaved very steadily, but the passengers seemed to lose their heads. They all came crowding up at once, and for some minutes there was great difficulty in controlling them. Some of the passengers, in their anxiety to get saved, jumped into the boats before they left the swings ; by doing this they hindered the crew greatly. The captain had to threaten to use force to keep them back. Things became quieter by degrees. From the time the chief mate's boat reached the shore and capsized it was seen that nothing could be done for the passengers, the dingey and cutter having also been carried off by a heavy sea there were then no boats left. At 9 a.m. the tide was flowing, and it was the opinion of the chief mate that after 11 nothing could have been done, even if tb/iy had had boats, as the sea was breaking over her heavily. At a- ky early stage the saloon had been flooded, and the women having been driven thence to the smoking room and foc'sle, finally took refuge in the rigging. From noon the people on shore could watch the others being washed overboard, as they were not more than 1000 yards apart. At 2.30 a great sea swept the foc'sle and greatly diminished the numbers clustered there, the purser and his wife being among them. The cook states that just before the wave came the purser was kissing his wife and consoling her, saying "that if things cmc to the worst and they had to go they must bear up bravely." The afternoon passed over drearily. "The people on board seemed to be behaving with great calmness, as if they were prepared for any fate." Darkness came on, and the survivors lit a great fire of the wreckage. It may be imagined how the unfortunates on the rigging must have envied those on shore, as, unseen themselves in the darkness, they could see their late fellow voyagers sitting round the fire. At 7 p.m. the s.s. Kakanui came from the Bluff, and as the lights on that boat were seen by those on the Tararua a cheer from the vessel was heard. But the Kakanui could do nothing, and the hopes of all on board the ill-fated vessel must have sunk to zero. "At 25 minutes to 3 on Saturday morning (30th) those on shore heard a noise as of a series of cracks, then a terrible cry a howl of terror and dismay. It seemed like one sustained cry and then silence. It was the silence of death. In the morning there was not a vestige of the Tararua except a topmast spar that moved to and fro with each wave." As showing the violence of the sea we give the narrative of the man who swam on shore to send the ill news: ''When we were about 500 yards from the ship and about the same distance from the shore, the mate told me to stand by and he would give me a chance in the first lull. I jumped, and had no trouble till I was in the Burf, which was so heavy that I was rolled over many times. However, I kept my senses, and at last got in on top of a breaker. I was, however, so cold that I had to run up and down on the beach to circulate . the blood. When a little warm I made for a house about half a mile off, and asked them to send a man to telegraph that the Tararua had struck, and required assistance."
The fact that the first telegram announced the safety of all was because, apparently, no one of those who came from the wreck or of the settlers round realised the gravity of the situation. There are two or three boat harbours on the coast line, one of them within a mile of the spot where the accident occurred. However, no one on board knew of them ; if they had, the big boat brought to shore by the chief officer ¦ could have landed perhaps 40 passengers at a time. As it was the only chance would have been to stand out to sea and to do this would have seemed selfish, as there were not boats enough to save all. Not a single woman or child was saved, as they declined to enter the boats and risk the terrible landing, which seemed certain death.
Some incidents: One of the A.B.s was on his way to Melbourne with his wife and child, and was ordered into the boat by the captain. He then went to procure clothing for them, and lashed his wife to the mast with her shawl. After placing with her all his money (£l9) and his watch, the captain took the child and he entered the boat. The poor man was afterwards found on the beach with the tattered shawl in his hands all that was left to him of his lost dear ones.
A Mr Rodgers missed his passage at Port Chalmers, and went overland. He had brought some birds with him from Sydney, and took a friend from Dunedin to the Port to give him one of the birds. After doing so he walked up the wharf with his friend, not realising that the boat was so near her departure. On hearing the whistle he ran down to the end of the wharf, only in time to see the steamer sheer off. He got into a waterman's boat, but failing to catch the Tararua, returned to port, blaming himself in no measured terms for having missed his passage.
Captain Garrard was highly esteemed. He was the son of a revenue officer at Home, and had passed a very successful school and college career. He was a total abstainer and an experienced navigator, having been wrecked on more than one occasion, his coolness and presence of mind proved of the greatest value in saving life and property. He was a young man (29), but had seen 15 years' service, and was a general favourite. His loss was deeply felt, especially by his bride elect, who was anxiously expecting his return. This lady was Miss Buckhurst, of Melbourne. The shock caused her a serious illness, and for some time she lay in an unconscious state. Captain Garrard is described by Mr J. C. Firth, of Auckland, as a fine example of a " light, active, courteous, lively young gallant ; one of those who carry the flag of England across every sea, giving abundant promise that either in peace or war England may safely depend on her brave toilers of the sea."
The inquiry was a long and searching one. The verdict blamed the master for not knowing the coast better ; and the chief officer for a, like ignorance, and also for not taking his boat out to sea. It was also considered that help could have been sent sooner from the nearest ports so as to have attempted a rescue from the water before it was too late. It was recommended that a lighthouse should be erected on the point (which was afterwards done), that all passenger vessels in New Zealand waters should carry sufficient life belts for all persons on board, that crews should be exercised in the management of boats at stated intervals, &c. The officers' certificates were returned.
Schooner AMARANTH, near Timaru, May 1st, 1881. Vessel fouled the schooner Circe in a strong gale, and then went ashore. No lives lost.
Schooner POLICEMAN, Ahipara, May 24th, 1881. Vessel lost through springing a leak, when it became impossible to keep the water down owing to the pumps being damaged. No lives lost.
Brig PAKEHA, Ninty Mile Beach, June 11th, 1881. From Kaipara to Dunedin. All went well until Friday, the 10th, when a heavy gale was experienced, accompanied by blinding sheets of rain. The vessel was old and laboured heavily. When within 12 miles, dead reckoning of Akaroa Heads, she sprang a leak and became unmanageable. To save life and property, Captain Brewer put the vessel before the wind with the intention of seeking shelter under Banks Peninsula. She was kept running before a furious gale all Friday night and part of Saturday morning. The sails were blown clean out, and seeing his dangerous position the captain decided to run her on shore. She thus lost way, and the seas began to break over her. All hands were swept .off into the raging foam; ..only one out of the eight men managed to cling to some driftwood, and so, got ashore. The Pakeha was then smashed into thousands of pieces, and in a short time these disappeared from view.
Schooner DIDO, unknown, June, 1881. Supposed to have foundered in a heavy gale. Life buoy with " Dido "on it picked up in Palliser Bay, All hands (five) lost.
Schooner ELIZA M'PHEE, Waikawa Beach, July 8th, 1881. Strong tide caused cables to part, and ebb tide set her on shore. No lives lost.
Schooner OVALAU, Society Islands, July 13th, 1881. Vessel lost through wind falling to a dead calm when she was in a strong current, which took her upon the rocks. No lives lost.
Schooner BEE, Kaikoura, July 18th, 1881. Supposed to have foundered off Kaikoura in a heavy gale. All hands (three) lost.
Schooner MAGGIE PATTERSON, Pencarrow Head, July 19th, 1881. Ran on a rock, which was mistaken for one near the lighthouse, instead of which it proved to be the extreme end of Barrett's reef. All saved.
P.s. SAMSON, Waitara River, July 23rd, 1881. Lost in crossing the bar, which she had done several times before with impunity, even when the warning signal was up. Master censured.
Ketch XXX, Lyttelton Harbour, July 22nd, 1881. Vessel was hauled up on shore, where she was burned, but there was no evidence to show how or by whom.
Schooner RONA, S. Kaipara, August 12th, 1881. Vessel drifted ashore bottom upwards, and was burned by the natives, and a boat of hers was found in Te Kopuru with a dead body made fast to the stern ring-bolt. Five men were on board the Rona, which is supposed to have foundered in a heavy gale.
Schooner ORWELL, Kingsmill Group, August 26th, 1881. Wind and heavy sea drove vessel on shore. No lives lost.
Schooner Owake, unknown, August, 1881. Vessel sailed from Greymouth for Dunedin on August 22nd, 1881, and has not since been heard of. She carried a crew of five hands. The hull was found December 14, 1887, by two old diggers. It was identified by a former sailor, named Maher, who attempted to remove the figure-head, but failed because a storm came on. It was ultimately broken up by the tide.
Barque ENGLAND'S GLORY, Bluff Harbour, November 7th, 1881. Wreck caused by error of judgment on part of pilot in altering ship's course so as to pick up pilot boat, thus bringing her too close in shore, when she failed to " pay off," and soon became a total wreck. No lives lost.
Ship ALBLASSERWAARD, unknown, November 28th, 1881. Loaded with coal. Caught fire in the Indian Ocean. Crew escaped in the boats, and were brought to Auckland.
Schooner ELIZABETH CONWAY, Cape Campbell, December 27th, 1881. A tidal current carried the vessel on a reef during thick, calm weather. No lives lost.
Ship CITY OF CASHMERE, Ninety, Mile Beach, January 14th, 1882. Loss of vessel caused by her cable parting when at anchor. She was afterwards brought so close up to shore by another anchor that the harbour master thought it prudent to remove her. This was attempted by a small steamer, which was unable to tow her, and consequently had to let her go, when she drifted on to the beach and became a total wreck. Officer in charge of deck censured for not letting go second anchor sooner.
Schooner STAR OF THE SEA. Tory Channel, February 23rd, 1882. Vessel missed stays. Struck on a reef of rocks and foundered about a mile from the entrance of harbour. No lives lost.
Barque VINDEX, Kaipara Heads, March 29th, 1882. The wind fell suddenly, and the tide set the vessel on to the North Spit. No lives lost.
Schooner EDITH, Suva, December 30th. 1882. Vessel left Suva for Eva on December 30th, 1881, and was not again heard of. She is supposed to have foundered in a hurricane which sprang un soon after her departure. All hands (seven) lost.
Schooner JESSIE, Waimakariri Bar, April 5th, 1882. Casualty caused by the bar having silted up. No lives lost.
Ship BEN VENUE, Timaru, May 13th, 1882. 1n a very heavy sea the Ben Venue parted her cables and took a list to starboard. The harbour master (Mills) signalled to trim her cargo and put out to sea, to which she answered that her rudder was out of order. She then began tp. drift. Owing to the heavy sea no boat could go to her assistance. She began to settle over, and the crew, who were below shifting the cargo, were hastily called on deck and put into the boat. They remained beside the vessel until she got into broken water, when they made for the City of Perth, which was in the inside anchorage. The abandoned vessel meanwhile swung round gracefully with the seas, standing on shore towards Caroline Bay with as much steadiness as if steered and handled by the crew. On came the ship to the shore, on which she was hurled broadside with excessive violence, and soon lay a hopeless wreck.
Ship CITY OF PERTH, Timaru, May 13th, 1882. Was now seen to be riding in great distress, having parted both her cables and was only held by a single hawser from sharing the fate of the luckless Ben Venue. Her crew and that of the Ben Venue were seen putting off from her side. Their progress was watched with breathless anxiety by the number of persons collected on shore. Little hope was entertained that she could make her way through the terrific breakers. It was at this moment, when their peril seemed most imminent, that Phillip Bradley, a Timaru boatman, announced his determination to go to the help of the apparently helpless boats. He got a crew, and after a time he succeeded in reaching the boats, and stood by them until they got safely inside the breakwater. The harbour master disapproved of the action of the captain and crew in abandoning the City of Perth while she still held by a hawser, and the sea showing signs of abating he got out the whale boat and a crew, and put off to her. Captain M'Donald, of the Ben Venue, in the ship's gig, followed by yet a third boat, also put out. They reached the vessel in safety, but had hardly got on "board when a cry was raised, " She's gone !" The thin hawser had snapped, and swinging lightly round she drifted right on to the shore, to the horror. of the on-lookers. The boats then put off from the vessel, and approached the line of breakers, which were rolling like mountains, white with foam, and many anxious hearts beat high. The two- foremost boats succeeded in gaining the shelter of the breakwater, but the course of the gig was deflected by the current, and it was soon seen that she must be swamped. Two white-crested rollers swept down upon her. The next moment she was lost to view, and her crew was seen struggling in the breakers. Suddenly the despair of the onlookers was changed to admiration, as Captain Mills, followed by the other boat, steered into the boiling surf to the rescue of the drowning men. The whale boat reached them, but just at the critical moment the rescuers shared the fate of those they had gone to succour and two capsized boats and their crews were tossing helplessly in the waves. But the third boat held steadily on. An instant later the seas broke over her, and she too capsized, leaving from 30 to 40 men battling for in the gathering darkness, with as many as she could pick up, came life within hail of land. And what rendered the scene more shocking slowly towards the shore, which this time she reached in safety, and it was that the day was unusually calm and sunny, while the sea was enthusiastic welcome, all else being forgotten for the moment. Captain terrific. The scene on shore baffles. description. . Several brave fellows, Mills, about whose safety the keenest anxiety had been felt, was lying unable to endure the sight, rushed for the lifeboat, which was quickly at the bottom of the boat. He died, however, before he could be carried launched, but she had not covered half the distance when she too cap- home, adding another to the long line of heroes who have willingly sized. She was righted, and the half-drowned crew regained their places, sacrificed their lives at the call of duty in helping or serving others, to be once more completely turned over, the boat floating bottom up- ' Scarcely, however, had the lifeboat discharged her crew, when attention wards. Again she was righted, and for the third time capsized. Meanwhile a large surf boat had been launched, and becoming utterly unmanageable, dropped anchor and rode helplessly in imminent peril of the same fate. The scene on shore now baffled description. Wives mothers, and sisters, seeing their loved ones thus perishing before their eyes rushed among the crowd wildly imploring assistance. Nothing could be done. There was not a boat left, and those on shore could only watch the tragedy to its bitter end. The lifeboat was once again righted, and was drawn to the state of the surf boat, still riding at anchor, and threatened with instant destruction. In spite of the terrible warning they had received in the fate of their predecessors, another crew was found to man the lifeboat. It was now quite dark, these tragedies having occupied the whole day. The lifeboat succeeded in getting some of the men from the surf boat, and again capsized. She, however, got safe to shore. Made a second trip, and in absolute darkness succeeded in bringing off the remainder of the surf boat's crew. Though wrecked, the City of Perth was afterwards got off and repaired. The surf boat sank and became a complete wreck.
Schooner JOSEPHINE, unknown, May, 1882. Vessel left Foxton for Sydney on May 17th, 1882, and has never been heard of since. Crew of five all lost. Supposed to have foundered in a heavy gale.
Schooner RICHARD AND MARY, unknown, May, 1882. Vessel left Greymouth for Nelson on May 27th, 1882, and has never been heard of since. Crew of four missing.
Ketch JESSIE, East Cape. June 9th, 1882. Vessel drifted on shore bottom up. Supposed to have been dismasted and capsized off East Cape. All on board (three) lost.
S.s. WESTPORT, Flaxbourne, June 20th, lod2. Totally wrecked through incompetence of master, who, not knowing the coast well, first stranded and strained her in Lyttelton, and then put to sea again in heavy weather in an unseaworthy condition. His certificate was suspended for six months. Crew landed in boats.
Barquentine AGNES JESSIE, Mahia Peninsula, June 24th, 1882. Driven out of her course in a strong gale. Tried to anchor, but could not. Beached to save life. J3o.it capsized when landing, and five out of 10 men were drowned.
Schooner ASPASIA, Pegasus Bay, July 18th, 1882. Southerly gale caught the vessel while trying to beat out, and she became a total wreck. No lives lost.
Barque AUSTRALIND, New Plymouth, July 27th, 1882. Cable parted. Vessel began to bump and the seas to break over her, so she had to be run on shore to save life.
Cutter AGNES ROSE, Riverton Bar, April 5th, 1882. Totally wrecked. Part of cargo saved. No lives lost.
S.s. PATEA, Mouth of Patea River, April 11th, 1882. Totally wrecked while crossing the bar through incompetence of master, whose certificate was suspended for three months. An attempt was made to get her off with the evening tide, but she was hurled violently against the cliff, a portion of which fell upon her, and the deck being stove in, filled with water, and became a total wreck.
Barque DUKE OF SUTHERLAND, Timaru, May 2nd, 1882.Vessel struck the ground, starting the stern post, in an unusually heavy sea. In November, 1890, the wreckage of this vessel was broken up by dynamite into handy pieces for lifting, and much of the wheat with which she had been laden was found to be in an excellent state of preservation.
Schooner ELIZABETH CURLE. Cuvier Island, July 27th, 1882. Total wreck. No lives lost.
Schooner CORONET. Fiji Islands, July 27th, 1882. Total wreck No lives lost.
S.s. WAITARA and s.s. HURUNUI, June 23rd, 1882. Collision of two New Zealand boats in the English Channel. The Hurunui was bound for Dunedin and the Waitara for Wellington. They collided in the channel, and the Waitara sank in four minutes, 25 of her passengers and crew going down with her. Sixteen were saved by the Hurunui, including the master and chief officer. The weather was thick and hazy. The Hurunui struck the other boat twice amidships, and she sank while endeavours were being made to lower the boats. The Hurunui suffered considerable damage, and was towed back to London. The catastrophe was remarkable for its awful suddenness. The momentary interlocking of the yards of the vessels enabled the 16 who were saved to climb from the Waitara's decks to the Hurunui, otherwise all __ have perished.
Tug LIONESS, Grey River Mouth, September 1st, 1882. A strong current carried the tug on to the protective works, and she was dashed to pieces.
Schooner MAKARAU. Great Barrier Island. September 9th. 1882 Sprung a leak, and was abandoned by the crew. She then opened out close to centre board and sank. Ail hands saved.
Barque MARY MILDRED. Kaipara Harbour, January 19th, 1883. Vessel struck a rock and went to 'pieces. No lives lost.
Schooner PIONEER, Mataura Bar, February 9th, 1883. Could not beat out of the bay, and struck on the bar when trying to enter the river
Cutter MAGIC, Kaitu Kala Island, March 13th, 1883. Struck on a reef through change of wind and heavy sea. Total wreck. No lives lost.
Schooner CLARINDA, unknown, March, 1883. Foundered, with all hands, on the voyage from Greymouth to Manakau. All hands (six) lost.
Schooner HANNAH BARRATT Terawhiti, April 2nd, 1883. 1s supposed to have perished with all hands (four) in a heavy gale.
Brigantine ADIEU, unknown, April, 18H5. Left Greymouth for Melbourne on April 10, 1883, with seven hands, and has not been heard of since.
Ship LOCH FYNE, unknown, May, -1883. She left Lyttelton for Queenstown on May 14th, 1883, and has never been heard of since. Crew of 31 persons and four passengers.
Ship LOCH DEE, unknown, March, 1883. She left Lyttelton for Queenstown or Falmouth on March 3, 1883, and has never been heard of since. Crew, 17. No passengers.
Schooner TRANSIT, Napier Harbour, July 11th, 1883. Total wreck in a heavy sea. Cables parted, and she went on shore. No lives lost.
Barquentine ALMA, Elizabeth Reef, August 3rd, 1883. Vessel lost through default of master. No lives lost.
Schooner EDITH REID, New River Head, August 11th, 1883. Misaow stays and went on the rocks. Became a total wreck. No lives lost.
Barque ESPECULADOR, Haubar Group, August 13th, 1883. Cables parted in a heavy gale. She drifted on to the rocks, and became a total wreck. No lives lost. Crew brought to Auckland.
PILOT BOAT, Nelson, August 14th. 1883. Capsized. Four lives
Cutter RANGATIRA, Great Barrier Island, September 5th, 1883. Driven on the rocks by a heavy gale. Two lives lost.
Ketch ISABELLA. Catlins River, September 14th, 1883. Wind dropped as vessel was Tossing bitr Total wreck. No lives lost.
Schooner WILLIAM AND JANE, Waikato Heads, September 20th, 1883. Vessel attempted to enter river at half tide. Total wreck. No lives lost.
Cutter HALF-CASTE, Tairua, September 22nd, 1883. Total wreck. No lives lost.
Schooner PIRATE, Manike Island, October Bth, ldU6. Wind fell suddenly ; vessel sent on to reef. - No lives lost.
Schooner WILD WAVE, unknown. October, 188^. She left Lyttelton, October 12, for Pelorus Sound ; three men of a crew. Never heard of since.
Schooner WAVE OF LIFE, unknown, October, 1883. Left Lyttelton October 23rd for Pelorus Sound. Not heard of since. Five men lost.
Barque INDIA, Martin's Bay, November 21st, 1883 Vessel drifted ashore in broad daylight, after having swung and fouled her anchor. Master- guilty of gross carelessness ; suspended for six months. No lives lost.
S.s. TRIUMPH, Tiri-Tiri, Hauraki Gulf, November 29th, 1883. Lost through carelessness and "illness of the master, who was suspended for three years. Mate suspended six months. Passengers and crew all saved. She went straight on the lighthouse rocks, and was ground to pieces.
Ketch KESTREL, Lyttelton Harbour, December 10th, 1883.Vessel broke from her mooring when no one was on board. Total wreck.
Schooners AGNES BELL, ATLANTIC,
and MAKEA-ARIKI, Raratonga, December 17th, 1883. All lost in a hurricane. Six
Ship ST. LEONARDS, English Channel, November, 1883. Run down in a fog in the English Channel on her way to New Zealand by the Cormorant. In the short space of eight minutes they managed to get all the emigrants and crew amounting to 60 in number on board the Cormorant, by which vessel they were taken to Dartmouth. Several of the female emigrants escaped only in their nightdresses. Most of them lost all that they possessed. One man, who had saved £300, was foolish enough to carry the money with him, instead of sending it through the banks. He, of course, lost all.
S.s. LILY DENHAM, Half Moon Bay, December 19th, 1883. She was engaged in the fishing industry, and appeared to be in good condition, but must have had an unseen leak, for four hours and a-half after leaving her anchorage she was found to be leaking. The water gained so rapidly that it soon put out the fires. The crew tried to pump her, but without avail. She was then abandoned, and 10 minutes later sank in deep water, while the crew reached land safely in their boat.
Cutter MARGARET SCOLLAY, Cook Strait, December 25th, 1883. Wind fell. She drifted on rocks, and became a total wreck. No lives lost.
Ketch AGNES, Cook Strait, January 15th, 1884. Lost in a gale. No lives lost.
Barque FUSILIER, Turakina, January 16th, 1884. Lost in a heavy gale. No lives lost.
Brigantine MARY KING, Queensland, January, 1884. Vessel left Lyttelton for Townsville on January 2nd, 1884. Was spoken by schooner Bannockburn, January 20. Supposed to have been lost in a cyclone which broke out about January 21. A board was recovered from this vessel on March 21, 1887, near Port Mackay.
Ketch FALCON, Patea River, February 26th, 1884. Total wreck, owing to carelessness of master, who was censured. No lives lost.
Brig RIO GRANDE, Poverty Bay. April 30th, 1884. Chain parted in bad weather, and she went on shore. Total wreck. No lives lost.
S.s. schooner KANGAROO, Cape Campbell, May 2nd, 1884. Went on to reef owing to carelessness of master, who was suspended for three months. No lives lost.
Ketch PROSPECT, Blind Bay, May 14th, 1884. Missed stays and drifted on rocks. No lives lost.
Schooner TAURANGA, unknown, June, 1884. Left Port Chalmers June 10, 1884, for South Sea Islands. Six of a crew and one passenger (the master's bride). She was never heard of again.
Ketch OWAKE BELLE, Jacob's River, July 20th, 1884. Caught in a sudden squall and gale. No lives lost.
S.s. cutter IRISHMAN, Mokau River, August 11th, 1884. Total wreck. No lives lost.
Brigantine, AUGUSTA, New River, August 24th, 1884. Semaphore would not work, and the accident was caused by the insufficiency of pilot staff. No lives lost.
Ship LASTINGHAM, Cook Strait, September Ist, 1884. From London to Wellington. Was wrecked on Jackson's Head, Cook Strait. Nothing worthy of remark occurred until they sighted Mt. Egmont. Early in the morning it was fine and bright, a strong breeze blowing, which changed to a gale and thick fog. Land was reported ahead, and in attempting to wear the ship she struck heavily. It was soon seen that there was no hope of saving the ship ; and the crew and passengers endeavoured to save themselves in the boats. "The scene was one of indescribable confusion: wind howling, rain falling, people rushing about crying and screaming, and the sea making clean breaches over the ship." In two hours she was almost a total wreck. A muster was called of the survivors, when it was found that 18 were missing. No shelter could be seen, and there was no food except a bag of oatmeal which had been washed ashore. Later on a few pounds of pork and a package of cornflour were added to the stores. This was all that 14 men had to subsist on until help reached them on the third day. They gnawed the
raw meat and drank oatmeal and water, plenty of fresh water being found near the wreck. At night they huddled together for warmth against the rocks. Three of them tried to find a way over the steep face of the cliff. The task was very difficult, and they were very stiff, cold, and numb when they reached the top. They hunted, but could see no sign of habitation. They then divided, but not one was successful in seeing a house, though some sheep were seen grazing. They therefore supposed the place to be an island, but it afterwards proved to be a peninsula, very difficult of access. They afterwards went round to the lee side, where they found a few trees, under which they sheltered from the pouring rain. The next morning they formed themselves into three parties. One going inland again succeeded in reaching a camp. The second party went round the coast to Jackson's Head, and returned ; and the third remained by the wreck, which had now almost disappeared. On the fourth morning they ate the last of their food, and when in this extremity the ketch Agnes, from Pelorus Sound, hove in sight. They signalled to her, and she sent a boat to their rescue. Before this time they had seen other boats, but having no means of making a fire, could not attract their attention, though they had erected a; kind of flagstaff on tie highest point they could reach.
Ketch OPOTIKI, Mercury Bay, October 16th, 1884. Struck on a sunken rock, and became a total wreck. No lives lost.
Cutter JANE, Foveaux Strait, October 26th, 1884. Dragged anchor, and was carried on the rocks. No lives lost.
Barque CLYDE, Akaroa Heads, November 6th, 1884. The weather was foggy and the land could not be seen, and the vessel ran on a reef
on the left side of Horseshoe Bay, and became a total wreck. There were 18 persons on board, including the captain, his wife and three children. All were lost, except one boy of 18, who was washed on shore.
S.s. schooner STAR OF THE SOUTH, Grey River, December 22nd, 1884. Owing to recklessness of master, who crossed the bar in defiance on signals, she was dashed upon the protective works and smashed to pieces. Certificate suspended for a year.
Brig ANNA BELL, Kaipara Harbour, January 2nd, 1885. Ran on a shoal in a fog. No lives lost.
Brigantine ISLAND LILY, Chatham Islands, January 3rd, 1885. No wind, current sent vessel on reef. No blame attached to anyone. No lives lost.
Brig WAVE, Kaipara Bar, January 17th, 1885. Total loss. No lives
Barque MARY ANN ANNISON, Kaipara Bar, February 20th, 1885, Total wreck. No lives lost.
Barque PLEJADEN, Chatham Islands, March Ist, 1885. Vessel sprang a leak and had to be beached. Total wreck.
S.s. schooner THOMAS RUSSELL, Oreti Point, March 13th, 1885. Default of Master. Certificate suspended for six months. No lives lost.
Barque MATHIEU, Kaipara Harbour, March 26th, 1885. Baffling winds drove her on the North Beach, where she became a complete wreck. No lives lost.
Brigantine NIGHTINGALE, near Sydney, April 22nd, 1885. 0n the way from New Zealand to Sydney. Water-logged and abandoned. Crew took to the boat. The barque Remijio picked up Captain Short and his crew in an open boat at sea. " Our boat left the wreck with the lug sail hoisted. We had only bread and water with us. After going two miles some of the crew got frightened, and begged to be taken back, as they said that the boat was overcrowded. We threw over most of our clothing, but failed to lighten the little craft. We therefore returned and put five of the men on the brigantine. .During the first day the boat made between 90 and 100 miles. We were all on short allowance two biscuits and a pannikin of water. The only change was on the third day, when we caught a shark. We were in the boat four days when we saw a ship, which proved to be the barque Remijio. We made signals of distress, and she soon bore down upon us. We had fine weather while we were in the boat, but very heavy weather set in afterwards." ii n he five men who returned to the Nightingale succeeded in navigating her into Sydney Harbour, where she was condemned and broken up.
Barque ELIZABETH, unknown, April, 1885. She left Newcastle for Lyttelton on April 23rd, 1885, with 10 hands, and has not been heard of since. Supposed to have foundered in a heavy gale.
Barque OCEANIA, Cook Strait, May 4th, 1885. Lost in a gale. No lives lost.
Schooner HELENA, Farewell Spit, July 5th, 1885. Master censured and certificate suspended for six months. No lives lost.
Schooner KREIMHILDA, Ohua, July 18th, 1885. Became unmanageable in a gale ; stranded. Total wreck. No lives lost.
Schooner MAZEPPA, Caroline Islands, July 18th 1885. Lost on a reef in thick weather. No lives lost.
Schooner KATE M'GREGOR, Raratonga Island, July 23rd, 1885. Wind shifted while passing between two reefs. No lives lost.
Barque EDWIN BASSETT, near Wanganui, August 31st, 1885. Error of judgment ; captain suspended for three months. No lives lost.
Schooner MALIETOA, unknown, September, 1885. Left Whangarei for Timaru, September 28, with five hands. Never heard of since.
Brigantine RANSOM, Pleasant Islands, October 4th, 1885. Wind fell, current drove her on shore. No lives lost.
Schooner DUNEDIN, Cape Kidnappers, October 12th, 1885.Blowing a "whole gale." Vessel struck on Black Reef, where she remained till high water, when she came off, and was taken into Napier Harbour, beached and abandoned.
S.s. schooner WALLACE, Grey River, October 14th, 1885. A heavy sea struck her as she was crossing the bar. She then struck the protective works, became unmanageable, and soon went to pieces. No lives lost.
Brigantine SEA GULL, Waikawa Harbour, January 24th, 1886. Wind fell, she became unmanageable, and the breakers drove her on shore. No lives lost.
Ketch FANNY KELLY, Kauri Head, February 3rd, 1886. Lost in a heavy gale on a dark night. Four lives lost.
S.s. schooner INO, Fortrose, March 4th, 1886. Wrecked .on the bar No lives lost.
Barquentine WAIREKA, Hokianga Harbour, March 16th, 1886. Total wreck. No lives lost.
page 29 A few of the captains who have visited Otago
page 30 Taiaroa April 12 1886 - Tongariro Aug. 24 1887
page 31 Cutter Bessie Dec. 8th 1887 - Kentish lass June 1890
page 32 Minnie July 24 1890 - Waitara July 11 1893
page 33 Cutter Dream July 31st 1893- S.s. Wairarapa Oct. 29 1894
page 34 Treviot Jan 1st 1895 - Zulieka April 16 1897
page 35 Pirate April 16th 1897 - S.S. Tekapo May 16 1899