ARRIVAL OF THE BULWARK
New Zealand Herald October 2nd 1872
At last, the fine ship Bulwark, from London, is safely anchored in our harbour, after a passage of over seven months, having left on the 27th of February. Great has been the anxiety in shipping circles respecting this vessel, which had, prior to the news of her having put into the Mauritius, been given up for lost. The signal of a ship in sight was hoisted at the flagstaff shortly after one o'clock yesterday afternoon, and about three a full-rigged vessel rounded the heads and anchored in the quarantine ground, to await the arrival of the Health Officer. The ship's number was not hoisted, and when the Bulwark came in sight, it was thought to be the Robert Henderson, of the Glenhuntly, for people had ceased to look for the vessel so long overdue. Besides, she presented quite a smart appearance, and did not "roll" into harbour like a "tea-waggon", as was anticipated she would do. She is by no means a clumsy looking boat, nor is she an old vessel. She is North American built, has a full but clean stem and a well rounded stern; nor has she proved herself a bad sailor, notwithstanding the length of her passage and her serious mishaps. At the Mauririus she received a thorough repair, and, therefore, comes into port a comparatively clean ship. Had she come out from London direct with an ordinary cargo, and not called in at the Cape, we believe she would have made a very good passage to this port. It has been said that she is a sister ship to the old Monarch, which once visited Auckland. This is not the case. She is in every respect a smarter looking vessel - nor is she anything like so large. She is very deep in the water, as may be supposed, from the quantity of railway iron on board; but we are informed that she is a foot lighter than when she left the Cape, a large quantity of her cargo (principally consisting of drapery, &c) having been discharged and sold at the Mauritius - altogether, about £4000 worth. She made an average passage to the Cape, where she put in for water, in consequence of some of the tanks having leaked. A fortnight afterwards she fell in with a heavy gale, which did her terrible damage, and for a time threatened her safety. She was afterwards three weeks making Port Louis, where she remained for two months making repairs. One passenger died on the passage out. Notwithstanding the extreme length of the voyage, the passengers are in first-rate health, and appeared to be pretty comfortable. They all speak in terms of the greatest praise of the uniform kindness of Captain and Mrs Kelly. Among them is Mr Rye, a New Zealand settler of some years standing, who went home in the Queen Bee in 1871. Dr Philson boarded the vessel about five o'clock, and after making the usual examination, gave her a clean bill of health. She afterward came up as far as the powder ground. The following are the particulars of her passage as taken from the log:- The ship Bulwark, 1332 tons, Captain Kelly, left the East India Docks on the 27th of February, and was off Portland on the 6th March. Picked up the N E trades on the 20th March and crossed the Equator on the 2nd April. Took the S E trades up off the Line. On April the 15th had a heavy south-east gale, the ship straining a good deal, in consequence of her weighty cargo. Gale lasted for three days. Commenced again on the 25th, from the N, vessel rolling gunwale under water. Passed Gough Island on May 1st, distant 50 miles. In consequence of loss of fresh water, through leakage of the tanks, the Caprain thought it advisable to touch at the Cape. Made Symons Bay on the 11th May. Left again on the 14th, with light E N E winds. On the 17th, experienced a very heavy gale from the N N W, which continued for three days. After a three days' cessation, it recommenced with redoubled fury; and on the 23rd the ship pooped a terrific sea, which washed the man at the wheel and the mate to the front of the poop. At 8.30 pm on the following Sunday, 26th May, another terrific sea rolled over the stern, carrying all before it. It smashed the wheel in pieces, washed the two steersmen onto the main deck, dislocating the arm of one, and breaking two ribs of the other, besides otherwise severly injuring them. The captain held on to the wheel, and was washed to the front of the poop, and had both his legs severly injured. The second mate was also washed on to the main deck, and was much bruised and hurt about the chest. The cabin skylight and hurricane-house were washed away; the cabin was filled with water, the binnacle, stern pump, compass, timepiece &c, were swept overboard, and in fact, a regular havoc made in this part of the ship. The poop rails, fire extinguishers, hencoops, fowls, pigs and sheep were swept into the sea, and the whole four boats smashed to pieces. The prospect was now gloomy in the extreme. A fearful gale was raging all around them; they feared every sea would sink the vessel, and worse than all, their boats were gone. The front of the fore-cabin was smashed, and the main deck-house nearly carried away; lost two iron yard-arme, carried away port mizzen chains, the main deck was much cut, and the bulwarks were smashed. When the wheel was carried away, had to bring the ship to the wind, and let fly everything for safety, the vessel being utterly beyond control. The water rushed into the hold through the hole in the main chains, and when the pumps were sounded five feet of water was found, and this was increasing every instant. The pumps were manned by every man and woman in the ship, who worked for twenty-four hours without ceasing, in the hope of saving themselves from a watery grave. To add to the terror of the situation, several cases of aquafortis took fire, and for a time an inevitable death stared the unfortunate passengers and crew in the face; but the danger was fairly beaten. The cases of aquafortis were thrown overboard, and by very hard work the water was got under. To give some idea of the terrific force of the sea, we might state that a number of the bolts of the mizen chains were wrenched clean out. Remained hove-to for two days, under a storm trysail. A number of the ships sails were also blown to atoms in this gale. On the 29th the wheel was fixed, and it was then decided, in the crippled state of the vessel, to bear away for the Mauritius. The Bulwark was in 420 28' south latitude, 610 east longitude, when she met with her misfortunes. Port Louis was reached on the 18th June. When here cargo was partly shifted, and a quantity was sold, as before observed. Extensive repairs were made to the vessel, which left again for this port on the 16th August, after a stay of two months. Afterwards had very fine southerly weather, with the exception of a strong gale on the 1st September. Rounded Tasmania on September 17, and made the Three Kings on Sunday last. John Parsons, aged 31, died of comsumption on the 27th March. He was coming out for the benefit of his health.