ARRIVAL OF THE CARNATIC
Otago Witness March 7th 1874
The ship Carnatic, which arrived at the Heads on Friday, the 27th ult, was towed in astern of the Geelong on Saturday afternoon, and came to an anchor in the Quarantine ground. The announcement of her not having a clean bill of health had preceded her, but the character of the disease which she had on board was not known. The worst was, however, apprehended from the fact that a direct admission of sickness amongst the emigrants was made by signal when the ship reached the Heads, such a circumstance never having before occured in the case of any vessel arriving, the rule being to say as little as possible until inquisition on the part of the health Officer was made. However, the admission, and a very proper one too, on the part of those in charge of the Carnatic, put the Board of Health on the qui vive, and one of its members, Professor McGregor, came down to the port and proceeded to the ship in the steamer Result, along with Captain Thomson, Health Officer; Dr O'Donoghue, judicial advisor to the Board of Health; Mr Monson, of the Customs; and Mr Colin Allan, Immigration Agent. Representatives of the Press were also of the party. Dr Robert Gibbs, surgeon superintending the immigrants, and captain Moon of the ship, were waiting on the gangway when the Result ranged alongside, and to the interrogatory of the Health Officer replied that measles and scarlet fever had broken out, that nearly all the children on board had had the fever, that four deaths had ensued from it, and that there were diseases still under treatment. The first case of sickness in the form of measles appeared on the 13th day after the ship left Plymouth and on the 21st day scarlet fever appeared. It seemed to have run its course, no new case having occurred since the 14th ult. Every care had been taken and close attention paid to the sick, but owing to the lack if space on board, it was found to be impossible to practice isolation. fumigating the ship had not been attempted, but chloride of lime and carbolic acid had been used freely. There were no measles on board then, the disease having entirely disappeared on the 14th ult. The fever was not confined to the children, six adults having taken it, but all recovered. When asked by Professor McGregor for an opinion as to the probable source of the disease, Dr. Gibbs replied that he believed that the contagion was brought on board by one family, the mother of which one day remarked that she had no fear for her children, all of them having had the fever, and, in fact, had recovered from it only a fortnight or so before the ship sailed. The six deaths which have occurred lay amongst children of ages from a few months to six years - one, an infant named Cox, died from exhaustion - whilst Fanny Larkin, Morley Cox, Eliza Maher, and Elizabeth Lainchbury were carried off by fever. Of the six cases in hospital, five were progressing favourably, and one was considered to be very critical, indeed. A violent death had also happened during the passage - one of the seaman - whose name we did not ascertain - having fallen overboard, was drowned.
The ship has 251 living souls on board, besides her crew of 30 men and boys. Reckoned by standard, the immigrants number 208 statute adults, of which 60 are single women. The proportion of children is said to be immensely large. The investigation having been concluded, the health-officer ordered the yellow flag to be hoisted, and informed the captain that the Board of Health would meet early, and decide upon the steps to be pursued with the immigrants. Before the Result shoved off, we succeeded in gleaning a few particulars relating to the ship on her passage from home. The Carnatic is a fine, substantial wooden built ship, of 871 tons register, and commanded by Captain Moon. She belongs to Messrs James and John Waite of North Shields, and is under charter for the present voyage out and home to the New Zealand Shipping Company. She left London on the 23rd of November, and when clear of the Channel, had to run back to Plymouth to procure repairs to the fresh water condenser, which had gone wrong. She reached Plymouth on the 17th December, left again next day, had light weather and miserable N.E. Trades, and crossed the Line on the 7th January, on the 30th day out from Plymouth. The S. E.. Trade was moderate and short lived, but good steady westerlies favored her afterwards, and carried her to within sight of the Snares by Thursday last at noon, the casting being run down between the parallels of 48 and 49. Westerly weather helped her on the Coast, so that she arrived of the Heads in good time on Friday. She brings about 1100 tons of cargo, of which 550 tons consists of railway and other iron. The immigrants thronged the side of the ship when the Result went alongside. The appeared to be a tolerably fair sample, not of the best certainly, but possessing bone and sinew, and seemingly in hearty condition.