ARRIVAL OF THE COMMISSARY
New Zealand Times December 13th 1875
The ship Commissary, Captain Hunter, from London, arrived in harbour on Saturday afternoon at 1.45. She left London on the 4th September, and landed the pilot off St Alban's Head on the 8th. Had very moderate winds to the N E trades which were found in 24 deg N and very light. Crossed the equator on the 9th October, in longitude 20 W. Experienced light S E trades, passing the meridian of the Cape on the 4th November; from thence, and running down her eastings, had strong N and NW winds, with very low barometer and a high sea, which was done in the parallel of 45 and 46 S. On the 26th October, in latitude 36 S and longitude 21.49 W, the barometer stood as low as 28.80, when she experienced a heavy gale from NNW, with very high seas, losing her lower topsails, and was compelled to heave the ship to. Made Cape Farewell on Friday the 10th , and arrived as above. She brings no Government immigrants, but ten saloon, ten second class, and 16 steerage passengers.
We are sorry in having to report a sad accident, with loss of life, which occurred on the voyage out on the 22nd November last, the ship being then in latitude 5.50 deg S and longitude101 deg. 20 min S (sic), when one of saloon passengers fell overboard, and caused the loss of the carpenter of the ship and narrow escape of the second officer and two seamen. We copy an extract from this officer's log, which was kindly placed for our reporter's perusal. Richard Cowan, saloon passenger, in coming off the poop with the intention of going up the main rigging lost his foothold and fell into the sea. A life-bouy was immediately thrown to him, but fell short of him by about fifty yards. The ship at the time was going with a fresh breeze at the rate of nine miles an hour. The wind had been blowing strong previous to the accident, causing a heavy high sea to run. All the halliards were let go, and the ship brought to the wind. Whilst this was being done the second officer (Mr Armit), the carpenter, and two hands were clearing away the life boat, the carpenter being in the bows of the boat, when one of the A B's not noticing the forward tackle being un-hooked, cut the lashing, the boat dropping down head first and hanging by the after tackle, pitching the carpenter also into the sea, the second mate saving himself by having hold of the after tackle. A life bouy was also thrown to him, but he did not succeed in reaching it. A hand was sent aloft to look after them, but on account of the heavy sea running no efforts could be made to save them without endangering the lives of others.
She had no sickness during the voyage, and but one death, that of a child named Lambert, from sea-sickness.
The Commissary was built in 1868, of wood, and has been a regular trader to Sydney since then. This is her first appearance in New Zealand waters. She is consigned to Messrs Johnston and Co., under charter to the N S S Co. After discharging her cargo of 500 kegs of powder, she will come to the wharf, taking the place of the St Leonards.