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The Star November 11th 1878

This fine ship, still under the command of Capt., E S Babot, arrived in harbour and anchored off Ripa Island at 10:30 pm on Saturday. The ship having immigrants on board, the Immigration Officer, Mr J E March, together with Drs Donald, Health Officer, J T Rouse, and H Macdonald, went down to inspect and pass her on arrival of the morning train from Christchurch yesterday. All being well on board, the ship was immediately cleared and visitors admitted.

The Hydaspes has certainly come into harbour in the most splendid condition, and never have we boarded an immigrant ship where everything was so scrupulously clean and neat and in such thorough order. The surgeon-superintendent is Dr Dunkerley, M A I, who is well known here, as this is his sixth voyage to this colony with immigrants. The ship herself is in fine order, and comes into port looking far more like commencing a voyage than at the termination of one of 91days' duration. This has been a remarkably long passage for this ship, but given light and baffling winds for a considerable portion of the passage, not other result could be expected. The weather generally during the passage was very fine, and only one gale of any note was experienced. During that some seas broke aboard, and did slight damage. The Snares were passed on Nov 5, so that the passage was 86 days from land to land. The immigrants appear to be a thoroughly respectable class of people, and the way in which both the captain and surgeon-superintendent speak of them confirms this opinion. They all appeared to be extremely satisfied with the good ship, and the treatment they have received on board. Three deaths occurred during the passage, one Mrs Good, who died from severe bronchitis, followed by parturition and a great debility; her prematurely born child also died when 4 days old. The other was that of an infant from strumous debility. Two births occurred on board, and one infant died before the ship left Plymouth. A brigade was formed for rifle drill on board, and placed under the command of Sergeant Price, late of the "Seventh Tower Hamlets Volunteers." A capital brass band was also organised. The drums were made on board, as well as the cymbals and triangle. The band played "God save the Queen" on the poop every morning at 8:30, and also played at noon and at 4pm daily. When the Immigration Commissioners went on board the rifle corps was drawn up in line with fixed bayonets, and presented arms, while the band played "God save the Queen." The effect was particularly good and excited a considerable amount of comment, being something quite unexpected on board an immigrant ship. The bandsmen and rifles wore distinctive caps, made on board, and certainly presented a very good appearance. While speaking of uniforms we must not forget to mention Dr Dunkerley's aide-de-camp, a smart little fellow named W H Lewis, who wore a natty uniform of grey with scarlet facings made on board, and on his left arm the white badge and scarlet cross of the hospital corps. This little fellow was found very useful to Dr Dunkerley, and seemed very proud of his distinction.

The single women's compartment, in the fore part of the main saloon, was first visited. This was scrupulously clean, and splendidly lighted and ventilated, and the 106 occupants have certainly had very comfortable quarters. Their matron, Miss Esmond, has been most assiduous in the performance of her duties, and has gained the good feeling and respect of all under her charge. She was assisted by three sub-matrons - Misses Jowsey, Doherty and Alexander. The girls are nearly all English and Irish, a few being Scotch or Welsh.

In the married people's compartment midships in the 'tween decks, 36 families were comfortably quartered. Here the same good order and neatness prevailed, and all looked very well, the children particularly so. The surgery was situated in this division, and was a convenient, well lighted, and ventilated apartment. Those in this division bore testimony to the kindness shown by the sick nurse, Mrs Twine, who certainly seems to have been untiring in her endeavours to do all she could for those she had to look after, and a very feelingly worded testimonial signed by all was presented to her.

In the single men's division 106 fine strapping fellows were located, and they certainly seem to have vied with those in the other divisions in keeping their compartment up to the standard of cleanliness. Never before has any other ship come into Lyttelton with the single men's place in such splendid order. Those located here were under the charge of Constables Patrick Murphy, Dennis Murphy and Charles Doherty, of whose services Dr Dunkerley speaks very highly. The hospitals for the various divisions were roomy, very clean, and had plenty of ventilation, while the bath rooms were also very good. Testimonials were presented to Dr Dunkerley and Captain Babot, who evidently lost no opportunity of doing everything they could to make to those on board as comfortable as circumstances would permit.