ARRIVAL OF THE MEROPE - TIMARU
The Timaru Herald September 24th 1875
The ship Merope, one of Shaw Savill and Co's line, arrived here yesterday from Plymouth, with immigrants. The arrival of an immigrant ship being such an unusual occurrence hers , the Merope attracted no little attention. She was first seen early in the morning to the southward, but did not reach Timaru till between two and three o'clock in the afternoon. Just before the vessel reached the roadstead the harbourmaster went aboard and brought her to an anchorage about a mile from the shore. Shortly afterwards a boat containing the Immigration Officer (Mr F LeCren), the Health Officer (Dr McIntyre), the Rev E A Lingard, and other gentlemen, proceeded to the vessel. An inspection of the immigrants and vessel was then made, everything appearing to be in capital order. The vessel is well fitted up for the accommodation of immigrants, the sleeping places being arranged on the most approved principle. From the doctor, Mr Hasart (sic), it was elicited that there had been little sickness during the voyage, no disease of any serious nature having broken out. Three deaths of infants, he stated, had occurred, one from tabes mesenterica, another from diarrhea, and the third from premature birth. The births on board were two in number. The single men, of who there were about eighty, are sturdy looking fellows, evidently used to hard work. The married men are clearly of the right stamp for the colonies. The majority of the men are agricultural labourers the others mostly following useful trades. The single women, who came out under the charge of Mrs Bartropp (Bartrup), are healthy and strong in appearance, nearly all being domestic servants. The immigrants appear to be in capital spirits, and they speak well of the manner in which they have been treated by the captain, Doctor and others in authority. The captain is Mr J Sutherland, who was formerly in command of the Crusader, in which he made several trips to Canterbury. The present is his first voyage in the Merope, and he speaks highly of her sailing qualities. The voyage, he says, was a very favourable one, extending over 85 days. The Captain's report is as follows :-
Left Plymouth at noon on the 1st of July, wind S W. Continued so for three days. Afterwards had light but favourable winds, which carried the vessel into the N E trades. These were light throughout, and were lost in 11 north, when the usual light variable winds and calms prevailed for some days. The equator was crossed on the morning of the 27th of July in 270 30 whence across the southern tropics the wind came from S S E to S S W, and in consequence the ship was carried so far west that several tacks had to be made before weathering the coast of Brazil, which was not finally cleared until the 8th of August. The meridian of the Cape was crossed on the 23rd of August in latitude 45. From that till off the the South Cape of Tasmania, which was passed on the 13th of September, strong west and south west winds prevailed, several times amounting to a gale with very high seas, the ship making good runs often logging 300 and as much as 320 miles a day. From off Tasmania till making the Snares, which were sighted at 2am on the 20th, had light northerly winds mostly, calms prevailing during three days. On Monday last, light N E wind was experienced lasting till Wednesday, when a light S W breeze sprang up, and continued until the ships arrival at Timaru. The Captain further reports having passed two icebergs in latitude 490 30, longitude 1260 28. It being dark at the time and a thick snow storm prevailing, the vessel narrowly escaped running into one of the icebergs. The vessel brings a cargo of miscellaneous goods, consigned to Messrs Dalgety, Nichols and Co., a portion being for Timaru. She will not, however, unload any cargo here. The immigrants on board the vessel seemed to be very pleased to see visitors from the shore, and the Rev Mr Lingard was perfectly loaded with correspondence which he kindly undertook to post for them. The immigrants will all be landed this morning early, and conveyed to the Timaru barracks. Numbers of them will afterwards be taken to the several country barracks. The Captain purposes sailing for Lyttelton this evening.