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The Star December 29 1879

Yesterday morning this vessel was signalled, and at 11 am she dropped anchor off Diamond Harbour. The Health Office, Dr Rouse, and the reporters went of to the ship shortly after she brought up, when it was ascertained that all on board were well.

The Southesk is a very handsome iron vessel of 1154 tons register, rigged as a barque, built by Alexander Stephens and Son, and owned by Messrs D Bruce and Co of Dundee. She is three years old, and is on her third voyage, the two previous voyages having been to Queensland with immigrants and Home. The ship is fitted with all the latest improvements, and has a nice snug saloon comfortably fitted up with ample passenger accomodation in her 'tween decks, where 231 passengers were quartered. She sails well, and is reported to be a thoroughly comfortable vessel at sea. Her commander is Captain Thomas Nicoll, who makes his first voyage to New Zealand. The Southesk's passage was 92 days from Gravesend, which, considering the passages recently made and the continued northerly and easterly weather, may be counted as a very good one. Very light winds were met after leaving the channel to meeting with the south-east trades; a good run was then made to the southward of New Zealand on Dec., 18, since which time baffling southerly winds prevailed up the coast to arrival. Of the passengers, 10 are in the saloon, 21 in the second-cabin, and 207 in the steerage. They have enjoyed very good health throughout the voyage. One death occurred, namely that of Mr C B Hay, aged 38 years, a medical practitioner who was among the steerage passengers; he died from apoplexy on Oct., 24. He had been, it is said, inpractice in the Colonies, and was coming out to settle here. The medical practitioner of the Southesk was Dr Henry C Garde, who appears to have been very popular among the passengers. The various divisions were found in avery fair state of cleanliness and order, and the general arrangements for the convenience of the passengers were good, excepting the hospital and dispensary. These two places were situated in the main division of the ship, and were not wehat they should have been. The hospital was simply one of the ordinary berths, while the dispensary was a miserably small place, in which the medical officer had barely room to move. Fortunately there was no sickness, or else these drawbacks would have been much felt. it is highly necessary that better arrangements should be made in order that the medical officer of a ship should have ampleroom at his disposal in the event of serious sickness manifesting itself on the passage. The passengers all looked remarkably well, and seemed to be thoroughly satisfied with the kind treatment received at the hands of Captain Nicoll, Dr Garde, and the officers of the vessel. To Captain Nicoll and Dr Garde they presented testimonials expressive of the respect and esteem in which they were held. A newspaper was instituted on board, entitled the Southesk Weekly News, much amusement being derived therefrom. Mr March arrived in Port in the afternoon, and at once made the official inspection of the passengers. That done the ship was formally cleared, and the passengers were at liberty to go ashore. Notwithstanding the absence of ordinary means of communication, it will be seen that very little time was lost in clearing the ship. The Southesk comes out under charter to Messrs Shaw Savill and Co, and has about 800 tons of general cargo on board.

Captain Nicoll reports:- left Gravesend on Sept 27; passed Deal same day; met with westerly winds and dirty weather down Channel, and landed pilot off Portland on Oct 1. Had light winds across Bay; no N E trades, and crossed the Equator on Oct 27. Met with good S E trades, crossed the prime meridian on Nov 16, and that of the Cape on Nov 21. Made a good run through the easting with good westerlies, passing the meridian of the Leuwin on Dec 3 and Tasmaia on Dec 11Four days later was south of New Zealand coast, when the wind shifted to the N E and northerly, N N E and N W winds were experienced. Was in company with the ship Taranaki south of New Zealand and exchanged signals with her. The first landfall was made on Saturday night, being the Kaikoura Ranges, at 10pm. Godley light was sighted, and yesterday morning Pilot Galbraith boarded the vessel, bringing her up to an anchorage at 11am. No Colonial bound vessels were spoken on the passage.